Issue 187

VLADIMIR DOKOV: CHANGING THE GAME

Euro Games Technology (EGT) is an example of the concept that everything is possible when the right goals are set, and innovation goes together with strategic management and a winner’s mindset.

Established as a local manufacturer in 2002, EGT has grown to a tech-leader in the global gaming and casino industry, selling in five continents in over 100 countries. It has offices in 26 global locations managed by Bulgarians, who have built their careers within the company.

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WHY DO SO MANY BULGARIANS SUPPORT PUTIN?

Perhaps surprisingly for a country that was once an enthusiastic applicant to join NATO and the EU Bulgaria is now home to a significant number of people who support... Russia's tyrant Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine. The pro-Putin Bulgarians even have a political party that represents them in parliament. It is called Vazrazhdane, or Revival, and was quick to abandon, as soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, its anti-vaxxer stance to espouse Putin's propaganda.

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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

A recent example is the Sofia City Council's decision to rename one of the streets around where the Russian Embassy is situated to The Heroes of Ukraine, and a nearby small square to Boris Nemtsov. In addition, they agreed to have an Ukrainian flag hoisted on top of the Sofia City Council building for as long as Putin's war in Ukraine continued. The city councillors belonging to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, opposed but the decision was passed anyway.

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FINDING ANTIP KOEV OBUSHTAROV

In early 2021 veteran Kazanlak-based photographer Alexander Ivanov went to the Shipka community culture house called Svetlina, founded in 1861, to inspect "some negatives" that had been gathering the dust in cardboard boxes. The boxes were donated to the culture house in 1995. Previously, they had been stashed at the Chirpanliev House in Shipka in the course of 26 years.

What Alexander Ivanov discovered in those boxes changed his life – and the story of what little there is to 20th century Bulgarian photography.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Even if you shut us down, organised crime will gladly welcome us.

Vilislava Angelova, judge at the Specialised Criminal Court

I used to think that in the general scheme of things truth does not matter.

General Prosecutor Ivan Geshev

Do not be afraid, Bulgarians. Inflation will only get worse.

Financial expert Mika Zaykova

As a Defence Minister I have no right of personal opinion.

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SOZOPOL WITHOUT TEARS

Should I visit Sozopol? There is hardly a place that divides opinion more than this town on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Yes, by all means do go to Sozopol, will urge some of your Bulgarian friends. They will then lose themselves in nostalgic memories of strolling the quiet lanes of the town, the charm of the traditional houses under the balmy summer or early autumn sun, the buzz and energy of the Apollonia Arts Festival, the pleasure of sunbathing on golden beaches and jumping into the sea from the picturesque rocks around.

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EXPLORING ROMAN PLOVDIV

Plovdiv claims 7,000 years of uninterrupted history, starting from prehistoric times, but the earliest visible traces of this long past are much younger. They date back to the times when the city was called Philippopolis and was a major centre of government and commerce in the Roman province of Thrace.

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THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

Guidebooks boast about the beauty and artistic importance of the murals in Bulgaria's churches that date from the later centuries of Ottoman domination. Created by a society that was still deeply rooted in medieval tradition, but which was beginning to look towards and absorb Western European influences, this style of decoration sometimes charms but is sometimes hard to stomach. To the enthusiastic art lover, it embodies the search for new artistic means that defined the work of Bulgarian painters in the late 18th and 19th century.

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