By: Armin Aljovic
Translated by: Lejla Dzaferovic
However the case 'Aluminij' may eventually close, for the HDZ president Dragan Covic it could well mean the end of his political career, as that Mostar company that has been brought down to its knees also officially last week – over the past three decades only HDZ was deciding about, lately Covic directly.
There are two possible scenarios for Aluminij, after its electrolytic cells have been shut down for the first time since 1977, as the company accumulated debt of 400 million KM, a half of which being its electricity bill. Either the company declares bankruptcy because of HDZ's racketeering that the company was not able to accommodate any longer, or the Aluminij has been destroyed on purpose so that HDZ's tycoons and their friends from Russia could buy it and become owners, which is also very likely.
It is unbelievable that for days since the syndicate and the management of Aluminij announced that parts of the factory were due for final closure, neither Covic nor anybody from the Croatian government that owns 12% of the company have responded.
Only after the parts of the factory were completely shut down, and their reactivation would require additional 50 million KM, did Covic promise to do his utmost to save the company, which the workers and Mostar citizens thought to be an insult to their intelligence.
Croatian journalist Denis Kuljis wrote last year with certainty that the bankruptcy of Aluminij is just a way for PPD to enter the company, as well as the Russian capital.
In such a scenario, along with already Russian Konzum, Moscow would strengthen its position in the EU and its border in Herzegovina, which Brussels would not like at all.
In his analysis 'The greatest Balkans story: Operation 'Aluminij'', Kuljis writes: 'Due to Electrolysis, Aluminij owns about 90 million EUR to Elektroprivreda of the Croat community Herzeg-Bosnia. As the company was not solvent, the guarantee was provided by PPD BiH, a sister company of Vukovar's representation of the Sybir gas in the Balkans. Not only that, it 'contributed to liquidity', and then, according to the writings of well informed 'Žurnal', it is getting ready to buy the entire debt for the electricity (discounted price) and then it will request enforced collection via bank used both by Aluminij and PPD, which is of course 'Sberbank'. That is how PPD will become the largest owner of this Aluminij – for peanuts.
There is a small 'political upgrade' involved there, too. During the signing of the contract between PPD and Gazprom, the Russian ambassador in Sarajevo Petar Ivancov bragged about 'official Moscow being informed of relaxation of Aluminij's business' (as it also says on the official pages of Aluminij), adding in an interview for 'Vecernji List' how important it is to 'urgently solve the Croat issue in BiH' (meaning the dispute over the electoral system).
In return, Dragan Covic, the HDZ leader, states that 'European and NATO integrations are not the priority for BiH'. Well, that is some serious shift and a worrisome statement. And what is the priority for BiH if not the NATO and EU integrations? Does that mean that Covic, together with Dodik, with who he connected on a 'tactical level', is now streategically connecting with Moscow?'
Either scenario will benefit Covic's oponents.
If the company has gone bankrupt because of HDZ's racketeering, the workers will continue the protests on the streets of Mostar shouting 'thief, thief...’ Those were the first antiHDZ protests in Mostar – the protests of their own membership – since the party was founded in the nineties.
If this is about intentional shuting down of the company to please Russian interests, then it is the Croat people in BiH who have been tricked into believing that their leaders are pro-European values only, so the protesters will be shouting 'betrayal, betrayal'
In any case, Covic will hardly be able to survive the death of Aluminij. If Aluminij was Covic's ATM in the past, today it is a noose tightening around his neck.
His chances of survival are there (at least in theory) only if a Bosniak party takes over the life-saving operation of Covic, as well as a part of Aluminij's debt.
That said, the Bosniak party that would take over responsibility for servicing Covic's debts would go bankrupt much sooner that Aluminij itself.
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