Reporter asks questions with government security guards breathing down her neck

Prime Minister, Are You the Father of Borislava Yovcheva’s Child?

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov arrived in the southern city of Kardzhali on September 12, 2020. His “live performance” in front of an organized audience was known for a week already but two days prior to the scheduled visit there were rumors that he would cancel it.
But, of course, Borisov wouldn’t miss an opportunity to steal the headlines from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and its heated internal party leader elections held on the same day.

Still, no one knew whether the Prime Minister would come or not until the last moment, except for the Speaker of Parliament Tsveta Karayancheva, who was, as usual, in her home city of Kardzhali for the weekend in the company of National Security Services (NSS) guards and certainly knew of the visit. Bivol learned that there had been preliminary arrangements in the seven municipalities of the Kardzhali Region to secure at least three people for the big day to greet and applaud Borisov. So, the Prime Minister arrived, after all, to inaugurate the renovated and expanded with State funds (nearly BGN 1 million) medieval monastery complex “St John the Forerunner”. The site was restored in the recent past with the assistance of the Foundation of Elena Kostova, the wife of former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov. “Surprisingly”, some mainstream media still reported that Borisov would open a medieval monastery, de facto discovered long ago by archaeologists and opened with an official ceremony after its restoration in Kostov’s presence and later declared a functioning Orthodox church.

Friends of Bivol “inspected” Borisov’s possible routes ahead of the announced hour of the ceremony, including the airport from where his SUV would pass. They established that there was no increased police presence and no helicopter was detected in the skies. Nevertheless, the SUV, accompanied by two others, parked in front of the church and when Borisov came out, a woman shouted “Resign!”. She was immediately constrained by a civilian and then detained at the police precinct, which is right across the street. She called me, as a was there as a reported of Bivol, and screamed on the phone that she had been taken to the police and her ID card had been confiscated. We are not publishing her name for security reasons but two days before the event she told me that she had been pressured by the police.

Prevention measures over a Facebook post

The woman had received a call from a hidden number and a police officer told her that she had to go to the police station to be served with a summons as a witness. “Ten days prior to the call, I had returned from Greece, where my daughter lives and I had not gone outside my home except to a nearby store. I explained that I had neither witnessed anything special nor had committed anything illegal. Shortly afterwards, a policeman arrived at the entrance of my apartment building. I turned on my phone’s video recording app and insisted that he identify himself. I refused to report to the police,” the woman told Bivol. She had been given the phone number of a police inspector who had been assigned to lecture her. When she called, she received a warning to be careful about what she wrote on social media. Her “illegal” action was a post on the Facebook page of one of Kardzhali’s groups, urging people to block the entrance to the city at the time of Borisov’s arrival.

“I’m not afraid, I have civil rights”

This woman’s shout for the resignation was one isolated act in front of the church during the Prime Minister’s visit. “My only goal was to shout RESIGN! In his face. Luckily for me, he stopped near me. As he got out of the car, I shouted Resign! several times. At that moment, a plainclothes policeman and two uniformed officers literally attacked me. They grabbed my hands, one of my hands was slightly bruised and kept pushing me to the police station. There, they took my ID card and asked me to sign a report stating that I had violated public order with rude actions. I did not sign anything and stated in writing that I refuse to sign any document because I had not committed a crime, I simply shouted “Resign!”. They kept me in a room for about 30 minutes, then returned my ID card and released me, telling me that I was not allowed to go back to the church. I told them, that I would not desecrate the church. What I wanted was to exercise my right as a citizen to declare that I want Borisov’s resignation, and this is why I was waiting for him in the parking lot, not next to the church or in its yard. I am glad that I was able to shout “Resign!” in his face, I am not afraid to defend my rights as a free citizen,” the woman told Bivol.

Cannon blasts and NSS in front of the temple’s doors

Several men tried to bring some joy to the event held in the scorching heat by shouting “Boyko, Boyko!” Cannon blasts heralded his appearance. The driver of the SUV (Borisov – editor’s note), who has been hiding for months from its own Bulgarian people, climbed the cobblestones to the entrance of the church, where a dense police and NSS guards’ formation was preventing reporters’ access to the courtyard. Asked by Bivol on what grounds they sabotaged our work, one of them sneered “on the grounds of the Interior Ministry Act” and but refused to clarify further.

This was followed by humiliating pushing and shoving of reporters and cameras.

