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Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria, June 17 2001

8. June 2001

by Blagovesta Doncheva


First our cast of characters (alas, mostly villains):

The Union of Democratic (Demonic?) Forces or UDF. The UDF was formed by the Bulgarian Communist Party Political Bureau, headed by Lukanov. In 1989 the Communists had more than a million members. The leadership was in a hurry to turn themselves into good capitalists and needed an `opposition`, that is a controlled opposition, to frighten their members into submitting to the new (capitalist) line.

At first the UDF was composed of officers of the Secret Police, sons and daughters of powerful members of the BSP and a host of Communist officials at various levels. It was not an authentic grassroots organization.

It was created in December, 1989, after which the manipulated dreamers for freedom and rights (like me, alas!) rushed to join and give it substance. When I realized what I had gotten myself into, my first thought was to rename the UDF `Union of Secret Police`.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). This party is what remained of the Bulgarian Communist Party after its rib was removed to form the UDF. The BSP is without clear ideology. They say they are leftist but the leadership and many members are bankers, owners of export-import firms, etc. They are ridiculous. The BSP has about 200,000 members. At its last Congress, the BSP (remarkably) declared itself NATOite. Many are leaving.

Ivan Kostov, Bulgarian Premier, head of the UDF, Ardent Globalisation groupie and NATOist; very much `our guy` for both Uncle Sam and the European Union (EU) Social-Democrats. Would sell mama without hesitation but the price must be right. Or at least reasonable, for he is a man of principle.

Georgi Sedefchov Parvanov. A Leader of the BSP; a former and newly elected Secretary of the BSP; a newly-converted NATOist; an MP; he is called “Sedefcho` by some BSP members. (This diminutive suggests lack of character, readiness to bend for the powerful.)

Has he ever had an opinion of his own? Perish the thought. Or, if one had the bad luck of falling into his skull, he shed it fast. One can never be too cautious. A small man, gray, most convenient for the Globalisation and NATO boys.

Ms. Tatjana Doncheva, lawyer, MP, member of the BSP leadership; anti-NATO in 1999, passionately pro-NATO in 2000. She told the dumbfounded BSP members in the town of Shumen in January that loyalty to the party means loyalty to NATO. I have been told by friends from the town of Gabrovo that during the local elections she had done her best to make sure the independent candidate, officially supported by the BSP, lost to the UDF candidate. The independent candidate won despite this help because he had sense enough to organize an independent team of experts and ignore Tatjana Doncheva.

Roumen Ovcharov, a member of the BSP Supreme Council, an MP. Ovcharov ran as the BSP candidate for a Mayor of Sofia. Or perhaps I should say `pretended to run.` Because in fact the BSP and UDF privately agreed that the Mayor of Sofia would be Stefan Sofianski from the UDF. Mr Ovcharov`s election campaign was thus purely symbolic, like a drawing or statue of a campaign. He used this pantomime to declaim the BSP`s new pro-NATO position, saying on the TV show `Seven Days` that only NATO membership can protect the sovereignty of Bulgaria.

US Ambassador Richard Miles, Sofia, Bulgaria Miles is the former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Belgrade. In other words, trouble follows him like a dog.

The Bulgarian Civil Airlines, BGA `Balkan`. Recently privatized. The pilots expect that Zeevi Group, the new owner, will liquidate `Balkan` after the end of the tourist season. We think the same.

Now for our play. It is a tragic-comedy. Theater of the Grimly Absurd.


Georgi Sedefchov Parvanov, the former and newly elected Secretary of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is marching boldly to power under a halo of approval and promises of support from kind Uncle Sam and the Euro social-democrats. That approval and support has been earned after two months of dining regularly with the US Ambassador in Sofia, Richard Miles, plus a five minutes visit with Schroeder The Great – time enough for Parvanov to pledge loyalty to NATO and `euro-atlantic values`.

The Bulgarian media have for some time noted with relish the dinner talks between Amb. Miles and Mr. Parvanov. According to them Miles has given Parvanov a firm promise of much money and the promise that Parvanov will be allowed to come to power.

According to the newspapers, this delicious reward only requires that Parvanov fill Bulgarian political space with passionate statements such as:
`My party and I have reassessed our position and we love NATO!` and so on.
(These newspaper rumors have produced no angry letters of denial from the

And since Parvanov and Company have been praising NATO for some months, power
shall surely follow.

On May 1st our group of protestors against the USA/NATO war on Yugoslavia went to the BSP May Day rally together with some younger people. We chanted slogans against NATO and the BSP NATOites. The disciplined elderly BSP members pushed and hit us violently, but they are not to blame, poor things; they have been taught for 45 years to identify the Party with its leaders, to accept questionable decisions and shout `Hurray!` (`Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die!` – Tennyson, `The Charge of the Light Brigade.` Suitable for the occassion, no?)

I wonder why these enraged old women and men who attacked everybody who dared hold Parvanov guilty for betraying the very basis of his party – I wonder why they don`t ask themselves: what will in fact happen if Parvanov and Company relax their well fed bodies in Kostov and Company`s luxurious chairs? Will anything change?

1/ Will “structural reform” continue under the controlling hands of the International Monetary Fund and World Band?

What is in fact the meaning of “structural reforms”? Why has nobody taken the risk of clearly explaining what the IMF/WB are demanding?

Doesn`t structural reform mean the cruelest elimination of all forms of social protection, actually existing and potential?

Doesn`t it mean the annihilation of Bulgarian industry through liquidation, privatisation, etc.?

