The Kremlin’s Bulgarian game

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev. Photo: Bulphoto 


During an official visit to Warsaw in early October, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev called to lift EU sanctions against Russia, which were imposed after Russia annexed Crimea and unleashed a war in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI) under the Presidential Administration (formerly subordinated to the Foreign Intelligence Service) immediately responded to the initiative of the Bulgarian president. An article appeared on its website about disagreements on the Russian issue and its risks for destroying the “Polish-Bulgarian friendship” and even “calls into question the future of the Intermarium, which the Polish president Andrzej Duda has ambitions to become a leader of.”

RISI’s analysts noted that the idea of creating the Intermarium, an informal union which unites 12 Eastern European states for lobbying its agenda in the EU, “is of paramount importance” for the president of Poland. At the same time, the Kremlin authors wrote that it would be difficult to implement this idea in Warsaw, primarily because of “the significant disagreements the bloc’s participants have regarding Russia” – simply speaking, because Poland refuses to solidify with the pro-Russian stance of Rumen Radev, Victor Orban (Prime Minister of Hungary) and Milos Zeman (President of the Czech Republic).

Participants of the Intermarium initiative in Warsaw, 6 July 2017

Participants of the Intermarium initiative in Warsaw, 6 July 2017

Bulgarian political commentator Georgy Dimitrov believes that RISI’s coverage of the topic stated by Radev is no accident – after all, RISI was the first foreign organization that Radev met with after being elected as president.

Radev’s candidacy was nominated for elections in the framework of a game led by most of Bulgaria’s new political elites, headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and most parliamentarians from the socialist and nationalist parties. Even before the elections, all the key posts in our country, including Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, were somehow connected with the former Communist Party and the KDS – the Bulgarian KGB. In result, the efforts directed by Borisov led to the nomination of two key pro-Russian candidates: one from the ruling party, and the other one from the socialists (Mr. Radev, who eventually became the winner). And I am sure that this was done at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Georgi Dimitrov said.

Even before the elections in Bulgaria, Dimitrov had noted that Radaev singled out good relations with Russia as a priority – he personally visited Moscow and met with people close to President Putin.

In the RISI article, none of these visits or previous ties were mentioned. The authors only noted that on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions, the Bulgarian president “has no disagreements with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

A year ago, former RISI director Leonid Reshetnikov openly called upon Radaev and Borisov “to clean up the current elites from the Euro-Atlantic factor – or the ‘foam’ of the Bulgarian nation,” suggesting that there is more substance to the Bulgarian nation behind the veneer of a Euro-Altantic identity.

In the opinion of the expert Georgy Dimitrov, in addition to RISI, Borisov maintained other ties with Russian Special Forces.

“In 2006, he boasted that he was the only foreign guest of the FSB in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of Vympel Special Forces. Recently he noted that the Soviet KGB is ‘an organization from which many specialists could learn a lot,’ while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is ‘the greatest diplomat in the world,’” the expert notes.

The Bulgarian commentator states that in the two years before the election, Radev was a commander of the Bulgarian Air Force and contributed to the delay in the rearmament of Bulgaria’s air forces by Western-made aircraft.

“He insisted for the repairs of several engines of Russian production for the Bulgarian MiG-29 fighters to be carried out at the manufacturer’s factories, and not in the NATO allied countries, for example, like Poland. Many believe that Radev is connected with Russia’s military industry. At least the last three commanders of the Bulgarian Air Force after retiring have linked their careers with the Socialist Party. In their new positions – political or otherwise – they tend to communicate closely with Moscow on the issues of the Bulgarian armed forces, armament or politics,” Dimitrov said.

At the same time, back in October 2016, Radev repeated his point that Western sanctions against Russia should be abolished and that annexed Crimea has actually become the territory of Russia. According to him, Ukraine should be cautious with Russia, otherwise, it risks losing all of its eastern territories.


“The day after his victory in the first round of the elections, he confirmed his position that ‘the Russian flag flies over Crimea and we cannot turn a blind eye to reality.’ Five days after that, Russian media reported that Borisov’s government had signed a contract with Russian MiG-29 manufacturers to supply ten engines for its fighters. At the same time, for many years NATO has called on the Bulgarian government to acquire new Western aircraft in order to put an end to its dependence on Russia, but the government has consistently refused under various pretexts,” Georgy Dimitrov said.

