Rumen Radev

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Rumen Radev
Rumen Radev official (cropped).jpg
5th President of Bulgaria
Assumed office
22 January 2017
Prime MinisterBoyko Borisov
Ognyan Gerdzhikov (Acting)
Boyko Borisov
Vice PresidentIliana Iotova
Preceded byRosen Plevneliev
Personal details
Rumen Georgiev Radev

(1963-06-18) 18 June 1963 (age 56)
Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria
Political partyBCP (before 1990)
Independent (1990–present)
Spouse(s)Ginka Radeva (?–2014; divorced)
Desislava Radeva (2016–present)
ChildrenDarina (b. 2001)
Georgi (b. 2003)
Alma materBulgarian Air Force University
Rakovski Military Academy
Air War College
Military service
Allegiance People's Republic of Bulgaria
Branch/serviceRoundel of Bulgaria.svg Bulgarian Air Force
Years of service1987–2017
RankMajor General

Rumen Georgiev Radev (Bulgarian: Румен Георгиев Радев; born 18 June 1963) is a Bulgarian politician and former Major General who is the current President of Bulgaria since January 22, 2017. Radev previously served as Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force.[1] He won the 2016 presidential election, as an independent candidate supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, defeating GERB candidate Tsetska Tsacheva in the second round.[2][3][4][5]


Radev was born on June 18, 1963 in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. His family is from Slavyanovo in the Haskovo region. In 1982 he graduated from the Mathematical School in Haskovo with a gold medal. He graduated from the Georgi Benkovski Bulgarian Air Force University in 1987 as the top graduate. In 1992, he graduated from the US Air Force Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB. From 1994 to 1996, he studied at the Rakovski Defence and Staff College, where he was also the top graduate. He holds a Doctor of Military Sciences degree in the field of improvement of tactical training of flight crews and simulation of air combat.

In 2003 he graduated from Air War College at Maxwell AFB in the United States with a Master of Strategic Studies with honors.[1]

Radev with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, March 20, 2018

Military career[edit]

Radev with U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc in Bulgaria
  • 1987 – 1989: Junior pilot in the 15th Fighter Aviation Regiment – Ravnets
  • 1989 – 1992: Unit deputy commander at the 15th Fighter Aviation Regiment – Ravnets
  • 1992 – 1997: Unit commander at the 15th Fighter Aviation Regiment – Ravnets
  • 1997 – 1999: MiG-29 squadron commander at the Fifth Fighter Airbase – Ravnets
  • 1999 – 2000: Deputy commander for flight preparation at the Fifth Fighter Airbase – Ravnets
  • 2000: Deputy commander for flight training at the Third Fighter Airbase – Graf Ignatievo
  • 2000 – Study of the Air defence of the Republic of Bulgaria – NATO, Brussels
  • 2000 – 2002: Chief of Staff of the Third Fighter Airbase – Graf Ignatievo
  • 2002 – 2004: Chief of Staff of the Third Fighter Airbase – Graf Ignatievo
  • 2004 – 2009: Commander of the Third Fighter Airbase – Graf Ignatievo
  • 2009 – 2014: Bulgarian Air Force deputy commander
  • 2014 – 2017: Bulgarian Air Force commander

Flight information[edit]

Military ranks[edit]

  • 1987 – Lieutenant
  • 1989 – Senior Lieutenant
  • 1994 – Captain
  • 1997 – Major
  • 1999 – Lieutenant Colonel
  • 2002 – Colonel
  • 2007 – Brigadier General
  • 2014 – Major General
  • 2017 – General (Commander-In-Chief)


Induction of Rumen Radev into the International Honor Roll, Dec. 3, 2014

Rumen Radev was awarded numerous medals and prizes, including the sign "For loyal service under the flags" – III degree, and Honorary sign of the Ministry of Defence "Saint George" – II degree.[1]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


Radev with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, May 22, 2018

In August 2016, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABR) officially nominated Radev as a candidate for the November 2016 presidential election.[2][8][9] In the same month, ABR withdrew its presidential nomination of General Radev[10] in favour of Ivaylo Kalfin.

On the first round of the election, conducted on November 6, 2016, Radev came first with 25.44% of the vote.[11] He faced GERB candidate Tsetska Tsacheva in the runoff the following Sunday, November 13. He defeated her, winning 59.37% of the popular vote.[12]

On 24 January 2018, Radev condemned the Turkish invasion of northern Syria aimed at ousting U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds from the enclave of Afrin, and insisted that the European Union should intervene to stop it.[13][14]

Controversies and foreign interests allegations[edit]

Rumen Radev's election campaign was largely riding on a wave of Russian dominated topics, including the removal of Russian sanctions. This led subsequent allegations that he was defending foreign interests in Bulgaria. Moreover, allegations of the opposition leader Kornelia Ninova meeting with Moscow's secret service agent Leonid Rashetnikov before choosing Rumen Radev for president-elect led people to believe that he had influence in the decision.

Family and private life[edit]

Radev has two children from his first marriage to Ginka Radeva, which ended in a divorce in 2014: a daughter Darina, born in 2001 and a son Georgi, born in 2003.

He later married Desislava Gencheva, who was previously married to the BSP MP Georgi Svilenski.

Apart from Bulgarian, Radev is also fluent in Russian, German and English.[15]


  1. ^ a b c ((bg)) Major General Rumen Radev // Department of Defence. Retrieved August 11, 2016
  2. ^ a b BSP elected Gen. Radev as a presidential candidate with 99 votes, Bulgarian National Radio, Radio "Sofia", August 17, 2016
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Pro-Russia candidate wins Bulgaria's presidential run-off". 13 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Bulgaria Faces Uncertainty After Election Of Pro-Russia President". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  6. ^ – Bulgarian Air Force
  7. ^ – Flight Video & Photo
  8. ^ BSP officially nominated gen. Rumen Radev for the presidential elections, "Dnevnik", August 17, 2016
  9. ^ ABR officially nominated gen. Rumen Radev for the presidential elections too, BNT, August 17, 2016
  10. ^ Counterstrike of ABR – it withdrew its support for General Rumen Radev, author: Dilyana Panajotova, August 24, 2016
  11. ^ "Резултати за президент и вицепрезидент на републиката". Central Electoral Commission. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Резултати за президент и вицепрезидент на републиката". Central Electoral Commission. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Bulgarian President calls for EU intervention against Turkish Syria incursion – Ahval". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Bulgaristan'dan AB'ye: Afrin'e acil müdahale edin". Arti Gerçek. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Radev, a former pilot of Russian MIG 29 jet fighters who is fluent in Russian and English, insists that as a NATO general his loyalty is with Bulgaria's allies". Euractiv. Retrieved May 27, 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rosen Plevneliev
President of Bulgaria