The reality-impaired coverage of Kosovo dominating the headlines for the past 18 months has been interrupted of late by a tangled web of accusation and insinuation which when unravelled gives a far clearer indication of the state of the Serbian body politic than delusional comparisons of Kosovo with Baltic or south China sea island chains.
At the heart of the matter is Miroslav Miskovic, a – pardon the euphemism – “Milosevic-era tycoon” long-blacklisted by the US government for his alleged involvement in cigarette smuggling and other bad behaviour during the good old, bad old days of the Slobo n’Mira roadshow.
Miroslav has had a little more press attention than he would like of late, photographed over drinks with the head of the secret police, various politicians & government ministers, accused of pressurising journalists and covertly funding news media, creating monopolies, disappearing capital and pressing criminal charges against the anti-corruption council.
That anti-corruption council is clearly but a den of thieves. Naturligt, as they would say on the Aland islands.
Miskovic has even managed to get himself associated with Kosovo, thanks to a US embassy memo which the press managed to get hold of. The memo speaks of an offer Miskovic allegedly made to the Americans via an oft-quoted supposed emissary, Braca Grubacic. According to the US embassy memo, Miskovic offered to intervene in the Kosovo dispute and get Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica and the gang to “soften” their position on Kosovo in return for Miskovic’s removal from the US black list. For some reason Miskovic was allegedly able to offer his services to “secure the stability” of the fractious ruling coalition comprising of feuding political parties united only by their need to secure funding from multiple singularly generous, yet conditional, sources.
Miskovic for his part has accused the leader of one of the political parties not getting moolah from him and not comparing Kosovo to territories in the Baltic and South China Seas of benefiting financially from the latter’s abduction and kidnapping. Oh no ! Do tell us all, Mr Miskovic.
As he proceeds to do in a “public letter” – curious term for a press release – to the aforesaid pol. Ceda Jovanovic. Why Miskovic took this matter to the press rather than the police may for the moment be a source of media speculation but it’s always amusing to watch the elaborate Kabuki performed via tame or hostile journalists between oligarchs and politicians that precede political tectonic shifts.
While politicians are happy to spout nonsense, slander and untruths about government road contracts every day, you know something serious is going on when the oligarchs break cover. Although the recipients of frequent political party funding solicitations, or thinly veiled blackmail threats in the case of the Radicals, they tend to avoid the political spotlight where possible.
The most notable exception to this rule is Bogoljub Karic who not content to influence developments via the middlemen that pass for politicians, started his own political party which threatened to undercut support for the party that controlled both the ministries of police and justice. Tut, tut. This was clearly NOT ON and the entirely independent judiciary and police interest in his business dealings forced him to leave the country not long after. I’m all for continuing exposure of the real political economy and following the money, but suspect that normal Sloboesque service involving much flag waving and maps to resume shortly