Bulgaria’s geopolitical and geoeconomic reorientation (1989–2019)

  • Valentin Mihaylov University of Silesia
Keywords: Bulgaria, Balkans, European Union, Russia, geopolitical reorientation, energy geopolitics

Abstract

Until the late 1980s and the dawn of the end of the Eastern Bloc, communist Bulgaria was considered to be the closest ally of the Soviet Union. Now, 30 years later, the Bulgarian state has been integrated into the main Euro-Atlantic organisations. Taking these radical changes as its starting point, this article outlines the process and consequences of post-1989 geopolitical and geoeconomic reorientation of Bulgaria. The aim was also to present the main geopolitical challenges in Bulgaria’s relations with Russia and Turkey. These states have been influencing the political, economic and cultural development of Bulgaria for centuries. The effects of their influence have remained problematic to this day. As Bulgaria remains a country with a complex geopolitical position, it continues its twentieth-century strategy and tries to maintain balance between its own national interest and the influence of the main centres of power. The author draws particular attention to the fact that the model based on the variability of geopolitical priorities was once again confirmed in the analysed period. This model is not only based on pragmatism in relations with the outside world, which is traditional for the Bulgarian political elite, but is also dependant on the temporary distribution of power within the Balkan geopolitical knot. It seems that the model will continue to be valid, at least in the near future.

References

Anagnostou D., 2005, Nationalist legacies and European trajectories: post-communist liberalization and Turkish minority politics in Bulgaria, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 5(1), 89–111. doi: 10.1080/1468385042000328385 Bălgaria ima golemi gazovi ambitsii v sledvashtite 10 godini (Eng. Bulgaria has great ambitions in the gas industry for the next 10 years), 2019, www.economic.bg/bg/news/11/balgariya-si-postavya-golemi-gazovi-ambitsii-v-sledvashtite-10-godini.html (accessed 25 August 2019).

Ruski deputat: Bălgaria shte ya kupim tsialata (Eng. Russian MP: We Will Buy the Entire Bulgaria) www.monitor.bg/bg (accessed 17 October 2019).

Bishku M.B., 2003, Turkish-Bulgarian Relations: From Conflict and Distrust to Cooperation over Minority Issues and International Politics, Mediterranean Quarterly, 14(2), 77–94.

Bozhinov V., Stoyanova-Toneva Y., 2018, Republika Makedonia v savremennata balgarska geopolitika i myastoto na balgarskia natsionalen interes tam (Eng. The Republic of Macedonia in Contemporary Bulgarian Geopolitics and the Place of Bulgarian National Interest There), Diplomaticheski institut, Ministerstvo na vanshnite raboti, Sofia.

Curtis G.E. (ed.), 1992, Bulgaria: a country study, GPO for the Library of Congress, Washington.

Hinkova S., 2014, Turkey as a significant geopolitical actor: some dimensions of the country’s political influence in Bulgaria, Diplomacy, 12, 149–160.

Hristov T., 2001, Politicheska geografia na Bălgaria (Eng. Political Geography of Bulgaria), Akademichno izdatelstvo na Agrarnia universitet, Sofia-Plovdiv.

Kazakov E., 2007, Geopolitikata na Bălgaria (Eng. Geopolitics of Bulgaria), Faber, Veliko Tyrnovo.

Krăstev V., 2008, Săvremennoto geopolitichesko polozhenie na Bălgaria, Geopolitika i geostrategia, 1.

Levkov K., 2013, Vănshnata tărgovia na Bălgaria v kraya na XX i nachaloto na XXI vek. Osnovni tendentsii i perspektivi (Eng. Foreign trade of Bulgaria at the end of the XX and the beggining of the XXI century. Main tendencies and problems), Novo znanie, 3, 37–42.

Linden R.H. , 2009, The burden of belonging: Romanian and Bulgarian foreign policy in the new era. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 11(3), 270–291. doi: 10.1080/19448950903152136.

Lütem Ö.E., 1999, The Past and Present State of the Turkish Bulgarian Relations, Foreign Policy (Dış Politika), 14, 64–77.

Maltby T., Hiteva R.P., 2017, The Europeanisation of Bulgarian renewable energy policy, [in]: I. Solorio, H. Jorgens (eds), A Guide to EU Renewable Energy Policy: Comparing Europeanization and Domestic Policy Change in EU Member States, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham, 224–246.

Marinov G., 2017, Bulgaria: geopolitical and geo-economic forecast at the beginning of the 21st century, Geopolitika i Geostrategia, 4.

