“There Will Always Be Excellent Relations between Bulgaria and Russia” – Mikhail Torshin, Consul General of Russia in Rousse
Your Excellency, you’re in Bulgaria since two years already. Did you get used to our country, the lifestyle and the people here?
Time went, unfortunately, too fast—I’d dare saying, unnoticeably. I feel better in Bulgaria than in Moscow—I have lots of friends and useful contacts, and I’m appreciative of the good attitude Bulgarians demonstrate towards Russia and myself, as a representative of my country and as a person. Within the last year, some Northeastern regions of Bulgaria have set up contacts with Russia. This hadn’t happened for a while. It’s good that we’re building links in culture, business, and education; we’re restoring monuments. Very short time ago, the 14th International Russian Language Forum was held in Rousse, which was attended by 20 leading teachers from Russia and 150 from Bulgaria.
Which other countries did you work in?
I can say that this year I’ll be celebrating the 30-years jubilee of my diplomatic career. It started in December 1979 with my first assignment to Cuba. I recall that at this time, it was very cold in Moscow, and I left wearing winter clothes. It occurred that the temperature in Cuba was 30°C. I worked in that country for ten years. I can say they were the best of my life. I was young and handsome. My daughter was born there. Later, I worked for quite some time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then I went to Lithuania with a diplomatic mandate, and two years ago, I was sent to the heroic city of Rousse.
How do you spend a typical day in Bulgaria?
Oh, every day here’s very different yet always exciting. I’m often meeting with representatives of the local and central authorities, I’m attending various cultural events; I’m getting together with intellectuals, business people, and ordinary folks.
In your opinion, how will the relationships between our two countries evolve in the near future?
Most concisely, I’d say that there have been, are, and will always be excellent relations between Bulgaria and Russia.
May you tell us something about your family?
Our home has a large kitchen with a large table surrounded by ten stools, of which only one is free. Otherwise said, I have a large family—I have a son, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.
What’s going on in Russia today?
During the last twenty years Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Bulgaria did all go through a tumultuous period— the transformation of one social system into another.
This was painful for the people. The Soviet Union had a 250-million population and fifteen republics, which subsequently became independent states. Many plants were shut down, and this was hard for the people. Yet Russia entered the 21st century with an upwards impetus. Our country owns 30% of the world’s riches—we do have oil, gas, lumber, an able and intelligent population, stunning women… Russia today is a democratic country that seeks good and co-operative relationships with all countries.
What would you wish to Bulgarians?
I extend my wishes for good health, happy and enjoyable life, and lots of luck to all Bulgarians.