June 24, 2024

Proximity to Russia - this is why the elections in Bulgaria affected the whole of Europe - News

Proximity to Russia – this is why the elections in Bulgaria affected the whole of Europe – News

Contents

The question of Russian gas supplies is dividing the country – and support for Ukraine is collapsing.

Why is the October 2 elections important outside Bulgaria? Because they are also a choice between Russia and the West. Although Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, it is also close to Russia. People rarely have as little sympathy for Ukraine as they do with Bulgaria.

Where does sympathy for Russia come from? On the other hand, they have historical reasons: Bulgaria sees Russia as liberated from the Turks. On the other hand, the languages ​​are similar, and the writing is the same. What is tangible is the fact that there is a lot of Russian money in Bulgaria. For example, the only oil refinery in the country is owned by Russia. Nor is it unreasonable to assume that Russia bribes Bulgarian politicians.

People rarely have as little sympathy for Ukraine as they do with Bulgaria.

How is closeness to Russia expressed in Bulgarian politics? Although there have long been opportunities to become less dependent on Russian energy, Bulgaria has not done anything for a long time. And this despite the fact that Russian contracts and conditions were not even favorable. There is a provisional government in power at the moment, which has just begged Russia for gas supplies. Her pro-Western predecessors in office had purchased LNG in the United States and wanted to complete a gas pipeline that would have allowed supplies from Azerbaijan. The pro-Russian Provisional Government somewhat thwarted this on the grounds that it was too expensive or too complicated.

Caption:

Russia is very close and influential in Bulgaria. The elections are also a test of how close the population is to the European Union.

Keystone / Vasil Donev

Why did the pro-Western Bulgarian government fail? Because only one party in this government was pro-Western and interested in reform. Others came from the post-communist, pro-Russian camp, or seemed to primarily want to enrich themselves. Presumably, the party that brought down the government by leaving it was not satisfied because it did not get jobs where enrichment for state money would be easier.

What do you expect from the elections? It is feared that due to the highly fragmented party landscape, a new government cannot be formed and that pro-Russian parties will win votes. This means that the transitional government, which tends to be pro-Russian, will remain in power for a longer period of time.

What does this mean for the European Union? In addition to Hungary, Bulgaria could soon become a second EU country that is not part of the united front against Russia. Hungary also continues to buy Russian gas and does not publicly want to impose new sanctions on Moscow. Bulgaria is calmer, but above all allows Russia to keep a foothold in the EU for the long term.