Presidential Elections 2016: Does Bulgaria still have a future?


November 12, 2016 – 

By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

On November 13th, the second round of presidential elections will be held in Bulgaria. This event, of course, is not as significant and noticeable as the US presidential elections, but the Bulgarian elections are just as symbolic. In the upcoming second round, representatives of the ruling pro-American establishment and the opposition will clash. This country of 9 million people (according to official, inflated statistics) is significant in a pan-European and Eurasian context in itself. In addition, Bulgaria might establish a precedent for the fall of pro-American and pro-Western forces in the countries of the former socialist camp caught in the Russia-NATO confrontation. 

According to the outcome of the first round on November 10th, the opposition candidate, Rumen Radev from the Socialist Party, is leading. This former air force commander received 25.43% of the popular vote. Radev is considered to be the pro-Russian candidate, as he has called to lift the sanctions against Russia and has demanded greater independence for Bulgaria from the EU in foreign policy. His Socialist Party is a consistent supporter of pro-Russian positions.

Radev’s main competitor is Tsetska Tsacheva from the ruling Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria party, or GERB.  She received 21.96% of votes in the first round.

Rumen Radev stated after the first round that “Today Bulgarians have said ‘no’ to apathy and have voted for change. We have yet to find out the official results, but it is already clear that people have decided to take the democratic process into their own hands.” In this statement, a distinct hint is clear: the country has hitherto not been governed by “representatives of the people,” but by puppets of Brussels.

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Is there any other country to be found in the EU which is even more busy with destroying its own potential than Bulgaria under GERB? During the Warsaw Pact and COMECON period, Bulgaria boasted a developed technological industry (created from scratch in the post-war period) and an agrarian sector that supplied excellent products to the Soviet Union. Today, however, none of this is left in sight. Bulgarian industry has been destroyed and its remnants belong to Western capital. Its agriculture has suffered no less catastrophic losses. As I was told by Bulgarian businessmen several years ago, the country is now not even capable of supplying large amounts of agricultural products to Russia. Indeed, you won’t see famous Bulgarian canned vegetables on Russian store shelves anymore even though Russian consumers would willingly buy them. 

But what is even worse is that the ruling GERB party is destroying the country’s future. This is manifested no more clearly than in their refusal to participate in joint energy projects with Russia. Under EU pressure, Bulgaria refused to participate in the South Stream project, and the total losses of the Bulgarian budget have been estimated by economists to amount to 50 billion euros in revenue. The lion’s share of the losses are from not profiting from the transit of Russian fuel. Alternatively, Bulgaria could become an energy hub for all of Southern and Eastern Europe and obtain huge, especially by Central European standards, revenues. The government of Borisov also banned the Russian company Atomstroyeksport from building the Belene nuclear power plant. As a result, Bulgaria was forced to pay a huge fine and deprived itself of the opportunity to gain access to cheap energy.

I don’t think that it is correct to use the term “elite” for the Borisov government and the entire ruling class of Bulgaria. They don’t even deserve this. Rather, they deserve the far less honorable name “new Janissaries.” Remaining Bulgarians only in language and origin, Borisov and co. faithfully serve Brussels and Washington to the same extreme that the Janissaries of old so faithfully served the Turkish Sultan. 

Continuing an analysis of the country’s decline, it is worth recalling the enormous migration of around 2 million people from this only 9-million-strong country, as well as the sharp drop in the birth rate. Put simply, the country is being deprived of a future. When I, four years ago, walked through the streets of Bulgarian cities, I saw dead eyes and complete apathy. All of this painfully reminded me of my native Donbass before the beginning of the Russian uprising. 

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The ongoing attempt by healthy forces on the Bulgarian political scene to defeat the enemy at the polls is a chance not only to change the government, but to save the country. I am skeptical towards such a victory, even by not necessarily pro-Russian, but pro-Bulgarian forces. History teaches that Bulgaria’s salvation always came from the north, from Russia. Be that as it may, let us wish with all our hearts for the success and victory of Bulgarian patriots who still have a chance, no matter how small, in the struggle against the “new Janissaries.”

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