Банкеръ Weekly



Two main groups of capital were formed in Bulgaria within the twelve years of democratic development.One of them is based mainly on the legacy from the communist regime - relations, channels, resources, and corresponds chiefly with Russia and the Arab countries. The other group is its antipode. It has been formed by US capitals, tranferred to Bulgaria, and integrated around the protection of overseas interests on the Balkans and in this country. The interests of the first group have been traditionally better represented in the political circles so far. But many politicians and observers forecast that after Bulgaria's invitation to join NATO, the roles will be exchanged. The BANKER weekly learned that a special scenario has been already worked out, which is maintained and coordinated by foreign diplomatic missions. It projects that gradually within a year favourable public opinion would be created in order to restructure the political environment, so that the government would be overtaken by pro-American and pro-Western political forces. According to well-informed sources, a key role in the new scenario will be played by the recently established NGO Global Bulgaria, intended to become the main body of the forthcoming changes. Not by accident businessmen, owners and editors-in-chief of mass media, and political experts, have been attracted to the new organisation. Under the scenario, Gen. Boyko Borissov, the incumbent Chief Secretary with the Interior Ministry of Internal Affairs, has been intended to assume a leading role in the country's government.But these might be only schemes for the future that could never come true. At least part of the political forces are presently struggling for that. The greatest apprehensions about Bulgaria's future NATO membership are in fact motivated by that opportunity to rearrange Bulgaria's political and economic environment.Doubtlessly, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) will be most deeply affected by such restructuring. In fact, the 100-year-old party has been always anti-NATO tuned. Sociologists claim that its core elecatorate is still hostile to the Alliance, despite the pro-Nato reorientations of BSP's leaders. The incumbent arms and energy bosses will be most hardly hit by Bulgaria's accession to NATO. Both branches have powerful lobbies in the BSP, and the breaking of the status quo will cost them a lot. Inofficially, US politicians have spread information that during his visit to Russia the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov had undertaken a commitment to assist Russian companies participate in the privatisation of Bulgarian energy capacities. According to the US political cirles, if Bulgaria joins NATO its energy capacities should not be in Russian hands. This means that if the country has seriously started walking along the road to the Alliance (and the aim is not to receive an invitation only) the Russian energy lobby in Bulgaria shall lose its position in the future. The same holds true about the arms industry. This seriously endangers BSP, which would soon remain without big sponsors. BANKER's sources claim that some of the firms that have so far assisted financially the socialists, are already quickly reorientating and prefer to direct their finances and sympathies to the new pro-Western formation Global Bulgaria. BSP members confirm that the party's Deputy Chairman Roumen Petkov, who is personally in charge of ensuring its finances, has been quite nervous and hot-tempered lately, especially when the name of the new NGO is mentioned.The leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) Ahmed Dogan will also be directly affected by the change of the status quo. The MRF will probably continue to exist for some time, but it's almost sure that the leader would be forced out of the political scene during the next parliamentary elections. According to his former associate Osman Oktai, MRF's leader has been uneasy about NATO's threat for quite a long time, although his official stance is the reverse. A political board will be introduced, Mr. Oktai says. According to him, the Americans would not tolerate people who play double games and try to dictate politics, remaining in the shade. Recently, Ahmed Dogan has openly committed himself to the interests of Michael Chernoy, whom the Americans insisted to be expatriated from Bulgaria together with Denis Ershov back in 2000. The BANKER learned that since it became known that Bulgaria would be probably invited to join NATO, Michael Chernoy had been trying to get rid of his investments in Bulgaria, but it was problematic to find a buyer. As far as Denis Ershov is concerned, he has already begun selling his property in Bulgaria. In such a development of things the wallets of a number of politicians will become thiner.The road to the Alliance passes also through an attempt to replace Prosecutor Genral Nikola Filchev in the coming months, the BANAKER learned. The Americans are said to have insisted for his removal from the post as he has been tolerating shadow interests and hampering Bulgaria to become a constitutional state. The issue regarding the pure past of the heads of Bulgarian special services also remains open. Pundits claim that NATO possesses thrustowrthy files of all people in power and won't accept to work with former officials of the totalitarian regime. The declassifying of files is one of the most painful problems in the Bulgarian political and miltary circles. But it is not yet known if it will come to revealing all the information. However, experts forecast that the lack of a pro-European lobby will turn out the next big problem for Bulgaria. Currently, mostly Russians and Americans compete for the hearts and wallets of Bulgarian politicians. And in this situation it is not clear who would vindicate Bulgaria's road to Europe.

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