Der Spiegel: Putin Seeks to Influence Bulgarian Policy-Making

Views on BG | November 18, 2014, Tuesday // 21:30
Bulgaria: Der Spiegel: Putin Seeks to Influence Bulgarian Policy-Making Photo by EPA/BGNES.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing his best to influence policy-making in individual member states, particularly in Bulgaria, German magazine Der Spiegel wrote on Monday.

In an article posted in English on the weekly outlet's website and titled "Germany Worried About Russian Influence in the Balkans", Bulgaria is described as "almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas and oil" and "traditionally... closely allied with Russia and is almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas and oil."

Properties possessed by a significant number of Russians also seems to be a reason for concern in the German Chancellery's view.

"An internal report from the German Foreign Ministry notes that around 300,000 Russians have bought property in Bulgaria. Officials in the Chancellery are concerned that Putin could seek to instrumentalize the alleged interests of the Russian minority there," the article goes on. (Bulgaria's population is slightly below 7 million).

The cabinet in Sofia could "succumb to Russian pressure" to become a slacker of the EU's foreign policies "more often than it has done in the past", Der Spiegel notes.

Dedicated to Putin's plans in Southeast Europe and the wider region, the text also claims that Russia's head of state "appears prepared to promote Russian interests in his neighborhood economically, politically and, if necessary, militarily."

It also deals with varying opinions in Europe on whether sanctions should be retained against Russia or the bloc should rather be ready to make some concessions.

The West doesn't have much to offer in response to Russia's prospective activities, Der Spiegel notes.

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Tags: Vladimir Putin, Russia, Bulgaria, Southeast Europe, properties
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