Mera25 (Diem25), Yanis Varoufakis and their Coalition at the upcoming Greek elections of 2023 – Does it constitute a possible alternative for the Greek Left?

By Dimitris Belantis,
Dr. in Constitutional Law, former Member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA

Looking back to the four years’ period  since the last national  elections of July 2019, we cannot escape the fact that the Greek  Left  suffered   some grave difficulties and failures. This was not exceptional  inside   the international political landscape: as a matter of fact,   the Left in all its European and  international  versions/variations   (socialist, communist,  autonomous, antiimperialist,  Left of the  Woke movements  etc) has gone  in the 2010s and the first years of this decade  through a structural  crisis of strategy or even an existential crisis.

Nevertheless, the traumatic experiences of the “existing” Greek Left do also possess  a specific  national quality. By that, we mean the  disastrous political defeat of 2015.  The  majority of  the Left,  under the flag of SYRIZA, governed the country  between 2015 and 2019. The consequences are not to be easily  forgotten:  Alexis Tsipras as prime minister  massively turned upside down the result of the July 2015   Referendum against the EU backed extreme austerity policies. His government  totally surrendered to the EU leadership,  introduced, adopted  and implemented the Third Loan Memorandum of Understanding     (intense expansion  of austerity policies and privatizations etc),  signed the so called Agreement of Prespes, contributing to NATO’s expansion in the Balkans,  and intensified the  military and political dependence of Greece  on  NATO and the USA.  It also negotiated the installation of more NATO and USA military  bases in Greece.    The broken promises of SYRIZA   have led to social and political apathy after   the extreme neoliberal government of Kyriakos  Mitsotakis  ( party of “Nea Dimokratia”) came to power in 2019.Resistance exists but the social  expectations remain  low.  What Colin Crouch has described  in his famous book[1] as a  “post-democratic” political attitude turned to be the dominant mentality  in Greece: where lies the  real difference between the (major) Left and the Center-Right bloc? Does it practically exist?

And now what?  The major formations of the  broader Greek Left,  SYRIZA, Mera25, KKE- Communist Party of Greece and Antarsya ( extra parliamentary if not exaggerate it?  Left)  attempt to gain ground in front of the upcoming elections of 21 of May. The formations  to the left of SYRIZA   have tried  to resist  the neoliberal  “turn” of SYRIZA  since 2015. It is useful to remember that SYRIZA had an internal  split  in 2015 when its  main former Left Fraction or Opposition  (“Left Platform-Left Stream”)   broke with SYRIZA and founded the  party of Popular Unity (LAE) with ex minister Panagiotis Lafazanis at its head. LAE could not, by a small margin,  enter the Parliament at  the second elections of  September 2015 -after the surrender of SYRIZA.   Opposition to SYRIZA from the   parties and formations to the left of it, parliamentary  or not,   had a  positive moral imprint but couldn’t change the material and moral  relation of forces. So, when international and national  crises broke out (  crisis of the Covid 2019 political  management, war in Ukraine, the  recent deadly train “accident” at Tempi (28-2-2023), an event  with deep roots in the privatization of the railway   company and the criminal negligence of  both neoliberal state and foreign  private company), the new developments  were met by  a “frozen”,   unprepared -and partly unwilling to intervene – Greek Left.

The object of this article is a  political critique to the positions of the party Mera25 and its electoral coalition. Mera25  was founded  in 2018 by Yanis Varoufakis (professor of Economics, writer  and former Finance Minister of SYRIZA from January to July of 2015) as the Greek part of the  European party or initiative  of Diem25[2] (with Varoufakis as leader as well) against  the ruling neoliberal policies in Europe.

At the moment, Mera25  has formed an electoral  coalition with LAE (without the participation of Lafazanis and his  close supporters) under the name of Mera25- Coalition for  the Rupture ( M-CR from now on).  Its declarations  emphasize the necessary  unity of left organizations and citizens and present itself  as  the first crystallization  of a broader Front of the Left so that the Left actively  returns  to the core of political developments.  Only SYRIZA has been excluded from the possible  contributors  to  such a  Left Coalition, according to the M-CR.

