This article is published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. Debates over natural conservation have been at the center of public attention in Bulgaria. They usually appear as clashes between investors and environmentalists over tourist resort projects. Media represents them as a contradiction between concerns with the employment of citizens, living in the vicinity of national parks, and green activists, caring for natural conservation, but disregarding economic growth. In reality, the green movement were complicit in the establishment of a liberal conservationist regime that was abused by inv ..
This article was published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. The campaign to save the Bulgarian national Park Pirin has over the past several months become the major source of protest in the country and even brought the attention of international media and NGOs. Instead of embarrassingly shelving their plans for building on the mountain, the Bulgarian business elite has launched a massive and virulent counter-campaign, mobilizing all of its subservient media and politicians. The forces are unequal and in the short term, defeat is likely, but at least the country has learnt the names of its “ ..
Preface by Georgi Medarov: After months, if not years, of relative quiescence, progressive politics in Bulgaria has been thrust into national visibility by a new campaign for tax justice supported by a wide coalition of activists, NGOs, unions and small center-left and left parties. At this stage, its main activity has been focused on generating public debate and collecting signatures, which will be submitted to Parliament in a month, when the new budget is being debated. The campaign’s demands are far from radical, but despite their mainstream character, or perhaps precisely because of it, they has already man ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croat web portal Bilten. Last April Pazardzhik, a Bulgarian town with a population of about 70,000, banned Muslim women from wearing veils. Pazardzhik was followed by Stara Zagora, and proposals for introducing similar prohibitions were made in over a third of the regional cities. It is dubious if municipalities have the constitutional right to introduce regional regulations on clothing, but, regardless, the bans are widely backed. Rumyana Bachvarova, the Minister of Interior, said she supports it because more vigilanc ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croat web portal Bilten.Org In the past few years, particularly after the 2007-8 world food price crisis, there has been a lot of attention to the global expansion of large-scale acquisitions of farmland, or what is usually referred to as land grabs. The investors range from transnational corporations and high-class individual investors to governments. A data set produced by GRAIN, an international NGO that has done influential research on land grabs, documents over 400 cases of large-scale land grabs, covering nearly ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Balkan web-portal Bilten.org. The publication in Serbo-Croatian is to be found here. In Bulgaria there is a (neo)liberal hegemony over student politics that hasn’t been challenged up until last year’s university occupation. This process, however, is not that clear cut, the situation gets more complicated with the deepening of the fierce debate over the meaning of the occupation. The stakes are extremely high: the Right needs its monopoly over the “youth” to condemn alternatives as backward-looking and nostalgic for t ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the new Balkan web-portal Bilten.org. The publication in Serbo-Croatian is to be found here. The upcoming EP elections will be a test for all major parties in Bulgaria, after a year of constant protests aiming to challenge the status quo. In February 2013 there were massive and spontаnеous nation-wide anti-austerity demonstrations, triggered by electricity price hikes. They finally resulted in bringing down the center-right government of the time, led by Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (abbreviated GERB in Bulgar ..