Russia has had a rough year: it lost to Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest; some of its athletes were banned from competing in the Rio Olympics; and the European Union (EU) decided to renew its sanctions against Russia. Many Russians think these events are Western conspiracies designed to keep Russia down. What does this tell us about how Russia sees the West? After all, whether the Russian view is right or not, this perspective shapes Russian foreign policy. Thus, the West must make an effort to understand the Russian point of view in order to better anticipate Russian actions and make the West more secure.
Russia views the West as an aggressor to be defended against. This perception has deep historic roots dating back to the Napoleonic invasion, German Imperial and Nazi invasions, and the Iron Curtain and proxy wars of the Cold War. The 1990s offered a brief reprieve in Russian-Western relations, but the general theme has remained the same: Russia feels threatened by the West.
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With the outcome on the referndum for the UK’s membership with the EU being Brexit, to leave, I was asked to give my views on the decision the British people to the Greek newspaper PARAPOLITIKA.
I focused on the consequences for Greek nationals living in the UK, and the impact it will have on them.
First was the impact of Greek nationals coming to study in the UK. Greek’s have the fourth largest presence in UK universities, and with that pay EU subsided fees. The impact of a Brexit, and increased fees brings the prospects of future Greeks coming to the UK to study at risk.
Second was the conscious feeling of now residing in a nation outside the European Union. It gives the impression to current EU residents that they are unwelcome… That their contribution to the UK is not enough. One could call this a “punishment”, for taking British jobs, for using public services, and for fairing better than people either born or in the UK before them. This I mentioned “Is not something that will slowly die away and be forgotten about, this will be in EU nationals minds forever.”
Third, I mentioned the impact of Greek exports to the UK. Whether it be food, clothing, or services, Greece will be far worse off from Brexit in terms of the trade relationship between the two countries. Another important point is the possible decline in tourism in Greece as UK nationals either cant afford because of a worsening exchange rate, or because the economic uncertainty leads to more caution with spending on luxuries.
Lastly I mentioned the impact of freedom of movement between the UK and Greece.
Myself traveling frequently between the two countries felt upset, and deprived, of this blessed luxury that for so long I and others took advantage of. The knowingness that on arrival in Greece we will be in the “other passports lane” is something I have never experienced, and never wanted to.
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