What’s happening in Bulgaria? We need your support!

by Georgi Marinov on June 19, 2013

Post image for What’s happening in Bulgaria? We need your support!

If you had 24 years to change and refine a country’s policies, would you twist those to your benefit? Bulgaria’s corrupt politicians most certainly did.

By Georgi Marinov, originally published on Medium.

At first glance, beautiful Bulgaria has a lot of democracy going on — laws, elections, a parliament, a president, EU membership, free will, the works, we have it. Look from the outside, and it’s clearly there. The inside of this strange hologram, though, feels very different, especially if you’re a Bulgarian.

Get the gist? I’ll bet you a fiver that you’re not getting the scale.

People are out in the streets, protesting. All major cities — Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas — six days and counting, tens of thousands of Bulgarians rallying for change, demanding that the incompetent “expert” government steps down, and that parliament is dissolved.

We demand our dignity back.


Fat chance, says the Prime Minister.

General elections were just five weeks ago. Today, the majority of voters are no longer represented in Bulgaria’s worse-than-hung parliament. One quarter of voted candidates did not make the cut to begin with, the party with the most votes (thirty per cent) just announced they will no longer attend sessions; and another seven per cent of voters saw their party’s leader U-turn on all promises upon entering parliament. Sum: 62%.

Sound like injury? How’s this for an insult: last Friday, media mogul and MP with a shady past, Delyan Peevski, was appointed chief of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security. That happened in a rush, without debate, and after re-tailoring the law to make him a suitable candidate. He was nominated, voted, and sworn in, in one afternoon.

ДАНС (say “dance”) is kind of like the NSA, only smaller. Yet, much like the NSA, they too can listen in on communications. Imagine what happens when the (top-level access clearance) head of the agency is a politician?

Not to get carried away in allegations, here’s the facts:

Peevski has considerable wealth. He was investigated for corruption in 2007, and there’s a 2002 photo of him hanging out with Iliya Pavlov — a wealthy “businessman”, who was shot with a sniper rifle a few months later that year. For the record: business people do not get sniped in Bulgaria.

Things are, to use a technical term, fucked up.

I wish I could tell you how many of these we’ve had over 24 years, and what it has done to the country. For those now out in the streets, that was merely the last straw. A wreck of an expert government, not hiding their ties to corruption and organised crime, two weeks after they were sworn in? No one is having that anymore.

Peace in protests is a fragile thing. So far, the crowd has managed to keep an incredible cool (not quiet!). But one has to wonder for how long? All it takes is one person, paid to provoke the police and spark clashes. Yesterday the police detained nine people, knives and all.

Who needs another Gezi?

Help us! We’re trying our best to get people talking, and to get international news outlets to report in more detail on this. So far the BBC merely mentioned “a crowd of protesters” (no real report though), we got a dry nod from Reuters, a brief article on Euronews, and one on Fox. It’s a start, right?

History says our politicians don’t listen, unless the world is watching.

And for all the protests, the world doesn’t seem to notice yet.

Beliefs are brittle in Bulgaria and they don’t hold for long.

What to do:

If, like me, you feel strongly about this, then:

  • Tweet with #ДАНСwithme , share this post, help raise awareness.
  • Blog about it. Foreign opinions are awesome! They keep us going.
  • Criticise our government. They are monkeys and deserve it.

Just don’t look the other way, until Sofia is in flames.

For more details:

Plea to Europe
The politics, as told by the people
Facebook, Twitter: #ДАНСwithme
Yes, technically, it’s called Regulatory Capture.
Freedom House Nations in Transit 2013 report on Bulgaria
GlobalPost

“Stop Oligarchy” logo by @theplamen

Georgi Marinov can be found on Twitter and on the Web
Logo above: Stop Oligarchy by @ThePlamen

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ewerton Felipe June 19, 2013 at 17:08

It looks like brazil, and now our country is waking up , like you guys!!!

