FUN

WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

These are long extinct, but the lion has become so popular that Bulgaria has adopted it for its national coat-of-arms. Consequently, visitors to this country can see lions in various sculptural iterations in many Bulgarians towns and even in some villages.

Here you get a pair of the majestic animals proudly guarding a courthouse. Look closer, and you will discover there is something wrong with one of them. His legs are in a very unnatural position. In fact, no lion can actually walk in this manner.

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GUIDES TO BULGARIANS' RECENT PAST AND TRAUMAS

If you have stayed in Bulgaria for more than a week and have conversed with Bulgarians of a certain age beyond business transactions and polite small talk, you have probably heard them reminisce about something from their youth that you might find charming, mysterious and exciting, but hard to comprehend. It might have been something from the times of Communism, the period between 1944 and 1989, that despite its proximity in time and millions of living witnesses is getting increasingly mythologised.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

This is an aggressive offensive against statehood, history and memory.

President Rumen Radev on the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia

I am baffled that rightwing economists defend Asen Vasilev's state budget draft. My only explanation is that he has hypnotised them to believe that this is a good budget. Have you noticed that Asen Vasilev never blinks?

Delyan Dobrev, GERB

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

At the same time it found itself facing with severe labour shortages. What they did was to convince young Bulgarians... to work for free, in exchange for the promise of a brighter Socialist future where everyone would be given according to their needs and everyone's input to society would be commensurate with their abilities. The Communists were successful. Thousands of young Bulgarians joined the youth task force, misleadingly called brigade, and helped boost the national economy by building railway lines, water dams and reservoirs, power stations and...

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ASEN VASILEV GETS BANNED FROM BALLOT BOX

The man, who went to his native Haskovo, in southern Bulgaria, to vote in the local elections was turned away by the election authority because he failed to live up to the basic requirement of having had an address in his constituency for at least six months. The Haskovo commission announced the address they had for Vasilev dated back to 2000 and was in the United States.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Yes, I was informed that during the street violence the interior minister was at the movies. At this time there was a meeting of the Council of Ministers and the deputy minister was present instead. I had to tell him to leave the meeting and do his job.

Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov on the whereabouts of Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov during the violent clashes between football fans and the police in Sofia

I was neither in a bar, nor in a disco.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Our homegrown Bolsheviks wanted to organise an October Revolution.

Gen Atanas Atanasov, chairman of DSB, on the unsuccessful no-confidence vote against the government

We will have to grab the devil's tail to drag this country out of the swamp.

Finance Minister Asen Vasilev

Corruption is the gravest problem in Bulgaria's power engineering. And it is a fact because the greatest part of the industry is owned by the state.

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

It produced some of the brightest minds of the time. Since independence in 1878, however, it has been going downhill as its citizens sought their fortunes elsewhere and emigrated en masse. At present it is a pleasant backwater of a town tucked in the southern foothills of the Stara Planina mountain range. It is now known mainly for two things. It is the most popular gateway to hikers heading to conquer the Botev Summit (2,376 metres above sea level), the highest in the Stara Planina.

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