“Hello! I am sending the questions; if you want to say something, just write it in the form of a response, and I will write the question…. Greetings! XXX :)))”
This email, sent in April 2012 to the Member of the Parliament from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Kiril Dobrev from a journalist working in a regional media, reveals the real relationship between local media and the powerful people of the day.
A year later, on April 13, 2013, the same journalist coordinated an interview with Kiril Dobrev with these words:
“I am sending you the interview and the photo I have chosen, as I must send it electronically to the newspaper, just give me one OK, please!”
In the above-cited cases we do not have the original of what the politician wanted to say before it was shaped by the journalist in the form of a response.
The “creative process,” however, can be outlined in the preparation of the “live” interview of Kiril Dobrev with journalist Valeria Veleva in the show “Hot Spot” on TV7 from July 2, 2012.
Three days earlier, on June 29, 2012, Valeria Veleva sent the questions for an upcoming interview to Dobrev. To make sure, she also sent a formatted interview with actor Iriney Konstantinov to serve as inspiration for the politician.
Dobrev immediately forwarded Veleva’s questions to political scientist Teofan Germanov, who responded: “I am on it!” Three hours later Teofan returned the answers, accompanied by talking points.
Personal, honest answers, they must appear emotional, as confession before media and as a personal narrative
No personal attacks. We defend and criticize principles and are not distributing accusations.”
There was a follow-up consultation with the other members of the PR- team of Kiril Dobrev, to formulate the text Dobrev should use in the spontaneous live interview with Valeria Veleva. Here is an example of a key question that Veleva asked several days in advance to the interviewee so that he is able to prepare the response:
“Do you have anything to do with Sreten Jocic (notorious Serbian drug lord – editor’s note)? Did you get from the Chief Prosecutor information on the declassified special surveillance devices from the “Killers” case which, according to Tsvetanov (former Interior Minister in the cabinet of GERB party – editor’s note), show that you are in a close relationship with Jocic?
– I do not. Let me ask you, as the experienced journalist that you are, if tomorrow someone pays to publish information or a recording in which someone claims that I eat young children for breakfast, would you still ask me if it was true. And how flexible can journalistic ethics be?”
During the interview, Kiril Dobrev shows that he has memorized the talking points well: emotionally, as a media confession and personal narrative. At the end he even wept, which led to the respective newspaper headlines: “Valeria Veleva Made Kiril Dobrev Cry”
Dobrev’s high narrative, before being edited by his staff of political scientists and public relations specialists, is revealed through preparations for another interview with Martin Karbovski for the show “Karbovski Live” on Nova TV from April 21, 2012.
As the adopted routine is, the questions for the live interview were sent a few days in advance. Here is the text, without editorial interference, which Dobrev personally wrote and sent to Mila Totina on April 19, 2012, so that she could shape it in the form of talking points:
“One cannot be leader for 11 years and only now learn the names of their regional chairs. One cannot be insensitive to the party because it is a living organism. There is no way one does not know the problems of the people, with whom they are on the same team. There is no way one can say: well, do not bother me with your problems, call my chief of staff. Such arrogance is unacceptable; there are no aristocrats our party.
To be a young leader and young people not to be on your side. To be supported by velko valkanov and klincheva and to lose people who were with you during your worst moments
To replace in ballots people 35 to 40 years of age with formerly discredited individuals whom society does not want to see. Why nobody, but rumen ovcharov, who generally hates you, does publically support you? To stay only with Evgeni Uzunov and the apparatus that works for the first time is a dead end par-excellence.
To lose 5 times and to have people believe that the sixth time around you would win. Let’s have one person stand up and say that they believed that under the leadership of Stanishev we will win.
That BB (Boyko Borisov, former Prime Minister and leader of GERB – editor’s note) is supporting you is nothing more than him having chosen you as his opponent. Until SS (SS – Sergey Stanishev – leader of BSP and the Party of European Socialists, PES – the paragraphs on leadership are entirely devoted to him – editor’s note) is on the helm, boyko will beat us today and tonight.
He replaced the vote for him 2 years ago at the Congress. People voted for change. They believed him that he will change this party and bring it to army readiness, and then he proceeded to assemble a staff of old faces whom voters, ordinary people despise. Congratulations to the winners; we are heading for major success in these elections.
