Dismantling of Soviet monument in Sofia

The Monument to the Soviet Army, Bulgaria's largest Soviet monument which stood in the centre of Sofia, was dismantled last week due to cracks which made it structurally unsafe, according to the authorities. The memorial with its soldier statues has been a source controversy for decades and is now to be moved to the Museum of Socialist Art. Russia has condemned the move as barbaric - but Bulgaria's press takes a very different view.

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Trud (BG) /

Time for a debate on our own symbols

The Soviet memorial needs a worthy successor, columnist Kristian Schkwarek declares in Trud:

“Let's use this occasion to erect a memorial to one of the few symbols that still unites us as a people. ... I don't know exactly what it should be, but I do know that like a drowning man grabbing at straws, we are increasingly desperate for common symbols and ideas. Because a disunited nation is sure to be subjugated from the outside, that's a proven historical fact. I would argue that once tempers have cooled we should have a thorough and honest public debate about what still undoubtedly unites us as a people.”

Club Z (BG) /

Pot calling the kettle black

This historical juncture should be used for a real public debate on fascism and anti-fascism in Bulgaria, Club Z demands:

“The main problem is that fascism, a truly disgusting and dangerous totalitarian doctrine, has been interpreted through the prism of communism, another disgusting and dangerous doctrine for democracy and freedom. And that is precisely the problem with the Soviet monument - it may contain an element of glorification of the victory over fascism, but it also glorifies the Red Army as the main instrument of the Stalin regime's policy of oppression and conquest. Under no circumstances can this monument be 'sanitised' and interpreted as merely anti-fascist.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Repression does not deserve a memorial

The monument symbolised a period of history of which Bulgaria certainly should not be proud, writes news.bg:

“It was a time when our statehood was limited to being a mere appendage within the Soviet sphere of influence. A time when human rights and individuality were foreign words, free initiative was a relic of the bourgeois past and the economy of scarcity was normal and standard for all except the privileged party functionaries. ... Communism did not suddenly disappear from Bulgaria, nor did it disappear voluntarily, but today's Bulgaria is different.”