Russia Extends Invitation for Greece to Join $100 Billion BRICS Bank

On May 11, 2015, Russia invited Greece to become the sixth member of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).  The NDB will have $100 billion in funds and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion.  It is designed to compete with U.S. backed lending institutions, notably the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Its mandate is to finance infrastructure projects in the BRICS countries as well as other developing nations.  The invitation to join the bank was conveyed to Greek President Alexis Tsipras by Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak.

Greece and Russia have been strengthening their ties and are both looking to complete the Turk Stream pipeline that would transit Greece.  Greece has yet to formally request Russian financial assistance.  By joining the NDB, Greece would likely have access to financing that it cannot access through Western lenders.  Such funds could be used to finance its section of the Turk Stream pipeline or to shore up its internal financial situation.  This move is also emblematic of Greece‘s increasingly close relationship with Russia and its move away from the West and the EU.