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The domino principle…

The incumbent Power primarily deserves credit for dislocating some of the “cornerstones” of the rotten communist-repressive system, which has appropriated Romania and has been pillaging it for over sixteen years. This should be enough; they will do the rest themselves.

It is precisely what we can see these days. The downpour of “revelations” and mutual accusations shows that rival factions have launched an all-out war. Former political police (“Securitate”) officers and informers in the media and economy are being brought to light. Individuals who have so far seemed untouchable disappear from the political arena. As for us, the onlookers, we can only be glad that the battle between the Liberals and Democrats will eventually result in a cleaner and at least more competent political class.

The merit of the D.A. Alliance

Starting the cleaning process is the merit of the current Power. The public space and the business environment is a lot cleaner and more acceptable than it was two years ago. There are no major corruption accusations against the Government, except perhaps in the Economy and Commerce Ministry field, controlled by the Conservative Party (PUR).

The true “root” of the conflict between the Premier and Theodor Stolojan has recently surfaced as well: the “groups of interests” in the oil field. The young president of AVAS (Authority for State Asset Resolution) has recently revealed the pressure put by Theodor Stolojan in favour of the “strategic investors” which would like to take over RAFO from Marian Iancu, investors which, as Academia Caţavencu claims, have close ties with the Russian Mafia. This is what inspires “dear Stolo” in his war against Tăriceanu and the Patriciu group, rather than his love for Liberal principles.

If it hadn’t been for the clash between the Liberals and Democrats, we would have never learned the secret behind the PD-guided asphalt and kerbstone works in Bucharest. Nor about the Patriciu group’s fishy Stock Exchange transactions.

Our current political class is imploding, following the Italian model. It has grown so “dirty” that it cannot go on like this. Someone once said that if you give a man enough rope, he will end up hanging. These days, rope is being made for all of them.

PSD–collateral casualty

The wave of revelations is unprecedented already, and as new names come to light, they will in turn bring further names forward. Mention must be made however of PSD. “We may laugh and joke, but we don’t leave the premises.” DIP and Adrian Năstase accepted their fate without soiling others, although they certainly have piles of files on others. Local barons are keeping a low profile these days. While they may kick each other under the table, nothing leaks to the public. They would rather go down together (each discreetly negotiating his way out of it). In the war between PNL and PD, PSD will be a collateral casualty.

The Alliance is getting ready to remove the local barons. Plans are already afoot in Focşani to oust Oprişan, and in Constanţa to get rid of Mazăre. If successful, the local media impact of the two moves will be similar to that of Adrian Năstase’s removal as head of Parliament.

Also, the fresh series of declassified files will heavily affect the former ruling party as well (not much of a surprise, though).

After such hits, we are still to see what will become of the Social Democratic party. We shouldn’t let recent polls, placing it at 25%, fool us … Under these circumstances, what has PSD left to offer? I can hardly see what it can bring in terms of political offering, and more importantly, in terms of people. Already the Alliance is taking over one mayor after another, local councillors discover Liberal or Democratic relatives and rush into enrolling. The headquarters’ attempt to end the bleeding through legal threats will have no effect whatsoever, although as far as the law goes, PSD is right. But they are basically harvesting what they have sown. Recruitment of local officials was a “State” policy under Adrian Năstase, when PSD virtually doubled its number of mayors after the local elections.

“Binding” local elected officials is an important point scored by the D.A. Alliance, beyond its serene acceptance of political migration. Local elected officials’ being unable to move from one party to another will lead, in time, to enhanced professionalism in the administration. Central leaders will no longer rush into cutting down funds, as they will be aware that it will be reciprocated later on.

The file craze

Just like with Adrian Năstase’s fall, it’s all about law changes. Simple, apparently harmless changes, but which as we can see have increasing effects. The change that triggered the file craze is the provision which extends the number of those bound to sign statements on whether they collaborated with former Securitate. If you remember, shortly after the modification was endorsed, about a dozen county Intelligence heads resigned, and countless others retired or left the system. It was the most important dislocation of the system which had been protecting the “files.” And neither Traian Băsescu, nor Călin Popescu Tăriceanu can take credit for this one.

As former Securitate people were moved out of the system, it became increasingly harder for them to control the files. Without doubt, for 17 years files were brushed and sieved, so that many of those still in the archives, referring to well known people, are already harmless. But since I know the system, I find it hard to believe that the missing pages were simply destroyed; instead, they were stashed away, because “you never know when they might come in handy.” So I wouldn’t agree with the ones who complain that archives were “scrubbed clean.”

There are many who claim that “17 years later is too late.” It’s not late. Not too late to clean the political and business class. It’s high time we learned how a dippy accountant became the master of a furniture empire, how a Sahia cameraman got to own a media empire… Naturally, some of the former servants of communism came to build viable entities, some of which were already taken over by investment funds or competent private managers. But many others are still mere parasites on the economy. This is what I believe to be the key element of this file craze.

The foul public space, based on kinship relations, is an economic model imposed by the Securitate-communist model, which severely hindered the growth of our national economy. We are virtually struggling with problems that our Czech and Hungarian camp fellows settled in ‘95-‘96. Hence the living standard and general development gap between them and us.

While snitches are the “small fish” of the system, I disagree with turning them into something “grey.” Snitching will be snitching, whether or not the person snitched upon knows it. Informers’ primary fault is that, because of their collaboration, the system was able to survive this long, even after the communist State expired. With a few exceptions, collaboration was voluntary, snitches couldn’t wait to do their duty, most of the times laying it on thick so as to improve their image with Securitate. Hard as they try now to pose as blackmail victims, they did benefit from the system: job assignment “in the city,” a trip abroad, shopping in special stores… All this human filth that now grandstands as victim of the system has its substantial share of the guilt. But we shouldn’t forget that they are just the small fish. The big sharks are somewhere else. And surprises are yet to come.

My guess is that parties will replace the 40-50 generation with a 30-40 one, whose ties with the communist regime were quasi-null. Only after cleaning the political class, will we move on to reforming institutions.

By Cristian BANU

Publicat în : English  de la numărul 41
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