Bulgarian MPs Snub Motion to Remove Sofia's Tsar Liberator Monument

Domestic | October 31, 2012, Wednesday // 16:14|  views

The Tsar Liberator Monument in downtown Sofia - depicting Russian Emperor Alexander II - whose forces liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire - was recently removed for rehabilitation. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Parliament has rejected a proposal by a right-wing MP demanding the removal of the Monument of Tsar Liberator – Russian Emperor Alexander II – from the National Assembly Square in downtown Sofia.

The Monument of Tsar Liberator – Russian Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881, r. 1855-1881), who is known as Tsar Liberator both for liberating Bulgaria from the Ottoman Turkish Empire in the Liberation War of 1877-1878, and for freeing the Russian serfs in 1861 – is one of the major landmarks of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

As the monument was recently temporarily removed for rehabilitation, the right-wing Blue Coalition, which is known for its anti-Russian rhetoric, started advocating the removal of the monument to a less high-profile location, and replacing it with a monument of Khan Asparuh, who in 680 AD is believed to have founded the Danubian Bulgarian state, the medieval predecessor to today's Bulgaria in the Balkans.

The motion to replace the Tsar Liberator Monument in downtown Sofia was submitted by Blue Coalition MP Lachezar Toshev.

At the proposal of Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, however, the Parliament held no debates on Toshev's motion, and was flatly rejected by the majority of the MPs.

"There is no other nation that has the figure of a ruler of a foreign nation before its Parliament. The problem is that in Sofia we do not have monuments of prominent Bulgarian historical figures. The Sofia streets named after the Bulgarian rulers such as the Khan Asparuh Street, or the Khan Krum Street – named after Khan Krum who first conquered Sofia for Bulgaria, of the Knyaz Boris I Street – are all small ones," Toshev argued after the MPs rejected his controversial idea.

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Tags: Tsar Liberator, Alexander II, Russia, parliament, National Assembly, Parliament Chair, Tsetska Tsacheva, Khan Asparuh, Khan Krum, Knyaz Boris, Knyaz Boris I, monument, downtown Sofia, National Assembly Square, Lachezar Toshev, Blue Coalition


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