Delyan Peevski and the plague that unmasked misanthropes

Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev and Ognyan Donev

The most recognisable symbol of the plague epidemic that swept across Europe in the 17th century is the doctor’s mask with the bird-like beak. The horrifying costume was created to protect physicians from the Black Death, which claimed over 70,000,000 victims on the continent. Despite the chilling image it presented, the mask ironically became a symbol of hope for salvation, lending the people who wore it the status of heroes.

Four centuries later, Bulgaria. The country has announced a state of emergency because of a modern infectious disease – COVID-19. The world is gripped by a new reality in which, in a matter of days, the contagion has overwhelmed regular and field hospitals with patients struggling to breathe. Bulgaria is among the tens of European nations to have taken extraordinary measures to fight the coronavirus – the streets are empty, as the government and experts work to avoid a tragedy like the one unfolding in Italy. And it is at this precise moment that another type of masks – those of the indicted businessmen – started publicly falling, revealing the ugly face of the misanthropic oligarch who does not care about the human plight and continues to spin his schemes even in a time of pandemic.

It is 25 March – the website Mediapool, owned by Stoyana Georgieva, one-time spokesperson for former PM Ivan Kostov, publishes a short text (a day too late) about the Appellate Specialised Criminal Court leaving the scandalous attorney Lazar Karadaliev in custody. Karadaliev is famous not only for representing the fugitive banker holed up in Serbia Tsvetan Vassilev and his right-hand man, arms dealer Emiliyan Gebrev, but for being a key piece in the group committing financial fraud in the military plant Dunarit. The plant is the latest asset worth tens of millions of levs that Vassilev and his people managed to pry out of CorpBank to secure fresh funding for their schemes. All of this is public secret.

However, Mediapool does not feel obligated to inform its readers of these facts because it has another function entirely – to serve the interests of indicted oligarchs created by Ivan Kostov. The website conveniently omits circumstances like the fact that Karadaliev is charged with money laundering for the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, who is tied to Tsvetan Vassilev and who has been on the EU sanctions list for years, not to mention last year receiving a 10-year ban to enter Bulgaria.

However, Mediapool does not miss a chance to serve the oligarchs close to Kostov’s heart. Hence, the article sports several sentences that are pure lie. An old falsehood that has been disproven numerous times with facts and evidence. “Gebrev, who clashed with lawmaker Delyan Peevski over the ownership of the military plant Dunarit,” is essentially how it is framed. As has been proven many a time, the lawmaker of the opposition party MRF and Telegraph Media publisher has never vied for the ownership of the military plant, as he has no business interests in the field. This much is evident from a simple visit to the Commercial Register, revealing Peevski’s property, and from statements in which he explicitly says that he has never had interests in the arms industry.          

However, Peevski is involved in another clash – that against the indicted oligarchs who have been preying on the Bulgarian society like vultures. As a lawmaker, he has introduced multiple bills to thwart their shady deals and expose their illegal schemes. As a publisher, he stands behind newspapers that for years have been investigating dubious businessmen like Ivo Prokopiev, Tsvetan Vassilev, Ognyan Donev, Sasho Donchev and their mentor Ivan Kostov, the latter of whom sold the public assets for cents on the dollar to fill the pockets of his protégés.  

It is a fierce clash because the dark shadows of the behind-the-scenes clique would do anything to avoid getting unmasked. Years ago, they hid behind the cover of publishers, businessmen, moral compasses of our society. They are used to dictating the public agenda through the mainstream media they have captured. They are used to reaching deep into the public coffers for their own benefit.

This is why today, when the Bulgarian public is faced with a crisis of massive proportions, those same people are acting completely out of touch. They call for their businesses to be saved, regardless of the price to be paid, even if it is human life. After all, Stalinism is not a concept foreign to them. They are using their media outlets for their dirty games and campaigns instead of informing people about the contagion and the measures we should all follow if we want to get through this.

Actually, this new-age plague has finally unmasked the oligarchs and when one day we find ourselves on the other side of the crisis, they will have nothing left to hide behind. They will get retribution for all their sins and stop poisoning society with fabrications designed to benefit solely their personal interests. As the great Charles Bukowski said, “I don’t believe we can make the world a better place. I believe we can at least not make it worse.”

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