RISI recognizes that Rumen Radev is forced to maneuver between Moscow and the West. In the National Security Report of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2016, Russia’s actions are viewed as “a source of regional instability” and a threat to “the main goal – a single, free and peaceful Europe.” And Radev himself repeatedly stated his solidarity with the European Union and NATO membership; subsequently, his policy towards Russia is of a dual nature.

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  1. Avatar laker48 says:

    If Slovakia and Hungary stick with Poland, Bulgaria can be bypassed in both the Three Seas initiative and the Via Carpatia energy and logistic corridor. No Bulgarian politician will shoot its country in the foot an throw on the mercy of RuSSia nad Germany.

  2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

    “Bulgarian President Rumen Radev called to lift EU sanctions against Russia”
    ZRADA! :-))
    SBU should zatrimat this zradnik and put him in SBU dungeons, where he belongs !
    Break diplomatic ties with Bulgaria, supporter of Dagestan dwarfs!

    1. Avatar Brent says:

      you must have inhaled more toilet cleaner fumes today than usual…..or are you now drinking the stuff?

      1. Avatar thesafesurfer says:

        …. what an impressive intellect you display in this post…..

        1. Avatar laker48 says:

          That “Screwdriver” troll doesn’t deserve any other answer.

    2. Avatar laker48 says:

      Talk is cheap. We have to remember that Bulgaria was the staunchest supporter of the Soviets and the Bulgarian special forces did the dirtiest job and killings for the KGB during the Soviet era. The Bulgarian mafia in the US parted with the RuSSian mafia there in the late 1990s. Bulgaria is the weakest link in NATO and the EU.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Let us not forget the current fascist regime in Hungary.

        1. Avatar laker48 says:

          Hungary pursues its best national, economic and political interests. I don’t blame Orban for that. The present Ukrainian government cannot afford antagonising its neighbours and potential allies. If we start comparing “regimes”, the Hungarian one is no more “fascist” than Ukrainian, and it’s at least much less corrupt. Ukraine is on a path to self-isolation and self-alienation.

          1. Avatar Scradje says:

            Orban was critical of putlerstan’s invasion of Georgia. Since then he has pivoted back into the orbit of putler, who definitely is a fascist. Orban has now repositioned Ukraine an enemy of Hungary.

          2. Avatar laker48 says:

            We don’t know what Orban’s long-run game plan with RuSSia is. Perhaps he expects the fall and disintegration of the fascist RuSSian Federation and wants to milk it until it happens. The nuclear power plant he refurbishes is Soviet-built, so the choice of the refurbishing contractor is rather obvious. He doesn’t have any alternative gas suppliers either.

          3. Avatar Scradje says:

            Long term? Perhaps exit the EU and become a putlerstan client state? Maybe the chekist rodent has some golden showers-type kompramat on him? That or a gold-plated Shroeder-type job offer for when he leaves office?

          4. Avatar laker48 says:

            Doesn’t seem like Orban to me, but you never know. There’s nothing wrong in standing up to the EU, especially to its unelected Brussels bureaucrats. The EU has to reform itself or it’s doomed in the long run. Only some backpedalling and nullification or serious redrafting of the treaties of Maastricht and Lisbon may become solutions to its current problems. The euro, with the Central European Bank in Germany, is a German weapon of mass economic destruction of all EU member states adopting it.

          5. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

            2,2% growth of Russian economy in Q3. It isn’t collapsing, infact it is prospering, espeically given how rapidly the oil prices are going up.

          6. Avatar laker48 says:

            It’s really a wild and untamed economic and military tiger with its GDP equal to 60% of California’s and 80% of Texas’s.

          7. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

            Look to its PPP

          8. Avatar laker48 says:

            The PPP yields a heavily distorted picture. RuSSia isn’t an autarky by any means and the fluctuations in energy raw material prices affect its economy with multiplier effects. RuSSia can’t really zip its budget up at global prices of crude below $80 per barrel. The currently undertaken measures are only patches on the widest gaping holes in it.

          9. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

            If what you say is true, then you can expect Trump to strike either Venezuela or NK soon, to raise the oil prices even further. Remember that Trump works for Russia, and does exactly what Russia asks him to do. That is why he won the election

          10. Avatar laker48 says:

            Trump wants RuSSia out of European oil and gas markets by 2022. Only the US and RuSSia can afford selling their gas under long-term contracts at or even below $3 per MMBtu ($108 per 1000 cm), or even cheaper, so we’ll witness a no prisoners taken gas war between these two global suppliers. The US isn’t ready yet to take on Gazprom, since its present NG liquefaction and shipment capacity is no more than 85 bcm per year. The situation will dramatically change by 2021 when the US will be able to liquefy and ship over 210 bcm per year, i.e. over 30 bcm per year more than the whole RuSSian gas exports to Europe. There’s some 200 bcm per year idling regassing capacity in European LNG terminals.

