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The Russian Economic Influence in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans have become one of the regions, in which Russia has increasingly sought to (re)assert its presence in the past decade. In attempt to improve the understanding of the impact of the interplay between existing governance gaps and the inflow of authoritarian capital in the region, the Center for the Study of Democracy developed an assessment of the Russian economic footprint in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. more »

Previous Highlights »

The illicit tobacco market: limits to institutional enforcement
The trade in illegal tobacco products contributes to significant loss in state budget revenue for many countries. The traditionally high levels of illicit tobacco product’s consumption in Bulgaria have brought about an estimated BGN 4.83 billion in VAT and excise tax losses for the last ten years. The concerted efforts of Bulgarian authorities have brought about a significant reduction in the market for illicit cigarettes since 2015. more »

Mapping the Links between Russian Influence and Media Capture in the Black Sea Countries
The growth of Russian economic influence and propaganda in the media of Central and East European countries has become evident in recent years. To address these issues, CSD has engaged in analyzing the Russian economic footprint and ownership links in the media sector. The preliminary results show several similarities as well as differences between different CEE countries in the “tools” used by Russian-controlled media for disseminating content and political messages. more »

Tackling Foreign Economic Footprint in the Western Balkans
Тhe European Endowment for Democracy (EED) hosted the panel Tackling Foreign Economic Footprint in the Western Balkans in cooperation with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Center for the Study of Democracy. Jerzy Pomianowski, EED Executive Director, opened the event. more »

Foreign Meddling in the Western Balkans: Guarding against Economic Vulnerabilities
The Center for the Study of Democracy participated at a briefing at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, held in Washington D.C. The participants in the briefing noted that malign outside influence in the Western Balkans, in particular by Russia, is of increasing concern. The lack of a strong legal framework makes countries in the region especially vulnerable to foreign capital that can be used to sow instability, undermine integration, and delay democratic development. more »


Bulgaria’s International Competitiveness 2017

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En 2016, un autre rapport, signé du Center for the Study of Democracy à Sofia, indiquait qu'un adulte sur cinq était mêlé à une activité de corruption, en payant ou en acceptant un pot-de-vin.

En Bulgarie, une corruption endémique,  Le Journal du Dimanche, 1 janvier 2018



“No one [in Bulgaria] is prosecuting political corruption, there are no ex-government officials in jail,” says Ognian Shentov, chairman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia. “We have reached a stage of state corruption which we describe as state capture.

report by his organisation paints a devastating picture of corruption from the top to bottom of society. More than one in five adults, 1.3 million, are thought to have taken part in a corrupt transaction, such as paying or receiving a bribe, but only 72 court cases were completed in 2015.”

Cloud of Corruption Hangs over Bulgaria as it Takes Up EU Presidency, The Guardian, 28 December 2017


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