The interim government in Bulgaria tends to change its course

The interim government in Bulgaria tends to change its course

Currently, in Bulgaria, a policy is being circulated “From “Crimea is Russian” to a defender of “condescension” after the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. Thus, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev clearly positioned himself as one of the few pro-Russian leaders in the European Union. In an opinion published in Mediapool, the possibility of Bulgaria turning towards Russia is analyzed.

Therefore, one of the most serious questions about the interim government is whether it will try to revise Bulgaria’s geopolitical choice, which was protected by the last government. He did not allow himself to be blackmailed by Gazprom and refused to follow the “more moderate” positions of the head of state.

Incidentally, Radev’s penultimate interim prime minister, Stefan Yanev, openly defended pro-Putin positions in his capacity as defense minister in Kiril Petkov’s government and was dismissed from office.

Currently, Radev appoints another military man from the reserve, considered to be his right-hand man, to the Ministry of Defense – Dimitar Stoianov. Stoianov’s career went to the Air Force, then he followed Radev to the Presidency, where he was appointed Secretary General. Stoianov is expected to strictly follow Radev’s line, which completely rules out the possibility that the new defense minister will play the role of an ulius.

President Radev’s right-hand man and his position in the war in Ukraine

It is not clear, however, to what extent he will allow himself to impose a “moderate position” amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. Apart from his comments on gas supplies, he has made it clear that he is ready to act, after a few days ago he caused a scandal with Deputy Prime Minister Cornelia Ninova by sharing part of a document that should to prove that Bulgarian weapons are exported to Ukraine. Ninova rejected his claims and called him “a stain” on the Presidency.

Now, in his capacity as defense minister, Stoyanov will have to manage the process of providing assistance to Kiev related to the repair of Ukrainian military equipment in Bulgaria.

So, Stoianov, together with Radev, was one of the biggest critics of the procedure by which the American F-16 aircraft were acquired, and now he will have to advance the project to acquire 8 more aircraft from the USA.

He must also work to secure so-called “interim aircraft” to replace the Soviet MiG-29s until the new F-16s arrive. The maintainability of the MiGs is questionable because due to the war, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are no longer an option.

The main test of the new Government, the behavior regarding the suspended deliveries of Gazprom

In the political-military context in Bulgaria, the acting minister of foreign affairs, Nikolai Milkov will replace Teodora Ghenchovska, whose mandate would have gone almost unnoticed if it were not for the issue of North Macedonia. Milkov is a career diplomat and as such avoids extreme positions, so no significant changes should be expected from him.

A major test for the cabinet and Milkov is whether it will seek some form of review of the Petkov government’s decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats, as Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova hopes. Milkov enjoys Radev’s confidence and will play a key role in appointing the next Bulgarian ambassadors. Now he is ambassador to France and Monaco and permanent representative to UNESCO, he also worked in the Ministry of Defense, where he was permanent secretary. And he, like Stoianov, was part of the administration of President Rumen Radev.

In conclusion, the main test for the course of the new government’s foreign policy, however, will undoubtedly be its behavior with regard to Gazprom’s suspended deliveries, whether it will be willing to open a ruble account and whether it will take steps to negotiate a new contract with the Russian corporation, it is stated in an opinion signed in Mediapool.