Co-player of Bulgarian Madoff - Kremlin’s spearhead

Malinov is trying to turn Bulgaria into the fifth column of the Kremlin

A close associate of the Bulgarian Madoff Tsvetan Vassilev is Nikolay Malinov, who is a liaison officer of his Russian oligarch friends like Konstantin Malofeev. He assumed the role of Kremlin’s spearhead for imposing Russian influence over Bulgaria. Businessman and ex-MP, who is a longtime Chair of the National Russophile movement is officially considered the main mouthpiece of the Kremlin in Bulgaria.

A close associate of the Bulgarian Madoff Tsvetan Vassilev is Nikolay Malinov, who is a liaison officer of his Russian oligarch friends like Konstantin Malofeev. He assumed the role of Kremlin’s spearhead for imposing Russian influence over Bulgaria.

Businessman and ex-MP, who is a longtime Chair of the National Russophile movement is officially considered the main mouthpiece of the Kremlin in Bulgaria. Last week he made appearance on the international scene after taking part in the 4th International Livadian Forum that took place in the Crimea, a peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine. The forum was held under the auspices of the Upper House of the Federal Assembly of Russia and was attended by the world Russophile organizations.  

According to his own boastful claims, Malinov showed himself as one of the most ardent agents of influence working for Russia. His ideas aimed at reinforcing the Kremlin’s power in Bulgaria and other Eastern European states were warmly welcome by the Russian authorities and namely – by Chairperson of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. Malinov proposed to his Russian friends to set up an interdepartmental council of the Russian agencies, ministers and organizations dealing with science, culture, education and sports that will enable him and his colleagues to establish closer contacts with Russophile organizations around the world.  Besides, the ex-MP proposed to promote an international Russophile movement and establish a Council of Veteran Russophiles encompassing a number of world known people who would lobby for Russian interests around the globe.

Malinov’s Russophile statements are part and parcel of the Kremlin’s policy aimed at the imposition of Russian influence and putting the states of the former Eastern bloc (for instance Bulgaria) under the Russian chain of command breaking them from  their European partners like EC and NATO and enclosing them to the Eurasian Economic Union. 

The diplomatic efforts of Russian agents of influence, such as Malinov, are part of the so-called “hybrid warfare” which the Kremlin employs to lay hold on Bulgaria. Several years ago, former caretaker defense minister Velizar Shalamanov warned about it in his report to the Defense ministry about the state of the Bulgarian army in 2014.

However, Nikolay Malinov does not work towards making Bulgaria Russia’s fifth column only in the sphere of ideology, using cultural events and taking part in various conferences. Malinov is a businessman and representative of a number of Russian media in Bulgaria. He is also former editor of the Communist Party newspaper Duma and for years has serious interest in laying hands on the Bulgarian media market catering to his Russian friends. As a functionary of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and publisher of their newspaper Duma, Nikolay Malinov maintains close business relations with Tsvetan Vassilev. His own testimony during the CorpBank case hearing attest to that. It turns out that at the approval of the BG Madoff, the Duma was allegedly financed with the CorpBank money.  

Parallel with that, Malinov is the liaison officer between Russian businessmen who have ties with the Kremlin and the Bulgarian Madoff. In Russia, Leonid Reshetnikov, controversial Soviet intelligence general, is among close friends of Malinov. The general himself confirmed it repeatedly. Reshetnikov’s good friend and colleague in the governance of the Double-Headed Eagle historical association is Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. Hence, being a “friend of a friend” it was exactly Nikolay Malinov who introduced Malofeev to Tsvetan Vassilev. In an interview given several years ago Malofeev said that after the collapse of the CorpBank , when Vassilev was hiding in Belgarde, he got in touch with him via Malinov and even visited him. Then the two oligarchs, Tsvetan Vassilev and Konstantin Malofeev, “talked about churches”.   

Evidently the conversation between Malofeev and Vassilev was very fruitful: immediately after it they launched a series of common affairs aimed at coming into possession of lucrative assets bought with the money of CorpBank depositors.

The first public attempt at that was made in March 2015, when the so-called “one-euro gang” of Pierre Louvrier, Belgian holder of Russian passport came to the fore. The latter declares that the fugitive banker sold the golden assets to him while hiding in Belgrade and these assets were bought with loans from CorpBank, Dunarit, Avionams, BTC, NURTS, First Digital and GARB. A gang of tricksters in expensive garb masterminded by Vassilev, failed to acquire the assets because both public and institutions vehemently protested against this brazen-faced robbery that aimed only to legitimize the transaction of assets bought with the money of the depositors in the bankrupt bank in favour of Vassilev’s pigeon stools. Information leaked to the media that Pierre Louvrier and oligarch Malofeev were partners in the Russian Marshall Capital fund. This connection was confirmed by Malofeev himself. He said to Russian media Vedomosti that he knew Pierre Louvrier well and the two of them had joint business plans. It is absolutely clear that Vassilev and his Russian patron Malofeev entrusted Louvrier with a mission – to steal the assets of the CorpBank but make it on the sly, using a fabricated story about a group of investors.

