Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has opened many fronts conflict, with Russia abroad and inside his own Ministry on the domestic front.
According to sources closely following the Minister’s political course, there seem to be two main reasons why Panagiotopoulos consistently adopts an anti-Russia position when the rest of the Greek State has cordial relations with Russia.
Few remember that the Defence Minister graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, from where former US President Donald Trump also graduated.
Panagiotopoulos was structured in the US, as the same sources stated.
But his consistent anti-Russia position seems to have a dual nature.
On the one hand, to confirm his commitment to the US and its plans, and on the other hand to appear within his Ministry as a guardian of the American interests that he so vigorously defends.
It is not considered accidental, according to what is heard in military circles, that there is more intense presence of the Minister in Greek media lately after a long period of abstention.
It seems he wants to be seen in the run-up to a reshuffle or election in the coming months out of fear of being replaced.
The Minister seems to be concerned about the more regular “ministerial appearances” of Deputy Defence Minister Nikos Hardalias, who recently met with the Minister of Defense of Egypt.
At the same time, Hardalias is making his presence visible next to the Armed Forces almost on a daily basis.
Added to the equation is the projection and popularity gained by Hardalias during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hardalias now is becoming a more central figure in the Ministry of National Defence.
The fight between Panagiotopoulos and military chief General Konstantinos Floros is well known, with the last episode of their dispute being over the frigates, with one side supporting the purchase of American frigates and the other side French.
On orders of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the purchase of French frigates were ultimately purchased.
This is another reason why Panagiotopoulos was quick to recall his commitment to the United States, according to the same sources, in order to prevent the creation of a new front against his Ministership.