On a day commemorating Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev, who died during the struggle for liberation from Ottoman rule, the somewhat more diminutive in stature Volen Siderov paraded – uninvited – astride a jet-black horse.
Apart from the fact that Siderov is beardless and rather short, it was a scene reminiscent of his fellow ultra-nationalist, the late Afrikaner Resistance Movement leader Eugene Terreblanche. That late Terreblanche, like Siderov a chauvinistic buffoon, famously fell off his horse (literally; political decline, deepening ridicule and an undignified death followed later); amid the heightened emotions of Bulgaria’s current political crisis, which Siderov seems determined to heighten to a dangerous degree, it must be asked when the inevitable moment will come that Siderov falls off his.
Siderov made Bulgaria’s current widely-rejected government possible. He provided the vote needed for the quorum that put the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms cabinet ministers and, later, regional governors in power.
Since then, Siderov has been marching to and fro, emitting ever-more hysterical messages, caught up in confrontations and performing a bizarre political act of theatre in which the man who holds sway over the socialist government also distances himself from it, who portrays his minority party as a truer representative of Bulgaria than the many thousands who come to the streets daily to reject him and the rulers with which he is associated.
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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)