● Nikos Arvanites, Content Director PaloService
● George Protopapas, Senior Data Analyst PaloService and IFIMES member
The Greek Internet evaluates the Russian – Greek rapprochement
The rapprochement of the Greek – Russian relations dominated in the Greek Internet and the new coalition government of Athens deliberately seems to play the “Russian” card as alternative to European lenders in front of crucial negotiations.
We analyze the reactions from the Greek Internet data during the period 01 – 11 /02/ 2015 based on the data the Palo Professional monitoring. (www.paloservices.com)
The mentions of the Greek internet implied that the new governmental “turn” to Russia and the official visit of the new minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias to Moscow strengthened the scenario that a Greek – Russian alliance undermines the European Union’s policies.
The revival of the Geek- Russian relations is an initiative of the new government coalition the leftist SYRIZA and right – conservative AN.EL which was immediately expressed when undertook the power after the elections. The new government skillfully cultivated expectations to the Greek citizens for a Russian financial help as a possible alternative to European Union’ lenders. The first reaction of the new government was to criticize the EU press release for extending the financial sanctions against Russia.
The political developments dominated in the Greek Internet (quantitative and qualitative) as they encouraged expectations for the possibility of "saving solution" outside the EU and IMF. However they provoked various internal and external reactions.
The mentions for Russia in Greek Internet were totally 17430 (Sites 2270, Blogs 2482, Opinions 57, Facebook 1.273, Twitter 11.302, YouTube 18, Forums 26). However the negative sentimentals mentions were dominant. According to the data of Palo Professional the negative sentimentals were 5151 and the positives were 4226.
The new Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has totally received 3911 mentions (Blogs 885, Opinions 22, Facebook 306, Twitter 971, YouTube 9). Kotzias collected more positive sentimentals than negative. The positive sentimentals were 1443 and the negatives were 1361.
In the Greek Internet, according to the tool Top 10 Topics του Palo Pro, dominated the news for Russian – Greek relations. The first and most significant report was the upcoming visit of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Moscow on May 9 2015 for the celebrations of the V-Day (the defeat of Nazism) as Vladimir Putin invited him. The Greek prime minister pointed out “how important is the fight against the Nazism”. This statement found positive percentage 63% of the Greek users and only 29% reacted with negative sentimentals.
Furthermore the statement of the minister of National Defence and president of AN.EL Panos Kammenos that “if we see that Germany remains rigid and wants to blow apart Europe, then we have the obligation to go to Plan B. Plan B is to get funding from another source… It could be the United States at best, it could be Russia, it could be China or other countries" skyrocketed the mentions in the Greek internet. Kammenos statement received 70% percentage of positive sentimentals and only 19% expressed negative reactions.
In parallel the majority of Greek users positively reacted on the meeting between Nikos Kotzias and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as percentage 64% of them characterized this meeting positive and only 24% negative.
However the positive atmosphere of the Greek-Russian rapprochement was disrupted by the statement of Sergey Lavrov on the economic situation in Greece. Lavrov said that "Russia is not in a very easy financial situation at the moment due to the unilateral illegitimate line of our Western colleagues…But if any appeal from the government of Greece should come, then ... it will of course be considered". His statement concentrated large numbers of mentions (1.630) but created negative reactions. The percentage 75% of the Greek internet demonstrated negative sentimentals and only 12% had positive views.
The government of Athens revived the Greek –Russian relations in the middle of the crisis between Washington and Moscow. NATO declared that sets up six new command posts on its eastern borders and create a 5.000-strong rapid reaction force in an effort to show resolve and solidarity in the face of what the alliance brands Russian aggression in Ukraine. NATO news concentrated huge number of the mention in Greek Internet (720 mentions) and received 45% negative sentimentals and only 14 % positive.
Finally, we can conclude that there is a balance between "pro-Russian" and "pro-Western" sentimentals on the Greek Internet. The Greek citizens reacted positive to the new government pro-russian movement as it was symbolically considered a defiance to Germany austerity policy and the European Union political- financial institutions. However the Greek citizens want to stay in Euroze, because they believe that a Grexit would have dramatic consequence on the Greek economy.
Ljubljana, March 12, 2015