Lafazanis claims Russian cash could have helped with Grexit
Former energy minister Panayotis Lafazanis, who left SYRIZA in the summer of 2015 to set up a new leftist, pro-drachma party, said on Saturday that when he was in government he agreed with Moscow that Russia would make a downpayment for a gas pipeline so the money could be used to finance Greece if it left the euro.
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 downpayment 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.”
The leader of Popular Unity added 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.
“I was in constant disagreement with Alexis Tsipras over the issue of the euro,” said Lafazanis, referring to the prime minister. “I was convinced of the view that Greece cannot have sustainable growth within the eurozone. However, supposedly we both agreed that the memorandums should be abolished. That is why the party’s position was that we should not remain in the euro at any cost.”
Lafazanis was also highly critical of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, saying that the economist is focused on his personal gain rather then telling the truth about his time in government.
“Varoufakis is involved in distasteful theater,” Lafazanis said. “He is using his disastrous six months at the Finance Ministry to gain public relations potency. I can assure you that most of what he says is inaccurate. He is competing with Alexis Tsipras in terms of inaccuracies.”
Lafazanis said that his party is in discussions with former SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos and his Plan B party, as well as ex-parliamentary speaker Zoe Constantopoulou and her Sailing for Freedom party to create a united anti-memorandum front.