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Monday, May 27, 2024

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With Aisha Jallow

An oli…what???

Those of you who follow the happenings in Ukraine and the Russian invasion of the country might have stumbled on the word oligarch and asked yourself what it means. It sounds like a name of a disease, or something, and in a way we could compare oligarchy as a sickness of the mind. This ”sickness” is causing a severe sense of entitlement, that what you want – you will get. When someone is affected by ”oligarchy” there is no second thought of anyone else’s needs or wishes. Nope, an oligarch will enrich himself no matter what, and no matter the means.

The word oligarch is not Russian, as we might believe. It is actually Greek and it is made of two words: ”oligos” which means few and ”archos” which means rule. This word was made up for more than 2000 years ago, but it has never been as common as in these days of war and terror in Ukraine. Oligarchy means that a small number of people rule over the finances of a country, and these people are extremly wealthy! I mean extremly wealthy! We are not speaking of millionaries, in dollars, no, it is a matter of billions and billions. These people are businessmen and financiers, but it is not possible to make so-called normal business and achieve that kind of wealth. This business is about being most skillfull in tricking others by being very convincing.

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The methods used in convincing others is more of the mafia kind, than anything else. You don’t have a say, you do as the oligarch tells you to do, otherwise you will be found at the bottom of a lake with shoes made of concrete. In the mafia, you rule by showing that you fear nothing and no one. You use others for your own purposes and you show others respect as long as they are useful to you. So why is there so much talk about the Russian oligarchs these days? Because they rule Russia very much and they definitely rule the Russian economy. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin is said to have no bank accounts in his own name. His money is handled by some oligarchs and as a token for his gratitude, the oligarchs can enrich themselves in abundance.

Normal Russians have low salaries, live in rather scrappy apartment houses and have few options in life. Oligarchs live in palaces, own mansions all over the world and own luxurious yachts with which they can cross the Mediterranean Sea or other lovely waters. Their wives are beautiful and their children study at the best schools in the US or in the UK. Some years ago, I listened to a documentary on the radio, where some young people told about their job on one of these luxurious yachts owned by a Russian oligarch. Among the other things they told about how it was to work on these huge boats, they also told about how some of these oligarchs treated their wives.

Wealthy men can marry young and beautiful women, even if the man himself is old and ugly. The wives were meant to be decorative, always. When they became pregnant, they were not allowed to let their bodies become affected by the pregnancy. All of us know that a woman’s body goes through changes because of the pregnancy. That is normal, but if the woman is supposed to be decorative – especially when she is in a tiny bikini, she is in trouble if her body is not as perfect as before the pregnancy. To prevent this, the women were forced to go through a C-section, when she was 7 months pregnant. They aborted the pregnancy when the baby was not ready to be born, to prevent the mother’s body to become ugly and the belly being floppy.

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The baby has to stay in an incubator as the lungs are not strong enough so the baby can breath properly. This is risky, of course! The baby is so little and vulnerable, it is an easy prey for infections that can even be fatal. This is a risk the oligarchs are willing to take, the most important thing for them is that the woman they have invested in remains decorative. You don’t want a fat and ugly wife by the pool side on your super yacht, do you?

When you think of Russia and the oligarchs, you think of corruption. Place Putin in this bunch of elderly, corrupt men, together with the high dignitaries in the Russian army. ”Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, as the saying goes , and there has been a lot of scratching going on for the last 20 years or so. As long as it is a matter of friendly scratching, all is well, but Putin has began to fear his former friends and allies. He has began to fear that the claws will come out instead and turn the peaceful scratching to destruction as he has destructed so many. Karma hits back, sooner or later, and Vladimir Putin has reasons to believe in the revenge getting him, instead of the opposite.

Putin has sacked more than a 1000 of his nearest people; generals, ministers who were his puppets but now are out of favour. These people made him believe that the war industry in Russia was strong and the army was well equipped, when they only told him what he wanted to hear because they feared him. They feared losing their benefits and these were not small. The super yachts, the luxurious boats I told you about at the beginning of this article, are bought with the money that should have paid for military equipment and were also meant to benefit the Russian people. Putin has held himself isolated, because he doesn’t only fear people but germs and the latest has been the pandemic.

Planning to invade another country, finding arguments to justify it, takes time and Putin and his guys have had plenty of time during the pandemic. This club of elderly medal covered men have lost the grip of the reality as they live so far away from it. Oligarchs, and high dignitaries live separated from normal people and their petty lives. They keep on convincing each other that their plans are the best plans in the world, and the one they need to convince the most is Putin because they benefit from his benevolence. The dignitaries know that the higher they rise, the harder they will fall so they will do everything to avoid that.

So why should you be bothered with a war that is going on so far from you? Because it will affect you too, and that has also to do with corruption. Ukraine has long been considered the ”bread basket” of Europe. This means that this country has large fields with a very fertile soil where they grow wheat. A large part of the wheat imported to The Gambia comes from Ukraine. There is a war going on and the ”bread basket” is destroyed. The farmers have been forced to become soldiers instead and it is too dangerous to be out working on the fields. What has this anything to do with corruption, you might ask? Well, ask your own dignitaries why most of the food in The Gambia is imported instead of home grown. You have a lovely weather and fertile soil, so why are you not using that to feed your people?

Your own dignitaries are too busy scratching each other’s backs, they feed on your blood and don’t care until it hits back on themselves. People are the same all over the world, it is only their titles that differ.

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