Putin Told Hollande Greece Wanted Drachmas Printed in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

French President Francois Hollande writes in a new book that Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked by Greek officials if Athens could print drachmas in Russia.

Hollande, generally aligned with Greek Radical Left SYRIZA leader and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said the request came a day after the nation’s bailout referendum on July 5, 2015.

Tspiras called the referendum asking Greeks to back him in defying international creditors demanding austerity but once voters gave him what he wanted, he reneged and signed a third bailout with more harsh conditions.

Up to that point, there was speculation Greece could be forced out of the Eurozone and back to his ancient drachma.

In A President Shouldn’t Say That, based on a series of interviews with Hollande by two journalists from daily Le Monde, the French President is quoted as saying he received a call from Putin, who allegedly told him that “Greece asked us to print drachmas in Russia because they no longer have a printing machine to do so.”

Putin was said to be unhappy with the alleged request and Hollande said he couldn’t figure it out either. Sources close to Tsipras rejected the allegation, the newspaper Kathimerini said but there was no official denial.