This is the story of an Italian investor who closed his enterprise near Plovdiv. The story was shared with an acquaintance of mine, and it explains why the businessman is leaving the country. The Italian investor started his narrative with a rare admission that, as someone coming from the country that is home to the mafia, it is almost natural for every Italian to “honor” the traditions of oiling administrative and regulatory mechanisms. But back in Italy, says the Italian businessman, we estimate the price for working in our environment at a maximum of 10-11 percent of the business proceeds. Most of us never challenge this – we pay and go on with our lives and work. This is not a new tradition – it has been the
Ahmed Dogan, the notorious kingmaker in Bulgaria’s political underground, has surfaced as a legitimate owner of TPP Varna, which marks a milestone in the history of the country’s transition. Immediate questions arise – why now? Why this deal? And what does it entail for Bulgaria’s political landscape? I have been following the progress of the TPP Varna deal for a long time because it is a live edition of Bulgarian grand corruption and the capture of the state. Sooner or later, the “proxies” in the picture step aside and give way to the real owners. There are several kindred deals in the making at present – one of the most visible ones being the CEZ Bulgaria deal, involving front and backstage players, including well-known Bulgarian businessmen, famous
“Comrades, we appoint you millionaires” Andrey Lukanov, Bulgarian PM, before 150 nomenclature cadres meeting Bulgarian Industrial and Industrial Association (today BIA) November 1989 The Peevski-Domuschiev amendment comes as a logical consequence of a long evolution in the ruling model of Bulgaria, an almost unavoidable stage – the consolidation of the proceeds and the preponderance of the post-communist nomenclature in its drive to create a version of national capitalism, insulating the country from globalist trends and fencing off Bulgaria from foreign influence. All of this is in the interest of indigenous oligarchs and political power brokers. This is hardly an innovation. Rather it is reminiscent of the G-13 group story, a graft of a local breed of “wild capitalism” coupled with no less wild and fake nationalism, claiming
A quick snap analysis on the likely outcome of the UK’s National Security Council meeting, presided by British PM Theresa May, today regarding sanctions on Russia, leads to grim conclusion and more than a wartime rhetoric. This is probably the most evident proof of the weakened geopolitical posture of Britain following the Brexit. While NATO’s coordinated response – Britain can still invoke article 5 – is still the first and preferred option – EU’s coordination is essential as effective responses lie beyond the military spectrum – in what hurts Putin most – money and image. A boycott of the Moscow World Cup seems almost inevitable. I can’t simply see England’s team playing soccer at the Luzhniki pretending business is as usual. If they leave – other’s will follow
Saakashvili’s arrest marks a turning point in Ukraine’s history and its relationship with the West. The trigger – the legislation in the Verkhovna Rada seeking to remove the head of the anticorruption body – NABU – Artem Sytnyk is an undeniable watershed. Despite President Poroshenko’s desperate attempts to portray himself as a champion of anti-corruption and pro-Western Ukrainian drive, the public trust in him and his regime has been irreversibly eroded. The Kiyv Post headline says it all – “Corrupt Empire strikes back”. Attempts to label Saakashvili as a Kremlin agent ring hollow. His record as Odessa Governor and his open disagreements with President Poroshenko over oligarchs’ privileges and corruption in Ukraine are too strong for the Ukrainian president’s snap kompromat to hold water. The country has
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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