State Capture versus Contestatory Citizenship in Bulgaria

State Capture versus Contestatory Citizenship in Bulgaria

ÖGfE Policy Briefs
December 7, 2021
By Anna Krasteva

Policy Recommendations

  1. The fight against corruption in Bulgaria should result in a solid track-record of final convictions in high-level corruption cases, meeting the expectations of active citizenship and increasing trust in institutions, which is critically low at present.
  2. National legislation, court case-law and political practice should envisage mechanisms for responding to international reports of large-scale corruption such as those under the Magnitsky Act.
  3. Raising the awareness of citizens and the business community about the effects of (the lack of) reforms in the judiciary.


The Policy Brief argues that Bulgaria is experiencing a negative transformation, a transition from post-communism to post-democracy expressed in the transition from corruption to endemic corruption and state capture. The Policy Brief is structured in three parts. The first part introduces the theoretical model of the post-communist post-democracy (Krasteva 2019) based on the concept of “symbolic-ideological hegemony” (Schmitter 1994). It articulates three different transformations in Bulgaria’s post-communist development, each one of them defining in a different way the rule of law and justice as well as the Europeanisation of the country and region as a political project. The second part examines civic mobilisations for rule of law and justice as an expression of and catalyst for the formation of active and contestatory citizenship. The third part analyses the three-pole model of state capture. The article examines also the alliance for change and rule of law.