Bulgaria Considers Freezing Assets of Russian Cultural Center in Sofia

Politics | February 23, 2024, Friday // 17:30|  views

The Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariya Gabriel, has stated that the accounts of the Russian Cultural and Information Center in Sofia could potentially be frozen, pending approval from the ministry. This announcement came during a parliamentary session where Gabriel responded to inquiries from members of the WCC-DB regarding the closure of the center in Bulgaria.

Gabriel highlighted that the center's affiliation with the Federal Agency for the Affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States, commonly known as "Rossotrudnichestvo," raises concerns. Both Gabriel and the head of Rossotrudnichestvo, Evgeny Primakov, are among those sanctioned by the EU. Additionally, the manager of the center previously held a position at Rossotrudnichestvo.

With a focus on maintaining a unified EU stance towards Russia and combating its systematic disinformation campaigns, Gabriel expressed support for freezing the assets of Rossotrudnichestvo, including bank accounts in Bulgaria. However, she emphasized that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not the competent authority for implementing sanctions.

To address this, Gabriel proposed the adoption of a specialized regulatory act outlining the responsibilities of relevant institutions at the national level, particularly regarding the freezing of financial assets. She stressed the urgency of implementing such measures to ensure compliance with EU sanctions.

Gabriel underscored the need for a clear mechanism enabling financial institutions and relevant authorities to swiftly implement asset freezes. By establishing these protocols, Bulgaria aims to demonstrate its commitment to countering Russian influence and supporting EU initiatives against disinformation.

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Tags: Bulgarian, Gabriel, Russian, sofia

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