“Once again there is controversy surrounding the monument to the Red Army in Sofia. On March 7, the local administration of Sofia voted to remove the monument. This is happening in the context of the permanent rehabilitation of the fascist period in Bulgaria and the demonization of communist ideas and symbols for the last 33 years,” Stefan says in our request for comment. Decommunization laws began to be introduced in Bulgaria after the capitalist restoration, resulting in the banning of displaying communist symbols, which were removed from the country’s public buildings, the destruction of the mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov, and anti-communist references in the country’s legislation.
Stefan explains that for the new incident “another catalyst is the events in Ukraine and the anti-Russian hysteria in right-wing and pro-Western circles. We know what happened to the Soviet monuments in Poland, the Baltic countries and Ukraine. Bulgaria’s reactionaries are inspired by this and want to implement it in our country.” The socialist monuments and the Red Army monument itself have been targeted many times by the anti-communists, who every now and then, especially on May 9, the anniversary of the people’s anti-fascist victory, attempt to desecrate it. In fact, last May, Stefan had filed a complaintat the TPP, the wounding of his comrade by neo-Nazis wearing symbols of the Ukrainian Azov Order, who attacked the monument after earlier participating in a demonstration in favor of sending arms to Ukraine.
However, Stefan points out that “public opinion in Bulgaria is not the same as in Poland, the Baltic countries and Ukraine. In less than 48 hours after the municipal authority’s resolution, people organized and today (March 9) there were two demonstrations in favor of the monument. Eggs and red paint were thrown at the Sofia municipality building. Around the monument there was a symbolic “living chain” of people who surrounded it and wanted to protect it. Nostalgia for the socialist past transcends the boundaries of the supporters of communism, registering, according to an earlier poll by Pew Research , more than half of the country’s population.
“Of course, we cannot avoid the fact that all this is happening in the context of the election campaign in Bulgaria. Right-wing, liberal and anti-communist parties are mobilizing their sympathizers to vote for such a thing, and social democrats and pro-Russian nationalists are also using the case to hold demonstrations. However, our task is to resist the demolition of the Red Army monument, to defend the historical truth and to resist the policies of the ruling classes in Bulgaria and their American bosses. It is also a good opportunity for joint action of all anti-imperialist forces in our country” he concludes.