Илиян Василев

Member of the Board of the Center for Balkan and Black sea studies, Managing Partner, Innovative Energy Solutions EOOD, Blogger, Honorary Chair, Bulgarian Economic Forum Coordinator, Sofia Business School
ilian vassilev

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  The takeover of the Military Intelligence Service is just one more episode in the saga of Dogan-Peevsky’s circle attempting to take full control over all essential secret services.     The first move in that direction was the creation in 2008 of the State Agency for National Security, abbreviated as SANS. This agency shelters the Military Police and the Military Counter-Intelligence in order to have adequate control over the military, the Financial Intelligence to make sure it did not work against them and their Russian partner capital, including that of the political elite parked in the Gulf States, the Civil Counterintelligence to make sure there are no new cases of exposed Russian agents and consequent expulsions and the Economic Intelligence which monitors attempts by Russian capital to control whole


  The German government is continuing to insist that the Nord Stream-2 is pure business, no politics. Having read the feasibility study commissioned by the Nord Stream-2 consortium and executed by Arthur D. Little in 2017, one should not second guess the real motives of both the Russian and the German governments – there is a list of jointly agreed countries that stand to gain and by extension that stand to lose. What is missing in the study is the list of countries that are bound to lose.   The consultant has been asked to assess the economic impact of the project – “the activities and investments, related to the Nord Stream-2 project on those countries that are either directly involved in the project, or have contributed with materials or


  Last week deputies and members of the Energy Commission voted on the amendments to the Energy Act which launches the Balkan gas exchange, thus pushing the process of liberalization of the gas market. This belated action is due in part to the pressure from the European Commission as Bulgaria remains a blank spot on the EU gas market.   The gas exchange and the trading platform are a key element in the overall concept of the Bulgarian gas hub, the crown jewel in the efforts of the Bulgarian government in the gas sphere over the recent years.   The liberalization of the gas market is closely related to the existence of a trading platform and the goal of attracting sufficient gas liquidity for distribution through the “hub”.   The


  Let us state the publicly known facts and try to assess the business merits of the deal. Bit by bit, slowly and systematically, so that even non-experts can understand.   We have a standing valid gas transit contract between Gazexport and Bulgartransgaz, using the current Trans-Balkan Pipeline, until 2030 with “secure” revenues of $ 1.2 billion. This is not the total contract amount, just the ‘ship or pay’ segment, accrued until the end of the contract. This is regardless of whether Gazprom decides to end transit through Ukraine, to take up alternative routes through Turkey, Germany or the North Pole. Cash in hand. Or almost.   Giving up on these receivables is a condition sine qua non, set by Gazprom, if we want to enter into the new venture

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  Versed for decades in the mantras of eternal brotherhood and friendship with the Soviet Union, Bulgarians may find these lines bordering on heresy. Many would not sound the alarm even if the number of Russian speakers tops one million. Even though the immediate risk and threat profile of the rising Russian speaking minority is low, the impact on Bulgarian democracy, the political process, the national security and NATO-EU integration capacity can hardly be ignored or left unnoticed.   It is not only the demographic and immigration footprints that are in question – the Bulgarian authorities should be well aware of the number of holders of Russian passports who have Permanent or Temporary Residence Status, as well as the numbers of tourists with extended holiday stay.   The Bulgarian state


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  When analyzing risks from looming and unfettered  Russian-speakers immigration, or any other immigration, the short-term, visible or dominant features are not always the most important. The consideration of potential persistent, hidden or dormant long-term manifestations and consequences, especially  for destructive impact of different immigrant groups on the economy, society and institutions, matters most. The screening of inbound streams of refugees and economic immigrants from the South, who come from different religious, ethnic and racial background, for potential destructive impact is indispensable.   It is not by accident that immigration policies in Eastern Europe have begun to soften as immigration is the only cure to critical demographic imbalances. Most of the populists – diehard critics of immigration – including in Hungary and Poland are tacitly encouraging economic immigrants from nearby


  The processes leading to the demographic shifts in Bulgaria were accelerated by in and outbound migration flows over the last 20 years, against a backdrop of scare campaigns against refugees and migrants crossing the Turkish and Greek border on their way to the heart of Europe. Bulgarian nationalists have risen to power and prominence and have been able to manually control immigrant flows, giving precedence to their favorite mix.   The finding in the above referenced ‘secret’ report focuses on the ethnic Russian and Russian speakers as the largest ethnic minority – larger than the minority of ethnic Turks. This has been made possible by the emigration of more than 2 million Bulgarian citizens that have undermined traditional indigenous minorities. A large number of Bulgarian Turks have not renewed


  Years ago while still in Moscow, in the course of trying to analyze and understand the motives behind different actions of the Russian authorities, I tried to seek the opinion of various people in Moscow – both those close to power and the opponents, who often command the intellectual heights in the dispute. One of the interesting topics in the early years of Mr. Putin reign, was the subject of the quiet Russification of Crimea. The pattern was exemplary for Russia’s foreign policy. In those days I had no idea, that the issue might end up with a imaginable “Bulgarian” tag.   It was obvious, that the Kremlin would not chew the loss of the peninsula. It launched an offensive and a plan of economic conquest, including mass purchase