The Russian Conspiracy
chapter from the thriller “The Bulgarian Fraud
by Eli Eshed
Cover picture by: Vladik Sandler
The story is based on the author's imagination.
Any connection between the story and reality is purely coincidental
The lights of Varna were glittering from above. The Israelis that were flying to Varna on the aircraft provided no great contribution to his peace of mind. As always, it was a riffraff of loud lowlife Israelis in flashy outfits, shouting and cursing to high heaven, being extremely rude and vulgar, even for Israelis flying to Bulgaria on a casino holiday… Most men were wearing outlandish clothes and were adorned with gold chains, bracelets, rings and even gold teeth… Most women were overweight and were wearing skirts that were once in fashion. He knew that all of them wanted the same thing: to get to Varna's casinos and gamble the night away there, plus the men were planning on visiting the town's notorious brothels.
That's what he himself used to do once. But now he had better things to do in Varna.
Meanwhile, one of the women in the aircraft started yelling at the stewardesses and cursing them like crazy: “You fucken bitch”, she shouted at the frightened stewardess, “You filthy bitch from hell, bloody whore, how dare you not bring me that cake I asked you for?!”
The women was cursing nonstop for half an hour, while her spouse, who seemed like a retired gangster, was sitting calmly with his eyes closed and a faint smile upon his face. The others were oblivious and were scornfully glancing at the frightened stewardess.
Alas, when one of the stewards came and tried to defend the shocked stewardess from the downpour of profanity, the 'quiet' husband had a raging outburst: “To hell with Varna!”, he shouted with rage, “But my wife WILL get what she wants!”
The fat passenger remained in his seat and didn't seem to be excited by the commotion. These kind of things happen on every flight to Bulgaria. Nevertheless, the disrespect he was already feeling for the other passengers was further intensified – if that was even possible…
Finally, he managed to fall asleep. In his dream, all Israeli men and women had just one neck. He was dreaming about the moment he'd pull out a long machete and slowly slit this throat, with shear pleasure and slow motion movements, and would finally sever it off, to the applauds of invisible spectators, and by doing so would do his bit of cleaning the planet from the filth the earth was swarming with.
To his regret, as always, he'd wake up from the dream just a minute before seeing the body's severed head…but the feeling of pleasure remained.
But this time, when he reached Varna, he had no time for casinos, nor did he have time to tour the streets., where masses of gloomy Bulgarians were promenading – looking like they were just about to give up on life and go drown themselves in the Black Sea. As always, the place had such a strong stench, he was just about to faint. Varna reminded him of South Tel-Aviv on a particularity bad day of blazing heat, only with much more garbage out in the open.
it seems like the streets are doomed to be filthy forever.
One of the problems with Bulgarians is that they simply don't know how to clean their streets properly. Garbage and filth were accumulating everywhere. If anyone in the corrupt Bulgarian regime had any sense whatsoever, they would pay to bring Muslim workers from Turkey so they would properly clean up the garbage.
But that, he knew, would be asking for trouble. The Turks presented a threat to Bulgaria and every Turk and Muslim entering the country would be under surveillance.
“A nation lacking true acculturation”, he thought with disdain, “devoid of literature, lacking any Art, which seems to interest other nations”.
Was it a mere coincidence that not even one Bulgarian literary novel was ever translated into Hebrew, despite the fact that Israel had a very large community of Bulgarian Jews, who spoke Bulgarian?
The main problem, thought the fat guy, was not their dirty streets, nor their definitely second rate food, neither was it their casinos nor the women, which he actually pretty much favored. Mostly blonds with a somewhat thick expression on their faces, yet a serious person could reach common grounds with them.
The main problem was their intelligence services. He had never met such a bunch of fourth rate crooks, violent, non-sophisticated, brainless thugs. Whenever the Communists wanted the West to capture an agent from the Eastern Bloc, they always sent a Bulgarian, knowing that he'd get caught immediately…
But as a serious person, and he'd always relate to himself as a serious person, he had to use whatever was available.
The Israeli gangster was right, the fat guy was thinking, “Varna is on the road to hell!”. But until it would finally beburied – just like once, ten thousand years ago, the waves of the Black sea washed over and flooded the developed culture that had once existed there, as if the place was biblical Sodom, and maybe this is where the Deluge myth actually came from – he wanted to milk the town for some more money. As much as possible, until the present Sodom named Varna would be destroyed as well.
