Friday, April 13, 2007

Political depravity and telco privatization in Latvia

Normally I would not write on this non-political blog about the outrageous, depraved state-capture corruption in Latvia suggested by a written agreement between a powerful oligarch and one (probably several) Latvian political parties. However, the alleged (?) contract published on and widely discussed in the media (it was first disclosed by TV talk show host and investigative journalist Jānis Domburs) contains a direct reference to Lattelecom. Under the contract, the political party agrees not to promote the privatization of Lattelecom. The contract was signed between the now jailed Ventspils mayor and oligarch Aivars Lembergs and his circle and, apparently, the Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (!) in 1999, but it may well have been renegotiated with other parties with the same terms. By some accounts, the Social Democrats were paid LVL 70 000 for their cooperation, a fair sum eight years ago, but chump change today. Anyway, the existence of these kinds of secret contracts and back-door financial support could be one reason why the privatization of Lattelecom and Latvian Mobile Telephone has been running in place for all these years...
P.J. O'Rourke has already written a book called Parliament of Whores, and, anyway, I don't write about Latvia's parliament, the Saeima.

Mauku Saeima, anyone?

And from a market anarchist blog:

It's terribly unfair to compare government officials to whores. It slanders whores. What have whores ever done to deserve being compared with government officials?


sabela said...

maukeima :D
iespēju ir daudz...

My said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bleveland said...

I wonder why it doesn't surprise me that Lembergs is involved. When I heard about this fellow the first time I thought the man was dead: nothing but good about the man. When I did as little as asking a question I was urged to pay a visit to Ventspils. That would make me understand what a great guy Lembergs was. Indeed, Ventspils is a nice little town, but to me Lembergs seems to be the ultimate smart-ass that used - a very little part of - his own money to buy his own personal cult. BTW: how the f*ck did he ever get that much money? Never mind, no one seems to wonder anyway. The fact that he is an oligarch, but a LATVIAN oligarch, seems to excuse anything the man does.
Having said that I don't believe there is any doubt that he now is a victim for a set-up by his equally evil enemies who finally got him into jail. Lembergs simply got himself the wrong enemies.

That politicians are involved is no surprise either (agree, terribly unfair to compare them to whores).
I would like to know though what the Lembergs-group's intentions were when they paid-off the social democrats. What did they want to achieve? Was the final goal to rule Lattelecom and eventually turn it into Lemcom or any name that refers to the great Aivars? Any idea Juris?