Bulgaria's Socialists Strike Cooperation Deal with Russian OppositionPolitics | April 23, 2016, Saturday // 08:50| views
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Mihail Mikov. File photo, BGNES
Bulgaria's biggest opposition party BSP on Friday signed an agreement to cooperate with A Just Russia (Spravedlivaya Rossiya), a left-wing party.
Mihail Mikov, the head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is on a visit to Moscow with a party delegation earlier this week and is attending Spravedlivaya Rossiya's April 22-23 congress.
The leader also called for an end to Western sactions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis and proposed that tuition fees for Bulgarian students in Russia should be cut by 50%, according to the Bulgarian National Radio.
Separately, Mikov met Russian officials such as Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov, who is quoted as criticizing the anti-Russian rhetoric of some Bulgarian politicians.
"It is a pity there is no active Bulgarian presence [in Russia], while joint work is necessary as there is nothing that makes us different in our interests," the BSP's website quotes Meshkov as saying.
Mikov also held talks with the Ivan Melnikov, the chairman of the State Duma (the lower house of Russia's legislature), and the deputy head of the Duma's science and technology committee, Vladimir Kononov.
"I meet with politicians of all parties, as well as representatives of state institutions, as this is of benefit to Bulgaria," Mikov said after his meetings, according to the website.
But earlier this week Atanas Merdzhanov, a BSP lawmaker who was part of the delegation, told Focus Radio that, while the socialists were interested in cooperation with Vladimir Putin's Edinaya Rossiya party, it was Spravedlivaya Rossiya, the left-wing political organization of Sergey Mironov which had invited them and to which they were "related" in terms of ideology.
He added the two parties could act together against the "global crisis and the neoliberal order" under the framework of the Socialist International.
The BSP's visit to Russia comes weeks before their national congress early in May at which a new leader of the party is to be elected, with Mikov also running for another term.