Oligarchs harass doctors so as to attack donors and Delyan Peevski

Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev and Ognyan Donev

Among the mongrels there is a breed called “street superior” used to sponge and spend the money picked from the pockets of other people. It’s a public secret that one may come across the species of this breed anywhere across the world but it appears that in Bulgaria their concentration is the highest.

You will know them easily – they mushroom in the media outlets and TV programmes which allegedly have something in common with journalism but actually only mar the guild’s reputation and use journalism as a cover-up for their propaganda and propelling to the fore foreign interests. And we are well aware whose are these interests – of the oligarchic clique headed by the indicted oligarchs, such as Ivo Prokopiev and fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev. We also know who sustains them – they are sustained with our money stolen by these same crime bosses.

These same bosses and their paid (again with our money) spokespersons on call for decades now have been polluting the media environment in Bulgaria. That is why it is no wonder that they keep on doing that in times of the unprecedented crisis when all efforts of the state and all of us are focused on only one goal – the fight against Covid-19. And while some people, such as lawmaker and publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski, the main target of their propaganda, are making donations, others, like the masters of said “street superior” breed, not only are unwilling to part with even the tiniest portion of the millions of levs they stole from the state and our own pockets, but even worse. In these unprecedented times for our country, when everyone is worried about the life and health of their close ones, while hundreds of medical workers go days without sleeping a wink because they are busy fighting the novel coronavirus, the oligarchs, like some marauders, are using this tragedy to play their own games. They have unleashed their “pets” to harass hospitals with questions about the sources of donations received.

And so for the past few days several of the oligarchs’ pawns, masked as journalists, have been flooding healthcare facilities around the country with requests for information about the donations they have gotten. Most active of the pawns has been a correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Venelina Popova. Presenting herself as an independent journalist, she signed the requests as author of the website For the Truth. This is absurd, considering the fact that Popova is anything but a proponent of the truth. If she was, she would have at the very least mentioned that for months now she has been an active scribbler for the flagship media outlet of the indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev – the website Dnevnik – as well as another website, Toest, linked to him and ran exclusively by professional protesters on the feeding rack of the oligarch.   

The Bivol connection

By the by, For the Truth is also among the websites affiliated with the oligarchy. Formally, it is owned by a foundation registered in Varna, but this organisation is headed by someone who is partners in another NGO with the cohort of the racketeering website Bivol. Atanas Chobanov, chief editor of Bivol, has serious ties through his family to the Kremlin propaganda, whose main conductor is Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. And so Popova turns out to be the latest servant of Prokopiev and Tsvetan Vassilev, on the one hand, and their Russian bosses, on the other.

What questions does she ask in the requests? Questions about things that have already been publicly announced – what donations lawmaker and publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski made to the contacted hospitals and whether the assistance comes from him personally or companies. This lifts the curtain a bit on the possible target of this campaign – another attack against the MP, who is a thorn in the side of the oligarchs because of his legislative initiatives and the relentless efforts of the Telegraph Media outlets, whose owner is Peevski, to expose the crimes and schemes of the behind-the-scenes clique. Bulgaria is a free country and, despite what these oligarchs and their paid minions would like people to believe, it has freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to ask questions and receive answers and we, the Telegraph Media publications, will always protect this right. The questions themselves are not a problem either – the donations made by Peevski are funded with money from legal and transparent sources. All the money has been reported by the lawmaker, who has been a public figure for years, which means that his income and property can be easily checked on the websites of a number of institutions. Like the website of the Anti-Corruption Commission for Illegal Asset Forfeiture (ACCIAF), where the property statements of people occupying public offices are published. The sources of his money have been subject of inspections by almost all oversight agencies in Bulgaria and the conclusion has invariably been that they are all perfectly legal. The same cannot be said for the people standing behind this attack.

And here comes the problem – in an attempt to deliver a blow to donors, and more specifically Delyan Peevski, the oligarchs are turning doctors into hostages in their dirty games and obstructing those professionals’ work. The same doctors who go days without sleeping as they fight the pandemic.

Another problem is where the questions come from because they are not asked by real journalists, but rather by propagandists like Popova. This concerted attack comes in the wake of a series of campaigns launched by the media outlets of the behind-the-scenes clique against the charity efforts that have been helping hospitals and those in need during this unprecedented crisis facing the country and the world at large.

The avalanche of requests for information is essentially an episode in a long series we have been watching for a couple of weeks now. The big production started with Prokopiev’s statement that saving (his) businesses is more important than the health of people. Then paid mouthpieces posing as sociologists appeared on a TV programme part of Prokopiev’s so-called “mainstream” and defended the same thesis. Then Bivol, the flagship of the Kremlin propaganda in this criminal propaganda machine, tried to disparage the unprecedented joining of forces between private companies from Bulgaria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in support of efforts to combat the coronavirus. Thanks to the agreed act of mutual assistance Bulgaria received tonnes of medical supplies for frontline healthcare workers at no cost to the state. In an impotent attempt to minimize the deal, Atanas Chobanov & Co. tried to make the public believe that Bulgaria received only date fruit, and even censored Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov, picking a single sentence out of a 15-minute interview and taking it out of context. This is what the pseudo-journalists paid by the oligarchy do, though. All they know is to censor and they have lost any sense of truth after so much parroting of lies and talking points formulated by their mentors.

