Bulgaria's Ex-PM Denounces Corruption and Russian Influence in FT Interview

Politics | April 9, 2024, Tuesday // 15:59|  views

Bulgaria's outgoing Prime Minister, Academician Nikolai Denkov, has condemned corruption as the primary conduit for Russian interference in the country's affairs. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Denkov highlighted the deep-rooted ties between corruption and Russian influence, attributing them to the collapse of the ruling coalition. Denkov's remarks underscored his cabinet's struggle to eradicate corruption while combating Moscow's meddling in Bulgarian politics.

Denkov's statements were featured in an article titled "Corruption and Russian Meddling Go Hand in Hand, Says Bulgarian PM," reflecting the interconnectedness of these issues. According to Denkov, the government's commitment to addressing corruption and countering Russian influence remains steadfast, with efforts focused on tackling both challenges concurrently.

The Financial Times article delves into Denkov's concerns over justice reforms, which he claims precipitated the collapse of the ruling coalition and necessitated the sixth parliamentary elections in as many years. Denkov cited projects like the "TurkStream" gas pipeline, which he contends benefits Gazprom, as examples of corrupt practices that warrant investigation.

The article outlines the reasons behind Ex-PM Boyko Borissov's decision to call for early elections, including disagreements with coalition partners over reforms in anti-corruption agencies and security services. Borissov's party, GERB, clashed with its liberal partners (and Denkov's party - "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria") over deep-seated changes in Bulgaria's security apparatus and the empowerment of prosecutors to combat corruption effectively.

A significant portion of the article focuses on Bulgarian oligarch Delyan Peevski, who has faced international sanctions for his alleged involvement in corruption. Denkov raised concerns about Peevski's influence within GERB, alleging that he dominated coalition discussions and impeded anti-corruption measures.

In response to Denkov's accusations, Peevski's party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), vehemently denied promoting Russian interests and dismissed claims of corruption as baseless. The article highlights DPS's detailed rebuttal to Denkov's allegations, emphasizing Peevski's commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and portraying him as an adversary of Russia.

GERB distanced itself from Peevski's influence, asserting its independence in decision-making and clarifying that Peevski had not participated in coalition talks. The article concludes with contrasting perspectives on Peevski's role in Bulgarian politics, underscoring the complexity of the country's political landscape.

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Tags: Bulgaria, corruption, Russian, Denkov


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