Mirror for dupes… against Peevski

Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev and Ognyan Donev

“Have you seen one of those halls of carnival mirrors? The ones that show a grotesquely distorted reflection of your form – either too fat or too slim, but always unrealistic. The most popular attractions in those rooms are the mirrors that turn everything upside down. Your feet are firmly on the ground and yet the reflection shows them floating in the air.

This is a fitting description for the articles about Bulgaria that have been appearing at certain intervals in the otherwise respected German publication Spiegel (German for “mirror” – editor’s note) over the past decade. Reading them makes one doubt whether one has really lived for the last 10 years in the same country as the one portrayed in those texts.

A truly apocalyptic picture is painted – the country is described as steeped in corruption, the freedom of speech is supposedly crushed, and the citizens have it worse than the subjects of some African dictator. Constantly featured in those stories is lawmaker of the opposition party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski – it may be only one sentence sometimes, but he is invariably cast as the villain.”

This sounds familiar, does it not? It should. This text was written at the beginning of January of this year when the German newspaper was once again utilised in the war against Peevski. It reads the same today. Just as the latest article the media outlet was paid to write against Bulgaria does.     

Actually, it is not the entire publication to blame, but a freelancer who is linked to the “good” oligarch Ivo Prokopiev and his publications in Bulgaria, which is why no one should be surprised that when push came to shove Prokopiev thought of his good friend Keno Verseck – a GDR-born freelance journalist who is strongly influenced by the ideologies of the financial speculator of Hungarian descent George Soros. It was in Hungary where Verseck was singled out by the local media and NGOs as one of the philanthropic billionaire’s loyal followers who has been painting a negative image of the country because it refused to pursue Soros’s policies. Verseck was defended in 2018 by the infamous, at least in Bulgaria, Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Here is where the mystery starts to unravel. The organisation that is supposed to be fighting for journalists’ rights has actually been operating more like a press office for the indicted oligarchs Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev, Ognyan Donev and Sasho Donchev for years. The RSF shamelessly reiterates both the defensive and offensive theses of the shadowy businessmen, presenting them as the only and unassailable truth. The same tactic is employed by the foreign freelancers who protect the interests of the parent organisation and its Bulgarian “partners”.

This time around, Verseck was mobilised to write about the ongoing protests in Bulgaria and the heroic operation conducted by Hristo Ivanov, the wooden boy of the kaolin king, who stormed the beach of Rosenets on a boat in the name of the oligarchy. If you read Verseck’s article, you may be left pretty surprised – the events he describes seem to have nothing in common with what really happened. Case in point, according to Verseck “Ahmed Dogan has not only been a major counterbalance in many governments and a leader of a political party that has often been the missing coalition piece, but also used to be an agent of the State Security.” If memory serves, the MRF has not been part of the government for the past two cabinets, at least, and as an opposition party has voted against the ruling coalition many a time. Even though his writings have nothing to do with reality, Verseck apparently has “the right version of events” that will make the oligarchs in Bulgaria happy. When you have named your price, you should be prepared to write all sorts of nonsense to please your masters, even if that text is destined to be ridiculed.

Here is another priceless quote: “One of Dogan’s protégés is lawmaker Delyan Peevski who controls a large portion of the Bulgarian media. He was among those responsible for the biggest bank collapse in Bulgaria’s post-communist history, which in 2014 plunged the country into a deep financial crisis.” We are left speechless by the sheer number of falsehoods packed in two sentences.

Mr. Verseck, are you even aware who caused the financial crisis in Bulgaria? Do you know that the main defendant in the case looking into the biggest heist in Bulgarian history is fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev, who has been hiding in Belgrade for the past six years and is yet to be extradited thanks to his serious Russian ties? Do you know that that same financial fraudster built his pyramid scheme thanks to the political backing of former PM Ivan Kostov – the godfather of the country’s criminally conducted privatisation process and creator of the oligarchic circles in the nation, an active participant in which is your master Ivo Prokopiev? Are you aware that thanks to the efforts of Delyan Peevski and several of his fellow MRF lawmakers the country passed a law that gave legal recourse to the failed CorpBank to get BGN 1.25bn of what Vassilev & Co. stole back into its insolvency estate? In other words, without this law, the hole in the lender’s finances would have been over BGN 5.6bn – money syphoned off of depositors and the state coffers.

This is why Peevski is a thorn in the side of the indicted oligarchs, who do not spare any expense to paint the lawmaker in the darkest light, or the country, for that matter, which dares to hold the former State Security operatives and their mentor Ivan Kostov accountable for their schemes and plundering. Of course, there is a very logical explanation behind this twisted reflection of our country and it lies in the answer to the question “Who holds the mirror and shifts it to their own liking?”

But you will read none of this either in Spiegel or the “free media” controlled by the indicted oligarchs. Especially for you, they have an upside-down mirror that reflects the truth in the way they want to see it – gagged and at the mercy of their interests.

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