Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a civil funeral for former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, in Moscow's House of the Unions, Russia, Monday, June 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin must be finding it hard to contain a wry smile as the European Union struggles with Greece's debt problems.Russia's fragile economy would certainly not escape unscathed if Greece left the eurozone or the EU, and the crisis could serve as a worrying lesson for Moscow as it builds its own political and economic bloc with other former Soviet republics.However, Russia is now one of the few countries Athens might realistically turn to for money and state-run media are having a field day, depicting the EU as a discredited and dysfunctional empire in terminal decline.News about the crisis on state-controlled news channel Russia-24 is accompanied by a graphic declaring: "Greece – almost over".Russia has relatively little exposure to Greek banks and government debt, but a Greek exit from the eurozone would limit risk appetite worldwide and Russian assets are seen as risky.Washington has been lobbying European leaders to do all they can to support Greece; global markets would be disrupted if Athens left the euro and Greece could block an extension of EU sanctions against Russia or make NATO decision-making difficult if it felt it had little to lose.Russia's embrace of Greece has so far been less than fulsome.
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