Former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was injured in an explosion that police believe was triggered by a letter bomb in Athens late Thursday night. This is nothing new or unusual in Greece’s history. After a long history of ideological civil war between nationalists and communists, Greece remains a hotbed of radical politics and violent activism. No group has yet claimed the violence, but it is not hard to make an educated guess.
The far right in Greece has been very powerful the past few years, touching the discontent of the Greek people who suffered from EU imposed austerity. However, their surge of support has ended, and it appears that the current far right movement peaked with the political party Golden Dawn, until the government started to crack down on its leaders for running a criminal gang. However, as nationalists, Golden Dawn and other far right groups in Greece are not the kind to attack symbols or even parts of the state. Instead, they have been more prone to attacking migrants and refugees while fighting with leftists on the streets. Others are out fighting in support of Syria’s Assad with Mavros Krinos, or Black Lily. They present a curious case, with supporters seeing them as autonomist-nationalists, while others call them neo-nazis. In any case, Mavros Krinos is acting out its politics in Syria, far away from Greece.
The far left, on the other hand, is the more likely source of the attack. Far left violence has been somewhat constant in Greece, especially over the last dozen years. Unlike the far right who targets have most notably been foreigners and Antifa activists, the far left has focused on symbols of power and authority, most notably the 2007 rocket propelled grenade attack on the US embassy in Athens. As underground movements, both communists and anarchists fight in solidarity against the state even though historically the two strains of thought have clashed at many vital periods. This is the product of a long and complicated leftist anti-authoritarian struggle within Greece which has created close and tight knit networks that have been able to avoid arrest and perfect their tactics over many years.
Papademos is a valued target, for the left or the right. He was the independent caretaker PM from November 2011 to May 2012, during vital phases of the debt and austerity crisis that Greece has been trapped in for years. Both the far left and far right see him as a traitor to the Greek people for supporting sharp austerity measures and staying in the Eurozone, which the majority of the country has voted in support of multiple times. But letter bombs and attacks on high profile politicians are a staple sign of the Greek far left that wants to destroy the state, as opposed to the far right that wants to control it.