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  • Borislav Ivanov

The Removal of The Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia

After years of objections from former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's GERB party, a massive monument commemorating the Soviet Army in Sofia will be dismantled and moved to a museum.

Although the pro-European coalition Democratic Bulgaria presented its request to the Sofia Council three years ago, it is now on the agenda of one of the Council's Committees and will most likely be debated during the Council session set for Thursday.

According to Democratic Bulgaria's plan, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova would seek that the monument is relocated to state property outside of the city centre.

"The monument was created for propaganda in a prime location where it would be continually passed by. Currently, this propaganda objective has faded, as has the requirement for its central location, from which it dominates all Bulgarian institutions," argues the proposal, which also mentions how hazardous the monument is to bystanders.

According to the plan, the monument is unrelated to any historical event. On September 5, 1944, the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and invaded its territory on September 8, 1944. Bulgaria lost BGN 82 billion in raw resources and agricultural productivity during the occupation, which lasted until 1947.

"In this sense, this monument, which names the army invading our nation a 'liberator,' is deceptive for the new generation, who did not witness that time and did not study it in school," according to the Democratic Bulgaria report.

While Borissov's party has refused to accept the suggestion filed three years ago, Borissov abruptly spoke out last week regarding removing the monument. He demanded that the inscription on the monument be removed immediately after it was smashed by a citizen in protest of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Fandakova declared a few hours later that a Committee had recognised the inscription as harmful and that it will be removed.

Borisov previously claimed that the GERB municipal councillors in Sofia would support Democratic Bulgaria's request to demolish the monument. The City Council made a resolution to demolish the monument in 1993, but it was never enacted.

According to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) mouthpiece Duma, BSP city councillors planned to create a human chain around the monument on March 9 to preserve it.

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