The Kresna village of Vlahi has become a fiefdom of Bulgarian green activists and their non-governmental organizations, in which they carry out various activities of dubious legality.
The village of Vlahi, which is located in the Kresne Gorge, is the base of the activists from the "For Nature to Remain in Bulgaria" coalition, and a check shows that many of the famous Bulgarian ecologists are property owners and reside in the Kresne Gorge for a large part of the year village.
In the center of the village, according to the European program, a huge building was built, which was called "Training center for large predators". With money from public procurement, the building of the former school was bought, which was turned into a "Nature School", which is managed by a non-governmental organization of the same name and has a restaurant and a hotel part.
The owner of the training center is "Balkan Wildlife Association". Behind this private non-governmental organization is the environmentalist Andrey Kovachev - former chief adviser to Borislav Sandov and Toma Belev during their mandate as minister and deputy. Minister in the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Alexander Dutsov is the head of the Balkan Wildlife Association. He acts as an expert on wolves and bears and works with the Bulgarian branch of the Swiss foundation WWF, which is managed by Veselin Kavrakova - wife of the former deputy minister of environment and water Toma Belev.
Elena Tsingarska is also a member of the Management Board of the Balkan Wildlife Association. She is a biologist and together with her husband Sider Sedevchev – an artist and green activist, they do serious business in Vlahi, using financing from European funds and the national budget.
The association also includes Andrey Ralev, who is one of the founders of the "Green Movement" party.
All of them, as well as their relatives, spend a considerable part of their time in the village, staying in houses or training centers owned by several non-governmental organizations.
Dimitar Vassilev lives in the village - Velin - the biggest complainant against the completion of the Struma highway. Ministerial adviser Andrey Kovachev is also the owner of a property in the area.
As Eko News revealed, Velin and Kovachev filed as many as 8 lawsuits against AM Struma through the Krensen Gorge in March of this year alone.
Green activists Petko Kovachev from the NGO "Institute for Green Policies" and Petko Tsvetkov from the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Foundation are also active in Vlahi all year round.
What is the business of ecologists in Vlahi?
The biggest business of ecologists is the implementation of programs for the reintroduction of black and griffon vultures in the region of the Kresnen Gorge. The orders are fulfilled by "Green Balkans", "The Wild Fund for Flora and Fauna" and several other green organizations. The financing of these activities comes from the "LIFE" program of the European Union and the national budget. The value of the projects for the period 2015-2022 is over 10 million BGN, or about 350,000 euros per pair of vultures.
The whole program has almost zero results - a part of the birds bought from Spain have left the area and moved to nest in Macedonia, Serbia and Greece. Others have flown to Israel.
There is also a criminal element surrounding the breeding of vultures - environmentalists claim that 17 birds were deliberately poisoned by the locals. However, they deny this and claim that when the Greens began their attempts to reintroduce vultures, they warned environmentalists that the area did not have the necessary food base for these large birds.
Indeed, 50-60 years ago vultures were seen nesting there, but then there were huge herds of cows and sheep that went out to graze. Back then, breeders did not collect the dead animals, but left them to the scavengers - birds, jackals and wolves. Today, however, these conditions do not exist. There are very few animals, and due to sanitary requirements, they are given to eucharists after their death.
Even if these more than 10 million are spent purposefully, in the area today there are no conditions that would make the birds stay and settle in Bulgaria, since there is no food.
In addition to attempts to reintroduce vultures, the Greens develop a serious business with trainings, lectures, seminars and conferences. Over 40 such events have been organized in Vlahi in recent years. All financed under European and national programs. The money comes from the "Program for supporting non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria" under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. Hundreds of thousands have been absorbed.
Environmentalists also make money from the training center for large carnivores. This is also the name of the foundation of the same name, which uses the money under public procurement.
Separately, ecologists also raise sheep, cows, horses and purebred Karakachan dogs - there are more than 50 of them alone. A large part of the "school" has been turned into a hayfield for straw and hay to feed the herds owned by the Greens.
To cover up the economic and commercial activity, a bear is a wolf. The wild animals, which look quite bad, are locked behind rusty bars, and on the fence in front sits a cut plastic bottle for donations.
They are also engaged in real estate trading. Environmentalists buy houses, renovate them under Euro programs and use them for personal business.
Using the fact that they have properties in the Kresna area, the Greens Andrey Kovachev, Dimitar Vasilev-Verin and other activists organize protests against the completion of the Struma highway, pretending to be local residents, deceiving the public and the media that the people of Kresna do not want a highway.
As it was established after the revelations of Eco News - rafters and greens have built an illegal tourist complex in the "Kresna-Ilindentsi" protected area in the Kresna gorge. The legality of the activities that the green activists and their NGOs are carrying out in the village of Vlahi is equally questionable and should be looked into by the responsible institutions. At least an explanation is needed, can non-governmental organizations carry out commercial activities?