Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias underlined Russia's important role in the establishment of the modern Greek state at his meeting with representatives of the Greek Diaspora communities in Gelendzhik, Russia on Tuesday.
"The new Greek state has a history of 200 years and Russia has played a very important role in [its] establishment .... The Russian fleet, along with the French and the British fleets, defeated the Turkish-Egyptian fleet. And in this way, the new Greek state was finally created following a hard-fought war by the Greeks against Ottoman Rule," Dendias said.
As Dendias pointed out, Greece has never forgotten what it owes to Russia and he pointed out that the Russian prime minister was in Athens for the celebrations for the 200-year anniversary since the Greek Revolution, adding that the Greek prime minister will pay a visit to Russia in return and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Dendias urged the Greek Diaspora communities to become "a bridge between Russian and the new Greece, which is entering the third century of its existence," noting that Greece's bonds with this Black Sea area go back 2,500 years.
"We will do everything possible to modernise our consulate in Novorossiysk with systems that will allow easier communication and facilitate you, so that you are able to visit your second homeland any time you want," Dendias underlined, adding that Greece will send Greek teachers "so that all those who so desire can become familiar with the Greek language and traditions".
Speaking at the Greek Cultural Centre of the Russian city, he said the city acted as a bridge between Greece and Russia. Situated on Russia's Black Sea coast, the city and the area has a long Greek presence.
"I am coming here today, 30 years after another important visit here, that of the then prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis. I come on behalf of his son, today's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to tell you in his own words that Greece is at your side and is grateful because you have kept alive its memory here," Dendias said.
Dendias said the city was a bridge that links Greece and Russia on three levels. The first dated back 2,500 years when the first settlers from Megara and Athens came to the region. The second was when the saints Cyril and Methodius brought the alphabet to the region and became the foundation of Christianity in Russia. The third level were the Pontic Greeks, some of whom fled to this region after Pontic Greek Genocide and settled in the hospitable Russian lands.
Dendias said he was "surprised by the dynamism of the Greek element," noting that in his meeting with the mayor they decided to attempt a follow-up visit by the minister before the end of the year, in which Greece celebrates the bicentennial of its revolt against Ottoman rule and the foundation of the modern Greek state, because "we do not want another 30 years to pass".