Voices from Russia

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Samaras Lets His Mask Slip

00 Carlos Latuff. Greece Under Occupation. 2010

Greece Under Occupation

Carlos Latuff



Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, of New Democracy, has been careful to project a reputation as a statesman standing above politics… at least, when it comes to his reputation abroad; at home, he’s better known as a bruiser. Therefore, it was remarkable that he used a joint news conference with José Manuel Durão Barroso, the President of the European Commission, for a scathing personal attack… in English… on Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist SYRIZA bloc. Asked by a Brussels-based reporter about the prospect of a SYRIZA victory in elections to the European Parliament this spring, Samaras accused Tsipras of being unpatriotic for staying away from the opening ceremony, and of being “anti-European, anti-Western, and anti-NATO“. If this is Samaras on his best behaviour, expect a tough election campaign.

Prime Minister Samaras told foreign reporters that the Greek government… a coalition between the neoliberal rightwing New Democracy with the centre-left PASOK… a party that’s all but imploded… is doing fine, saying, “This is a stable government and it’ll be stable until the next election, which I hope will come in 2016”. That message might’ve been less reassuring than Samaras intended, because it left open that there might be an early election… before 2016… which a break-up of the coalition would trigger. The coalition’s majority in parliament is only three seats.

Barroso rarely passes up an opportunity to speak, and so it was during the inauguration ceremony for Greece’s presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Samaras, a misty-eyed Barroso delivered an opening statement that was three times as long as Samaras’… he spoke for 16 minutes… and he did so again a couple of hours later at the Megaron concert hall, where he spoke for almost 14 minutes, with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and the highest state and church leaders in the audience (Herman Achille Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, took half that time for his address). Barroso seemed to say, “I told you so”, although exactly what it was that he’d been right about remained a little vague.

9 January 2014

Toby Vogel

European Voice


Editor’s Note:

Is Greece ready to abandon the West, to ally itself with its Orthodox brother, Russia? As a harbinger of the future, Greece now buys rugged Russian military hardware, in preference to pricier (and less-reliable) Western items. Shall it abandon its “costly” alliance with the West to pursue a future with the Orthosphere states in the Eurasian Economic Community? Only time will tell us… but it’s true that Russian aid would carry fewer strings than that coming from the greedy tight-fisted Germans. First, it was Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan… now, its Armenia… shall Greece be next? As I said, only time will tell us…

God willing, Greece will free itself from domination by Western bankers and German occupiers (it’s economic, this time, not military, but it’s an occupation, all the same)… it CAN overturn the American-sponsored victory of rightist forces in 1949 (and the American-fomented coup against Ecumenical Patriarch Maximos Vaportzis in 1948)…



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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Greek Turmoil Drives Global Stocks Down


On Wednesday, global stocks took a further battering as investors mulled the near certainty of a Greek departure from the Eurozone, having misgivings about the effects of such an action. Asian stocks accelerated their slide in the Wednesday trading session, with the Korean and Hong Kong stock indexes shedding more than three percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 3.24 percent to 19,250.57 points, with the KOSPI in South Korea hammered 3.08 percent lower to 1,840.53 at the end of the day’s trade in Seoul. By 06.55 UTC (09.55 MSK 01.55 EDT 15 May 22.55 PDT), Singapore’s Straits Times Index was down 1.65 percent to 2,829.22 points, with mainland China’s Shanghai Composite down 1.07 percent to 2,349.53. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.1 percent down at 8,801.17, with the broader TOPIX index also declining 1.1 percent to 738.88 points. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.4 percent by the close of trade in Sydney.

