The "mainstream" politicians in the EU countries – and the U.S. as well – lack not only the strategic thinking but also creativity, the ability to act cleverly yet surprisingly. We are pretty much facing a bunch of sterile, impotent, redundant, uninspiring, politically correct self-described "good doers".
Fortunately, there are other countries in the world as well. The Russian finance minister just said that he won't rule out that Russia will bailout Greece! Nice, that's what I call a twist. Greece may run out of funds as early as the end of February.
What does it exactly mean? I think it is rather unlikely that Russia will want to repay the Greek debt. At €320 billion, it is almost equal to all of Russia's foreign currency reserves! And the reserves turned out to be rather useful in the recent month when the rouble was under attack.
Well, surprising events may happen so one can imagine that Russia could even sacrifice all of its reserves for this move ;-) but I just find it unlikely.
It's much more likely that they will send a "tranche" to Greece, once or twice €10 billion or so, to postpone the problems by months or a year. In the short or perhaps medium term, Russia may play the role of the IMF if the international fund ceases to provide Greece with the subsidies.
If it materializes, such a help will be partly motivated by the natural proximity of Russia and Greece, two Orthodox Christian nations, partly by a big Russian minority in Greece, and partly by Russia's desire to hire a full-fledged Trojan horse within the EU. Greece would probably be ejected from the EU at some moment but the moment could be postponed if someone else "solved" the Greek short-term or medium-term financial troubles.
One should be extremely grateful to Russia if such events will take place. If it manages to convince Greece to cancel sanctions in a near future – but note that the EU just made Greece to agree with the anti-Russian sanctions today – it would be good news for the economy of the European nations such as mine as well and both Russia and Greece would deserve thanks for that.
Why is it more likely that Russia will bailout Greece than the continuation of the subsidies from the EU? One reason is that most of Europe has already recognized the mistake that the loans – and subsidies – to Greece have been. They have always been mostly wasted money, most of us seem to realize, and we would be very stupid not to learn a lesson from our previous blunders. If I were Russian and if I were not a staunch Orthodox believer or something like that, I would surely oppose any major aid to Greece for economic reasons: such aid may quickly become a huge burden for Russia, too.
But then there is the cultural dimension of the problem. By its current identity, Greece is just far closer to Russia than e.g. to Germany or other similar, traditionally Western or Central European nations including mine. This trivial fact is apparently counterintuitive for most Americans – including Swine flu – whose background in geography and history is either non-existent or coming from a Lalaland education.
We just don't care about Greece in the same sense in which we care about compatriots. It is a mostly "Eastern" nation and the EU is a totally artificial construct. The Orthodox Christianity is a major part of this gap between us. They don't care what we think about their economic and other policies and as a consequence, we can't have any responsibility for their screwing of their own economy.
The cultural proximity extends beyond the flavors of Christianity, of course. Look at the Russian and Greek alphabets:
абвгдеёжзийклмнопрстуфхцчшщъыьэюяThe similarities are obvious. For example, a g-like letter appears at the beginning before the d-like latter, and z-like letters follow right after the first e-like letter (which comes after "d").
The Cyrilic script originally evolved from the Greek capitals-only alphabet, with some flavor from the Glagolitic alphabet that the Czechs knew since 863 when Cyril and Method brought scripture and the Orthodox belief to our state, the Great Moravia (Orthodox Christianity was beaten in the Czech lands by the Catholicism within a century or so). Yes, the Glagolitic alphabet contains the perfect left-right-reflected "euro €" character, called the "Jest" (="to be/exist" in old Slavic), and lots of letters that look like little circles connected with many legs, usually in ways that are more left/right or up/down symmetric than what would be necessary in an optimized, efficient alphabet. ;-)
The Greek alphabet wasn't invented from scratch, either – it was largely inspired by the Phoenician script. But let me stop with this ancient history.
The point is that just like Donbas and probably much wider regions of Ukraine, Greece much more naturally "fits" into the broader Russian civilization space than it does to a Germany-centered European confederacy – and the EU is such a confederacy today. These are facts. The silly caricature of Europe and the world that is usually presented to the Americans probably prevents them from understanding similar facts but that's too bad, they are facts, nevertheless. The Iron Curtain was an artificial boundary created after the Second World War and the border around Russia proper is even more artificial and unphysical – but Europe and Asia are full of some boundaries that are more important and more lasting than the Iron Curtain.
Of course that if Russia significantly helped Greece financially, it could be great for the markets and great for everyone, at least for a few years. I have significant doubts about all these things. Would Russians really like to subsidize Greeks – people who are in no way more hard-working than Russians – to enjoy the luxury that Greece has enjoyed for a long time? After the fall of the rouble, the minimum Russian monthly salary is equivalent to something like €50. Do the Russians really find it OK to subsidize Greeks so that they may enjoy the minimum salary of €751 per month (fifteen times higher than in Russia), as promised by Syriza? I have some problems to believe such a scenario but maybe the Russians may be authoritatively asked to endorse such a foreign "elite" subsidized by themselves. ;-)
I also have doubts because of explicit privatization projects. In recent years, both China and Russia were participating in the privatization of various Greek enterprises. China has invested into a port, and so on. Tsipras has already stopped all privatization in his country because privatization obviously isn't right according to his Marxist ideology. China has already vented anger: the Chinese media have pointed out that Tsipras is just like the mythological Phaethon who was given too much power he was not capable of using sensibly. So when Phaethon was proven not to be able to deal with horses, Zeus wisely killed him to save the land (from an ancient, sun-driven global warming episode, but that's a detail: Phaethon's dad was Helios, the minister of the Sun). This is a reason to think that China is somewhat more likely to bombard Syriza's Greece than to bail it out.
Maybe the Kremlin bets that these anti-privatization promises by Tsipras may be easily overruled once Greece is switched from the EU to Greater Russia.
I would surely prefer Greece to align themselves with their Orthodox brothers – our Eastern Slavic brothers – because Greece is a pain in the neck, indeed. And I am afraid that something completely different than the Orthodox Christianity is to blame.