Those were the days… when the envoy of the most piggish* of the PIGS was dancing attendance to the most thuggish of the BRICS.
Our photograph depicts Mr. Panagiotis Lafazanis, a key Minister of the Greek Government, early in 2015, bowing spectacularly to a Russian official at the Kremlin, during those nightmarish 6 months, when the Prime Minister of Greece and all of his party’s various groupuscola were still –as President Hollande and Mr. Varoufakis, among others, corroborate in their books–, manoeuvring to leave the Eurozone –and thus, almost inevitably, the EU–, supplanting it with the bric à brac of the BRICS.
It is sadly interesting though, that, in those days, a majority of Greeks were fervently and massively supporting Mr. Tsipras in his “illusions” –as he described them himself. They started abandoning him only when, after a long, irresponsibly opportunistic, and hugely costly delay, he finally –in panic as Mr. Varoufakis attests–, started behaving more sensibly, gave up his naïve attempts at extorting his EU partners and arrived at an agreement with them.
It is equally –and not any less sadly–, interesting, in the context of the present estrangement between the Greek Government and the Kremlin, that, as reliable diplomatic sources report**, a sizable majority of Greeks declared themselves in a confidential poll commissioned by a European research observatory, as being favourable to Russia. Their thinking –as rationalized and hierarchized by pollsters goes like this: “Russia does not do favours to Europe; Russia is the nemesis of both, the EU and the NATO; Russia is trying to stop the implementation of the agreement between Greece and “Skopje”, and to stop the latter’s access to NATO; so, what Russia does in this instance, causing the anger of the Greek Government, is in the best interests of Greece”…
At the same time, certain authoritative prelates of the autocephalous Church of Greece seem to favour the Kremlin’s and the Russian Patriarchate’s intensifying, multi-dimensional and well-coordinated, action to destabilize the “pro-Western and pro-Papist” Oecumenical Patriarchate.
The resilience of such idiosyncratic sentiment in Greece –pro-Putin in particular, and erratic in general–, is both impressive and frightening.
Should we, then, deduce that as the government celebrates “the end of the era of the memoranda” the majority of Greeks remain essentially unreformed? That their collective judgement remains so radically flawed? That the traumatic experience of the crisis has not had any therapeutic effect on them whatsoever? That they remain instinctively, viscerally, anti-European? That when they state in polls their intention to vote against the present government they mostly do it for all manner of wrong reasons? That the trauma which populist extremists have inflicted on the collective mind of the nation is so massive and so irreversibly crippling? That the odds which a future civilized, rational, and authentically pro-European, government will have to face up to are likely to be despairingly daunting?
The sad question inevitably comes to one’s lips: how will such a government of dreams ever be generated by such an electorate? The thought that civilized, rational, pro-European governments are eclipsing or strive hard to survive even in countries much more normal than Greece is hardly consoling. For no other country-member of the EU is in so fail and fragile a condition as Greece is –and will be in years to come. Populist extravagance is universally harmful. But other Europeans can afford it –and occasionally get away with it– a little more than Greeks do.
History never forgives; all receive what they merit. Cleo is not like her other eight sweet, rather idle and harmless, sisters. She is a very different muse. She is merciless and the punishments she inflicts are always collective. Innocent rational minorities will, inevitably, perish together with guilty, demented majorities.
* Only in the sense of having been the most iconic, in fiscal misconduct, of the 4 countries referred to by the acronym PIGS.
** The allegation has not been independently confirmed yet by this paper.