"Following the invasion of Ukraine, it became evident that Russian proxies had been activated, with several influential outlets, book publishers, and social media players reinforcing the Kremlin's narrative in Bulgaria. As the initial shock of the invasion dissipates, there is a chance for Russia to regain its foothold in the country."Goran Georgiev, Analyst, Economic Program, CSDFinancial Times, Pro-Russia party shakes up Bulgarian politics, April 2, 2023
“Lukoil has very good lobbies ... they have enablers in Brussels and across Europe,” said Martin Vladimirov, senior energy researcher at Bulgaria’s Center for the Study of Democracy think tank. “They have convinced European policymakers that Lukoil is supporting Ukraine and the management of Lukoil is against the war.”Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSDPolitico, Russia’s Lukoil keeps on pumping in Europe — for now, January 17, 2023
“We need one policy instrument to name and shame countries to track progress on the EU objectives”. This instrument does not exist right now, explained Vladimirov, allowing countries to hide behind other EU players and continue bad practices.Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSDEnlit, A divided Europe is the greatest risk to energy security, December 1, 2022
"Europe increased its dependence on Russian gas even after the invasion of Crimea in 2014. But companies exiting Russia are now rushing to invest in China," the director of the Bulgarian think tank told DW.Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, CSDDeutsche Welle, Will the EU move to curb Chinese investments?, October 25, 2022
“Bulgarians expect politicians to find common ground and do their best to form a coalition cabinet, as they yearn for political stability and predictability,” said Ruslan Stefanov, a program director at the Sofia-based Center for the Study of Democracy. “People are afraid of what will happen in the next few months with the escalating war next door and a risk of economic recession.”Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, CSDPolitico, Groundhog Day: It’s another Bulgarian election, September 30, 2022
Tihomir Bezlov, a security expert at the Sofia-based Center for the Study of Democracy said the weapons exports made Bulgaria a natural target for Russian “wet operations” or violent sabotage. “Those exports of Soviet-type munitions have now become critical for the war,” he said.Tihomir Bezlov, Senior Fellow, Security Program, CSDThe Wall Street Journal, Blast Hits Ammunition Depot of Bulgarian Arms Dealer Involved in Ukraine Weapons Trade, August 1, 2022
The Copelouzos empire has long-standing business links to Russia. For over 30 years it has been a 50/50 partner in Prometheus, a joint venture with Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas giant, which currently provides Greece with around a third of its natural gas. Mr Copelouzos is “one of the few Greek entrepreneurs who have developed business activities in Russia, especially in the field of infrastructure,” according to a report in 2020 by the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD), an independent think-tank.The EcinomistA sleepy Greek port has become vital to the war in Ukraine, July 21, 2022
“There is a lot of ambition,” said Ognian Shentov, chairman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, a Sofia-based think tank. “A lot of anti-corruption ambition. And that was part of the electoral appeal. But they should have done more if they had been more systematic and not had unrealistic goals.”Ognian Shentov, Chairman, CSDThe Sunday Times, Kremlin trolls sow discord in Bulgaria by stirring up trouble for refugees”, June 5, 2022
“This war is a big nail in the coffin of our enchantment with Russia,” said Ruslan Stefanov, program director for the Center for the Study of Democracy, a research organization in Sofia. “They have been very successful in totally turning people off Russia,”Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, CSDThe New York Times, Once Best Friends, Bulgaria Takes a Stand Against Russia, May 11, 2022
"Given Bulgaria's excessive dependence on Russian gas, the halting of gas imports poses a serious challenge to the security of supply to the country," said Martin Vladimirov with Sofia-based think-tank Center for the Study of the Democracy.
"A cut to the deliveries to non-essential groups of consumers including the heavy industry cannot be ruled out," he said.
Vladimirov said Sofia should start immediate talks in cooperation with Greece with alternative LNG suppliers such as Qatar, Algeria and the United States to ensure the country's gas needs and negotiate an increase of Azeri gas imports.Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSDReuters, Gazprom informs Bulgaria it will halt gas supplies as of April 27, April 26, 2022