          11. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

            Well, Ukraine is not important for the west anymore. Much like Kursistan, their usefullness has evaporated. However, you have only yourself to thank for this mess. I think Hungary cares very little about Ukraine, maybe 4 years ago, but now Ukraine is a shadow of its former

          12. Avatar laker48 says:

            Ukraine is more important to the West than it was ever before, but not under the current government that is sitting on the fence between Germany and RuSSia and dealing with RuSSia under the table. The present, Poroshenko-led cooperative of kleptocratic Ukrainian oligarchs plays with Germany and RuSSia against American interests in the EU and NATO, so the Yanks will try to install in Kyiv their own SOBs.

          13. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

            You finally said the truth. Yes Us didn’t choose the best man for the president. US will probably try to install Saakashvili, but he is risky as he wants to use Ukraine’s final recourses on war with Russia

          14. Avatar laker48 says:

            My bets are on Saakashvili too, but I wouldn’t bet my whole wad on him. Ukraine is still a wildcard. Thank goodness both Germany and RuSSia keep weakening by the month.

          15. Avatar veth says:

            Lavrov calls UN peacekeepers in the Donbas ‘occupying forces’

            Are there no mad houses in Russia?

          16. Avatar laker48 says:

            I’ve read this. Talk is cheap.

          17. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            I profoundly but respectfully disagree on the issue with Hungary. Viktor Orban and his Party have taken a hard turn to the far right in the political spectrum using populism and extreme nationalism as a cornerstone to many of their policies and as a tool to deflect from other important issues that face the general population. The Fascist powers of Europe did exactly the same thing in the twentieth century and look what happened. Now it is happening again although on much lesser scale in certain European countries and especially in Russia. However, this is not to say that there should not be limits or a complete halt to unwanted and/or unneeded immigration from third world countries since many of these immigrants are nothing less than economic migrants and queue jumpers that have little if anything to offer to their host countries (except in some cases, foreign terrorism). As for Hungary, their totally false accusations against Ukraine for allegedly undermining the Hungarian language and culture in Ukraine makes absolutely no sense (re. the new Ukrainian language laws as actually written) and then Budapest has gone so far as stating that they will veto any further attempts at Ukraine’s integration with the EU. But that was not enough. Orban and company have also been urging ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine to take up Hungarian citizenship knowing full well that Ukraine does not allow dual citizenship. These are nothing short of deliberate and unwarranted provocations and should be condemned. Furthermore, other than perhaps countries such as Switzerland, which country in Europe that has a stated official language, does not advocate fluency in that language? There are none. Finally, the Ukrainian Government continues to support the publicly funded teaching of minority languages in elementary schools and in other schools such as universities wherever there is sufficient demand. What is wrong with that or is this the wrong formula as judged by Putin and his supporting chauvinists?

          18. Avatar laker48 says:

            Victor Orban and his party have won few general elections by a landslide and have the nation’s mandate to govern Hungary. I don’t know the Ukrainian language law in enough detail to polemicise with you about the measures Hungary has undertaken, but it seems to me that it must be a real reason for such a drastic action taken against this country neighbour. I prefer to wait until the dust settles and Ukraine becomes a more transparent polity.

            No matter how we slice or dice it, Ukraine is still a corrupt, mafia state governed by a cooperative of corrupt oligarchs led by Poroshenko with the help of their no less corrupt rottweiler Avakov as the head of Ukrainian law enforcement. How come there’s no impeachment of president law legislated yet, over three years after the Maidan Revolution of dignity? Your calling Orban and Hungary fascist is like a kettle calling a pot black.

          19. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            Extremism in any form has always proven to be very destructive and not to the victims alone, but ultimately to the perpetrators as well. It happened with most if not all of the communist regimes and especially with Stalin’s Russian/Soviet Empire in the twentieth century. It also happened with various fascist regimes and especially with Hitler’s German/Nazi Empire in roughly the same time period. Nevertheless, some Europeans are; a) in total denial of these disasters, b) apologists because they espouse extreme and unbridled nationalism, c) complete simpletons, or d) any combination of a to c. Hence, the rise of Putin in Russia, Tsipras in Greece, Orban in Hungary, and so on. And BTW, this has absolutely nothing to do with inappropriate metaphors.

