The Bulgarian subsidiary of LukOil, which pays some 20% of all the taxes collected in Bulgaria, has been revealed to be a sponsor of the Socialist Party here in a diplomatic cable of the US embassy in Sofia, sent right before the general elections in 2005.

“Critics of the BSP assert that the current moderate leadership of the party is simply a front for hard-liners and former members of the Communist-era security services,” writes the then US Ambassador James Pardew.

Former Ambassador Pardew cites polls, according to which the Socialist party is likely to win the general elections in the summer of 2005 – which is exactly what happened – and warns that Russia’s influence in the Bulgarian economy is is likely to grow.