Panagiotis Lafazanis, energy minister in the first SYRIZA government, claimed he had agreed with Moscow in 2015 that Russia would make a down-payment for a gas pipeline so that the money could be used to finance rexit if the country would decide to leave the euro zone.
Lafazanis told Vima FM that under the agreement he made, Greece would receive several billion euros.
“The pipeline we agreed on would have changed the economic and foreign policy conditions for Greece if the deal had been implemented,” he said. “The down-payment would have been made but in the meantime the [third] memorandum [with the EU and IMF] was signed, I left the ministry and Greece returned to the logic of the euro.”
Lafazanis and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak signed a Memorandum on construction of the extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Greece. The MoU on the 2-billion-euro project was signed 19. June 2015. That was ten days before the European Central Bank forced the government to close the banks and impose capital controls.
Greece’s European partners and the U.S.A. had strongly opposed Greece’s involvement in the Russian project. They apparently saw the dangers such an agreement would bring: Greece’s exit from the eurozone. The Europeans were fully aware of Greek government ‘alternative plan’.
In his book “Presidents should not talk about such things” French President Francois Hollande revealed that that in the peak of Greek crisis in summer 2015, President Vladimir Putin hah told him ‘Greece wanted to print Drachmas in Russia.”
the peak of the Greek crisis before the government surrendered to the European lenders.
In his interview to Vima FM, Lafazanis said further that the alternative plan that he had drawn up for a potential Grexit involved the Bank of Greece being brought under local rather than European Central Bank control so it could print drachmas and possible oil imports from Venezuela.
He was “in constant disagreement with Alexis Tsipras over the issue of the euro,” the former minister added saying “I was convinced of the view that Greece cannot have sustainable growth within the eurozone.”
The first SYRIZA government revived bilateral relations with Russia, but the “spring” as PM Tsipras had said in April 2015 turned into autumn, when the European creditors took the indebted country in their claws.
The Greek-Russian approach had alarmed not only the Europeans and the USA but also the NATO.
Lafazanis and 30 more ft-wing lawmakers left SYRIZA in July 2015, when it became clear, that the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition had bowed to the lenders’ pressure for the third bailout. Lafazanis, a prominent politician in the left-wing established his own pro-drachma party Popular Unity, but failed to enter the parliament in September 2105 elections.
PS the point is that whatever the SYRIZA-ANEL government did (Varoufakis, Russia) in the first half of 2015, it backfired in the most dramatic way. Probably because Communism is dead long ago, but some claim they haven’t seen the corpse.