Will Sofia’s largest Soviet monument be removed?
After decades of debate, a large Soviet war monument in the centre of Sofia is to be taken down and moved to a museum. The city council had decided to demolish it in 1993, but the move was repeatedly blocked. Now former prime minister Boyko Borisov’s Gerb party has given up its resistance and the path for the monument’s removal appears to be clear — or is it? The debate continues in the opinion columns.
Get over the eternal gratitude
The Bulgarian service of Deutsche Welle is annoyed that the government is delaying the demolition due to protests by pro-Russian citizens:
“The government’s cowardly behaviour panders to a view that celebrates our totalitarian past even though it was imposed on us by the bayonets of the Red Army. And it legitimises the successor state of the Soviet Union, which is waging a fascist war against the people of Ukraine. This will only further postpone even the day when Bulgarians — who are otherwise proud of their more than 13 centuries of history as a state — overcome their eternal slavish gratitude for the liberation by Russia.”
Renaming makes more sense plus cheaper
It would be better to give commemoration a new meaning, Rossen Tachov comments in Trud:
“As a historian, I am against tearing down or relocating monuments. Because the word monument comes from ‘to remind’ — so that future generations will remember something good or bad that happened on the hills of time. ... So instead of wasting money on moving the monument to the Museum of Socialist Art, the smartest solution would be to simply rename it: from the Monument to the Soviet Army to the Monument to the Soviet Occupiers. That way, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will know why we lived through four decades of totalitarianism.”