A delegation from the Republic of Crimea visited Bulgaria on the 140th anniversary of the end of the Russo–Turkish war and liberation of Bulgaria celebrated on 3 March. The delegation consists of members of the Crimean Federal University, the region’s Bulgarian community, the Business and Cultural Centre of the Republic of Crimea and the Yalta International Economic Forum Foundation.
The visit was in continuation of the cooperation launched in November 2017 at the Friends of Crimea Forum. “After the Forum, Friends of Crimea clubs were opened in dozens of countries. A spearhead group was established in Bulgaria, too, and the group invited the Crimean delegation”, said Yaroslav Ivanchenko, Director of the Business and Cultural Centre of the Republic of Crimea, member of the board of the Yalta International Economic Forum Foundation and member of the Crimean delegation in Bulgaria.
Presenting Crimea’s economic opportunities
The Historical Ties of the Republic of Crimea conference held in Sofia on 2 March was the visit’s central event. Approximately 80 public figures, members of the academic, cultural and business community attended the conference.
Its first part focused on discussing Crimea and Bulgaria’s cultural and historical ties. The second presented Crimea’s economic, tourist and cultural potential. “Conference participants learned about the Free Economic Zone established in Crimea, about investment opportunities in the Republic, about big investment projects currently being implemented in the region”, said Sergey Lazutkin, Director of the YIEF Foundation. “We also presented the 4th Yalta International Economic Forum. Members of Bulgaria’s business community and public organizations showed considerable interest in the information about the Forum. We expect a sizable and representative Bulgarian delegation at YIEF 2018.”
The conference was accompanied by a large-scale exhibition describing the history and life of Bulgarians in Crimea. Materials on Crimea’s economic prospects and investment opportunities and all the issues of the Business Crimea magazine published with the support of the YIEF Foundation were presented to the conference participants.
The Club of Friends of Crimea in Bulgaria is launched
The Friends of Crimea Club in Bulgaria was officially established at the Historical Ties of the Republic of Crimea conference. Friends of Crimea Clubs have been opened in many countries as national branches of the International Association of Friends of Crimea founded in Yalta in November 2017. Members of the association will assemble at the Friends of Crimea Forum to be held on 19–21 April as part of YIEF 2018 business programme.
“Members of this club are people who want to develop economic cooperation with Crimea, bolster public activity ties and convey objective information about Crimea to their fellow countrymen”, said Yaroslav Ivanchenko, member of the board of the YIEF Foundation, Director of the Business and Cultural Centre of the Republic of Crimea.
“Members of the club read out a declaration stating that Bulgaria’s public is opposed to the sanctions imposed on Russia and Crimea, calls for complete restoration of cooperation with Russia and the Republic of Crimea, and hopes that long-standing ties between Russian and Bulgarian peoples will continue to develop and grow”, Mr Ivanchenko said.
Celebrations attended by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria
On the evening of 2 March, the delegation from Crimea, part of the Russian delegation that included Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, participated in the official celebrations attended by the country’s top leadership, including Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria.
On 1 March, the Crimean delegation visited the memorial places and monuments to the events of the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War; delegation members laid flowers at the monuments. The Crimea delegation also visited St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia; with the benediction of Lazar, Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea, the delegation gave the cathedral the gift of an icon with relics of St Luka (Voyno-Yasenetsky).
The Crimean delegation also visited the office of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Cultural Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), the Russian Cultural and Information Centre in Sofia. “At a meeting with the Centre’s management, we stressed the Republic of Crimea’s interest in developing twin city ties between cities in Crimea and in Bulgaria, in setting up academic and university collaboration. Rossotrudnichestvo will promote our initiatives”, said Yaroslav Ivanchenko, Director of the Business and Cultural Centre of the Republic of Crimea.
On 3 March, the Crimean delegation will visit Shipka Pass, where the Russian Army fought hard against the Ottoman Empire; the delegation will lay flowers at the monuments to the heroes of Shipka. The delegation will visit Hisarya Municipality, which, in November 2017 at the Friends of Crimea Forum, signed a memorandum on cooperation with the Saky area of the Republic of Crimea.
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