Nikolai Malinov’s Spying and Pro-Russia Affiliations

Nikolay Simeonov Malinov is a politician and public figure. He is indicted of spying for Russia and sanctioned by the US for corruption and has been selected head of the International Movement of Russophiles (MDR) — a group funded by Russia’s Foreign Ministry purporting to collect members from 40 countries.

He is accused of sharing Bulgarian state secrets with two Russian institutions– the Double-Headed Eagle Society and the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. Malinov was blamed for delivering to the Russian groups that directly impacted national security and was part of an attempt to exercise influence on the Bulgarian government’s foreign policy approach toward Russia and the West.

Nikolai Malinov, who is also the head of a pro-Russia lobbying group in Bulgaria known as the Russophiles National Movement and was driving as a candidate in early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, was unanimously elected leader of the MDR in March 2023 at the movement’s founding congress in Moscow.

That gathering was observed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the deputy head of Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, and oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev. President Vladimir Putin and Russian Patriarch Kirill transmitted congratulatory messages to the congregation.

In 2019, Malinov was charged with grant and spying for two Russian organizations and banned from travelling abroad. Malinov was sanctioned by the United States and UK for corruption together with seven other Bulgarian politicians who had conformed as members of parliament or held top government jobs.

The U.S. Treasury Department states that Malinov, who was barred from travelling abroad, bribed a Bulgarian judge to permit him to go to Russia to personally welcome the Friendship Medal from Putin in 2019. Two of Malinov’s businesses, his party, Russophiles for the Revival of the Fatherland, and the Russophiles National Movement group have also been positioned on the U.S. sanctions list under the Global Magnitsky Act, which indicate perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the globe.

On May 13, 2019, for his merits in maintaining friendship and cooperation between nations, for his fruitful job on the rapprochement and mutual enrichment of the cultures of nations and nationalities, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin gave him the Order of Friendship. Nikolai Malinov was shown in Kremlin pool photographs on November 4, accepting the award from Putin, and later delivered an interview to Russian state TV. The incident heightened the burgeoning spy scandal in Bulgaria, where officials have already blamed a top official at the Russian Embassy for espionage and called him to leave the country. 

On September 9, 2011, for his active function and efforts in the preservation and preservation of hundreds of monuments and memorial signs of the Russian-Bulgarian friendship in Bulgaria, the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev rewarded him with the “Alexander Pushkin” medal.

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