Bulgaria: Cooperation Based on Pragmatism

Author: Ilian Vasilev

136 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Bulgaria: Cooperation Based on Pragmatism

Ilian Vasilev

The Past and Its Lessons

HISTORY HAS MANY PAGES that are yet to be read by modern readers and they convey the energy and faith so essential in our globalized age.

It would be hardly original to say that Bulgarian-Russian relations have an eventful history and traditions that are sending strong social pulses for expanding these relations both today and in the future. Some of us must have expected that good things could just happen under the impetus of previous long years. We seem to have lost somewhere in the recent past the feeling of humility with regard to history, personal responsibility and, perhaps, the right path towards the future.

Khan Kubrat, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Cyprian, Aleksandr Nevskii, Iurii Venelin. Petr Stolypin, Stefan Stambolov, Alexander I, Prince Aleksandr of Battenberg, Aleksandr Pushkin, Khristo Botev, Academician Dmitrii Likhachev and other historical figures comprise a worthy spiritual foundation for current revival of Bulgarian-Russian relations.

Preoccupied with daily chores we have not come around yet to brushing off the ashes of oblivion to discover the cultural and historic roots of our relations in what now is distant past in the regions of the Volga, Siberia, the Pamirs and Central Asia that subsequently grew stronger based on our Slavic origin.

One key problem in the bilateral relation over the last decade has been lack of communication in the evolving system of pubic and personal values. Like people in the other former socialist countries, the Bulgarians have began gradually, albeit with difficulty, to make distinctions in their mind between the Soviet Union and Russia. I would like here to quote President Vladimir Putin during an important meeting with delegates of all groups in Bulgaria's parliament who said that "too often and for too long one country was dictated by the other its own ideal ...

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