You will not hear them ask their mentors why they are not donating. They will neither pose this question, nor answer it if asked. And the answer is clear – those same indicted oligarchs, masked as publishers and sponsors of media outlets, know only how to steal. Giving is not in their nature. The truth is also clear – if those same people had not been stealing billions from the state coffers for decades, we would not need fundraising efforts in support of frontline medical workers and their mission to take care of our health. The same doctors who are now being harassed with questions.

The website For the Truth – part of the Fake News Factory

For the Truth is one of a multitude of websites sucking at the teat of George Soros’s foundation America for Bulgaria. It is published by the Varna-registered association Pro Veritas chaired by Spas Spasov, who is connected to the Bivol people through the NGO Network for Freedom of Speech.

All the websites receiving grants from America for Bulgaria operate the same way. Money from the American taxpayers is poured into the satellites of the Capital circle ostensibly to sponsor serious journalism. Instead, online outlets like For the Truth, which are shelters for incompetent journalists on their last leg, dig into topics like “beheading of trees” in the city of Shumen. These light themes are interspersed with malicious reports concocted by the “mainstream” controlled by Prokopiev and his oligarchic friends. A good example is the index of freedom of speech by Reporters Without Borders, in which Bulgaria is ranked 111th thanks to the influence exerted by the Capital circle.

And so For the Truth takes pride of place among all the other obscure websites spewing fake news by the dozen. The paradox here is that this sinister media machine is fed millions, part of which comes directly from the American taxpayers’ pockets. The question is if and when the foundation will decide to stop rolling out money for what is supposed to be quality, fact-checked journalism espousing the EU and NATO values, but is really a fountain of fake news polluting the public discourse.

Malofeev’s “Bivol” waves red flag at Delyan Peevski     

And while lesser-known paid scribblers for the oligarchy are bombarding hospitals with questions about the sources of their donations, the behind-the-scenes clique once again activated one of the ugliest faces of its “mainstream” – Bivol’s Atanas Chobanov. The “smart aleck” connected with the Kremlin by family ties now waves the red flag and talks big before empty stands. In these critical times a self-appointed journalist whose site for a long time now has been playing the role of a mailbox, is tirelessly touring cable TVs of dubious reputation, e.g. Eurocom, to seek self-promotion and mar the reputation of people who in contrast to himself do their best to support the fight against coronavirus contagion instead of swallowing cash for dirty commissions. Because while this lazybones and sponger is killing time and justifies the backstage financing the state makes all efforts to avoid Bulgaria’s turning into a morgue. Of course, the Eurocom assemblage of glamoured-up girls like Lyuba Kulezich who could afford expensive beauticians for the money stolen from CorpBank depositors is not particularly choosy about the guests they invite to their programmes provided the latter fulminate against those who they see a “inconvenient” persons. Everyone who was imprudent enough to accidentally click on this channel will need a cleansing treatment as soon as they see the spiteful face of Tsvetan Vassilev’s pet. Her lifted-up face betrays all the dirty money which she absorbed owing to her sponsor. And she is not alone in this TV underground which gave shelter mainly to all kinds of henchmen of the behind-the-scenes clique who dropped off from fair journalism and are now reanimated by the oligarchy.

The VIP guest of Eurocom Atanas Chobanov belongs to the same mongrel breed. The paid “bivol” can afford not only figs but also black caviar and enjoys lavish lifestyle at the expense of the foreign states. The disclosures made by the Monitor Agency showing how this brazen-faced guy is sponging on the others under Russian protection, living in company apartment while he is servicing the Kremlin propaganda machine have shaken him to the core.

This is the reason why this pseudo-partisan of truth is set to vilify the publisher of Telegraph Media in the meanest possible way. Because this is how the “bivol” understands journalism – those who expose me are the bad guys and I will revenge to the end flooding them with lies.

It is obvious that “bivol” hates the guts of the MP of the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms and publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski who for years now has been a thorn in the side of the oligarchy because instead of sitting tight he proposes draft bills which forestall their shady affairs and publishers newspapers which are not afraid of bringing to light these affairs. Betraying his spiritual poverty the pseudo-investigative journalist Atanas Chobanov has embraced the cause of fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev and is now lobbying for him just as he did not once defending other backstage players. And this embrace was inevitable having in mind the Russian ties of them both strong as ship ropes. Starting from Chobanov’s wife, Maria Onuchko and her father Victor Onuchko this thread leads to Orthodox oligarch Konstanitin Malofeev and further on – to the Bulgarian Madoff – fugitive banker Tsvetan Vasilev. An intricate lace of links different in rank and position which is a brand of the Kremlin disinformation machine used for squaring accounts with the inconvenient persons and clearing the way for implementing the strategic goals of Moscow, as we have repeatedly wrote. And we will keep on writing about it. Because in contrast to Chobanov, facts are the only thing that is really important to us. One “bivol” will not scare us with his rubber horns even if banknotes are impaled on them.

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