The mayor of Sofia’s Sredets district, Traicho Traikov, said on December 7 that he had signed the order submitted by the district administration for the dismantling of figures on the Soviet Army Monument in the centre of the Bulgarian capital city.
An inspection of the controversial 70-year-old monument, which commemorates the Soviet invasion of Bulgaria towards the close of the Second World War, found that after decades of not being maintained, it was a hazard to the public.
The inspection, carried out in August, found cracks in the structure and severe corrosion of the metal structure.
The district administration said that the monument needed urgent dismantling, restoration and relocation elsewhere in the city.
Earlier in 2023, a fence was put up around the monument, with the district administration saying that the monument’s state was a danger to the public.
Part of that fence recently came down, apparently as a result of bad weather. Reports on December 7 said that the fence was back in place.
The district administration’s plan for the monument puts forward several stages, including the provision of access for cranes and lorries.
The district administration said that it was about a launch a public tender for the restoration of the bronze figures and bas-reliefs, as well as for the preparation of project to permanently relocate them elsewhere.
The restoration is intended to preserve the artistic value of the sculptures so they can be displayed as exhibits at a location to be identified after a thorough review of all options.
The monument has been the subject of repeated calls in the more than three decades since the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria for it to be demolished or at least removed from its prominent place.
Earlier this year, following a vote in Sofia city council for the monument to be dismantled and relocated, members of pro-Russian minority parties set up a small “tent camp” to “defend” the monument.
Local media said that on December 7, at the abortive meeting of the current city council, Vuzrazhdane and Bulgarian Socialist Party councillors said that they “would not allow” the monument to be dismantled.
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