Friday, June 13, 2014

Greek-Russian Friendship

Realising that the Greek-Russian friendship grows, we would like to draw some lines about it.
Humanitarian relations, cooperation and contacts between people in the domain of culture and art, and interaction in the area of education, are important components in our ties. It is good that over 1 million Russian tourists have visited Greece this year. We expect that the Joint Programme of Action signed between the Federal Agency for Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism of the Greek Republic for the period of 2013-2015, which was signed on 15 October in Moscow, will contribute to the growth of these indices.

The two countries work closely for the organisation of the Year of Russia in Greece and the Year of Greece in Russia in 2016. We agreed to start working out a specific programme for this important event concerning our relations, without any delays. We are convinced that these events will generate much interest in the people of Russia and Greece.

Aegean Flavours has its offices in the south of France but it was created in the Greek island of Poros and creates annually vacation schemes in Poros. Poros has one idyllic spot called Russian Bay. There is a lot of history behind this spot.

During the 1820s the Great Powers of England, France and Russia, were heavily involved in the Greek Revolution that ended in the formation of the modern Greek nation. Some of the islands in the Ionian and Aegean seas around Greece had come under British and French control, mainly as a defence against piracy by other Greeks and the Navy of the Ottoman Empire. Russia had strategic desires to obtain warm-water ports and bases, as well as a religious and political link between its Tsar and Orthodox Church with the Greek Orthodox Church. The consequence was that although the Royal Navy and the French Navy provided the bulk of the forces at the Battle of Navarino Bay, the outcome was not adequately taken advantage of, as Britain and France wanted to stay on good terms with the Turks.
Russia had maintained a Naval squadron in the Aegean since 1770, when Admiral Orloff brought his frigate to the Aegean in support of Russian naval actions in a Russian war with the Turks. After a relatively unsuccessful campaign, Orloff was wanting to withdraw to Italian waters, but was convinced to stay on, by tradition establishing a command post at Poros. The Russian Navy seems to have quietly developed its facilities, reportedly at or near the site of TE Poros. These were certainly in use by the fledgling Greek Navy by 1827, but were damaged during the Battle of Poros in 1831, when the Russian squadron provided support for the Greek government of Kapodistrias against rebel forces under Admiral Miaoulis of Hydra. The outcome was the destruction of the main part of the recently established Hellenic Navy, the victory of Kapodistrias and a negotiated peace between his government and Hydra.
Russia's old base was bought out by the Greeks by 1834 and a new base was constructed at Russian Bay, partly by prisoners taken during the time of the Battle of Poros, a mixture of bakeries, warehouses, barracks and other service facilities.# The new site became known as 'Russian Bay', its anchorage conveniently near the northern exit of the harbour.

References in published texts and websites indicate that the site was needed for both military and commercial reasons, serving as a barracks for the Russian sailors and as warehouses and workshops. Poros harbour is bordered by orchards of olives, grapes, citrus fruits and the like, all valuable as they are and when processed for olive oil, wine, raisins, fruit juices and the like. During a time when scurvy from lack of vitamins was a prime killer of seamen, the resources of the area would have been valuable both to the Navy and to the commercial shipping that traded north from Poros through the Black Sea to Russia. Whilst the writer has no direct evidence, it is logical that the Russians would have used their Naval Base to support their merchant interests.

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