Putin: Ties with Bulgaria Based on Mutual Sympathy

Diplomacy | September 26, 2012, Wednesday // 18:34|  views

Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the new Bulgarian Ambassador in Moscow Boyko Kotsev. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Russia's interaction with Bulgaria is based on "mutual sympathy", Russian President Vladimir Putin declared upon receiving the credentials of the new Bulgarian Ambassador in Moscow, Boyko Kotsev.

"Interaction with Bulgaria is based on the traditions of friendship and mutual sympathy between our nations", Russian President Putin said at ceremony in the Kremlin Wednesday, at which he received the credentials of a number of new foreign ambassadors to Russia.

"As a country which has rich historical links with Russia, Bulgaria is working with local authorities to improve equitable economic relations between the two countries", Ambassador Kotsev told Putin, as cited by the press service of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

The Russian President has pointed out that in 2013 Bulgaria and Russia will be "celebrating together" the 135th anniversary since Bulgaria's National Liberation from the Ottoman Empire which became possible after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, the Russian Empire defeated Ottoman Turkey, liberating Bulgaria from what is known as Ottoman Yoke.

In his brief conversation with Boyko Kotsev, Putin has also mentioned the construction of the Bulgarian section of the Russian-sponsored gas transit pipeline South Stream.

"Russia is indisputably a strategic partner for Bulgaria. I would stress commercial and economic cooperation, and especially the need to bring Bulgarian goods back on the Russian market, and to boost trade. Regardless of what's been achieved, we'll continue to work to boost children's, cultural, religious, and spa tourism," Kotsev told the Bulgarian National Radio Wednesday afternoon.

Kotsev is a career diplomat with 32 years of experience at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

He speaks English, French, and Russian. He was born in Sofia in 1956, and is a graduate of the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, with a degree in international law.

In 2007-2012, he was Bulgaria's Permanent Representative at the EU in Brussels.

In a 2007 US diplomatic cable of former US Ambassador in Sofia John Beyrle leaked by WikiLeaks in October 2011, Kotsev was described as "pusher" who is "good with promises but not with results".

In the cable, Beyrle mentioned that according to opposition MP Atanas Atanassov, the former chief of Bulgaria's counter-intelligence service, Boyko Kotzev served as an informal legal advisor to the late Stoil Slavov.  Slavov, who was killed in a bomb explosion in 2004, was co-founder of one of the major organized crime groups in Bulgaria, SIC. Beyrle wrote that tndependent sources have not confirmed this allegation, nor has it come out in the media.

Boyko Kotsev himself has refuted the allegation that he was ever connected to Stoil Slavov or SIC.

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Tags: Brussels, European Union, EU, Wikileaks, John Beyrle, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Kremlin, Bulgarian Ambassador to Russia, Russia, Moscow, Boyko Kotsev, Stoil Slavov, SIC, organized crime, Atanas Atanasov, South stream, gas transit pipeline, Russo-Turkish War, 1878, liberation, National Liberation Day, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turkey, Ottoman Turkish Empire, trade, Russian tourists, Russians


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