The Political Journey of Rumen Radev: Pro-Russia Policies and Criticisms

Rumen Georgiev Radev is a Bulgarian politician and retired major general who has been the president of Bulgaria since 22 January 2017. He is known as a pro-Russia and anti-migration politician in Europe. In 2016, Ramdev called for lifting EU sanctions on Russia for the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine, including its backing of separatists there and its illegal annexation of Crimea. Radev also criticised his government for not being careful enough to avoid Bulgarian “involvement” in the Russia-Ukraine War and called on the Bulgarian government to “focus more on our army, rather than foreign ones.”

In February 2017, Radev criticised and called for an end to the EU sanctions against Russia, In April 2022, Radev split ranks with the Petkov Government, declaring that he is entirely opposed to Bulgaria providing weapons to Ukraine regarding Russia’s invasion of the latter, characterising it as a measure towards the direct involvement of Bulgaria in the conflict and seeing it as unorthodox to the pursuit of a peaceful solution.

Right after winning an election as president, In his victory speech, Radev reiterated his support for scrapping the sanctions on Russia and praised U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for “seeking more dialogue” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a presidential discussion before his re-election, Radev referred to Crimea as “currently Russian.” and called on the EU to revitalise dialogue with Russia, claiming that Western sanctions against Moscow were not working. After that, the United States expressed deep concern over statements by Rumen Radev.

On 20 November 2023, Rumen Radev stated that Ukraine’s counter-offensive had been “the worst mistake from the point of view of strategic judgment” when it had been “the most suitable time for negotiations and the search for a peaceful solution”. Critics condemned this statement and labelled it as serving the interests of Russia.

On 27 April, the Russian state company Gazprom reported that it would cease deliveries to Bulgaria after Bulgaria declined to pay in Rubles. Radev criticised his government, claiming that the government’s assertive foreign policy approach, including state visits to Kyiv, imperilled energy security and ushered in higher inflation

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