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  • 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, CSD
    The 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 Ecinomist
    A 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, CSD
    The 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, CSD
    The 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, CSD
    Reuters, Gazprom informs Bulgaria it will halt gas supplies as of April 27, April 26, 2022
  • “The Russian war against Ukraine has provoked a general public outcry against Putin's tactics,” said Martin Vladimirov, senior Russia analyst at the Sofia-based think tank Center for the Study of Democracy.

    The change is “despite heavy Russian propaganda in mainstream media channeled by informal pro-Russian political, civil society and economic networks.”

    “But when you see bombs falling on residential buildings in real time, there is little room to denying reality,” Mr. Vladimirov said.

    Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSD
    The Wall Street Journal, Bulgarian Defense Minister Dismissed for Refusing to Call Russia's Invasion a War, March 1, 2022
  • Ognian Shentov, Chairman of the Center for the Study of Democracy, thinks Bulgaria's failure to reform the judiciary and clean up corruption should be seen as a greater European failure, as the same signs are being seen, at least in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    According to him, there has been a “state capture” in Bulgaria, in which the interplay of oligarchs, politicians and justice and security authorities makes society vulnerable to foreign actors as well.

    Ognian Shentov, Chairman, CSD
    Demokratia joka ei koskaan kypsynyt [A democracy that never matured], Helsingin Sanomat, October 4, 2021
  • The study -- published by the Bulgarian-based Center for the Study of Democracy on September 9 -- says Beijing’s growing economic footprint in Central and Eastern Europe over the last decade has coincided with a drop in legal and governance standards and raises concerns about the environment and rising debt levels in the region.

    The report is the first wide-ranging study of China’s expanding presence in Central and Eastern Europe, which has seen Beijing become the region’s largest trading partner.

    Radio Free Europe
    New Study Says China Using Investments To Buy Political Influence In Central, Eastern Europe, September 9, 2021
  • "Russia transports the gas, builds the pipeline and finances it through bogus companies that obscure the real background of the money flows," wrote the Sofia-based Center for Democracy Studies (CSD) in an analysis. With the deliveries and long-term contracts, Gazprom is also clogging the market in Southeastern Europe and making access more difficult for other suppliers, says Ruslan Stefanov from the CSD.

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
    Wie Gazprom Südosteuropa an sich bindet, September 2, 2021
  • The Bulgarian think tank CSD noted as early as 2016 that the preference given to well-connected individuals in public procurement contracts has been widespread.

    Der Spiegel
    Irgendwas kaufen, May 15, 2021

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