Bulgartransgaz has recently been informed by its largest customer, Gazexport, that after 2020 it will terminate the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, and thereby, through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. It is still unclear whether the notification qualifies under contractual terms as legal notice served, requiring a new contract for any further arrangement, or whether it should be interpreted as advance notice for a shift of delivery point, with future gas deliveries coming via the Turkish Stream-2 pipeline. As for the quantities for use in Bulgaria itself, Bulgargas would not have a major problem, provided it can add additional delivery points in Slovakia and elsewhere. In total, the transited annual volumes over the last 12 years have varied around 16-17 billion cubic
A month ago the analogy between the case of the Orthodox Church in Skopje and the Church in Kiev came to light, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s favourable attitude towards their autocephaly. Immediately there were objections voiced, not necessarily only from supporters of the Russian propaganda on this issue. The argument was that the Ecumenical Patriarch was going too far as he had no right to grant autocephaly to these churches. Here I will try to explain why the two churches appealed to His Holiness and what would be the most feasible solutions to both cases. In the Orthodox world, the Patriarch of Constantinople is first by honor. He is in charge of arbitration among the local Orthodox Churches and this capacity of his appears very
The Russian government can do little to undermine the competitiveness of alternative supplies along the Southern Gas Corridor. Moreover, the suppliers’ list is rapidly expanding with new gas fields in the Azeri offshore of the Caspian (Absheron and Shah Deniz 3), Turkmenistan (swaps already under way via Iran with Azerbaijan), Iran, Northern Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean. All this clearly alludes to the feasibility of alternative gas exports via Greece and Bulgaria to the rest of the EU. Gazprom’s nightmares are just starting to mature as soaring production and transportation costs within Russia do not leave much room for further cost-cutting. Militarizing the Caspian Sea To block the development and export of Caspian gas, including via the Trans-Caspian pipeline, Moscow decided to relocate its flotilla from Astrakhan
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
The future of economic sanctions against Russia for its ongoing attack on Ukraine has become a litmus test for the foreign policy effectiveness of President Donald Trump. Lifting sanctions without any tangible benefits to US and Allied security would make it more likely that Washington becomes embroiled in a future confrontation with Moscow Putin is bound to interpret such a move as weakness and may miscalculate the US stance in his next foreign adventure. The new US administration has yet to be tested internationally. Cancelling free trade agreements and talking tough with foreign leaders is the relatively easy part. Responding to armed conflict, including a potential Russian attack on an independent neighboring state, will demonstrate the intentions and capabilities of the White House. The easing of any
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“They (the Europeans) look at the Russian people as barbarians, who wander in Europe rejoicing, that somewhere and something can be destroyed – and destroy it just for the sake of destruction, for fun, for the pleasure of simply overseeing its demise, like hordes of savages, like huns, ready to launch as assault on the ancient Rome and to demolish the holy shrines, without any appreciation of the value of what they are destroying” Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Writer’s Diary – Dnevnik Pisatelya) Putin has entered the final stage of his tenure at the helm of the Kremlin. Whatever he achieves abroad will not matter if the internal situation continues to disintegrate in a seemingly irreversible and self-propelling downward spiral. The Russian president is trying the ultimate
During the Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete in June 2016, the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and the Romanian Patriarch Daniel responded negatively to only one of the proposals made by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, namely to condemn nationalism in the Church which Bartholomew obviously saw as a Russian strategy to undermine Orthodoxy. The idea of condemnation of nationalism proved a serious problem for several Balkan churches unable to see further than the end of their nose. The misuse of nationalist ideas by the Balkan churches is a fact well known to analysts in Moscow and since the 19thc. it has been used cleverly to provoke internal conflicts in the Balkans only to weaken the region and make it an easy prey to Russian imperialist colonial interests. Greece’s Disappointment Despite
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