President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all allow me to thank you for the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Bulgarian parliament and exchange, with the representatives of practically all the political forces of Bulgaria, views on our bilateral relations, and if you deem it possible, on international issues as well.
The pediment of the building, where our meeting is taking place, as I understood, bears the well-known inscription: ”Unity gives strength.“ And I must say this appeal has always been important. It is important for any society, and for Russia not in the last place. We in Russia have realized this very well from the example of our most recent history. Indeed, the consolidation of society is a key issue in the solution of all internal political problems of this or that country, of its economic problems and in its positioning on the international scene.
I think that for Russian-Bulgarian relations too this motto, this slogan has an intransient significance. We in Russia know this, remember, feel and highly appreciate it. We prize the desire of the part of Bulgarian society that is striving for the development of Russian-Bulgarian equal, mutually beneficial relations.
The Bulgarian parliament in many ways has a unique history. Mr. Chairman and I, as we moved into this hall, spoke a little about history. He reminded me of how Bulgarian statehood came into being: it was born with the constituent assembly, with the adoption of the first constitution – the Tyrnovo Constitution. That was one of Europe's most democratic constitutions at that time. From this, strictly speaking, the new Bulgarian statehood began. Always, at all the key moments of Bulgarian history, Russia put a friendly shoulder to the fraternal Bulgarian people. And, as you quite correctly noted, Mr. Chairman, many Russian citizens, many Russian people gave their lives for the formation of Bulgarian statehood, for the freedom of the Bulgarian people. All these years our countries and peoples were bound by sincere friendship and mutual understanding.
Today we are launching a new stage of our relations, now in different political and economic relations, opening up for all of us new opportunities.
You, Mr Chairman, have said that only recently our relations were not developing as effectively as we would like, and expressed regret in this connection.
Well, I agree with you: one can express regret. But, on the other hand, maybe that was a natural period in our history. Because under the previous conditions, let's say this plainly, the conditions very remote from democracy, both in Russia and in Bulgaria, and under the conditions of bloc relations on the international scene, very often and, apparently, for too long one country had dictated its perceptions of law and justice to the other country. This could not have passed without a trace. But we very much hope that the realities of the contemporary world and the realities of contemporary Russia will be profoundly understood by all our partners, including in Bulgaria. And we very much expect that on the international stage too all the participants of communication process will realize possible adverse implications if this kind of interstate ties which I mentioned above were to be resumed.
We for our part, once again I want to stress, are sincerely interested in developing friendship, in developing business cooperation for the good of the Bulgarian and Russian peoples.
People in Russia and Bulgaria alike well understand: these relations must be free of ideological accretions and of stereotypes and remnants of the previous epoch. At their base there lies the objective shared interest of Bulgaria and Russia in cooperation and in business partnership.
We are united by the similarity of our perceptions of Europe's future. I am being convinced of this by the repeated meetings, conversations and talks with the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Pyrvanov, to whom indeed – I agree with you, Mr Chairman – belongs the credit for imparting new impetus in Russian-Bulgarian relations. He was the initiator of the development of relations at the new spiral of our history; he came to Moscow, to Sochi, and it is with him that this movement towards rapprochement began. And I am very grateful to him for this timely and correct gesture, which Russia appreciates.
We are also united by our similar perceptions of Europe's future. This is an extremely important sphere of our cooperation. I repeat, this flows from our conversations both with the President and with the Prime Minister. There are practically no differences in our understanding of the philosophy of building interstate ties in the future in Europe and in the world. We desire that Europe would be stable and prosperous.
Bulgaria is situated on the threshold of Europe and Asia, and a lot depends on its foreign policy positions. In particular – keeping the crossroads of peace between southern, eastern and western Europe.
Russia takes into account these geopolitical realities. And we are ready for joint work on the bolstering of stability in this strategically important region of the world. We count on the same friendly and constructive approach in agreeing foreign policy positions from our Bulgarian colleagues.
A considerable role in strengthening and developing the new Russian-Bulgarian relations, of course, belongs to the parliaments. You have mentioned the contacts that were and those being planned. We not only welcome this, but will assist the development of inter-parliamentary ties in every way. Because much depends on the parliaments and not only because the deputies represent the interests of the whole society, of both Russia and Bulgaria. And not only because in your midst there are born, as a rule, very interesting, useful and timely initiatives, but also because in reality, the coordination of legislative activities depends on you, the coordination of legislative actions, which in the contemporary world appears to be extremely important and necessary.
There are very many areas for cooperation here. We, I repeat, wholeheartedly welcome and support this. And, of course, expect that the upcoming visit to Russia of a delegation of the National Assembly of Bulgaria will mark an important stage in the development of cooperation at the parliamentary level.
I would like to once again thank you for the opportunity to meet, and hope that all those present here will support the efforts by the President of Bulgaria, by the Prime Minister and by the Government for developing our inter-state ties. I expect each of you to more than once visit Moscow and other regions of the Russian Federation.
Our delegation includes many representatives of the leading key Russian regions. There are here the mayor of Moscow and the governor of the Leningrad Region, the governor of the Samara Region. There is also the Russian President's plenipotentiary for the Central Federal District. They are all actively involved in the construction of our interstate ties and have established very good direct contacts with their counterparts in Bulgaria.
I know the disposition of my Russian colleagues towards this work, a disposition very businesslike, positive. We saw that the same understanding exists also in our Bulgarian friends. I am confident that this will be of great use.
Thank you very much for your attention.