By Olga Denisova
In Greece, an investigation has been launched into an alleged plot to oust or even assassinate former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. The suspects have yet to be identified, but the Prosecutor’s Office is aware of the existence of the plot.
A probe into the alleged plot was launched in 2008 when police obtained indirect evidence that a group of individuals was planning to oust Karamanlis or even assassinate him. The objective was to prevent Greece from signing an agreement with Russia on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. Reportedly, the Greek police received evidence to this effect from Russian surveillance officers.
During the investigation, Greek special services and police as well as the former Prime Minister’s security officers were interrogated. The Prosecutor’s Office has yet to establish the identities of those who were behind the plan to assassinate the then Prime Minister. Kostas Karamanlis declined to comment on the incident to the press.
If the plot was aimed at preventing the construction of the Greek sector of the pipeline, we should try and figure out who would have benefitted from the project’s failure, says economic analyst Grigory Birt.
“The disruption would be unlikely to benefit Greece because it gets almost 50 percent of its gas from Russia through the existing pipelines. This is a significant volume. The disruption of the construction or any unfavourable changes in its relations with Russia would have only harmed Greece,” Grigory Birt said.
In 2009, Kostas Karamanlis signed an agreement on laying the southwestern section of the South Stream gas pipeline via the Greek territory which was intended to be extended to Italy. It is possible that the reason for the plot aimed against the Prime Minister could be the foreign policy pursued by his government at the time, which is different from the foreign policy pursued by the ruling Socialist Movement (PASOK), says political analyst of Greece Vasily Koltashov.
“The Karamanlis government represented the interests of the more Eurocentric section of Greece’s public that mainly expresses the interests of the Greek manufacturing capital. The incumbent PASOK government is openly oriented towards the U.S. The previous Cabinet was not entirely blameless from the standpoint of American interests. This is the reason why PASOK’s victory in the 2009 elections and consequently, when Papandreou became Prime Minister, it was considered a great success. The steps taken by Karamanlis to bring Greece closer to Russia caused discontent among financiers and politicians in the West, particularly in the U.S.,” Vasily Koltashov said.
From the very beginning, South Stream, which is a Russian project, has been perceived by a number of Western countries as a competitor to the planned Nabucco pipeline. This pipeline could be potentially filled by gas from Central Asia. While the South Stream pipeline is aimed at lowering the dependence of both Russia and Europe on gas transit via Ukraine, Nabucco is aimed at depriving Russia of its status as the leading gas supplier.