Although there’s shit going on daily that would warrant a well aimed rant in its general direction (as always in this sorry little excuse for a country), pengovsky has a month-old axe to grind. Not surprisingly, this connects to more recent events, including the European People’s Party trying to meddle with the judicial process and demanding Janez Janša be exempt from whatever fallout (political or otherwise) there may be from the Patria Affair. But parallel to the Passion of Ivan – and very much caused by it – for the past two months or so, the political right is producing a steady stream of calls for the Troika to descend upon Slovenia as soon as possible.
A masterpiece by Matej Avbelj, PhD (source)
Now, that Slovenia is in economic omnishambles is hardly news anymore. But just as they have done for years, part of the political class is still refusing to recognise the reality and is playing hide-and-seek regardless of the cost. You see, back in 2008, when crisis loomed large on the horizon Janez Janša in the last days of his 2004-2008 government famously said that “only an aspirin is needed while the left-wing wants to prescribe an antibiotic to the Slovene economy”.
Well, five years later Slovene economy is in the middle of open-heart surgery while Janez Janša, since conviced of corruption (appeal pending) is saying that we’d all be better off if we just let the Troika handle things from now on. This, of course, has precious little to do with the economy (of which Janša still doesn’t understand didly squat) but rather with that elusive thingie called election victory.
Namely, it goes without saying that Slovenia’s formal appeal for a full bailout would most likely mean yet another early elections, which Janša might actually have a chance of winning (more on the current public sentiment some other time). But to do so, he’d have to paint the current government as a) incompetent and b) illegitimate. In this enterprise he is helped by a plethora of people of various intellectual prowess, not in the least by Matej Avbelj PhD, dean of a small Faculty for State and European Studies which – contrary to its name – mostly offers courses in public administration. A month or so ago Avbelj published a column on a law-oriented portal titled “Troika as a Catalyst for Democracy” (Google translate here).
In the text, Avbelj basically argues (from a supposedly academic point of view) that Slovenia is a state, captured by special interest and dark powers and that elections don’t really count for anything. “Anything” in this case of course translates to “Janša in power”. Because even when Janša was in power and Slovenia witnessed an unprecedented blitz against the media, economy and other sectors, thus paving the way for many a folly we witnessed in the past ten years, the man still claimed Slovenia is run by communists and if he couldn’t find them it just meant he wasn’t looking hard enough. Thus, even when Janša is/was in power, there’s an ongoing conspiracy against him, preventing him from doing the good things.
Well, the reality is there is no conspiracy. Whatever Janša was doing in power wasn’t good on the whole, but he was good at doing it. Sure, this can be said for a couple of other administrations as well, but the difference is that Janša was and still is motivated mostly by perpetuating and increasing his power, politically and otherwise. In this, he often resorted to abusing democratic instruments and occasionally tinkered with undemocratic ones, claiming to have “protected democracy” all along. This goes for calling for Troika as well.
Avbelj, in his texts, assists Janša in this enterprise. The Troika may be many things. but is not a tool of or for democracy. It is comprised of representatives of institutions whose democratic potential ranges from “miniscule” to “none”. The European Commission is a body agreed upon by the EU member states and although approved by the European Parliament, it is hardly subject to a serious checks-and-balances mechanism. The ECB is a monetary, not a representative institution. The IMF doubly so.
Secondly, the way the Troika operates is anything but consensual. In its purest form – as witnessed in Greece time and time again – it is a Godfather-type ensemble which simply dictates terms (how does one say “we’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” in German?) And even if Slovenia were subject to Troika-light, things would still be a couple of orders of magnitude uglier than they are now.
One of the effects being that it wouldn’t matter a pair of fetid dingo’s kidney who is in power. Even today Slovenia is reportedly (and those reports have not been denied) under daily scrutiny from EC experts (again: unelected!) and right now to a large extend ours is only a pretend economic and political sovereignty. But if the Troika is hell, then Slovenia is purgatory at the moment. We can still hope to get out. With the Troika in the house, not so much.
And so, the logical conclusion is that Janez Janša will stop at nothing to regain power, even if only as a puppet leader with no autonomy whatsoever. Such is the lust – or rather – the need for power. Because Janša as PM stands a much lesser chance of having a verdict against him being upheld than citizen Janša does. This, at least, is the subtext of yesterday’s resolution by the EPP on Slovenia which among other things states that Janša should not be excluded from the political process until final verdict is passed.
In reality, the political star of Janez Janša is fading fast. It is, however, very worrying that a generation of intelectuals has been bread that will happily continue politics done Janša’s way. The only difference being that with him it was a survival tactic, whereas they’ve objectified it into a legitimate political tactic.
EDIT: only minutes ago Janša suggested the government “avoid the Troika by requesting a bank bailout”. QED as far as I’m concerned.