President Karolos Papoulias failed to broker a governing coalition in meetings yesterday with leading Greek political figures, which may force new elections in Greece as soon as early June. The current Greek political impasse also drove European stocks lower in early trade, with Germany’s DAX falling 0.9 percent to 6,344 points, Britain’s FTSE 100 down 1.1 percent to 5,377.41 points, and France’s CAC losing 0.8 percent to 3,015.35 points. Most observers expect that investor insecurity would affect European indices, as Greece teeters on the brink of sovereign default, with an unprecedented potential ejection or departure from the Eurozone in consequence. The potential impact of this on the balance sheets of many major European banks remains in doubt, leading to a flight to quality amongst investors worldwide, not to mention that Spain, which currently has unemployment of 24 percent, or Italy, which has major sovereign debt servicing issues, or Ireland and Portugal, which have already received euro-bailouts, may be pushed further into turmoil.

16 May 2012



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Attempt to Form New Greek Government Collapses… President Papoulias to Call New Elections


Political leaders who participated in a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias said that talks on forming a new government in Greece collapsed. Fotis Kouvelis, the head of Democratic Left, told reporters as he was leaving a meeting at the presidential palace, “It’s over”. For his part, Panos Kammenos, the head of the National conservative Independent Greeks, said that the parties that support the EU/IMF loan agreement couldn’t come to an agreement on the establishment of a new government, saying, “They prefer favouring the creditors to having a government… we’ll have new elections”.

If President Papoulias decides that there’s no possibility of forming a government, he’ll declare early elections for June. The 6 May election gave no single party a majority, and the blocs involved were unable to form a coalition. The Greek government pledged to carry out tough spending cuts; in return, it’d receive billions in loans from the EU and IMF. In the event that the Greek government defaulted on its debts, Greece would lose its membership in the Eurozone.


Greek Debt

Vladimir Kremlyov



“The productive (rich) people get all the gain…” yep, that’s what you hear from Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and all the rest of the rapacious Republican crew… what they don’t tell you is, “the working and salaried people get all the pain”. That’s right… “gain is privatised… pain is socialised”… the poor babies in the McMansions can’t be inconvenienced, can they?


On Tuesday, the head of state administration stated that, in accordance with the Greek constitution, Greek President Karolos Papoulias would appoint a so-called “caretaker” government composed of senior civil servants on Wednesday; it’s intended to administer Greece for 30 days before the new election. Political leaders will decide the composition of the transitional government at a meeting on Wednesday at 13.00 local time (14.00 MSK 11.00 UTC 06.00 EDT 03.00 PDT). Earlier, attempts to form a coalition government foundered, and President Papoulias decided to call for new early elections in June.

Also on Tuesday, Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the centre-left PASOK said that talks to form a new government failed , saying, “The country going to hold a new election”. Venizelos noted that the elections would be held “under very bad conditions”. He accused the other parties of putting partisan interests ahead of the common good in refusing to form a coalition, saying, “It’s incumbent upon every Greek is to read the minutes of today’s meeting”. Leaders of five of the seven parliamentary parties attended today’s negotiations, which President Papoulias moderated. PASOK, which was triumphant in the 2009 election with almost 44 percent of the vote, score only 13 percent in the 6 May election, winning only 41 seats in the 300-seat parliament, much less than it did in past elections. Voters “punished” Venizelos and his party for unpopular cuts in wages and pensions .

According to the Greek constitution, an interim government has a non-partisan composition under the head of one of the three highest Greek jurists. Such a government has limited powers; its sole purpose is to hold new elections within a month. In the near term, Greece must take a number of important decisions. For that reason, the Greek government pledged to take measures in June to reduce the cuts of 11 billion Euros (430 billion Roubles. 14.1 billion USD. 8.8 billion UK Pounds) due to meet the target agreed upon with its creditors to reduce the budget deficit. In addition, Greece needs to recapitalise local banks using funds from the EU funds and IMF.

15 May 2012

Aleksei Bogdanovsky




Monday, 14 May 2012

Greek Coalition Government Talks Yield no Fruit

This is a many-layered cartoon… if you know your ancient Greek mythology (dust off your Golden Bough, kids) and anything at all about the Aeneid. Obviously, Eurocoönte is a satire based on the figure of the Trojan priest Laocoön. He attempted to warn the Trojans about the gift horse left by the Greeks. Athena sent serpents to crush him to death, which they duly did. The imagery is from the famous sculpture Laocoön and his Sons. Virgil has him speaking the famous lines Equo ne credite, Teucri / Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes, or “Do not trust the Horse, Trojans / Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts”. This is the source of the cliché, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”. 


