Editorial: Albania’s little dangerous Potemkins

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 31, 2017 10:12

Editorial: Albania’s little dangerous Potemkins

Story Highlights

  • Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski was a Russian military leader, statesman, nobleman and favorite of Catherine the Great. His rule is associated with the "Potemkin village", a largely fictional method of ruse involving the construction of painted façades to mimic real villages, full of happy, well-fed people, for visiting officials to see. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is seen by many as a powerful and charismatic individual. And with great fame come a bunch of groupies. In many years he has attracted around him in various public service duties young people that try to imitate him. They imitate the way he talks, the way he moves his hands and they imitate his need to make things look good.

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Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski was a Russian military leader, statesman, nobleman and favorite of Catherine the Great. His rule is associated with the "Potemkin village", a largely fictional method of ruse involving the construction of painted faà§ades to mimic real villages, full of happy, well-fed people, for visiting officials to see.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is seen by many as a powerful and charismatic individual. And with great fame come a bunch of groupies. In many years he has attracted around him in various public service duties young people that try to imitate him. They imitate the way he talks, the way he moves his hands and they imitate his need to make things look good.

These little Potemkins, like moths around the lamp, revolve around the PM’s personal cult, his style, his content. The most obvious example and the one that was made fun of frequently was the young woman who had the position of Head of the Tax Directorate. However, what people forget is that there is a phenomenon behind the individual. A miniature army of devoted little Potemkins ardently trying to please.

After the previous head of the QSUT, the most important university hospital center in the country that faces the brunt of the patients traffic from all over Albania, became the healthcare minister, she was replaced by a new face – the former head of one of the key national TV-s, sacked after losing a court battle with the owner.

This particular TV channel under his direction has been for years deeply loyal to Rama personally when in opposition and now in power. A person with arguably sufficient managerial experience of a TV company but no connection whatsoever with the health sector is now managing the most important hospital center in the country. It is not a very different story from the previous minister of healthcare, himself a friend of the PM and a very tall kind of Potemkin.

The healthcare sector is one of the least performing ones in the country, with significant problems in medicine supply, corruption, access to services of marginalized people, etc. Without denying the good of some investments in the related infrastructure, the fervor of the administration to portray the changes in the whole sector as a success is ridiculous. And now one of the key people that has overseen the advertisement industry of one of the richest media channels in the country will be at the helm of a critical juncture of the sector. And there he can put his experience to good use. The digital Potemkin Village is our new healthcare virtual reality. Looks good. But it's fake. And yet, let’s remember that the real issue here is not the individual, but the phenomenon.

Potemkins of course are not limited to this administration. The previous prime minister with his unchecked aggressiveness also inspired his lot. Their specialty was of a less subtle, more violent nature. They were often dangerous, always fighting dissent. The ones now are perhaps less intense but equally hazardous.

On and on the Potemkins go about raising cardboard or virtual propaganda villages and trying to mask the reality just like their great predecessor, the Russian general did for Empress Catherine. Their passion and loyalty is unchecked. They will go to lengths that other don’t. They obscure reality in surprisingly efficient ways. In that they represent a hidden threat to this country, be it with or without the blessing of their leadership.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 31, 2017 10:12