Kostadin Kostadinov: The Pro-Russian Voice in Bulgarian Politics

Kostadin Todorov Kostadinov is a far-right and ultranationalist Bulgarian politician. He is the leader of the ultranationalist Revival party. The party is portrayed by various analysts and media as pro-Russian, anti-EU and anti-NATO. Kostadinov’s pro-Russian perspective and activities had earned him the nickname ‘Kopeikin’, referring to his alleged connections with, and financial support from the Russian Government. Kostadin Kostadinov, have been the most passionate pro-Russian voice in Bulgaria and has strong opposition to any actions against Russia

Kostadinov is also well-known for his populism, anti-EU and anti-NATO perspectives, Anti-Americanism and Anti-Western emotions, a sprinkling of conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19 and climate change, regular misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist and xenophobic comments. In March 2022, it was disclosed that Kostadinov had acquired a 10-year ban from entering Ukraine, which has been linked to the staunchly pro-Russian exposure of his party in the context of the 2022 Russian attack on Ukraine

As the most contemporary populist Radical Right party in Bulgaria, Revival has operated to attract a sizeable share of votes. Established in 2017, the party and its controversial leader, Kostadin Kostadinov, have only embraced a nationalist, anti-EU, anti-NATO and pro-Russian address since 2022. Kostadinov is hardly fresh to politics. The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a great opportunity for Kostadinov and his squad to capitalize on overall frustration and discontent. In this context, Revival took an anti-vaccine perspective, denying the presence of the pandemic and mobilizing multiple protests. Government sponsorships, as well as anti-vax, anti-NATO and anti-EU rhetoric, have allowed the party to gain momentum so that by the third parliamentary election in 2021, it handed the threshold and sent 11 MPs to Parliament.

The war in Ukraine has delivered an unprecedented possibility for Kostadinov to broadcast his pro-Russian ideas and stage eccentric performances. Shortly after the beginning of the war, Revival supporters directed an ugly protest action at the 2022 celebrations of Bulgaria’s freedom, throwing snowballs in front of the Bulgarian prime minister and waving Russian banners. Russian flags are an indispensable feature of the frequent protests orchestrated by Revival in the past couple of years. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s energy politics have deepened divisions in Bulgarian society, given the substantial historical ties between Bulgaria and Russia, and have fuelled ascending for Revival. Kostadinov has been repeatedly blamed for links to Russia, which he has not rejected. A summary of his public appearances and comments shows clear allegiance to Russian interests. 

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