Russia's Bear Back Hungry, Its Bulgarian Servants Hungry Too

By MILENA HRISTOVA   April 14, 2014

 

We all knew it was coming.

 

Two years after many Bulgarians went jubilant over the decision to abandon the construction of 2000-MW nuclear plant in Belene, on the Danube, the project is about to be resurrected.

 

Despite Chernobyl disaster, Japan's crisis, EU's warnings, record-low electricity consumption in crisis-hit Bulgaria and amid what is no doubt the most perilous crisis in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War, the Socialist government is ready to bow to Moscow's nuclear demands.

 

The signs for the move come after more than thirty years of lies and millions of levs poured into the barren land plot that the second nuclear power plant is at the moment.

 

It is there that Bulgarian MPs from the energy commission met on April 14 at the invitation of Belene mayor, himself a Socialist member of parliament. The topic of the meeting: 'Belene nuclear plant – goals, prospects and difficulties'.

 

If the topic sounds to you surrealistically idiotic and if Bulgaria's numerous U-turns on plans for a second nuclear plant make you feel dizzy, you are not alone.

 

The U-turns have confirmed suspicions that links between the mafia and the political system run deep in Bulgaria's energy sector. Dooming generations of  Bulgarians to paying out billions of euros, making electricity exports unprofitable, gambling away the risk of seismic activity in the region and, last but not least, cementing Bulgaria's dependence on Russia.

 

On the eve of its accession to the European Union, Bulgaria tied itself to Russian partners not in one, but three major energy projects.

 

Seven years later Bulgaria's renewed pursuit of atomic energy places it once again in Europe's backyard and brands it as Russia's Trojan horse in the united bloc.

 

The Russian project has been excoriated as “a corrupt and completely illegitimate business project, aimed at producing abundant and expensive electricity in a country with excess capacity in a region of declining electricity demand,” in the words of Ognyan Minchev, a research fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Balkan Trust for Democracy.

 

We all know that nuclear energy is a solution to more than climate change for all energy experts hoping to pile up wealth on Belene project.

 

Now that South Stream has been pronounced dead, the hungry Russian bear is back, its servants in Bulgaria are hungry too - hungry for backhanders.