Mārcis Bendiks: The government is constantly and expertly producing nonsense
Why do you publicly say that the Minister of the Interior has never led even a small office before? Marija Golubeva has been in charge of George Soros' influential structures, even internationally.
Being in charge does not mean leading. Leading means hiring someone and firing them. Being on councils and even boards is not leading. Leading is when you actually lead at least one person, you actually make decisions, but she has not really led anything. Just sitting on a board or council is not a big deal.
Marija Golubeva does not mention it in her CV, but she has been on the board of PASOS*. It is one of the important branches of Soros' international structure.
I might agree with that if I knew it, but I don't know it and it doesn't matter to me. The Soros organization is run by specific people whose names are known, and there is no Marija among them. These are four people. The rest of them is a placard and sitting on such a board is likely to be a way of additional indoctrination. One form of indoctrination is, for example, radicalization, when you are convinced of the Islamic doctrine that others must be blown up, or at least you should blow up yourself. Sitting on the boards or councils of Soros bodies is the same as sitting on the Supreme Council during the Soviet era. It seemed that the Members of the Supreme Council run the country. In reality, they did not lead anything. They just sat there and sometimes found something out. Sometimes they were given souvenirs for sitting there - a box of candies, an orange, less often a banana. The members of the councils and boards of Soros' structures are the same as during the Soviet era Džemma Skulme or Vija Artmane counted as the heads of state through their sitting in the USSR Supreme Council. Džemma Skulme in particular, with her intelligent glasses, was always filmed on the TV news program "Vremja" so that the whole Soviet nation could see how intelligent the deputies from "Pribaltika" are. So, what did they lead? They couldn't even lead themselves. Marija Golubeva is the same modern Džemma Skulme and nothing more.
You were one of the first in Latvia to start talking about the inadequately large political influence of these Soros structures. Even now, you won't deny this large influence?
About eight years ago, it became clear that they had taken over power. These unelected bodies began to control and monitor the elected bodies. This meant a real takeover of power. Just as under Soviet rule there was the Communist Party Politburo, which actually led the country and the then government - the Council of Ministers. We are currently in deep global turbulence. The shaking it causes is comparable to the First World War or the Great French Revolution. As before the First World War, until 1918, and then the war ended and everything exploded - women demanded the right to vote, and so on. The world after 1918 became different than it was before. By 1928, the new order had stabilized. Now, in the context of this turbulence, perhaps the same thing is happening that happened in the French Revolution or with the guys who joined the NKVD to shoot others and then they themselves were put against the wall.
The Soros system was aimed at depriving parliaments of control over the state and taking control themselves. But this path is so unpredictable. Nowhere is it said that you will stay with those who load people in cattle wagons - it is possible that you yourself will be loaded in them as soon as the loaders change. From this point of view, eight years ago it could be seen that the Soros plan has succeeded in the medium term, but how will it succeed in the long run? I would definitely not place bets on them.
But now their success is indisputable - they have their own ministers, heads of Saeima commissions, the President, senior officials.
Yes. But we are saved by our absolute chaos. They can decide on their places and offices in every way, but nothing changes from that. I remember that in 1996 such influential men as Indulis Bērziņš, Andrejs Panteļējevs, Edvīns Inkēns worked in Latvian politics. I went to them and asked what decisions would be made? They said - see, this is where our people sit and vote. But the vote is by secret ballot - who knows what'll be the result? That is why I have always been consistently in favor of parliamentary democracy and against a popularly elected president. Initially, the popularly elected presidents with ratings could be Alfrēds Rubiks or Anatolijs Gorbunovs. Now we see that our President, who is not elected by the people, suddenly shoves his tail between his legs and sends the poor Director of the Chancellery Andris Teikmanis to tell the people that he did not want, but sort of wanted, but it is clear that he did not really want to, and it is clear that the women of the Chancellery urged him to buy another grand piano. Teikmanis must go and justify this to them. But it wasn't Teikmanis who wanted to buy a grand piano. He is a normal guy. He may not be too ingenious, but he was definitely not the one who said, "Listen, let's buy a grand piano and annoy people."
