Issue 190

IS IT REALLY ABOUT MAKEDONIYA-A-A?

Slavi Trifonov, the showman and crooner credited with propagating chalga culture in Bulgaria, could not have put it more plainly. As he "withdrew" his ministers from the outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov's reformist government, thus causing a major political crisis, he let out a rallying cry: "It's for Makedoniya-a-a!" His message was simple, yet powerful.

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FLYING LOW

In early June a small plane flew into Bulgarian airspace from the northwest and landed at what used to be a commercial airport near Vidin. Apparently, the aircraft refuelled. It is unclear whether the pilot or pilots got any on-the-ground assistance from anyone or just poured fuel into the plane's tank from canisters. Guards from a private security company that was supposed to protect the ruins of Vidin Airport, which was abandoned in the 1990s, noticed the activity and alerted the local police. But the aircraft was quicker. She took off before the police arrived.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

I will speak out, you will see me, but you will hear the words of Mr Slavi Trifonov.

Toshko Yordanov, MP for the There Is Such a People party

Kiril Petkov would have had a long political career if he did not talk like this.

Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova

We already showed that we are not an outgoing government. The Bulgarian government and institutions are still in place and no one is above the law.

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FAIRYTALE CHURCH

When travelling near Kazanlak in the Valley of Roses (also known as the Valley of Thracian Kings), your attention will be drawn to three monuments on the slopes of the Stara Planina mountain range. The first is the silhouette of the crumbling concrete "flying saucer" of the Communist Party Buzludzha House. The second is the bulwark-ish monument to the 1877-1878 defenders of the Shipka Pass. The third is the golden domes of a Russian-style church that gleam amid the forest above the town of Shipka.

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WHAT HAPPENED AT PETROVA NIVA?

Men dressed in early 20th century military uniforms, patriotic songs and speeches, lots of banners and grilled meat stalls: if you crave attending a mass event after the end of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, consider visiting Petrova Niva in the third weekend of August.

Marked with a sombre stone monument at a picturesque bend of the Veleka river, Petrova Niva is connected to a heroic and traumatic event in Bulgarian history, the St Elijah-Transfiguration Uprising.

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