Bulgaria | 01/31/2022

Bulgaria 2022 January

January in Bulgaria was decently forged since the middle of last month. Back then, Revival officially announced their protest march against the COVID-19 measures in front of the National Assembly building, which was about to take place on the 12th of January. As I wrote in my previous report, the event aimed to attract not only supporters of the far-right party (which, at this point, are not nearly as many as their leader Kostadin Kostadinov would like), but also everyone else unhappy with the so-called “green certificates,” partial lockdowns, and the “Plandemic” in general. Buses from all over the country, financed by the Revival, transported the protesters to the doors of the parliament for free. Their members and official representatives had been vehemently criticizing vaccines as “experimental drugs” for months, and their success in getting into parliament was largely due to this approach. Exploiting people’s fears is a card reserved for fascists. A few days earlier, however, an investigation by one of the national TV stations showed that one-third of the party’s MPs in parliament are, in fact, vaccinated. The latter did not prevent massive support for the event. According to Kostadinov, the followers of Revival in social networks, as well as those who officially signed up to use their logistic services for the protest in front of the parliament, have actually increased. The party’s PR somehow managed to present successfully — despite the absurd behaviour of their MPs during the surprising interviews — the media actions as a set-up, and the choices of their MPs as a personal affair concerning mostly the health of their relatives. The protesters, albeit a few thousand, tried several times to storm the parliament but were never successful. It is important to note that in addition to the far right, various representatives of business organizations (such as those of the notorious restauranteurs, for example), the frightened working people, the protest was also attended by many representatives of the academic and intellectual elite, including some positioning themselves “on the left.”

As I also mentioned in my previous report, the preparations for the biggest, annual march of the far-right in the country were (and still is) in full swing. On January 6, which is the birthday not only the gen. Hristo Lukov, but also of another figure of Bulgarian nationalism — Hristo Botev (a completely distorted historical reading insofar as the latter was a committed anarchist who maintained lively contacts with like-minded people from all around Europe, during the second half of the nineteenth century, the most notable of whom was Bakunin himself), Bulgarian National Union traditionally launched its campaign around Lukovmarch. The event was held at the monument dedicated to Hristo Botev in the Borisov Garden in Sofia. For Lukovmarch, that is about to take place — as for almost twenty years or so — on the 12th of February, the fascists prepared a special lecture just three days after the protest of Revival. The official announcement states: “As part of the campaign for the upcoming Lukovmarch, on 15th of January at the central headquarters of the BNU will be held a lecture concerned with the life and work of General Hristo Lukov. We guarantee that it will be interesting not only for younger nationalists who are not yet so familiar with the General’s personality but also for all those who have attended our lectures years ago. Many interesting facts and events from the life of Gen. Lukov recently discovered in the archives will shed an even brighter light on the greatness of this Bulgarian hero and will reveal in even greater depth his total devotion to the Bulgarian people. You will also be able to buy books related to Gen. Lukov and UBNL [Union of Bulgarian National Legions, тo which “The General” was the forerunner], as well as promotional materials with which you can support Lukovmarch.” The lecturer was Plamen Dimitrov, leader of their Sofia structure, responsible for their international connections, an official representative of “Fortress Europe”, as well as a host of BNU’s podcast by the name “Free Signal.” Moreover, one of the other leading figures in the organization, Zvezdomir Andronov, gave another lecture on 29th January at the same place, this time devoted to the Legions Lukov was the leader of. In other words, the training and grooming of old members and new young sympathizers are in high gear.

On the 19th of January, two of the leading figures of the street far-right in the country suddenly appeared at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science, as well as the one on Bulgarians Abroad. Alexander Alexandrov and Tsanislav Tsanev, who were both extremely active during anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-feminist campaigns in the previous year (various attacks on social centres, demos and so forth, also responsible for the blatant provocation of the “Not One More” protest; see November’s report), were there as representatives of association by the name “Public Alliance VETO”, as it becomes clear from the message of Tsanislav Tsanev in Facebook. The reason is a bill which, in their words, aims at “depoliticising education.” Specifically, they are against a new law, proposed by the present minister of education, that bans ideological, partisan, any form of campaigning or other general political activities within the country’s educational institutions. However, VETO believes that “the proposed bill could create an inability to realize the objectives of the School and Pre-School Education Act… — i.e. preserving and strengthening Bulgarian national identity and… acquiring competence to understand global processes, trends and their interrelations.” In Tsanev video, in which he is interviewed by Alexandrov (the latter was posing as a journalist and speaking in third person, which is very slightly schizophrenic), they draw attention to Christianity and a whole host of far-right ideological covenants and “values” that could not be possibly taught in the “right” way if the new bill is about to be implemented. In addition, they gave the highly irrelevant example of “the study of the ideological postulates laid down by Paisii Hilendarski until our Liberation from Ottoman rule.”

Lastly, what deserves to be mentioned here is the spontaneous protest BNU, IMRO and some floating far-right actors managed to initiate in front of the Bulgarian National TV (BNT) quarters in the end of the month. BNT had planned screening of the documentary “Just Because They Were Bulgarians“, a “documentary on the repressions and torture over the local Bulgarians in Vardar Macedonia done by the communist authorities of Tito’s Yugoslavia after WWII.” Suddenly the TV cancelled the screening, as according to the protest organisers, “This was a clear signal to Skopje from the new government in our country and the media there reported it in this way, as a “first concession”.” The reason for this, again according to them, was the imminent arrival of a delegation from the Republic of North Macedonia in our country. The protesters, nearly 50 people, blocked the entrance of the national television, at the same time realizing the unrealized projection on the walls of the building with the help of a projector. The event was attended not only by prominent figures of the BNU and IMRO but also by representatives of the National Resistance and other far-right factions. The so-called “Macedonian question” and the readiness of the new government to communicate with the representatives of the republic in order to overcome it has yet to create a field for the expression of the extreme right in the country. On the other hand, to what extent the government’s own actions are in favour of resolving this painfully persistent case remains an unanswered question.