On Sunday, the first round of talks between Greek President Karolos Papoulias and political party leaders on the formation of a coalition government following last week’s general elections ended without a deal. Papoulias summoned the leaders of the top three parties in the 6 May polls for one-on-one meetings after all of them failed to reach a deal over the past week following elections that produced no clear winner. Most observers see the talks as a last-ditch effort to form a cabinet and avoid a second round of polls, which analysts warn may endanger Greece’s membership in the Eurozone.

Disagreements over Greece’s bailout deal were the main obstacle to reaching an agreement on a new government. Centre-right neoliberal New Democracy (ND) chief Antonis Samaras and socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos back the plan, but Alexis Tsipras, who leads the radical left coalition SYRIZArefused to join any government that doesn’t reject the harsh austerity measures imposed in return for billions of Euros in international rescue loans. Samaras, whose party was just two seats short of a governing majority, told journalists after the talks, “Deliberations will continue”. However, Tsipras, whose SYRIZA coalition came second in the elections, appeared uncompromising, saying, “For the sake of our responsibility before our fatherland, we won‘t become accomplices in a crime being committed against Greek society”.

Late on Sunday, Papoulias also conferred with leaders of the other four parties that won seats in the new legislature in his presidential mansion in central Athens. Panos Kammenos, leader of the national conservative Independent Greeks, was the first to see the president, followed by Aleka Papariga of the communist KKE, then, Nikolaos Michaloliakos of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn. The last party leader to meet Papulias was Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis. He quoted the president as saying during their talks that “there’s still been no opportunity to form a government”. Kouvelis proposed forming a national unity government with a two-year term that would enable Athens to renegotiate some tough austerity terms with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

If the Greek party leaders fail to come to an accord, the President would dissolve the newly-elected parliament and hold another election in mid-June, which analysts warn could strengthen the standing of the anti-austerity coalition and, therefore, threaten Greece’s Eurozone membership. On Thursday, European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso added his voice to warnings that the Commission could force Greece to leave the Eurozone if it didn’t fulfil its financial obligations to the EU.

14 May 2012



Editor’s Note:

You can also see elements of William Jennings Bryan‘s Cross of Gold speech in the cartoon posted above… Laocoön’s being crushed to death by the DOLLAR… NOT the Euro. That’s to say, the culprit’s not social spending… it’s the Neoliberal Pro-One Percent apparat and their bankster paymasters who’ve been regnant since the early ’80s. As Bryan said:

We’ve petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we’ve entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we’ve begged, and they’ve mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them! … We’ll answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them, “You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”.

This is what SYRIZA’s saying, nothing more, but nothing less, either. The affluent effluent’s three-decade free ride on the backs of the working people is about to hit the solid rock of ordinary people’s refusal to subsidise the One Percent’s unending rapacity and leeching greed any further. Look at the McMansions in a gated community near you. It’s not only the affluent effluent’s grasping appetite that’s corrupted our society… they’ve brought evil into all sectors of our lives (using the rhetoric of “individual freedom”).

Reflect on this… George Zimmerman killed an unarmed teen, and it took WEEKS for him to be charged… a black woman fired a gun to discourage an abusive husband (she did NOT hit him), but she received 20 years in the slam… both in the state of Florida. The real law in the state of Florida appears to say that only right-wing whites can “stand their ground” (Zimmerman’s no “Hispanic“… he’s Cuban, which means that he’s a hard righwinger)… but “niggers” had best not even try to defend themselves against attackers… that’s the message that Florida’s sending the nation. That’s how evil and perverted the “conservatives” in the West have become. To think that they wrap themselves up in filthy rags purporting to be “patriotism” and “religion”… what stinking hypocrisy and blasphemy. Thank God for Alexis Tsipras!


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