Vatnik Soup
Soup number213
Thread Reader AppRead
Thread Reader PDFRead
Vatnik’s professionPolitician
Vatnik’s country of originBulgaria
In other languages

Rumen Radev

In today’s #vatniksoup, I’ll introduce a Bulgarian politician and current President, Rumen Radev (@PresidentOfBg). He’s best-known for offering his unwavering support for Vladimir Putin and his genocidal war in Ukraine, and for resisting all European aid to Ukraine.

1/22 Image
Radev joined the Bulgarian Communist Party during the 80s. He later stated that he did this in order to become a military pilot, but also emphasized that he wasn’t ashamed of what he did and was actually proud of his achievements. He only left the party after a new law...

... forbid military personnel to be members of political parties. He hasn’t been a member of any political party ever since and the support for his presidential candidacy came from an independent initiative committee affiliated the pro-Russian party BSP.

He was elected as the President of Bulgaria for the first time in 2016. In his campaign, he focused on corruption, tough measures against immigration and Euroskepticism, a winning formula during that time in both Europe and in the US.

Already at this point Radev’s pro-Kremlin stance was clear, as he had stated Bulgaria should focus more “on its economic and political ties with Moscow.”

Incidentally, his presidency hasn’t decreased corruption in Bulgaria, and in 2022 the country shared the 72nd...

5/22 Image together with Ghana, Senegal and South Africa in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

As in many European countries, the president’s job in Bulgaria is mostly ceremonial, but they still have influence over policy & can veto legislation and sign international treaties.

In 2019, he used his veto power to stop a F-16 deal with the US, but was later overruled by the parliament. After he was elected, Radev spoke strongly against the sanctions against Russia in 2017, and even though he stated that the annexation of Crimea violated the...

7/22 Image law, he suggested that the EU should lift the sanctions before “Trump and President Putin come to an agreement on improving dialogue, and growing trust.”

As we all now know, this agreement never came to be and Putin played Trump like a fiddle.

Radev met with Putin in 2019 at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, where Radev thanked Putin’s Russia for their partnership in the energy sector and emphasized the importance of “rich traditions” in science, culture, education and tourism.

In reality, Russia had been pumping money into anti-US and anti-NATO parties in Bulgaria since at least 2007 (in reality, probably much longer):

Russian money was used to control key politicians, media and the finance sector, and in the energy sector they provided cheap gas and oil via Dutch offshore companies. All this has led to a strong anti-Ukraine bloc in Bulgaria - in a 2022 European Parliament barometer, ...

11/22 Image
...48% of Bulgarian respondents were for the EU support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia - the lowest in EU. They were also most dissatisfied with EU’s collaboration on the matter.

12/22 Image
Another Bulgarian pro-Russian, far-right and ultranationalist party Revival has made several attacks against their opponents, including covering EU offices in Sofia with red paint, physically blocked MPs in parliament, threatened people at Pride parade, ...


...and called for Putin’s enemies to be annihilated without any actual consequences. At the same time, factories producing weapons to Ukraine had chain of mysterious explosions which were never really investigated properly.

14/22 Image
It’s also worth mentioning, that many of Bulgaria’s most powerful crime lords hail from the Communist-era, Moscow-linked security services. These often pro-Russian oligarchs control the country’s national assets, siphon EU funds, and smuggle drugs, arms and people.

Perhaps partly due to this resistance, Bulgaria sent their first official military aid package to Ukraine as late as Dec 2022. Their government, however, had secretly supplied Ukraine with fuel and ammunition during the first months of the war.

In Jul 2023, Bulgaria sent their largest military aid package to Ukraine. The package included 100 armoured vehicles from the country’s stockpile. In Dec 2022, Radev had refused to send old Soviet S-300 anti-aircraft systems in exchange for receiving modern US air systems.

17/22 Image
In May 2023, Bulgarian protesters took it to the streets to rally against Radev. They published a statement that said that “The president has long shown that he does not work for the benefit of Bulgarian society and for Bulgarian interests, but for Russian ones.”

18/22 Image
On 6 June 2023, Bulgaria’s new PM Nikolai Denkov has promised to take on Russian interference in the country, and naturally he’s been confronted by president Radev who even refused to shake his hand at an official ceremony where the coalition and their mandate was presented.
When it comes to the war in Ukraine, Radev has been blaming everyone else but the Kremlin. In Jul 2023, he said that Ukraine was “shying away from diplomatic solutions to the conflict, ” continuing that “Ukraine insists on fighting this War” ...

20/22 Image
... and that it’s Europe that’s paying the bill. For some reason he forgot to mention the party that started this genocidal war in Ukraine.

In the beginning of Jul 2023, Radev met with President Zelenskyy in Sofia, where they also discussed about the war in Ukraine.

21/22 Image
During the meeting, Radev’s pro-Kremlin position was clear from the start, stating that he “doesn’t accept the provision of ammunition to Ukraine”, and that Ukraine should negotiate for peace with Russia.