Bulgaria is protesting as ‘intimidatory tactic’ the addition of Bellingcat investigative journalist Christo Grozev on a wanted list by Russia.
Grozev is a chief investigator at the Bellingcat news outlet, specialising in Russian news. This week, he was added to a wanted list on the interior ministry website “under an article of the Criminal Code”.
The Bulgarian journalist has historically angered Moscow with his work on the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and the takedown of the MH17 passenger plane over eastern Ukraine. His most recent reports have focused on the invasion of Ukraine.
“This act is unacceptable. It represents an attack on freedom of speech and an attempt to intimidate a Bulgarian citizen,” interim Bulgarian Prime Minister Galeb Donev told Reuters reporters.
Grozev already keeps his whereabouts hidden for security purposes, but tweeted that “for years they’ve made it clear they are scared of our work and would stop at nothing to make it go away”. He has also implied he believes it’s a scare tactic to prevent other journalists from exploring what’s going on in Russia.
On Wednesday, Grozev spoke to Bulgarian NOVA TV and stated he was fearful for his life.
He added that he has been offered help by the Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia and Austria, all locations that he has lived in recent years. According to the office of Bulgaria’s president, Sofia is also taking steps to ensure his safety.