The Economist on Bulgaria

The Economists published an article under the headline “Dirty politics”. There’s no author under the article, so I guess it must represent the position of the magazine.

There are some points in the article, which need explanation:

Bulgaria’s woes with crime and corruption needed more than a temporary ceasefire. Gangland shootings, never resolved, have resumed: last week gunmen killed Bulgaria’s best-known author of books on the mafia, Georgy Stoyev, and the manager of an energy firm with a controversial history.

To call Georgy Stoev a best-known author of books on the mafia is somewhat overstatement. While his books contain some gossip information, they have never been accepted as serious investigative literature, and the main goal has been not exposing the mafia life, but rather selling more copies. As an example, Hristo Hristov, a journalist from “Dnevnik” daily has published some serious books about the murder of Georgi Markov, the secret bankruptcy of communism, and others.

…Under pressure from the European Union, Mr Petkov resigned this week after a leaked intelligence report said a drug gang had received top-secret internal documents from officials in his ministry, while illegal booze producers gave money to a senior crime-fighter in return for information…

The resignation came not after pressure from the EU. The EU indeed has too many problems to deal with internal issues in Bulgaria. My observations are that his resignation was a logical move after a number of problematic statements, and lack of progress in the work of his ministry.

…Eurocrats say they objected to Mr Petkov’s bullying attitude; an EU source says he enjoyed “rubbing our nose into the fact that Bulgaria is now a member state”. That is not a unanimous view. The European Commission’s vice-president, Franco Frattini, went skiing with Mr Petkov last year and has praised him…

The allusion that Mr. Frattini is praising Mr. Petkov because he went skiing with him is quite a cheesy one. While it is fact that Mr. Petkov has expressed bullying attitude towards EU experts sent to Bulgaria, it has to be noted that none of the experts so far has managed to make a clear, independent review of Bulgarian problems. This may be due to a number of issues, one of them could be that their sources of information are usually not reliable, which makes their conclusions not reliable.

…But the real story is Bulgaria’s political weakness. The ruling ex-communists are split between a supposedly modernising faction lead by the prime minister, Sergey Stanishev, and the old guard around Mr Petkov…

Here’s an example of what I just said above. The Economist writes that the ruling [party] are the ex-communists. In fact, there’s a complicated 3-party coalition in Bulgaria, which makes the political life quite difficult. These are parties, which usually would not be together, but there was no other coalition possible in 2005, when the right parties managed to barely make it into the Parliament, and the only large group of members of the Parliament was the one of the nationalists “Ataka” (attack).

I have become somewhat cynical in last few years about the qualities of the articles dedicated to Bulgarian issues, and I see that I have been right. The Economist is using sources, which are not reliable, and the result is an article, which could as well be written in Sofia, by someone who lives in gossips.

Before writing about serious issues, one need to spend some time investigating, researching information from different sources, and represent objective information. However, in today’s world there’s never enough time for reflecting. So, people just write and print, and sell.

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One Response to The Economist on Bulgaria

  1. Georgi Kirov says:

    Veni, as far as I know, the Economist articles are never signed.
    Apart from that I totally agree with your comments.

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