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
On August 1st 2017, with official ceremonies and solemn declarations, the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia signed a Friendship, Neighborhood and Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. The Bulgarian public welcomes this treaty as the opening of a new page in the relations between the two states. One of its most important clauses for bilateral relations states that Bulgaria will share its experience and support and assist Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO. However, the treaty has yet to be ratified by the two parliaments and has not entered into force. Setting these events in the current political context is important for understanding the political aspects of the problem with the canonical recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) in its entirety. The autonomy of the
The daily Vedomosti published an article on Turkish Stream, quoting Foreign Minister Lavrov on the need for direct EC guarantees and second rating bilateral agreements, signaling rising nervousness at the Kremlin with the project advance. It is a most revealing moment for what Russia and its main energy pivot – Gazprom – can afford these days in defying market gravity, while leveraging the Kremlin’s geostrategic moves. Russia’s gas monopoly admitted in June that it is unable to raise project financing – neither in Russia, nor abroad. The new sanctions left Gazprom without a choice but to tap into its own pocket – the 2017 capex program. Banks and investment funds ignored Gazprom’s request, fearing project uncertainty and US sanctions. The investments associated with Turkish Stream this year, according
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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
This article is based on Alex Alexiev’s presentation to the “Russia After Putin” conference of the Bulgariaanalytica.org on Oct. 2. 2017 in Sofia. All citations are from the “Russia in Decline” publication by the Jamestown Foundation, edited by Enders Wimbush and Beth Portale, March 2017. Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 1999, a period of time which in many ways determined the course of his rule. The major, if not decisive reason for that, was that 1999 and the eight years that followed, were a period during which the prices of oil and gas rose dramatically from an average of $12-$14 dollars per barrel (USD/bbl) in 1999 to $147/bbl in 2008. This increased Russian export earnings nearly tenfold over this period and led Putin to