Charilaos Florakis (20/07/1914 - 22/05/2005)

Charilaos Florakis Charilaos Florakis was a Greek politician, Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

He was born in 1914 in a village of the Agrapha Mountains, the fourth of six children. When he was 15 years old, he had his first contact with communism, reading the Alphabet of Communism. He studied at a vocational school. In 1929, the government of Eleftherios Venizelos passed a law, called the “idionym crime”, which was the first in a series of laws aiming at criminalizing disruptive behavior, meaning communists, anarchists and union strikes. After the law was passed, Florakis joined the Federation of Communist Youths of Greece (OKNE), which was the first youth organization of KKE.

During the Metaxas dictatorship, he had an active role through the TTT syndicate. In 1940, he participated in the Greco-Italian war. As a member of the TTT, he became a trade unionist, while in 1941, he became a member of the KKE party and actively helped in its reformation during the German occupation. He also helped in the organization and leadership of a strike in April 1942, the first strike to be held under occupation and one of the first in enslaved Europe. One day later, he enrolled in the National Liberation Front (EAM) and fought against the Germans as a member of the Greek Popular Liberation Army (ELAS). After the war, he participated in the events that occurred during December 1944, as well as during the Civil War that followed. In 1949, he was elected member of the committee of KKE. Afterwards, he was prosecuted, incarcerated and exiled for a total of 18 years.

In 1972, he was elected Prime Secretary of the Communist Party, a position he held until 1989. He was awarded with the medal of honour of ELAS, the medal of the Friendship of the People, the Karl Marx award by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and the Dimitrov award by the Republic of Bulgaria. Finally, he was awarded with the Lenin Peace Award in September 1984, by the Communist Party of the USSR. He died on 22 May 2005.

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