Ambassadors condemn statements against Bulgaria’s Cabinet, US ambassador by pro-Kremlin MP

Ambassadors to Bulgaria from other European Union countries and from several non-EU countries have joined in condemning a post on Facebook by an MP for the minority pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane party directed against the Cabinet and US ambassador Herro Mustafa.

On March 19, Elena Guncheva, an MP for Vuzrazhdane – the smallest party in Parliament, with just 13 seats out of 240 – said that if Bulgaria sent missiles to Ukraine, “do not despair, there is some hope – Russia has high-velocity weapons, so it can hit the Cabinet [building]”.

“We can also send them a link with co-ordinates of [US ambassador Herro] Mustafa,” she said.

The post used offensive language in referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Guncheva removed the post, saying that she had been told by her party that it was “politically incorrect”.

This is far from the first time that Guncheva has caused controversy.

When she was the vice-presidential candidate on the Vuzrazhdane ticket in Bulgaria’s 2021 presidential elections, she attracted criticism for a post condemned as antisemitic. (The Vuzrazhdane ticket was eliminated at the first round after getting 3.92 per cent of the vote).

Nine days after the March 19 post, it was condemned by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nikola Minchev.

“Such statements are unworthy and unacceptable” for a Bulgarian MP, Minchev said.

He said that there could be no justification for calling for violence.

“All MPs owe respect to the highest state representatives, as well as to diplomats, in accordance with Article 29 of the Vienna Convention,” Minchev said.

The EU ambassadors said in a statement: ““We, the Ambassadors of EU Member States to Bulgaria, welcome the statement by Mr. Nikola Minchev, President of the National Assembly, condemning threats of violence against the Council of Ministers and accredited Ambassadors.

“Such threats are inexcusable, and we stand together, in the belief that hate speech can have no place in our societies,” the EU ambassadors said.

This was followed by a joint statement by the ambassadors of the US, Albania, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

They joined their EU colleagues “in condemning threats of violence against the Council of Ministers and the US Ambassador by a Bulgarian Member of Parliament.

“Such threats are inexcusable, and we stand together, clear that hate speech can have no place in our societies,” the ambassadors said.

On the afternoon of March 29, the Specialised Prosecutor’s Office said that it had received reports from the public that “a Bulgarian MP with the initials EG may have committed a crime under Chapter One of the Penal Code (Article 98)”.

The office said that an investigation had been initiated and more information would be provided once it was concluded.

Article 98 of Bulgaria’s Penal Code says: “(1) Who abets a foreign country or a public group abroad in a war or other hostile act against the republic shall be punished by imprisonment from five to fifteen years. (2) The same punishment shall be imposed to those who commits an act with the purpose of instigating war or other hostile act against the republic”.


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The Sofia Globe staff

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