Dear oligarchs, get your house in order and pay your taxes before you go around advising Delyan Peevski!

Ognyan Donev

Some (well-known) oligarchs have been skillfully exploiting the ongoing protests as a lifejacket at sea. They have been funding protesters (by Vasil Bozhkov’s own admission) or opting for an easier and cheaper option – using Prokopiev’s mainstream media machine to run their own talking points, their distorted version of events, their defensive theses.

Pharmaceutical boss Ognyan Donev is no exception. Through one of his websites, he is now setting yet another smokescreen. For the youngest of our readers, let us remind that in the murky privatisation period under Ivan Kostov’s government, Donev got his hands on Sopharma along with an entire well-developed chain of pharmacies, turning into a millionaire overnight. The pill king is certainly making good on his reputation – thanks to people like him, Bulgarians are forced to pay for some of the most expensive drugs on average in Europe. Meanwhile, medication that is essential for certain types of conditions is not even available on the Bulgarian market, forcing patients to show bravery and ingenuity in getting those drugs. For oligarchs like Donev, this is simply business, a ruthless game in which regular people are held hostage. Let us also remind that Ognyan Donev is being tried for BGN 63m in tax evasion.

Donev may be cheap on taxes, but he spares no expense when it comes to paying media outlets, pundits and journalists to spread the talking points of the oligarchs with which he has close personal and business relations. Who is responsible for every single problem in the country (according to the oligarchs)? If you ask Ognyan Donev, Ivo Prokopiev, Vasil Bozhkov and Tsvetan Vassilev, they will point to the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and, more specifically, its lawmaker Delyan Peevski. It is a lie, a libel and a fabrication they have been repeating like zombies for years.

The protesters and the scorching summer heat have conspired to take the oligarchy out of its relative state of slumber and its members have gone back to demonising an entire political party and projecting blame onto it by picking up their old chewing gum – “Peevski this, Peevski that.”

The demonisation of the MRF is absurd to every sensible person; it is anti-democratic and discriminatory in its essence. With this old political mantra, an entire electorate of honest, working-class Bulgarians is being demonised. The fake thesis that lawmaker Delyan Peevski is almighty and responsible for every evil is so hackneyed and reused as to be threadbare.

It is not even worth explaining to Mr Donev and his fellow oligarchs, who divvied up Bulgarian public enterprises between themselves in a very real and sinister game of Monopoly, that neither Peevski nor the MRF are to blame for their problems. MP Peevski is among the most frequently audited people in the country and he has paid his taxes in full. He has not defrauded the state out of a single lev, let alone BGN 63m or BGN 700m, the latter of which is Vasil Bozhkov’s doing.

The fact that the oligarchs are still trying to serve us that old concoction about Peevski being responsible for every one of their problems only betrays their helplessness. Dear oligarchs, get your own house in order and pay your taxes before you go around advising people.

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