Atslēgvārdi:

A Conspirator 10

Here is a nice one. In his interview to (Ne)atkariga Rita Avize, Mr. Lembergs says that immediately after the election, Latvijas Valsts Meži, Latvenergo and Latvijas Dzelzceļš will be privatized to an "international oligarchy". According to Mr. Lembergs, there is a secret agreement between the Dombrovskis government and the IMF/EU, today's equivalent of "Molotoff-Ribbentrop pact".

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My first reaction is - this is insane. My second thought is maybe this is all part of the election campaign. Then again, maybe Mr Lembergs himself genuinely believes that what he says is true. After all, most people interpret reality through the prism of their own experience. Mr. Lembergs' view of the world might be a mere extrapolation from this own business methods. The evidence? Take these passages from the proceedings of a British court, which shed lots of light on the inner workings of Ventspils:

"...in 1991, the Ventspils port infrastructure was owned by state-controlled companies. Senior managers of these companies, led by Mr. Lembergs, the Mayor of Ventspils since 1988, gradually privatised these "strategic assets", so forming the Ventspils Group."
"Turning specifically to LSC [Latvian Shipping Company - VD], the announcement that it was to be privatised came in 2002. A confidential agreement was entered into between the Ventspils Group, then led by Mr. Lembergs and the so-called Riga Group, led by a Mr. Andris Skele … However, ... the Ventspils Group and/or Mr. Lembergs reneged on this understanding."
...all the relevant companies, including LSC, were controlled "not by the official institutions, such as their respective Management Boards or Supervisory Boards" but by "an informal gathering" of the individuals behind Ventbunkers and LNT called "the Table". The informal group, or gathering, was comprised of about 12 individuals and included Mr. Lembergs… The formal governing bodies of the companies in question would then "merely implement the decisions taken during the Table meetings... Mr. Lembergs was a very powerful man, with effective control of the Table…"

Let me sum that up for you. According to this court document, Mr. Lembergs organized privatization (piratization?) of Ventspils assets to a small group of insiders, including himself. He conspired with Mr. Skele to 'privatize' Latvian Shipping Company in a similar way. He then double-crossed Mr. Skele, his co-conspirator in this piratization. Finally, for most of the last twenty years he has been in charge of a secret organization that has had effective control of Ventspils. Is it really that surprising Mr. Lembergs believes that the world is run by a similar secret conspiracy?

What about veracity of these claims? You wouldn't find anything on this in the official memoranda of understanding between Latvian government and the European Commission. Nothing like this in the IMF documents. The position of the lenders is really quite simple: they extend the loan under the condition that, by 2014, the budget deficit is less than 3% of GDP. This can be done by reducing spending or increasing taxes, or both. Lenders can provide advice (i.e. technical assistance) but exactly how to achieve consolidation is up to the Latvian government.

Further, suppose this is all just a facade, as Mr. Lembergs thinks it is. Lets imagine I am one of the "international oligarchy", a conspiracy of Jews/Soros/Masons/capitalists (pick one) against the free people in general and Latvia in particular. So I want to buy Latvenergo at a ridiculously low price. I call up my buddies at the IMF and tell them to arrange a secret deal with the Latvian government to they would sell this company to me at knock-away prices. But then I stop and think - wait a minute! Why am I even talking to the Dombrovskis government??! They can't possibly arrange this in just three months, and who knows who will be there after the election! Why would I run the risk of being caught by vigilantes like Mr. Lembergs making shady deals with people who may not be in position to fulfill their promises after October? Maybe I would want to wait until after the election and then make a deal with whoever wins!

So, Mr. Lembergs not only thinks there is a secret oligarchy out there, but on a subconscious level, he must also think they are really stupid. Does he, on some subconscious level, feel upset the "international oligarchy" haven't been duly impressed by his achievements at Ventspils, and have not offered him a rightful place at their 'TABLE'?

And finally, suppose there really is a plan to privatize Latvenergo, or part of it, just like Lithuanians are planning to do about their own energy company. Is it a good idea to sell it to the foreigners? Depends on who you are, of course. If you're a tax payer, you want to get the highest possible price for Latvenergo, so that maybe you could use the proceeds to reduce the amount of state public debt, and leave a smaller tax burden for your children. You can get a higher price if you auction it off to a maximum number of buyers. The more competition among the buyers, the better it is for the seller. Whether the highest bidder ir a foreigner, Mr. Soros, a Jew, or Mr. Lembergs is immaterial.

If you're Mr. Lembergs, however, you want to reduce the number of potential buyers, because you're a buyer yourself. Then you can buy it real cheap. This is how Ventspils was privatized, this is how Latvian Shipping Company was privatized, and this, apparently, is how Mr. Lembergs would like to privatize other companies, including Latvenergo. There is nothing new here, really. Come to think of it, raving about "international conspiracies" is a rather dull way to try to reduce the number of buyers. My favorite one is from Marshall Goldman's (a historian at Harvard) "Piratization of Russia", which describes how a certain Russian businessman eliminated competition from other buyers of a large state-owned company in Siberia by shutting down the airport on the day of the auction. That's what I call a "creative approach"!

