Bulgaria President Clashes with Predecessor over Agreement with Putin's Party

Politics » DOMESTIC | October 17, 2016, Monday // 10:39
Bulgaria: Bulgaria President Clashes with Predecessor over Agreement with Putin's Party President (2002-2012) Georgi Parvanov (L) with incumbent Rosen Plevneliev (R), talking as Prime Minister Boyko Borisov can be seen in the background. File photo, BGNES

Left-wing ABV party's deputy head Rumen Petkov on Sunday called Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev a "liar" and "detractor" over his comments on an agreement sealed by the previous head of state with Russia's ruling party.

Petkov's organization is chaired by Georgi Parvanov, who served as President between 2002 and 2012. Plevneliev told bTV station on Sunday morning that Parvanov had signed an agreement with United Russia party, led by Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev in breach of Bulgaria's national interests. Plevneliev cited the fact that a scandalous lawmaker, who inflamed social media last month, belongs to the same party.

Petkov called Plevneliev a "liar" and "detractor", making clear the document bears his own signature, rather than that of Georgi Parvanov.

He argued that Russia had signed the document as a show of respect for Bulgaria's EU and NATO membership as its strategic choice.

"For Plevneliev, hatred for Russia is a matter of payment," Focus News Agency quotes him as saying, in an oft cited reference by left-wing parties who accuse Plevneliev of being a paid claquer of the United States.

Earlier, Parvanov himself told bTV that his successor was a "weak President" responsible for many "blunders" both with in the Balkans and Europe, but also to the east. "He failed to defend a single national interest."

But Plevneliev, upon hearing his remarks, retorted: "How does one defend the national interest when three months ago that same Bulgarian President went to Russia and signed a cooperation agreement with the party of this notorious lawmaker Tolstoy, who said Russia had already bought half of Bulgaria [sic!] and now has to buy the other half?"

Tolstoy, a then journalist who later earned a lawmaker seat on United Russia's ticket, told a Bulgarian reporter on election day that Russia had already purchased half of the country's coastline. Tolstoy later said he had made the remark as a joke.

Parvanov was not in office anymore at the time ABV signed the agreement with United Russia.

But his ties to Russian officials date back to his two terms in office, when paved the way for a number of energy projects  (now abandoned) to be carried out in Bulgaria by Russian companies.

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Tags: Georgi Parvanov, Rosen Plevneliev, Pyotr Tolstoy, Russia, ABV, United Russia, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev

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