And this wasn’t by far the only test for the reporters. The police had already searched their bags in the parking lot in front of the church as well as the bags of arriving laypeople and supporters of Borisov’s ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), while the answer to the question why this needed to be done was the same – the Interior Ministry Act.

Then the VIP entourage came out and proceeded in the sun to the yard of the Sunday School, where Plovdiv Bishop Nikolay, another Nikolay, the priest-economist of “St John the Forerunner” and a whole congregation of clergymen climbed on the pre-set platform. Opposite stood Prime Minister Borisov, Parliament Speaker Tsveta Karayancheva, Regional Governor Nikola Chanev and other important people from nearby cities, such as the Mayor of Plovdiv and many others. After the really impressive consecration ceremony, the entourage led by the Prime Minister went inside the comfortably cool Sunday School, built with money from GERB’s party subsidy and solemnly opened with the proper ribbon cutting by Borisov years ago.

“Sevda, now is the time for questions, if the journalists want to ask something”

Despite official reports that she was leaving GERB’s press office and her long-term post as Borisov’s PR to head the party’s election headquarters, Sevdalina Arnaudova was faithfully at her boss’ side and was broadcasting live the event in all its glory. Borisov signaled that reporters were allowed to ask questions. And when the questions became almost possible despite the warm embrace of the NSS guards (at least I was in it), the Prime Minister practically did not say anything new. He only retorted to his already old mantra of asking the leaders of the mass protests rallies in the capital Sofia demanding his and his government’s resignation to publicly announce the members of their next cabinet.

“I would comment on the protests if one night the one who would be their social minister spoke, the next night the finance minister, the third night the economy minister, to hear how they would rule the country, instead of them staging gallows and coffins,” Borisov said. But he refused to answer Bivol’s question what was the mafia that, according to him, wanted to overthrow him. “We have gathered at a monastery after all,” Borisov concluded. Asked (perhaps by a reported of the private TV channel bTV, I did not have a good of view because I was kept away) about the sharp criticism of MEP Clare Daly of his government, he pointed out that there was also criticism of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, and started blurting things about the election of the BSP leader.

“Look, that’s why no one is guarding the Bulgarian cauldron in Hell… The only thing the BSP is accusing us of is falsifications and unfair general elections. They want to organize the next election but they can’t even make their own,” the Prime Minister commented but did not miss to boast of building new places of worship for Christians and Muslims because ethnic peace was important.

“Mr. Borisov, do you have a child by Borislava Yovcheva?”

I will write firsthand here. Readers are aware of Bivol’s publications about the Catalan police and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Spain investigation into the mansion in the luxury district of Barcelona over suspicions of money laundering and links to Borisov. Until recently, it was home to Borislava Yovcheva, the single mother of an 8-year-old girl. Yovcheva was also the owner of the already sold luxury Ermanno Scervino store in Barcelona. Rumors of a romantic connection between Borisov and Yovcheva and of Borisov being the father of the girl have been circulating in Bulgaria for a while.

During the so-called briefing, I was literally ensnared and squished by three NSS guards. The one in front of me and with his back to the Prime Minister had stuck his nose in my chest and was making all effort to keep my hand with the recorder away from Borisov. Another was clinging to my right, the third was breathing hot waves down my neck. Like me, they were trying to do their job, but by doing it they were diligently interfering with mine. Maybe President Radev, who is in charge of the NSS, needs to answer whether sabotaging the work of reporters during an event is part of the NSS’s mission.

Meanwhile, the finger of the guard behind me stopped the video, which I was trying to stream live on Facebook. Because my hand was pushed many times, the stream is more than terrible, for which I apologize. My phone crashed, I had to restart it.

When the cameras moved away from the Prime Minister, I stayed behind on purpose, there was no way I was going to spare him a question about money laundering. The recorder was working and I asked:

“Mr Borisov, because you just mentioned Spain, do you have a child by Borislava Yovcheva?”

I had to repeat the question, and the answer was “NO”. “Honestly?” I asked again and was told:

“No. This is absurd. Don’t ask me nonsense.”

Then I was again pushed away by the vigilant “guardians of our national security”, or rather of “His Highness”.

According to still unconfirmed information obtained by Bivol, Borislava Yovcheva and her child have left Spain and Yovcheva has hastily married another man. Meanwhile, the father forswore his child.

***

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