Bulgaria | 10/31/2021

Bulgaria 2021 October

Key developments

In mid-July, 2021 the Bulgarian National Union (BNU, Sofia) officially announced their new headquarters. It is located at 87 Tsar Simeon Street in the capital. The location is precisely next to the so-called “Woman’s Market” which for years now is a sort of a center for the socio-economic life of migrants from different countries around the Middle East and Africa as well as for Roma people from different regions in Bulgaria. According to the local activists, lately far-right vandalism (hate-filled stickers, graffiti, etc.) has increased dramatically along each of the routes leading to BNU activists final destination. The official update on the BNU website states that this new place wasn’t picked out of necessity. On the contrary, its goal is to “remind us that Bulgaria is home to the Bulgarians. And what we want in our home is security, order and peace – things that our presence [here, in the heart of “multiculturalism”] will ensure. Instead of allowing this area to become a ghetto, our goal will be to improve it. There is additional symbolism in this cultural reconquest in the fact that the place that is now our headquarters was a hookah bar bearing the sonorous name of “Bayazid.” Probably named after the very Bayazid who once conquered the Balkans with the Ottoman armies. Nowadays the oriental Ottoman Empire is gone, but Bulgaria is on the map again. Purely symbolically today in this part of our capital, “Bayazid” is no more, but there is the headquarters of the Bulgarian National Union.” The likelihood of future or present excesses remains persistent, although the possibility of knowing about them is extremely limited insofar as the local police themselves are unlikely to register or formalize anything of what has already happened or what is to come as result of BNU activities in the neighborhood, as well as the fact that the capital’s Antifa isn’t well connected with the locals there, at least for now. Their new club, however, is larger and well-equipped. The practice of screening nationalist films and other “cultural” events is about to get established on a weekly basis in the next months.

During October, however, Bulgaria is on the wave of absurdity. There were anti-vax and anti-Covid initiatives all around the country. These include human chains around vaccination sites (in Varna, for example, but there were unconfirmed reports for Shumen and Plovdiv as well), attacks on supermarkets (ShumenKardzali) and similar centres (Sofia) where anyone wearing a mask is treated as a fool, undeserving of being part of the fatherland. The street anti-measures protests are everyday activity in most of the bigger cities in the country. Most vocal are of course the business organisations, especially the one of the so-called Restauranttiori, who present themselves as the sole target of the Covid-conspiracy and the “plandemia”. Different far-right actors, depending on the respective region, participate in those protests. It seems like activists from Kostadin Kostadinov’s party Vazrazhdane (Revival) are active the most, at least in Sofia and Varna. That’s a result of him being a presidential candidate for the upcoming “double” elections on the November 14th, as well as the fact that his whole party is constructed more or less as an activist organisation with relatively strong bottom-up mobilizations (see my initial report for more details). Moreover, both his party parliamentary ambitions, and their presidential campaign, are founded on the denial of the pandemic and, therefore, of the need for action against it.

By the end of the month there were few important events that deserve to be mentioned. First it was the arrest of Alain Simeonov, the teenager behind the so-called “Pedophiles Lives Don’t Matter” informal initiative (see DB) together with the seventeenth year old girl that helps him “hunting down pedophiles”. They were arrested on October 26th in charge of causing bodily harm to one of their victims. We still don’t know who’s the victim, even though Alain himself claims it is either “the pedophile politician, or the pedophile policeman” that they’ve “hunted” the previous week. Perhaps the reader already anticipates how this whole thing is presented through Alain and his allies (mostly from the IMRO and BNU youth group, but also from the online community by the name War&Peace) public rhetoric, but I feel oblige to put it in words: as a plot against their righteous initiative, that unravels the extent to which paedophilic leprosy is part of the liberal status quo.

Second was the brutal and excessive attack on LGBTQ+ center by the the ex-leader of BNU-Edelweiss, Boyan Stankov ‘Rasate’. He is now leader of BNU-New Democracy, extremely marginalised and spat upon by its former associates — as well as by the most of the far-right groups in the country, — the organization has no more than 100 members nationwide. Rasate was inactive for more then four years. Suddenly, this last year he started as a candidate for the presidential elections. This attack on “Rainbow hub” community center was the crown of his campaign. He and around ten more people invaded the center during a trans community event. “Rasate forced entry for his mob by punching a young woman in the face. Within a few minutes, the men destroyed the entire office, smashing computers, kicking in windows and furniture and spray-painting walls and interiors. A group of young trans people who attended a workshop were left scared and traumatized.” states an international petition, insisting for Rasate’s prosecution. Aafter the lifting of his immunity as a candidate by the Prosecutor General, not without pressure from the international community (including ambassadors of various countries in Bulgaria) he was arrested for 48 hours with request for permanent detention. However, the Sofia City Court rejected that request as unjustified, even though Rasate is an avowed repeat offender and has over 20 cases available to the public involving various hate crimes, vehicular homicide and more (see Rasate’s entry in the DB). A bail of 1000 leva (approximately 500 euro) was ordered. The prosecutor has the right to appeal the decision within 3 days which will probably disqualify Rasate from the presidential campaign. At the time of writing though, that isn’t the case yet.