Should we take these declarations  of M-CR for real ? First of all, a  “unity and effectiveness  of the Left” promise cannot be easily rejected as useless or irrelevant in these hard days. Why not? It is preferable  to cooperate than to fight each other, inside the Left, in unending “civil wars”.   On the other hand, declarations have to be tested against reality and  our own living experience. As Lenin once wrote, it is not sufficient  to evaluate political leaders by their sayings only. Methodologically, we  have to start our research  from the  official political programme of  this  coalition, formulated  and published  under the title “Everything can happen the other  way”[3].  Searching further : official positions and declarations  by Yanis Varoufakis in the mass media, Greek or foreign,  and   his own book on the negotiation of SYRIZA with the troika and the EU  in 2015 and its preparations  with himself and Tsipras  in the  major roles[4], are to be taken seriously into account as Varoufakis himself has played  a significant role  in the crisis of 2015. His own written  memories testify it strongly, if not exaggerate it?

  1. The current programme of M-CR and the role of the EU-Eurozone in it      

It is the American novelist Ken Grimwood  in his well written novel “Replay”[5] who sets   his  fictional hero into a repetitional death at the same age and a repetitional rebirth after it. The obvious existential question :  would the hero achieve a different or even a better life with  every  new chance he was offered?  Or would  the spell never  be broken and the following  result be the same every time? Is there a  possible  exit from this  vicious  cycle?   The analogy with the programme  and  activity of M-CR :  is this political coalition equipped and willing   to avoid a second disaster after the crisis of the summer of 2015? Or is it just one of the “murderers” or “accomplices”  who return to the primal  scene of crime?

The  class character and the cruelty of the policies of “Nea Dimokratia” find a suitable and correct description in the programme of M-CR. As well as the political complicity of SYRIZA and PASOK  as governing parties  in  the implementation  of neoliberalism  in Greece during the last twenty five years.  Basic  political measures, proposed by the M-CR  alliance,  happen to be essentially correct:  retaking of electricity company and networks  under public  property and control, socialization of the health system and education, nationalization of privatized public companies etc. They are not proposed for the first time though.   Some of these measures were part of the initial programme of SYRIZA in the period 2010-2015, although at the founding Congress of SYRIZA ( July of 2013) a part of them was removed or formulated in a more abstract  manner  so that the “bourgeois” were not terrified.

As far as we have experienced in Greece, it is not enough to raise these demands or programmatic goals . The “government of the Left” must be prepared to choose : is it possible to implement   these measures inside the Eurozone against the “hardened” EU institutions?  Are they compatible with the  Fiscal Pact of the EU (+ SixPack etc)  and the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty of the EU?    Before the disaster of  the summer of 2015, it was not a coincidence that the moderate majority of SYRIZA, where Varoufakis also belonged- although he preferred  not  to participate in the party public proceedings-    maintained that  measures  against the Memoranda of Understanding  were compatible with the euro.  The phrase “We will prefer the abolition  of austerity than the euro” gradually vanished.  So,  the Memoranda would be abolished with safety inside the eurozone as the Europeans and the IMF would bend under the Greek democratic -popular  pressure  at the time of the  forthcoming SYRIZA government.  The Left Platform ( later LAE) thought about  exactly the opposite(preparing for Grexit)  and proposed it,  remaining a strong minority of 30-40 % of the party. Part of the Left Platform-Left Stream  and later of LAE  cadres are, nevertheless, cooperating now with the party of Varoufakis, trying to forget the conflict of 2010-2015. Or to interpret Varoufakis as having “made up his mind” to a more radical direction.

In his own  book “Adults in the Room”, Varoufakis  describes a systematic series of personal meetings and  cooperation with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of SYRIZA, and his closest councillor  Nikos Pappas[6], in the years from 2011 to 2015 (for some period, once a week).  2013 seems to be a “high point” of this cooperation, concerning also the journey of Tsipras to an   economic conference in Texas   in the last months of 2013, where Varoufakis, leading economists and  finance personalities,  also participated.  As he sincerely  presents his effort, his main perspective was not only to support and counsel   Tsipras against the Memoranda  and neoliberalism in the EU,  but, all the same, to emphatically  remove him and his party from the anti-euro stance, that was almost dominant in the SYRIZA of 2011 as a result of the EU financial oppression on the Greek people[7].  Varoufakis describes three possible  alternative outcomes  for the Greek crisis in the years 2010-2015  : a) an abolition of the Memoranda regulations and legislation  and a reduction of the public debt inside the eurozone- optimum outcome b) an exit from the eurozone- middle outcome and c) an extension of the policies of Memoranda inside the eurozone- worst outcome.

