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A suspected Russian spy freed on bail in Bulgaria was allowed by a court to visit Moscow, where he received an award from President Vladimir Putin.
Despite being barred from foreign travel as part of a $28,000 conditional release two months ago, Nikolay Malinov was able to travel on Nov. 1, according to prosecutors.
There, the former lawmaker and head of Bulgaria’s National Russophile Movement attended a reception marking Russia’s National Unity Day and was presented with the state honor, according to official footage.
Prosecutors are seeking an inquiry into the court’s decision.
While Bulgarian-Russian relations are generally cordial, Malinov was charged with supplying information to a Russian research institute and a non-governmental organization to help alter his country’s geopolitical trajectory. He denies wrongdoing over the offenses, which carry a prison term of as long as 15 years.
Malinov saw retired Russian secret service Lieutenant-General Leonid Reshetnikov, who’s deputy head of the NGO and has been banned from visiting Bulgaria for 10 years, in Moscow.
“I met General Reshetnikov -- we ate, drank and went to a Russian bath,” he said late Monday. “My most important meeting was with Putin and fortunately I had the opportunity to talk for five to six minutes about Bulgaria, the Russophiles and his opinion of what we do.”
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