8 August 201817:23

Greek newspaper Kontra News’ article on Moscow’s alleged role in planning riots in Thessaloniki

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On July 23, the Greek newspaper Kontra News published an article entitled “Plot to disrupt the international fair in Thessaloniki: Riots planned by black front nationalists and forces linked with Moscow; illegal quasi-government structures are being mobilised.”

Citing an anonymous source in the Greek intelligence community, the newspaper claims that Greek street gangs “financed from Putin’s slush funds” (!!!) are planning protests during the annual Thessaloniki International Fair in September of this year. Apparently, the author of the article has a vivid imagination.  

The article goes on to state that, in close cooperation with local radical groups and professional militants, Greece's National Front is planning major incidents during visits to the fair by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, prime ministers of Balkan countries and the US Vice President. Needless to say, “protests in Thessaloniki are being organised with funding from Russian agents of influence in Greece apart from ‘Putin’s slush funds’.”

But this is not all. Apparently the plan to disrupt the fair with a view to discrediting the Tsipras-Zaev agreement on Macedonia's name change is supported by some metropolitans of the Orthodox Church of Greece and business people “who have become agents on behalf of Moscow’s interests.” So, now Russia is also being accused of sinister plans to subvert the fair.

There is not a shred of truth in the Kontra News article. Greek pseudo-journalists should focus on the important news stories in bilateral relations that actually exist.

For example, this year will mark 25 years since the signing of the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and Greece. This is a fundamental document defining key areas of bilateral cooperation. Reflecting the close friendly ties between our countries and peoples, the treaty ensures their continuity and immunity from opportunistic considerations and their orientation to the future. It reaffirms the striving of the two states to actively and consistently promote mutual confidence and develop relations in all areas on the basis of the principles of respect for political independence, sovereign equality, territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, and mutual benefit. We are guided by these principles in our efforts to further enhance and expand our cooperation.   

This year we will also celebrate the 190th anniversary of Russia-Greece diplomatic relations. Our countries are tied by centuries-long links and common values, inter-religious cooperation and a common history. Importantly, Russia has never encroached on the sovereignty, public order or national security of Greece. Why would our country plan to disrupt events in Greece?

Such hostile and frankly stupid anti-Russian insinuations are a stain on Greek journalism. The allegations of Kontra News are absurd given our warm feelings and respect for Athens as an equal partner. We will add this article to the list of tabloid fakes about Russia.


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