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May 7, 1996
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 239
Stojan Cerovic's Diary

The Governor Vs. The Family

Governor Avramovic has won already. He won in the only way a man can win, when he does his duty. But in the situation he finds himself in, considering the time, place and society surrounding him, what he's doing is a miracle.

Perhaps we should know more about how this man lived his life and what happened to him to be able to explain the fact that at his age he is capable of producing miracles. Those in the know believe his success in curbing hyperinflation, although based mainly on stopping the mint from printing money, required original solutions and lots of skill. In any case he was officially declared magician.

He isn't getting any official recognition for what he's doing. On the contrary. The Family has almost done away with him and its press has buried him. But this time another, greater miracle happened. This time the governor didn't launch any new financial trick but is just persistently insisting on an old rule - that money has to have an agreed value and that its production does not lead to wealth but is a fraud and robbery. This time the governor added privatization to his program and he's ready to insist on it radically to the end but that's not news either. Not even the people closest to the Family are refraining from discussions on privatization: it costs nothing to show openness and good intentions and they know they have unlimited possibilities of preventing it, avoiding it, delaying or turning it to their benefit.

What is unusual and what does deserve public admiration is the fact that we have a man who is taking his obligations seriously. It's symptomatic, perhaps even logical, that no one younger than the governor in the authorities has dared note that something is wrong and risk his career to do the right thing. The governor is a man of the old school who recalls another time with different customs and he's not bothered by personal prospects and future ambitions.

This man could have decided to retire quietly when he realized that he won't be able to change anything, that he was left alone against a superior power and that the Family is no longer counting on him. Instead Avramovic spoke up, freely and in public, about everything, for anyone who wants to hear him. He probably thinks that's also his duty. But he knows that he has started a political fight in the field of money, the most secretive, dirtiest, banned and most sensitive field for the Family.

To do something like that a man needs a strong motive, perhaps stronger than a sense of duty. It seems the governor is facing up to something that surprised him, shook him up and terrified him so much that he can't stop talking, excitedly and passionately, to reveal that secret wherever it takes him. He understands that this isn't about the state, politics, economy, parties, national interests, programs and ideologies but about the Family and its business which might coincide with public interests only by accident and are usually quite the opposite.

This whole thing just seems to recall Milan Panic and Dobrica Cosic. Panic came her in the belief that he was taking over and never got close to power, he never understood the nature of the Family and could only guess what happened to him and why. Also, the war was on center stage then and we couldn't see clearly what was happening behind the scene.

On the other hand, Cosic knew very well what it was all about and he had no right to be surprised. He is one of the persistent builders of the authorities and politics embodied by the Family and his dispute with it later was an internal thing. Panic lacked that inside view and Cosic never managed to look at things from the outside.

He thinks of himself differently and obviously believes he has been called to testify against the authorities but his experience covers only the domestic, plotting form which he believes is universal. From that perspective, Cosic can't break the conspiracy of silence and no matter how many books he writes his testimony won't stand up to the freshness and sharpness of Governor Avramovic's simple statements.

Avramovic came in from the outside and was incautiously let in or at least close. It took him time to find his way around in the dark and then he ran out almost screaming. Take only his statement "I'm not giving you money" and you'll know what the Family is and who's in it and what they want and how they're running this miserable state and what the argument with the governor is about and why he decided to go public. He sees that they're ready to take us into another cycle of hyperinflation just three years after the last because that's the logic of their interests.

No doubt Avramovic tried for a long time to convince them not to do that and explained things that are clear even to children until he saw that it was useless. So he decided to call the public in to help him and stepped out of the conspirative Family circle. That was an unforgivable sin, he broke the main code, revealed their cards and reasoning and humiliated them by showing that not even in this system does a man in the authorities have to be a worm.

That is dangerous precedent. What might FRY President Zoran Lilic say now? If Avramovic can really act like a national bank governor why couldn't Lilic be a real head of state? No powers? Why is he playing at president if he has no powers? Federal Prime Minister Kontic has the powers and he has no intention of acting accordingly. They know that if taking themselves seriously would be inappropriate, impolite, scandalous, mad because they aren't the highest state officials but only Family members filling those posts.

Their view of themselves is the same as their view of the world. The governor, for example, revealed that the federal government told him not to waste his time with international loans because he won't get them as long as Clinton is in power. Regardless of whether the loans are available or not, their reasoning is madly typical. They obviously think that the whole problem is the Clinton Family clash with them. Since they don't expect anything from Dole's Family they've given up on America and are visiting Chinese and Korean Families and hoping for a better Family than Yeltsin's in Russia.

Perhaps Avramovic hasn't yet understood everything and drawn all the conclusions. When they called him in to stop hyperinflation he only believed he was saving the people and doing a good deed. Then he spent two years making concessions probably thinking that, after ten years in the US, he doesn't understand local customs enough. Now he knows that saving the people was just a secondary product of the main job: saving the Family from falling. And now he wants no part of it. More precisely, Avramovic's insisting on stable money and privatization leads to stabilization and a better state which ties the hands of the Family removes its raison d'étre. He finds it so easy and natural to name obstacles, point his finger at premiers and ministers and threaten to call for the removal of the Kontic government that the Family isn't capable of collecting its thoughts and start an open debate. The only thing they haven't forgotten is to impose the strictest and most shameless censorship over him. That isn't censorship of war time enemies or world powers or the local opposition but the logic and idea of survival.

If someone asks the governor whether Milosevic is pulling all the strings he'll say he doesn't know for sure or he will ask you not to ask him that. Obviously he feels he has to leave the Family a way out, if only theoretic, without the greatest sacrifice in case they decide to accept his platform. I won't predict the governor's future but whatever it is it will be our own. I am afraid none of us is younger than him any longer.

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