Russian-Bulgarian cooperation over the past two decades showed that Sofia’s policy towards Moscow was inconsistent, RISS expert Nikolay Podchasov underscored in the analytical article of RISS journal “National Strategy Issues”. This is due to the different Bulgarian leaders that were trying to maneuver between the West and Moscow. “Russia-Bulgaria relations during the first two decades of the XXIth century were marked by sizable fluctuations. The full cycle from close cooperation to mutual alienation and later to pragmatic “bridge building” has passed until 2018. Under Boyko Borisov’s government (2009-2013), bilateral cooperation entered a stagnation period. Under Plamen Oresharski’s government (2013-2014), Bulgaria faced a political crisis. Sofia had to follow the recommendations of Washington and Berlin. Borisov’s return to power (2014-2017) was accompanied by using an anti-Russian rhetoric,” he recalled.

As a result, Bulgaria’s political elite is reconsidering the priorities of national policy towards Russia. “The 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections have demonstrated a shift towards a more stable Russia-Bulgaria relationship. Now Russian-Bulgarian cooperation on some of the previously closed energy projects may resume,” RISS expert said.

Sofia’s policy towards Moscow is determined primarily by the internal political struggle and pressure from European partners. The author sees the reason of such fluctuations of Russia-Bulgaria relations in an external pressure on Sofia and the inability of the Bulgarian government to assert national interests from the Euro-Atlantic partners’ intrusion.