Press release addressed to Bulgarians and all others
On the weekend of 8-10 July, the Smârda district becomes the meeting point in Giurgiu for the return of the Danube Days 2022 festival. We look forward to giving due recognition to the historic Smârda district and its heritage with a programme full of tours, workshops and community activities!
This year, Giurgiu is back #FacingtheDanube. It is said that Danube towns are located either facing or facing away from the Danube, depending on the orientation of the neighbourhoods. However, we believe that there is also a social element, namely the way in which the city opens up its local heritage for others to discover, celebrate and protect.
A review of the Petkov government actions and a few suggestions for a more complex understanding of Bulgarian political life
The political crisis that led to the fall of Kiril Petkov’s government provoked a lot of protests and counterprotests. Bulgaria’s partners are beginning to worry that political instability has returned to Bulgarian society. There are fears of a possible rise of pro-Russian tendencies. And Western partners are worried that the steps undertaken by the Petkov government to promote “change” – e.g. reduced access by the oligarchy to state money – would be reversed.
These fears could still be justified but I would prefer to look at the Bulgarian political evolution not as a zero sum game, where the pendulum moves either to the US or to Russia. I rather see here the superstructure of a society undergoing a transformation from the longstanding regime of “stabilocracy” under prime minister Boyko Borissov which ended last year with its decapitation. In my view, Bulgarians are interesting and deserve engagement not only when they are ruled by a John Travolta-looking prime minister. The battle for modernization and “change” of the country will continue no matter what the governing formula is. And perhaps, a correct understanding of Bulgarian society, contradictions and essence, could help the very process of change.
Geopolitics could be one reason among more for the fall of Kiril Petkov’s team
Bulgarian government fell on 22 June 2022 after no-confidence motion. The fall of Kirill Petkov government was accompanied by massive protests in support of what it had done or attempted: hitting some of the oligarchic vested interests in the energy, customs, transport and construction sectors.
Delyan Peevski, a big businessman and MP from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, an opposition party voted in by ethnic Turks, said immediately after the fall of the government that this would be the first step in the big fight against oligarchy. The conflict between Peevski and businessman Ivo Prokopiev is well known, a conflict that has led to anti-oligarchic protests before. Today Peevski’s colleagues were constantly talking about how the Petkov government is supported by Prokopiev.
Today’s events have also passed in the shadow of the so-called “French proposal/French europresidency’s proposal” to resolve the dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The proposal stipulates that Bulgaria should allow negotiations for EU accession with Macedonia to begin, and that Bulgarian demands related broadly to neutralising the ideology of Macedonism should be part of the negotiating framework, with the EU and Bulgaria guaranteeing their fulfilment over time.
Vladimir Mitev and Doru Dragomir presented their joint initiative in a video
The Bridge of Friendship blog and the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce Bulgaria-Romania are initiating a series of video talks about important economic and intercultural issues related to the Bulgarian-Romanian space. In episode zero of this talk the blog’s editor Vladimir Mitev and the chamber’s president Doru Dragomir presented their joint initiative.
Interview with a Bulgarian language translator and tutor for Bulgarian drivers in road accidents in Romania
The Bridge of Friendship blog continues its series of articles about the problems Bulgarian drivers face on Romanian roads and offers some possible information about things drivers can pay attention to in order to avoid damage. This article is an interview with Romanian translator of Bulgarian origin Ivan Vasilchin, who has more knowledge from his practice as a tutor and translator for Bulgarians who have cases to deal with in Romania.
A study in history and in the works of film criticism of a remarkable cultural phenomenon
This article is part of the book “Studies in Romanian and Balkan Cinema” by the Romanian film critic Marian Țuțui. He works at the Art Institute of the Romanian Academy and is currently preparing a history of Romanian cinema. Țuțui is a well-known name in the film circles of Bulgaria and Macedonia. Among other things, he has a degree in Bulgarian and Romanian from the University of Bucharest.
The first cinematographic projection in Bulgaria took place on 8th of December 1896(Karjilov 2007)while the first fiction film, Balgaran e galant (The Bulgarian Is Gallant) was made in 1915 by Vassil Gendov, a prolific director who studied acting in Vienna. The first sound film, Buntat na robite (The Slaves’ Revolt, 1933) is also due to Gendov, while the first animation film, Pakosnitsi. Mukhata (Pests: The Fly)by Zahari Zahariev and Vasil Bakardjiev was made in 1937.
