A One-of-a-Kind Event in Bulgaria: Tzvetan Vassilev was answering questions of Bulgarian citizens LIVE for 4 hours and 20 minutes on the online show "The Best People, Causes, and Ideas"June 18th, 2018
On 14 June 2018, Tzvetan Vassilev was a guest of the show "The Best People, Causes, and Ideas" with Georgi Stankov, which is broadcast live on Youtube. The event, which was named “Bulgaria Asks, Tzvetan Vassilev Responds," was announced on social media, including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, on 7 June 2018, so that Bulgarian citizens had sufficient time to ask questions. Many Bulgarians preferred to ask Tzvetan Vassilev in real time via the chat of the show’s YouTube channel.
This one-of-a-kind event for Bulgaria took place despite a series of provocations that accompanied its announcement. The teaser for the interview, which gathered more than 10,000 views on Facebook just two days after posting, was forcibly removed because it was reported as spam by "vigilant citizens." Similarly, links to the event on Google+ were blocked because they were reported as unsafe. Two days before the show, there was an attempt to hack the Twitter profile of Tzvetan Vassilev’s daughter Radosveta. Media owned by MP Delyan Peevski, who Tzvetan Vassilev has nominated for sanctions in an application he submitted under the US Magnitsky Act, also spread tarnishing information about the event even before the broadcast took place.
Yet, Bulgaria’s civil society reacted negatively to these censorship attempts: thousands of Bulgarians shared the announcement of the interview on social media and triggered the so-called Streisand effect.
Tzvetan Vassilev answered hundreds of questions about Corporate Commercial Bank, Bulgaria’s economy and political life, his relations with Prime Minister Borisov and Delyan Peevski, the Bulgaria Without Censorship Project, and the Botev Plovdiv football club. He also commented on the absurdity of charges against him and his colleagues, the political repression against his family, and the claims he submitted against Bulgaria, including his US Magnitsky application. Vassilev raised concern and shared information about the rampant corruption in Bulgaria and the mafia ties at the highest levels of governance in the country.
The interview was watched live by over 3,000 users, but only three days after the live broadcast, the recording on Youtube, which you can watch here, gathered more than 30,000 views!
Of course, media “specializing” in fake news did not miss the opportunity to engage in provocations after the event and public televisions that have become the symbol of the status quo, such as BNT, Nova TV and bTV, completely ignored it. It is interesting to note that bTV journalist Anton Hekimyan, who had officially invited Konstantin Simeonov, Tzvetan Vassilev’s lawyer, to discuss the interview on June 15, suddenly withdrew his invitation.
Obviously, Vassilev shared many inconvenient truths!