Russia and Turkey, a story of hard love?

The relationship between Turkey and Russia has an extensive, rich, and tumultuous history. Successors of two powerful empires which defined for centuries the geopolitics of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, the two countries speak of each other as of “partners” today. However, with the exception of the most recent 15 years of improving ties, the overall bilateral relationship has been marked by … Read more…

A new pipeline is born on the Balkans – Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania will build a “Vertical Interconnector”

“The gas map of South-Eastern Europe is changing”. These are the words of the Bulgarian deputy prime-minister Tomislav Donchev at a working meeting on 22 April in Sofia. A three-side working group consisting of representatives from Romania, Greece, and host nation Bulgaria convened in the capital in order to initiate the construction of a “Vertical Gas Interconnector”. The project is designed to connect the three countries’ … Read more…

What Putin told us? – brief summary of the annual “Direct Line” address

Yesterday 16 April the Russian president Vladimir Putin had his annual “Direct Line” teleconference whereby he replied to questions asked by the Russian citizens. The show lasted almost 4 hours and in total 3 million questions were asked (this year’s record), 70 of which were addressed. The idea of the event is to answer selected questions and reassure the population that they are in good … Read more…

Pipeline puzzles on the Balkans – “South Stream” is dead, long live “Turkish Stream”

On 7 April the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, and Hungary met in Budapest to discuss plans for cooperation in the energy sector. A common declaration was signed whereby the first diplomats of the five states agreed upon the need to improve energy security and develop an alternative gas supply route through South-East Europe and Turkey thus enhancing the friendly relations in the … Read more…

Why change of regime in Russia will not come from the opposition?

The ongoing crisis in Eastern Ukraine reinvigorated the discussions about the nature of Putin’s regime in Russia. The debate has been simmering for decades.  Increasingly, however, many critics and dissidents both in Russia and the West are trying to predict the collapse of Putin’s autocracy as a direct result from his policies towards its weaker neighbor. A strong boost to these speculation came after Boris … Read more…

Oligarchic hustles in Bulgaria: How a bank could threaten national security?

For about 9 months Bulgaria’s economy has been plagued by the residual tremors from the spectacular collapse of Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) owned by the Bulgarian oligarch Tsvetan Vasilev. Since November 2014 the bank’s license of operation has been revoked and it has been taken over by officials of the Bulgarian Central Bank. As with most such affairs in Bulgaria’s most recent history, the smell … Read more…

Are oligarchic tensions set loose in Ukraine?

On 24 March the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dismissed the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region Ihor Kolomoisky. This action immediately sparked discussions and questions about what is the actual motivation of this choice and what its consequences may be for the strained stability of Ukraine. Actually, dismissing or appointing regional governors is a prerogative to the Ukrainian presidential institution and Poroshenko’s decision would not have … Read more…

Are we forgetting why it all started in Ukraine?

More than a year has passed since the dramatic events on the Maydan in Kiev. President Yanukovich was ousted by the crowd and the events that followed are now part of history. What still remains is an ongoing separatist crisis in Eastern Ukraine and a serious stand-off between the West and Russia. All media report daily on the situation of the frontline or the likelihood … Read more…

Welcome to Vox Orientalis, this is our first post!

Welcome to Vox Orientalis – the voice from the East! Vox Orientalis is a project aiming to express views and opinions on a wide variety of topics concerning the “East of Europe” and its periphery. We avoid using the term Eastern Europe in these introductory paragraphs as its meaning has been alternating over the past decades after the collapse of the socialist bloc. Therefore, we … Read more…