Bulgaria launches investigation into pro-Russian paramilitaries – EURACTIV.com


Sofia’s Prosecutor’s Workplace ordered the nation’s counter-intelligence company to begin investigations into the actions of an alleged pro-Russian paramilitary organisation following a tip that the organisation had dedicated crimes in opposition to the republic.

BNO Shipka and BND Shipka, two Bulgarian-registered NGOs, are beneath the authority’s highlight because of their hyperlinks to a so-called navy union, Levski, and changing into extra lively in Bulgaria following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The 2 teams are believed to supply specialised coaching to volunteers from Russian ex-special ops instructors, push anti-EU and anti-NATO propaganda, and push rhetoric of revolting in opposition to an illegitimate authorities, banning political events, and sweeping racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, in line with Bellingcat analysis.

On high of brazenly asserting their intention to vary the nation’s constitutional order, additionally they organised a hunt for Syrian immigrants on Strandja mountain in the course of the first refugee disaster and actively unfold pretend information in the course of the pandemic.

“We defend the pursuits of our European and Euro-Atlantic companions. We can not permit malicious Russian affect in Bulgaria,” stated Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev commented, along with his workplace promising that extra data can be supplied after the investigation is accomplished.

An individual with the pseudonym Lt. Walter Kalashnikov is claiming to be the chief of the organisations. His actual title is Doncho Rusev and in line with public data, he was born in 1959 within the Burgas village of Bulgarovo, graduated from a sergeant’s faculty in Shumen, and till 1981 served as a sergeant within the tank division in Aytos.

In 1996, Rusev appeared because the proprietor of the Walter Catani safety firm which boasts that it “convened” in Bulgaria a gathering of leaders of a world safety belief with the participation of former officers from Mossad, the KGB and the CIA, writes Prime Information.

Rusev additionally has fairly a couple of different enterprise ventures, resembling a newspaper, a intercourse store, funding recommendation, and cryptocurrencies, most of which have failed. He’s additionally linked to a Fb web page referred to as “Bulgaria and Russia – One Historical past, One Language, One Religion, One Individuals” utilized by the pro-Russian populist “Vazrazhdane” celebration to distribute marketing campaign messages and promoting.

The prosecutor’s workplace is now claiming that it acquired a tip from a citizen, regardless of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) having supplied the state prosecution in 2016 with publicly-available information pointing to the teams’ actions being directed in opposition to the republic and proof of the creation of secret or paramilitary constructions.

BNO Shipka and the union Vasil Levski have been additionally cited within the request for the dismissal of Geshev which was submitted by then Justice Minister Nadezhda Yordanova in March 2022. The request defined how these paramilitary organisations have been working and being educated by Russian navy instructors with no response from authorities.

On Friday, Geshev stated the actions of BNO Shipka have been worrying for Bulgarian nationwide safety and the pursuits of the European household.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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