          20. Avatar laker48 says:

            I don’t like “whataboutism”, but if Orban is a dictator and extremist, what’s your take on annual Western Ukrainian parades of OUN/UPA-B veterans sporting SS Galizien uniforms?
            As I’ve already pointed it out in my earlier comment, we deal with a situation where a pot calls a kettle black.

          21. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            I am not aware of any country in Europe that does not have extremists or of any country that does not have bigots. However, that in itself is not significant. What is significant are those countries that have extremists who have been able to form a Government or that may be considered as an actual contender to form a Government. As for Ukraine, it has radical nationalists as do many other if not most countries in Europe. However, they have no representation in the Ukrainian Parliament or in the Federal Government nor would it appear evident that there will be any change in the near future. BTW, I do not consider your metaphor as appropriate since you were addressing one issue and I had addressed an entirely different matter. As such, making comparisons on different issues without finding a clear denominator is pointless.

          22. Avatar laker48 says:

            Orban doesn’t act in a vacuum and will face the parliamentary elections next April or May. He will be voted out of office if the Hungarians are dissatisfied with his party’s way of governing their country.

          23. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            If that should be the case and almost anything is possible, then an obvious question will be asked by many political pundits. Were Orban’s views on unbridled nationalism genuine and/or was this just a ruse to deflect public opinion from more important matters dealing with such issues as finances, the economy or pressing social concerns. Whether we receive a clear answer or not remains to be determined. Either way, in my opinion, Orban has created unnecessary enemies both internally (within Hungary) and externally. That alone should be considered as short sighted if not down right foolish.

          24. Avatar laker48 says:

            Orban, IMHO, pursues Hungary’s national interests. Hungary is a small country and tries to use all leverage in its disposal to realise them. It takes two to tango. He knows that he has an upper hand and plays it out. Countries don’t have friends, only their national interests, and he’s acutely aware of this. The ball is in the Ukrainian court and it’s up to Ukraine how to play it out.

          25. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            There is no question that every country has its own national interests but there is also the matter of using discretion wherever and whenever possible. That is also where meaningful diplomacy can be used to a maximum advantage whereas issuing bellicose or inflammatory remarks usually end up being counter productive. This in turn should serve as an example where Orban could have achieved a much better rapport with Ukrainian authorities rather than poisoning relations by making threats and denunciations. Needless to say, that is exactly what is happening between the Governments of Poland and Ukraine. They have both decided to try and settle as many differences as possible through quiet but effective diplomacy. After all, there is never any shortage of enemies but a good friend is not all that easy to find.

          26. Avatar laker48 says:

            Willingly or not, Ukraine often punches above its weight and has to bear the consequences. It’s created a run-in with Poland by slapping a ban on exhumations of remains of victims of the 1943-1944 Volhynia and Western Ukrainian genocide of Poles. Poland may use a simple trick and use it against Ukrainians in Western Ukraine who drive Polish-licenced motor vehicles. Some Poles have over 3000 such vehicles licenced to them but owned and driven by the Ukrainians from the other side of the border. The Polish government and local self-governments may crack down on these procedures and this would hit the Ukrainians much harder than the otherwise right ban on SS Galizien uniforms and people wearing them. There are over 100 thousand of Ukrainian-owned MVs licenced in Poland. If they are banned, their owners will drive Volodymyr Viatrovych out of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory in a wheelbarrow.

          27. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            And that is the exact reason why the Governments of Poland and Ukraine have had the common sense to opt for quiet and effective diplomacy versus using retaliatory measures that would only cause disdain for each other. As such, some sense of sanity has prevailed.

          28. Avatar laker48 says:

            I expect a strong diplomatic backlash from the Polish party if the exhumation ban isn’t lifted. The Polish government has tried to keep historical and current political issues separate, but the ban may become a beginning of a political ice age between the two countries. The planned for December visit of the president of Poland in Kyiv will become a barometer of mutual relations, but it may be revoked or postponed if a compromise on the exhumations isn’t reached by that time.

          29. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            This again affirms what I have already stated. When people are talking to each other and not at each other then almost anything is possible.

