Just like during the nineties, when he became rich over night while the majority of people lost everything, when he kept encouraging the heroes from Kosare from his brand new apartment in Belgrade, today Aleksandar Vucic is also taking from the poor and giving to the rich while claiming to fight for the downtrodden.
On a micro level, the best example of this paradigm is Aleksandar Martinovic, a prominent SNS official. In order for him to increase his income, several teachers from a college in Cuprija had to lose their jobs. So Vucic not only doesn’t help the poor, he creates more of them.
On a macro level, we have Telekom. This state enterprise keeps buying companies owned by persons close to the government and, thus, pours the money of the citizens of Serbia into Vucic’s friends’ pockets.
In fact, that is the main purpose of the entire state-owned sector of the economy. EPS, Srbijagas, Fiat Serbia, Air Serbia – they’ve all reported losses or received billions of euros in state subsidies. All of this is, of course, paid for indirectly, through taxes, by the poor citizens of Serbia, including the dizzyingly enormous salaries of the managers.
Next, the taxes which are relatively higher for the poor, flow into the pockets of the rich members of the ruling party.
Another element of the economic environment, the foreign currency policy, is also contributing to this redistribution. First, the foreign exchange rate gives a false image of the economic performance of Serbia. The overrated dinar makes the salaries and gross domestic product seem bigger in euros, and the public debt lower. This would’ve been a different picture if the exchange rate for the dinar was balanced or, colloquially speaking – realistic. Other consequences, however, are far worse. The unrealistically high exchange rate for dinar leads to an increase of import, which, in turn, leads to the enrichment of importers who are mainly controlled by the SNS, i.e. Vucic. On the other hand, this policy de-stimulates actually capable entrepreneurs – the ones who don’t need a party behind them – to export and grow their businesses, leaving tens of thousands of people who work for them on the edge of poverty.
Furthermore, the enormous corruption attached to big infrastructural projects and loans is used to finance Vucic’s party and its officials. The loans will mainly be paid by the poor citizens and the corruption directly inhibits development. Foreign investors will come only if they are bribed by subsidies, which are mostly paid by the poor.
All of this causes low economic growth. It’s well known that, under Vucic’s government, Serbia has had the lowest growth rate out of all 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Rich citizens, who are in a position to compensate this loss through one form of “rent” or another, aren’t affected by this. The majority, however, do not have this privilege. Instead, they are directly affected by the economic decline of the country, which also causes their personal financial demise.
In conclusion, while blaming the opposition for dividing the nation into the „unwashed masses” and the „elite”, Aleksandar Vucic is in fact creating this divide himself. And he’s doing it very carefully, by systemically and systematically damaging the „unwashed masses” to support his party of the nouveau riche.
Translated by Marijana Simic