I will never ever quit or betray my party, just because I would not be able to bend and light a candle at the grave of my father (Nikolay Dobrev – Kiril Dobrev’s father, prominent figure among the Bulgarian Socialists, member of the former Bulgarian Communist Party and later of its heir – BSP. Nikolay Dobrev was Minister of the Interior in another Socialist Cabinet in 1996 – 1997. He died of cancer in 1999. Editor’s note); my hand will turn dry. I cannot take, steal or lie, again for the same reason. I may be anything; they can call me thug and criminal, but I have principles that I cannot cross over the simple reason that for me my father was an idol; I love him more than anything in the world. Everything goes through my heart; I don’t look at this as a 9 to 5 job and leave everything there, on Positano street (the address of BSP headquarters in Sofia – editor’s note). I will love this party, no matter whether I am a member of the bureau or a regular member.
I have fought for every young person. I have entered battles and all have asked me why I do this as this is not my fight. No, that was my fight to change the image of BSP. I know what these same people were saying about toni kutev, who, nevertheless, is my friend and about mitko gorov, let’s don’t even mention yavor gechev.
How can one be a mentor in the party when this person has not won any battle in Sofia since 1989 until now? All those who are today with the party leader, are there to be able to stay another term ahead in the ballots. Call me Hassan if I am lying.
Is it moral to count for your maintenance on this government (GERB – editor’s note) and to say that you are its greatest opposition? It is not normal to not have any statement on the cost of medications, and then your wife to get a contract for 2 million levs.
PES is a big deal, but to compare yourself with Georgi Dimitrov, come on, there is no need. But even so, how Gdimitrov became chairman of the Komintern? Stalin made him. So here, our guy was appointed by some martin schulz.
No, I do not want to talk about the mythical Jews. I left that headquarters loathing what was happening. Someday I might tell. Not now.
Power is only for those who have a pure heart, and the strength to give it up. I recommend to Stanishev to watch the Lord of the Rings. Currently, he behaves like that little vicious man who yelled – my precious.
About Parvanov (former BSP leader and two-term President, also known as Gotse, his alias as agent of the Communist State Security – editor’s note), I’m not the best advocate because I am morally and emotionally committed. He dedicated his first SUDDEN victory to my father. He was caring for my family all these years since my father is gone.
13 years – plenty and not enough time. I still cannot talk about him in the past tense. Strong character, a true man, in all respects. Nothing today would be as it is now. But 13 years later, nothing has changed – the main faces are still the same. We, in BSP, will either make our transitions or will remain self-sufficient, like Ivan Kostov (former PM and right-wing leader – editor’s note).”
After being edited by the PR team, on April 20, 2012 this draft became a “handbook for the interviewee,” entitled “Covenants and Betrayal ,” containing talking points and extended text. The attacks against Sergey Stanishev were carefully watered down and some shocking comparisons, like that of Martin Schulz with Stalin, were removed.
“Covenants and Betrayal
Colorful personality, gritty appearance, bully, but with an extremely vulnerable soul; poetry – Yavorov, Eftim Eftimov;
Painfully devoted to the Party: On Christmas Eve I have forced him to come home from work at 9 pm;
Ordinary people adored him and the party aristocracy was highly embarrassed;
Boss on Positano; the Party – a living organism;
Walked without security guards;
13 years have passed ND; Steve Jobs; Frontal Impact;
I grew up quickly grew, heritage – friends and enemies;
13, I meet people who still tell stories – he is not forgotten
THE TRUTH – THE TWO FOLDERS
Executive Bureau, the Parliamentary Group, informed decision, returned the mandate to form a government and wanted a Consultative Council with all political forces – to have consensus;.
Petar Stoyanov (former right-wing President – editor’s note)- great solution – 40 min; waiting for Kostov;
Notebook with hundreds of options for draft government membership; included two ministers from GERB, and a minister from NMSP (party of former King and PM, Simeon – editor’s note) and a minister from UDF (right-wing party – editor’s note);
15 years ago, he had a grasp on the potential of the nation;
WHERE DID THE LEADERS GO
In the TV set, but TV leaders have nothing to do with the real ones;
1997, people followed Kostov, May 1st, 1997, followed ND and GP. Today, someone tells them “follow me” from the TV screen;
Everything is PR. As they contract murders, so they contract people in the media;
Tremendous resource for disarming Parvanov, but not a word about BSP; Stanishev commensurate with Parvanov;
Leader – speech, address, Congress, Plenum, ND 96th Congress, Lambo (nickname of Stephan Danailov, popular Bulgarian star actor, former BSP Culture Minister and BSP MP – editor’s note – NATO
IS HE ASHAMED TODAY BY BSP?
