The ultra-nationalist Bulgarian National Union, organiser of the annual Lukov March held in Sofia in praise of a pro-Nazi general, has hit back after it was announced that Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev had ordered an investigation into its activities.
The Prosecutor’s Office, in a brief statement on January 17, said that Geshev had ordered an investigation into whether the BNU complied with the Political Parties Act and had asked to be notified as soon as possible of any evidence of a crime having been committed.
Responding, the BNU alleged that the statement by the Prosecutor’s Office contained falsehoods and was intended to sabotage the Lukov March, planned for February 22.
The Lukov March, held annually since 2003, is a torchlit procession through central parts of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia in honour of Hristo Lukov, who led the pro-Nazi Union of Bulgarian National Legions in the 1940s, at the time that the Kingdom of Bulgaria was part of Hitler’s Axis.
The event, customarily held on a date close to the anniversary of Lukov’s assassination in 1943, draws neo-Nazis from elsewhere in Europe. It regularly has been banned by Sofia’s mayor, but these bans always have been overturned in court.
The BNU said that the Lukov March was not forbidden, because the Administrative Court had, in a ruling on July 25 2019, overturned the ban ordered by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova. The court decision was final and not subject to appeal, the BNU said.
The court ruling was well-known to Fandukova and should also be known to Geshev, it said.
“The torch procession in memory of General Hristo Lukov is a thorn in the eyes of a colourful congregation of NGOs, foundations, ethnic organisations, parties, government institutions, anti-fascist lumpen and foreign embassies. They try to prevent the march through media pressure and lies, intimidation and bans,” the BNU said.
It said that was “bewildering” that the Prosecutor’s Office had said that the BNU was being checked in terms of the Political Parties Act. Since its inception in 2001, the BNU had been an NGO and had never been a political party, it said.
The prosecutor’s check was “part of a massive attack on the BNU and in general on nationalist forces in Bulgaria…however, despite all attempts at intimidation, we will not relinquish our legal right to honour the memory of General Lukov”.
Attempts to “deprive of us of this right by repressive measures” would be “followed by the legal resistance of every patriotic Bulgarian who cannot accept that 30 years after the nominal fall of the communist dictatorship, bans determine which historical figure can be venerated and which not”.