Rumen Radev is the incumbent President of Bulgaria, having assumed the office recently on 22 January 2017. Prior to entering the office of President, Radev was a Bulgarian Air Force Commander.

Early Life and Education

Born on 18 June 1963, Rumen Radev grew up with his family in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. Prior to joining the military schools, he went to Mathematical School and graduated with a gold medal. Then, he joined Georgi Benkovski Bulgarian Air Force Class of 1987. He also attended US Air Force Squadron Officer School Class of 1992.

Having always been a top student in any academic tier, Radev is a doctorate holder. He also went to Air War College and Rakovski Defense and Staff College.

Personal Life

Rumen Radev has already married two times. His first wife, Ginka Radev, gave Radev family two children: Darina and Georgi. After divorcing Ginka in 2011, Radev married Desislava Gencheva in 2016. The couple does not yet have any children.

Bulgarian President with his wife.
Bulgarian President with his wife.

Career

Rumen Radev is a military person, more than he is a politician. His entry into the Bulgarian military dates back to 1987 when he was recruited as a junior pilot in the 15th Fighter Aviation Regiment. Two years later i.e. in 1989, he was promoted to Unit deputy commander. The following year, he assumed the position of unit commander and held the office for four years.

In 1996, Radev joined Fifth Fighter Airbase as a MiG-29 squadron commander. Having served in the position for two years, he was promoted to Deputy commander for flight preparation. A year later, he moved to the third fighter base as a deputy commander for flight training. One of Radev’s significant contributions to Bulgarian military is his courageous presence for NATO operations. In 2000, he helped NATO and Bulgarian government study Bulgarian Air Force.

From 2000 to 2005, Radev worked as Chief of Staff of the Third Fighter Airbase. Then, he rose as a Commander of the same regime until 2009. Subsequently, Radev saw continuous promotions to Bulgarian Air Force Deputy Commander (2009 – 2014) and Commander (2014 – 2016).

Talking about Radev’s flight statistics, he typically flies MIG-15, MIG-17, MIG-21, MIG-29, F-15, F-16, F-18, Eurofighter, and Gripen. So far, he has been in the air for around 1400 hours – no doubt he is a first-class fighter plane pilot. Alongside carrying out several operations and moving between bases, Radev has also increased significantly in terms of conventional military ranks. Here’s a table of his ranks in different years.

  • 1987: Lieutenant
  • 1990: Senior Lieutenant
  • 1994: Captain
  • 1997: Major
  • 2000: Lieutenant Colonel
  • 2003: Colonel
  • 2007: Brigadier General
  • 2014: Major General

In 2016, Rumen Radev made a sudden entry into the Bulgarian politics. In support of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, he ran for 2016 presidential election against Tsetska Tscheva. He had a surprising victory with 59.37% votes in favor. Radev took the office on January 22, 2017.

Trump and Radev

Even though Radev is a newly-elected President of Bulgaria, he has some similarities with the US President Donald Trump. First thing: both the leaders are pro-Russia. Hence, Radev might be a significant European counterpart in order to establish newer relations with Trump. Besides, it can also be assumed that Radev and Trump will also agree on their military strategies.

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