          30. Avatar laker48 says:

            Conflicts between neighbours should be dealt with directly, without bringing in any third parties unless absolutely necessary. Diplomacy goes a long way.

  3. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    It must be pointed out that the Czech Republic is not currently a part of the Russian axis in Europe since the Czech President, Milos Zeman, is only a mere figure head in Czech politics. To be more specific, only the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and his Foreign Minister can formulate foreign policy which leaves Zeman as nothing more than a windbag.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      The Czech Republic is comfortably placed in the middle of the EU and NATO without bordering RuSSia or Ukraine. Not everybody realises that Prague lies far more to the west than Viena. It can afford wobbling, very much like Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia that don’t border RuSSia. Hungary and Slovakia don’t have alternative oil and gas suppliers, as Poland or the Baltic states do. Geopolitics is a very unforgiving game.

      1. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

        Yeah, seems like Austria and Hungary are turning towards Russia, with Kurz and Babis. BTW it is interesting that oil prices reached over 60$ for the first time in a year. You can say what you want about Russia, but they hit jackpot with Venezuela, and their oil companies. It is like Russia predicted this

        1. Avatar laker48 says:

          Wouldn’t say so. Austria is saturated and penetrated by RuSSian agents to the very core, but the new Austrian government is anything but RuSSia-friendly. The Czechs wobble as always, playing out their comfortable geopolitical position. It’s the US that deals the hands in Europe and will do so for a foreseeable future. The name of the game is weakening Germany and RuSSia and a total destruction of the German-RuSSian gas duopoly in Central and Eastern Europe. The game is still on and the US is gaining an upper hand in it.

    2. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

      Andrey Babis disagrees with you

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        So what is your point? The most recent Czech Legislative Election was held on October 20-21 2017 and a new Prime Minister has yet to emerge despite the fact that ANO, the Party of Andrej Babis, led all Parties in seats but without a majority. Why? There could be myriad of reasons but one matter trumps all others. If Babis (who some political analysts claim as being pro-Russian) were to become the next Czech PM, then he would have to form a coalition with other Parties and to do that he would have to “blend” the interests of each Party to make the coalition viable. Furthermore, foreign policy tends to be one of the most important cornerstones of any country and to make abrupt changes in this field almost always requires unanimous support in any coalition Government. So would Babis, if he is chosen to become the next PM, even try to take a pro-Putin stance? Probably not. Why? Other than the Communists (who would not be included in any current viable coalition), Babis would be very hard pressed to find a consensus among partners to even consider such an option. Finally, promises made on a campaign trail are easy enough for anyone to make. However, it is an entirely different matter for a Government to do the same and especially if is a coalition Government.

      2. Avatar laker48 says:

        Andrei Babis, native to Slovakia, is a former communist party member and a secret informer of the communist Slovakian state security forces, pseudonym “Bures”, very much like former Polish president and first Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, informer pseudonym “Bolek|.

        He’s probably a RuSSian agent of influence in the Czech Republic, very much like Zeman, but his party doesn’t have a majority in the Czech parliament, so we don’t know what the Czech government will eventually look like.

  4. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Chuck the Vulgarians out of the EU. This country is still a KGB mafia thiefdom. Looks like Soviet nostalgia has infected half of Eastern Europe. Go back to your Ladas and three kinds of cabbage: stale, slimy, or rotten.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      There’s no legal mechanism allowing the EU to expel a member state unless it wants to leave voluntarily, as it’s been the case with Brexit.

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        Damn. Maybe we can throw tomatoes at them.

        1. Avatar laker48 says:

          Smaller member states should have defence mechanisms protecting them from bullying by the larger ones, such as France and Germany. Hungary and Poland have used this for years and more small member states have joined them, the most recently the Baltic States, Romania and Croatia. Also Austria mulls joining the Visegrad Group in order to accentuate its separation from Germany’s bullying policies in the field of uncontrolled Muslim migration. The uncontrolled migration of mainly young and aggressive Muslim males from North Africa and the Middle East has deeply divided the EU and is increasingly isolating France and Germany within the Union. It also triggered the creation of a coalition of smaller, mainly Centralo and Eastern European member states against uncontrolled influx of these migrants into the Schengen zone.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            However, most Europeans are broadly pro-EU, it must be said. But they are a long way from forming a Federation.

          2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            Trade Federation army should get involved, but remember, they forces will become part of the Separatist Droid Army

          3. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            I thought skull raping was illegal.

          4. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            Try to press charges for your raped skull

          5. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Your case is a more severe crime.

