Embassy of Bulgaria in Moscow
Bulgaria–Russia relations (Bulgarian: Отношения между България и Русия, Russian: Российско-болгарские отношения) are the diplomatic relations between the countries of Bulgaria and Russia.
Bulgaria has an embassy in Moscow and three consulates general (in Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg). Russia has an embassy in Sofia and two consulates general (in Ruse and Varna).
Both countries are Slavic nations, and are bound together by a common Orthodox Christian culture. Since 20th century however, relations turned tense when Bulgaria sided with Germany in both two World Wars against Russia. After 1945, Bulgaria was a Soviet ally during the Cold War, and maintained good relationships with Russia until the Revolutions of 1989. However, following woes over energy projects included the cancelled South Stream pipeline and frozen Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, the relationship has deteriorated.
Official relations began on July 7, 1879.
The citizens of modern-day Russia and Bulgaria have been in contact for centuries. The Cyrillic alphabet originated in the 9th century First Bulgarian Empire and was later accepted by the Orthodox Slavic countries as their standard alphabet. Both nations had the tradition of calling monarchs Tsars, a Slavic word for Emperor that also originated in Bulgaria. Russia helped Bulgaria gain sovereignty from the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarians then built an Orthodox church in Sofia named after the Russian saint Alexander Nevsky in honor of the Russian soldiers who helped Bulgaria during that war.
Relations between two started to worsen when Russia refused to diplomatically support Bulgaria in the Bulgarian unification and the following Serbo-Bulgarian War. This had a serious impact on Bulgarian–Russian relations, which continues to even modern day.
Bulgaria and Russia's relations continued to fall as Bulgaria accused Russia of meddling into its internal affairs, a fact that contributed to growing alliance between Tsarist Russia and Serbia. This led to antagonism between Bulgaria and Russia even when Russia motivated Bulgaria to form an alliance with Montenegro, Serbia and Greece to drive the Austrians away. When Bulgaria got a chance to occupy Constantinople during the First Balkan War against the Ottomans, Russia opposed Bulgarian military actions. Russia also refused to condemn Serbia and Greece for attacking Bulgaria in the consequent war. But Tensions between Bulgaria and Russia eventually erupted in the World War I when Bulgaria sided with German Empire over the promise to regain its lost soil. Eventually, Bulgaria and Russia suffered heavy military losses for their wars, and Bulgarian–Russian relations severed. It was not until 1930s that saw Russia, as Soviet Union, established relations with Bulgaria.
In World War II, Bulgaria started as a member of the Axis powers, but when the Soviets invaded the Balkans, Bulgaria joined the Soviet side. The Soviet Red Army backed the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 which brought communists to power. From 1945 to 1948, the country became entrenched within the Soviet sphere of influence under the control of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) which oversaw a program of Stalinization in the late 1940s and 1950s, and joined the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Political repression was widespread. Bulgaria became highly dependent on Soviet patronage. Soviet technical and financial aid enabled it to rapidly industrialize. The USSR provided Bulgaria with energy and a market for its goods. Bulgaria also received large-scale military aid from the Soviet Union, worth USD $16.7 billion between 1946 and 1990. Bulgaria remained part of the Soviet bloc until 1989, when the BCP began to drift away from the USSR. The first multi-party elections were held in 1990 and the BCP lost power in elections the following year.
Georgi Ivanov, a military officer from Bulgaria became the first Bulgarian to reach outer space when he boarded Soyuz 33 along with Soviet cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov. Bulgarian scientists were involved in preparations for the flight. During this era, Bulgaria was governed by Todor Zhivkov, a close friend of Nikita Khrushchev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bulgaria, January 2008.
After the fall of communism in 1989, Bulgaria–Russia relations entered a new stage. Relations were affected by the political orientation of the party in power. The left were more supportive of close relations than the right. Russian attempts to interfere continued after the People's Republic of Bulgaria and Soviet Union collapsed. That led to the expulsion of two Russian diplomats during the UDF (СДС) government in March 2001 as Ivan Kostov, then Prime Minister of Bulgaria, was made aware of attempts to remove the Bulgarian government by Russian agents in the Bulgarian government, only five months before the legitimate end of the government term. Relations between the two remained moderate despite Bulgaria's integration with Western Europe and the United States. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007.
A later President, Georgi Parvanov of the BSP party, sought energy cooperation in a programme that he termed a 'Grand Slam'. Although he managed to obtain two mandates, he largely lacked public support . Most agreements were later revised, with successful projects given a chance, while unsuccessful efforts were stopped, such as NPP Belene, which was halted due to the unprofitable nature of the project for the Bulgarian side. This was opposed by former Prime Minister and current PES leader Sergei Stanishev, who had promised to replace the right wing government of Boyko Borisov.
Bulgaria was deemed "unfriendly to Russia" on 30 of April 2021, because of the expulsion of several diplomats.  This was, however, later confirmed to not be true, as on the 14 of May 2021, the Russian government's officially released list of unfriendly countries contained only two other countries - the Czech Republic and the United States. 
Bulgarians inhabit certain areas of Russia.
- von Huhn, Arthur Ernst. The Struggle of the Bulgarians for National Independence Under Prince Alexander: A Military and Political History of the War Between Bulgaria and Servia in 1885 (John Murray, 1886). online
- ^ "Bulgaria - Language, Culture and Etiquette". www.commisceo-global.com. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
- ^ von Huhn, (1885)
- ^ Stowell, Ellery Cory (2009). The Diplomacy Of The War Of 1914: The Beginnings Of The War (1915). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-104-48758-4.
- ^ https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/books/9788376560328/9788376560328.1/9788376560328.1.pdf
- ^ http://russiasgreatwar.org/media/arc/bulgaria.shtml
- ^ Editors, History com. "Bulgaria joins the Axis". HISTORY. Retrieved 2019-04-11.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- ^ "The Balkans in WWII". dmorgan.web.wesleyan.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
- ^ a b c d David Walker & Daniel Gray, "Bulgaria, People's Republic of" in The A to Z of Marxism (Scarecrow Press, 2009), pp. 36-39.
- ^ Bulent Gokay, Eastern Europe Since 1970: Decline of Socialism to Post-Communist Transition (Routledge, 2001), p. 19.
- ^ Deborah Sanders, Maritime Power in the Black Sea (Routledge, 2014), p. 176.
- ^ Nikolai Slatinski, National security: aspects, analyses, alternatives, Sofia. 2004 // (in Bulgarian) Николай Слатински, “Националната сигурност – аспекти, анализи, алтернативи (doc)”, София, Издателство “Българска книжница”, 2004, p.119
- ^ We succeed in making the Grand Slam said Parvanov // (in Bulgarian) Постигнахме Голям шлем, обяви Първанов, news.bg, 18.01.2008
- ^ "the so-called "Grand Slam" (three major Bulgarian-Russian energy projects agreed in January 2008 between him and then Russian President Vladimir Putin) has failed to materialize", Bulgaria's Outgoing President Pledges to Help Parties Unite, novinite.com, 17 January 2012
- ^ Bulgaria Added to Russia's List of Unfriendly States, novinte.com, 1 May 2021
- ^ Russian government approves list of unfriendly countries, tass.com, 14 May 2021