About oligarchs, charity and cost of human life

Society bombarded with lies even in a dire crisis; Delyan Peevski attacked for his donations

Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev and Ognyan Donev

True character is revealed in times of crisis, when the best and the worst in people come out and the world can see them for who they really are. We are seeing this old piece of wisdom come to fruition today. The fight against the coronavirus contagion that is severely affecting thousands of people around the world has brought out the best in the Bulgarian society. It has erased the artificial divisions created over the years. It has pushed to the forefront traits that Bulgarians have long been known for – tolerance, solidarity and charity. It has also drawn a real line of demarcation – between honorable people and scum, a particular group of schemers and their pawns.

Millions. That is how much money was raised in a matter of days by the thousands of Bulgarians from all over the country who teamed up to fight the coronavirus and in support of those in need. The sum is changing with every passing minute. As is the number of people donating whatever they can so that hospitals and medical professionals fighting for the nation’s health be provided with the necessary equipment, supplies, drugs and tests. Charity in its purest form. Charity without ulterior motive or conditions.

Who was left on the other side of the barricade? It is a small but vociferous group of individuals for whom charity is… a trade transaction. For reference, see the “businessman” who donated BGN 222,000 to a hospital for the purchase of equipment with the stipulation that it should be used to treat his employees with priority. He got that so-called donation thrown back in his face by the hospital, which noted that we are all equal before medicine and the Hippocratic Oath. In the meantime, selfless donors raised the money to buy the much-needed equipment for the hospital in one day, which was another ethical slap in the face of the businessman.

For others, charity is a way to build a good image. For reference, see Democratic Bulgaria. The union of failed parties – the result of former PM Ivan Kostov’s political engineering and funded by his oligarchs – had its activists take credit for the social services provided by the Sofia Municipality by slapping their own logo on the initiative.

A group of miserable souls, for whose mentors – Kostov and the oligarchs he created Ivo Prokopiev, Tsvetan Vassilev, Ognyan Donev and Sasho Donchev – society is nothing but a number of people on the back of whose pockets and health money is to be made. And when these aforementioned people are faced with choosing between human life and their businesses, they choose the latter. For reference, see the indicted Ivo Prokopiev, who posted on Facebook that several percent of the population would die of the coronavirus while 60-70% would contract it no matter what, so we would be better easing off measures to save the economy, i.e. his business. The publications linked to the indicted oligarch dutifully copy-pasted the post in order to inform society of their publisher’s theses.

Human life in of no significance to the oligarchs, their well-fed (thanks to our money) pawns and the publications they fund. It is measured in stacks of money.

There are no values, there are only interests. And anyone who threatens those immediately becomes an enemy to be targeted daily, hourly with the entire available arsenal of fabrications and fake news.

It is a long list and the names on it constantly change, but there are some constants and for years one of them has been lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski. Because of his legislative initiatives and the unwavering editorial policy of the newspapers in his media group to expose the leaders of the behind-the-scenes clique and their shady deals. As a result, the public consciousness has been bombarded for years with lies about Peevski formulated as talking points by those same oligarchs and spread by their media outlets every chance they get. Against this backdrop, it was hardly a surprise that the moment it emerged that the lawmaker is among the large donors to coronavirus relief efforts in Bulgaria he was flooded with a barrage of lies. Old lies, dusted off and spruced up a bit to fit the latest news.

And so the old lie that the lawmaker has something to do with European funds and public procurement orders turned up in Mediapool, a website owned by Stoyana Georgieva, a one-time spokesperson for Ivan Kostov. The charity shown by Delyan Peevski is supposedly “an attempt to grab hold of even more public resources”. At the same time, and perfectly in the style of Prokopiev’s so-called mainstream, a similar thesis popped up in another publication gravitating towards the aforementioned group – Actualno – but presented in a bit different way.

Delyan Peevski has never used public resources, into which category public procurement orders and European funds fall, and that is easy to verify. Nor have the publications in his Telegraph Media (also easy to check). Unlike Mediapool and most of the media outlets of Prokopiev and Co., which have been sucking hefty sums from European funds and other public resources over the years.

Nether of the two websites that disseminated the lie, however, saw fit to mention that there is no evidence to support their claims. This is understandable – after all, that would expose their own lie. Not the truth but the interests of their mentors are what matters to the media tied to the behind-the-scenes clique. And so they make do with the old trick of using mouthpieces for their mentors as sources. Case in point, the website of Stoyana Georgieva, who channels the lies through stunningly reliable sources like Iliyan Vassilev, former Bulgarian ambassador to Russia during the Kostov cabinet, and Ruslan Stefanov, associate with the Center for the Study of Democracy.

Now is the time to note that Vassilev presents himself in the Mediapool article as an expert on charity because, you see, he has worked “on charity campaigns for a long time”. The former State Security agent Sasho’s biography does not show involvement in any kind of charity campaigns outside of maybe functions thrown in honour of Russian dignitaries during his term in Moscow. But his latest public “charity deed” was only a month ago when he was desperately trying to draw attention away from the revelations surrounding Vasil Bozhkov, making out the indicted on half a dozen charges gambling czar to be an invaluable patron of culture and lamenting on social media the fact that his plan for a museum would fall apart. Maybe that is the charity experience he refers to.

As for Ruslan Stefanov, his credentials as the expert Mediapool is trying to pass him as are exposed by the only work with he is publicly known for – The Kremlin Playbook, whose content he was forced to correct after it emerged that, together with the other co-author, he inserted outright lies.

Neither “the credibility” nor the methods used by the oligarchs and the mouthpieces, pseudo-experts and media outlets funded by them to manipulate the public opinion for years and even decades are any news. What is staggering in this case is not the lack of ethics or the spreading of shameless lies or the disinformation. They are nothing new either. What is shocking is that even a crisis like the current one, where the stakes are the physical survival of a portion of the nation, has not been able to stop the efforts of this group of miserable souls to distort reality and assume the role of spokespeople for the citizens. It is no coincidence that the Chinese hieroglyph for the word “crisis” combines two concepts – danger and new opportunity. Because of a lack of any semblance of morals, the members of this group are betraying their own true colours. And when the crisis blows over, society may find itself rid of not only the virus but this cancer that has not only been robbing it for years but trying to erode it from inside and dictate its agenda and priorities.

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