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Quotables

  • “Turkey has emerged as a strategic pit stop for Russian fuel products rerouted to the EU, generating hundreds of millions in tax revenues for the Kremlin's war chest”

    Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy & Climate Program
    POLITICO, How Turkey became Putin’s ‘pit stop’ for selling camouflaged fuel to the EU, May 15, 2024
  • "Lukoil has been able to translate its economic footprint into outsized political leverage by financing media and parties. Its influence over the Bulgarian political and economic elite is enormous."

    Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy & Climate Program
    POLITICO, Russian oil titan Lukoil eyes the end of its reign in Bulgaria, August 21, 2023
  • "Following the invasion of Ukraine, it became evident that Russian proxies had been activated, with several influential outlets, book publishers, and social media players reinforcing the Kremlin's narrative in Bulgaria. As the initial shock of the invasion dissipates, there is a chance for Russia to regain its foothold in the country."

    Goran Georgiev, Analyst, Economic Program, CSD
    Financial Times, Pro-Russia party shakes up Bulgarian politics, April 2, 2023
  • “Lukoil has very good lobbies ... they have enablers in Brussels and across Europe,” said Martin Vladimirov, senior energy researcher at Bulgaria’s Center for the Study of Democracy think tank. “They have convinced European policymakers that Lukoil is supporting Ukraine and the management of Lukoil is against the war.”

    Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSD
    Politico, Russia’s Lukoil keeps on pumping in Europe — for now, January 17, 2023
  • “We need one policy instrument to name and shame countries to track progress on the EU objectives”. This instrument does not exist right now, explained Vladimirov, allowing countries to hide behind other EU players and continue bad practices.

    Martin Vladimirov, Director, Energy and Climate Program, CSD
    Enlit, A divided Europe is the greatest risk to energy security, December 1, 2022
  • "Europe increased its dependence on Russian gas even after the invasion of Crimea in 2014. But companies exiting Russia are now rushing to invest in China," the director of the Bulgarian think tank told DW.

    Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, CSD
    Deutsche Welle, Will the EU move to curb Chinese investments?, October 25, 2022
  • “Bulgarians expect politicians to find common ground and do their best to form a coalition cabinet, as they yearn for political stability and predictability,” said Ruslan Stefanov, a program director at the Sofia-based Center for the Study of Democracy. “People are afraid of what will happen in the next few months with the escalating war next door and a risk of economic recession.”

    Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, CSD
    Politico, Groundhog Day: It’s another Bulgarian election, September 30, 2022
  • 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

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