After Louvrier’s failure and a futile attempt at laying hands on the CorpBank’s assets a new Russian appears on the scene, also a buddy of Malofeev – Dmitry Kosarev. This time they launch a crazy explanaition that Vassilev allegedly transferred to him numerous assets bought with the money from CTB, such as BTC, NURTS, Dunarit and others in return to Kosarev’s obligation to protect him and his family. In a contract signed by Vassilev and Kosarev the two of them agree to divide profits from the future sale between Vassilev and Kosarev in 80-20% ratio, respectively. So they mean to distribute the assets bought with the money of CorpBank depositors. Neither Vassilev nor Kosarev gave money for these assets, but both brazen-facedly claim that they own them. When the couple reached an agreement Kosarev started hectic activity – he and his partner inundated court with claims against the Russian VneshtorgBank (VTB) that bought BTC at a public auction. However, Kosarev claims that it is him who owns BTC without giving a penny for acquiring the company. This fact, although does not prevent him from opposing any corporative action of the telecom company. Kosarev did not encroach upon Dunarit - although this company, too was specified in his contract with Vassilev - only because in the meanwhile another friend of the ex-bankerр arms dealer Emilian Gebrev entered it. The Russian benefactors of Vassilev obviously were on friendly terms with Gebrev.               

According to Kommersant daily, Kosarev is a former vice-president of Alpha Engineering, an association controlled by Malofeev. The fact that Kosarev also resorted to services of the same powerful law firm that catered to the oligarch’s other business needs is a proof to that.

Thus, in a context of dubious business relations Malinov is the connecting link between Tsvetan Vassilev, the stolen assets of CTB and Russian oligarchy related to the Kremlin. Along with that the same agent Malinov in corroboration with his Russian cronies bombards the Bulgarian community with anti-European propaganda and Russian chastushki. And what about money now? Not to break the tradition, the money comes from the CTB bank drained by Vassilev.   

The quartet is on the black list in EU and US

The associates of the Bulgarian Madoff are on the EU and US black lists owing to the support they render to separatists of Donetsk and the annexed Crimea. Quartet members, Malofeev, Kosarev, Girgin and Alexander Borodai are banned from entering into EU and US, as well as from operating on their territory. Borodai is among Malofeev’s confidants, he was a PR consultant in his Marshall Capital company and later the first prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Strelkov, former body guard of Malofeev and head of his security, served in task forces of the Federal Security Service, successor of the KGB. He fought in the Pridnestrovie war where he got in contact with Cossacks troops and later fought in Bosnia on the side of Serbian forces. He is accused of war crimes committed in Visegrad, Foca and Saraevo. Girkin was sentenced to pay $400 million in retribution to relatives of passengers who perished on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.      

Putin’s protege hypes up his ideas

The Livadian international forum where Malinov voiced his concepts of Russophile propaganda invasion free-handedly was held under the patronage of an iconic figure in Russian politics – Valentina Matvienko. She holds the post of Chairperson of the Russian Federation Council and is known as one of the most faithful protege of  President Putin himself. Matvienko is a pharmacist by education but actually she made her career as a party functionary and later, in times of Perestroika, became government official. In 2003 Matvienko was elected mayor of St. Petersburg. She has been holding the office for nine years and then took the head post in the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the national parliament. Sergey Matvienko, her son, is a well known multi-millionaire, investment banker and first vice president of VTB. “Let’s think over these organizational forms. It is indeed a fresh and promising idea”, Mativienko said commenting the proposals of Nikolay Malinov.     

 Three attempts at robbery involving Russian oligarchs: they wanted to make TV7 mouthpiece of the Kremlin

Bulgarian Madoff, Tsvetan Vassilev, three times tried to steal TV7 and News 7 with the help of his Russian associates, Malofeev and Kosarev, and transform the two Bulgarian media into Kremlin’s propaganda mouthpiece. The pro-Russian ex-editor of the Duma, Nikolay Malinov who introduced Malofeev to Vassilev, gave him a hand in this endeavor. Konstantin Malofeef is among the first citizens of the Federation who were added to the EU and USA black lists.   