And one of the ways to achieve this was where he was heading to right now. Vasilevski wanted him to come over – and obviously, when someone from the FSB (successor of the KGB) wants to see you – you don't refuse…So he arrived at the Russian Consulate on Macedonia street in Varna. The street, much like any other street in Varna, has seen better days and looked like any other building in Bulgaria – polluted and ready to collapse at any given moment. The odor of spilled vomit – obviously from all of those drunks from the casinos in the area – was everywhere.
He glanced around carefully, making sure nobody was watching him enter the premises. He certainly wouldn't want the folks at the University to know about his close relations with the Russians. The gloomy guards gave him the usual overall inspection, even know they knew him very well. He was wondering whether they were thinking that one day he'd just pull out a gun and start shooting everyone there. There were definitely some good reasons to do so. The fat guy enters the room of the Vice Consul – which was his official title, while his real role was with Russia's federal security services, representing the interests of the FSB. According to rumors, Gregory Vasilevski knew Russian President Putin from the old days in the KGB, but every FSB person would claim to know Putin from as far back as the 80's and the 90's. Go figure, even if they were telling the truth, as far-fetched as it may sound, back then Putin was stationed in East Germany and held nothing more than a gray mid-leveled rank. How many people could he have possibly known back then? But still, rumors were circulating – rumors which were probably circulated by Putin himself – that back then he was already well-acquainted with a young Chemist named Angela Merkel, nowadays the Chancellor of Germany. But go figure…anyhow, Vasilevski seemed like the type of person that would be acquainted with Putin not back in the old days, but today.
The Russian's face was reddish, hinting of a nearly endless capacity for vodka. The mane of his hair was white, yet his eyes were as cold as ice. Every time he'd meet him, ever since his first visit to Bulgaria, when Vasilevski recruited him, the fat guy would get this vague sense of fear and feel a chill down his spine – he know that he had a good reason to be afraid.
“How is it going with your latest courses at the University of Varna?”, the Russian showed some interest, “I heard that you're a very fascinating lecturer, an expert on terrorism, eh? I've heard that you've been invited to other countries – Austria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic…well done!”
“Now I'm working on a new course on Jihadi terrorism in the Balkans, always a relevant subject”, the fat guy answered cautiously. “And what about your International Company?”, the Russian guy took an interest while sipping some vodka, “Have you caught any Internet hackers or scammers lately?”
“We're always working on it”, he replied with caution, once again.
The real answer was: after two years of endless efforts – nope. Not yet. Despite all of the money spent and the media advertising regarding the Internet hustlers that have supposedly been caught, and despite addressing the general public and asking them to send information reporting about various online hackers and scammers – the actual success rate so far was an absolute zero – nada – nothing. He came across the idea after experiencing Internet fraud himself by being scammed. He can still sense the uttermost rage and frustration he was feeling, the minute he'd realized that he's been 'taken for a sucker'. The investment he's put into the company was entirely taken from the money that people given him so that he'd buy them land in Bulgaria, but meanwhile, this investment was not paying off, and he had to keep on making a living as a lecturer, and of course – in addition to that he had to continue handling these shady ordeals.
Vasilevski shook his head in sympathy. “Have you managed to sell any land lately?”
The fat guy gazed at the Russian with suspicion. Vasilevski was well aware of the fact that the land market was dead and gone. Vasilevski know a whole lot more than that.
The Russian had somehow picked up on his thoughts,
“Yes, Yes, Gospodin”['Sir' in Russian], the Russian blurted out joyfully, “I know that your entire business of selling land to friends is just one big fraud. I know that you're taking money from your best friends in Israel – even from your ex and from her family, all of which counted on you, the famous lecturer – to buy land for them in Bulgaria, while you're actually stealing their money for your business in Bulgaria. You're cheating your friends and cheating on your own soul. But that's why I want you here with us. You're a heinous traitor, but the people we want here are all traitors”.
He sat there, stunned: “I'm buying land for my friends”, the fat bastard blurted with effort, “When the time is right I'll pay them back some of the money”.
The Russian was smiling, an icy grin that he couldn't even see: “We both know that that day will never come. But that's fine, as long as you're doing it for the benefit of mother Russia. After all, all spies are traitors. A person could never be a spy without betraying his very own soul.”
