Lukoil, Bulgaria and a climate of fear in Pravets
Das ist der Brief von Svetla Vasileva aus Pravets in Bulgarien. Er zeigt die massiven Probleme die nicht nur Journalisten, sondern auch couragierte Bürger in Bulgarien haben, wenn sie sich mit den korrupten und mafiosen Machtstrukturen beschäftigen. Sie braucht unsere Unterstützung. Ihre Kontaktadressen sind am Ende des Briefs zu finden.
Dear Mr. Roth!
As you are already aware on 14 November 2008 I participated in the broadcast of Mr. Koritarov on Nova TV where in live I confirmed that everything written in your book about Pravets is real true and I have the respective evidences that Pravets is the Zlatevs' private town. Frankly, after the broadcast I told Mr. Koritarov that he should expect a pressure by the Zlatevs. He did not believe me and laughed sincerely. It was in vain, because since the beginning of the last week unbelievable pressure has been executed on the new owners of Nova TV by Lukoil Company and personally by Mr. Zlatev. Last Thursday an article was published in the yellow mass media, actually in Weekend newspaper saying that Mr. Koritarov has racketed Zlatev for money. There are a lot of contradictions and no facts. Friday afternoon Mr. Koritarov was fired, but you are already aware about that.
Valentin Zlatev even used the name of Lukoil company in the sense that the company owners completely support him, which is quite…… strange. Also it is strange that he did not want to lodge a claim against Mr. Koritarov in the court but insisted the later to be publicly fired.
I think that the reasons for that are as follows:
1. By the end of the broadcast Koritarov said that there will be another such broadcast next week for which he would invite me and the Mayor of municipality /who is a protégé of Zlatev/
2. Zlatev would not like anything about Pravets to be announced to the audience, i.e.:
- That Zlatevs have fenced over 10 000 decares private forests and their owners could not use them as per their discretion. If they want to go to their forests they should ask permission from Zlatev-father, because there are some barriers and fences and it is not possible to pass through them. Also, forest and municipal roads are fenced.
- In the middle of the golf play yard constructed by the company of Zlatev-father Terra Tour Service there are some unsold private estates. Owners of these estates would not like to sell them. They are not allowed to access their property and are subject of huge pressure. Zlatevs dispose with these estates in violation of the constitutional right for protection of the private ownership and the Public Prosecutor’s Office does not undertake anything in spite the appeals.
- Through the land of the golf play yard some municipal roads pass, which are also closed and the citizens do not have access to them and these roads are actually robbed by Zlatevs
- In the region of the same golf play yard there is a state dam, which water is drained by about a meter and the lands free by this manner are transferred as municipal ones and sold to Zlatevs, nevertheless the dam is state owned. Nevertheless there is a decision by the Superior Administrative Court announced the invalidity of the transactions of the municipality.
- There is a rowing facility located in the same region and owned by the Technical University that also is not accessible. Zlatevs pressurize the Technical University through the Ministry of Education and Science forcing the Management to withdraw its claims.
- Family intends to acquire 17 decares of the lands of the Technical University. Mayor of the Municipality is authorized by the Municipal Council to be granted by the State with the above lands and then we could expect that they will be sold to Zlatevs.
- Head of the police and Mayor of the town use cars granted by Lukoil.
- The situation with the Toplofikacia Pravets is a private case resulted from the entire situation in the town. When I was in the studio of Nova TV a section of 50 m of our longest main heat pipeline was destroyed. Neither police, nor the Public Prosecutor’s office, nor the Construction Supervisory Body reacted. This is the same case as when in the summer our gas pipeline was cut.
3. Zlatev is supported by the President Purvanov and feels all-powerful.
On the 24 of November 2008 I and Koritarov participated in the broadcast “Discussion studio” by the journalist Velizar Enthcev on SKAT TV. This is one of the small numbers of opposition TVs. The broadcast was scheduled for 60 minutes but due to the huge interest we had 180 live broadcast. About 84% of the audience voted by SMS for support of Mr. Koritarov and against his dismissal. Before the live broadcast Mr. Entchev told us that the same day in the morning he personally and the owner of SKAT TV were subject of incredible pressure on the part of Lukoil. During the broadcast directly in live the floor was given to Kevork Kevorkian /some years ago he was and anchor man of a broadcast called "Vsiaka nedelia-Every Sunday" on the National TV BNT/ and he behaved extremely arrogant using cynic street language offending the anchor man and the guests in the studio and defending Zlatev.
My consideration about the current situation is as follows:
One oligarch in the person of Valentin Zlatevs allows himself to order to the mass media not to discuss what exactly he transformed the Pravets into. As far as Mr. Zlatev is the Executive Director of Lukoil company, which has huge advertising budget and is supported by Purvanov (a fact that has been demonstrated many times), the mass media prefer to keep silence, to fire journalists but to keep their good relationships with the oligarch. This is extremely dangerous because the people have the feeling that persons like Zlatev are allowed to do whatever they want and go unpunished. Koritarov have been fired, because I said openly in live the truth about the first private town in Bulgaria,i.e. I deserved to announce the fact that everybody say to somebody in ear so I know Koritarov suffers the “anger” of the oligarch. Actually, this is not the only consequence. It was demonstratively shown to the rest journalists what will happen with them if they would deserve to disclose the violation of the state laws by people close to the highest political levels in the country.
The current situation is a real absurd. Last night after the broadcast Velizar Entchev and Georgi Koritarov were astonished. They still do not believe that what is happening now is true. I have the feeling that we are living in the novel by Orvel “1984”, that the censorship triumphs and the new Bulgarian demons demonstrate their force.
Maybe I sound too emotionally, but I could not stay calm and look aside when the main human right is violated, i.e. the right to speak openly, to have access to the information and when the institutions keep silence servilely.
I would like to ask you, if you have any possibility, to help us to explain what happens in Bulgaria today with the journalists.
I am extremely interested to know what do you think about the situation and what would you advise me and Mr. Koritarov to undertake in this regard.
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