News: Bulgaria to Reintroduce Ban on Disclosure of Communist-Era State Security Files of Senior Intelligence Officers

Sadly, after spending over a month in Bulgaria, I have to admit that I´m still very ignorant about the political situation in the country. I see a group of protesters at a distance when I go to and from work. But trying to learn Bulgarian and adjusting myself to this new situation has taken up all my time and energy. But today I read something that caught my archivist-eyes. It was an article on the Sofia New Agency´s home page Novinite.com. I don´t know the reliability and political view of this home page, or even who wrote the article, but here it´s anyway. But first some related articles that´s been published before, on the same web page.

27 August 2013

Bulgarian Govt Reshuffles Archives Agency Too

Bulgaria’s Socialist-led government is planning to release Martin Ivanov as Chair of the State Agency Archives and to replace him with Ivan Komitski. The decision is expected to be voted Wednesday at the Council of Ministers sitting. The official release of the government’s press office does not list any motives for it.

Ivan Komitski has worked for the Interior Ministry’s Archives Office between 1988 and 2008. He has headed the Archives Office of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, in 2008-2009.

Martin Ivanov, who was appointed in 2011 and is largely credited with the positive overhaul of the Archives’ work, has learned about his dismissal from the media, the Bulgarian Sega (Now) daily reported Tuesday evening. Before heading the Agency, Ivanov worked for 12 years in the Institute for History Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS. He has specialized at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburg and the National University of Ireland.

Ivanov became known for his initiatives to digitalize the archives. During his term, police files dating from the period before 1944 (when the Communist party took power in Bulgaria), the protocols of the decisions of Politbureau of the Bulgarian Communist Party from 1944 until the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, and lists of those who perished in the Balkan Wars, among others, were published online for the very first time.

28 August 2013

Bulgarian Govt OKs Controversial Reshuffles

Plamen Oresharski, of the Socialist-led government. Photo by BGNES

Plamen Oresharski, of the Socialist-led government.
Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski voted and approved Wednesday the latest wave of dismissals and new appointments.

A female, Vanya Stefanova, was appointed Deputy Director of the State Agency for National Security, DANS. She has a legal degree from Sofia University and a long career as prosecutor, including in investigations of EU funds embezzlement. Since 2010, she was prosecutor with the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office. Stefanova was part of the team probing the notorious case with the fake ballots for the general elections in May. She has a number of awards for her professional accomplishments.

As expected, Martin Ivanov was released from the post of Chair of the State Agency Archives and was replaced by Ivan Komitski.

Tsvetan Nanov was released from the post of Deputy Chair of the National Statistics Institute, NSI, under the proposal of the NSI Chair on grounds of serious breaches of the law. The new NSI Deputy Chair is Sergey Tsvetarski, who has worked in the State statistics between 1998 and 2008. Currently he is self-employed and works as a consultant.

The government issued a proposal to the president to release from his post of Chief of Military Police, Gen Dancho Dyakov on grounds he will be receiving an international appointment. His proposed replacement is Colonel Borislav Sertov, who is a graduate of the Sofia Military Academy and of the National Defense University in Washington DC. His military career started in 1988. He is the current Deputy Chief of Military Police.

One day earlier, the government replaced the Head of the Road Infrastructure Agency, while the directors of the State Agency InvestBulgaria and of the State Fund Agriculture submitted their resignations.

29 August 2013

Bulgarian Right Wing: Govt Revives Communist Security

Radan Kanev, the leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party (DSB)   Photo by BGNES

Radan Kanev, the leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party (DSB)
Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Socialist-led government has appointed as new Chair of the State Agency Archives a person linked to the former Communist State Security, DS. Ivan Komitski has been an agent of the DS’s Unit 3 before the fall of the Communist Regime, the leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party, DSB, Radan Kanev, and members of the party leadership, Atanas Atanasov and Albena Palpurina, announced Thursday.

DSB are convinced the current government, which is endorsed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, has replaced top expert Martin Ivanov with Komitski only led by the desire to conceal the archives from the Communist era in Bulgaria.

According to Komitski’s official CV, which was also sent to the media, he has worked for the Interior Ministry’s Archives Office between 1988 and 2008 and has headed the Archives Office of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, in 2008-2009. The bio, however, conveniently skips his record with DS and Unit 3 and the fact he had been a direct subordinate there of DS Gen Nanka Serkedzhieva who has been found guilty by a Court tribunal of destroying a huge amount of Communist regime documents.

“The dismissal of a great professional such as Martin Ivanov is alarming because he was the first director of the Agency who tried to make the archives public and those in power will use Komitski to conceal them,” said Atanas Atanasov. DSB have sent a written request to Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, asking him to tell them if he knew about Komistki’s DS past when the decision for the appointment was made.

The right-wing party has further alerted of two other recent appointments of DS agents to senior posts. Georgi Dimitrov, appointed as Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, has worked for DS under the aliases Anton and Boil and had been in charge then of spying on foreign diplomats, including UN representatives.

The other one is Boyan Chukov, who has been appointed Secretary of the Security Council at the Council of Ministries, and who has also been exposed as DS agent. Atanasov stressed that all of the above have been trained by the Soviet Union secret services.

