Ukraine and Bulgaria: at the cross point of regional powers

The New Geopolitics Research Network brings to your attention a summary of Valeriy Ratchev (former senior government official and military officer, expert at the Center for Security and Defense Management at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) speech, made during online webinar “Geopolitics. 30 Years After. Ukraine and Bulgaria. Life after communism”

Key points:

• Speaking about historical ties between Ukraine and Bulgaria, attention should be paid to the contemporary reality of post-communism and its nature. Because communism is not a priority anymore, even for the Russians.

• Both countries have lost a lot of time for reforms, and after the 1990s, they were worse off than before. Moreover, Ukraine and Bulgaria still do not live in a democracy; they live in a transitional phase.

• Bulgaria’s other problem is the unsuccessful integration process because society, business and state organizations were not engaged in this process. Because of this, Bulgaria has entered the EU with all their deficits from the 1990s and are still suffering from this. This situation is quite similar to Ukraine.

• Unfortunately, Ukraine and Bulgaria are at the cross point of three integration projects: European, Russian, and Turkish. We can benefit as well as suffer from it. In this context, the only way to deal with a strong neighbor is to be internally successful.

• Moving from economic dependence on Russia toward economic dependence on China is not the right course of action for Ukraine and Bulgaria. Our countries should develop their own regional capacity. Security cooperation is also necessary, but not in the context of building balances.

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June 2021