#WeAllAreBrazil
#WeAllAreBulgaria
#WeAllAreTurkey
#rEvoltion!

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Wagner June 19, 2013 at 17:18

Support from Brazil

#WeAllAreBrazil
#WeAllAreBulgaria
#WeAllAreTurkey
#rEvoltion!

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Ugur Tandogan June 19, 2013 at 17:45

We understand you very well. Turkey is having the similar problem with governement and the people who wants to be governed by democratic way. We are with you on your demand our Bulgarian neighbours. Your government must hear your voice and behave. Hope ours would do the same as well.. We send you good luck and strength on your resistense..

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Viktor Uzunov June 21, 2013 at 21:47

Respect and support from Bulgaria to Turkish ppl who fight for democracy.

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Bruno Lopes June 19, 2013 at 18:30

do not give up,
maintain the strength and unity
we are with you

Sweating from Brazil

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Raul Lima June 19, 2013 at 18:43

Stay strong Bulgaria,stay united.Now and forever.We are with you.
Greetings from Brazil.

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Antonia June 20, 2013 at 14:30

Stay strong , Brazil.stay united.Now and forever.We are with you.
Greetings from Bulgaria!

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Nadia S June 19, 2013 at 21:30

It is us against the mafia that bought itself a government and media! Please share and blog about it! This is barely mentioned in the world news. We are mot Brazil amd no Turkey, we are a small nation strugling to stay normal. Our hope is to get international attention, that really scares them. We just want them to stop stealing from us. We are smart and hardworking and can do the rest….
Merhaba to Turkey. What is happening there is criminal. I admire your courage and wish you luck.
Brazil, stay strong!

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Erna June 19, 2013 at 21:34

The same or even worse in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hopefully the protests this time don’t stop in our countries and we achieve our goals. There has been enough small and short inquires for decent living.
Stay strong, stay on the streets, be smart. Don’t let the media fool you as they are doing to us!!!

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Jefferson Morais June 19, 2013 at 22:04

Bulgaria,
Don’t give up!
Greetings from Brazil!

http://www.thevenusproject.com/

#WeAllAreBrazil
#WeAllAreBulgaria
#WeAllAreTurkey
#rEvoltion!

Reply

Karin van Goor June 19, 2013 at 22:32

People all over the world are waking up. Support from the Netherlands!

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Emil Petrunov June 19, 2013 at 22:44

Row Row Fight the Power.

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İbrahim Keskin June 20, 2013 at 01:15

We are waking up for our rights. Turkish citizens are supporting your fight.

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Tsvetan Nikolov July 10, 2013 at 05:56

Merhaba to turkish youth!Please, don’t let Kemal’s fundament to be crushed by Erdogan’s political madness.Turkey must be free and democratic state.We’re living in 21th century and such a retrograde vision of political and state construction is totally unacceptable.Good luck form bulgarian youth to turkish youth!

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Américo Gonçalves June 20, 2013 at 02:16

My friend, remembre the Arab Spring? first, it was Tunisia, and then Bahrein, Jordan, and then Egypt…but Egypt was so big, so important, that little attention got to protests elsewhere (like Morocco and Algeria). I think that’s what going on. Turkey shot up into the global agenda, and now, brazil is taking up the space, leaving you guys in the cold. So, i’m pessimistic about Bulgaria’s chances of getting the attention of worldwide media. Even if you don’t get that protective umbrela, you can still appeal to the Left in the EP, they’ll listen, i’m sure. I’m very, very, proud of ordinary Bulgarians, who are showing they are WAY better than their “elites”. A warm embrace from Portugal, to my fellow comrads!

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Richard Smits June 20, 2013 at 09:47

PES seems to be listening, and they’ll surely hear more when they meet in Sofia on Saturday. http://sofiaglobe.com/2013/06/18/bulgarian-media-socialist-leader-stanishev-in-hot-water-ahead-of-pes-forum-in-sofia/

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Slaven June 20, 2013 at 10:28

Bro, the Left in the EP has as its president Sergey Stanishev, the person, at which the protests are directed. There hasn’t been a more servile, corrupt leader of a party, left or right in Europe in a long time.

