Greece expels two Russian diplomats for alleged political interference
On July 6, 2018, Greece expelled two Russian diplomats for political interference. Two other Russian diplomats were barred from entering Greece. According to BBC News, the Russian officials attempted to “obtain and distribute sensitive information” and to bribe Greek officials. The diplomats apparently encouraged rallies opposing the June 17 Greek-Macedonian deal regarding the latter’s name. The Financial Times reported that the Russian officials used local businessmen as intermediaries “to bribe local government officials, Orthodox clergymen, and members of cultural associations and far-right groups” in northern Greece to oppose the deal. At least one Greek soldier was also approached. Ekathimerini reported that, according to high-level Greek diplomatic sources, the political efforts followed sustained Russian attempts to gain influence in the Greek Orthodox Church.
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