Press Review

Sofia, December 1 (BTA)


"Troud": The second pipe of TurkStream will pass through Bulgaria, Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova said minutes after Gazprom formally announced that it will reserve capacity on the future gas pipeline between the Bulgarian-Turkish and the Bulgarian-Serbian border. Petkova called this "exceedingly good news for the Bulgarian energy sector". Bulgarian Atomic Forum (BULATOM) President Bogomil Manchev commented for the daily that the construction of the new TurkStream line via Bulgaria will not result in a decrease of natural gas prices in this country because all large gas producers maintain similar prices. "The only way to have cheaper gas here is if we manage to extract sufficient quantities from the Black Sea. This will obviate the need of a transport surcharge, which pushes the price up," Manchev explained. He does not think there will be difficulties for the TurkStream construction on Bulgarian territory because the land tracts for the defunct South Stream have already been purchased, but this has yet to be done for some 200 km from the southern border to Northern Bulgaria. The pipeline will be wholly State-owned and can transport gas from Azerbaijan, Greece and even the US. The Energy Ministry estimates the Bulgarian investment needed for the project at approximately 2.6 billion leva. Once implemented, the project will bring a profit of over 4.3 billion leva for a period of 20 years. In addition to the existing 151 km, 11 km have to be built from the Bulgarian-Turkish border and 484 km from Provadia to the Bulgarian-Serbian border, along with two compressor stations. This can be done within one year, and the first supplies are expected in 2020. "24 Chassa" covers the story on two inside pages under the headline "Russia Picks Bulgaria over Greece for TurkStream". The paper says that once TurkStream is launched, gas will cease to be transported along the Trans-Balkan Pipeline (via Ukraine and Romania to Bulgaria). At present, the Bulgarian network transits 17 billion cu m to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.

"24 Chassa": Bulgarian Culture Minister Boil Banov and Louvre President Jean-Luc Martinez have reached agreement under which the St Cyricus Island just off Sozopol (on the Black Sea) will host an exhibit of underwater archaeological finds and modern art. Banov's Ministry also has an idea to set up, jointly with the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, an interactive culture and arts library at Sofia's National Palace of Culture.

"Monitor": The three men's alpine skiing FIS World Cup races that Bansko (Southwestern Bulgaria) will host between February 22 and 24, 2019 are expected to attract 150 top competitors, including the reigning world champions. Organizing the event will cost the hosts 5 million leva. Fans flocking to the venue are expected to spend 4.5 million leva by the most conservative estimates.

"Telegraph": Drug addicts or small-time thieves have started to steal cars left with their engine running while the drivers are digging the vehicle out of a snow drift or fetching a newspaper, Plamen Maksimov of the Sofia Directorate of the Interior Ministry told the daily. The thieves then demand ransom to return the car ranging from 1,000 leva for older vehicles to 10 per cent of the price for very expensive autos. There have been four such cases within a week. Maksimov advises the victims not to pay and to contact the police immediately.


A signed article in "24 Chassa" says that Bulgaria can no longer extend the service life of its MiG-29 and Su-25 aircraft on its own. The MiG-29 fleet has not undergone major repairs for 12 years, and the Su-25 fleet for 11 years. Unless this is done now, the Air Force will simply have to be disbanded in two years' time.


"24 Chassa" quotes opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Kornelia Ninova as telling Pavel Poc of the Czech Social Democratic Party that when the BSP wins the elections, the sale of CEZ Bulgaria to Inercom will be rescinded and the State will purchase the electricity distribution company. "To us, this is a matter of national sovereignty," she warned. According to unofficial data, CEZ claims nearly 500 million euro from Bulgaria at the European arbitration court. Czech media cite the price at which CEZ is selling its Bulgarian assets at 320 million euro. Thus, the nationalization planned by the BSP would cost over 1.5 billion leva.

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Bulgarian American Credit Bank CEO Ilian Georgiev says in a page-long interview for "24 Chassa" that despite the exceedingly low interest rates on bank deposits at present, there is no alternative for saving at the same degree of security because of the low activity on the securities market and the risk it entails for individual investors. 


Bulgaria became the first EU Member State to extradite a corruption suspect to China, "Troud" reports on two inside pages. On November 26, the Sofia City Court ordered the immediate extradition of Yao Jinqi, 62, who was detained in Bulgaria on October 17 on an Interpol Red Notice. Yao is wanted for receiving a bribe of 1,425,000 yuan in 1995-2005, when he held various administrative posts. On conviction, he faces 3 to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine or property confiscation. The suspect himself asked the court to be returned home. "Telegraph" also covers the story.

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"24 Chassa" runs a two-page report on the conditions in which former Mladost Borough mayor Desislava Ivancheva and her deputy Bilyana Petrova are held in pre-trial detention on corruption charges. The report says that their cell is infested by bed bugs, fleas and cockroaches, and the walls are humid, mouldy and peeling.


"24 Chassa" carries a two-page interview with Brigadier General Prof. Ventsislav Moutafchiiski, Chief of the Military Medical Academy, on the occasion of the 127th anniversary of the Academy, marked on December 1. The interviewee says that his hospital will soon have a new MRI scanner that is unique in Bulgaria.


"Troud" has a two-page interview with Stoyan Bratoev, CEO of Metropolitan EAD, the operator of Sofia's underground railway system. The interviewee says that Sofia will have 21 new metro stations by 2025. Twelve stations of the Metro's third line are under construction: five will become operational in September 2019 and another three at the end of next year on the 8 km first stage of the line, and another four will open in February 2020 on the 4 km second stage. Three more stations of the third line will go into operation by 2025 on the 3 km third stage, if financing can be provided. A fourth, 6 km stage with 6 stations is planned. The Metro now uses 52 trains, including 12 delivered back in 1992 and in operation since 1998.


Prof. Nikolai Ovcharov tells in "Troud" about his exploration of the ancient castle of Missionis near Turgovishte (Northeastern Bulgaria), where one of the best preserved early Christian baptisteries has been discovered.


"Troud" carries a two-page report on Penka Kouneva, born in Sofia, who composed music for blockbusters like "The Matrix", "Transformers" and "Caribbean Pirates".


"24 Chassa" has interviewed prominent Bulgarian painter Suli Seferov on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

The same daily has two-page coverage of Paris-based Bulgarian painter Oda Jaune (born Michaela Danovska), whose recent art performance scandalized Sofia's art scene.


"24 Chassa" runs profile of the five Bulgarian first ladies since the advent of democracy in this country: Maria Zheleva, Antonina Stoyanova, Zorka Purvanova, Yuliyana Plevnelieva and Desislava Radeva.


"24 Chassa" has a two-page interview with celebrated boxer pros Kubrat and Tervel Pulev.