LONG LIVE RED ARMY MONUMENT

text and photography by Stamen Manolov

Angry citizens continue to fill up Facebook time demanding the immediate demolition of the Red Army monument in central Sofia, which they disparagingly refer to as the MOCHA

red army monument sofia.jpg

Other angry citizens have taken to the park, where the MOCHA is situated. They have set up tents threatening they will defend with their bodies the pile of stones which they see as epitomising the victorious Red Army's fight against Nazism, for which the Bulgarian nation should be "eternally grateful." In the agencies of the state pen-pushers of all shapes and sizes scurry to manifest why the Red Army moment cannot be dismantled, at least not in the foreseeable future. Activists write "open letters" against the monument, other activists give interviews to whatever media are willing to listen to explain the virtues of not getting rid of the MOCHA once and for all.

To understand why the Communist past, including its monuments, continues to divide Bulgarians left, right and centre here is a brief overview. The Sofia City Council decided to ditch the MOCHA as early as 1993, but has since been sitting on its hands as various officials have propounded it cannot be removed for many reasons, ranging from the anger in the Russian Embassy such a move could prompt to general safety issues. The thrust to get it removed gained a new momentum when Putin invaded Ukraine, in 2022. For reasons that are complicated and difficult to explain in a brief article, many Bulgarians – especially outside Sofia – are sympathetic to Russia, which Communist-era propaganda and current Kremlin trolls liken to a saviour of the Bulgarian people. A vocal minority led by the DB, or Democratic Bulgaria, and the DSB, or Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, political parties have spearheaded the opponents of the MOCHA. Its defenders are led by the BSP, or Bulgarian Socialist Party, and Vazrazhdane, or Revival, of Kostadin "Kostya Kopeykin" Kostadinov. Verbal wars in Bulgaria, now a member of both the EU and NATO, are being fought over events that took place 70 years ago...

Incumbent Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov has stated his coalition government, which he prefers to call a "fixture," has done what was expected of them. Translated in plain language, this means "We have washed our hands."

Expectedly, the fate of the Red Army monument has entered the upcoming local elections campaign, scheduled for October. Though the campaign has not even started yet officially, two of the frontrunners so far have pinned the MOCHA on top of their agendas.

One is Vili Lilkov, an old-time supporter of the DSB but now leaning towards Boyko Borisov's GERB. In recent years Lilkov has gained notoriety for being neither a journalist, nor a historian – yet successfully writing books on the Communist past, which is highly polemic history. Lilkov wants the MOCHA ditched "straight away."

The other is Vasil Terziev, the candidate of the DB. Most of the scorn he has to cope with is not due to anything he has done himself but to the fact that his parents worked for the Communist-era State Security. Terziev favours the dismantlement of the MOCHA in keeping with state legal and safety procedures, which will – you've guessed it! – take time.

  • 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!"***
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

'DEFILING' ABANDONED PILE OF STONES
Perushtitsa, now a small and offbeat town rarely visited by tourists, is known to every Bulgarian as the sight of a massacre in the failed April 1876 Uprising against the Ottomans.