Kostov rises against measures aiming at cheaper fuels, Prokopiev's mainstream echoes himTelegraph Media , Sofia
The godfather of the mafia-style privatisation in Bulgaria, Ivan Kostov, crawled out from his private chamber to join yet another battle of the state against the behind-the-scenes clique. And he - quite expectedly - took the side of the shadowy clique.
In an extensive interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Kostov sharply criticised the idea of the government to set up an oil company which would create a chain of filling stations. He qualified it as “an extremely ill-advised idea” that will cost too dear to the state budget and said that this step should not be taken. “There are already 1,700-1,800 working filling stations on the Bulgarian market. If we let the state return to the sector, what will we have as a result? This is an extremely thoughtless step,” Kostov said indignantly. His blistering tirade was in short order reproduced by all media outlets of the mainstream run by his pet oligarch Ivo Prokopiev and natural gas tycoon Sasho Donchev.
The idea of setting up a state-owned oil company was announced by the Ministry of Finance on 15 May. The initiative has two goals - to supply fuels at maximum low prices and to optimise the management of mandatory reserves. The announcement came after observing that - despite the worldwide slump of fuel prices - in Bulgaria they have for weeks remained at levels which enabled the traders to rake in profit margins of nearly 25%. And these are the facts that Kostov didn't even comment on. Instead, he attacked the Commission for the Protection of Competition for not doing its job and stated that it would be the right move to separate petroleum products producers from warehouses' owners while the latter should not be linked to owners of filling stations. “As long as there is no vertical monopoly we will have fair competition,” he said flat. His words were uncritically copy-pasted first by Sega, the newspaper run by natural gas tycoon Sasho Donchev, and then by the entire chain of publications comprising the mainstream media sustained by oligarch-publishers in Bulgaria.
What is the truth, actually? A multi-volume edition may be devoted to this particular theme, however it suffices to note that Kostov did not even specify that the abovementioned vertical monopoly was created exactly during his tenure, including via privatisation which let the people acting entirely on behalf of Russian interests to take monopoly positions.
Against this background and considering the fact that both Kostov and his pet oligarchs have umbilical ties to Russia, it would be quite logical for Kostov to rise against the idea that could put an end to profiteering from fuels and the accumulation of profits worth tens and hundreds of millions, at the expense of the consumers, through artificially maintained high prices on the market.