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To understand better  the then position of Varoufakis concerning the eurozone we have to quote some of  his  exact formulations  in the book[8]:

… I explained its basic logic (of the book “Modest Proposal” by himself), and then the conversation turned to a general assessment of the political economy of Bailoutistan  and the strategies available to progressives intent on offering the country an escape from its prison of debt.

It soon became clear that, for political reasons,  Alexis was vacillating over a basic issue:  whether Greece should retain the euro.  Even in 2011 SYRIZA was torn by internal disagreements over whether the party should or shouldn’t make Grexit ( departure from the eurozone, though not necessarily from the EU) its official policy. As we talked, Alexis’s attitude to the question struck me as cavalier and immature. His thought was more on keeping control of the feuding wings of his party than on clarifying in his own mind what the right policy was. Judging by the meaningful looks coming from Pappas, it was clear that he thought so too and was hoping I would help shift his leader away from casual experimentation with the idea of Grexit.  In the hour or so that followed I did my best to impress upon Alexis that turning Grexit into an objective would as large a mistake  as filing to prepare for it. I also criticized SYRIZA for making silly promises as that, if elected the bailout agreement with the EU and the IMF would be unilaterally torn up .

….. I told him there was no way Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt or the IMF would accept a take-it-or-leave-it offer from him; they would simply leave it. So to issue such an ultimatum  would be to ensure the third outcome-expulsion from the eurozone-and to remove even the possibility of the first. To leave the door open to the best possible outcome, he needed to force  negotiation. On the one hand this meant rejecting Grexit as a threat (let alone an objective) while on the other signaling to the world that his worst fear was not enforced Grexit  but the continuation of the current situation..”. Then, he goes on presenting to Tsipras how worse would  Grexit look  than the Argentina financial crisis of 2001.

First of all, he made clear to Tsipras  as early as 2011  that Grexit should not be used during the negotiation  as a “possible threat”. It would not seem to be a suitable weapon of the Greek  progressive government. Not only as an aim  but also as  a means of threat to the troika and the EU leadership.   This was also the line Varoufakis himself followed  as a  SYRIZA Finance Minister in the first half of 2015. In the same book, he confirms that he always rejected publicly and in personal discussions  during the  Euro Groups  the idea that the SYRIZA government might  decide to leave the   eurozone.

After his own narrative, the main issue in the  continual  meetings with Tsipras was his own effort to shift Tsipras from the concept of Grexit which he considered to be  at least “dangerous”( and the middle outcome, not the worst, at the same time).  He adds that Greece should not have adopted the euro  from the beginning  but the expulsion from the eurozone  would cause very negative effects.  Years later, while he was in office (2/3/2015), he emphasized his  strong disapproval    of Grexit in an interview to the journalist Nikos Hadjinikolaou :  ” A return to drachma  would mean  return to the Stone Age for Greece,  and this is not an exaggeration”[9].

During his serving as a Finance Minister, he did not introduce or support preparations for a possible Grexit outcome in case the negotiation went badly or even press the Prime Minister to prepare  a Plan B. On the contrary, he signed the   Agreement of the 20th of February 2015, extending the Loan Agreement for six months and accepting verbally that a large  part of the Memoranda regulations were correct and appropriate for Greece. Those of us who belonged to the “Left Platform” and participated in the CC of the party  remember very well that Varoufakis as well as Tsipras was then the architect for a  compromise with the EU, not a favourable one  for the working people of Greece. He also gave the order to secure  large amounts of  money, included in the state and municipalities’ deposits as a fiscal  guarantee towards the debtors (spring of 2015).

In his book, he also admits that at  the process of forming the first government of SYRIZA in January 2015, he  expressed  his  deep concern for appointing Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of the “Left Platform”,  Minister of  an important financial ministry ( Energy and Productive Reorganization).  In a passage of his book, that reveals a passion against the Grexit position,  he explains that this appointment would give the wrong message. It would mean   that the government had not rejected  the Grexit option totally[10].

