comment 17 Nov 16

Bulgaria Has Not Become a new East-West Battleground

The election of a ‘pro-Russian’ president may have piqued the Western media but Rumen Radev’s victory will not change the fundamentals of Bulgaria’s external allegiances.

Dimitar Bechev
General Rumen Radev: Photo: AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic.

Want to sell a story about an obscure country in Eastern Europe?  Make sure a healthy amount of Vladimir Putin and Russia is added to the mix.

Outside the former Yugoslavia, would anyone have taken much interest in the elections in Montenegro had it not been for allegations that the Kremlin fomented a coup on the night of the polls? It is the same with Bulgaria.

Pervasive state capture, a wave of civic protests, the fourth largest bank going belly-up amid infighting between rival business-cum-political clans… all very interesting and relevant, no doubt, but not a headline-grabber in the Western media.

But when the presidential elections enthrone an ex-airforce commander who pledges to do his utmost to scrap EU sanctions on Russia, now we are talking.

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