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Prof. Ivaylo Gruev, Canada: There is a problem with democracy in Bulgaria

The main dividing line in this parliament is the war in Ukraine, the political scientist points out in an interview for Radio Bulgaria

Photo: Eva Kopankova-Zlateva

"The Covid-19 pandemic combined with a very strange war that started in February this year has led to a very different political discourse in Bulgaria, which cannot be ignored. At the moment, I have the feeling that a very strange, grotesque contest is taking place among the Bulgarian political elite as to who will be the biggest Euro-Atlantic" - this is how the political scientist from the University of Ottawa, Prof. Ivaylo Gruev, summarized the current political climate in Bulgaria. Since his previous analysis made for Radio Bulgaria a year ago, now he has also noticed another negative development:

"The latest election has quite unequivocally shown that we have a problem with democracy in Bulgaria. If 39% of the voters in the country prefer to exercise their right to vote, and nearly 61% refuse to do this act of political activity - this does not speak well for the healthy status of democracy in Bulgaria. It seems to me that the social contract has largely eroded. What do I mean? Recently there were reports recently related to the terrible daily accidents caused by drugged drivers - 20% of the population, mostly among the young - this is an extremely serious epidemic. What are the social, economic, and even political factors that led to this explosion of drug addiction - this seems not to be much talked about."

Prof. Gruev believes a large number of politicians in Bulgaria do not realize what the conflict in Ukraine actually is.

"I had the pleasure ten years ago to meet personally with one of the most influential geopolitical scientists, not only in the USA - Prof. John Joseph Mearsheimer, and I will quote what he says regarding the conflict in Ukraine: "The war in Ukraine is the most dangerous international conflict since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis that began in February 2014. Now it has turned into a war that not only threatens to destroy Ukraine, but also has the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between Russia and NATO". Yes, probably many Euro-Atlanticists both in Bulgaria and abroad would not be very happy with this analysis, but if such announcements are coming from people of such stature as the famous Henry Alfred Kissinger, I think we should listen a little more carefully to what they are trying to warn us about."

Prof. Ivaylo Gruev has been living in Canada for more than three decades, but he monitors closely the political discourse in his homeland, therefore the analysis of the political messages from the first day of work of the 48th National Assembly leads him to the conclusion that the statements of the political parties have drawn clear dividing lines:

"The main dividing line in this parliament is not how Bulgarian small businesses will be supported or how people will be able to pay their bills. The main dividing line is definitely the war in Ukraine. Despite the enormous pressure, naturally coming from the US side, as a country on the eastern flank of NATO, we need to have a stable, predictable government. I am afraid to make predictions about the viability of the 48th Bulgarian Parliament precisely because of the fact that we are in an extremely tense geopolitical situation."

And in this complex situation, when politicians will hardly be able to fulfill the voter's order for consolidation and dialogue so that Bulgaria can overcome the multidirectional crises, Prof. Gruev highlights the power of civil society:

"Our history is full of examples, according to which there are two ways to change the political status quo - the first factor is the external and geopolitical situation, which changes like a weather vane. And the second factor, which is an authentic attempt to change the political, social and economic state of the country - this is an impulse that comes from within, from civil society. One of the outstanding virtues according to the Christian religion is tolerance and humility, but in some cases this does not appear as a virtue. Especially when we find ourselves in an extremely difficult situation, not only in economic and geopolitical terms, but also a demographic crisis. We are the fastest disappearing nation, not in the Balkans, not in Europe, but in the whole world - out of 193 countries, we are melting the fastest. If we don't wake up, we will simply disappear."

English version Rositsa Petkova

Photos: Eva Kopankova-Zlateva

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