The case of the Bulgarian airline, BGA “Balkan” is a clear demonstration of this extermination scheme. BGA `Balkan` was sold for next to nothing to Zeevi Group, the Israeli corporation, which started closing lines and offices abroad, selling planes, firing hostesses and pilots, turning plane sheds into warehouses, and so on . Pilots` salaries were set humiliatingly low compared with their colleagues abroad. And the pilots were the first to raise the alarm, trying to draw public attention to the fact that Zeevi Group is liquidating our 50 year old national airline. They went on strike and began talking. The most important of their demands was to nullify the deal itself – the privatization. Here for the first time a privitization has been attacked! (But lest foreign investors be disturbed as they wallow in their luxuries, take note: The pilots` protest was successfully smothered.)

Let`s continue with `Structural Reform`.

Doesn`t it mean the total wrecking of Bulgarian agriculture? Won`t it hit the Bulgarian natural environment, rivers, forests, until- now-protected reserves, with deadly pollution?

In the not so long run, doesn`t it mean the extermination of the Bulgarian people and state, of Bulgaria itself?

Since 1989, Bulgarian governments have not ceased saluting those emissaries of Corporate Globalization, the IMF and World Bank; in return they`ve excitedly received various sums of money, all of which managed to disappear, nobody knows where. Will something change if Parvanov and Co. take power?

2/ “Entering Europe”. This is the second important issue, a mantra repeated for 10 years and more, filling the media and political space to the brim.

(Entering Europe? Where has Bulgaria been for the past 13 plus centuries?)

Again one waits in vain for some journalist (or newspaper) to take the risk of listing the negative consequences of “Entering Europe.”

And just what are those “European Values” about which you preach to us, Messrs. Politicians? Messrs. Journalists?

Is the vicious breaking of all international laws a European value? Is killing a European country a European value? Is butchering a child a day during the 78 day bombing of Yugoslavia considered European? Has the ecological genocide in the Balkans, produced by this bombing, added to “European values”?

Is there some “value” I`m missing?

As for the negative consequences of “Entering Europe,” here are two:

First negative consequence: the closing of the Bulgarian Nuclear Station “Kozlodui”. The European Union demands we close it – and turn Bulgaria from a country that exports energy to a country that imports energy, either from the Nuclear Station under construction in Turkey or from European countries with surplus energy production, such as Germany or France.

Question: What percent of the Bulgarian population, staying by chance alive, will be able to afford this imported energy?

Second negative consequence: the removal of customs tariffs on European milk and meat products. It has already been decided that these products will flow tax free like a river into Bulgaria starting July 1, 2000.

Question: Will Bulgarian farmers manage to overcome competition from the tariff-free import of European milk and meat products, supported as they are by the various European governments? We must lower the shield so that they may more easily insert the sword.

General Question: Don`t these two `reforms` smell of hypocrisy? Ahh, perhaps
hypocrisy is that so-mysterious European value.

What is the position of Parvanov and Co on the destruction of Bulgarian farming and energy production?

The same as the position of Kostov and Co. Why then replace Kostov with Parvanov?

3/ `European-Atlantic Values`. For the uninitiated: that is code for – NATO.

To be honest, the UDF is a step ahead here. They organised a pro-NATO meeting during the bombing of our neighbour; they fed their European friends “Podkova”(Horseshoe), a story concocted in Bulgaria but marketed as an Official Yugoslav Government Plan to force Albanians out of Kosovo, this hoax was used to manipulate European and US public opinion during the bombing. Kostov`s government is overflowing with passionate NATOites (e.g., the Minister of Defense.)

What about their brother Party, the BSP?

In April and May 1999 Tatjana Doncheva from the BSP made us cry from the emotional stories she told us, the protestors outside the Parliament, of her visit to wartime Yugoslavia… In March 2000 the same lady tells the dumbfounded local BSP members in the town of Shumen that loyalty to the party means loyalty to NATO.

In April and May of last year there were BSP meetings and protests against NATO aggression in Yugoslavia. This year the same people are for linking party and country to the “Euro-Atlantic Values.”

Should one laugh or cry?

It`s a wonder the BSP members aren`t schizophrenic. Some are leaving the party; others think they should stay and try to replace the leaders and `fight from inside` to set things straight . (They have been setting things straight for 10 years now…poor souls.)

The crushing result of the BSP`s endorsement of NATO is: there is no organized opposition in Bulgaria. The BSP left the pilots of BGA “Balkan” to fight all alone. It hasn`t said a word in support of other protests going on in Bulgaria. It hasn`t moved a finger to unite people and lead their attempts to fight the hydra of Globalization. Even now the BSP behaves like a ruling party.

Neither Parvanov nor any other member of his Loyal Company show the least discomfort from this unprincipled behaviour.

For what is principle, actually?

Can one buy a palace, race around Europe and the world at the expense of a rapidly dying population or provide a suitably sweet life for deserving relatives with principle?

Parvanov and friends do not eat grass. They are reasonable to gaze hopefully at the right hand of Uncle M. from his big Embassy in central Sofia – and the smaller (but nearby) hand of Schroeder. Honey may not flow from those hands but surely it will trickle, though not into the mouths of those sad persons who flailed us at the May Day meeting, those who, for lack of thinking, are cheated, again and again….


Blagovesta Doncheva
Sofia, Bulgaria
The Balkans


Further reading…

To read other articles by Blagovesta Doncheva, go to Articles by Author at click on “D”.

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http://www.emperors-clothes.comand scroll down the page