DANCING COPS

by Stamen Manolov; photography by BTA

Political kitsch has rarely known any bounds in Bulgaria, but it seems to be flourishing apace under the current government, which relies heavily on publicity stunts rather than sensible action to maintain its popularity.

dancing cops.jpg

The latest gem is an ode to the Bulgarian... police, endorsed by Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said by pollsters to be outdoing even Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in the popularity polls.

The song was written by Toncho Rusev, the 78-year-old pop composer, with text by 77-year-old Evtim Evtimov. The song is performed by Veselin Marinov, known to many as "Sweating Veso," a Bulgarian crooner whose style can best be described as "soft chalga."

Marinov, who has actively participated in Bulgarian cultural politics by performing at various rallies organised by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, exemplifies the eternal adage that art has no political boundaries. Tsvetanov, who describes himself as a Christian Democrat, was his kum, or matrimonial "best man," a peculiarly Balkan family bond that unites two families and is sometimes seen as stronger than blood.

Said to be very excited at the new piece, Mr Tsv. has kept it a secret, allowing his wife to listen to it "only once" ahead of the public premiere on 5 July, the "Day of the Bulgarian Police."

Musically, the piece is unmistakably reminiscent of mainstream 1970s East bloc pop, with a strong beat revealing Soviet marching band influences designed to motivate and uplift. The text is both patriotic and lyrical: "People, present a flower, remember us well! It is an honour to serve in the lines of Bulgaria and the Interior Ministry!"

Evtim Evtimov, a teacher from southwestern Bulgaria who was brought to Sofia where he became a professional poet and a friend of Todor Zhivkov, explains that during the past decades he has often "worked" for the Interior Ministry, turning out commissions for poems and rhymes. His is the latest in a long line of government inspired poetry to which most of the "grand men" of Bulgarian letters have contributed. These include, but are not limited to, Pavel Matev ("A Song for the Quiet Feat"), Orlin Orlinov ("Songs"), Venko Markovski ("Eyes of the Revolution"), Ivan Borislavov ("Ballad for Dead Border Guards"), Angel Todorov ("Frontlines") and many others.

Under Communism, being commissioned to write about the People's Militia was both an honour and a lucrative business. KGB intelligence operatives with "clean hands" and "warm hearts" were by far the most favoured topic, and fearless border guards shooting at defectors came in a close second. In 2010 these have been replaced by traffic cops.

A Facebook group started long before the current police-themed would-be hit calls for "help to make Veselin Marinov quit singing." At the time of going to press, it had over 55,000 members, almost as many as the employees of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry.

It is unclear whether the guys this song is dedicated to are the black-clad antiterrorist units seen on TV arresting vegetable sellers at the Slatina market or the traffic cops who still find it difficult to resist the 20-leva-under-the-table routine for minor offences.

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

NEED A CONSPIRACY THEORY?
Atanas Atanasov is a general. He was the head of the Bulgarian security service under Ivan Kostov, the Bulgarian prime minister in 1997-2001, who inimitably prompted just two reactions: love or hate.

SENIOR CLERIC GETS STATE FUNERAL
So what has a senior cleric, Patriarch Neofit, who died in March aged 78, done to deserve a state funeral replete with military salutes and a coffin being drawn by... an armoured personnel carrier?

ROTATING, ROTATING...
When it was hammered out last year with the support of Boyko Borisov's GERB (whom everyone left, right and centre of Kiril Petkov, Asen Vasilev, Hristo Ivanov and Gen Atanas Atanasov swore was the godfather of all evils to befall Bulgaria

GOING, GOING...
The cops by far outnumber the construction workers wielding chop saws inside a ladder hoist. There have been no press releases, nor the obligatory information signs to tell the public what's going on. The area has been cordoned off.

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 month

PRE-ELECTION TALK
"Hey, beauty, let's go home and have sex."" I can't do it just like that. We do not even have common acquaintances.""Well, do you know Boyko Borisov?""Yes, I do.""So, let's go!"***
LONG LIVE RED ARMY MONUMENT
Other angry citizens have taken to the park, where the MOCHA is situated.

FLYING COLOURS & METEORITES
Firstly, a bright light appeared in the sky over Vidin, at the River Danube, one dark, hot and mosquito-infested night. It was reputedly followed by a loud explosion. People were mesmerised and slightly frightened.

TO 'GIVE' SOMEONE TO A PROSECUTOR
What led to that is so complicated and absurd that analysts find it difficult to explain while ordinary people prefer just to laugh it off. Here is the story briefly.

CAR OF DISCORD
Everyone who has had some work to do with the Bulgarian police should have noticed the despicable conditions in which rank and file officers often work.

VACUITY AND WINDBAGGISM
Voters are being exposed to a plethora of pledges designed to make them feel good – and cast their ballots for whoever talks louder.

TESLA AND SPACEX OVER IN... BELOGRADCHIK
"Pretty sure that was in Elden Ring" Musk wrote, possibly without knowing that the photographer, Vladislav Terziyski, had heavily manipulated his picture, and possibly without realising that difficult-to-pronounce Belogradchik was a real town in a real coun