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17/05/22

Planned May 9 Observances Reflect Deep Rift in Bulgarian Nation

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In the context of Russia’s unabating war against Ukraine, a deeply divided Bulgarian nation is readying to mark May 9 with diametrically opposed messages.
On Monday, a pro-Russian foundation will stage its annual Immortal Regiment Parade, with participants carrying pictures of relatives and/or family friends who fought in the anti-fascist resistance and against Nazi Germany during WW II.
On its website, the foundation commented that holding the Immortal Regiment has been banned in many countries in 2022. "That is how the fascists act: they ban and will not tolerate any viewpoint but their own," the organizers argued.
In Sofia, the Democratic Bulgaria municipal councillors on Sunday issued a declaration calling on City Hall to ban the Immortal Regiment procession, planned for the morning of May 9, because "it honours the Red Army which occupied Bulgaria after September 9, 1944." "It is unacceptable that the flags of an aggressor country should be waved in the centre of a country that is part of the EU and NATO," the councillors insist. They warn that "the event will undoubtedly be used as a pretext to express support for the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine which are entirely unlawful and at variance with international law."
Another initiative, due to take place in the capital city on Monday evening, is mottoed "No To Ruscism! March for Freedom and Peace".
The title apparently reacts to last week’s "Bulgarian March for Peace and Neutrality", organized by the anti-NATO, anti-American, Eurosceptic and Rissophile nationalist party Vazrazhdane which is represented in Parliament. The participants in that protest waved Russian flags, displayed Z signs, and sang the version of the national anthem that was valid under communism. An action with the same demands, plus a resignation of the Government, was repeated in front of the National Assembly building on May 6. The organizers of the March for Freedom and Peace, planned for May 9, pledged to boycott "appeals by the pro-Russian lobbies in Bulgaria" "to indulge in hypocritical festivities on the occasion of the Day of Russia’s victory against fascist Germany". "We will not do so because today’s fascism is in Putin’s Russia," they argued, adding that "celebrations are are out of place" "because the terrorist state, which is bombing children, torturing and raping, razing cities and destroying human lives in Ukraine and is blackmailing the whole world, has made a mockery of the millions of victims in the struggle against Nazism during WW II."

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