On March 18, Ivan Ivanov, deputy director of Bulgaria's special division for combating organized crime (GDBOP), was arrested on charges of corruption and contacts with organized crime groups. The affair flaired up following a hearing of the former GDBOP director Vanyo Tanov before the parliamentary Commission of Internal security and Public Order.
In the course of the hearing it emerged that the minister of the interior Rumen Petkov had also had “unregulated meetings” with alleged members of criminal groups. Minister Petkov dismissed Tanov’s statements as “a bunch of lies.” Later on it became clear, however, that such meetings had indeed taken place.
The inadequate and rude behavior of the minister of the interior at a news conference on March 19 caused widespread indignation. The national TV stations did not air the outrageous footage from the news conference, but it was uploaded on YouTube.com by a journalist who had attended the event.
It was also published on Ivan Bedrov’s blog. The renowned journalist and blogger Bedrov wonders (BUL) whether the minister could have been “high” at the conference.
The public was shocked by the disclosures. Calls on the minister to resign spread on the internet, but for the time being he refuses to tender his resignation.
In this relation, Yovko Lambrev asks (BUL) what else has to happen in the Ministry of Interior and in Bulgaria before we “start kicking out the bad eggs, bad cops and bad governments where they belong …over the board…”
Julian Popov writes (BUL):
One could start a funny business in this country. One could open offices and start taking bets whether Rumen Petkov will go or stay. Whether he will be sacked or not. Whether he will be transfered to a new job or not. Or one could take bets on what is still to happen will actually happen. In a week, month, six months or a year? It is clear to everybody that Rumen Petkov is a grave liability both in the balances of his cabinet and his party [the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party]. However, it is exciting to place bets on when something which is obvious to everybody will become a real denouement. When he actually resigns, work on the definition of a “Petkov quotient” could start. This quotient will measure the time taken to admit in public a truth that is obvious to everybody.
Peyo Popov writes (BUL):
Lately I’ve been feeling like my days are empty if there weren’t a recorded news conference of Rumen Petkov. When I am lucky I watch and laugh in frenzy at taglines like “your bloodthirstiness does not inspire me.” But it is not the vulgarity of the minister that amazes me.”
The blogger admits there is a question he cannot figure out for himself:
What has to happen so that we could see a minister tender his resignation?
This difficult question, still unanswered, inspired Peyo to launch (BUL) a literary contest in the hope that “there should exist in Bulgaria a mind capable in their ingenuity to perceive a series of … events (leading to such a resignation), should it not?”
The participants in the contest are required to write a short story, describing events leading to a minister tendering his/her resignation and to send the text file or a link to the story. The blogger is fundraising for an award for the winner in the contest.
It may seem incredible, but numerous bloggers have already contributed to the award fund and the renowned local blogger Bogomil Shopov has promised that he will make a movie based on the winning story. Nineteen short stories have already been submitted and more are likely to come before the deadline on April 8, while the public is discussing who the winner will be and whether some of the scenarios could come true.