Bulgarian cinema has had sporadic success abroad. Its first major award was an early one (1946) in Venice for an ethnographic documentary, Svatba na selo (Village Wedding, Stoyan Hristov) about Sovoliano wedding customs, in South-Western Bulgaria. It was followed by awards for fiction films in Venice: Neposkoen pat (Troubled Road, a Man Decides, Ivan Bratanov, 1955) and a Silver Lion for Ritzar bez bronya (Knight without Armor, Borislav Sharailiev, 1966), as well as a Silver Bear in Berlin for Avantazh (Advantage, Georgi Djulgerov, 1978). (Tutui 2011, 314-15) The most recent success, albeit almost 30 years ago, was for an animation film, Zhenitba (The Wedding, Rumen Petkov and Slav Bakalov), which received a Golden Palm in Cannes in 1985 for the best short-length film.
Among other things, Europe Day 2022 in the Bulgarian city of Rousse was also the occasion for a Bulgarian-Romanian celebration of the 15th anniversary of the accession of the two countries to the EU. In the context of the war in Ukraine, local activists and representatives of institutions developing Bulgarian-Romanian relations gathered on a ship in the Danube, in an event demonstrating the Bulgarian government’s desire for better ties with Romania
Just a few months before the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, both Bulgaria and Romania formed their current governments and intensified their diplomatic and political relations. A number of diplomatic visits took place between their governments and heads of states. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s visit to Bucharest at the end of April 2022 came up with a decision to open a new border crossing between the two countries at Ruse-Giurgiu which will manage the passenger and cargo flow of the ferry link planned to be reopened between the two cities. Plans for five new bridges between the two countries were also announced, one of them at Ruse-Giurgiu.
That being said, political relations between the two countries have been less intensive for quite a long time during the era of Bulgarian prime minister Borissov. The spirit of competition between the two countries used to be easier to be observed while cooperation between them at the level of states was not so evident.
In this context, an event was held on 9 May 2022 on a ship in Rousse to mark the 15th anniversary of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU. It was organized by the Elias Canetti Society in Rousse in coordination with a number of institutions from Rousse, under the aegis of the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria and the Ministry of Transport (whose minister – Nikolai Sabev – is from Rousse and shows interest in development of infrastructure in Northern Bulgaria). The “celebration” took place on the ship “Rustchuk” in the presence of diplomats from European embassies and local politicians from Ruse. “Rustchuk” in the presence of diplomats from European embassies and local politicians from Ruse. A representative of the Romanian Embassy was present.
On May 7, 2022, for the seventh consecutive year, the free walking tours in Ruse, known as the Ruse Summer Free Tour, will start. They are intended at both Bulgarian and foreign visitors and residents of Ruse, and their route covers the most iconic buildings and places in the central parts of the city.
In 2022 the tours will be held every Saturday from May to September inclusive. They will start at 6PM from the Statue of Liberty, where professionals and enthusiasts from the tourism industry in the region will share their knowledge about the history and urban legends of the places that visitors will go by during the tours.
Over the last 30 years, children with rare diseases in Bulgaria and Romania have been waiting for a modern children’s hospital that could properly meet their needs. However, an insufficient healthcare system and political discourse have prevented this from happening
Vyara Yoncheva is currently studying in Sofia University “St Kliment Ohridski”. Her research interests are focused on the culture and geopolitics of the Balkans, Caucasus region, the Middle East and their historical intertwining.
This article was published on 24 January 2022 at the Greek site Balkans In Site.
Interview with an important Romanian film critic about the strengths and weaknesses of the Romanian New Wave and Romanian documentary cinema, Bulgarian documentaries, Bulgarian-Romanian co-productions, the history of Romanian cinema, the financial aspects of the Romanian film industry and the closeness between Bulgarian and Romanian realities
Marian Țuțui is a Romanian film critic and researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Romanian Academy. He is currently working on a book about the history of Romanian cinema. In January 2022, he presented his latest book on Balkan cinema in Romanian. Among other things, Marian Țuțui holds a degree in Bulgarian language and Romanian language from the University of Bucharest.