As he refers in his book :

“ To preserve SYRIZA’ s equilibrium, (Spiros Sagias) explained , Alexis had appointed Panayiotis Lafazanis to the ministry instead. This was terrible. Like Dragasakis, Lafazanis had been an activist of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for many years, but while Dragasakis  had since shifted to the Right, Lafazanis remained   wedded to a Soviet mindset and led the Left Platform which controlled one third of SYRIZA’s Central Committee. Crucially, Lafazanis and his supporters believed that Grexit should be party policy. Over and over again he had stated his view that if we did not threaten to leave the eurozone  we would never achieve a decent deal. With Lafazanis in one of  the  key ministries and with Euclid ( Tsakalotos)-who agreed with our covenant- outside the cabinet, my negotiation strategy was in jeopardy… ”.     

So, it seems that Varoufakis in 2017   considered it to be a virtue  having passed through KKE and then shifting to the Right, as it was the case  with Yannis Dragasakis, and a disadvantage to remain Communist inside  a broader Left party like SYRIZA.

The passage above  is also characteristic for  Varoufakis’ political mentality. He always behaved as a “councillor”  to the leader, remaining totally  external to the party collective functions and fora. He very rarely appeared at the Central Committee sessions.   Repeatedly, he refers to these functions as obsolete if not possibly dangerous.  Would it be an exaggeration to define this attitude as  one of “liberal oligarchy”?  And if this happened in the SYRIZA era, what guarantees do we have that his mindset has radically changed in the M-CR era? The good will of his allies? Part of which contains his former “left” criticizers?

Concerning the Agreement of the 20th of February, Varoufakis demonstrated in the February of 2015, as it is well known, a new SYRIZA approach to the Memoranda and their catastrophic legal  regulations[11]-the so called “ 70% gesture”:

The official document describing  Greece’s programme, known as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was a list of reforms  (austerity targets, the institutional elimination of social benefits, privatization targets, administrative and judicial changes and so on) that the previous government had agreed to as the conditions ( conditionalities in troika speak) for receiving the second bailout loan. There was no way we would implement these  conditions in full since doing so would involve accepting massive pain for absolutely no gain, especially as more than 90 % of the bailout loan had been dispursed  before we were even  elected.  However, careful study of the MoU list in 2012 had made clear to me that  many of its measures could be implemented without too much social damage.   Accepting these elements, which comprised about 70 per cent of the MoU, in return for our demands, while rejecting the genuinely toxic measures of the remaining 30 per cent, was a strategic move..”.

So the fictional negotiation would  lead to the  abolition of the major “toxic” part of the  MoU measures and   confirm the lesser “non toxic” part.  As far as, after the 2015 defeat,  the main skeleton of the MoU regulations remains legally valid, not depending on further loaning anymore, it would be interesting to know if this “toxic-non toxic” proportion has ceased to exercise an influence on the current politics of Varoufakis.  Will there be  a new negotiation? Or the present leadership of the EU will approve the programme of the M-CR  without any negotiation?

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The fact is that the real negotiation between the troika and the SYRIZA government did take place  in 2015. So, it came out of fiction and stopped looking  like  the “obscure object of desire” (after the famous film of Luis Buniuel, 1977).  The attempt of the SYRIZA government to reduce the debt and possibly to  remove  some of the MoU measures ( even if we accept the “good motives” of the SYRIZA leadership)  was finally  crushed. Varoufakis had a major role in   the negotiation process,  controversial to our opinion. Not only was he gradually undermined by Tsipras, but he also seemed to believe  that the EU leadership would be persuaded for the not extreme neoliberal  “common good” of Greece and the EU at the same time (!!!) . Having read his book carefully, we have the impression that the EU leaders were not only representatives  of class interests, but also persons not well informed, some of them “with good intentions” but  misled by prejudices etc.  So, if  Tsipras and Dragasakis had not driven him out of the game, he might have achieved a better outcome for Greece. This assumption contradicts the factual recent history.  Cyprus in 203 and Greece in 2015 were  not offered  any compromise by the leadership of EU and the IMF: they were given to the dogs.  This happened not due to the  absence or the removal of a wise leftist Minister but due to the “hardened” nature of the neoliberal institutions. If there is a change between 2015 and 2023 in these institutions, it is for the worse.

So, the anti-neoliberal measures, proposed now by the  present M-CR coalition, especially the nationalization or socialization of privatized  companies or the empowering  of the welfare state, cannot be “realistically” implemented inside the political-legal  frame of the eurozone  and even the EU.  It is more than obvious, especially under a heavy international financial crisis, that there could be no negotiation accepted   for such measures or terms.  The Fiscal Pact of the EU and the Euro Pact clearly contravene to such  list of measures and only very minor  changes would be accepted. Much more if we take into account the “revenge” position against Greece in 2015.