There is less than a year left until the elections. Can we predict how the parties will position themselves? After all, the ruling coalition will not be able to say that what we are seeing in the country now is not what they have created, but rather the consequences of the anti-vaxxers?
Of course, there will be a search for the culprits. Everyone will point fingers at each other. It is not for nothing that the whole company called Development/For has started pointing fingers at each other. Your readers may not have noticed, but Development/For is something like Prince Charles with Princess Diana. Technically, it's marriage, but...
Similar to what we saw when Egils Levits called the representatives of this association and asked to lobby the position of a judge of the Constitutional Court for his adviser. They went and told their faction about the call, and the group told the television about it.
Yes, but this case is more related to this character - the President - with his delayed youth naivete, which sometimes flares up. Development/For exists because it is this entity that receives large amounts of public funding. The municipal elections vividly demonstrated that For and Development ran separately in all the lists. Development and the Farmers can be formally considered the winners of the municipal elections. But For is a total loser. For and Development will gladly look for the culprits in each other. [Krišjānis] Kariņš is still in front of it all. He is the Prime Minister. In such a situation, anything can be thrown on the Prime Minister. The prime minister is a suitable enough hanger, an antler, similar to an old-time sauna, where instead of the wardrobe the walls were decorated with elk and deer antlers, where something could always be thrown on. I am not a fan of Kariņš in any way, but at the same time, he is not a villain, which cannot be said about quite a lot of ministers.
What will we see in the Saeima election campaign? It looks like this election campaign will be different. Can you predict what will appear there?
Unlike the situation twenty years ago, when the pre-election campaign system began to be developed, the campaigns were carried out by people who mentally lived in the twentieth century. It was determined that all newspapers should send the prices of advertising spaces to KNAB, and then all that remained was to check whether the campaign was in line with the price. Television advertising can also be controlled. However, you can no longer control the amount of advertising on social networks. Old accounting mechanisms do not work in today's media world. Who even cares whether or not you have placed an advertisement in some small-time newspaper? If my memory is correct, one of Gobzems' social network accounts has about 30,000 followers. That's incomparably more than the circulation of any newspaper. In that case [Jurģis] Liepnieks or [Ēriks] Stendzenieks should also submit reports to KNAB. A person with 20 or 30 thousand followers has enormous power. It is expected that more and more precise content will be created, which will be directed to the people, more precisely, to the target audience, through various social network channels. And it's not expensive. The movement of money cannot be controlled here. You can control what they pay to, for example, Facebook, but you can't control how much they pay content creators. The production cycle is also much shorter than before when advertising on TV or in print media. Creating your own information bubble and then feeding it is not a new thing at all. Let's look at the most outstanding masters of propaganda. Dr Joseph Goebbels postulated it very cynically - no sane person reads a newspaper whose views he disagrees with. This is the principle of the information bubble. Once upon a time, there were only three or four newspapers, but now there are tens, hundreds, thousands of such bubbles. This means that the campaign can no longer be seen from one point, never mind tracked. As a result, this campaign promises to be much more diverse and dirty. It can already be seen. For example, who really needed to put Kariņš singing by the grand piano on social networks? I assume that it did not even work for certain groups of the electorate, because they did not even find it interesting.
Maybe it even had a positive effect: many looked and thought - we sure have a nice prime minister, an American Latvian, used to freeze ice, now sings Latvian songs to the accompaniment of Pavļuts?
Yes. A decent guy. But the idea of the video's authors was different: see, the president has a grand piano and this guy also sings by the grand piano, let's show them what's what! And, of course, it was their own who put it on social networks. Not Urbanovičs. And it was only an indication, not an incriminating material that is usually made public twenty days before the election.
Does this mean that observers of the political process will have something to enjoy?
In that sense, this is a wonderful time.
We have a government that produces nonsense almost constantly.
