Illegal Antiques Channels and Lyudmila Zhivkova's Role, Part I

Novinite Insider » EDITORIAL | May 20, 2008, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Illegal Antiques Channels and Lyudmila Zhivkova??™s Role, Part I: Illegal Antiques Channels and Lyudmila Zhivkova's Role, Part I Darik Radio's crime reported Bogdana Lazarova (right) is giving autograph to Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev (left) at the presentation of her book "Affair" in June 2007. Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)

"The Illegal Antiques Channels and Lyudmila Zhivkova's Role", is an investigative material by Darik radio crime reporter Bogdana Lazarova on the state-organized antiques' trafficking in Bulgaria. It was published in the book, called "Affair", written by Bogdana Lazarova and her colleague Nikolay Hristov. is publishing the whole material, dividing it into several installments.

The illegal antiques' channels attracted Lyudmila Zhivkova's attention as early as the beginning of the 70's of last century. She became aware of the fact that big Communist Party and State bosses were conducting serious treasure-hunting activities - they were sending their own groups of people, sometimes from the militia, the military, the border police or sometimes directly officers from the Secret Services and other times common treasure hunters, to dig and detonate all over the country taking whatever has been found to private collections. The treasure-hunting became so wide spread that she decided to restore the order with the State's protection. Only few years before, contraband has been canalized as official state policy with both a decree and an enactment of the Ministry Council naming it "secret transit" and assigning its task to the trade company "Kintex" as a monopoly activity. The company was entirely the offspring of the Secret Services and its contraband activity was inseparable from espionage.

Lyudmila Zhivkova created an agency named "Cultural Heritage" and entrusted it with the mission to describe and document who has dug what and from where and where did the archeological riches of the country go. And more - to find all over the world and bring back to Bulgaria archeological, historical and cultural records of the past, related to our country's history and meant top the initiative for the celebration of the Bulgarian State 1300th Anniversary.

The agency "Cultural Heritage" is created in 1975, mostly with personnel from the First Central Secret Services' Bureau also known as Bulgaria's Exterior Intelligence Office. And material began to pile up. On the other hand-side, Jivko Popov, the Bureau's Chief and career Secret Service officer, created three companies based abroad, consisting of Bulgarians sent there with a special assignment to transfer the artifacts in both directions - from Bulgaria to be sold at auctions and to private collectors and from abroad to Bulgaria. Was this, however, the only activity of the people from the "Cultural Heritage" circle, better known as the closest circle around Todor Zhivkov's daughter? Officially diplomats, in reality intelligence officers, their names are connected to some of the most emblematic, kept in deep secret and still unclear today events from recent Bulgarian history such as the attempt on the life of the Pope - John Paul II and the assignation of the writer Georgi Markov in London. Thus activities related to culture and history, the antiques' illegal channels and the exclusive initiative for the celebration of the 1300 years anniversary of the creation of the Bulgarian State became intertwined with the highest levels of Bulgaria's exterior intelligence.

Lyudmila Zhivkova's idea to establish control over the antiques' illegal channels and the treasure-hunting hit not only the high Party echelons, but also the interests of almost all of the Secret Services' bureaus, actively participating in those processes. She made even more enemies for herself.

Without realizing it, she herself brought about serious intrigues among several of the Services' bureaus while relying on the support and working mainly with the 14th division named "Cultural and Historical Intelligence" at the First Central Secret Services' Bureau and not offering any information about what was going on neither to the political police at 6th Secret Services' Bureau neither to any of the other ones.

According to one of many versions, the Secret Services responded by making the decision to lead her and those closest to her on by hinting that a strange ancient treasure map has supposedly been received from abroad indicating a treasure hidden somewhere in a tomb in the Strandja mountain and that the tomb's cavity in the form of regular cube, has been intercepted by satellite from Greece by Russians and Americans and even Britons.

The "Thing" at Lyudmila's evaluation becomes so important that a member of her team constantly shuttled to the Interior Minister Dimitar Stoyanov. She sent a team to Strandja where they witnessed some strange events. One of the team's members is, however, an undercover Secret Services' employee, constantly steering the team away from the exact location.

Lyudmila Zhivkova dies under strange circumstances in July of 1981. Her death is still a mystery. The official version is suicide, but nobody has clarified who and why has initiated her deep depression. In addition to her conflict with the Secret Services and the careful surveillance of all of her activities by the Russian Services due to their disapproval of her policies and fear that if she would inherit her father there would be a real danger that she would steer Bulgaria away from the Russian orbit, there is also a deep running conflict with her father Todor Zhivkov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian Communist Party and then leader of the Bulgarian State.

The "Cultural Heritage" report is completed after Lyudmila Zhivkova's death - in 1982.

A 5-member group of two investigators and three operative officers from the Secret Services, under the leadership of the 6th Secret Services' Bureau is created in 1984. The group manages to establish real control over the process.

Dimitar Ivanov was the Chief of the 6th Division of the 6th Bureau. Cyril Hristoskov was the Chief of the Antiques Sector.

After Lyudmila's death her team turned to Stamen Stamenov, then Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister who was aware of the importance of the expected discovery and promised his assistance. He too died unexpectedly right then.

The sudden deaths of several people connected to the search for the "Thing", which according to the participants' description varies from sarcophagus containing information about the origins of Humanity to an extraterrestrial's tomb to a scroll with undecipherable writings to a tomb of the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bastet - Goddess of the Moon and universal proto-Mother of all people, created the mystical aura and legend of the strange object buried and hidden in Strandja.

The antiques' traffic channels of the Secret Services were privatized after 1989 for private profiting exactly under the same scheme as before together with the secret transit's channels - i.e. weapons, drugs, gold, silver and other excisable goods' trafficking.

However, the interest towards what is in Strandja and its possible discovery by Lyudmila's circle or by the Secret Services is officially renewed in 1999 by no one else but the Americans.
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