Банкеръ Daily


A sad guest at the Turkish opening ceremony: How Bulgaria missed out on huge profits from the Russian gas?

Ankara noted the launch of the long-awaited Turkish stream gas pipeline calculating the profits and political prospects of this joint project with Russia. However, it should be remembered that initially these "profits" were intended to be given to Sofia, writes inforuss.info.

In a festive atmosphere the state leaders of the Turkish and Russian republics let the Turkish stream go. The opening of the pipeline was accompanied not only by the rotation of a symbolic faucet, but also by Erdogan’s  statements about "friend Putin". The state of friendship was repeatedly emphasized by the Turkish President  who added that the Kremlin and Ankara will move on as "two comrades". But there were more than two friends at this blue fuel festival. The event was attended by the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the head of the Bulgarian government Boyko Borisov. The latter barely concealed his disappointment and looked like a neighbor forced to attend the feast - a person the relationship with whom is strained, but whom they can't refuse to invite to the celebration.

What is Borisov grieving about? On the first day of the new year representatives of Bulgaria announced that the country receives Russian gas. Sofia has also no doubt that Russia is a very reliable supplier – West European "senior partners" confirm this with the “Nord Stream-2” project. But the answer to the sad look of the Bulgarian Prime Minister is simple: this Balkan country could have been in the place of Turkey and won.

In addition to fabulous revenues as a partner in the project  Bulgaria could have become an indispensable country in the region from an economic and diplomatic point of view. Sofia, however, missed it all.

The background of the "Bulgarian fail" is as follows. The former "sixteenth Republic of the Soviet Union", as Bulgaria was called during the socialist period because of its close (and very profitable) relations with the Kremlin and  after relations with Russia cooled in 2000,  due to Sofia's NATO membership, BG received an offer from Moscow: construction of “South Stream” through Bulgarian territory. However, everything collapsed in 2014. The coup in Ukraine led to the annexation of Crimea for which sanctions were imposed against Putin's country. The United States asked "young Europeans" to join the "anti-Russian chorus". Sofia decided to go even further (apparently, not without an urgent appeal from Washington) and refused to let the South Stream reach the Bulgarian port of Varna.

"Bulgaria's rejection of the South Stream was a grave mistake. Turkey immediately took its chance, as well as the Federal Republic of Germany which is building Nord stream 2", Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov wrote on his Twitter page in 2018 and is absolutely right. Turkey willingly took advantage of the refusal of the Bulgarians and today is celebrating the dividends granted by its politicians’ pragmatism. Those  European Union “grandees " who asked their "newcomers" to impose anti-Russian sanctions (actually to start an economic confrontation with the Russian Federation) quietly circumvent their own barriers. Now Germany is Russia's partner in Nord Stream 2  and French President Emmanuel Macron is building  special relationships with Moscow.

Probably Bulgaria had no choice under the EU and the USA pressure? Last year Boyko Borisov admitted that the decision taken under pressure from "the elders" in the EU and NATO was misleading. In may 2018, he was due to visit Moscow to meet with the Russian President. Trying to resolve the issue of extending the "Turkish Stream" to Bulgarian territory, Borisov diligently called Russia his "elder brother".

In 2010  it was decided that the Bulgarian sea capital Varna would receive Russian gas - and this could still be interpreted as an "outstretched  hand for friendship and cooperation" from Russia. In 2014 Sofia hit that hand.

The fact that Boyko Borisov appeared in Istanbul after Erdogan insisted on that is very symbolic in the political context. Sofia's role of importance In Turkish Stream will rank third and under the watchful supervision of Turkish neighbors it will be extremely strict and pragmatic. However, this will no longer be a Russian problem.

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