Bulgaria: Reactions after the Murder of Alexei Petrov

Crime | August 16, 2023, Wednesday // 16:00
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: Reactions after the Murder of Alexei Petrov Alexei Petrov

Alexei Petrov is the third person who lost his life since the beginning of this year among famous Bulgarians with contacts in criminal circles.

On May 25 in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, Krasimir Kamenov - Karo was killed along with three other people. In March, Kamenov was declared by the leadership of the prosecutor's office, led at that time by Ivan Geshev, to be a member of a criminal group that was preparing a conspiracy against him.

After the “assassination attempt” on Geshev, which took place on May 1, Alexei Petrov publicly recommended that he resign from his post and that the state find him another suitable job. The most famous business of Kamenov and his wife is their participation in "Slatina - Kara" Ltd., which acquired the vegetable exchange in the capital's Slatina district. Kamenov is also mentioned in connection with the "golden goal" scandal at the "Captain Andreevo" checkpoint. On June 3, it became known that one of the so-called “Galevi brothers” - former Berets wanted by Interpol - died in his home in Dupnitsa. The autopsy showed that he died of a heart attack, but it remained unclear when and how he entered Bulgaria. He and his partner Plamen Galev have been on the international wanted list since 2012 after disappearing from the country following their final conviction for racketeering and extortion.

The two are former Berets, but they joined the team in 1993, together with Alexei Petrov and Zlatimir Ivanov - "Zlatko Beretata".

In 2008, the Galevi brothers met with the then Interior Minister Rumen Petkov through the mediation of Alexei Petrov and on his ground (in the "Spartak" complex). The meeting cost Petkov his job, who was forced to resign due to suspicions of unregulated contacts with people from the underworld. Petkov himself claims that the meeting was regulated and hints that the Galevi brothers continue to be collaborators of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In his last interview, given on July 16 to BNR, Alexei Petrov spoke about the need for reform in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which should start from the professional leadership, so as to remove the influence of the political conjuncture. It offers its services and expertise to government bodies, but not "self-servingly" and "piecemeal". “The services must be transformed on the basis of a new National Security Strategy because of the risks and threats of the war in Ukraine”, Petrov recommended.

In his last Facebook post, Petkov mentioned the BNR interview.

"My role is overestimated in various things that happen in the state, and I am given unnecessary importance," says Petrov in the interview.

He expressed the opinion that the assembly of a government around "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria" and GERB is the best possible for Bulgaria because of the war in Ukraine. He admitted that people around the president, including strategists, create an environment around him that misleads him.

Reactions from various public figures:

Tsvetan Tsvetanov: The murder of Petrov is a sign of a lack of statehood

"We are returning to the times of contract killings, kidnappings, robberies on the highways. Alexei Petrov mediated between the political formats that we currently have as a government."

This is what the leader of "Republicans for Bulgaria" Tsvetan Tsvetanov, former Minister of Internal Affairs, told BNR.

He added that Petrov's murder is a sign of a lack of statecraft and an institutional approach against organized crime.

"Maybe these are superimposed problems with him. There have been two failed assassination attempts against him. It says that for the last 20 years, he has been an iconic figure in these circles and unfortunately nobody in the country has had the political will to fight organized crime effectively", he pointed out.

Rumen Petkov: The idea that Alexei Petrov would return to SANS may have caused reactions

"The poisoned atmosphere, the escape from reality, to come to this type of crime."

This is what ABV leader Rumen Petkov, former Minister of Internal Affairs, told BNR in connection with the information that the former beret and national security experts Aleksei Petrov was shot dead in Sofia.

He expressed concern that the period of the past when "there were murders of non-random people" is returning.

Rumen Petkov pointed out that the activity of Alexei Petrov in recent weeks and "the idea that he will return to State agency for National Security (SANS) has also caused reflections and reactions"

Yovo Nikolov: Alexei Petrov is an emblem of the "Transition period". No one is rich enough to buy a past

"For these people, this is probably the natural end. Alexei Petrov is an emblem of the 'Transition Period' (the period after the fall of communism in Bulgaria). He is one of the people who walked on the edge of the law and actually practiced forceful business, if you follow his history from the beginning of the 'Transition Period' until now. There were also unsuccessful attempted murders years ago. He was also an adviser in SANS, he was also a defendant in the 'Octopus' case... His last existence was more of a 'white collar' one, because he came into conflict with Bulgarian politicians regarding the 'Green Card' for automobile insurance".

This is what the journalist Yovo Nikolov from "Capital" told BNR in connection with the information that the former beret and teacher of national security Aleksey Petrov was shot dead in Sofia.

After the "Transition Period", he entered the power structures of the former Berets and there he was moving on the edge of the law, Nikolov clarified and added:

"No one is rich enough to buy the past. The past inevitably catches up with these people. You also remember the case of Krasimir Kamenov - Karo, who is also one of the emblems of the 90s, but not with the public influence that Alexei Petrov had. He always used the media when he had an interest to gain some public prominence. But he had an interesting way of speaking - with understatement, which was to impress upon the public that he was a factor in the state. With the connections he had, in a way, he was indeed a factor in the state."

