The Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov visited Greece in may this year despite the EU sanctions, which ban him from travel in Europe, says the American magazine Time. Three sources, which the Time calls, independently from one another confirmed to the paper that Surkov made the pilgrimage to the sacred mount Athos the day before, when they visited President Vladimir Putin.
Surkov was included in the sanctions list of the EU in March 2014, he was denied entry to the EU, and Greece is legally obliged to monitor implementation of the ban, said Time.
During Putin’s visit said the Vice-Minister for foreign Affairs of Greece Yannis Amanatidis who did not respond to written queries Time. The administration of the President of Russia told the journal that information about the trip Surkov is “not true”.
Putin visited Athos 28 may 2016, his visit was timed to the celebration of the Millennium of the Russian monasticism in the Orthodox place. For the first time Putin has visited mount Athos in 2005 — it was then, wrote the journalist of the newspaper “Kommersant” Andrei Kolesnikov, Putin in front of the car suddenly stood a donkey and “brought” President to the monastery. This story was later described in the documentary “the President”, shown on TV channel “Russia 24” in April 2015.
Time notes that Surkov, who wrote lyrics for the rock band “Agatha Christie” and is considered a postmodern author of the novel “Okolonolya”, not like an Orthodox believer. “The fact that even secular cynics like Surkov, joined the delegation [of the President] shows that the Orthodox worldview is spreading deeper through the layers of the political elite. This is a natural process”, — says the ideologist of Eurasianism Alexander Dugin, quoted by Time. Dugin accompanied the President in his trip to Athos in may and is one of those who confirmed to the journal presence Surkov.
As Surkov came to mount Athos to bypass European sanctions, remains an absolute mystery, writes Time. “It seems extraordinary that he decided to violate these sanctions for the sake of what can be called a pilgrimage,” — noted in the material.
The European Union has made Surkov in the sanctions list, a few days after the annexation of Crimea to Russia, justifying it by the fact that the official “was organized in the Crimea, the process through which local communities mobilized for carrying out of actions undermining the Ukrainian authorities in the Peninsula. Surkov was among the first Russians who are targets of U.S. sanctions.
In accordance with international law, the European States should admit to their territory of persons, even under sanctions, if they are invited to participate in the activities of international organizations. For example, the speaker of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin has entered France at the invitation of UNESCO. And Minister of agriculture Alexander Tkachev in may 2016 received permission to enter France to attend the conference of the world organisation for animal health.