A number of Bulgarian politicians, some of whom were affiliated with pro-Russian parties, have been subject to coordinated sanctions from the US and the UK due to corruption.
On Friday, a number of prominent Bulgarian politicians faced sanctions, Balkan Insight reported.
Among those designated by the US is GERB member Vladislav Goranov, Finance Minister in 2017-2020, Russophile Movement party leader Nickolay Malinov, who in 2019 was charged with espionage, Bulgarian Socialist Party members 2017-2019 MP Ivan Kirov and Rumen Ovcharov, Minister of Economy and Energy from 2005 to 2007, and Alexander Nikolov, former general director of Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party is the successor to the one-time ruling Communist Party and is traditionally aligned with Russia.
Among the sanctioned entities are Bulgaria’s pro-Russian far-right Revival party, embroiled in numerous controversies, most recently in an anti-euro campaign and in intimidating journalists, and the more marginal Russophile Movement.
In its turn, the United Kingdom sanctioned former media mogul and current Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Delyan Peevski, the exiled oligarch and gambling tycoon Vassil Bozhkov, and the former deputy chief of Bulgaria’s special intelligence service, Ilko Zhelyazkov.
“The UK is acting in close coordination with the US to support Bulgaria in its efforts to tackle corruption and strengthen the rule of law by sanctioning these corrupt figures,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
International criticism of Bulgarian corruption has intensified lately. “In Bulgaria, the oligarchs have an extremely strong grip. They amass power through the politicians and keep it through economic means to keep their image clean,” US ambassador to Sofia Herro Mustafa told a TV interview on January 22.
There is a strong correlation between the corruption of politicians and their promotion of Russia’s interests.
Earlier, we reported on Italian politicians who visited the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia. Or about the business ties of the former Croatian Minister of Construction Ivan Paladina with Russian oligarchs close to the FSB.