Explaining Eastern Europe: “Soft Decisionism” in Bulgaria

Issue Date July 2018
Volume 29
Issue 3
Page Numbers 91-103
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The article explores patterns of democratic backsliding in postaccession Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on “constitutional retrogression” in Bulgaria. It shows that the political marginalization of the middle class has led to diminished social demand for the rule of law, which has in turn facilitated the silencing of independent media and the capture of key components of the judiciary by oligarchic networks bent upon embedding economic illiberalism in Bulgarian society. This article also introduces the concept of “soft decisionism,” a personalistic form of governing practiced by incumbent Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

About the Author

Venelin I. Ganev is professor of political science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he is also a faculty associate of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. He is the author of Preying on the State: The Transformation of Bulgaria After 1989 (2007).

View all work by Venelin I. Ganev