DEAR LEADER

by Anthony Georgieff

Josif Visarionovich aka Stalin waited from 1922 to 1938 before he dared glorify himself in the history books of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but that's a long time for Bulgaria's GERB, who have decided to put themselves in the history books of the Republic of Bulgaria just ahead of the next general election, scheduled for 2013.

<p>Bulgarian historians of the 21st Century have yet to assess whether Boyko Borisov's men have done more good than harm to Bulgaria, one would have thought, but teenagers in Bulgarian schools will not be given that opportunity, as they will conveniently be told about the period of history they are living through now in their high school textbooks.</p>
<p>The very fact that Boyko Borisov, a sitting prime minister, will appear in the national curriculum history textbooks is already an endorsement of his role in history, observers surmise. Significantly, the language with which his rule is being described in the new textbooks is at least controversial. One example: GERB's election victory in 2009 (39.7 percent of the vote) is billed as "formidable." The rise to power of the Simeon II National Movement in 2001 (42.7 percent) does not merit a mention.</p>
<p>EU commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and Rosen Plevneliev, who has been president for less than a year, will join Boyko Borisov in Bulgaria's history textbooks.</p>
<p>Sergey Ignatov, the education minister, justified the decision to include his boss in the history textbooks in this way: "We Bulgarians like to make fun of American schoolchildren for not knowing the name of the American president. Do we want our own children not to know the name of the Bulgarian president?"</p>
<p>Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Emomali Rahmonov take note.</p>

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