Bulgaria Current Elections
Recently, Bulgaria has held presidential elections to replace the outgoing president Rosen Plevneliev, whose term comes to the end in January, 2017, with a new one, Rumen Radev (Oliphant, 2016). It was the first time that Bulgarian elections consisted of two rounds. A new law, enforced in 2016, states that participation in the elections is obligatory, and thus, in the first round of voting process, citizens can choose the option I do not support anyone, if they do not see any of 21 candidates as a president of their country (Leviev-Sawyer, 2016). Because of this, there was a second round, which took place on 13th of November and resulted in Radevs victory over his opponent Tsetska Tsacheva with nearly 60% of the vote.
The new Bulgarian president Rumen Radev has a different tactics than his predecessor Plevneliev because of his pro-Russian orientation. Radev was a head of the Bulgarian air force and managed to win due to the anti-establishment platforms that were oriented at security, immigration, and friendly relations with Russia (Oliphant, 2016). The newly elected president does not support the EU sanctions against Russia. In fact, he is positive about Trumps determination to establish close peaceful relations with the Russian president Vladimir Putin (Oliphant, 2016). He thinks that the dialogue between the USA and Russia will prevent the confrontation in Syria. However, Radev does not plan Bulgarian exclusion from NATO and the European Union (Oliphant, 2016) even though his plans contradict the EU decision to impose sanctions on Russia for Crimean annexation and military intervention in Syria and Ukraine. Experts consider that Radev managed to overcome pro-European Tsacheva criticizing the failure of current government to meet the needs of ordinary Bulgarian citizens and deal with the corruption (Oliphant, 2016).
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With regard to the fact that Radev won the elections, Bulgaria will soon face significant changes if the newly elected president decides to stand on his views and support Russia. Such position may create a confrontation with the European Union and NATO. However, it is very unlikely that Bulgaria will be excluded from any of these unions.
Lithuania in Relation with Russian Aggression
After Russian annexation of Crimea, intervention in Ukraine, and attack on Syria, Lithuania started taking measures to protect itself from potential Russian aggression. Lithuania is a member of NATO, and in case NATO does not establish peaceful relations with Russia, the state is at risk of being one of the first countries, attacked by its neighbor Russia.
Lithuania has a population under 3 million people. It has gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Since 2008, the country does not have a conscription (Small Lithuanias Big Fears of Russia, 2016), which means that the state does not have its regular troops to protect the country in case of any aggression, making it rely on NATOs forces.
Lithuania became extremely concerned about potential Russian invasion after Russia has transferred its nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad in October 2016 (Rsendahl, 2016). Even though Russian officials explain it as routine drills, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite is convinced that the weapon relocation is nothing else as an aggressive move that shows Russian readiness to attack not only its close neighbors, but also more distant European countries (Rsendahl, 2016). In order to be at least partially prepared to the potential threat, Lithuania asked NATO to consider locating its troops on the state territory. In addition to that, NATO started military maneuvers on the territory of the Baltic countries, called Saber Strike. The part of the training that took place on the Lithuanian territory is known as Iron Wolf, and it provided military preparation for around 400 Lithuanians (Russian Missile Transfer an Aggressive Move, 2016). It will help the army-free state to be at least somehow ready for the intervention that might occur in the future.
Refugee Crisis in Hungary
In 2015, Hungary and some other countries of the European Union documented an extremely high number of refugees, looking for asylum in the EU. According to the United Nations' refugee agency, more than a million of people came to Europe on boat (and more than 3,750 drowned during the storms), trying to escape the war and searching for more appropriate conditions for their families (Strickland, 2016). The number was so high that Hungary decided to stop the stream of people, flowing to the state, and build a fence to slow down the illegal border crossing. Even though the European Union calls the state of things a refugee crisis, Hungarian authorities think it is nothing more than immigration and search for better life (Strickland, 2016). Since Hungary stopped letting the refugees in its territory, many people from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia try breaking the fence and go through the Hungarian territory despite the fact that they can be arrested (Strickland, 2016). The European Union administration thinks that the fence will not prevent people from immigration because they prefer being arrested to being killed.
In order to stabilize the situation, Hungarian government sent 1,500 soldiers to Serbian frontier and extended the state of emergency to the territory of the entire state (Strickland, 2016). Even though crossing the border in search for the asylum is not a crime, Hungarian authorities do not plan to change anything as they are still convinced that people who try to break the fence are immigrants. Hungary breaks human rights that the European Union should guarantee, but it has another perspective on the refugee crisis on its territory.
- Bulgaria’s 2016 presidential elections: Voters to have ‘I don’t support anyone’ option | The Sofia Globe
- Pro-Russian candidates win presidential votes in Bulgaria and Moldova
- Russian missile transfer an aggressive move: Lithuania president | Reuters
- Small Lithuania's big fears of Russia | Euronews
- Hungary’s border war on refugees | Europe News | Al Jazeera