I love this word play! The literal translation in English of the Greek proverb is: "Taking owls to Athens", meaning that you do something useless like "taking coals to Newcastle".
The owl, which roosted in the rafters of the old Parthenon (the one burnt by Xerxes I), was the symbol of the city of Athens, and was sacred to its patron goddess, Athena. It was featured on Athen's silver coins, and as Athens both mined its own silver and minted its own coins, bringing owls (either the real birds, or the coins) to Athens would be pointless.
"Aiwa", let's bring samovars to Tula, sand to the desert, ice to Antarctica and some owls to Athens!