Brutal Journalist Murder of Viktoria Marinova has drawn global attention
Bulgaria doesn’t stand out much against the backdrop of all other major international worries for the West but its situation warrants closer attention in order to avoid potential trouble down the road.
By Ivan Dikov with edits by James Williams
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Vigil to Mourn her death[/caption]
The brutal murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova as she was jogging along the Danube one sunny day in the fall of 2018 recently focused global attention on Bulgaria.
Marinova’s murder occurred right after as a regional TV station head and host she aired a report on a large-scale corruption case involving EU funds. As with other inconvenient stories for Bulgaria’s ruling oligarchy, the case has been ignored by the country’s mainstream media.
Following the arrest of a suspect in Germany and their repatriation, Bulgaria’s leadership eagerly declared the horrific murder a “regular” criminal offence. It was not a contract killing of an inconvenient journalist, if you can believe it.
Whatever the case, Marinova’s murder once again put Bulgaria in the international spotlight as “the poorest and most corrupt” EU member state.
Bulgaria is going very bad
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Bulgaria on the Map[/caption]
Those labels aren’t untrue but the reality is much more gruesome. Bulgaria is going very bad, and nobody in the rest of the West seems to be noticing.
Despite the tirelessness of its leadership, Bulgaria hasn’t been able to top the concerns list of the European Union and the United States. This is probably due to the many worse for the West all occurring all over the world map. The grave failure of Bulgaria’s principal allies and partners to notice its troubles, however, may cause serious trouble for the entire West further down the road. The Balkan country’s geopolitical position lends it greater importance than its own potential does.
Brussels, Washington, and Berlin simply aren’t justified in taking Bulgaria’s Western belonging for granted. Apart from the worsening international environment, there are two main reasons Bulgaria’s deteriorating domestic situation remains largely unnoticed by the EU and the US.
First, Bulgaria’s economy has been growing by nearly 4% per year since 2015, coupled with macroeconomic stability in its state finances. For the first time, in 2018 Bulgaria’s GDP surpassed the benchmark of BGN 100 billion (EUR 50 billion or USD 56 billion). That is not as impressive as it appears since it is only 0.3% of the EU’s total GDP. However, without the oligarchy’s abuses Bulgaria’s growth could easily have doubled.
Second, the oligarchy-dominated regime in Sofia is docile within the EU. It goes along with the desires of Berlin provided there is no challenge to the high-level corruption and embezzlement.
That differentiates Bulgaria from other former communist Eastern European EU member states who stir major trouble for Brussels. In Hungary and Poland, Orban and Kaczynski have styled themselves as global pioneers of the “illiberal democratic order”.
The Borisov regime in Sofia has had no such ideological ambitions, and finds those of Budapest and Warsaw perplexing. Its main concern has been preserving and expanding the status and wealth of the post-communist oligarchy against the backdrop of Bulgaria’s EU membership.
In international politics the regime kowtows to Brussels, Washington, Moscow, Ankara, and Berlin while seeking to steer clear of hard choices among them.
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It seems to be par-for-the-course when it comes to corruption. Wherever you look, corruption and villainy is the norm. The bigger the stakes, the more prevalent it is. The ordinary citizen exists to be screwed over and is expected to vote in these crooks each time, if they are given a vote at all. It is not simply about Free Market vs Socialism. It is a question of hierarchies and the religion of entitlement that convinces people in power to hold on to their privilege and entitlements as their divine right.
When you see the tens of millions of dollars that go to funding the political campaigns in the US, you can see how lying, cheating, murder and impoverishment of whole communities is the fall out for evil to maintain control. Psychopaths use our empathy against us. Images of suffering children are a favourite for getting us to hand over cash and votes.
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