BULGARIA POLITICS

king samuil

IS IT REALLY ABOUT MAKEDONIYA-A-A?

Slavi Trifonov, the showman and crooner credited with propagating chalga culture in Bulgaria, could not have put it more plainly. As he "withdrew" his ministers from the outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov's reformist government, thus causing a major political crisis, he let out a rallying cry: "It's for Makedoniya-a-a!" His message was simple, yet powerful.

Wed, 07/27/2022 - 15:56
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communist bulgaria youth

WHAT FEEDS BULGARIAN NOSTALGIA FOR COMMUNISM?

Some years ago the Pew Research Center in Washington DC produced a survey indicating the levels of nostalgia in Bulgaria surpassed by far longing for the past everywhere else in the former East bloc countries. How come? Why would the citizens of what today continues to be the European Union's poorest, most corrupt and least free state want to return to a nebulous and increasingly distant totalitarian past? What differs the modern Poles, Czechs and Romanians – not to mention the former East Germans – who have long forgotten about Communism from their peers in the southern Balkans?

Wed, 06/29/2022 - 13:11
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anti ukraine protest bulgaria.jpg

WHY DO SO MANY BULGARIANS SUPPORT PUTIN?

Perhaps surprisingly for a country that was once an enthusiastic applicant to join NATO and the EU Bulgaria is now home to a significant number of people who support... Russia's tyrant Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine. The pro-Putin Bulgarians even have a political party that represents them in parliament. It is called Vazrazhdane, or Revival, and was quick to abandon, as soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, its anti-vaxxer stance to espouse Putin's propaganda.

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 15:42
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Satan strategic nuclear-head missile, capable of reaching the island of Manhattan in 20-30 minutes after launch

WHAT BULGARIANS GET WRONG ABOUT WAR IN UKRAINE

Though it has been a member of NATO since 2004 and of the EU since 2007 present-day Bulgaria appears not to be very enthusiastic about any involvement in the war in Ukraine. Propaganda, disinformation and that sadly characteristic Balkan feature of obstinately trusting emotions and hearsay rather than common sense and hard facts partially explain this country's current attitude.

What are the prevalent misconceptions about Russia's "special operation" in Ukraine?

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 09:16
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king samuil statue bulgaria

BIG MACEDONIAN QUESTION

The "Macedonian Question" is one of those Balkan conundrums that even outsiders with more than just passing knowledge of the history and geography of the region can have trouble understanding. Because the troubles, the controversies and the historical and present-day injustices have accumulated to mind-boggling proportions it is impossible to detail them in a single magazine article. Here are some of the main points.

Tue, 12/28/2021 - 19:25
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REFORMS TO BE CONTINUED?

During 2021 Bulgarians have so far gone to the polls twice, in April and in July. On both occasions the sort of parliament they elected was so split that it failed to form a government. Consequently, the president, in keeping with his Constitutional prerogatives, had to set up a caretaker administration to handle the day-to-day running of the state. Now, on 14 November, Bulgarians will have to go to the ballots again, for the third time this year. They will not only have to choose their MPs, but also a new head of state, as President Rumen Radev's term in office draws to a close.

Wed, 10/27/2021 - 13:28
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police brutality bulgaria 2020

BULGARIAN POLITICS

What many Bulgarians have known all along ever since the collapse of Communism – that the police force, formerly known as People's Militia has hardly reformed itself during the past 30 years – became painfully obvious with the broadcast, in the house of parliament, of a surveillance camera video. It showed beyond any reasonable doubt that Boyko Borisov's police could be – and were – a bunch of sadistic thugs, similar to or actually worse than Todor Zhivkov's militia, rather than the law enforcement agency of an EU country they were supposed to be.

Sat, 08/28/2021 - 07:55
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boyko borisov wanted

BORISOV'S DOWNFALL?

Some analysts were surprised, others were not: the 11 July snap election, called in the wake of the failure of Bulgaria's 45th National Assembly to set up a government, returned more or less the same results. Boyko Borisov's GERB continues to be a large and monolithic political party if led by an increasingly erratic strongman. It was pushed into the second place by a margin of less than a percent by Slavi Trifonov's ITN, or There Is Such a People, grouping. Third comes the beleaguered BSP, or Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Sat, 07/31/2021 - 18:35
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WHERE TO FROM NOW ON?

The month of June, officially the election campaign month ahead of the early ballot scheduled for 11 July, has been extraordinary even in the standard of Bulgarian politics. Hardly a day has passed without some major or minor scandal bursting out into the open. Mostly, these were caused by the revelations by the President Rumen Radev-appointed caretaker government of gross misdeeds committed by Boyko Borisov's GERB officials or by Boyko Borisov, this country strongman prime minister in 2009-2021, himself.

Mon, 06/28/2021 - 16:58
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WILL BOYKO BE GONE FOR GOOD?

Following the failure of Bulgaria's "short" parliament, which sat for less than a month, to fulfil its basic constitutional duty, form a functioning government, President Rumen Radev stepped in and appointed a caretaker administration. Though its main task is to organise the next general election, to be held on 11 July, the "caretaker" government is not as powerless as it seems. In fact, it can do everything a regular government is able to do save for actions – such as altering the state budget or concluding international treaties – that would require parliamentary approval.

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 11:40
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boyko borisov hospital

BULGARIA'S BALLOT SHOWDOWN

Most public opinion agencies got it wrong. Following a month of an exceptionally tepid (even in Bulgarian standards) election campaign, in which the coronavirus pandemic was hardly mentioned, Bulgarians went to the polls to elect their new parliament. The voter turnout was about 50 percent, which is about usual for Bulgarian elections. Bulgarians, contrary to what pollsters of all shapes and sizes had predicted, defied the coronavirus frenzy and went to cast their ballots in person, both in Bulgaria and abroad. They voted with their feet.

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 18:23
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boyko borisov.jpg

DESPITE GAME OF MUSICAL CHAIRS...

Some media try to represent the upcoming election as a titanic battle of a major anti-Communist, pro-democracy and pro-Western establishment (Boyko Borisov's GERB) and a renegade leftist party (BSP, or Bulgarian Socialist Party) that stems from the erstwhile Bulgarian Communist Party, the one that ruled Communist Bulgaria with an iron fist in 1944-1989. In fact, if opinion polls are anything to go by, GERB and BSP are almost equal in size, with the GERB sometimes emerging ahead by a few percentage points, and vice versa. Significantly, neither GERB nor the BSP are particularly large.

Thu, 02/25/2021 - 19:14
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Prof Dr Kosta Kostov, MD

BULGARIAN POLITICS OF HEALTH BELIE HEALTH OF POLITICS IN BULGARIA

Professor Kosta Kostov is one of Bulgaria's leading pulmonologists. He has specialised in Germany, Switzerland and the UK, and has taught for many years at the Medical Faculty of St Kliment of Ohrid University in Sofia. Earlier in 2020 he was the chairman of the Expert Medical Council under the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, a short-lived agency designed to provide the government with professional advice how to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Dr Kostov has been in all Best Doctors lists in Bulgaria.

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:24
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TRAVELS IN DOGANLANDIA

A circle of privileged companies formed around whoever happens to be in power? Construction of EU-funded guesthouses that in reality are luxurious private villas? Controlled media used to smear political opponents, business competition, independent journalists and whistleblowers? If you ask the ordinary Bulgarian, one particular party has been responsible for all the troubles that have befallen Bulgaria over the past 30 years: the DPS, or Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 08:28
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