The idea was to lay hands on TV7 and then transform it into a religious Orthodox channel with a flair for analytics, while News 7 was supposed to become a news channel. Both were meant to cater to the Russian geopolitical interests in the Balkans. It was exactly this type of a TV channel that Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev set up in Russia in 2014. His media is called Tsargrad TV. It is TV+Internet channel focused on news and analyses. It is pro-conservative and pro-monarchy and for certain defends geopolitical views of President Putin. Their audience numbers about 20 million monthly and the channel is included into package proposals of the most popular cable operators. Besides, Malofeev is an owner and general producer although he gradually delegated his authorities to Gen. Leonid Reshetnikov. The General was elected chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Tsargrad TV. In the long run, after the license of TV7 was revoked and Russians lost interest in it Vassilev made yet another desperate attempt to gain control over this media in September 2017.     

To this end he used Voyager Resort, property of his faithful associate, Yordan Zlatkov. Court, however, rejected his claim an finally TV7 was declared insolvent last February and restraint order was impose on it, it transpires from the magistrates’ rule. This finishes the saga with the attempts to ban the state from cashing the assets. Despite the endeavor of the fugitive banker to cut the umbilical cord binding him with the financing of KTB and TV7, during the TV bankrupt case hearing piles of documents were tabled proving that million worth loans from KTB exactly on this media. It is noteworthy that money came from Crown Media that wanted to be registered as main creditor of the TV.

In 2011-2014 the bank drained by Tsvetan Vassilev poured into this TV around 300 million leva from the drained bank. Although this money came not direct loans (Ed’s note – there’s only one such loan amounting to 7.8 million leva), but from the indirect provided by KTB via TC-IME which, in tis turn gave it to Crown Media, owner of the TV cahnnel. The sum total amounts to 100 million leva a year and statistics also shows financial injection into the media grosses about 1/15 of the money drained from the bank.        

 Michael Colburn, Canadian documentarian and opinion author about the movement: they want to return Bulgaria into the orbit of Russia

The movement of the Bulgarian Russophiles headed by businessman Nikolay Malinov is intended to help Russia regain control over Bulgaria. This is seen in the conclusions in an article devoted to Russian monuments in Bulgaria. Website titled Code employing some of the renowned English speaking journalists led by businessman Nikolay  Malinov posted in the end of the last year an article by Canadian opinion journalis Mihcael Colburn dedicated to Bulgarian Russophiles and thei national movement headed by Nikolay Malinov.

“According to Malinov, the 35-million-strong national Russophile movement is just a cultural organization, a big club that builds monuments and organizes festivals to remind to the Bulgarians about their deep historical, cultural and linguistic ties with Russia”, the author writes quoting his interlocutor: “Today Russia has a spiritual plan for saving Europe – it employs traditional values and strong statehood in a multipoles world.” Michael Colburn reminds that Russia exerts influence over the entire Europe while some people in Bulgaria arrogate to Malinov and his movement a serious political goal – to ensure that their country will further remain in the orbit of the Kremlin.          

The Russian language is also of importance to the Russophiles who organize national festivals of Russian poetry children dances (under the motto Let there always be Sun) and support Russian language courses in over 300 kindergartens around Bulgaria. All this is a part of Malinov’s mission to encourage the Bulgarians affinity to Russia “on the background of historical traditions, Orthodox Christianity, Slavic ideas and values”. 

This year, the Russophile sponsored tours to Bulgaria for Russian military cadets winner of a competition for the best historical essay as the authors of the first three prize-winning essays about the Russo-Turkish war visited the sites of  the Russian glory in Bulgaria, explains author of the article, further mentioning a man who is well known to the Bulgarian public.   

“Leonid Reshetnikov, whom Malinov calls his friend, during his service in the General Staff Main Directorate Intelligence had reputation of an “extreme hawk”. Every year he makes a rating of Russophobe foreign journalists and recently stated that “it is high time that Russia made a return to the Balkans”.

Reshetnikov an Malinov have common friends – Russian investment banker Konstantin Malofeev are sanctioned by EU and US over the alleged financial support for Russian troops in Ukraine. In 2015, Malinov and Malofeev joined efforts and tried to swallow TV7 private channel. At the same time in an interview Malofeev said that his connection with Malinov is very close and promises “brilliant future” for Russophiles.

However, this brilliant future is still expected to come.

In the latest annual report Russophiles admit having “financial difficulties”, although at the same time they maintain that in recent years donations from sponsors have increased. The details, however, have not been aired officially, the author says.

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