Written by Viktor Stoilov exclusively for SouthFront
On October 24, the Bulgarian pilots of MiG-29 jet fighters from the 3rd airbase “Graf Ignatievo” refused to take part in the NATO Air Policing due to safety reasons. The pilots didn’t want to risk their lives flying the fighter jets which just had their engines “repaired” without any licensing in Poland. This led to major concerns in the army.
The decision to sign a contact with Poland and not with the authorized Russian company was made by the ex-Minister of Defense of Bulgaria – Nikolay Nenchev who was a leading anti-Russian figure in the previous Bulgarian government. The 10 repaired engines have no official protocols which does not guaranteed the safety of the jet and its crew.
The obvious question is why would the now ex-minister risk the lives of the pilots? This question has more than one answer. Since 1989, Bulgaria has seen tremendous decline in its military power and capabilities. From the number one military power on the Balkans in 1989, with more than 350 active aircraft, today, the Bulgarian Air Force can barely operate 3-5 MiG-29s. During the times of “reforms” in the army, Bulgaria sold most of its aircraft, infantry vehicles, tanks, artillery and small weapons to a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 with high hopes of modernization in the army which hasn’t happened until today.
Today the Bulgarian army cannot guarantee the safety of the country, having a lack of resources, personnel, moral and even respect from the Bulgarian authorities and ordinary people.
The NATO-chosen ex-Minister of Defense Nikolay Nenchev just continued the process of destruction of the Bulgarian armed forces. As a fierce anti-Russian puppet, he was used to make sure that none of the Bulgarian Soviet-made jets and vehicles could be used in the future. This way NATO and the USA guaranteed two major things:
- Bulgaria would need the full support of NATO in order to defend its borders which completely destroys the idea of having any kind of military sovereignty as NATO has 4 military bases situated in the Balkan country.
- Bulgaria would be made to buy US-made weapons and vehicles which would, of course, boost the military-industrial complex of the United States, something which President Trump is working hard for.
Bulgaria is currently in huge debates and drama over picking a new fighter jet for its army. The newly-elected President and ex-commander of the Bulgarian Air Force Rumen Radev insisted on having a new fighter jet for the Bulgarian Armed Forces. The procedure that took place, chose the Swedish-made new Gripen jets as the best pick for the Bulgarian army. And then the drama started. Lobbyists in the Bulgarian parliament insisted on having a new procedure and picking another jet. The, all kinds of “experts”, including ex-President and first-hand NATO-supprter Rosen Plevneliev started going around every major media to give their opinion that it’s way better to buy 35-year-old F-16 jets, than brand new Gripens. The right hand of PM Boyko Borisov – Tsvetan Tsvetanov even accused the Swedish state of corruption.
The procedure for a new fighter jet is now frozen. The new Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov had the nerve to say that the country first needs to repair and use its old aircraft of Soviet-made MiG-29s, however this time repaired by the licensed Russian company.
For the US-lobbyists this would be the worst. Now, they’ll use the pilots, who have absolutely rightful concerns, to push the agenda to buy F-16s. At the end of the day, why wouldn’t you choose 35-year-old F-16s over repairing your 30-year-old MiG-29s? The irony in these words is more than obvious.
The Bulgarian army is in steady decline and the country’s authorities are making everything possible to make it even worse by just making Washington happy. Even though there has been glimpse of hope for a change with the appointment of the new Minister of Defense, the future doesn’t look bright.