I have a very right-wing mentality (economically), but it’s a shame true leftists don’t have a party in Bulgaria to put across their agenda. There is a meeting of the PES in Sofia this week, please to all of you leftists urge your socialist party to oust this crook. You deserve better.

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Slaven June 20, 2013 at 10:30

And stop taking credit for the protests, both left and right. Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria, these are protests for freedom against clandestine mafia-run, power-abusing goverments, from parties that brand themselves anything from socialists to conservative and traditionalists. It’s a fight for freedom, and only then you will have the chance to put your politics into the air.

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Jerome Roos June 20, 2013 at 14:05

Freedom is a political term dude. Politics is always already in the air, whether you like it or not. Besides, no one is taking credit here, we’re just reporting.

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Ivan June 20, 2013 at 14:03

Thanks for the support guys, Bulgaria is with you too! Brazil and Turkey stay strong!

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Dr Titcher June 20, 2013 at 22:41

This article is scattered. You’ve buried the lead. You must open with “Bulgarians demonstrate over corrupt government officials”, or something like that. Also, you must flood the websites of Reuters and the AP,UPI, the New York Times, and the BBC, with hundreds, or thousands, of photos of the demonstrators, and do so every day, until you get results. The demonstrations in Egypt and Turkey were publicized by professional journalists who were sympathetic to the protesters. You must reach out to those “stringers” and other representatives of the press, who work in Bulgaria or in surrounding countries. Do your research, find out who they are, and appeal to them before you try to appeal to the masses on the Internet. Social media got them to the demonstrations but it won’t inform the world. Nobody will pay attention, until you do.

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Jerome Roos June 21, 2013 at 01:42

Well, you are paying attention, and so are tens of thousands of people who actually read this piece. Besides, the article is not scattered: it’s a style of writing that (thankfully) does not conform to the dry inverted pyramid structure of your average Reuters report.

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georgi marinov June 24, 2013 at 01:56

“Bulgarians demonstrate over corrupt government officials” makes it just another article.
If you’d like to see a great example of “professional” journalism, look at spiegel.de who published two articles on the protests, ten hours apart. One, based on agencies, was great, the “extended” one was horrendous.
Traditional media is effed, mostly because it too plays its part in the scheme. We need it to get coverage, but have no illusions, after all The Wire’s Season 5 has many episodes.
Coverage so far (that I know of): Reuters, Euronews, BBC, CNN, Deutsche Welle, Spiegel, Le Figaro, and a nod from the Observer. We’re doing our best. Don’t tell us how to do it, help us spread the word.

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alex June 21, 2013 at 18:27

3 peaceful protests at the same time ! Next step 5. Next step 10. Soon my friends, soon.

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Bottomfield June 23, 2013 at 13:05

I’m affraid Cyrillic letters just aren’t gonna be adopted that easily on an international level.
Think about introducing at least a 2nd hashtag… like #OccupyBulgaria + #ChangeBulgaria or sth. more suitable alluding towards corruption etc.

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Gerardo Peña July 15, 2013 at 02:06

Stay Strong. Support from Mexico!
we are with you

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suke July 20, 2013 at 15:39

It looks like people are waking up all over the world. I wish you, turkey, egipt, greece, brasil and portugal all the strenght we need to fight this “legal” criminality our govs are! They have had their fun, and surely filled their pockets! enough is enough. No more power to corruption.
greetings from portugal

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Pedro July 20, 2013 at 23:04

Portugal is listening, sharing and watching!

#WeAllAreBrazil
#WeAllAreBulgaria
#WeAllAreTurkey
#WeallArePortugal
#WeallAreSpain
#WeallAreItaly
#WeallAreIrland
#WeallAreCyprus
#WeallareTheWorldCitizens
#WeareAllEUROPE
#rEvoltion!

Reply

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