– What is fundamentally new with the new round of US sanctions – scope or impact? How far are secondary sanctions likely to reach given the less than warm welcome for US sanctions in parts of the EU? – Politically and psychologically the most fundamental is Section 242 – personal sanctions against top Russian political/business figures. As for secondary sanctions European companies will be bound to take them into account, otherwise they will be automatically punished financially by losing their contracts.   – We understand apart from Russian companies and individuals, there are Ukrainian and Polish companies? How likely is that more CEE partners of Russian companies could join the list notably if they continue business as usual with Russian state companies?  What will be the effect on Nord


The article first published in on 11/25/2017.     The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect bordering on  veneration, of ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria or the Bulgarian Government.   Hybrid war is not declared. It is being fought, instead. This is the essence of the strategy of today’s actors, be they state or non-state, in their aggressive hybrid warfare campaigns. The countries under attack are quite often unable to understand what is really happening on the ground until it might be too late.   Since the end of the Cold War Russia has been pursuing an intended and calculated policy of keeping enough influence in Bulgaria to have control over national decisions. It has achieved this objective primarily through economic tools as


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  The System Spill over   By proximity, Bulgaria mirrors Russian autocratic tendencies, including mimicking the state oligarchy model. Unlike Russia, however, the Bulgarian version can’t be sustained on “natural” resources – oil, gas, nuclear fuel-based wealth. Redistribution can be effectuated on added value and GDP growth, or thereafter on the budget accumulated taxed economic output. Bulgaria’s autocracy has limited margins for self-propelled growth and wealth sharing, which implies greater reliance on grand corruption mechanisms.   The Kremlin’s GDP sustains its dynamics even on holidays as the oil and gas industry turns round the clock. Bulgarian GDP, however, must be generated and incomes earned.   In Russia, the population exhibits extreme patience, willing to accept sacrifice in the name of “stability” (note the overlay in the jargon of the ruling

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  He, who speaks of Russia as a threat to Bulgaria is a complete idiot Alexander Dugin   Relations between Bulgaria and Russia go beyond the format of standard bilateral relations. The Kremlin rarely relies on the services of its embassy in Sofia or its diplomacy in order to realize its plans, as it has at its disposal sufficient local alternatives in Bulgarian proxies – parties, organizations and politicians.   As Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov’s partner and Alexei Navalny’s adviser, Vladimir Milov, said: “Putin wants to colonize you and your elite helps him.” Succinct and clear.   A detailed debate on the “Russian threat”, which appeared as a standard text in a report by the Bulgarian secret services, never happened. “The Sound Forces”, including the defense minister (!?), promised


The article first published in on 09/25/2017.   As expected, Angela Merkel has convincingly won her fourth term as chancellor of Germany and unofficial, but no less real, leader of the European Union. The mainstream media will again erupt into an orgy of adulation for the new leader of the free world, the slayer of populism and last, but most, the anti-Trump. While the adulation-cum-EU-triumphalism is a given, few will notice that it is taking place as both Merkel and the EU are entering a period that will bring ruin to both Merkel’s reputation and the fantasy of a EU super state that will finally prove the superiority of Europe over Trump’s America. For her reputation is built on the fake assumptions of the European socio-political model which is doomed.  

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    Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi.   The Balkan gas hub has become synonymous and in many ways a substitute for Bulgaria’s energy policy in the field of natural gas. In order to avoid speculating about the concept’s different variations, hereinafter is the official project draft, as presented by the national TSO, Bulgartransgaz, with a price tag above USD 2 billion.   Although this might not be the latest update, as it does not fully accommodate developments from Turkish Stream, the map is a fine departure point for an analytical exercise, explicitly demonstrating the virtues and the shortcomings in the conceptual design and implementation phase.     The key question is – what does Bulgaria strive to achieve?   To begin with, the country’s energy policies should not

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  “We must be careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” Winston Churchill, Speech after the evacuation of the British army at Dunkirk, 4th June, 1940   Article 50 of the TEU has been activated and the UK and the EU are entering the actual stage of Brexit negotiations and so preparing to write a new page in the history of international relations. Whatever happens in these negotiations, it will go into the textbooks because there is no precedent in history. For both parties, this is a huge quake and managing it properly is a matter of political survival. Theresa May is trying to get back on her feet after a weak and compromising performance at the recent election which she called to strengthen her support. Now