Nikolai Tagarov

Expertise: European Union Governance and Public Policies; Renewable Energy; Sustainable Development; Organized Crime and and Shadow Economic Activity; Anti-Money Laundering; Anti-Corruption

Nikolai Tagarov started his career at Aon Hewitt where, in global locations such as in Chicago, New York and London, he served as a business analyst and operations manager serving several Fortune 500 clients.

Between 2008 and 2011, Mr Tagarov served as Senior Analyst and Project Director at the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), Bulgaria’s oldest and most influential think tank, and managed multiple projects in the fields of energy policy and energy security as well as anti-corruption, AML and countering organized crime, and immigration policy. As Project Director, Mr. Tagarov was responsible for successfully planning and implementing the expansion into new research areas, and for the strategic management of international projects and partnerships, while also conducting research related to program evaluations and social impact assessments. His innovative use of mirror program evaluations and socio-economic impact assessments for transferring best practices in public sector governance among EU Member States has been validated by the European Commission, and has been replicated and implemented in numerous EC-funded projects throughout the European Union and across a wide variety of public policy domains.

Between 2013 and 2017, Nikolai Tagarov served as Managing Director at Gateway International, a consulting company based in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. In this role, Nikolai helped attract several prominent international clients and partners, and also served as the first Beijing-based EBRD China Consultant, focusing on the energy, agriculture and high-tech sectors. 

Mr Tagarov has advanced to intermediate knowledge of Bulgarian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, German, Modern Greek and conversational level of Mandarin.


An update on China after the Trump - Xi Summit
CEE countries in particular are underinvesting as they were hard hit by the 2008 crisis and FDI inflows dwindled. This is often due to government indebtedness levels; banks’ unwillingness to take on risks. However, in CEE quality of regulation and transparency have increased due to the need to attract private sector investment in the sector (EBRD Transition Report, 2015-2016). In 2015, development of PPP legislation, procurement and anti-corruption; important for attracting funds into infrastructure projects.
China's current leadership transition is an issue. Economic growth is no longer the top priority. Therapy for the real-estate tumour might be painful. New leadership is serious dealing with corruption.
China recorded the lowest GDP of 6.9% for 25 years in 2015; given historically high levels of debt and excess housing and factory capacity, growth going forward will stagnate. In 2015, China became a net outbound investor for the first time. The trend of rising outbound FDI will continue as China seeks higher than domestic returns and access to new markets, incl. for geopolitical reasons.

Expert Information


European Union Governance and Public Policies; Renewable Energy; Sustainable Development; Organized Crime and and Shadow Economic Activity; Anti-Money Laundering; Anti-Corruption




Current Experience

Managing Director, Gateway International

Past Experience

  • Senior Analyst and Project Director, Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria


  • MSc in European Politics and Governance, London School of Economics
  • MSc in International Political Economy, London School of Economics
  • BBA in International Trade/Business, University of Central Oklahoma