Blackmail, racketeering, oligarchs and violence in Bulgaria. Discussing Borissov’s legacy w/ Georgi Hristov

On the Barricades podcast, 16 May 2021

A heinous scandal is brewing in Bulgaria, with wealthy businessman and landowner Svetoslav Ilchovski at the center, who recently testified before a parliamentary commission about the Bulgarian PM’s gangsterism. “The Barricade” has published a lengthy article on Ilchovski-gate, which can be found here.

Boyan Stanislavski and Maria Cernat, hosts of “On the barricades” discussed this issue with Bulgarian leftist journalist and activist Georgi Hristov on Sunday, May 16th.

Before their review of Svetoslav Ilchovski’s stunning testimony and the origins of the peculiar model of “parliamentary democracy” that was established in Bulgaria after 1989, they discussed the prospects open to the provisional government appointed by President of the Republic Roumen Radev following the subsequent failures of the three largest parliamentary parties.

Is there anything this government can accomplish in the three months before the announced early elections on July 11? Many non-political experts were appointed, which appears to be a logical and rational decision given the nature of this administration. One thing is certain: whatever this government does, it will have to contend with Borissov’s machinery, which allows him to control the entire institutional and economic infrastructure of the state and then use it to his (and his oligarchic friends’) benefit. The mechanism is straightforward: nepotism and corruption. The boss, Boyko Borissov, makes all appointments in all existing public institutions. For nearly 15 years, the cadreship of the entire state apparatus has been cultivated to serve him and his gang, and it has been ensured that everyone is completely obedient. Can a massive cleansing take place in a matter of months? Can the provisional government accomplish anything else?

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