MOSCOW, 1 Jul — RIA Novosti, Igor Karmazin. Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov stated that “the absence of evidence pointing to the guilt of Moscow”, and refused to expel Russian diplomats in connection with the poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British Salisbury. Not all Bulgarian politicians agree with him, but his supporters are now in Sofia still more.
The Bulgarians are interested in Turkish stream
As shown by the results of the last presidential elections, the public opinion of Bulgaria in relation to Russia is split. In 2017 President Rosen Plevneliev anti-Russian sentiments had replaced one of Moscow rumen Radev. Sofia now corrects foreign policy. And tries himself in the role of a “bridge between East and West”, relying on a trust relationship with both the Kremlin and the White house.
Monument to Soviet soldier-liberator “Alyosha” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on the hill Bunardzhik
Before Sofia could not. Under pressure from the US and the EU, Prime Minister Borisov refused the project of gas pipeline “South stream”, which was to pass through Bulgarian territory. And withdrew consent for the construction of a nuclear power plant “Belene”, paying Moscow a serious penalty. Bulgaria suffered great financial and moral loss, and go on the further aggravation of Russian authority in the Balkan countries do not want.
Besides, Moscow has a new trump card to play in Bulgaria: the project of the gas pipeline “Turkish stream”. In Sofia you can see how unreliable Ukraine as a gas transit country, and would prefer to receive the blue fuel on the bypass road from the South. In March, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Borisov discussed the possibility of establishing a branch of the pipeline that would lead to Bulgaria. According to the online news.bg, the project of NPP “Belene” could also return.
The opponents of Russia in the minority
In conversation with RIA Novosti leading researcher of the RAS Institute of Europe, Pavel Kandel announced a new exchange of the Bulgarian authorities to “redress the imbalance” of the past decades. Changes were inevitable after the presidential elections in 2017. “Radev was on them under the slogan of improving relations with Russia. And won. He must demonstrate that his words are not an empty sound. Victory Radeva impact on all other levels of power. Boyko Borisov defeated also since then behaves more prudently. And in the past, many anti-Russian steps were linked with him,” says Kandel.
The President of Bulgaria rumen Radev on the festive events dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878
Changes in the higher echelons of the Bulgarian authorities does not mean, however, turn to Russia. Act against many functionaries of the party GERB, which has the most deputies in the Parliament. When discussing the fate of the Russian diplomats in the legislative Assembly held an exchange of views on the raised tones. The head of the faction of GERB Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that Bulgaria has no other choice than solidarity with Washington and London. And accused the Russia-friendly socialists in the attempt to get Bulgaria out of the EU. However, opponents of the Kremlin were still in the minority.
“On the whole the Bulgarians are friendly to Russia. They have not forgotten the contribution of our country in the liberation from the Ottoman yoke. In Bulgaria there are parties that can be called Pro-Russian, this primarily applies to the “Attack”. The conservatives of this Association are part of the ruling coalition, which limits the flexibility for Borisov and affects its policy towards Moscow” — sums up the Kandel.
A bridge between Russia and the United States
The decision of Bulgaria to abandon the expulsion of diplomats increases its stakes in the geopolitical game. The confrontation between Moscow and Washington formed request to a compromise position that could offer the country, abstain from sharp steps against Russia and against the United States. Traditionally, this role claimed Austria, for reasons of neutrality is not entering into the NATO. As Sofia, Vienna sees itself as a bridge between East and West and are ready to become a mediator.
According to the Deputy Director of the Center for political technologies, Alexei Makarkin, Bulgaria’s harder to get comfortable in this role due to the fact that the Balkan country is too dependent on the structures of the EU and NATO. Experience prolonged opposition to foreign pressure, Sophia no. “Today Bulgaria proves his point with reference to the position of OPCW (Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. — Approx. ed.). Its experts have not reached a verdict. In any case, Bulgaria — member of NATO. As a completely neutral player, she positioned it” sums up the Makarkin.