Never. He would be ashamed by the leadership. Descent, personnel policy, Evgeni Uzunov. BSP is the party of the people, not of the leadership;
Technology of the party caucuses with Stanishev – ovation tours;
Stanishev – EU clerk, example – Belene;
WHO SHOULD BE THE LEADER?
Depends on what you are looking for – Leader of the street sign “Positano 20” or leader of the members and supporters of BSP;
THE FAMILY NAME – OBSTACLE OR HELP?
I achieved this much because of the name. It helps, but it is a great responsibility;
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON – WHY POLITICS/
I have been slapped a lot. But I am strong in battles and I’m not afraid;
I like the small politics – close to people, Chibalovtsi – the water;
THEY SHOULD REMEMBER WHAT? FOUNDATION
The strongest youth projects, despite opposition;
Politics is not done behind the desk – they should read much and prepare;
To invest in new people; in the young and working generation; this creates competition, but makes you stronger;
To never hinder the development and the renewal of the party
Covenants and Betrayal:
ND was a colorful character. Those who have met him cannot forget him. Gritty appearance, bully, but with an extremely vulnerable soul. Perhaps no one knows that he liked poetry, recited very well – Peyo Yavorov, Evtim Evtimov. Was the single guy type, but very conservative in these relations.
Painfully dedicated to the work and the party. Devoted to the extreme. There have been occurrences, when on Christmas Eve, I had to forcefully take him home from Positano at nine in the evening. Ordinary people adored him. And vice versa – the party aristocracy was highly uncomfortable with him. For them, he was an uncontrollable man. He was the Boss on Positano, no matter who was the leader. There was some jealousy because in the huge 2X3 meters office, there were lines of people.
He knew the problems of everyone. From him I have heard that the party is a living organism. It is not enough just to know the party, one must feel it. I am sure that today its leader does not know the names of regional chairs. While he was making policies with them.
Stories of Humility and Responsibility
Comparison between then and now. Most powerful figure in the country in 1997 – during the protests, mugs, crime and he walked unprotected, even after he was nominated for prime minister. We went to the market to pick gherkins to make pickles. People were happy that they could touch him; tell him what they think. He talked with people on the square and at the market for hours, including with fierce opponents. Today, they have three guards and eight people with machine guns. Whether the cordon of BB passes or of any thug, the difference is only in the light on top of the vehicle. What are they afraid of – the love of the common folk?
After he returned the mandate, he held a meeting with comrade Lilov. He told him: “Nikola, well, we did not have resources; you did the right thing. But know that you will always remain a traitor for this party.” He was repeating it to himself until the very end and this was ruining him. Lilov is alive, but my father is gone. History, however, proved him wrong as BSP is here and still exists because of his gesture.
About the Family after the End…
13 years have passed already. For us, the family, his friends, he’s alive. I had to grow up quickly and deal with life and take care of the family.
The greatest legacy is his friends. I never knew Parvanov before. They were not family friends before. It is interesting that people who came from his closest circles stood by us.
I inherited both the friends and the enemies. The most interesting is that 13 years later I still meet people and they talk about their contact with him – what he did for them; how he has helped.
The Truth about the Recent History of BG – 2 Files
Let’s debunk several myths. They are described in the book, but no one reads. After a meeting of the Executive Bureau, the Parliamentary Group, he made the informed decision as result of reading, analysis, thousands of gatherings that BSP had no parliamentary or public resources to rule the country. At 12 o’clock they came to the president. They carried two folders. In one, there was the list of the members of the government; in the other – the mandate’s return. If Petar Stoyanov was such a great man, he should have sent them away. He did not exercise any pressure, on the contrary. What my father told him was that they were ready to return the mandate, but only after a sitting of the Consultative Council is held, to be attended by all forces in order to have consensus.
