Participants in pro-Russian ‘peace march’ throw red paint at EU building in Bulgaria’s capital
Participants in a so-called “March for Peace” backed by pro-Russian political parties hurled red paint at the European Parliament and European Commission representation building in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on May 21.
The “March for Peace” was the latest in a succession of such events which have tended to attract a small gaggle of supporters of pro-Russian party Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party – which, respectively, have 37 and 23 seats in Bulgaria’s 240-seat National Assembly, and the MIR party, which has no seats in Parliament and never has had.
The small-scale events, which demand that Bulgaria lends no support to Ukraine to defend itself in Russia’s illegal war on that country and remains “neutral” and a “zone of peace”, have tended to get scant attention from the Bulgarian media but are exploited by Kremlin media, which produces overblown coverage to purport to show Bulgarian support for the Putin regime.
A report by Bulgarian National Radio said that after the procession passed through a number of streets in Sofia, some participants – including supporters of Vuzrazhdane – deviated towards the European Commission representation building and targeted it with red paint. Followers responded with shouts of “bravo,” the report said.
Minority party Vuzrazhdane, which also opposes Bulgaria’s membership of Nato, the EU and wants the country to abandon its path to membership of the euro zone, is also known for its public events where supporters carry Russian and Soviet Union flags.
Ivailo Mirchev, an MP for the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, commented on Facebook: “I don’t know what this peace is like, where in a European capital, MPs soak the representation of a European institution with red paint. It doesn’t look like a European peace to me. But it looks suspiciously like a Russian one.
“From that peace where there is always a good justification for aggression. And we do not need Russian ‘peace’ in European Sofia,” Mirchev said.
The incident was the second source of controversy in two consecutive days involving Vuzrazhane.
On May 20, the embassy of Ukraine to Bulgaria issued a statement describing as unacceptable and deeply hostile statements made by party leader Kostadin Kostadinov against Ukrainian citizens who have temporary protection in Bulgaria, as well as Kostadinov expressing support for Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The Ukrainian embassy, responding to statements made by Kostadinov in a Saturday interview with Petar Volgin on Bulgarian National Radio, said that the rhetoric of the Vuzrazhdane party had features characteristic of hate speech and amounted to inciting of violence against all temporarily resettled Ukrainians.
“Among the tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who have found a temporary home in the friendly Republic of Bulgaria, there is a large number of Ukrainians of ethnic Bulgarian origin from various regions of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian embassy said.
Threats to Ukrainian citizens in Bulgaria harm democratic values, basic human freedoms and contradict the position of the Republic of Bulgaria as a member state of the EU and Nato, the embassy said.
The embassy appealed to the relevant Bulgarian authorities to take preventive measures and guarantee the safety and freedom of Ukrainian citizens in Bulgaria.
(Photo via Ivailo Mirchev’s Facebook page)
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