          6. Avatar laker48 says:

            All or almost all are EU member states are pro-EU, but they don’t have the same vision of it. The prevailing trend outside France and Germany is decentralisation and return to an economic union and free trade zone with the preservation of political independence of its member states. The pre-Maastrich and pre-Lisbon order would have to be restored in order to preserve the EU from falling apart. The euro works for Germany, but hardly for any other EU member state, Lithuania, Slovakia and Greece being the best illustration of this thesis.

          7. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            All eurozone Europeans I come across accept the euro.

          8. Avatar laker48 says:

            How many? 🙂

          9. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Quite a few.

          10. Avatar laker48 says:

            There are lemming everywhere. The euro is designed by France and Germany as an instrument of economic colonisation of the eurozone. The rates of economic growth of the eurozone as a whole and most of its member states hasve been lower than of those EU members who retained their national currencies. Only France and Germany profit from the euro, albeit France is going down the drain due to its lavish social policies. There’s no free lunch. Go and check for yourself!

          11. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Be that as it may, and certainly the single currency could still fall over and disappear, all the Spanish, Dutch, German, Austrian, Frogs, Belgians, Ities, etc who I run into pretty much treat the euro as a done deal.

          12. Avatar laker48 says:

            The ECB is physically unable to exercise any rational monetary policy within the eurozone without creating rampant, albeit hidden inflation in such member states as Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Portugal and Spain, just to name these few. As the result, we see deflation in Germany that cannot fully accommodate this.

          13. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Draghinomics. Good thing he isn’t running a pizza franchise.

          14. Avatar laker48 says:

            Draghi may be a Nobel laureate in economics and finance, but he cannot do things that are impossible to do. The only thing he can do are open market operations, what is not that easy, as he immediately triggers defensive responses from other, non-eurozone national banks protecting their foreign currency reserves denominated in US dollars, Swiss francs, British pounds, Japanese yens or even Chinese renminbis and, of course, in euros.

            So, what he and other heads of the ECB do is passing some costs of floating the euro within a reasonable trading band onto other member states of the eurozone, hence poor economic results of corrupt Greece, Italy, Slovakia or Lithuania. Countries with low levels of corruption and almost full transparency such as Finland, Estonia of Ireland do fine, but other ones, save Germany, don’t.

          15. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Plenty of rich Italians. Don’t buy that poor Italy crock. Lots of hidden money and untaxed work.

          16. Avatar laker48 says:

            Almost all Italian businesses have two sets of books.

    2. Avatar Scradje says:

      Yes indeed, putlerite scum are all over the place there. Better than kicking them out of the EU; mount a massive media campaign to counter the festering piles of kremprop currently being disseminated and back that up with a concerted political effort to keep them away from the rodent’s clutches. Bulgaria suffers from familiar diseases: poverty and corruption. It’s actually a rather beautiful country with a nice folkloric culture: it belongs in western civilization.

      1. Avatar laker48 says:

        We need to understand historical issues here. Bulgaria was liberated by Russia from centuries long Ottoman oppression and is traditionally Russia-friendly. Putler plays out these sentiments and tries to corrupt its postcommunist influential groups longing for Soviet times and corrupts the country by a mix of bribery and fear-mongering, even though the RuSSian army isn’t now good enough to frighten any other nuclear power. This works with Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, just to name these three. This has been the Soviet and, now, RuSSian political strategy for close to a century now.

  5. Avatar Bryan See says:

    That explains why Baba Vanga, beloved grandmother of Eastern Europe who comes to be known as the Nostradamus of the Balkans (Nostra-dumbass of the Balkans), really is a racist who is very right-wing and reactionary and xenophobic and authoritarian.

    “Not many people believe that Trump will be a good president,” Bulgarian-born Madame Vanya/Baba Vanga responds “At the beginning people will be negative, but in the end he will put things in the right place and America will be very happy with him.” It’s not the answer I was expecting, nor does it seem remotely likely, but whatever—who am I to argue with a dead Bulgarian lady?

    Also, Trump will serve two terms.

    Next up: Brexit. Should we be worried? “Brexit is not a bad thing for England,” she says. “It will be hard for two years and then the third year will be very good for England. We will be very strong.”

    For example, when I ask Vanya to ask Baba about the threat from ISIS, she dismisses it and tells me that the real threat is from unchecked immigration.

