Bulgarian President: People linked to communist party and secret services still try to dominate society

A quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the same old people associated with the Communist Party and its ruthless secret services are continuing their attempts to dominate society, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said on February 1 2016, the day of commemorating the victims of the communist regime in Bulgaria.

In 2011, accepting a proposal by two former presidents – Zhelyu Zhelev and Petar Stoyanov – the first Borissov cabinet declared February 1 the day of commemoration of the victims of the communist regime.

Through murders and a “People’s Court” process, the communist regime killed at least 30 000 Bulgarians in its early years. A February 1 ceremony at the memorial to the victims of communism, near the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, marks the anniversary of a large-scale executions on that date in 1945. Those killed included state and government leaders, as the “People’s Court” put on trial all members of governments and parliaments that had been in office at the time that Bulgaria was allied with Germany during World War 2.

In a statement marking the day, Plevneliev said that the “shadows of the past” were doing everything possible to change the country’s agenda, to create the delusion of how “wonderful” life was at the time of unfreedom, to separate Bulgaria from the family of European nations.

“Even today, on the eve of the day on which we remember the victims of communist terror, politicians, living in a bygone time, are trying to close the Dossier Commission,” Plevneliev said.

This was a reference by the latest attempt by MPs from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party to shut down the Dossier Commission, the body charged by law since 2006 with exposing people in public life who worked for the communist-era secret service State Security, and to substitute the commission with a so-called “Institute of National Memory” with rules that would severely restrict disclosures.

Plevneliev said that he was bewildered by the arrogant attempt to muzzle the Dossier Commission.

“I assure you that while I am the head of state, I will not allow the replacement of history and will do everything in my power to finally send communism into a museum of the past,” Plevneliev said.

He called for the whole truth about communism to be told to the younger generations.

Over the past 25 years, “we have failed to send communism and all its metastases to the museum,” he said.

Plevneliev said that as someone who had never appointed a State Security collaborator to the diplomatic corps, the judiciary or the executive, he would be the last to say that Bulgaria was doomed to live by the rules of the reborn totalitarian elites.

Plevneliev has accepted the patronage of an initiative for the curriculum at Bulgarian schools to include an objective and comprehensive study of the history of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century.

He said that he supported the idea of amendments to the law to enable the checking of those associated with the collapse of Corporate Commercial Bank for affiliation with State Security. The proposed amendments were announced last week by MPs from the centre-right Reformist Bloc coalition and GERB.

“It is time once and for all to break the shackles of the past, to give a chance to young and democratic Bulgaria,” Plevneliev said.

Apart from commemorations in Sofia, including a Bulgarian Orthodox Church liturgy in the evening, the day was marked elsewhere, including at a ceremony in Plovdiv. A memorial service was scheduled to be held at a Bulgarian Orthodox Church chapel in Lovech.

In Bourgas on the Black Sea coast, local media said that a monument to the victims of communism would be erected in the city by the end of 2016, following an initiative by the local Union of Democratic Forces and supported by the rest of the Reformist Bloc.

Administrative procedures for the building of the monument had been completed and construction would start soon, the report said. The monument is to be placed opposite the entrance to the Appeal Court in Bourgas, and will be in the form of a cross from the centre of which there will be a powerful beam of light.



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292