There is little doubt that the hackers attack on the National Revenue Agency’s (NPA) database has been engineered and sponsored by the Russian secret services. In the best of Russian tsarist masquerade traditions, the act will be disguised as a lone effort by a concerned Russian citizen who has taken to heart the destiny of Bulgaria and its society. This is what propaganda and Byzantine politics are all about. The hackers will assume the moral high ground, claiming that the Bulgarian government is corrupt and inadequate. And while much of this rings true, demagoguery lies at the core of the hybrid warfare waged by the Russian special services. The use of credible and tangible weak spots and vulnerabilities in the governance of the country will arouse mistrust and undermine
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
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Sorry, this entry is only available in Bulgarian.
Once Russian gas is dried out in the Ukrainian gas transportation system the country is in trouble. Bulgaria and Poland may come to help, rather than Germany and Brussels. No one is guilty that on December 31, 2019 the current transit contract between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom of Russia ends. As the same time two highly controversial bypassing projects will soon become operational – North Stream-2 and Turkish Stream. That will end an era of the decades long Ukrainian gas transportation business of approximately 90 bcm per year from Russia to Europe and Turkey. Taking into account the hurdles the notorious North Stream-2 is facing the physical transit may not end completely but commencing on January 1, 2020 there will be no more long-term commitments on
There are very few people in Russia that could be trusted to provide a reliable picture of where the Russian economy is going. One such person is Rair Simonyan, the first Russian chairman of American investment bank, Morgan Stanley, and later of UBS. Over a 14 year career at Morgan Stanley, Simonyan brought hundreds of billions of dollars in IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and direct foreign investments to Russia. So when Simonyan speaks, it is always worth listening to him as in the following interview. Of course, we need to keep in mind that absolute honesty, as, for instance, in criticizing Putin, could be deadly in Russia regardless of who you are. On the other hand, Simonyan is less than above board on the results of all these investments
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
Some time ago, a Kharkiv-based site hosted a typical Kremlin propaganda piece featuring an ultimatum to the Bulgarian government – either you agree and secure free passage for Turk Stream, ignoring EU and US reservations, or Gazprom will shut off natural gas supply, and Bulgarians will freeze next winter. Such provocative language blended with ultimatums is hardly what the Russian government can afford, at least at the formal level. Neither Maria Zaharova, nor Peskov, nor Putin, nor Lavrov would openly threaten a nuclear first strike. This is where the hybrid Russian “scaremongering” machine comes into play – the radical loose-talk politicians like Zhirinovsky, or media makers like Kiseljov, or the cloak and dagger “knights” like Leonid Reshetnikov. Working in the shade and in halftones, they seek to
• The Internet is perceived by Russian authorities as a primary threat for the security of the Kremlin’s hold on power. • The imposition of control over the Russian-speaking Internet has been raised to the rank of a target for a Russian “national project” named “Digital Economics” • Dubbed “Sovereign Internet”, the security system installed on top of Russia’s internet infrastructure can be used by the authorities to cut access to the global Internet for all users on Russian territory. • The Kremlin is looking to borrow the Chinese model for a closed Internet, but this model cannot be replicated in Russia with the same level of efficiency. On December 14, 2018, a bill was introduced in the Russian Parliament, supposedly aimed at “safeguarding the long-term and stable operation of Internet”