Bulgaria News Agency director general dies at 67

Maxim Minchev

Maxim Minchev

SOFIA: Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) Director General Maxim Minchev has died after a short illness.

According to BTA, November 6, his colleagues were informed that Minchev had tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined.

Minchev was born on June 5, 1953 in Sofia. In 1976, he graduated in journalism at the Lviv University in Ukraine and in 1986 in pedagogy at the G.S. Rakovsky Military Academy. Between 1993 and 1996, he was a fellow at NATO’s Headquarters in Brussels.

During his over 40-year career, he was correspondent and editor of various newspapers and radio programs.

Minchev was among the founders of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria in 1991 and served on its Board of Directors and as press director until 2003.

Since 2003 and until his death, he was Director General of the Bulgarian News Agency.

During his tenure at the agency, he launched a network of 13 press clubs, with two of them located in Bosilegrad (Serbia) and Taraclia (Moldova).

Minchev also initiated 15 world meetings of Bulgarian media around the world.

He also held a number of other notable posts, including, from 2016, president of the Association of Balkan News Agencies – Southeast Europe, secretary-general of the News Agencies World Congress, and president of the Black Sea Association of National News Agencies, the Sofia Globe reported.

In 2015, he was awarded the Golden Age Award of the Culture Ministry on National Awakeners’ Day.

A passionate globetrotter, he wrote down his impressions from countries around the world in numerous books.

Minchev is survived by his wife and his son.

Politicians and public figures, including President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, issued statements expressing their sympathy.

President Radev offered his condolences to Minchev’s family and friends in an address, released by his Press Secretariat.

“The public and Bulgarian journalism have lost a great man and professional who contributed greatly to the development of news agency journalism in Bulgaria,” said the Bulgarian president.

Expressing his deepest sympathy on Minchev’s death, Prime Minister Borissov said: “A proven and respected journalist with extensive professional experience, he always led by the profession’s standards. God bless his soul!”

Head of the Parliamentary Culture and Media Committee and former culture minister Vezhdi Rashidov described Minchev’s death as “a huge loss.”

“A talented journalist, a true professional, an honest man and a true friend has left us. Until the very end, he remained faithful to the mission of responsible journalism. I am deeply grieving his death,” Rashidov was quoted as saying.

In a message on the webpage of the Sofia Municipality, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova called Minchev “a devoted and exceptional professional … who organized a lot of forums that helped popularize Sofia.”

The Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) expressed their condolences in an address to BTA and Minchev’s family and friends.

“He was one of the brightest public figures in the past 30 years. A convinced democrat, a reputable journalist, an accomplished director of the Bulgarian News Agency. His death is a huge loss for both his family and Bulgarian journalism,” the UDF said.

Former president Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) described Minchev as a “wonderful and dedicated Director of BTA, a man whose joy and kindness were contagious”.

Association of the Balkan News Agencies- Southeastern Europe head Armela Krasniqi expressed shock at the news of Minchev’s passing.

“The Alliance of Balkan News Agencies is really shocked to hear about suddenly death of Director General of BTA Director General Maxim Minchev. ABNA lost a great friend and a very important voice of the community, always pleading for balance, equality and evolution,” she said.

“In a long span of his association with the ABNA community, he has achieved what all of us could just dream. We will never forget those trips we had with Maxim and we will always miss him.”

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