Tag Archives: Bulgaria

Bulgarian Lessons: Liberalism as Market Power plus Expensive Electrification of the Whole Country

This article is published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croation portal Bilten.org. The past few days, a high-voltage scandal is literally grilling the main politicians and business elites in Bulgaria: an obscure local energy company is going to buy the Bulgarian assets of the largest electricity distribution company in the country, owned by the Czech state company CEZ. The intensity of the controversy belies a deeper debate over when a private business deal constitutes a legitimate public concern. In short, the deal has exposed some paradoxes underpinning the separation between public and private, so dear to li ..

Bulgaria (not) only for Bulgarians

At this year’s summit of G20, the newly elected French president Emanuel Macron stated that the problem with the slow economic development of Africa was civilizational. As an example, he noted that African women gave birth to 7-8 children, in which he saw a negative economic effect without accounting for its economic roots–the reason must be the “innate backwardness” of the people. Similarly, in Bulgaria the problem with the social and economic segregation of the Roma is viewed as civilizational, which can have negative consequences in the future such as becoming a burden to the social system. This se ..

Solidarity undone: the left-green protest that didn’t happen in Bulgaria

The recent protests against the destruction of the national park in Bulgaria’s Pirin mountain reveals the relation of forces in Bulgaria’s green movement. The start of Bulgaria’s EU Council presidency on 11 January 2018 put the country into the focus of European public opinion. As usual, the spotlight was on the progress of Bulgaria’s integration into the EU and, unsurprisingly, on the ‘cloud of corruption’ hanging over the country. While PM Borisov obediently promised to tackle this issues within the next two to three years, people across Bulgaria took to the streets, seizing the opportunity ..

Call for Solidarity from Bulgaria: No Nazis on Our Streets, No to Fortress Europe

Note from the LeftEast editors: In January 2018 Bulgaria has taken the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first six months of 2018. Meanwhile Neonazis will still be marching the on the streets of Sofia in February to commemorate General Hristo Lukov: the head of the interwar Legion and Minister of War in the late 1930s. Known as a stark nationalist and anti-semite, he was killed by a partisan woman. The march that commemorates him combines nationalist, chauvinist, anti-communist and racist rhetorics. It is a feast of the international right extreme, whose members come to Bulgaria in big num ..

In the Name of the Constitution: Ethnic Minorities and Technologies of Disenfranchisement in Bulgaria

Note from the editors: Starting next month Bulgaria will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union. To acknowledge this momentous occasion, this month LeftEast will carry two texts by Jana Tsoneva analyzing the politics of contemporary Bulgaria. This article originally appeared in July on the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten and is republished here with their generous permission. It is a habit of the lazy mind to associate only ex-Yugoslavia with ethnic conflicts, but in the late 1980s Bulgaria, too, was on the brink of an “ethnic war”. The post-1956 period regime was marked by the increase of ra ..

Bulgaria’s growing problem with violence among children: a piece is missing or the puzzle is wrong?

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten.Org For three years now Bulgaria is experiencing a growing concern with violence among children, especially at school. Experts, NGOs, government representatives and media are contesting to restate their commitment to end children’s aggressive behavior, impelled by recurring cases of serious physical harm and even death. 60% of children in Bulgaria do not feel safe at school, the head of the Juvenile Crime Department at the Interior Ministry has stated in October. In 2016-2017 the Ministry o ..

The importance of being Alexander Nikolov, or what is eating the Bulgarian middle class?

Note from the LeftEast editors: a longer version of this piece was first published in Bulgarian by web portal Baricada. Over the last week, the major media outlets in Bulgaria, and especially the liberal press, were taken over by a seemingly small-scale scandal: an online celebrity called Alexander Nikolov tricked tens of people with the promise of buying them cheap plane tickets. To do this he “just” needed their credit card details. In some cases he did not deliver the promised tickets, in others – he withdrew money from the credit cards in small instalments. The first remarkable thing about this case is ..

To Stop the Engine of Inequality: a Bulgarian Campaign for Tax Reform

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 ..

Race to the Bottom: The Battle over Minimum Wage in Bulgaria

Ten years after Bulgaria joined the European Union as its poorest member, its economy works at two speeds, deepening the income gap between poor low-skilled workers and a handful of well payed employees working in the country’s booming areas such as IT and auto parts. The following article was originally published in Serbo-Croatian by the online platform, Bilten. Its English version is published here with the site’s kind permission. It is a truism that the wage is one of the most contested aspects in the relation between capitalists and workers. Nothing reveals better the fundamental incomprehensibility ..

Anger from the underground: Bulgarian miners in wildcat strike

Note from the LeftEast editors: we republish this material originally posted  by evgeni5150 on libcom.org  The miners from Obrochishte – the third largest manganese mine in the world, located in eastern Bulgaria, went on wildcat strike on 01.06.2017. The strike was supported by the anarchosyndicalists from ARS (Avtonomen Rabotnicheski Sindikat / Autonomous Workers Union), while the bureaucratic union in the mine opposed the strike and sided with the bosses. 17 miners from the day shift refused to come out of the mine and stayed underground for 5 days. All the workers from the other shifts, around 150 p ..