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Bulgaria
Lying between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria is a country whose history dates back a long way, it has endured multiple influences, notably Byzantine and Ottoman. Slav nationalism, supported by Tsarist Russia helped Bulgaria win a certain amount of independence at the end of the 19th century. But a drive towards an ethno-national structure meant that it joined the Triple Alliance and then the Fascist camp in both world wars, each time finding itself on the losing side. It was subject to strict Soviet control which ended in 1990. There then followed a period of political instability with terrible corruption which delayed its integration into the European Union until 2007.
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