PS Did you know that, according to a recent survey, 35% of Latvians want to see Mr. Lembergs as a prime-minister?

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Komentāri (10) secība: augoša / dilstoša

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Komentētājs

Gerry 22.08.2010 19:56
Mr. Lembergs comments boil down to a simple question:

"Do you prefer that Latvijas Valsts Meži, Latvenergo and Latvijas Dzelzceļš are bought by some gay Swedish bankers, scheming Jews or by one of our trusted crooks ?"

A no-brainer for any Latvian apparently. According to current polls Lembergs would be the favourite prime minister.

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Lex 12.07.2010 23:13
Oh, and thank you for pointing out that the way things "work" in Latvia is not how it works in the West. The West has rules for lobbying. Latvia does not. In Latvia, anything goes and therein lies a huge difference.

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Lex 12.07.2010 23:08
Lobbying or not, it's about how policy decisions are being made.

Are they really being made behind closed doors (like an alleged "secret agreement between" Dombrovskis and IMF/EU, neither of which owns or is interested in owning any business in Latvia) or do they take place in the open (like, say, the discussions about the sale of Lattelekom to Teliasonera? Are those open debates genuine? Or are they just part of a embellished plot? I think Lemby thinks it's a plot, the kind of plot he wishes he could have.

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Komentētājs

guru 12.07.2010 16:47
Since I have not seen any registered lobbies in Saeima or citie councils, it still does not make me think that they dont exist. If lobbies didn't exist, then corruption shouldn't also exist.
In general hidden lobbies is the main source of corruption in Latvia and we all know that, though some people preffer to name it as conspiracy.

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Lex 12.07.2010 15:42
Let's see how things work in the West. A government entity, say, a city council, issues a request for public bids, citing specifications, such as what they want done, what the terms are, etc. etc. Then, the same council at a public meeting opens up those bids and awards the project to the lowest bidder who met the issued criteria (it's a requirement by law). Is there lobbying going on? Sure, but lobbying is heavily regulated and constantly reformed and updated.

Lemby though believes that an agreement would be signed _before_ the public process could take place. Just like with the abovementioned Table, which reminds of the old Polutburo (Lemby is a party guy, no?). The old feeble guys make all decisions, which is then rubber stamped in public by the Supreme Soviet. In a way, it is way more cynical about the public procurement process than anything that is happening in the West.

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Komentētājs

guru 12.07.2010 14:15
I would not say that somebody really conspires against Latvia. Basically everybody has their own interests and they try to achieve them using their lobbies.
And of course there are many companies in Europe and U.S. that want to get control over most profitable Latvian companies or to get a share of market.
It would be naive to think that nobody wants to privatize Lattelecom, Ventspils Nafta, Air Baltic, Latvijas Dzelzceļš and other big companiese. The fastest way to achieve it is to use lobbies in Saeima and state institutions. It happens in U.S.and EU, it happens in most world countries and often it's not a secret at all.

So I think Lembergs is often saying truth even though author is trying to convince readers that Lembergs himself is the 100% conspirator and liar.

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Komentētājs

Jānis Ozols 12.07.2010 09:39
This blog post really reflects the obsession of Lembergs with different kind of conspracies :D And Lembergs isn't the only one of Latvia's political elite who has this disease. These sick people think that fight aigainst control of international consiparcy (in most cases with reference to George Soros and other ''sorosieši''), but actually they fight against democratic values, rule of law and fair competition.

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bika 09.07.2010 11:18
Nevajag uzticeeties aptaujam :) - gudri cilveki maak sastadit jautajumus un atbildes taa, lai iegutu aptaujas pasutitaja velamo rezultaatu. Un cilvekus sheit iisti jau arii nav par ko vainot - Lempbergu tachu neviens cietumaa nav licis, ne no viena personigi nav zadzis. Piemeram, no 100 000 samaksaa katrs nodoklos 1ls, kads no shis summas 10 000 sekmigi nobedzina savaa kabatinjaa, bet par parejo saremontee kaadu celja posmu un svinigi to atklaj. Apkartejie cilveki sho labo darbu redz un ir pateicigi personai, kas to ir izdarijusi. Savukart tie 10 sant no cilveka jau nevienam jau vairs nav atminjaa.

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linda. 09.07.2010 10:42
yes, amazingly a great part of population think that MrLembergs is a good businessman, who, yes, has stolen from the country, but also has given something to the city "look how beautiful and clean the city is!". Those are people who do not get that stealing from the country is stealing from them, I guess.

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Diesel 09.07.2010 09:18
Tik labu blogu sen nav nācies lasīt - smējos vai pie katras rindkopas. Pievienojos par 100%.

Doma pēdējā sentencē gan liek aizdomāties - un ne tās gaišākās domas.

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