Awful, awful!

‘Karbovski’ Category

  1. Awful, awful!

    December 2, 2010 by Christopher Buxton

    In his powerful memoir, Alcohol, Kalin Terziski defines his parents generation by their hushed reaction to all life’s challenges typical in communism – “awful, awful”. Sudden deaths, arrests, cuts in water and electricity, queues outside shops, divorcing couples, ungrateful children, holes in the road, suicides of young poets and petty crime would evoke the same frightened response of “awful, awful!”

    One imagines these words ringing out more loudly round Bulgaria today as the news spreads from the town of Oryakhovo of the baby allegedly stuffed alive into a hospital freezer and the spectacular arrest of the responsible doctors. The baby’s mother was a shy Bulgarian school pupil, terrified of her violent father and the baby’s father was a gypsy. Whether the baby was indeed still alive when stuffed into the freezer will emerge from an inquiry.

    What has emerged is that in their hastily written report of the “death” they got the gender and age of the baby wrong.

    Revealing of the current environment of State Paranoia is that this story only emerged as a result of phone tapping. A conversation was overheard between the hospital chief and the local mayor about the baby. This led to spectacular scenes as anti Mafia police – normally used for arresting gangsters and corrupt politicians – rushed into the hospital and arrested doctors at gun-point.

    The Hospital chief has shared his astonishment that doctors should be treated as dangerous criminals. Leader of the Conservative Party has demanded the resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs, following the latter’s decision to quote from the tapped conversations.

    Self elected bard of moral outrage, Martin Karbovski has seized upon the freezer as a powerful metaphor for the state of modern Bulgaria. And the fact that the words for miscarriage and abortion are the same in Bulgaria has allowed him to portray the citizens of this frozen realm as “abortions.”

    Helpful though his comments may be in provoking a chorus of “awful, awful!”, they will have done little to worsen Bulgarians’ already fairly jaded view of everyday life.

    In a desperate attempt to bring a smile to the lips of his fellow citizens, Greatest Living Bulgarian, Boyko Borisov has brought out the latest episode of “Government – The Soap Opera” – in which he confesses that he and his colleagues were completely taken in by the beautiful former chief of the Agricultural Fund, Kalinna Ilieva. Not only did this young woman succeed in fooling them all with a falsified diploma, but incredibly she passed off her pregnancy as a cancer tumour.

    In another twist of the absurd, former chief of National Security, Alexei Petrov, who is threatened by investigation of years of corrupt links with the underworld, is being persuaded to run for the post of president in next year’s elections. Subject to a highly publicised police campaign, the so called Tractor and head of the Octopus has already had talks with that Dorian Grey of Bulgarian politics the outgoing president, Purvanov.

    Former Communist, Purvanov has clearly despaired of the chances that the Socialist party under the anally retentive Stanishev can challenge the super-popular Boyko Borisov. So with the aid of a few well chosen pals, Purvanov is launching his own left-leaning party in time for the next Parliamentary elections.

    Awful, awful!

  2. ‘Nuff police serials says the President

    October 15, 2010 by Christopher Buxton

    President Purvanov – that Dorian Grey of world statesmen – has delivered a veiled rebuke to his arch rival, every Bulgarian’s fantasy-drinking-companion, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

    In an address to a local government conference in Albena, Purvanov has said that ordinary Bulgarians have no need of “police serials”. They need calm and reassuring government.

    What he means is that Boyko Borisov and his morose looking Home Secretary should draw back from their sensational highly publicised but so far ineffective campaigns against organised crime and concentrate on the task of making Bulgarians feel better about themselves. Why should ordinary Bulgarians be concerned by extortion in high places when health and education systems seem to be going to hell. As many of the Mayors in his audience may have been feeling the heat of criminal investigation, I’m sure the applause was hearty.

    Some might say this is rich coming from the svelte sophisticated President who has not escaped accusations of corrupt business links over his long reign. Now nearing the end of a second mandate he has worked alongside three improbable Prime Ministers – the barely articulate ex-Tsar Simeon Saxekoburgotsky, the anally retentive pursed lipped Socialist Sergei Stanishev, and now the absurdly populist Boyko Borisov.

    In the first months of Boyko Borisov’s government, not a day passed without headlines reporting arrests of significant criminal gangs along with corrupt high ranking civil servants, magistrates, police and customs officers. The most trumpeted arrests were those of the chief of the National Security Agency and of a band of kidnappers known as “the Blackguards”. Meanwhile highly publicised trials of colourfully named gangsters were roared on from the sidelines.

    A year on and as Boyko takes time out to be filmed lumbering around the football field with his role model, former football star and greatest living Bulgarian, Hristo Stoichkov, it is left to his the sad-faced balding Home Secretary to comment on the fact that hardly any of the previous year’s spectacular arrests have led to satisfactory prosecutions and sentences.

    Lumbering police investigations, incompetent prosecutors, compromised evidence, shaky witnesses and sharp defense lawyers have been key factors in court’s decisions to release suspects on bail pending limitless delays of legal process. Home Secretary Tsvetanov accuses the courts of being in league with organized crime. The Judges in turn fault Tsvetanov’s lack of manners. The vulgar Bulgar has not understood the necessary constitutional separation of Administration and Judiciary. They parrot the textbook constitutional rights of any advanced civil society – just because the whole nation fervently believes the accused are guilty, these wealthy powerful men and women should still have the right to obfuscate and delay, to plead illness and enjoy the comforts of home, in the hopes of eventually establishing their innocence – or at the least the state’s inability to prove their guilt.

    Purvanov’s judgement that the Bulgarian people have no need of such “police serials” is yet another attempt by the fastidious aristocratic Socialist to gain the moral high ground over the right wing bull in a china shop/man of the people.

    Police serials take two forms. They either reassure a trusting public that however dastardly the criminal, the forces of law and order will always win and so justice will prevail. Or (like the successful American series The Wire)they flatter a skeptical audience by demonstrating the complex Dickensian links between criminal gangs and powerful social structures. In either event, police serials are entertaining and satisfying fictions that bear some relation to real life.

    The problem for the Bulgarian public and its self elected spokesmen, is that Borisov’s police series are far from satisfying. In a recent article, Martin Karbovski describes the thin layer of mire that sticks to all aspects of Bulgarian life. Ageing Bulgarians are encouraged to believe that this mire is not so bad. Bulgaria is not Greece or Sicily. But according to Karbovski, the inability of government and judiciary to deal with this mire promotes a feeling of hopelessness in the young and accounts for their mass migration to the west.

    Meanwhile Boyko Borisov picks up a tennis racquet. His press people are showing that he is at least trying to bring criminals to justice. Is that superstar Pironkova around? Fetch up the cameras! Anyone for tennis?