#400575

Anonymous

I’d say that our view of the Baltic countries in Bulgaria is almost the same as our view of Belarus – neutrality, born out of general ignorance. And “almost the same” because at least the Baltic countries are in the EU together with us, which does increase our connections a bit, even if not too much. Of course, it depends on each person – the more active Russophiles would probably be more negative towards the Balts, due to the latter’s active stance against Russia. But generally, we don’t really know or care much about the Baltic region.

I personally do care more than the average Bulgarian though, as I have a few very close Lithuanian friends. Thus, I’ve gotten interested in their history (actually, just a few days ago I started reading a book about the history of the three Baltic states, which I bought this summer) and the few connections and similarities between my country and Lithuania in particular. F.e. both our countries (and I can include Serbia as a similar example) were much bigger and stronger once, but are now mere shadows of themselves and even their times of greatness are today largely overlooked outside of our region (especially in the West). As for the few connections, there’s f.e. our guy Cyprian, who became metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus in the 14th-15th c., including of Lithuania, which he also visited for some diplomatic negotiations with its grand duke. Also, for a few years around that time, the two countries “neighboured” each other, as both had access to the Black Sea. Later, there’s also the Lithuanian “Patriarch of the nation”, who lived in Bulgaria for a time in the 19th-20th century and even became Bulgarian citizen and participated in the political life here. And, of course, in modern times, the Lithuanian “T Market” chain of supermarkets (Maxima in LT) is quite widespread here (the only non-Baltic country they’re in, aside from Poland).

Edit: As for similarity – yes, we are technically “cousins” of a sort, due to the Balto-Slavic linguistic group (btw, I remember reading a Lithuanian article, where they also proposed a connection between the Baltic languages and Thraco-Dacian, which was… interesting). Actually, I remember watching an interview some years ago, with a guy who spoke over 24 languages and mentioned that aside from the other Slavic languages (obviously), the ones closest to Bulgarian are first the Baltic ones (Lithuanian and… Lettish?), then the Germanic ones and then the Iranic ones.