Washington Times: Bulgaria Nationalist Faces Drager Test*

Views on BG | May 18, 2011, Wednesday // 14:02
Bulgaria: Washington Times: Bulgaria Nationalist Faces Drager Test* Volen Siderov, leader of the biggest nationalist party in Bulgaria Ataka. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

By James Morrison

The Washington Times

An immigrant-bashing politician and cable TV talk-show host in Bulgaria is accusing U.S. Ambassador James Warlick of threatening him when he demanded that the United States pay rent for the use of Bulgarian military bases.

Volen Siderov, leader of the ultranationalist Ataka Party, also is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to recall Mr. Warlick.

Mr. Siderov's dispute with Mr. Warlick angered Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, while Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov questioned Mr. Siderov's sobriety.

Mr. Siderov, who hosts a talk show called "Attack," disclosed his letter to Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday on the website of his political party, the name of which translates into English also as "Attack."

He described a confrontation with Mr. Warlick in a restaurant in the capital, Sofia, last week.

Mr. Siderov said he approached the ambassador and presented him with what he called a "bill" for about .4 billion in rent that his party calculated the United States should pay for using four Bulgarian military bases.

He claimed the ambassador responded with threats to "destroy" him.

"As a member of the National Assembly of Bulgaria and chairman of a political party, Ataka, I want to inform you of the improper conduct of his excellency James Warlick," Mr. Siderov wrote in his letter to Mrs. Clinton.

He claimed that Mr. Warlick threw his rent bill onto another table and said "loudly several times, and I quote, 'I will destroy you.' "

"I was extremely surprised and asked him, 'You will destroy me?' at which point Warlick replied, 'The U.S. will destroy you.' "

The U.S. Embassy dismissed Mr. Siderov's actions as a "cheap political stunt."

"The U.S. Embassy does not endorse the ideas of hatred, prejudice and bigotry that Mr. Siderov and Attack stand for," it added.

In a 2005 diplomatic cable, the embassy described Ataka as "strongly anti-U.S." and noted that Mr. Siderov is "openly anti-Semitic."

Mr. Siderov, 55, has blamed ethnic minorities in Bulgaria for the country's poor economic conditions and accused them of receiving too generous benefits from the state.

His political party, officially known as the National Union Attack, opposed NATO and closer ties with the United States. Attack won 9.4 percent of the vote and 21 seats in the 240-seat legislature in the 2009 election. It also received 12 percent of the vote and two seats in the European Parliament in a separate election the same year.

Mr. Siderov created a headache for Mr. Parvanov, who explained that the U.S. has free use of the military bases under a 2006 U.S.-Bulgarian defense agreement. The bases remain under Bulgarian control.

"Mr. Siderov behaves provocatively," he told the Focus News Agency.

The interior minister, Mr. Tsvetanov, suggested that Mr. Siderov should "pass a Drager test," a reference to an alcohol sobriety test, "before making a public appearance, so that we can make sure of his emotional condition and prevent over-excitement."

*The title of the article has been changed by the Editorial Staff of Novinite.com

We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Views on BG » Be a reporter: Write and send your article
Tags: nationalist, Bulgaria, Warlick, James, Siderov, Volen, Tsvetanov, Tsvetan, Georgi, Parvanov

Bulgaria news Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria