Interview of the MEP of the KKE, Sotiris Zarianopoulos, with the Russian newspaper IZVESTIA. Reproduced from inter.kke.gr.
There is a scandal around the already approved plan of economic reforms proposed by the party in power, "Syriza". As it turned out after the plan has been carried out hastily through Parliament, it contains a clause that allows the country's top officials to own offshore companies. Party and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is now accused of bad faith and a departure from its own commitment to fight corruption. Could you give your reaction? Why your party think this item needs to be?
Answer: The SYRIZA-ANEL government has also been exposed by the unacceptable governmental provision concerning offshore companies, which it later withdrew. Nevertheless, the KKE stressed in Parliament that the offshore companies, the tax havens, the multifaceted privileges of capital are integral to the rotten system of exploitation today and are being reinforced in every way by the EU, which is a reactionary anti-people union. For this reason the government and the other bourgeois parties do not dare to even look at the proposals of the KKE for the abolition of the confidentiality of shares and the naming of the shareholders. We have no illusions that any provisions in the conditions of capital's dominance can deal with the decay and corruption that is a fundamental characteristic of the capitalist system. It is in its DNA.
However, this is one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is comprised of the endless barbaric measures, which the people are paying for, so that the country can get out of the capitalist crisis. The government bears grave responsibilities for the tax raids it has unleashed against the popular strata, for reductions in salaries and pensions, for the destruction of the system of public healthcare, education, social security etc.
The KKE plays a leading role in the people's struggle against this anti-people "storm".
Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Xydakis considers that EU sanctions against Russia will be extended. What do you think about that?
Answer: The sanctions, which have been imposed by theUSA, EU and their allies againstRussia, and alsoRussia's response, are integrated into the more general framework of the sharpening of the confrontation, which has manifested itself over the control of energy resources, energy pipelines and the transport routes for commodities, over the market shares. This development is not only related to the situation inUkraine, the basis for these sanctions, but extends to the Balkans, the Easter Mediterranean, the Middle East, and theCaucasus. This is a situation that can have very dangerous consequences for the peoples.
From the very first moment, our party, the KKE, stressed that sanctions above all are damaging for the working class and popular strata and clearly have no positive outcomes. And as regards this issue as well, the SYRIZA-ANEL government, actively participating in the plans of the EU and NATO, works against the interests of the workers and other popular strata of our country.
Greece has become the main beneficiary of the ban on flights from Russia to Turkey and Egypt. Do you think that it will compensate the loss of the Russian sanctions?
Answer: The negative effects of such sanctions for the popular strata cannot be balanced by the profits acquired by some businessmen in other sectors of the economy. The damage caused to, for example, to the poor farmers, who exported their products toRussia, cannot be compensated for by the increase of the flow of tourists fromRussia.
A ban on the import of European goods was extended until the end of 2017. What do you think, how much it will affect the economy of Greece?
Answer: As a communist party, we are not interested in the economic situation in a general and vague sense, but we are primarily interested in the economic situation of the workers, the other popular strata, like the poor farmers. We assess that the continuation of the sanctions, in combination with the other anti-people measures being taken by the Greek government, like the enormous tax increases, are creating an unbearable burden for the popular strata.
Greece informed its European and overseas lenders that will not be able to perform some of their additional requirements in exchange for a new financial aid. What do you think? Whether it is in the EU's decision to provide financial aid to affect?
Answer: Finally the government agreed to everything with the European and overseas imperialists. On our part, we assess that this not some form of "financial aid", but, as was the case in previous years, new economic burdens that the workers and their children will be called on to shoulder in the next period, paying for a public debt that they did not create, but that was created by the anti-people governments which took and continue to take loans in order to finance the activities of various businessmen. The KKE takes a position against this "vicious circle" and struggles for the unilateral cancellation of the debt,Greece's disengagement from the EU and NATO, with the working class and people in power.
-Greece has promised to provide multiple-entry visas for Russians of 3-5 years duration, as long as they have visited Schengen countries. What does this mean? What do you think? Will this increase the flow of tourists from Russia to Greece?
Answer: If this proves to be true, it will demonstrate that in the past there existed unutilized possibilities regarding the simplification of procedures that torment those who wish to visit our country. Allow me to say that the KKE is opposed to Schengen, which is above all a mechanism to restrict democratic rights and is integrated into the plans to monitor and repress the people's movements. Of course such a development in theory could contribute to the increase in the flow of tourists fromRussia, even if other factors are also involved in this issue that could impede this, such as the level of workers' incomes inRussiaor the attempts by businessmen in the tourist sector, airlines etc. to increase their profit margins. Unfortunately, in the conditions of capitalism, the question of the visa is not today the only obstacle to the workers being able to enjoy time to rest, to go on holiday and discover new places.
- Europe already understands that sanctions must not be connected to the Minsk Agreement. In addition there is an understanding that the Minsk Agreement is not being implemented by Ukraine: elections are not taking place and neither are reforms to the Constitution. Don’t you think that sanctions should be imposed on Ukraine, which is not meeting its obligations that it undertook by signing the Minsk text? Something that it has promised its foreign partners it would do.
Answer: The interests (economic and geopolitical) that are coming into conflict inUkraine are enormous and did not stop clashing with each other because of the Minsk Agreement, which contains a so-called “creative lack of clarity” so that each side can interpret it as it wishes. It was a ceasefire agreement that did not resolve the issue, which was created in the framework of capitalism. This framework allows the land, raw material and labour force to become commodities and consequently an “apple of discord” for energy monopolies and other monopolies as well. In short, the solution for the peoples is not to be found in the illusion that agreements and sanctions can impose peace. The solution can be found in the struggle to overthrow capitalist barbarity, to construct a socialist society. The peoples ofRussia andUkraine have significant positive experiences from the existence of theUSSR, its colossal social achievements and the internationalist friendship among the peoples. This experience must be utilized.