Distorted parallel world of Prokopiev sociologyMonitor News Agency , Sofia
Do you know what distinguishes sociology from manipulation? The questions. Just ask any student specialising in this field of science, which is supposed to study public sentiment. “Supposed to” are the operative words here because in Bulgaria sociology, and not only, has long morphed from science into an instrument for manipulating said public sentiment.
The moment elections appear on the horizon, even if it is someone’s wishful thinking, unscrupulous polling firms start popping up at every turn, offering their services – to pose strategically formulated questions to a carefully selected sample of respondents in order to benefit those who commission and pay for the survey.
You want for a party that has been languishing in political obscurity, as evidenced by its voter support fitting within the statistical error margin, to “end up” in the next parliament? No problem. Inserting it as one of the options on a multiple-choice list is the ticket – that way respondents will be guaranteed to remember its existence.
You want to peddle a specific assertion? Again, no problem. The unethical polling firms will just embed it in the questions and give the respondents a limited choice of answers, making it seem like people not only dwell on the claim, but support it as well.
Do not get us wrong. Not all pollsters practice intentionally skewing results, but there are some well-established players on the Bulgarian market that have been doing this for decades. It was only a matter of time before we saw an opinion poll commissioned by the masters of political engineering, in this particular case by the big boss of GMO parties, indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev. A survey that reflects his image in a distorted mirror, not reality.
This is exactly the kind of opinion poll that was published in the last couple of days by the news website Dnevnik, the flagship of Prokopiev’s media machine for manipulations. Commissioned by the oligarch’s publication and conducted by Alpha Research, which has partnered with the Capital circle on creating manipulations for years, the poll purports to reflect voter attitudes towards the protests, the reasons behind them and potential support for political parties salivating at the prospect of snap elections. In reality, the survey is nothing but a conduit for the manipulations with which that same behind-the-scenes clique has been inundating the public consciousness for a long time. This is done by creating a distorted, parallel world – that of Prokopiev’s brand of sociology. In this world Democratic Bulgaria, the GMO political organisation directly linked to the indicted oligarch and led by his former puppet minister of justice Hristo Ivanov, “returns to the political stage with growing support”, which supposedly would get it into parliament with the fourth largest number of seats if the elections were held now. We are talking about the same formation that barely mustered up one single MEP seat at the European Parliament elections last year, not to mention doing so amid serious suspicions that it was actually several thousand ballots short in the race for that honour.
But let us get from reality back to the survey, which right now also puts in parliament the political organisation of Maya Manolova, who was sponsored at the last local elections by the gambling tzar facing 18 felony charges Vasil Bozhkov, even though said organisation is yet to be registered as a party. But these are small obstacles on the road to predetermined talking points. The main objective is for the figureheads serving the oligarchs to be painted in positive light, while their enemies – defamed. And so, while Hristo Ivanov is the protagonist in the survey, it should hardly surprise anyone that its villain is Delyan Peevski – enemy №1 of Prokopiev and his fellow members of the behind-the-scenes clique, a group of oligarchs who have been holding the country captive for decades.
In Prokopiev’s distorted parallel world, as painted by the opinion poll commissioned by Dnevnik, Peevski is named among the people who supposedly should be investigated (thanks to a multiple-choice method) and as one of the mentors of a “shadowy group” that pulls the strings of the cabinet and the prosecutor general. Does it sound familiar to you? Those are the same lies that Dnevnik and Prokopiev’s entire propaganda machine have been publicly spouting for weeks, the survey just perpetuates them. Prokopiev’s shamelessness knows no bounds, as evidenced by his flagship media outlet’s admission to having inserted this insinuation in order to “assess” its popularity among people.
Shamelessness may know no bounds, but truth has clear-cut ones and they are determined by facts. And the facts are indisputable. Delyan Peevski is an MP from a party in opposition, he has no ministers in either this Borissov cabinet or the previous ones, unlike Prokopiev. Let us not forget that Prokopiev is being tried alongside two of the ministers in the first Borissov cabinet – Simeon Djankov and Traycho Traykov, ministers respectively of finance and economy. He also had a vice-PM and a Ministry of Interior head in the second one, in Rumyana Bachvarova, as well as a minister of justice, in Hristo Ivanov. There are people from Prokopiev’s circle in the third GERB cabinet too. One of them is Vice-PM Tomislav Donchev, former programme director of Open Society, George Soros’s organisation, which has helped the inception of Prokopiev’s own NGO network.
Delyan Peevski does not have “people in the judicial system” either. Nor does he need any of those since he has no trouble with the law. That stands in contrast to Prokopiev, who was controversially acquitted of the EVN charges, has judge №1 Lozan Panov under his thumb, and is apparently now dreaming of having his very own prosecutor general.
Contrary to the fake news Prokopiev is spreading, Peevski, unlike the kaolin king, has no companies using public resources or EU funds, let alone syphoning those off. His entire property is out in the open and has been audited dozens of times by every possible oversight agency in the country, with the conclusion invariably being that nothing illegal was found. On the other hand, the kaolin king who stands accused of money laundering, who has had millions of levs worth in property get distrained thanks to two separate requests filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission for Illegal Asset Forfeiture (ACCIAF), and who was recently revealed to have illegally cut off access to the seashore and rocks near Sozopol, which are exclusively public property. And while we are wondering whether pinning his own shadowy clique and crimes on his main enemy through intentionally biased opinion polls he pays for with the money he stole from the Bulgarian citizens over the years is a sign of Prokopiev’s schizophrenia or a well-calibrated propaganda technique, it is time for him to put an end to the games with which he has been turning the public into a hostage to his political engineering for decades. Because this survey is tantamount to him admitting to the fact that Dnevnik is a party newspaper just like Ataka and Duma, the sole difference being that the latter two openly support parliamentary represented organisations and not measly parties for which the National Assembly continues to be a dream. In the aftermath of this de fact admission, the most logical next step would be for Prokopiev to find some intestinal fortitude and stop using figureheads and lead Democratic Bulgaria himself, seeing as he has already been backing it with money, surveys and mainstream media catering. He should run in the next elections, the way democratic rules suggest you get into power. That will be the real test as to whether voters support the man who annihilated an entire resort town, hurt our pockets with inflated electricity bills and first became millionaire thanks to privatisation gifts he received personally from former PM Ivan Kostov, the king of political engineering and the godfather of the oligarchy in Bulgaria. Speaking of sociology, we would like to remind that a survey from a few months ago showed that over half of Bulgarians believe Kostov to be responsible for all the failures of democracy in the country as well as the highway robberies committed during the privatisation period. How many people do you think will be willing to vote for the oligarch personally created by Kostov? We all know the answer to this question. Prokopiev knows it too. This is why he is hiding behind strawmen and paid minions.