Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

The new oligarchs

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

Greece is at serious risk of becoming a lot like Ukraine in terms of seeing its media and public affairs slipping into the hands of a small group of new oligarchs who will make the maligned old guard seem like nice guys.

This is not a far-fetched scenario, nor is it light years away. There’s a very good chance that the current generation of wheeler-dealers, facilitators and mediators – basically pimps, to put it simply – will soon be replaced by a whole batch of new ones, a new generation that is more vital and much more aggressive in the way that it does business.

In its response to this growing threat, the government appears to be making the same mistake as others before it, believing that it can actually work with such people and reach a mutual understanding.

But this is how pimps always do business: They pledge and give you their support, they gradually make you come to depend on it, they get whatever job they want done expedited, and then they forget they ever knew your name.

The first time that a politician who enjoys their support refuses to carry out some “reasonable” favor or other, the pimp turns against him with fury and crushes him. Let’s not even dwell on the fact that people like this make a hobby of “arguing” like they’re gunslingers in the saloon of an old cowboy movie.

Every prime minister or any other politicians who happens to be standing close by may get hit by a stray fist or bullet in the heat of such arguments. And anyone who makes the mistake of believing they can step in like the new sheriff in town and bring an end to the reign of terror – to the corruption and dodgy practices – soon finds himself dodging bullets from every direction, possibly even from people once regarded as allies.

Greece certainly does not need this kind of thing, and especially not now. As the international community praises us for our wonderful reform efforts, Greece is at risk of being transformed into a country where gangs and pressure groups working to safeguard specific vested interests are allowed to run the show.

Of course, our partners abroad may not really care because, quite frankly, they may be fed up with us and have decided that it’s all about “when in Greece, do as the Greeks do.”

After all, why should they care if Greece wants to become a country where no one can make a serious business agreement without the “help” of some major local “facilitator”? They’re doing what they need to do and we will just be a reformed country left to the devices of a new generation of oligarchs.

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