The troika is a slang term for the three organizations which have the most power over Greece's financial future - or at least that future as it is defined within the European Union. The three groups are the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB).
While Greece squeaked through the end of 2011 with the approval of the Troika for bailout packages, things got challenging during the dual elections. While many observers feel the worst of the crisis is passing, Greece's leaders are calling for additional "Greek haircuts" on existing loans and the Troika makes frequent visits to Athens...and will be until the next financial aid package is hammered out. While the Troika's power peaked during 2012 when it seemed possible that Greece might still exit the European Union, they are still a powerful presence making many decisions affecting Greece's financial future for 2013 and beyond.
Although the word "troika" may conjure up the image of ancient Troy, it is not drawn directly from Greek. The modern word is from Russian, where it means a triad or three of a kind. It originally referred to a type of sleigh drawn by three horses, so it can refer to any thing or situation which involves or relies on the functioning of three separate parts. In its current usage, it is a synonum for a triumvirate, which also means a committee of three overseeing or having power over an issue or organization. For the original, see a picture of a traditional troika from the About.com European Travel guide.
However, the Russian word may itself have derived from trokhos, a Greek word for wheel. The troika is generally referred to in lower case, except in some article titles, and is often used with "the". The Troika is usually treated as a single entity grammatically, as in "The Troika is returning to Athens next month ..." rather than "The Troika are returning...". But it would be "The members of the Troika are...". British English handles corporate entities differently than American English, so you may hear or see "The Troika are..." in British news sources.
Don't confuse the troika with the term tranche, which refers to different sections of funds of a loan to be released. The troika might comment on a tranche, but they are not the same thing.
Yet Another Definition for "Troika"There is a new variation on "The Troika". SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has derisively referred to the coalition government formed after the June 2012 elections by Antonis Samaras of New Democracy, Evangelos Venizelos of PASOK and Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left as the "Domestic Troika".
"the troika says ... "
"...the figure which had been agreed with the troika...."
"First Troy, now the troika. Greece may prefer the ancient war."
More Greece Travel Glossary Words