Russia Wants 'Cultural' Cooperation, Bulgaria Wants 'Pragmatic'

Politics » DIPLOMACY | November 14, 2010, Sunday // 12:08| Views: | Comments: 2
Bulgaria: Russia Wants 'Cultural' Cooperation, Bulgaria Wants 'Pragmatic' The government delegations of Bulgaria and Russia pictured during their talks in Sofia on Nov 13, 2010. Photo by BGNES

The proposals for an intensification of cultural cooperation that the Russian delegation to Sofia advanced Saturday were met somewhat lukewarmly by the Bulgarian party.

This appears from the official transcript of the meeting Saturday headed by Bulgarian and Russian PMs Boyko Borisov and Vladimir Putin.

Near the end of the talks, Russian Minister of Energy and co-president of the bilateral intergovernmental commission Sergei Shmatko drew attention to a number of cultural initatives between the two countries, such as joint educational and research programs, as well as the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the May 9, 1945 victory over Nazism.

Those remarks were not taken up and elaborated by the Bulgarian party. PM Borisov commended them, but in the next sentence chose to stress that the relations between Russia and Bulgaria are "pragmatic." Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Energy Traicho Traikov followed up by leading the conversation to purely economic topics.

Bulgaria and Russia have had a lasting cultural and emotional relationship since at least the late Middle Ages. In more recent history, the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

Ever since then, Bulgarian upper-level society and politics have been polarized by a pro- and anti-Russian camp, a predicament intensified since 1944, when Bulgaria fell within the Soviet "sphere of influence."

All this has not obliterated a deep-seated popular love for Russia among ordinary Bulgarians, who regard the Russian people with a peculiar kind of fondness reserved for someone you both feel close to and admire.

On the other hand, this has not prevented official Russian and Bulgarian foreign policy towards each other to take some not-so-pleasant turns over the years.

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Tags: Vladimir Putin, Boyko Borisov, Sergei Shmatko, Traicho Traikov, culture
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» To the forumComments (2)
DrFaust - 15 Nov 2010 // 06:56:14

There is nothing wrong with having good relations with Russia on an official level, feeling close to Russian people or expanding the bilateral trade and cultural relations.

On the other hand Bulgarians need to understand that in politics it is all about interests. And the interests of Russia and Bulgaria are in many fields diametrically opposed. Bulgarian foreign policy should not be oriented towards irrational talk of 'Slav brothers' and similar nonsense, but towards what is best for the Bulgarian people. And to make the country too dependent on Russia in the field of gas and oil supply is not in the interest of Bulgaria and its people.

Yane - 14 Nov 2010 // 15:18:42

Boyko, don't be a fool, talk more on these issues, we need Bulgaria to get involved with the Russian space program and other high programs that Bulgaria can benefit research from! Not to mention nuclear research, considering we're building another Nuclear plant. Would be nice to have people good educated in these matters in Bulgaria..

As for celebrating end of ww2...this I don't agree with, my grandfather was killed by the communist swine, Bulgaria lost much ethnic Bulgarian lands incl Macedonia. Why should we celebrate? The allies caused devastation n carved our lands up. Far better if Putin had mentioned Russo-Turkish war n other common causes instead of end of ww2..

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