Kiril Petkov: It is absolutely unacceptable to have public shootings in 2023 in Bulgaria

"It is absolutely unacceptable that there are public shootings in Bulgaria in 2023". This is how WCC leader Kiril Petkov commented on the murder of Alexei Petrov.

"Nor is it acceptable for foreign security services to discover Bulgarian Russian spies in the UK, while we learn once again from the media. Nor for us to passively listen to yet another horrifying chronicle of murder and violence. All of this speaks to the need for urgent reform in the security sector," Petkov wrote on Facebook.

He adds that in September "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria" again introduced bills to improve the work of the Bulgarian security services and free them from foreign dependencies.

Ivet Goranova after the death of Alexei Petrov: Thank you for everything

After the murder of Alexei Petrov, the Bulgarian karate competitor Ivet Goranova said goodbye to him on Facebook.

"Rest in peace, Mr. President!
Thank you for everything you have done for us! We will try to remember, preserve and continue everything started by you!"

Alexei Petrov was the president of the National and Balkan Karate Federation.

Boyko Naydenov on the murder of Aleksei Petrov: If there was justice, maybe it wouldn't have come to this

"If there was justice, maybe it wouldn't have come to this". This is how the former head of the state investigation, Boyko Naydenov, commented on the murder of Alexei Petrov.

"If let's say he had committed a crime, as we assumed, as the justice had feared, maybe the outcome would have been different and he would have been alive. If he was innocent, then there's something else, because think again, who would have committed murder?"

Naydenov did not speculate as to who committed the murder.

"Without inspecting the scene and analyzing the data, I cannot make any discussions of the murder. I know him, we investigated, there was a fairly famous 'Octopus' case, he was detained, there were charges. I then left the investigation in 2013".

According to the leader of "Vazrazhdane", the mafia years are returning

"We are witnessing the return of the mafia years and the development of crime in Bulgaria", the leader of "Vazrazhdane" Kostadin Kostadinov commented on the murder, quoted by BTV.

According to Kostadinov, "it is a public secret that Petrov was connected to WCC-DB, and through Kiril Petkov's father ('Father Petko'), he tried to infiltrate the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the services".

With this implication, Kostadinov refers to a question of "Trud" to Petrov in his interview for the edition of June this year, where the interviewer spoke of an informal meeting attended by "father Petko [Petkov], Kiril Petkov, Asen Vassilev, Mariya Gabriel and her husband. Then Petrov answers evasively, but days later he denies that there was such a meeting.

Apart from the current administration, Kostadinov sees a "strange coincidence" between "the arrival of the new American ambassador and the sudden attempts against iconic criminal figures such as Karo and now Petrov".

The leader of "Vazrazhdane" asked rhetorically who will be next and if he won't be a politician. "In Haiti, they killed the president of the country, so what is left for our colonial territory", he also said.

Slavi Trifonov after the murder of Alexei Petrov: Is this the beginning of a gangster war?

The leader of "There Is Such a People" Slavi Trifonov believes that the murder of Alexei Petrov was expected.

"There were two assassination attempts against him. In 2002, he was shot in the chest and in the leg, but he lived. And in 2015, he was shot with a grenade launcher. So, what happened today was not unexpected. But it clearly showed that the state and the services are weak and cramped. And they are in no position to predict or prevent such a show-off shooting," he wrote in a Facebook post, in which he also asked several questions:

"1. Is this the start of a gangster war?

2. Is there a connection between the murder of Karo, the death of one of the Galevi brothers and the murder of Alexei Petrov?

3. Did Kiril Petkov's father have a joint business with Alexei Petrov?

4. Did Kiril Petkov have meetings with Alexei Petrov and if so - when, where and why?

5. Was Alexei Petrov a mediator between GERB and "We Continue the Change" in the talks to form a regular government?

6. Does the explosion against Ivan Geshev have anything to do with the murder of Alexei Petrov?

7. Why is the NSS guarding Kiril Petkov, gen. Atanasov and Hristo Ivanov? Is there a threat against them and if so - by whom and since when?

And the eighth question, but it will not be the last: How will they accept us in Schengen after these ostentatious murders, explosions, helpless Ministry of Internal Affairs and generally helpless law enforcement institutions, and useless talk about reforming the judicial system?

These are questions for the rulers, because they are responsible for this current state of Bulgaria," concluded Slavi Trifonov.

Ivan Geshev: The state is gone!

"The state is gone!". This is what former chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev told BNR in connection with the murder of Aleksei Petrov and commented:

"This is a clear sign of the collapse of statehood. After the Prosecutor General is not sure that he will not be blown up and after people are being killed with guns in the streets, how can citizens in small towns be safe".

According to him, this murder and the attempt to assassinate him on May 1 show that Bulgarian citizens are in danger:

"There was a political coup in the prosecutor's office and this is the result that there is no longer a law enforcement system."

Ivan Geshev emphasized that he does not know Alexei Petrov and has never seen him in person, but only on television.

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