Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly criticised an event planned by the Russian embassy in Sofia entitled “The 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism”.
On September 9 1944, in the closing stages of the Second World War in Europe, the Soviet Union invaded Bulgaria, which since 1941 had been part of Hitler’s Axis. The Soviet invasion opened the way for decades of communist rule in Bulgaria.
In a statement on September 3, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said: “Without denying the USSR’s contribution to the defeat of Nazism in Europe, we should not turn a blind eye to the fact that the bayonets of the Soviet Army brought to the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe half a century of repression, stifling of civil conscience, deformed economic development and detachment from the dynamics. of processes in developed European countries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has nothing to do with this event, and we advise the Russian embassy not to take a position in support of a dubious historical thesis (“liberation”), which benefits only some political circles in Bulgaria, as this is interference in the domestic political debate in our country.”
September 9 1944 and its consequences must be left in the hands of historians and historical scholarship, to receive a full and accurate assessment of the impact on the development of Bulgaria in the 20th century.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that from the point of view of international law, the facts are clear: the September 9 coup was a direct consequence of the declaration of war on Bulgaria by the USSR on September 5 1944 and the subsequent entry of Soviet troops into Bulgaria, which was neutral in relation to the Soviet Union.
The statement said that the USSR had declared war on Bulgaria when a new democratic government had just come to power, had announced the end of ties with Nazi Germany and reaffirmed the position of the Kingdom of Bulgaria’s neutrality in relation to Russia.
This was followed by the temporary occupation of Bulgaria by the USSR and the Allies, which was formally administered by representatives of the coalition, but de facto exercised exclusively through the Soviet military presence.
“The long-term consequences for Bulgaria were the same as for other countries in Eastern Europe, falling within the Soviet zone of influence – 45 years of rule of a totalitarian regime based on the Bolshevik-Leninist version of communist ideology,” the Foreign Ministry said.
This is not the first time that Moscow has provoked controversy over the history of the end of the Second World War and Bulgaria. In November 2017, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson unleashed a war of words by claiming that it was the Soviet Army that had prevented the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to the death camps of the Holocaust.
The claim was rejected by Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry, President Roumen Radev, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”, the American Jewish Committee and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party.
(Photo, of the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia: Ivan Ivanov)