Monday, August 25, 2003

Those Who Adapt Are Those Who Prosper

In Croatia word "tajkun", derived from English "tycoon" is synonymous with Russian "oligarkh" ("oligarch"). In modern Croatian dictionary the word could be have picture of Stipe "Jambo" Gabrić (Stipe "Jambo" Gabric) as an illustration. "Jambo", controversial businessman from city of Metković (Metkovic), used to be one of the most valuable members of HDZ. At least this is what he claims after being thrown out from that party for the same reasons as flamboyant Ljubo Ćesić Rojs (Ljubo Cesic Rojs). Ivo Sanader threw him out of party in an apparent attempt to show new, modern and "clean" version of HDZ few months before the elections.

"Jambo" didn't like it and expressed this displeasure by going public with all kinds of dirt on HDZ. He claimed that Vladimir Šeks (Vladimir Seks), one of HDZ leaders, came to him in February and tried to extort 1 million HRK (cca. 130,000 €) of campaign contributions, threatening with indictments and jail time if he refused (after HDZ triumphant return to power, of course). "Jambo" claims that he had been systematically extorted by his party in similar fashion during Tudjman years.

Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic), current Croatian President, expressed his support for "Jambo" and his plight by inviting him to the Croatian Navy yacht and publicly demanding that Croatian police and judiciary start investigating the case. He didn't mention any investigation of the way in which "Jambo" had gained the wealth being allegedly extorted.

Some journalists already began asking questions why "Jambo" chose to speak out now and why Mesić bothered to call him to the presidential yacht. Some already speculate that this is all part of the deal in which "Jambo" and couple of other HDZ-era "tajkuns" are going to offer their financial backing to governing coalition before services in exchange for various favours after elections. To already apathetic Croatian masses that should hardly be a shock – despite all pre-election promises about cleaning up the house and doing things differently than in Tudjman's era, Račan (Racan) & his crew adopted some of his practices, including cronism, either by snatching Tudjman's "tajkuns" from HDZ or creating their own. But until now Croatian public still had some illusions about President Mesić – usually very critical of Račan and his softness towards Tudjmanism and sleaze – and they are probably saddened by his sudden embrace of political pragmatism at the expense of noble principles.


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