The Member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Russian State Duma (Parliament) and Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Russian citizens abroad, Alexander Babakov, has been in Bulgaria in November last year, despite the sanctions of the European Union (EU). Babakov was included in the list of the sanctioned by the EU Russian politicians in September last year.
Earlier this week, the German Bild published information about an unnamed Russian politician who pretended to be sick in order to enter Bulgaria, but has been denied entry. Ukrainian sources speculated that this was the close to Putin “Gray Cardinal of Power”, Vladislav Surkov.
A senior government source of Bivol, however, revealed that the said Russian politician has been Alexander Babakov. He entered Bulgaria on a French visa last November and stayed only one day, though he was not expelled, but has left the country on his own.
Why Babakov’s French visa was not revoked and how he snuck through Border Police control remains a mystery. The French Embassy stated in an answer that they knew nothing about the case. The Interior Ministry has not yet responded to our questions.
We hunt Russian dissidents, but let in sanctioned politicians
Last August, Border Police swiftly caught Russian dissident Nikolay Koblyakov. An investigation of Bivol established that he was invited in Bulgaria by the scandalous Plovdiv businessmen known as “Peshtatsite” and his profile has been entered in the Interior Ministry’s system of wanted persons on the same day he boarded a plane to Sofia. The then-Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov refused information and a probe in the strange interaction between a dubious business and public services that are called to guard the borders of the Schengen area.
The stay in Bulgaria of a sanctioned politician with Babkov’s rank,, without being bothered by the Bulgarian authorities, has two explanations: political cover-up for some special mission or common sloppiness. Both are sufficiently scandalous to prompt seeking an explanation from the Bulgarian and French authorities, but also from the Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries (SIRENE) which controls the Schengen Information System.
Picture: Bulgarian border guards greet with honors and a brass band a sanctioned Russian politician
Babakov – “the poorest Member of Duma” with a palace in Paris
An investigation of the Fund to Combat Corruption of the Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny revealed that the lawmaker owns a luxurious residence near Paris, costing tens of millions of euro. The property was acquired through an especially established firm controlled by Babakov’s wife and children. Moreover, he owned an apartment in Paris. This property is not declared and contrasts sharply with the official income of the politician, whom Navalny ironically called “the poorest Member of Duma”.
According to the French investigative website Mediapart, Babakov was a key figure in the financing of the French far-right National Front party with a loan from a Russian bank.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian