Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov called Russian Patriarch Kirill of Moscow a “KGB agent” and “Russia’s cigarette metropolitan”, Radio Liberty writes.
“He is not an orthodox cleric. He is agent Mikhailov, a second-rate Soviet KGB agent,” the Deputy Prime Minister remarked.
According to Simeonov, the Russian patriarch has imported $14 billion worth of cigarettes into Russia since 1996.
This was Simeonov’s response to Kirill’s statements that he was disappointed with the historical interpretation of events surrounding the liberation of Bulgaria.
Earlier the head of the Russian Orthodox Church publicly expressed dissatisfaction with Bulgarian President Roumen Radev’s speech on the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
In Kirill’s opinion, Radev failed to give adequate emphasis to Russia’s role in the victory over the Ottomans.
In his speech, Radev expressed gratitude on behalf of his country to many countries whose representatives served in the Russian army that liberated Bulgaria: Russians, Romanians, Finns, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles, Latvians, Serbs, Montenegrins.
Many Bulgarians were outraged at the tone of the patriarch’s comments.
Furthermore, in a broadcast on Bulgarian national TV, Kirill referred to the developments in the Donbas in Ukraine as a “civil war”, which angered Ukraine’s ambassador to Bulgaria.
On January 1 2018, Bulgaria assumed the presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time since joining the EU.
In autumn, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said that during his country’s presidency in the Council of the EU, it intends to have the sanctions against Russia lifted. However, these promises have not been followed up on. Borisov, alongside the leaders of other EU states, has supported the extension of the sanctions.