The Russian embassy in Sofia defended the Bulgarian government over criticism from US over corruption and lack of media freedom, as if the EU and NATO country was Russia’s backyard.
The US State Department sharply criticized Bulgaria in its annual report on the protection of human rights around the world for police violence, corruption, and pressure on the media. Initially, no Bulgarian institution commented on the hard-hitting report, but the Russian embassy was quick to react.
“We understand the concerns of our US partners about human rights abuses in a number of countries around the world, particularly in Russia and Bulgaria.
In the relevant report for 2020, the State Department is once again forced to state that not everyone is ready to live by the values and patterns imposed from the other side of the Ocean”, the Russian embassy said.
The diplomatic mission ironically said that with such studies, the US authorities are “fighting unemployment” in their own country.”
Less than two weeks ago, Bulgarian authorities announced that they had uncovered a Russian spy ring in Sofia. The case caused a stir throughout Europe and was applauded by Bulgaria’s NATO partners.
Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev made a brief comment on the topic to bTV on Thursday evening, following the Russian embassy’s reaction.
“I absolutely agree with some of the conclusions (of the US report), but I have some criticism in my role as a Bulgarian citizen,” Donchev said, adding that corruption existed in any country in the world.
However, Bulgaria’s deputy PM said he disagreed with the US conclusion that freedom of speech in Bulgaria has been violated broadly.
Commentators however point out that high-level corruption in Bulgaria is favourable ground for promoting the Kremlin’s interests in the EU and NATO member, and moreover, Russia’s reaction shows that it continues to consider Bulgaria as its own backyard.