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French Intellectuals Try Crowdfunding To Save Greece

With scant help common from Frankfurt, a group of French intellectuals is calling for online donations to help the Greek people. Desperate times indeed.

Helping out Greece, one backer at a time?
Helping out Greece, one backer at a time?
Pia Duvigneau

PARIS — While many of us are busy watching, bewildered, as Europe abandons the people of Greece, some have decided to take matters into their own hands and actually do something.

Interdemos (Greek for "between people") a group of seven French intellectuals is calling for online donations via the French crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank that allows all, old and the young, rich and poor, to finance creative and innovative projects.

Following the lead of noted French Revolution historian Sophie Wahnich, the group of seven academics, filmmakers and artists — and more generally, those who "believe in the impossible" as Wahnich puts it — are inviting people to break their piggy bank and pitch in.

They're not completely delusional: The goal is not to reimburse the totality of the Greek debt (320 billion euros), but to collect 300,000 euros by April 6.

Fundraising as public shaming

Their mission is meant to be a political symbol, but it has actually more tangible humanitarian consequences: The donations collected will go to the Greek initiative Solidarity4All, which aims at providing access to food, education and healthcare for the most destitute.

"The Greek people voted and asked for a different kind of life," reminds Wahnich, calling the European Union's decision to leave Greeks to fend for themselves "shameful."

Another member of the group, writer Marie Cosnay, says the crowdfunding is a form of political action. "We're also doing this for ourselves. Giving our money to the Greeks is also a way of refusing the authoritarian policies of the ECB (European Central Bank) and offering an alternative solution to those who suffer from those policies."

And since demonstrating was clearly not enough, "money is the only solution left," Cosnay adds.

At the time of this writing, the KissKissBankBank crowdfunding campaign called "De peuple à peuple" ("From people to people") has collected more than 109,000 euros. You still have four days to participate, in case you too "believe in the impossible."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Russian Orthodox Church Has A Kremlin Spy Network — And Now It's Spreading Abroad

The Russian Orthodox Church has long supported Russia’s ongoing war effort in Ukraine. Now, clergy members in other countries are suspected of collaborating with and recruiting for Russian security forces.

Photo of Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Wiktoria Bielaszyn

WARSAW — Several countries have accused members of the Russian Orthodox clergy of collaborating with Russian security services, pushing Kremlin policy inside the church and even recruiting spies from within.

On Sept. 21, Bulgaria deported Russian Archimandrite Vassian, guardian of the Orthodox parish in Sofia, along with two Belarusian priests. In a press release, the Bulgarian national security agency says that clergy were deported because they posed a threat to national security. "The measures were taken due to their actions against the security and interests of the Republic of Bulgaria," Bulgarian authorities wrote in a statement, according to Radio Svoboda.

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These reports were also confirmed by Russia's ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, who told Russian state news agency TASS that the priests must leave Bulgaria within 24 hours. “After being declared persona non grata, Wassian and the other two clerics were taken home under police supervision to pack up their belongings. Then they will be taken to the border with Serbia" she said.

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