Communist monuments in Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv were vandalised overnight, the day after the country observed the annual day in commemoration of the victims of the communist regime.
A memorial tomb to communist partisans was daubed with slogans including “we remember the People’s Court” and “prosecute all communists”. Also painted on to it were swastikas and the symbol of the SS.
The reference to the People’s Court was to the process that followed the communist takeover in Bulgaria at the close of the Second World War. The court handed down more than 2600 death sentences, including to prominent figures in the former government and parliament, as well as large numbers of life and long-term jail sentences.
Counting the judicial and extra-judicial killings of the time, historians estimate that about 30 000 Bulgarians died amid the communist takeover.
Other incidents overnight in Plovdiv on the night of February 1 included the daubing with blue paint of the bas-relief of Dimitar Blagoev on the façade of the office of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the lineal successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party. A memorial plaque to Lilyana Dimitrova was torn down.
The BSP in Plovdiv described the attacks on the monuments as “another barbaric event…that cannot be treated as a mere act of vandalism”.
The BSP in the city called on all Bulgarian political parties and their leaders to condemn the actions, and urged the local authorities, Interior Ministry and prosecutors “this time to do their job, to find the perpetrators and to punish them”.
In incidents in recent years, other communist-era monuments in Plovdiv have been attacked, including the landmark Alyosha monument on a hill above the city. In November 2017, it was daubed with anti-communist and anti-Semitic slogans, and in September 2013, draped with a red cloak.