Fired head of Bulgaria’s State Intelligence Agency blames ‘long arm of Kremlin’

After the Stefan Yanev caretaker cabinet made a formal request to President Roumen Radev on June 16 to fire Atanas Atanassov as head of the State Intelligence Agency, Atanassov said that he saw the “long arm of the Kremlin” as behind the move.

“Successful work against Russia’s malicious influence is the main reason for the change in the leadership of the (security and intelligence) services,” Atanassov said.

He said that all the accusations he heard in connection with his removal were definitely not true. The law had been complied with at all times, he said.

Earlier, caretaker government spokesperson Anton Kutev said that while intelligence reports were meant to be shared equally to the President, Speaker of the National Assembly and the President, this had not happened in the case of the President.

“There are manifestations of high forms of demagoguery, populism and, according to some, indications of dictatorship. There is confusion between different authorities and institutions,” Atanassov said.

He said that the most recent example was the removal of the head of the Registry Agency “precisely because they want to obey the law”.

Caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov announced on June 16 the dismissal of Registry Agency head Gabriela Kozareva and her replacement by Daniela Miteva, saying that an inspection had found “numerous shortcomings and violations”.

Atanassov said that at the moment “we are in a unique situation in which the presidential powers completely overlap with those of his personally chosen cabinet.”

“Regarding all those who in recent weeks had the audacity to accuse me and other services of being criminals, thieves, traitors, I firmly want to tell them – I have been working for Bulgaria for 27 years.”

Atanassov said that he had worked under many governments and Borissov’s was “just another one”.

“The main reason for my removal is the long arm of the Kremlin, as well as coordinated action with a well-known businessman facing many accusations,” he said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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