In the face of the worsening economic crisis and the flu epidemic, some Bulgarians are starting to wonder whether Boyko Borisov's bark is worse than his bite
I don't need my own show like Hugo Chávez. I am always online and the people know the country's agenda from the media. I talk only when I have something on my mind. I repeat it for days on all channels so that even the last peasant can hear and remember it. Even if they ask me about something else, I stay on message. Journalists send me text messages and then I call them myself. Even if they don't seek me out, I find them. There is no need now for the Council of Ministers publicists to rig the news on TV. I'm there, live on every programme. I haven't cut in on the Turkish soaps yet, but they haven't come looking for me either. For the time being. I can do without a mirror but not without a TV. So the moment I entered Stanishev's ill-lit office, I ordered one with a plasma screen. Otherwise, how can I govern the country?
THE BAD GUYS
The bad are really very bad. Isn't it why the people got rid of them and called on us instead? But without the bad guys we are not good yet, we are just following on. This is why the bad guys should become even worse. We may even lack the power necessary to denounce them in full. But OK, they will do as a ragged scarecrow. The bad guys – it is Them. We are the friends, "They" are the enemy. We are the ones who love the people and work only in their best interests. But we have to begin everything from scratch because the last 20 years were wasted. We are not afraid to carry the weight of history on our shoulders. Our shoulders are strong. They plundered the country, left the people living on bread crumbs and handed down to us a devastated budget. Within only two months we introduced such order that the country entered Europe's Top 5 stable economies. They blew up churches, set up concentration camps, killed my grandfather with sticks and have no right to exist. We won't slay them with sticks, set up camps for them or ban them, but they should at least shut up forever. Like Dogan, who is my main rival in politics because he is the most cunning one. He is now keeping quiet with all his might. Or they can talk, but only about the right things. The media were the first to give an example of how to make a political leap and now there is not a single bad one among them.
THE GOOD GUYS
We, the good guys, are very good. Isn't it why people reward us with ratings? The good guys – this is Me. I pay out pensions, I build motorways, I balance the budget, I catch criminals. When I say We, I mean I. When I say I, I mean I again. Because in Bulgaria you can never find the right person for the job, I begin choosing good guys first among those with my favourite names: Tsvetan, Tsetska, Tsvetelin… Because in Bulgaria you can never find the right person for the job, the ones I have chosen would be good at any job. Zheleva is OK not only for a foreign minister, but for an EU commissioner too. In six months, I rotated Fandakova in three posts: deputy mayor, minister of education and mayor. A mayor – no way. I'll be the mayor again. I'll inaugurate kindergartens, football grounds, the underground and the ring road myself.
THE BIG ONES
I was thinking of cutting off the Russians from the energy projects, but Putin said he would cut me off. I know that in a difficult situation a man has to turn to his closest friends – the brothers from the European People's Party. Berlusconi admired me so much that he measured the span of my back with his hands. How could I not invite him to join the Belene project? But how could I know that the damn Communists have been sabotaging things there for 30 years too and the Italians are way behind us in nuclear energy technology? I offered it to Sarkozy too, but he frightened me off with Chernobyl. Otherwise, abroad they have valued me highly, since the time they plied me with honours and awards as a chief secretary. I treasure them like trophies from world championships. This is why I respect only world leaders. Our bumpkins don't measure up to my expectations. Let's see if it will occur to Parvanov to give me a Stara Planina order by the end of his term.
I have promised to keep all my promises. What promise could be better than that! My speeches at official events are short and clear too: "May we all live long and be healthy." I have forbidden all my subordinates to use "will." When they bring something to an end, they can. But they mustn't speak out even then. Generally, I don't like making promises – I I don't feel like writing programmes. Let Stanishev and Kostov write them. Because of them we were forced to jot down 82 crisis points. I don't do points – I am all action. Full stop.
The ministers often appear at loggerheads when they speak in public. This is true. From the very first month. Mladenov disagrees with Djankov about freezing salaries next year. Bozhidar nearly acts like he is foreign minister. And Djankov tends to have his own say after Traykov talks about the energy projects. No problem, we can also pass for a coalition, no matter that we are a one- party government. Besides, I can always distract attention with the unnecessary government aeroplanes – we are not going to be circling over Sofia. Or with the even more unnecessary government entertainment allowance. If Merkel comes on a visit, I'll buy her coffee from my own pocket because I like her. If I don't like her, I won't buy her coffee. We did away with the concessions for young families who buy homes on credit. This is true. But we provide money for all in vitro candidates. Nature shows the way: first a child, then a home. With the fiscal reserve, we saw that the trial and error system works. In three days, I made Djankov give up the idea of depositing it with commercial banks. This minister will be very helpful for me. The greater his experience in such things, the easier it will be to try out ideas. Finally, we'll hit the jackpot.
The people used to hate MPs. They talked too much, did nothing and voted using other MPs' cards. We are different and the people have come to love us. I have disciplined all of my MPs and they are afraid to go to the toilet – in case they miss a vote. It's a small matter I haven't yet provided them with anything to vote for. Their job is only to vote, not to write laws. What is there to write about? I like laws that are no more than a page long. MPs can't call ministers whenever they like – they are not journalists, are they?
THE RIGHT WING
Martincho (the leader of the SDS, or Union of Democratic Forces) is a real ninny. He wanted to be a minister so much. The SDS would safeguard the government, he says. I sent them packing long ago, but they are still dreaming of guarantees. I don't need Kostov either. I only need his people as experts, 'cause I have no people for any job whatsoever. He's now backing me, but he's keeping a close watch on me from the DANS (State Agency for National Security) commission. I'll decommission the DANS if they play smart alecks with me. I can go to the country again and beat them all. I don't need anybody apart from Volen (the leader of Ataka). We came to terms with him long ago. How exactly is between him and me. What matters is that our majority is set in stone. I have no problems with Yane (the leader of Order, Lawfulness, Justice Party) either, no matter that he is acting like he has an independent mandate. There are no independent Yanes.
There are no oligarchs either. There is big private business. I am a friend with everybody. We don't meet in public so as not to annoy the people. I give whatever I can. Small businesses think that the state helps only the big ones. They are wrong. I visit farmers with heifers and I personally hand over the contracts to them. If necessary, I'll milk them too.
I come from the people too. I know them like the back of my hand. When they look at me, they see themselves. I say the same things they do. The people want me to be tough. I bang my fist on the table. There is no danger of anything spilling. The plates continue to be empty.
*Originally published in the Kultura weekly newspaper