Metodiev K., 2015, British diplomacy in Bulgaria: 1989 to present, Przegląd Geopolityczny, 15, 153–164.

Mihaylov V., 2010a, Cywilizacyjna tożsamość Bułgarów: tradycyjne i współczesne dylematy (Eng. Civilisational identity of the Bulgarians: traditional and contemporary dilemmas), Sprawy Narodowościowe. Seria Nowa, 36, 77–92.

Mihaylov V., 2010b, Państwa i narody bałkańskie w świadomości geopolitycznej Rosji. Rosja w świadomości geopolitycznej państw i narodów bałkańskich (Eng. Balkan states and nations in the geopolitical consciousness of Russia. Russia in the geopolitical consciousness of the Balkan states and nations), Przegląd Geopolityczny, 2, 77–92.

Mihaylov V., 2015, Bałkany w obliczu geopolityki tureckiego neoosmanizmu (Eng. The Balkans in the face of the geopolitics of the Turkish neo-ottomanism), [in:] S. Sitek (red.), Stare i nowe problemy badawcze w geografii społecznoekonomicznej (Eng. Old and new research problems in socio-economic geography), WNoZ UŚ, PTG, Sosnowiec, 21–34.

National Statistical Institute, Republic of Bulgaria, www.nsi.bg (accessed 12 August 2019).

Neshev K., 1994, Bălgarskiat natsionalizăm (Eng. The Bulgarian nationalism), Fil-Vest, Sofia.

Nestorov L., 2002, Vănshnata tărgovia i ikonomicheskia rastezh v Bălgaria – tendentsii i perspektivi (Eng. Foreign trade and economic growth of Bulgaria – tendencies and perspectives), Dialog, 4, 31–54.

Pargov K., Marinova-Alkalay M., Hadzhinikolova E., Angelov M., Mavrodiev V., 2009, Bălgaria v Evropeiskia Săyus(Eng. Bulgaria in the European Union), [in:] Bălgaria v Evropa i sveta (Eng. Bulgaria in Europe and in the World). Tsentăr za evropeiski i mezhdunarodni izsledvania, FriedrichEbert-Stiftung, Sofia, 11–32.

Pavlov N., 1999, Bălgarskata geopoliticheska traditsia i perspektiva (Eng. Bulgarian geopolitical tradition and perspective), Voenen zhurnal, 6.

Ralchev S., 2015, Elusive Identity: Duality and Missed Opportunities in Bulgarian Foreign Policy in the Black Sea Region, [in:] A. Shirinyan, L. Slavkova (eds.), Unrewarding Crossroads. The Black Sea Region amidts the European Union and Russia, Sofia platform, Sofia, 122–150.

Rusev, M., 1997, Geografskoto polozhenie i natsionalnata sigurnost na Bălgaria (Eng. Geographical location and national security of Bulgaria), Problemi na geografiata, 3–4, 92–103.

Siedlecka S., Sułkowski M., 2017, Trójmorze – perspektywa bułgarska (Eng. Three Seas Initiative – Bulgarian perspective), Arcana, 137, 36–39.

Sokolov M., 2016, The role of international actors in the Balkans, Diplomacy, 18, 193–196.

Tashev B., 2005, In search of security: Bulgaria’s security policy in transition, [in] T. Lansford, B. Tashev (eds.), Old Europe, New Europe and the US, Ashgate, Aldershot, 141–142.

Tchalakov I., Mitev T., 2019, Energy dependence behind the Iron Curtain: The Bulgarian experience, Energy Policy, 126, 47–56. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.008.

Tchalakov I., Mitev T., Hristov I., 2013. Bulgarian power relations: the making of a Balkan power hub, [in]: P. Högselius, A. Hommels, A. Kaijser, E. van der Vleuten (eds.), The making of Europe’s critical infrastructureр Palgrave, Macmillan, London, 131–156. doi: 10.1057/9781137358738_5.

The Word Bank, https://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf (accessed 10 August 2019).

Triantaphyllou D., 2007, Energy Security and Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP): The Wider Black Sea Area Context, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 7(2), 289–302. doi: 10.1080/14683850701402227.

Published
2019-12-31
How to Cite
Mihaylov, V. (2019). Bulgaria’s geopolitical and geoeconomic reorientation (1989–2019). Journal of Geography, Politics and Society, 9(4), 12-23. https://doi.org/10.26881/jpgs.2019.4.02
Section
Artykuły