Corruption and capitalists

Zdravko Saveski

The public was in great shock over the “Racket” case, and probably over Prosecutor Katica Janeva’s involvement in it. It was clear for quite some time now that the SPO has neither the will nor capacity to do its job, and that it is collaborating with the government. But that did not cause shock. Only disappointment. Just like the “new” government, it did the same. The shock came with the realization that Janeva was probably involved in criminal acts. The official who was supposed to prosecute crime, not only didn’t do her job, but probably got involved in crime herself!

That’s the turning point! The confidence in holders of power and politicians in general was already at an extremely low point. At such a low level that those who have neither stolen nor thought of stealing are seen as suspicious. But even if a state official who is not a politician who is chosen to prosecute crime, even if he or she got involved in criminal acts, how can people continue to give their confidence to him or her?
It is now clearer than ever: Macedonia needs new politics! Politics based on moral principles and politics in the interests of common people, not in the interest of political and economic leaders! Many agree with this claim. But they will immediately say that this is impossible. And that the latest case with Janeva additionally convinced them of hopelessness. However, hopelessness and despair are things that we create on our own. The need for new politics in Macedonia right now is just an ethical principle. Whether it will remain only an ethical principle or will it be enforced, it depends on all of us – to whom this rotten system of governance is causing harm. For how much longer will we allow corrupt leaders lead us by the nose? If we allow this to continue, then many more like Katica, Zaev and Gruevski will emerge in the future! And we will just be a herd of sheep that only watches passively and bleats, but does nothing against its shearing!
If we want a real fight against corruption, we must have an accurate picture of corruption as a phenomenon, and the reasons that cause it. If we don’t have an accurate picture, then we will not understand what causes corruption, and we will waste a lot of time misjudging the problem and only replace one corrupt authority with another. In doing so, the next will come to power announcing the fight against corruption, and then engaging itself in criminal activities.

Thus, Zaev with the help of the so-called “bombs” has exposed the crimes of VMRO-DPMNE’s government, just so that he himself led a corrupt government. And now VMRO-DPMNE is reportedly very angry about the crime. When in fact what they are angry about is that someone else is now doing the crime, not them!

So there you have it – the vicious circle in which we have been stuck for decades! And there is no way to save ourselves from it, unless we break it on our own!

It takes two to corrupt. The one who gives the bribe and the one who takes it. Although everyone knows this, under the influence of liberal propaganda, only one of these two focuses on the target – the officials. And from whom do officials take bribes? From ordinary citizens? How much can ordinary citizens spare for a bribe – 30 thousand, 60 thousand denars? Can they actually bribe officials with that kind of money? It is more than clear that the other side of the corrupt act is the business owners, the capitalists. They are the ones who are bribing officials.
Another aspect, a very obvious one, is squeezed out of the picture. The initiative for a corrupt act may come from the giver of the bribe, as well as the one who receives it. In this picture that the liberal propaganda want to sell us, and in which the boss does not exist, it turns out that the initiative for a corrupt act is always the officials’. They ask for bribes, and the poor bosses pay up! But is that so? Are bosses just innocent victims in the act of corruption?

Lake Ohrid may lose its UNESCO protection. For this to happen, there should be decisive action against illegal buildings. And the urgency of that situation revealed two pieces of information that were not given the appropriate weight in this entire situation. The first information is that Boki 13 asked the Municipality of Ohrid to “turn” about 50 thousand euros, and the second information that a citizen entered the Municipality of Struga and threatened the mayor and another employee at the municipality. Probably because of such pressures over the illegal buildings (which will only multiply in the coming period), the Municipality of Struga has given up its competencies for the demolition of illegal buildings.

What now? Are bosses just innocent victims of the officials’ acts of corruption, or they themselves can be those who initiate corruption? Of course, I don’t want to defend state officials. But liberal propaganda, according to which all problems come from the state, and businessmen are only the heroes of investment and employment, clouds reality and prevents the citizens from getting the right picture of corruption.

Bosses can indeed be the initiators of corruption! Their wealth depends to a large extent on whether they or someone else will receive a construction permit at a particular location, whether they or someone else will get the tender. And to get a decision in their favor – they are ready to pay up. Saying that businessmen like Boki 13, Kicheec, Orce Kamchev are the exception is a myth. On the contrary, the exception is those bosses who can barely keep their shops open. The more money a boss has accumulated – the more likely he will resort to initiating acts of corruption.

How often did we hear about investments alone being positive news! Here is an information about one investment. Regarding the “Racket” case, journalists reminded that Zaev had a meeting with Zoran Mileski – Kicheec regarding the investment in mining. Investment? A great thing! Where did Kicheec find the money for this investment? Surely we are talking about hard-earned money, right? The reputation and accomplishments of Kicheec causes no doubts! A good portion of the money that comes in as foreign investments comes from tax havens. A good part of them is money laundering. Investors involved in money laundering certainly don’t even think of initiating acts of corruption with officials in order to push their “investment” through the back door.

And the bigger the class gap in a country, the higher the risk of corruption! And when the gap between the rich and the poor is this big, bosses have high financial power they use to bribe officials and politicians, while on the other side you have people with low incomes that makes them prone to accepting bribes.
Just like officials, capitalists can be the hotbed of corruption. The fight against corruption requires the rule of law and the punishment of those involved in corruptive acts. Not only will they be appropriately punished, but also those who come after them. But for a successful fight against corruption, this is not enough. We need political parties that will not be closely intertwined with the business lobby, because that kind of manipulation always creates a risk of corruption. We also need to change the distribution of the economic and political power between the leadership and the common people. Without these radical changes, counting on in morality and relying on legal mechanisms will not have a very serious effect.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik