Whether you like him or not, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is now a political legend. Here’s why:
1. The way he communicates
Non-verbal communication is important too. The infamous video of Varoufakis ‘flipping his middle finger’ to Germany, which caused uproar in German media, may or may not have been faked by a German satirical TV show.
In the end it doesn’t really matter.
He may have an abrupt style, and he has alienated some people, but he certainly has left his mark.
2. His style
He does not look nor dress nor behave like your typical finance minister. The following video, produced by a German satirical show – TV NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE – dubbed him the “Greek Minister of Awesome” in a video titled “V for Varoufakis”.
He was accused of having a lavish lifestyle. He gave a big interview to glossy French magazine Paris Match with pictures of his large flat which caused a bit of controversy, as ordinary Greeks are struggling due to the austerity measures and the economic situation.
On another occasion he was seen wearing a brand-name scarf, allegedly costing 500 euros.
It seems to be good news re the IMF talks. And glad to see Varoufakis ditched the imported Burberry scarf ;-) pic.twitter.com/GeMulM4nPV— Dorothy Lobel King (@DorothyKing) April 6, 2015
Varoufakis used Twitter to stop the controversy, saying it was a 12-year-old present from his wife. And these criticisms never really stuck.
3. He went head-to-head with Germany
As Greece’s FinMin, Varoufakis went head-to-head with Germany, the EU’s main economy and Greece’s largest creditor nation. Everybody loves an underdog, and going after Germany’s dominating position (the perception of stubbornly dictating what should and should not be done in Europe), made Varoufakis very popular with anti-austerity movements throughout the EU.
It is embodied by his opposition with German’s Finance Minister Wolfang Schäuble.
Two very radically different models and people: Varoufakis is a motorcycle-riding and leather jacket-wearing middle-aged man; Schäuble is 72 and wheel-chair bound.
On his blog, Varoufakis explained how he saw Schäuble.
And here is another article on the conflict.
4. He has been adopted as a pop culture icon
People have made Photoshop montages to represent the former Greek Finance minister as a Hollywood blockbuster star or a video game character.
5. He has “real world” work experience
In addition to his teaching, he worked with Valve, one of the largest video games companies in the world led by another legend, Gabe Newell. Varoufakis was “economist-in-residence” at Valve Software, exploring the social economies that have spontaneously emerged within video games.
A Washington Post article explored the topic, based on a Varoufakis interview.
6. He flouted EU political conventions
Yanis Varoufakis blew off many of the EU political conventions. In addition to often not wearing a tie, and the many reported conflicts and tense moments during meetings at a European level, he admitted to recording not leaking) a Eurogroup meeting in Riga on April 24.
He also called Greece’s creditors – the very people and institutions the Greek government is hoping to cut a deal with – terrorists.
7. The way he resigned
It was hard to predict that in the wake of the “No” triumph on July 5, Yanis Varoufakis would resign the day after. He had actually announced that he would resign if the “Yes” camp won.
He made the announcement on his Twitter account and his blog. One sentence will certainly cement his place in political stardom and among his fans for years to come: “And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
Varoufakis, a political legend http://goo.gl/PFNVVtPosted by euronews on Monday, July 6, 2015