29 August 2013

Bulgarian Anti-Govt Protesters Rally for Day 76

About 300 Bulgarians have taken once again to the streets of the capital Sofia Wednesday evening to demand the resignation of the country’s government. The rally was held for a 76th day in a row in the record-long protest in the country.

The demonstrators against the Socialist-endorsed Cabinet of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, gathered once again on Independence square in front of the Council of Ministers building. Initially they were 100, but later the number has grown to 300.

As usual the protesters held banners and national flags and shouted “mafia,” “elections” and “resignation.” Independence square and “Dondukov” boulevard were blocked for traffic. There was riot police presence. The demonstrators marched on their usual route to the building of the Parliament, which is no longer surrounded by metal fences, but it is still guarded by the police.

On their way they stopped by the headquarters of the State Agency Archives and shouted again “resignation” in sign of protest against the replacement of its Director – top expert Martin Ivanov – with Ivan Komitski, who has been in charge of police archives since 1988. Protesters also remind that they are going to “meet accordingly” the lawmakers, who are returning from vacation next week. A huge rally is going to be staged on Wednesday, September 4, according to organizers. Smaller protests are to continue until then.

The series of relentless and mass rallies, at times reaching 20 000 and even 30-40 000 in Sofia, was triggered by the appointment of notorious media mogul and lawmaker Delyan Peevski as Head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) back on June 14. The protesters were not appeased by the subsequent cancellation of the decision and went on to demand the resignation of the Socialist-led cabinet over ties with oligarchs and a number of controversial appointments. Anti-government rallies in Sofia may have subsided sharply, but protesters are bracing up for a showdown at the beginning of September. Thousands have pledged on Facebook to attend after the lawmakers come back from their summer break.

3 October 2013

Bulgaria’s Socialists Seek Partial Ban on Secret Files

Bulgarian Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev made headlines six years ago by saying that communist-era police files were valuable mainly to history books and held little importance to current affairs. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev made headlines six years ago by saying that communist-era police files were valuable mainly to history books and held little importance to current affairs.
Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s ruling Socialists plan to prohibit the disclosure of collaborators of the State Security, the intelligence and secret police during the communist regime, if they have continued to assume key posts in the intelligence after 1991.

The ban was adopted by the previous government of Boyko Borisov and was slammed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and its ally the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, then in opposition. The GERB leader has now proposed to the right-wing SDS and DSB to unite against the expected lifting of the ban.

The files of the former Committee for State Security are a thorny issue in Bulgaria, especially when it comes to the past of high-ranking officials. Bulgaria’s communist-era security service is believed to have remained potent after the fall of communism with the ex-operatives closely linked to the political and business establishment.

The previous government of Boyko Borisov managed to push through parliament a law, which prohibits MPs who were collaborators of the State Security, the intelligence and secret police during the communist regime, to assume key posts in Parliament. The ban however was overturned by the Consittutional Court after it was approached by the formerly ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party and its ally the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, now in opposition, who vehemently protested against the ban.

The court ruled the decision unconstitutional, saying it limits the rights of the members of parliament to be elected in the parliamentary bodies.

6 October 2013 

Bulgaria to Reintroduce Ban on Disclosure of Communist-Era State Security Files of Senior Intelligence Officers

Photo by BGNES

Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Dossier Act may be amended so as to prevent the disclosure of records of the collaboration of high-ranking intelligence officers and senior officials of the Defense Information Service of the Defense Ministry with the communist-era secret service, State Security (DS).

The legal amendments were submitted to Parliament by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and nationalist party Ataka, according to reports of private TV station Nova TV. The legal changes envisage a ban on disclosing the DS records of persons who have held senior positions at the civil and military intelligence services since 1991.

The special protective regime for former intelligence officers was revoked in end-2012 at the proposal of the right-wing Blue Coalition. Then-ruling party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) canceled a provision preserving the DS records from disclosure by the Dossier Commission.

The socialists have demanded the reinstatement of the regime out of concern for the safety of the intelligence officers and Bulgaria’s national security. The opposition, however, has refuted these claims, saying that the current legal regime also allows blocking the disclosure of the DS files of an intelligence officer by the Dossier Commission in cases where a threat has been proven to exist.

“20 years after the transition, the senior staff of intelligence services must not contain people who were trained by the KGB,”Krasimir Tsipov from GERB declared, adding that the step had been taken to conceal the past of certain party officials who had engaged in “things other than intelligence” throughout these years.

In March 2013, the Dossier Commission uncovered the first batch of names of senior intelligence officers, among which was the name of the current head of the National Intelligence Service, Dragomir Dimitrov. Bulgaria’s military and civil intelligence services have not yet submitted their full archives to the Dossier Commission.

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A little about me and the blog…


I'm studying archival science (include records management). My studies bring me to Bulgaria for six months.

I have been to Bulgaria on vacation but I don't know the language, Cyrillic alphabet or anybody. So I´ll be encountering many new situations and hopefully gain some insights from them. Some of it may end up on my blog. But even blogging is new to me sooo we´ll see...

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