Lato Lapsa complains about the banana brothers to the police (meant Bordāns party members Minister of Health Gatis Eglītis and Saeima Member Krišjānis Feldmans, who posted their photos on social networks to show the people that they were the first visitors to the Lidl store and the first buyers of cheap bananas). They justify themselves and say - no, no, it (Lidl visit) was all meant very differently. As the Russians say - я не я, и жопа не моя (I'm not me, and this ass is not mine). But they are high-ranking government officials, not some ordinary visitors to the store. The sad part is that schools are being closed to lower the infection numbers and prevent television reports with crowded morgues. Every closed school, every missed school day brings us closer to aggressive idiocy. This should be avoided at all costs. Why should schools be closed? Children can just as well burn logs in front of the school or walk around the school with garlic cloves around their necks as they did in Soviet times. Fool around as much as you want, just don't close the schools, because this is not the most dangerous virus for children. This is confirmed by statistics. This virus is dangerous for those who live with children, especially the unvaccinated. But there the adults themselves are to blame. If I have to decide what to sacrifice - pensioner Mārcis Bendiks or my grandson Indriķis Bendiks, then I should definitely be the one to be sacrificed. Completely and without any other options. The next generation must not be degraded because of the old people! This is absolutely unacceptable.
The total unpopularity of the ruling coalition is clear, and therefore they probably do not have too high hopes for success. Can they not commit another atrocity - the last-minute privatization of state-owned enterprises? It is talked about from time to time. This is a topical issue. The privatization of state-owned enterprises was also included in the program of Jānis Bordāns as the candidate for Prime Minister.
There are two options. One - to put some companies on the stock exchange, which is essentially privatization. And the second - changes in port management laws, which will make ports a completely different entity than it was before. And there you can create all kinds of miracles.
But the privatization of Latvian Railways?
I do not yet see a clear enough indication. I intuitively feel like they would have done it if it weren't for Covid. Thanks to Covid, money comes much easier than it would come through privatization. Now all you have to do is vote, and you get 40 million. Once upon a time, even 40,000 couldn't be stolen that easily. Now 40 million in one fell swoop. How could you get 40 million out of the railroad? There would be so much work to do. Decisions must be made on boards and councils. Then all those public relations contracts have to be concluded. Why would they need the railway with all its problems - rails and level crossings, where sometimes someone gets run over - if you can calmly give a million and a half to a public relations firm for nothing. If those contracts with these companies were worth it, then the government should already have a perfect rating. Until recently, it was planned to pay 4.5 million euros over three years to strengthen the country's image. Everything is simple. Why would they need privatization?
Of course, usually no political force talks about crazy projects like the privatization of state-owned enterprises a year before the elections. But this is perhaps a completely different situation in which this can be done? "After me, the flood"?
Rather, it may happen that the project to privatize not the whole railway is pushed through, but, for example, part of it - the Zasulauka depot or nothing else. Everyone thinks for a moment and says - well, Linkaits, go right ahead! He is surprised for a moment, as he sometimes is very expressively, and implements it. At the moment when Kariņš said that we have so much money that we will not be able to grab it all, one part really was not grabbed. It is the part of the Ministry of Transport. Recently I drove four big laps around Latvia. Roads were wonderful, as in Germany. For example, the road from Dviete to Ilūkste. In the past, it was so bad that even a tank would break its tracks - you had to bite down on a piece of leather to prevent your teeth from breaking while driving. Thus, the money that goes to the system of the Ministry of Transport benefits people, unlike the money that goes to the health system, where it is just stolen. Why couldn't the money for vaccination in the spring be given to the rural doctors? If you give the money to the rural doctors, then that money is dead for the politicians. You can't get it. On the other hand, if you don't give money to rural doctors, you can set up vaccination centers, write tenders that you can compete in. You also pay for the maintenance of these centers at all times. It's millions each month. Member Možvillo was right to oppose giving money to the people, saying that they would spend it all on booze. I also got that retirement bonus, and that's what happened! I drank it all! But since spirits are excisable goods, most of their money were returned to the state budget.