- How are interethnic relations between Kazakhstan and Bulgaria developing nowadays?
- The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Bulgaria works actively. I have good relations with them. In recent years, the Bulgarian Embassy in Kazakhstan has also become very active. During the last mandate of the trade attaché in Kazakhstan, Bulgarian wines appeared in Astana and Almaty, new treaties were adopted. A lot of work has been done. The cooperation agreement was signed between the law enforcement agencies, courts. The education sphere continues developing. The number of Kazakh students in Bulgaria is increasing, especially Ph.D. candidates. I hope that soon Bulgarian students also will come to Kazakhstan to study here.
- What can you say about Kazakhstanis living in Bulgaria?
- 5 thousand Kazakh citizens own land and houses in Bulgaria, mainly located on the seashore or in resort areas. So, there are Kazakhstanis who constantly live in Bulgaria. There are also those who arrive every summer on vocation for many years.
- How are interethnic relations of Bulgaria developing with other countries of Central Asia?
- Bulgarian interethnic relations with other Central Asian countries are not similar. For example, we do not have Tajik and Kyrgyz Embassies, so these countries are less known in Bulgaria. But Bulgarians know much about Kazakhstan, because the Kazakh Embassy is very active and holds various concerts, meetings, discussion platforms all the time. So people are quite aware of the events concerning Kazakhstan. Kazakh folklore teams and various cultural groups participate in festivals taking place in Bulgarian cities. I rate these relationships as positive. But, of course, there is much more potential, so we can expect even more. Do not stop there. I hope that thanks to the mass media and journalists, we will know more about each other.
- Are there problems which prevent interethnic relations?
- Of course, there are problems. But, they do not relate to interethnic relation development. You know that Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, and Kazakhstan joined the Eurasian Union. Duties and many other things interferes with the development of trade relations, but this does not depend on Bulgarians and Kazakhstanis. Simply, we are members of various national associations that have established such rules. And we must keep these rules.
- In your opinion, what qualities for nations to be friends are needed?
- Peoples are so friendly. The Center for Eastern Languages and Studies teaches the Kazakh language. The Kazakhstan Embassy has equipped a classroom, provided learning materials. At Pavlodar University, the Bulgarian diaspora organized the Bulgarian language study classroom for Bulgarians and for those who want to study in Bulgaria. It is very practical because those who finished the Bulgarian language courses in Kazakhstan will no longer pay for the six-month Bulgarian language course in Bulgaria. It is much more profitable because it is cheaper here. So, in this way, we look for economic expediency and involve people in the development of our relations.
- Thank you for the interview!
For reference: The initial impetus to the development of Kazakh-Bulgarian relations was given by the official visit of President of Bulgaria Zheliu Zhelev to Kazakhstan in July, 1993. In September, 1999 President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev made the reciprocal state visit to Sofia. The total ethnic Bulgarian population of Kazakhstan is about 4,500. Having the goal of reviving the national language, culture and traditions of Bulgarians in 1995 Kazakhstan established the Bulgarian ethnic and cultural center, which is actively involved in cultural activities. On March 18th, 2015 the Center of Kazakh language, history and culture was officially opened in the Center for Eastern Languages and Studies at Sofia University.