The Kremlin will hold accountable the Bulgarian Fans who Damaged the Soviet Monument in Sofia

Politics | August 19, 2023, Saturday // 09:30|  views


Moscow declared the attackers of the Monument to the Soviet Army a day ago as criminals and threatened to hold them accountable.

The head of the Investigative Committee (IC) of the Russian Federation, Alexander Bastrykin, ordered the initiation of a criminal case for the desecration of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, reported the Russian state agency TASS, quoted by BTA.

The message says that vandalism has been committed against the Monument to the Soviet Army in the capital of Bulgaria, as a group of football supporters attacked the tented camp of defenders of the monument and damaged a granite slab at its base.

"Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Alexander Bastrykin, assigned the main investigative section of the department to jointly investigate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia the fact of desecration of the monument erected in honor of the Soviet liberators in Sofia. As part of the investigation, they will be taken measures to establish the identity of the persons responsible for the commission of this crime. A criminal-legal assessment will be prepared for their actions," the announcement said.

Late on Thursday evening after the football match between "Levski" and "Apoel", in which the Bulgarian team won, a group of youths spray-painted and damaged one of the plaques on the monument and attacked the tented camp of its "guardians". Four people have been detained.

The monument is to be dismantled and moved from the center of Sofia. It is not known on what basis the Russian state is taking actions to prosecute Bulgarian citizens on Bulgarian territory. The monument was built by the decision of the Bulgarian government and with Bulgarian financing, Russia has no financial or other formal participation in this project, although in 2021, with a note, Russia requested that the monument and the adjacent plot be provided to it for indefinite and free use.

We remind you the short history of these "soviet liberators":

Although Bulgaria joined the Tripartite Pact in 1941, and from the end of that year was at war with Great Britain, the United States and some of their allies, the country maintained diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union for a long time. Regardless, the Soviet command began to prepare for an offensive in Bulgaria and on September 5, the Soviet Union officially declared war on Bulgaria. On August 26, under the threat of the advancing Red Army, Ivan Bagryanov's government declared neutrality and ordered German troops to leave the country and those who refused to be disarmed. Even before the official declaration of war, the Bulgarian government decided not to resist a possible Soviet attack. A few hours after the declaration of war, it formally requested an armistice, preparing to formally declare war on Germany.

Regardless of these circumstances, Soviet troops entered Bulgarian territory at 9:20 a.m. on September 8 without encountering resistance. The offensive was carried out by units of the Third Ukrainian Front - the 46th Army towards Razgrad, the 57th Army towards Shumen and the 37th Army towards Dulgopol - with the support of the 17th Air Army, the Black Sea Fleet and the Danube Flotilla. Their task was to reach the Ruse-Razgrad-Shumen-Karnobat-Burgas line in five days, where they would stop, but in reality they advanced faster than planned. The Soviet army did not take Bulgarian prisoners, only at the beginning of the operation it disarmed some units.

On the evening of September 8, a coup d'état took place in Sofia, bringing to power a pro-Soviet and communist-dominated government. As of 10:00 p.m. on September 9, the Soviet command ceased offensive actions, motivated by the severance of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Germany on September 7 and the declaration of war on Germany by the Bulgarian government on September 8. The operation was hailed by the Soviet authorities as a great success, and on 13 September the Soviet commander, Fyodor Tolbukhin, was promoted to marshal. An official armistice between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union, as well as with the other Soviet allies, was signed in Moscow on October 28. The war was finally ended with the Paris Peace Treaty of February 10, 1947.

The main part of the Soviet troops left Bulgaria by the end of 1944, continuing their advance to the west. Only the 37th Army under the command of Sergei Biryuzov was left in the country. The main part of the Soviet forces was concentrated in the region of Kazanlak, Sliven, Yambol and Elhovo and was used by the Soviet government as a means of pressure against Turkey to achieve territorial concessions in Transcaucasia and changes in the regime of access to the Straits.

Although the war was fought without actual confrontation, it gave the Soviet Union significant political advantages. It gained great political influence in Bulgaria, dominating the Union Control Commission and minimizing the role of the allies. The Soviet occupation, which lasted until December 1947, became the basis for the consolidation of the power of the Communist Party. At the same time, the war provided grounds for the Soviet Union to participate in peace treaty negotiations. Financially, Bulgaria was forced to take over the maintenance of the Soviet troops on its territory and to pay the Soviet Union significant reparations, mainly at the expense of its claims from Germany. Thus began one of the darkest periods of Bulgarian history.

So no, this monument is not in honor of liberators but glorifies occupiers and has no place in the center of Sofia.

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Tags: monument, Soviet, sofia, Moscow


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