And after a brief moment of silence, he added: “By the way, I have an offer for you – how to get rid of all of these people abroad that want to know what happened to those assets you'd promised to acquire for them. Tell them that a new law had been legislated in Bulgaria – forbidding foreigners from owning Bulgarian land, and thus their land was expropriated. None of them know any Bulgarian, right? There you go, this solves your problem.”
His chubby fingers were drumming on the table, confused. He sensed the entire load of his overweight: “And what if they want to know how this happened?”, he asked.
“Tell them that a Facebook group has been launched in order to protest against this. We all know that nowadays everything happens on Facebook. This goes for frauds, as well. Then just shut off your cellphone and close your email and just don't answer them anymore.”
The fat guy sighed. He has heard better suggestions in his life…did Vasilevski take him for a fool? Did he think anyone would actually believe this?
Oh well, so be it. He was ruling out things in his head. Vasilevski was obviously just kidding, although with this guy, you can never tell for sure.
“And now, down to business”, Vasilevski proceeded, “You provide us information about the Bulgarians and their contacts with NATO, using your contacts at the University, the one that we helped you get into as a lecturer and we thank you.”
The fat guy was pleased: “All of this is just, of course, an effort to improve the relations between Russia and Bulgaria. I love Bulgaria”
Vasilevski waved his hand: “Of course, you do know that there are no better friends than Russia and Bulgaria, and it was always like this. The Bulgarians, one must admit, are not the brightest crayons in the box, one must admit. They're childish and behind in many fields. Ever since the Middle-Ages, they've always needed guidance and protection from the strong arm of beloved and merciful Mother Russia, even if they make some mistakes along the way and need some spanking…especially nowadays, with these idiots in the Bulgarian leadership trying to receive NATO's support”.
The fat guy agreed with every word.
“And that's why we need people like you, to report about anything they hear about what's going on in Bulgaria's intelligence and security services. In fact, foreigners such as yourself can provide information that we can't get from Bulgarians. I want to tell you that your contribution to Russia's security, as well as Bulgaria's, is of great importance. The President himself is well aware of some of the details you've provided concerning the secret bonds between Turkey and Bulgaria.”
The fat guy was surprised. He heard these details from a Turkish student who was drinking vodka, against his religion. He didn't consider this particularly important, yet he provided the information anyway, along with some changes and additions of his own – although this fact was not stated in the report. And Vasilevski went on: “As you know, the President wishes to further strengthen the bonds between Russia and Bulgaria. And a lot more than that”. That was an understatement – he knew. The rumor was that Putin wanted to turn Bulgaria into an “unofficial” part of the Russian Federation, as a buffer-zone, providing protection against a possible Turkish-Islamic invasion, a possibility that was becoming more and more realistic, from day to day. Only in this case, unlike what's going on in Ukraine, he wasn't planning on using any violent means, but to merely use internal factors, as usual, so that when that day comes, they shall address Russia for “support”. In return, Bulgaria would become a puppet state. All of this will take place when the time is right – and that day will arrive.
“No problem”, said the fat guy, “A unification between Russia and Bulgaria is obviously the present need, for the benefit of Bulgaria, of course. I'll do anything for a unification between Russia and Bulgaria.”
“Thank you”, said Vasilevski. “And now, we have another issue. Since you've been found to be highly efficient in providing information concerning Bulgaria, we need more than that from you. We also want you to provide us with information that concerns the other countries you're planning to visit, including Israel. We've just found out that your connections with Israel's intelligence and security services are better that we thought. We found out that you've recently convinced several 'Mosad' agents to falsely accuse an Israeli journalist of revealing so-called secrets to hostile factors, in an attempt to threaten a person from whom, as we know. You've stolen a great deal of money claiming to buy and manage a profitable asset for him in Bulgaria. And this, as we both know, is something you never actually bothered doing.
So, if you have such influence that you can get these people to hurt someone for you, than obviously, you can also provide us with additional information regarding them, including incriminating information, which the Russian Federation's government needs to know about.”
…The fat guy just sat there, totally stunned: they know about all of this.
“Where did you get all of this information?” he asked, though he didn't actually expect to get an answer. But Vasilevski in fact did give him an answer:
“Your 'journalist friend' also has some influential friends in Moscow…they heard of your attempt to use thugs from the Bulgarian police in order to beat him up as soon as he'd arrive in Bulgaria, trying to find out if he even owns any land here, as you've claimed in the counterfeit documents you sent him. They were not thrilled to hear about this.”
