He took it upon himself to deal with the most delicate cases, creating a sense of omnipotence for him, and he observed the people who lived around him around Grigoris Dimitriadis, before turning him off. Photo APE-BE / Alexandros Flachus
Grigoris Dimitriadis is a complex figure who has found himself from the second most powerful man in the country to the center of a wiretapping case. A man of many gifts, very clever, and sometimes devilishly clever, he grew up in Mitsutaikoko and along the way acquired a close relationship with his uncle Kyriakos. From a young age, he was a child with a strong personality but also a tough – if not explosive – that brought him into conflict with his family environment. He always liked to refer to “Grandfather” Mitsotakis – whose framed portrait dominated his desk – and to emphasize the Cretan characteristics of the family. For example, one of his favorite phrases was “We’re wearing pants,” which he said to anyone he first met.
Demetriades was close to his uncle when he became the leader of the ND. He carried out special missions, “selected” people in sensitive positions, and to some extent dealt with security issues.
Shortly before the elections, the question arose of who would be the strongman after the next prime minister. There were many strong objections from the prime minister’s entourage to the promotion of Demetriadis to the position of “chief of staff”. The opponents’ fear at the time was mainly Takis Theodoricakos who took charge of the communications and pre-election campaign. But death was in favor of the “nephew.” It is said that a decisive role in the decision was played by some of the information he provided regarding the Syriza government’s monitoring of Mitsotakis employees.
One of the interlocutors, whom he met after the elections in his new office, remembered him pointing to a pile of political strategy books on his desk, noting that he himself had “performed all the campaigns of Kyriakos”, having first read all the relevant literature.
Soon Demetriades took over all matters of internal and external security. All the information passed through it, as well as relations with foreign agencies, cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GETHA and of course EL.AS. The choices of people in key positions in the security services were exclusive to him, with the prime minister entrusting him with full responsibility. Inside Maximus he is fully victorious by controlling the flow of information and who has access to the Prime Minister. Someone who was at the center of the decisions at the same time commented: “Nobody wants or can deal with the special set of issues that Gregory handles.”
The relationship with Antonis Samaras, for example, was considered very critical and difficult due to the ancient trauma of the conflict between the Mycenaean politician and Konstantinos Mitsotakis. Demetriades acquired the channel of communication with great success.
He has largely succeeded in keeping the Prime Minister’s circle of communications tight and tight.
At the same time, he created a “Caesarean” system in which anyone who did not browse his own channel and tried to address Mitsotakis directly would either be castrated or end up in a deep stalemate. It was his ultimate ability, as the prime minister’s circle of confidence was narrowed, often by defamatory “information” directed at him against the people in his wider environment.
Successful handling of crises, such as that of Evros, increased his “stock” and made him an irreplaceable factor. The prime minister’s foreign interlocutors, from Israel to the United States and London, praised its effectiveness.
But the phenomenon that appeared at some point was the obsessions with certain people, which impressed his companions, because they are often a figment of the imagination and have no limits or barriers. Someone who worked closely with him recalled: “Sometimes he hung out with Dendias, sometimes with Hatzidakis, sometimes with Chrysochoidis and Kikilias, sometimes with other non-political and more often with people from the prime minister’s immediate environment.” The same man who was targeted by Demetriades continued without understanding why: “The problem is that he made up incredible stories told where he stood, not just behind the closed doors of the prime minister’s office.” When someone insistently asked, “But what do you say about X?” “I know what I’m talking about,” he replied with a wink.
The height of his personal influence, according to various sources, was the changes in the government structure in August 2021, which is basically the only modification of the state of Mitsotakis. Since then, some have seen slips and movements as personal preoccupations of the Secretary-General of the Government, especially in areas he wanted to control completely. Even in the bounties of this reform, which did not work – such as the attempt to change the baton in the Ministry of Education – is given the role of an accelerator. The removal of persons from the Maximus group was cited as evidence that “Gregoris was suspicious even of his own people”.
The combination of dealing with several challenging situations simultaneously enhanced a sense of omnipotence as well as obsessions. In Maximus as well as in government in general, the belief was entrenched that “Gregoris cleans but whoever messes with him officially loses”. Few of the ministers and those close to the prime minister, who have voiced some objections to his way of working, realize that they are facing closed doors.
This feeling of omnipotence was echoed in another phrase he used often when he wanted to say that his “adversary” would disappear politically: “He,” he said, “will meet his maker.” As one of the people who worked with him commented, “That was the problem. He had seen many films where heroes spoke in these terms, and it was as if he wanted to try it.”
However, no one imagined until the morning of August 5 that Mitsotakis would rule without “Dimetriades in his machine”. To this day, no one knows exactly what the two men said when they were locked up in the Prime Minister’s Office for 45 minutes.
Relationships today are cool. Those close to the Prime Minister claim that he was surprised by what he learned from August to today about various activities, inaccurate information, etc. Demetriades says he is bitter, especially to those who profited from them, he often asserts – while 2-3 people from the prime minister’s inner circle are held responsible for his dismissal. In the Prime Minister’s office there was an expectation that he would spend a period of “meditation” and move away from “Piazza”. He himself does not show such disposition and as he says at every opportunity, “I am not that kind of man, I will not disappear. I told you, I wear pants.”
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