    “This country has to be more careful with immigrants who come from other countries,” says Bulgarian-born Madame Vanya/Baba Vanga. Weirdly, Baba is extremely specific in identifying the precise parts of the UK (or England, as she persists in calling it), where Muslims are supposedly failing to integrate.

    “It’s Nottingham, Birmingham, North London,” Vanya says, “Those are the places that the special police need to concentrate on.”

    At this point I start scanning the room for copies of the Daily Mail, but all I can see are those infernal china dolls. Is this Vanya or Vanga talking? Revisiting my biography of Vanga later in the day, I notice that everyone in the book is white (to be fair, the book’s in black and white so it’s hard to tell.) Maybe it is Vanga talking, after all.

    “Everything will melt away like ice yet the glory of Vladimir (effectively today’s Russian fuehrer), the glory of Russia are the only things that will remain. Russia will not only survive, it will dominate the world.”

    Nowadays, many Russians wonder if Vanga’s prophecy about Russia is going to come true some day or not. In 1979, during her meeting with writer Valentin Sidorov, Vanga said: “All will thaw, as if ice, only one remain untouched – Vladimir’s glory, glory of Russia. Too much it is brought in a victim. Nobody can stop Russia. All will be removed by her from the way and not only will be kept, but also becomes the lord of the world.”

    Before her death in 1996, Vanga predicted glorious future for Russia again. According to the Bulgarian clairvoyant, Russia will be the world’s only superpower. Specialists calculated that 68 percent of her prophecies had come true. We only can wait and see if her other prophecies become real or not.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      “Specialists calculated that 68 percent of her prophecies had come true.”
      Hence she’s just made it within the statistical error. Everything else doesn’t have to fulfill in order to make her a real prophet, at least within the margin determined by statistical errors. 🙂 Thanks for a good laugh!

      1. Avatar Bryan See says:

        You are welcome. It is now more than just an 85 percent success rate, thanks to Vanga supporters who made new predictions out of their asses about Brexit, Donald Trump as a messianic personality that follows after Obama and would be faced with a crisis that would bring the country down, the rise of ISIS, and possibly Fobos-Grunt.

        1. Avatar laker48 says:

          LOL! I was in the UK in September and last month, among others in Birmingham and London, and didn’t see anything troubling. As far as the US is concerned, president Trump is live and kicking, and is now peddling US LNG and crude to the Chinese and Japanese. Vladimir’s glory will likely end around 2021-2022 with US crude and LNG shipped en masse to Poland and LNG shipped to Croatia and distributed between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas.

          1. Avatar Bryan See says:

            We need to leave Earth no matter what. We have to do so before the thread of your fates unravels. I am a Russophobe. I hate Russia and Putin because of their actions at Ukraine and Syria, as well as the world. Shooting down MH17 and causing the failure of Phobos-Grunt by sabotage are unforgivable.

          2. Avatar laker48 says:

            You’re right. RuSSia cannot build anything but tools of destruction. It’s an imperial power that would perish without continuous expansion, robbing and subduing its neighbours and pillaging their homelands. Whatever RuSSia touches, it immediately turns into smelly manure.

          3. Avatar Bryan See says:

            You’re also. Russia is now an anti-human country, populated with anti-humans who are warlike and addicted to conflict to bolster their leader’s approval ratings (as with the events following the annexation of Crimea in 2014).

            Should be noted that the failure of Fobos-Grunt is caused by sabotage by the Russian leader and his people, fearing that the mission has a US component, I guess.

          4. Avatar laker48 says:

            I think that the ill-fated Phobos-Grant mission was totally screwed by RuSSia’s incompetence. The US is at least two decades ahead of RuSSia in space exploration, let alone the arms race. RuSSians are all talk. As senator John McCain once worded it, “RuSSia is a gas station masquerading as a country”, and I would add “armed with nukes”. That’s exactly what RuSSia is.

          5. Avatar Bryan See says:

            You are right. The ill-fated Phobos-Grant mission was totally screwed by RuSSia’s incompetence, with Russian President Vladimir Putin is chiefly responsible. Then, he started Phobosgate on Wikipedia, in which he got me banned. BatteryIncluded, his troll, then lied to me all the time, and let others in the alt-right, as well as his apologists in the left, to do the same to me. Since then, he started stoking hostility to tech, including the Navy’s EMALS digital catapult system.

            I believe John Mccain is right about Russia. James Comey and Mitt Romney are also right. Phobosgate proved it all along.