WSJ: Pro-Western Bulgaria Is One of Putin's Targets

Views on BG | June 29, 2015, Monday // 10:06| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: WSJ: Pro-Western Bulgaria Is One of Putin's Targets Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo by EPA/BGNES

It should be of great concern in the West that Bulgaria is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's targets as he is trying to "reassemble as much of the former Soviet Union as he can," the WSJ said on Sunday.

Bulgaria has moved "fitfully" toward democratization and a free market and has held decisive elections over the past decades, but Russia is now "working hard to take over the country," an article published by the Wall Street Journal and authored by Gary MacDougal reads.

Mr MacDougal is the co-Chairman of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, which spends millions into anti-corruption, education and development programs every year.

President Putin has many reasons to eye Bulgaria and act with no need for the developments that were triggered in Ukraine, since the country was Moscow's most faithful ally during the Soviet era, older Bulgarians speak Russian and both languages use a Cyrillic script.

Dependence on Russian gas is also described as a key factor, and a move by Moscow to stop the gas flow in winter "commands the hearts and minds of Bulgarians", the WSJ notes, also citing reports that Russia was behind environmentalists' successful efforts to secure a ban on oil and gas fracking in 2012.

Developments at now collapsed Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) after a bank run last year point to the need of "much stronger legal and institutional oversight by regulators and the judiciary".

An "information war" is being fought in the oligarch-dominated media in an attempt to discredit the West and Western-leaning leaders, the WSJ says, though no particular outlet is cited as an example.

Along with President Rosen Pleveniev, who is worried what he calls Moscow's "aggression" is like a "Trojan horse" attempt by Russia to penetrate NATO, a senior officials from the alliance shared the same concerns with the author himself. The latter concludes that Putin "doesn't always have to send troops when he wants to call the shots."

The full article is available here.

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Tags: Corporate Commercial Bank, KTB, Rosen Plevneliev, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, America for Bulgaria Foundation, MacDougal, NATO
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