Thu, 02/25/2021 - 19:01

The local hacks would not have noticed had it not been for Novosti, a Serbian newspaper: Boyko Borisov has sent a gift to his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, depicting the two state leaders at an inspection of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project.

the painting
The painting

The picture, in oil, executed in the best (or worst) traditions of late Socialist Realism was immediately picked up by social media users. They were quick to come up with their own variants, ridiculing Bulgaria's Borisov whose authoritarian methods they claim increasingly resemble those of his Communist-era predecessors.

The Bulgarian Council of Ministers sent out a press release that the picture in question was one of a series of artworks commissioned by Arkad Engineering & Construction, the Saudi Arabian contractor for the pipeline project.

the photograph

The photograph

The picture was inspired by a photograph released by the Council of Ministers when Vučić visited in the summer of 2020. Its painter was none lesser than Simeon Krastev, a famous Bulgarian artist and illustrator whose work has included many opera, theatre and movie posters.

Krastev was invited into a TV studio to discuss his Boyko Borisov oeuvre. He refused to acknowledge it was in any way "Socialist Realist," and insisted it was just realist: "I couldn't have painted an abstract portrait of the prime minister." He added it was perfectly OK for artists to work on commission from state leaders. In fact they have done so, Krastev said, since the times of Titian.

the memes

The memes...

The Bulgarian facebookers, however, were not mollified. They produced dozens of copycat pictures ridiculing both the artist and the prime minister: from adding Putin in the background (indicating their conviction the pipeline project was his brainchild) to running a doctored photograph of Stalin (where someone in the original picture was "disappeared") to... getting involved US Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his telltale mittens sitting in front of the notorious picture of Borisov and Vučić.

the memes

bernie sanders


Issue 173 Boyko Borisov

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

three generations monument
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.

gabrovo carnival
Though Dead Souls used to be on the national school curriculum, few latterday Bulgarians, and possibly even fewer English speakers, have actually read it, so here is a short synopsis.

buzludzha night.jpg
The Flying Saucer, which in recent years has become one of the Top 10 world monuments for urbex, or dark tourism, was constructed in the early 1980s. It was designed to celebrate the Bulgarian Communist Party, in control of this country from 1944 to 1989.

lz airplane
In early June a small plane flew into Bulgarian airspace from the northwest and landed at what used to be a commercial airport near Vidin. Apparently, the aircraft refuelled.

airport bulgaria
In early June a small plane flew into Bulgarian airspace from the northwest and landed at what used to be a commercial airport near Vidin. Apparently, the aircraft refuelled.

bulgarian parliament doors
Lovers of freedom were quick to cry fowl. Is this what the supposedly liberal, pro-Western Changes Continued government is doing? Protecting itself from the love of the general public with iron bars?