What Bulgarians are asking for -- and not getting -- now, is much less than what they could have had just a few short years ago had they not bowed down to directives from Washington
Both the Bulgarian president and then the Bulgarian PM traveled to Russia in recent days. They were there on a single mission -- to convince Russia to extend the Turkish Stream pipeline across the Black Sea with a second branch to Bulgaria, and presumably on from there to rest of Southern Europe. As the Bulgarian PM put it:
"Our goal is to transport natural gas and to be on the map of gas distribution network."
What is more the PM claimed his mission was a success and that Putin had agreed to build a second branch to Bulgaria's Varna on the Black Sea coast.
“The second Turkish Stream pipeline will reach Bulgaria and will deliver Russian natural gas to the country,” Borissov wrote in a Facebook post following a meeting with Putin.
He added that Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have already agreed on this.
Except that Kremlin has denied any agreement has been reached:
"They did not agree yet. There was no task to agree, and there was no opportunity to negotiate between the president and the prime minister about this. Bulgaria shows interest," Peskov said.
According to the Kremlin spokesman, the feasibility of this interest in practice is limited due to a number of reasons.
"It is impossible for Bulgaria to implement it without certain guarantees from the European Commission, given the previous experience," Peskov said.
In other words, the Russians appreciate Bulgaria's renewed interest in Russian pipelines, but Moscow regrets that Bulgarians are not actually independent but are reliant on a green light from Brussels and therefore barely worth talking to.
The irony is that what Bulgarians are asking for -- and not getting -- now is much less than what they could have had just a few short years ago had they not bowed down to directives from Washington.
They have gone from having a pipeline all their own to pleading unsuccessfully to become an appendage of a pipeline to Turkey.
Until December 2014 Turkish Stream wasn't even a thing. Russia planned to build the "South Stream" pipeline which would have made landfall in Bulgaria, a traditionally Russophile country. But frustrated with Euro-Atlanticist obstruction from Brussels, which after American lobbying began to emanate from Sofia as well Russia terminated the project and decided to deal with the much less popularly pro-Russian -- but at least politically independent -- Turkey instead.
At the time Russia told the EU nations which had failed to fully cooperate with South Stream that if they still wanted Russian gas they could get it in Turkey -- but they would have to build their own pipelines to there.