Happy November 10th Bulgarian Comrades!Editorial |Author: Maria Guineva | November 12, 2010, Friday // 11:07| views
A killer-thriller tale is plaguing Bulgarian media – the latest plot to assassinate Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The price of EUR 400 000 is the only known facet of the story, confirmed personally by the target, joking the sum was too little for his life. Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, says he "cannot deny the information."
Other than that, there is only the d?j?-vu feeling. Who is willing to pay this price, who will actually kill Borisov and why, is surrounded by mystery – somebody intercepted some phone calls between some drug smuggler and some murderer and some people traveled on yachts with bodyguards to hold a meeting in Athens. Impressive headlines, but no news, except the fact western media picked on the story and wrote once again about Bulgaria as a country infested with crime and at odds how to deal with it.
Meanwhile, another story went "unnoticed."
In a recent TV interview for Nova Televizia, Borisov was asked to comment on a photo collage comparing him with Communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov.
(The collage, representing a series of pictures where Zhivkov's face gradually transforms into Borisov's, quickly became a facebook hit.)
"This is a facebook picture, comparing you with a former ruler. Does it make you angry or happy? This picture is a little bit nostalgic and is pocking a little bit of fun. Maybe with some opposition insinuations? Do you see it?"
"Yes, I do see it. But it does not serve Zhivkov right, because to reach one hundredth of what he built in Bulgaria and what he did during his years as leader; to reach the economic growth of the then State would be a huge success for any government."
"Do you like being compared to Zhivkov?"
"No because we are incomparable."
"You think he is greater than you?"
"The fact that 20 years after his ousting he is not forgotten means many things were done. It is also a fact that for these 20 years we just keep privatizing what he built."
Borisov's statements received some attention in blogs and online editions, but the country's top and largest media outlets stееred away from reporting and commenting on them. However, the fact these words came in the eve of the 21st anniversary of November 10th, the day marking the end of Communism and Zhivkov's 33 years of rule in Bulgaria, turns the common media silence despicable.
I remember November 10th, 1989, the ecstatic crowds, myself included, taking on the streets and my father saying: "You are a lucky generation; you have a future now." (It did not turn quite that way, but this is another story...) To me such praise of Bulgaria's Communist past and its leader, coming from the Prime Minister of an EU and NATO country is not witty. It is a disgrace.
Is Borisov once again talking faster than thinking?
Or is the leader of a so-called center-right party, and self-proclaimed strong adversary of Communism and Communists (who killed his grand-father, as he often reminds), ready to say anything to please Bulgarian "red voters?" After all, elections are around the corner and President, Georgi Parvanov, former head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), is cooking a "civic initiative" as a political alternative to the Prime Minister's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB).
Or maybe Borisov, by the way also a former member of the Bulgarian Communist Party and former bodyguard of Zhivkov, is dress-rehearsing for the much-anticipated visit of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, trying to convey the message that we are OK with the Stalinist past and with Russia remaining for ever our Big Brother? Major energy projects are at stake here. Major interests.
Our leader, however, seems to miss the fact that Zhivkov's regime and Socialism across Eastern Europe came crumbling down 21 years ago precisely because this was a made up, non-functioning system, economically tied with the made up Soviet markets and fake prices.
And as I remember November 10, I do remember Socialism – the information blackout; the impossibility to travel abroad, especially to western countries; the informal and formal ban on western culture; the endless lines for basic staples – from toilet paper and bananas to shoes and appliances; the decades of waiting lists to buy a modest apartment or a Soviet-made car, the obsolete medical care (years later, when I went to the dentist in the USA, he took a look at my childhood fillings and said: "Eastern European trademark."). The list can go on and on.
So, I do wonder - is it just me, and some very few colleagues in independent blogs and internet sites, who find such tribute to Zhivkov's rule and to Russian hegemony outrageous and offensive?
What Zhivkov "built in Bulgaria" can be seen right near the Bulgarian capital – a sinister, sprawling carcass of the now-closed steel mill "Kremikovtzi," the once pride of Communist industrialization. А behemoth, poisoning Sofia's residents for years which no one even wants for scrap now.
A true symbol of the true legacy of Todor Zhivkov.
Yes, he is not forgotten, but neither are Hitler and Stalin. Is this a reason to glorify them?
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