Protest Erupts in Plovdiv as Citizens Oppose Proposed Relocation of Soviet Monument

Politics | January 17, 2024, Wednesday // 14:16|  views

"Alyosha" Monument to the Soviet Army

A gathering of citizens in front of Plovdiv's Municipal Council building voiced their opposition on Wednesday to a controversial proposal suggesting the relocation of the "Alyosha" Monument to the Soviet Army. The initiative, put forth by municipal councilors Vladimir Slavenski and Yono Chepilski of "Democrats for Strong Bulgaria" (DSB), has sparked debate and raised questions about the preservation of historical monuments.

The proposal recommends dismantling the "Alyosha" Monument from its current location atop Bunardzhik Hill and transferring it to Sofia's Museum of Socialist Art by the end of 2024. The councilors argue that the move is a moral gesture honoring Bulgarian history, national dignity, and the victims of the communist regime. However, the suggestion has triggered conflicting responses within the Municipal Council.

Last week, the "There Is Such a People" (TISP) group proposed a local referendum on the monument's fate, adding another layer to the ongoing discussion. Protesters at the demonstration displayed signs with slogans such as "Those who have built nothing are destroying everything" and "You can't protect history with a referendum."

Several Members of Parliament from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), including Kristian Vigenin, Georgi Svilenski, Manol Genov, Ivan Petkov, and Ivan Chenchev, expressed their support for the protest. Chenchev emphasized that every monument deserves respect and a rightful place in history, advocating against attempts to rewrite history or engage in a war with memory and monuments.

The "Alyosha" Monument, a 10.5-meter granite statue unveiled in 1957, portrays a Soviet soldier holding a Shpagin submachine gun. Modeled after Russian soldier Aleksei Ivanovich Skourlatov, the monument stands as a historical symbol, and the proposed relocation has prompted a public outcry.

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Tags: Alyosha, monument, Plovdiv Protest


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