It would be a strategic mistake if Bulgaria’s youth was not enabled to know the truth about communism, fascism and the country’s transition, head of state President Rossen Plevneliev said on October 7 at the launch of the 25 Years Free Bulgaria campaign.
The campaign includes more than 120 events across the country, including exhibitions, conferences, film shows and other events, to the end of November.
Plevneliev, patron of the campaign, said that the major goal of the initiative was absolutely clear: “To stand on the side of the truth – where we are, where we come from, where we want to go, to stand on the side of the real values that make us love our motherland, which cannot happen unless we are aware of the history”.
The distinction between democratic values and the realities of the inhuman nature of the communist regime was extremely important, he said.
Plevneliev said that, at the time 25 years ago the communist regimes collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell, the artificial division of Europe fell, in which there had been free and unfree societies, open and oppressed communities.
“We are proud to be part of this Europe of dismantled walls and an Iron Curtain left in the past.”
He said the objective of the initiative was to restore the confidence of citizens, who believed those who told the truth. Bulgarian citizens will trust those who tell the truth, he said.
Plevneliev described as erroneous the interpretation of communism as a stage where everything was cheap and goods cost mere small change. “We were all equal because we were all equally poor,” he said.
Bulgaria had chosen a peaceful transition and not civil war. In the transition years, there had been good decisions, such as membership of Nato and the EU.
Also backing the initiative are former presidents Petar Stoyanov and Zhelyu Zhelev.
According to the Facebook page of the campaign, it was a time to draw up a balance sheet: “What went wrong and what went right in the years of the transition from totalitarian rule to pluralism and democracy?”
“The ambition of this initiative and its side-events is while marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, to take another step towards restoring trust in the Bulgarian society, which has hardly been more polarized.
“Differentiating the democratic values and principles from the realities of the anti-humane communist regime is fundamentally important for united Europe. No matter if we look towards the past or in the future, where we stand in the political spectre, what our social status is or what our incomes way of living are.”
The page posed the questions, “What comes to your mind when you think of Bulgaria before 1989? What would life be today if People’s Republic of Bulgaria still existed? What is the worst thing / best thing that happened to Bulgaria in the last 25 years? These are only some of the questions we will try to answer in the course of our project.”