Sergey Stanishev will also meet speakers of both houses of the Russian parliament, Boris Gryzlov and Sergey Mironov, as well as the spiritual leader of the Russian Orthodox Christians, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Alexiy II.
Energy policies are to be at the forefront of the talks, according to Gancho Ganev, head of the European department at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. Last year, Gazprom announced plans to set up a joint venture with ENI to build the Blue Stream 2 pipeline to run from Russia to north-eastern Turkey along the existing Blue Stream gas main to reach Italy. Under one of the projects, the route may run through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.
Should Russia opt for the latter project, Bulgaria will increase its transit revenues from $600 million to some $2 billion. The project will also put Bulgaria at the center of the Russian system of gas supply to Southern and Central Europe. “We are extremely interested in energy flows going through Bulgaria,” Gancho Ganev told Kommersant.
Russia will also ask Bulgaria to take part in the Balkan Energy Summit in Zagreb in late June to discuss possible energy programs that would see the common energy market in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will find it easy to find the common language with the Bulgarian visitor. Sergey Stanishev speaks fluent Russian. He was born to a Bulgarian father and a Russian mother in the former Soviet Union, and has a degree from Moscow State University.