Purported Russian spy arrested in Bulgaria

Nicklai Malinov, head of the "Russophile Movement", has been arrested in Bulgaria. He and other members of the NGO are accused of spying for Russia with the goal of making Bulgaria turn away from its Western allies. Russia's foreign minister responded by warning Sofia not to worsen relations between the two countries. What is behind the affair?

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Deutsche Welle (BG) /

All just electioneering

That Bulgaria is stirring up anti-Russian sentiment now of all times may have to do with the local elections in October, writes the Bulgarian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle:

“Presumably the government is throwing smoke bombs ahead of the elections to the votes of the people of Sofia [who are overwhelmingly critical of Russia]. Without them [the governing party] Gerb will lose in Sofia. This is understandable, and there's nothing really wrong with politicians changing their positions to fulfil public expectations. But only to the extent that their policies are coherent, and not just electoral tricks. If the elections are the sole reason [for the arrests] and there is no solid evidence of espionage or money laundering, the whole thing will become a farce.”

Club Z (BG) /

Malinov is small fry

The Bulgarian prosecutors' spying investigation isn't going far enough, Club Z finds:

“There are far more important players than Malinov advancing Russia's interests in Bulgaria's economy, politics and the decision-making at state institutions. Hardly anyone seriously doubts that Moscow has a well-established network of agents in Bulgaria which is continuously waging a massive hybrid war and asserting Russia's economic and geopolitical interests in the country. ... Nicolai Malinov is just sitting on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Russian interests in Bulgaria.”