FUN

NEED A CONSPIRACY THEORY?

Atanas Atanasov is a general. He was the head of the Bulgarian security service under Ivan Kostov, the Bulgarian prime minister in 1997-2001, who inimitably prompted just two reactions: love or hate. There are still people who swear by him because they think he was resolute in dismantling the Communist system, and other people who swear at him because they consider all evils to have befallen Bulgaria since 1989 to be directly or indirectly attributable to him.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

He who takes wads of cash will perish by wads of cash.

Boyko Borisov on the scandal involving Boyko Rashkov, former interior minister. Rashkov's dog appeared in leaked photos along wads of cash supposedly owned by two businessmen allegedly involved in contraband

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

First you see a pretty, almost fairy-tale, unmistakably Russian church. Soon you reach a larger-than-life equestrian statue representing a 19th century Russian monarch. Further up there is another church, a cathedral, bearing the name of a Russian saint. Turn left and you will hit Parensov Street, named so after a Russian general. And a tram trundles along a pedestrianised road called Count Ignatieff. It is not named after Michael, but after a distant predecessor, also unmistakably Russian.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

We must not look as though we are not determined to go on with reforms.

Hristo Ivanov, Co-Chairman of CC-DB

GERB has a single leader. If I meet with 5-6 people I will be outnumbered. These people do not behave. If you were in a meeting where Kiril Petkov breaks bottles and glass on the table, would you want a leaders' meeting?

Boyko Borisov, leader of GERB, on why he avoids meeting with the leaders of the CC-DB coalition

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

In recent months the telltale Soviet soldier waving a submachine gun is gone and the whole compound has been fenced off. It is being protected round the clock by Bulgarian police. Opponents of the monument, who disparagingly refer to its as the MOCHA, want it knocked down completely and immediately. Supporters however say removing it will be an affront to this country's 20th century history. The anti and pro groups are at their necks as both like to use historical events to justify current political ambitions. Their confrontation is unlikely to subside any time soon.

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

It tells of a boy who loved to dive, but a storm once trapped him to his death in a submarine cave just under the rocks. As no one can deny that the naturally formed rock looks a lot like the manmade moai on Easter Island, some 12,000 miles away, a newer albeit less convincing hypothesis brings in some extraterrestrials, who made the link between the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

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ROTATING, ROTATING...

When it was hammered out last year with the support of Boyko Borisov's GERB (whom everyone left, right and centre of Kiril Petkov, Asen Vasilev, Hristo Ivanov and Gen Atanas Atanasov swore was the godfather of all evils to befall Bulgaria in the past 10 years), it was made clear that the "fixture" would "rotate" every nine months. Nine months since its inception are supposed to end in March.

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