So what will the coalition do about the eurozone and the EU?  This remains a closed secret.  It is not accidental that the role of the EU and the eurozone is not stressed in the programme. Even the terms  “eurozone”and “EU” do not  appear in the biggest part of the programme “Everything can happen the other way” . It looks like the extreme neoliberalism of prime minister Mitsotakis or the “left” neoliberalism  of his predecessor Tsipras have only interior motives and moving forces. As if the country were not  a military-political protectorate of NATO and a financial protectorate of debt of the EU-eurozone.

At the end of the programme there is an abstract formulation  of the EU problem as following:

“In order to support   our financial and income policies, it is necessary to organize a preparation  for the  contingency of the exit from euro and the crash  with the antidemocratic-oligarchical EU”.

It is not explained if this exit or crash is necessary to implement these  policies or will happen accidentally. The word “contingency” reminds the latter than the former possibility.   The “preparation” remains unexplained. Although we do have the hard  and traumatic experience of 2015. So, in what manner has the coalition processed the results of this experience?

“Contingency” and “Preparation”. This  formulation is even weaker than the initial formulation of the SYRIZA programme in 2012   with the famous phrase “ no sacrifice for the euro”.    Let us take  as possibly given that Varoufakis remains  faithful to his option from the  beginning ( a decent   and socially useful compromise inside the eurozone). His allies from the “left”  ( especially the “Left Stream”  organization) have been in the context of the “Left Platform” of SYRIZA and then of LAE, strong opponents of this position, criticized as an “illusion”.  It seems that due to the general political apathy they do not care much  anymore or put different political priorities.   What impresses us at the most is the fact  that the critique of the M-CR  to the EU is softened in an conjuncture of   deep political, financial and  institutional crisis of the EU after the beginning of the war in Ukraine. How can one believe in the idea of a “moderate EU”  when the EU leadership is a partner in an enterprise very similar to a World War ?

Some important  international interventions of Varoufakis himself in the last years should also be mentioned and not easily  taken out of account.. He was a strong supporter of the Bremain at the British Referendum of 2016 and possibly had an influence on the line of the Labours then. He also repeatedly supported Emmanuel  Macron in 2017 and 2022 as a presidential candidate against Marine Le Pen.  One could argue that this position had  rational and  democratic roots. Reading his book, one concludes that his personal  sympathy for Macron goes   deeper than the democratic sympathy for  the rival of Le Pen. During the negotiation of 2015, when Macron was still  the French  Minister of Economy,  he expressed his attitude as follows[12] :

“  France’s minister for the economy (Em.  Macron then)  was the opposite of the minister for the finance ( Michel Sapin).  Where  Michel Sapin ducked, differed and simulated, Emmanuel Macron listened actively and  engaged  directly, his eyes radiant and ready to display his approval or disagreement.  The fact that he had good English and a grasp of macroeconomics as well meant we were soon at the same page regarding Europe’s need for a genuine investment programme that would pout its trillions of  idle savings  working for the collective good. From my first meeting with him, I regretted dearly that it was Sapin who represented France in the Eurogroup and not Macron. Had they swapped roles, things might have ended differently…”.            

At the moment, ( May 2023) the “understanding”, intelligent  and  “interested for the collective good” Macron has turned out to be a  frightful presidential dictator who leads the  violent systemic  attack against the uprising of the French workers  classes  and their social rights and  systematically abuses ,  mishandles and “expands”  the powers given to him by the  French Constitution. It would be interesting to know the current judgement of Varoufakis and his coalition on the policies  and the personality of Macron.

Finally, we refer to  the idea of Varoufakis for a digital currency in use for transactions  (“Dimitra” project).  This is also a repetition of his 2015  activities and proposals. He supported then the idea of introducing a digital currency  (in the form of “I owe you”)  by the state for the  eventuality  that the banks  were closed by the EU. It was also partially described by him   as a transitional solution for a possible Grexit.  The return to this idea has provoked the  aggressive reactions of Nea Dimokratia that the agenda of the summer of 2015 is brought back by Varoufakis. The idea of a digital currency is not a novelty anymore in the age of crypto coins  etc .  The only trouble with this idea is, that it is introduced  in a very different political and cultural environment  than in 2015.  It might  contribute as an idea to the general discussion   of substituting cash with an -exclusive of cash- digital currency. This discussion has already started in the headquarters of the EU and  the subject will be seriously discussed  in a  EU summit the forthcoming October. We cannot advance here our thoughts on the matter  apart from mentioning that this development would increase the tendency of the panoptical control on society and the everyday man  by the state and the big corporation.

  1. Varoufakis, NATO and the “criminal Putin”    

The M-CR coalition stands in its programme  for the  neutrality of Greece in the international conflict between Russia and the West. It supports  the international foundation of a new  “Non Alignment” movement. Practically, it means : no participation in the war,  a refusal to the Western  economic sanctions, not dispatching of weapons  and weapon systems to Ukraine, closing the NATO and US military bases in Greece. We agree absolutely with these measures. At the same time, Greece is a founding and active member of the NATO military and political coalition. What would a “progressive”  government, according to this programme, do about NATO?  Would it favour an exit from NATO [13]?    Would it put objections to the decisions of the  NATO  leaders’  summits as the socialist prime minister Papandreou  once did in the 1980s?

The formulation against NATO is also weak and controversial.   Abolition  of the binding of Greece  to  NATO. Does it mean an independent foreign policy inside NATO? An exit? A special relation with NATO?  It is interesting to note that in the same paragraph another, more provisional,  international engagement of Greece is more severely criticized than NATO  :  “Exit from the militaristic coalition of (Greece)- Israel-Cyprus- Egypt -Emirates axis,   founded on the purpose of extracting oil and hydrocarbons from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea”. This axis ( possibly against Turkey)  has started  to be inactive. On the other hand, NATO   is internationally through the Ukraine crisis more active than ever and operates in a manner that could provoke a general World War.

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The war in Ukraine also does not appear in the M-CR programme apart from the neutrality issue.  This vital subject is paradoxically avoided .Especially its dramatic consequences  in the world : destruction of the European economy and industry  due to the sanctions,  international financial crisis, shifting from the dollar rule in the international economy, strengthening of the ties of the BRICS with Russia and China.

It looks like the M-CR coalition works in a  political void. There is no reference to  astonishing  international  developments: a) Agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran b)   India and Russia improving their bonds c) crisis in Africa How can a weak country like Greece adopt a policy of national independence and neutrality when all those developments are omitted and not evaluated ?  How can a stance of  independence be  claimed with no position to the problem of the western imperialism and its aggressiveness ? By that, we do not mean that the coalition should have taken an uncritical proRussian  position. We mean that a  new Non Alignment Movement would possess a  very fragile basis  or would be non existent  if it supported  the “equal distances” doctrine.   The old “Non Alignment” Movement in the most decisive international crises ( Cuba 1962, Vietnam War, anticolonialism” was, as it is well known, much closer to the East  (genuinely socialist or not, this not the question)  than to the capitalist and imperialist West.

Although the coalition has not a specific approach to the war in Ukraine, its leader and leader of the party Mera25 Varoufakis  has taken a definite position himself. More than once.

Speaking  as the leader of Mera25 in the Greek parliament on the 1.3.2022, some days after the beginning of the Russian military operation, and reproducing his statements in the media, he said:

“I tremble with fear  in the thought that  the criminal Putin will repeat in Ukraine all the terrible  things he had done in  Chechnya [14]. He also mentioned that he himself  had first of all  (!!) revealed internationally  Putin as a criminal in 2001  and that he supports the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people against the invader with molotov bombs or every available means.  It is  in favour of Varoufakis that he from the start asked for the non intervention of Greece and also  referred to the NATO intervention in Ukraine after the outbreak of the recent phase of  the conflict in 2022. What he omitted  to remember was the USA, EU  and NATO  interference in Ukraine from 2014 and on , if not from  the first decade of this century.  He forgets what happened in Maidan, what atrocities were commited in Odessa  by the neofascists and the  systematic  violent attack of the  Kiev regime against the Russian speaking  citizens of Eastern Ukraine and the Donbass, the violations of the Minsk treaties etc. Too many omissions.

One might argue that it is not unacceptable to  adopt such a position in a country where even the Communist Party flirts  with the “equal distances” .  This  is not correct. In  the case that  a party of the Left  is genuinely interested in an independent foreign policy, supported by a  government of the Left,  it is not the correct method  to it that its leader condemns the leader of a great power  as a criminal. How , then, would such a government negotiate between  the two   conflicting camps and claim a neutrality against the “protectors” of  Greece,   leaders  of the western camp? Is it rational that the “criminal” Putin would be glad to negotiate with  Varoufakis? Or does he think that his public opinion  of world leaders   remains hidden and unknown to them? Varoufakis is an intelligent  and experienced politician and knows very well that this is not  the case in contemporary politics when all the existing information circulates rapidly inside the ruling circles, especially those of the leading states. So, the only possible explanation of these declarations is that he has decided to “destroy the bridge”  to the Russian-Eastern  camp.  That is, to  one of the two world rivals.

Has he acted the same way   concerning the NATO-EU- USA camp and, especially, the Democratic Party,  which determines  the current administration in the USA? And, so,  really supporting the  doctrine of  “equal distances”? We tried to find an analogous criticism to the “criminal Clinton” or the “murderer Bush Jr” or even the “criminal Biden”. We couldn’t find any at all.  So maybe, the “flat”  bombing and dissolution of Yugoslavia did not happen at all, according to Yanis Varoufakis. Neither the  invasion of  Iraq or Afghanistan, the western intervention in Ukraine, the imposing  of pro-western dictatorships around the  globe, Greece included in the period 1967-1974,  etc. Is this an impartial position?  Not only that, but he writes in his book that he keeps  permanent  personal and friendly relations with powerful  ‘insiders” of the western states and the western  financial and not only academic elite.   In the first chapter of his book, there is a  noir, well written, description of a meeting of him  in a Washington  bar in the April  of 2015 with  Lawrence  (Larry)  Summers, ex- Secretary of the Treasury   (Finance Minister) of the USA and president of the Harvard University. Larry Summers makes the remark that Varoufakis’  only mistake  (and SYRIZA’s as well ) is that they won at the elections of 1.2015. He also warns Varoufakis of the dangers when the insiders reveal  to outsiders their mutual secrets.    Surely, Varoufakis  would not engage influential persons in the western elites by attributing  to them  the accusation   that they are “murderers”, exploiters”,  “lackeys of imperialism”  etc.

His  ”idee fixe” about Putin being a “war criminal”    seems to be a permanent point of  Varoufakis’ view, expressed  years before the Russian military  operation of 2.2022[15].  After the  recent “indictment”/investigation   of the International Criminal Court against Putin for war crimes  though, such statements  cannot be  clearly separated from a Western  propaganda   campaign against Russia.

What will come out of the M-CR experiment, it is early to say. It is clear though that the preferences and points of influence of its leader Yanis Varoufakis  lie  on the “Western side of history” – including the “reformable”  EU structure and the USA’s   “not exactly” criminal political and financial elite. How an “unaligned”  and “non dependent” government of the Left in Greece would be compatible with these political preferences remains a mystery to us and possibly to all  logically thinking people.


[1] Colin Crouch “Post-Democracy”, Polity, 2004.

[2] Mera (or imera)   is the Greek word for Day. Diem is the Latin analogous.

[3]Link:  “Ola mporoun na einai allios” in Greek.

[4] “Adults in the room-My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment” , London 2017, The Bodley Head editions, pp 564.

[5] Ken Grimwood “Replay”, 1998 , William Morrow Paperbacks.

[6] Future Minister of SYRIZA, later convicted by the Special Minister Court for violations of law concerning the competition for the chanell state  licenses.

[7]  “Adults in the Room”  op. cit. pp 56-68, subchapters “The young prince”, “ Archimedian Point” , “Alarm Bell”.

[8] Op.cit. pp 57-58.

[9] Link in youtube :

[10]  “Adults in the Room”, op.cit. pp. 145-146.

[11] Op.cit. pp 228-229.

[12] Op.cit. p. 191.

[13] It is important to remember that after the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey  in the summer of 1974  the conservative Prime Minister Constantinos Karamanlis had  acted the exit of Greece  from the military section of NATO, which lasted until 1980.

[14] Link,

[15]  See the 2016 article of Dimitris Konstantakopoulos about similar statements  of Y. Varoufakis at that time, link:

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