He now kept silent and did not elaborate. Yet the fat guy could comprehend the implications.
“Gregory, you are my friend”, the fat guy tried to shake his way out, “but Israel is my home. I can't spy on them like I spy on Bulgarians.”
He halted his speech to let out a dry cough.
“Your honor should know”, Vasilevski said, “That if, God forbid, you won't provide us with information in regards to Israel's security services we well, we shall be forced to disclose some interesting details regarding your fraudulent business to the Israeli police – it turns out that all of the Bulgarian land, which you've seemingly sold, never existed in the first place. We shall report the transactions in which you've conned Israelis in Bulgaria.”
And Vasilevski had to pause for pleasure before continuing: “And maybe we'll also provide some information about your international little crime syndicate of stealing and selling antiques. Yes, my friend, we know about that too. We won't enjoy doing this, but we do require your good services there.”
He looked at the fat guy: “You did, of course, record these Mosad agents, as they agreed to break the law and harm a journalist for you”.
That was not even a question.
“Gregory”, whispered the fat guy, “these people are my friends, they agreed to this for me as a favor for a friend”.
And Vasilevski continued staring at him with his penetrating gaze: “All we need is for you to transfer the incriminating evidence to us, the recordings of the conversations in which they agree to do this 'favor' for you against the journalist. Our people in Israel will take it from there.
I promise you that none of these 'Mosad' agents will get hurt in any way, they'll just be asked to perform another 'favor', this time for the Russian Federation.”
The fat guy sat there, frozen, refusing to believe. He knew that his friends would be asked to do more than just one particular 'favor'. They'd be asked to do more and more 'favors'.
His chubby fingers were trembling when he said: “But Gregory, you promised me. We had an agreement in which we concluded that everything I'd do for you would be only here in Bulgaria!”
Vasilevski hunched up his shoulders, “We had an agreement, but we didn't oblige to keep it. Who knows this better than you…think about it this way: by providing us with information, you'll also be contributing to improving the relations between Israel and the Russian Federation, which shall now know more about Israel's problems in regards to the security and intelligence fields, and would be able to properly respond to these problems. By helping the Russian Federation, you're actually helping Israel.
You should know that nowadays, Israel has great importance for Russia. Now that we've lost our Syrian base, with Syria turning into an area of complete anarchy, who do we have left in the Middle-East? Just Israel. Israel is an intrinsic part of the great Russian culture. It is a home for over a million Russian speakers.
It was time to bring them back into Mother Russia's loving arms, even if they physically remain in the Middle-East. The United States is losing all of its' interest in the Middle-East and barricading itself in, Europe is sinking into senility, so who is left to protect Israel? Only Russia, There's nobody else. The plan is that when the time is right, Israel will also voluntarily become a part of the Russian Federation, serving as Russia's spearhead in the battle against radical Islam. Any rational person can see that there really is no other choice. Accomplishing this would finally fulfill Russia's aspirations from the time of the Czars – turning the Holy Land into a Russian Protectorate, because only Russia could effectively protect Israel and the Jewish-Christian world. You will help realize this, and besides, the more you provide us with important information regarding Israel's police and intelligence services, and the more people you'll bring to work in our service, with material incriminating them, the more money you'll get – we're going to double the amount of money that you get from us.”
He thought about this for a long time, as Vasilevski's eyes were scorching him alive.
He knew that he had no choice. He needed the protection of the FSB. At this stage, there were already too many people that knew about his shady deals. Too many people whom he had betrayed, by fraudulently receiving money from them, people who would want to avenge him.
Finally, he nodded with agreement.
The meeting was finally adjourned.
He stood up and automatically reached his hand out in order to shake Vasilevski's hand. He should have known better as for how the Russian would react. Vasilevski pushed his hand away, as if it was that of a leper. “Gospodin”, he said, whispering, his eyes full of scorn and deep disdain, “Just because I work with traitors doesn't mean that I have to shake hands with them”.
The conversation was over but the fat guy feeling awful pain,
. “Someone must pay for this”, he thought to himself, “Someone will pay dearly for all of these insults I've suffered from Vasilevski. It has to be that damn Israeli journalist…”
Other chapter of the story :