top of page

No comment: Radical Armed Russophilism Investigation in Bulgaria

The attorney general described the group as a "national security concern" and suspected it was linked to Russia. The DANS is investigating the activities of the Military Union - Bulgarian People's Militia "Shipka" after the Prosecutor General described it as "worrying for national security" and suspected that it is linked to Russia. Geshev's concerns are that this is an activity that contradicts Bulgarian law and the Constitution.

The organization's leader, Vladimir Rusev, denied that the organization is funded by another country and that they are constantly under scrutiny. BNO Shipka is part of the "Soldiers' Union - Vasil Levski". From the materials that have been published on social networks it is clear that both organizations maintain pro-Russian rhetoric and conduct exercises with weapons of their sympathizers. Vladimir Rusev himself, who represents the Shipka BNO, has been spreading videos with conspiracy theories against NATO and the EU for years. During the pandemic, Rusev also spoke out against vaccination.

The main goal of the organisation was to defend the rights and social activities of former current military and police officers. The BNO ,,Shipka" explains the footage, which shows weapons and practicing combat sports, as survival courses. The organization also distributes information materials there.

The name of BNO Shipka became notorious in the summer of 2016, when sympathizers of the organization beat up protesters in Burgas against the visit of the Night Wolves motorcycle club, which is close to Putin. Three years later, the Burgas District Court convicted three people for the beating.

Shipka and the Russian rockers "Night Wolves" in Bulgaria, 2016

Two groups, one supporting the rockers, who were on a tour in the country, and the other opposing them, fought at a gas station at the exit of Burgas. The prosecutor's office said that the participants in the melee were detained and taken for questioning to the Fifth District Police Station - Burgas.

"Putin's Wolves" themselves were not involved in the fight. They were supposed to pass through this route, but the conflict arose before their appearance. The "Night Wolves", also known as "Putin's Rockers", were founded as a motorcycle club in the last years of the Soviet Union.

The Night Wolves rockers were funded by Russian intelligence. They have ties to the criminal world and organized crime in Russia, Assen Genov of the Protest Network told "Hello, Bulgaria."

"I don't see what's wrong with the fact that people have come with motorbikes to pass through Bulgaria," countered former MP Strahil Angelov. The Night Wolves themselves told Nova that their visit had nothing to do with politics.

"They come to us as bikers, not as Putin's ambassadors, as they call them," said their hosts from the Black Sea Hooligans club in Burgas.

"The Night Wolves are known more as a political tool of Moscow. The organisation has a reputation as one of the most active nationalist structures.

When the Night Wolves passed through the Czech Republic, they were booed by disgruntled citizens who refused to let them in. They were similarly greeted in Germany, and in Poland they could not cross the border at all.

They will pass through Bulgaria as part of their "Slavic World 2016" motor march. Their plans include visits to Shipka Peak, Troyan and Rila monasteries, as well as Pleven.

The rockers have denied accusations that they are involved in politics and are personally sponsored by the Russian president.

"This is our policy - to take your brother by the hand, no matter which club he is from, what his attitude to religion is, his political position. There are just common human concepts like honor, dignity and decency. We have no sponsors, for example, the flags and coats of arms are made by me at my own expense," said Andrei Babrovsky.

Still, the rockers announced that they support Putin.

And while the rockers were planting a tree, two groups of opponents and supporters fought. Ukrainians and Bulgarians, who wanted to say that night wolves were not welcome, were attacked by representatives of a military alliance. There were no serious injuries in the fighting. The interrogations continue.


bottom of page