Bulgaria calls to destroy Soviet mass grave

A number of Bulgarian public organizations protests against the idea

On May 7, 2020, Konstatin Pavlov, head of Lozenets district in Sofia, approached the mayor with an idea of dismantling the monument to Soviet soldiers. Located in one of the public parks in Lozenets, a bronze statue depicts two Soviet soldiers. The monument stands on the mass burial ground of 154 soldiers and officers, the inscription on it reading “Glory to Soviet liberators”. 

A member of Democratic Bulgaria, a rightwing political alliance, Konstantin Pavlov claims the monument is a “symbol of the totalitarian era” that needs to be moved to the Museum of Social Art created in 2011. Pavlov also offered to rebury the remnants of soldiers at the cemetery and turn the site into a new park, dedicated to journalist Anna Politkovskaya. In support of his idea, Lozenets dictrict head refers to the joint statement by the U. S. Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, dated May 7, 2020, denouncing “Soviet totalitarianism”. 

The proposal of the Lozenets district head raised discontent among several public organizations in Bulgaria that asked the authorities to defend the monument to Soviet soldiers. In its complaint sent to President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, the Bulgaria—Russia Coordination Council noted that “The proposal of Losenets capital district mayor to remove the monument to Soviet soldiers killed during the Great Patriotic War, from their mass burial site, is controversial and intolerable… Not only is the proposal inconsistent and ignorant, but also it contradicts the Geneva Convention and a whole series of resolutions of U.N. General Assembly that prohibit – and define as blasphemous – any acts taken against monuments to victims of the war against Nazism.” 

The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria characterized Pavlov’s initiative as “the mocking over the ash of heroes who died liberating Europe and the world from Nazism.” “We believe such initiative to be intolerable, contradicting to the treaty of friendship between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bulgaria dated August 4, 1992 (Article 14) and the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Republic of Bulgaria on cooperation in the fields of culture, education and science dated April 19, 1993 (Article 10), and not corresponding to the generally positive atmosphere of the Russian-Bulgarian relationship,” said the official statement by the Russian Embassy.  

In mid-February 2020, the monument to Soviet soldiers in Lozenets saw a barbaric attack, with unidentified individuals damaging the sculptures of the Soviet soldiers and USSR state symbols on banners carved in marble on the pedestal. The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria allocated money to have the monument fully restored before the VE-Day.  

On April 15, 2020, unidentified perpetrators committed another barbaric attack on the monument to Soviet soldiers who died liberating the Bulgarian town of Dobrich. The monument in St. George park  was painted white and pink. 

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