Bulgaria’s government decided on August 2 to change the status of the property in Sofia where the Soviet Army Monument, in a move that could ease moving the controversial monument elsewhere, out of everyday public view.
The government’s decision was to reclassify the terrain from public state-owned property to private state-owned property.
The decision was made at the request of the district governor of Sofia, Vyara Todeva, appointed to the post in July a few weeks after Bulgaria’s pro-Western government took office.
Bulgarian National Television said that the decision meant that Sofia municipality would be able to decide on the future of the monument and the land around it, which until now was not possible because of the public state-owned property status.
Sofia city council voted on March 9 to instruct mayor Yordanka Fandukova to ask the state to move the Soviet Army Monument from the centre of the Bulgarian capital city. At government level, nothing happened about the matter in the months during which there was a Sofia district governor appointed by President Roumen Radev.
The monument was erected in 1954, while Bulgaria was under communist rule. It commemorates the Soviet invasion of Bulgaria at the close of the Second World War. The communist line was that the 1944 invasion, which led to the end of the monarchy and to decades of communist rule, was a “liberation”.
Those who oppose the place of the monument in a highly visible spot in central Sofia have called, over the years, variously for its dismantling or for it to be moved to the Museum of Socialist Art.
The monument has been the target of daubings frequently in recent years, including in solidarity with Ukraine.
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