“It’s important to stress that Kremlin welcomed Syriza’s victory exactly in the moment when inside Russia it provides its own version of “austerity politics” in conditions of a deepening economic catastrophe. We in the left are trying to present support to Syriza as an impressive example of popular mobilisation against anti-social logic of elites, which for the moment Russia and EU have in common, despite geopolitical conflict.”
Ilya Budraitskis is a Moscow-based historian and political writer. He is currently a member of the editorial board of Openleft.ru and Moscow Art Magazine.
Syriza experience is not just a question of Greek national politics. It’s crucial for all the European left, and it’s a challenge generally for the idea of the left parties internationally. If Syriza will give up, retreat on its program, and, as the result, lose their massive base (probably, to the far right), it will be a great defeat for the left internationally. For now we see, that the most important factors, which has influenced Syriza’s political line – are the expectations and hopes from below, from their rank and file supporters. It means, that in the close perspective Syriza will take a radical position in the negotiations with the EU and Germany. In the situation, where Tsipras government is very unstable, this radicalism can easily provoke a break of coalition with ANEL. If we take into account, that Greek question can be solved only on a European scale, maybe for now the fall of this government as the result of their straight position will be better, then it’s survival as the factor of political normalization.
What does the victory of Syriza mean for Russia the Left there?
From the Russian perspective, the situation with the new Greek government looks quite complicated. From the beginning pro-Kremlin media took Syriza’s victory as a success for their “geopolitical friends” and used it as an important propaganda to demonstrate the crisis of the EU project. At the same time, Russia’s liberal opposition immediately joined anti-Syriza Western mainstream style defamation campaign. Pro-Putin/anti-Putin line of public confrontation totally dominated the approach to Syriza. In this completely constructed fake polarization for the Russian radical left, whose voice is very quiet, it’s hard to argue against both positions. It’s important to stress, that Kremlin welcomed Syriza’s victory exactly in the moment, when inside Russia it provides our own version of “austerity politics” in the conditions of deepening economic catastrophe in the country. As the leftists, we are trying to present support to Syriza as an impressive example of popular mobilization against the anti-social logic of elites, which for the time being is what Russia and the EU have in common, despite the geopolitical conflict.