Yiannis Boutaris

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Yiannis Boutaris
Yannis Butaris, Bürgermeister Thessaloniki.jpg
Mayor of Thessaloniki
In office
January 1, 2011 – August 31, 2019
Preceded byVasilis Papageorgopoulos
Succeeded byKonstantinos Zervas
Personal details
Born (1942-06-13) June 13, 1942 (age 77)[1]
Thessaloniki, German occupation zone of Greece
Political partyIndependent
Alma materUniversity of Thessaloniki
Wine Institute of Athens
OccupationBusinessman, winemaker

Yiannis Boutaris (Greek: Γιάννης Μπουτάρης; born 13 June 1942[1]) is a Greek businessman and politician, former mayor of Thessaloniki.


Yiannis Boutaris was born in Thessaloniki in 1942, the son of winemaker Stelios Boutaris and Fanny Vlachos. Both his parents were from Vlach background. His mother's family has its roots in the town of Kruševo, now in North Macedonia,[2] while his father's family originates from the town of Moscopole, now in Albania.

His primary education was at the Experimental elementary school of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, his secondary education at Anatolia College, and he graduated in chemistry from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1965 and in oenology from the Wine Institute of Athens in 1967.[1][3] In his youth he was associated with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).[4]

From 1969 to 1996 he worked for the family wine company Boutari, based in Naoussa. He left the family company to create the Kir-Yianni wine company, based on two estates in abandoned village of Giannakochori and in Amyntaio, in 1998.

Boutaris has spoken several times openly about his struggle with alcoholism and his successful effort to quit drinking back in 1991. He is also a supporter of LGBT rights and the legalization of cannabis.


During the last decade he is one of the prominent figures of progressive views and politics in Greece as well as a founding member of the ecological organization Arcturos.[5]

In 2012 he was chosen as 'the best mayor of the world' for the month of October, by the City Mayors Foundation, based in the UK.

In his program was the restoration of Agias Sofias Square and Eleftherias Square, as well as the construction of a Holocaust Museum in the city.

Boutaris also declared his wish to build an Islamic mosque, monuments to Thessaloniki's Jews and to the Young Turk Revolution. According to Boutaris, the construction of these monuments will attract Jewish and Turkish tourists to Thessaloniki, who will want to visit their fathers' hometown.

On May 20, 2018 he was treated in hospital after being beaten up by a group of Greek ultra-nationalists angry over his appearance at a remembrance event for the Pontic Greek victims by the Ottomans during WWI. The hardliners claimed that Boutaris made a controversial remark on the issue ("I don't give a shit" if Kemal Atatürk killed Greeks or not").[6] Boutaris has repeatedly angered hardliners in Greece because he tried to facilitate relations between Greece and its neighbors and because he opposed nationalist views on the Macedonia naming dispute, the history of the Greco–Turkish relations and the Holocaust of the Jews in Greece.[7][8][9][10] On the other hand he is widely respected amongst Muslims and ethnic Turks in Greece for his conciliatory efforts regarding the Greco-Turkish relations, the Jewish community and the Greek Left.


  1. ^ a b c "Yannis Boutaris speaker profile". IMIC 2012 conference. 15–16 February 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
  2. ^ "The Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris will build a house in his hometown Krusevo, identical to the one where his mother, from the Vlach Nichota family, lived, with recognizable ambiance and traditional Krusevo architecture". Kanal 5 (in Macedonian). Archived from the original on June 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Γιάννης Μπουτάρης Βιογραφικό σημείωμα υποψηφίου Δημάρχου Θεσσαλονίκης (in Greek). protovoulia2010.gr. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Thessaloniki mayor, Golden Dawn clash over bear sanctuary donation". Kathimerini. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
  5. ^ "Γιάννης Μπουτάρης" (in Greek). Drasi. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  6. ^ Boutaris has called the Turks “brothers”, The ultra-nationalists in order to target him, they also falsely claimed that Boutaris had proposed renaming a central street in Thessaloniki after Ataturk (born in Thessaloniki in 1881). The plan of the fanatics was to de-contextualise his views and portray him as a traitor despite his efforts to make Thessaloniki a popular destination and despite the fact that he gave thousands of jobs to his fellow citizens. In this context they isolated a phrase where he was recorded to state: "Kemal Ataturk was the founder of the Republic of Turkey. (...) I don't give a shit if he killed or not Greeks or whatever else". Aristeia, May 20, 2018, [1]
  7. ^ Greek mayor (75) kicked and punched by 'far-right thugs' at WWI event. May 20, 2018, TheJournal.ie.
  8. ^ BBC News, May 20, 2018, Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris beaten up.
  9. ^ Thessaloniki's Yiannis Boutaris hospitalized after attack at event commemorating Greeks massacred in Turkey in early 1900s, 20 May 2018, The times of Israel.
  10. ^ Erickson, Amanda (20 May 2018). "Greece's most liberal mayor beaten by a bunch of far-right protesters". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 23 May 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Vasilis Papageorgopoulos
Mayor of Thessaloniki
Succeeded by

Movie "One Step Ahead" (2012) "Ena vima brosta" (original title) Directed by Dimitris Athyridis in 2012.