Probability of a pro-Russian revanche in Bulgaria

Despite the fact that the entire civilized world has long regarded Russia and its political elite as unpredictable and dangerous to world security, in the EU and NATO countries, there is still support for openly harmful and destructive political trends which call for friendship with Russia.

In Bulgaria, for example, one of the most popular in the context of pro-Russian narratives is the Revival (Bulgarian: Възраждане) Party. Openly pro-Russian rhetoric, rebroadcasting all and even the most ridiculous Kremlin narratives, and of course, fakes.

The Revival Party appeared quite recently and in a very short period of time has managed to become one of the top 3 most popular parties among Bulgarians. The party makes no secret of the fact that it stands for friendship and deepening cooperation with Russia, and is against NATO and the EU. According to recent social polls, the party would gain just over 10% support if elections were held in the spring of 2023.

This is a very dangerous trend that could cause significant damage to the national security and defense system of the entire eastern NATO wing, which after the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a key military aid center for Ukraine.

The leader of the Revival Party is odious and hypocritical politician as Kostadin Kostadinov

Mr. Kostadinov has caused much controversy with his negative views on ethnic minorities as well as his attacks on journalists. He is also known for his pro-Russian sentiments and has called for physical attacks on people who do not conform to his views, calling them “rabble” and “stupid scum” who should be “put to sleep like dangerous animals.

Kostadin Kostadinov, the chairman of the  ultranationalist Revival party

Kostadinov also holds anti-Romani views, calling Roma “parasites” and “inhuman parasites who have no place in Bulgaria”.
In the summer of 2020, a court in Sofia began proceedings to strip Revival of its political party status because it had been established fraudulently by collecting falsified signatures.

However, in May 2021, the Supreme Court of Cassation ruled in favor of Kostadinov’s party, finding that there had been no violation. In September 2020, Kostadinov was detained by police during protests against Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev and the Borisov administration.

His party was also noted for its opposition to many anti-pandemic measures, promotion of conspiracy theories, and strong reservations about COVID-19 vaccines. In March 2022 it was revealed that Kostadinov had been banned from entering Ukraine for 10 years due to his party’s strongly pro-Russian orientation in the context of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Political aspects of Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a relatively democratic country that is under the economic umbrella of the European Union as well as the military umbrella of NATO. Bulgaria, unlike Ukraine, which is now wresting its right to independence from Russian military aggression through its heroic actions and the will of its people, has not faced the horrors of war and the damage that “Russian diplomacy” has done.

Nevertheless, destructive pro-Russian movements, which are gaining some level of support among the local population in Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries with some frequency, are playing on the economic problems of ordinary citizens, which are caused by the Russian war.

Parties such as Mr. Kostadinov’s Revival, by substituting facts, attempt to accuse national governments of incompetence by calling for amicable action and better diplomatic relations with Russian Federation. Nevertheless, very often, as practice shows, leaders of such pro-Russian movements are Russian agents who cooperate with Russian special services, thus undermining the national security and sovereignty of their states.

One can only hope that the national security services will not turn a blind eye to such blatant pro-Russian parties and their provocations, but will respond quickly and professionally.

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