Petar Stoyanov said this was a wonderful solution. This is the moment that no one knows about. He said, however, that he should phone Ivan Kostov to find out whether he agrees. And the President of the Republic of Bulgaria waited for 40 minutes to talk to Kostov on the phone. Is this the leader?
GG refused to hand over the mandate and with it showed character. And Stoyanov could not decide.
He prepared to the extreme. The draft list of the cabinet is in that notebook – in various forms. Then he had a grasp of the potential of the nation. How does it sound that in 1997 this notebook had the names of two current ministers? There are names of former ministers, including from the right wing. I cannot say their names because I have not spoken with them.
Where Did the Leaders Vanish?
He knew best where the leaders were – in TV sets, before the microphones, on their little tribunes. Ask around the neighborhoods and boroughs who are leaders; there people will point them out.
When he was in politics, the leaders were among the people. People followed the leaders. Kostov walked, people followed. My father and Parvanov walked on May 1, even after 1997, and they were followed by people.
Not like now – someone comes on the TV screen and says “follow me.”
Everything today is PR. As they contract murders, the same way they contract people in the media. These are the tools of the new leaders. And the BSP leadership uses them perfectly. What is going on – they spit on Parvanov, Gotse. And this way they spend money on slander, but if at least 20% of this resource was to go to build the positive image of the party.
I want leaders that could turn around with just one statement a Plenum, a Congress. In 1996, a statement of my father turned around the Congress. With Lambo – we accepted NATO.
Would he be ashamed of the current state of BSP?
Never. He cannot be ashamed of his party. If in 1996, Evgeni Uzunov was handing out notebooks, it does not mean that now he can write in them. He would never trust Evgeni Uzunov to be Chief Secretary because he knew how much he is worth and he was a good apparatchik.
He would be ashamed that the party leadership calls meetings with people descent because a descent is made in enemy territory.
What does Stanishev do? Let me explain the technology of party meetings. Did you ever watch Fashion TV; it is similar to that ovation tour? The vanguard goes, arranges people, hands out questions, laud applause and the celebrity goes away.
When I see Stanishev my only association is with an EU clerk. I will give an example: the Belene case (project to build a nuclear power plant with Russian money and technology – editor’s note) – the clerk erects a small tribune and immediately begins collecting signatures. While the real leader toured the country and returned with 500 000 signatures to the National Assembly, saying that people want Belene, without paid political scientists and pollsters.
During the transition we had leaders. Leaders argued – on political, ideological basis.
The criteria for being a leader: The Congress must choose – a leader of the street sign Positano 20 or a leader of structures? This is why we proposed the leader to be elected by all members of BSP.
The family name – obstacle or help?
The name has helped me a lot, but it’s a big responsibility. I am ready for a fight against any attack on the family name and the name of my father. We are all like this. BB said I was a bandit and they had a hard time stopping my grandfather Kiro from getting on the bus to come and explain to BB who is who. We had militant leaders in our family, but we have no smugglers.
Like father, like son. Why politics?
As the son of my father, I have been slapped a lot. But I am strong in battles and I’m not afraid. Tabloid rags can write about me what they want. But not against my father.
I’m in politics over stubbornness. One prominent activist said that there was no place for me in the party. There was a secret election of the regional council and I ended first.
I like small politics – to change people’s lives. That’s the point, if one can help them and change their life for the better
The best youth projects and campaigns we have done under the name of the foundation.
Young people need to know that politics is not done behind the desk and from little tribunes. Politics is made among the people. To touch you; to chastise you. They must read and prepare. He read and prepared prior to each public appearance. Now I simply admire some comrades who, just taken from the streets, talk about shale gas, nuclear power, decentralization and whatnot.
All politicians need to invest in young people. Create your own competition because it makes you stronger.
Except that he knew 15 years in advance who would become a good minister, he thought what BSP would be like in 20 years. He ever capped the party.”
“Bulgarian Media: Lacking Money and Morals,” this is how U.S. ambassador Nancy McEldowney outlined the state of Bulgarian media in a classified cable to Washington, sent a few years back. Privately, journalists have shared with the Ambassador that political parties pay reporters, editors, and TV producers for interviews and news coverage, which appears without any financial disclosure. The full report of McEldowney can be read here.
The original emails can be found on the site Balkanleaks, in the collection # BSPLeaks here.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian