Voices from Russia

Monday, 5 January 2015

Die Linke Slams Merkel Government… Accuses It of Blackmailing Greece

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Greece's Golgotha. 2012


Bernd Riexinger, co-leader of Die Linke, accused the Merkel government of blackmailing Athens and of deliberate attempts to destabilise the situation in Greece. His comments followed an article in Der Spiegel stating that Bundeskanzlerin Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble no longer ruled out the possibility crisis-stricken Greece might leave the Eurozone. Riexinger said in an interview to Handelsblatt-online, “With this lack of tact, the government may set off a bomb that may aggravate the crisis in Greece. This kind of open blackmail destabilises the situation in the run-up to elections”. He argued that such media releases might trigger massive withdrawal of cash by retail clients form bank accounts. Riexinger said, “That’s organised irresponsibility”. Der Spiegel quoted government sources as saying that the German authorities believed that Athens’ withdrawal from the Eurozone would be almost inevitable if Greece halted the policy of austerity and public spending cuts after the upcoming 25 January parliamentary election.

5 January 2015



Friday, 23 November 2012

Greece Loses 400,000 Civil Service Jobs to Crisis


On Thursday, Greek Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Maniatakis said that the number of Greek civil servants fell by 400,000 over three years of crisis. He told a parliamentary hearing that there were nearly a million civil servants in 2009, but now there are just 640,000. He added that as more than 40,000 are due to be pensioned off before the end of the year, no more than 600,000 will be left. Maniatakis believes that the state should move more government employees into sectors such as the police, education, local administration, and healthcare. Wage and personnel cuts in a number of public sectors are part of new austerity measures approved by parliament last week, but civil servants vigorously opposed them. According to Euronews, Kostas Tsikrikas of government employee union ADEDY said, “We continue our battle to demand from the government that there isn’t a single layoff in the public sector”. Civil service employees have seen their salaries cut 40 percent since 2010 and their holiday bonuses scrapped.

22 November 2012



Editor’s Note:

”Reform” in ”Rightspeak” means that ordinary people take it in the neck so that the Affluent Effluent can party on undisturbed, without any sacrifices or belt-tightening. In their eyes, they’re the “makers” and we’re the “takers”. If that’s so, why is it that they have the above-average incomes and that they don’t do any actual work themselves? Just wonderin’…



Friday, 2 November 2012

Greek Court Rules Pension “Reform” Might Be Unconstitutional


The financial newspaper Naftemporiki reported that Greece’s Court of Audit ruled that increasing the retirement age, cutting pensions, and cancelling bonuses could be unconstitutional. The vast majority of the court members ruled that the finance ministry’s proposals to increase the retirement age by two years to 67 years, cut pensions by 5-15 percent, and abolish Christmas and Easter bonuses for retirees contradicted the constitution’s provisions about the state’s social security duties. The proposed pension cuts were the fifth since the country received its first bailout tranche in May 2010.

The Court of Audit, which combines the roles of an administrative body and a supreme administrative court, has the duty of vetting laws before they’re submitted for a parliamentary vote. The court convened for an emergency meeting ahead of the parliament vote on austerity measures. However, its recommendations aren’t obligatory, and lawmakers can disregard them during the vote due next week. The austerity package is crucial for secure another tranche of 31.5 billion Euros (1.275 trillion Roubles. 40.5 billion USD. 25.2 billion UK Pounds) from the group of international lenders. Greece expects its next tranche of financial aid by mid-November. Until now, the creditors refused to grant the bailout unless Greece implements a new round of budgetary cuts and tax increases.

2 November 2012



Editor’s Note:

Look at what the rightwing calls “reform”… kicking low-income seniors in the teeth so that the fatcat Affluent Effluent can party on undisturbed. That’s EVIL… bear in mind that the Republican Party wants to do the same here in the USA. Ponder that well before marking your ballot on Election Day.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Greek Election Will Decide the Fate of the Euro


Europe’s holding its breath waiting for the outcome of the Greek parliamentary election… it’ll determine the future of the Eurozone. However, it’s clear, no matter which faction gains political power, serious problems await the victor. Perhaps, the best thing is that it spurred EU leaders to begin to develop mechanisms to remove individual countries from the Eurozone. The main issues of the election campaign for Athens were the attitude of the various parties to Greece’s membership in the Eurozone and to the fulfilment of the conditions demanded by the EU and IMF for economic assistance. In exchange for writing off part of the debt and advancing new loans, European officials demanded that the Greeks impose austerity… cut public sector wages, slash social benefits, etc. Ordinary Greeks aren’t buying it.

The centre-right New Democracy and the socialist PASOK weakened their position by the very fact that they gave European officials their written assurance that they’d continue the policy of reform and fiscal austerity. Greek communists and ultranationalists such as Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn say that they can solve the country’s problems by withdrawing from the Eurozone and the EU. This isn’t a very popular position. Many understand that the Greek economy is stagnant, and it won’t get of the present crisis without EU assistance. Even Greeks realise that they owed their prosperity to subsidies and cheap credit, access to which opened with Greece’s accession to the Eurozone. GDP per capita in Greece is only about a quarter lower than that of Germany. They don’t want this level to drop.

The greatest popular support, so far, is for the programme of the radical left-wing coalition SYRIZA, which calls for Greece to stay in the Eurozone, but rejects the demands of the EU/IMF for austerity and reform. Is this possible? Simply put, SYRIZA leaders winkled out Brussels’ weak spot. Greece would threaten to default, which would collapse the Euro, leading to an economic collapse throughout the Eurozone. Spain, Portugal, and others would then “crumble”. To avoid this, the EU will have to either save the stubborn Greeks in spite of everything, or kick Greece out of the Eurozone. However, a “Velvet Divorce” wouldn’t occur, for the creators of the EU and the Eurozone didn’t provide for mechanisms to remove members from these structures. There aren’t any legal, economic, or political levers for them to pull.

Therefore, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the SYRIZA, intends to pressure the EU for six months, using the threat of a Greek default over their heads. The pundits say that he can’t do it, the Greeks have already used the EU; they say, go save yourself, we don’t need you. Yet, mass protests against austerity measures, the militant traditions of the Greek Left, and the strengthening of the extreme right are additional arguments that Tsipras could use as bargaining chips. Nevertheless, this game is on the brink of a foul. In the event of a Greek default or a Greek exit from the Eurozone, the consequences for Athens would be far more disastrous than for the main EU donors, Germany or France, whom Tsipras is trying to pressure.

Therefore, it’s possible that if SYRIZA wins the election, its leaders would have to break their campaign promises, they’d have to fulfil the EU/IMF demands. Besides which, the Greeks are beginning to realise that they would save in exchange for the loans, through which the government would be able to pay public sector wages, social benefits, etc. However, everyone knows something else… compliance of the requirements for a new tranche wouldn’t cure the Greek economy, but only stabilise it for the time being. “Wrath in the public square” could re-awaken. It’s possible that, if they came to power, the fear of social upheaval would force conservatives and socialists to ask the EU and IMF to revise the conditions of their assistance. The total uncertainty that this situation creates for Brussels and leading EU states gives them an additional incentive to develop, finally, mechanisms for smooth expulsions of “runty” members from the Eurozone.

16 June 2012

Vladimir Grinkevich

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

“Reform” is a euphemism for, “Screw the ordinary people so that the affluent effluent has no pain”. “Austerity” is a euphemism for, “All the pain to the salaried classes; all the gain to the affluent effluent”. Somebody’s getting a screwing in this Three-card Monte game… and it’s not the banksters and their pals. The bankers truly believe that they can hold society up to ransom. They may find out otherwise very soon.

We have a situation much like that of the early twentieth century. It’s time for the state to step in, and muzzle the affluent effluent. They’ve harmed many societies through their greedy policies. Do be careful… many of them are “nice”… need I remind you that “nice” and “good” are NOT synonyms? Shiny surface gloss and deep-rooted goodness of character often are in profound opposition to one another. You forget that at your peril. The top Five Percent are demanding that the rest of us “tighten our belts” so that they can maintain their above-median incomes. I say that’s evil… and that’s that. If you defend such a situation, you defend evil… and reflect on this… many of the affluent effluent aren’t phased by that at all. They say, “Money talks and bullshit walks” and “I can buy whomever I will”… that’s what Wafflin’ Willy really believes. Not only the Greeks are holding an election this year. On 6 November, mark that ballot, remembering that Mittens wants YOU to pay for his gain. Now, that’s a point to ponder…


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