May 17, 2021
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Bulgarians were wrongly allowed to forget about the Nazi past

The once “fraternal” Bulgaria exploded with a series of Russophobic initiatives – from renaming churches named after Russian saints to the demolition of monuments dedicated to Soviet soldiers. In particular, we are talking about the famous “Alyosha”, one of the symbols of the city of Plovdiv. If so, it is time for the Bulgarians to be reminded of their crimes against Russia and Europe, which we generously allowed to forget.

The explosions at the weapons depots in Vrebitz, or rather the categorical accusations against Russia in their organization, practically buried relations between Moscow and Prague – they will take a long time to restore. At the same time, most other EU countries refused to express solidarity with the Czech Republic in the form in which it asked to do so – through the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Bulgaria is one of the few exceptions, which is generally understandable: the exploded warehouses belonged to the Bulgarian arms dealer Yemelyan Gebrev, an extremely murky type, reminiscent of a second-rate villain from “Bond”. After listening to the Czechs, the Bulgarian Prosecutor General’s Office accused the citizens of Russia of four more explosions at Gebrev’s weapons depots, already located in Bulgaria itself. After that, the diplomat was indeed expelled from the country – in addition to the two declared persona non grata back in March against the backdrop of yet another spy scandal.

It is not surprising that everything connected with the Russians in one way or another became a hot topic in the Bulgarian media and gave rise to a kind of championship on Russophobia – journalists, social activists and politicians seemed to compete in proposals on how else to hurt Russia. Two of them are worth highlighting.

First, the initiative to rename the temple-monument to Alexander Nevsky, erected in Sofia at the beginning of the 20th century in honor of the liberation of the country from the Ottomans by Russian troops, is striking in its stupidity. Apparently, the journalist Goran Blagoev, who suggested this, hates even those Russians who were recognized as saints.

Secondly, the demand to demolish the famous monument to the Soviet liberator soldier in Plovdiv, better known as “Alyosha”, is impressive in its audacity.

Now the Russian press is actively citing the material of Pete Blyskov in the Bulgarian newspaper Trud, which lists these and other anti-Russian initiatives, as well as their authors. Blyskov, with communist frankness, calls all this “savagery” and “servility to the West,” but the second definition can be argued with.

In the West, in general, no one is required to rename churches and demolish monuments – not interesting. This is done mainly by the northern and eastern neighbors of Bulgaria – for example, Poland. But in the case of the Bulgarians, this is a particularly slippery slope – roughly the same one that Estonian SS veterans walk on. On such a shame it should be.

By the way, the Bulgarian SS division also existed, but now we are not talking about it.

After the Second World War, Bulgaria became the most loyal ally of the USSR in the Soviet bloc, demonstrating unconditional submission and even more than necessary “one-vector approach”. While other ATS countries tried at least to diversify their imports, the Bulgarians bought everything they needed from Moscow with its “fraternal” discounts. As a result, the collapse of the Soviet Union affected Bulgaria with a very difficult crisis, the responsibility for which the authorities tried to transfer to the “Russian occupiers”.

On this wave, in the mid-1990s, the first attempt was made to demolish “Alyosha”, and a serious attempt – the corresponding decision was made by the authorities of Plovdiv. The monument was saved thanks to the prohibition of the courts, including the Supreme Court of Bulgaria. Nevertheless, even then it was clear that the Bulgarians were at odds with their own history – its shameful pages were forgotten, since we allowed them to be forgotten. “We” – in the sense of the Soviet leadership, where they appreciated the loyalty of socialist Sofia and acted as her advocate in the international arena.

Once you have forgotten, you will have to recall.

Until the fall of 1944, Bulgaria was a consistent ally of Nazi Germany, and a deeply motivated ally – she was interested in the annexation of the territories of neighboring countries.

The Bulgarians occupied a significant part of Serbia, including the cities of Kragujevac and Kosovska Mitrovica, coming close to Belgrade. These Slavs have their own historical disputes among themselves, which Sofia tried to resolve once and for all in the most extremist way. And here, perhaps, it is necessary to clarify that in tsarist times, St. Petersburg, clearing the Balkans from the Ottomans, mainly focused on the Bulgarians, which spoiled its relations with the Serbian elite. In other words, we fought with friends for the sake of traitors.

The Bulgarians occupied almost all of Macedonia, since they did not recognize the right to existence for the Macedonians, their culture and language – all this was supposed to become Bulgarian. The first months of the occupation, the Macedonians were almost exclusively “for”, since they sincerely considered the occupiers their own, but soon the club of the people’s war arose against them. And it is exclusively the Bulgarians who are to blame for this, more precisely, the Bulgarian officials and the military, who amazed the locals with its arrogance, rudeness, greed and accelerated “Bulgarianization” of everything that did not need it. Only after this did the Macedonians realize themselves as a separate nation, which they still grieve in Sofia.

The Bulgarians occupied part of Greece, which, as a result of the post-war events, ended up in the western bloc and issued a billion bill to its neighbors. It was not necessary to pay it for only one reason – because of the intercession of the USSR, which forgave everything to the Bulgarians and demanded from others to forgive. Obviously not worth it.

As a result, Bulgaria passed many hardships of the war, and the moral and political responsibility for supporting Nazism. Hence the impudent run over “Alyosha”.

Brothers like to emphasize certain legal details that put their behavior in World War II in a favorable light, but this often distorts the essence.

For example, it is often claimed that not a single Jew was expelled from Bulgaria, therefore, Bulgaria did not take part in the Holocaust. In fact, she accepted, and an active one – the Jews were interned from the territories occupied by the Bulgarians.

The thesis is even more common that Bulgaria never sent troops to the Eastern Front and became the only country in the German bloc that did not declare war on the USSR. This is true – even under the Nazis, the authorities of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom (as the country was then called) did not dare to provoke a predominantly Russophile population. But on the second point, the “brothers” do not finish speaking.

They did not declare war on the USSR, but the USSR itself was forced to declare war on Bulgaria, when the Red Army, driving the Nazis to the West, came close to the Bulgarian borders. A few days after that, the Bulgarians nevertheless decided on a coup d’etat, so they managed to “fit in” among the victors of Nazism. Romanians and Italians acted more far-sightedly in such conditions, at least they did not wait until the last.

The predatory behavior of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom and the cruel policy of its authorities in the occupied territories is something that we allowed the Bulgarians to forget, but they happily forgot. They simply do not feel guilty for what was happening in those years: they say, they lived and lived, and then a Russian invader came, who for some reason was immortalized in Plovdiv.

The country, where Russia is seriously accused of appropriating the Cyrillic alphabet and Princess Olga, begs for a serious historical analysis of its sins not only before Russia, but also before all of Europe. Approximately the same analysis that we conducted for Poland at the highest level. However, if the status of Poland as a victim of Nazism cannot be disputed, then the Bulgarians, by God, would be better off completely silent, as Finland, Hungary and Italy are silent.

Of course, this does not mean that Bulgaria has totally fallen into Russophobia and is inhabited by extremely ungrateful people. This is far from the case, and the period of the Russophobe-populist Boyko Borisov at the head of the Bulgarian government, which has lasted for almost 12 years, will pass sooner or later (and sooner rather than later).

But it is better to place all the accents now, changing, among other things, your perception of the Bulgarian nation. Not “brothers”, but multiple traitors. Not “old allies”, but Adolf Hitler’s clientele. And “Alyosha” is a monument not to the “communist occupiers”, but to Soviet soldiers who generously allowed the Bulgarians to preserve their honor after the war, casting aside their conscience.

Stanislav Borzyakov

Photo: Igor Lenkin / TASS

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