JOKE OF THE MONTH

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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GOING, GOING...

The cops by far outnumber the construction workers wielding chop saws inside a ladder hoist. There have been no press releases, nor the obligatory information signs to tell the public what's going on. The area has been cordoned off. No media are allowed behind the metal fences.

Ahead of Christmas, the park in front of Sofia University, once known as Freedom Park but now bearing its restored name of Prince's Garden, looks like a melee zone.

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ASEN VASILEV GETS BANNED FROM BALLOT BOX

The man, who went to his native Haskovo, in southern Bulgaria, to vote in the local elections was turned away by the election authority because he failed to live up to the basic requirement of having had an address in his constituency for at least six months. The Haskovo commission announced the address they had for Vasilev dated back to 2000 and was in the United States.

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PRE-ELECTION TALK

"Hey, beauty, let's go home and have sex."

" I can't do it just like that. We do not even have common acquaintances."

"Well, do you know Boyko Borisov?"

"Yes, I do."

"So, let's go!"

***

They say there is no unemployment in Bulgaria. That's not true. Look at how many people are looking for jobs as mayors.

***

When you see many people dressed in suits go to church and light candles or plant trees, local elections are in the offing.

***

Two politicians talk to each other.

"Hey, pal, how did you get rich?"

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LONG LIVE RED ARMY MONUMENT

Other angry citizens have taken to the park, where the MOCHA is situated. They have set up tents threatening they will defend with their bodies the pile of stones which they see as epitomising the victorious Red Army's fight against Nazism, for which the Bulgarian nation should be "eternally grateful." In the agencies of the state pen-pushers of all shapes and sizes scurry to manifest why the Red Army moment cannot be dismantled, at least not in the foreseeable future.

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FLYING COLOURS & METEORITES

Firstly, a bright light appeared in the sky over Vidin, at the River Danube, one dark, hot and mosquito-infested night. It was reputedly followed by a loud explosion. People were mesmerised and slightly frightened. During the following days the media reported a unusually large meteorite burning over Romanian territory, leaving no identifiable debris. But the event, which will probably go down in local lore as the World-Famous Vidinska Event, was the beginning rather than the end of the story.

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CAR OF DISCORD

Everyone who has had some work to do with the Bulgarian police should have noticed the despicable conditions in which rank and file officers often work. Their uniforms are bad, their offices have been last repaired in the times when the Bulgarian police was called People's Militia, and they often have to pay out of their pocket for fuel to drive their rather old and rusty patrol cars.

Seemingly, some officers have found an ingenious way to drive something better. No, we are not talking about the confiscated Porsche that Sofia police used to patrol with in the 2000s.

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VACUITY AND WINDBAGGISM

Voters are being exposed to a plethora of pledges designed to make them feel good – and cast their ballots for whoever talks louder. Significantly, pundits and publicists try to make their speech acts as concrete as possible, knowing the increasingly wary voters are not easily impressed by nice-sounding but meaningless niceties and empty commonplaces.

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TESLA AND SPACEX OVER IN... BELOGRADCHIK

"Pretty sure that was in Elden Ring" Musk wrote, possibly without knowing that the photographer, Vladislav Terziyski, had heavily manipulated his picture, and possibly without realising that difficult-to-pronounce Belogradchik was a real town in a real country outside George R. R. Martin's computer game.

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'DEFILING' ABANDONED PILE OF STONES

Perushtitsa, now a small and offbeat town rarely visited by tourists, is known to every Bulgarian as the sight of a massacre in the failed April 1876 Uprising against the Ottomans. Thirty-two-year-old Ruth Koleva is a notorious jazz, soul and R&B singer who recently signed up with Warner Music. She spends most of her time outside Bulgaria where she has excellent career opportunities. 

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BUZLUDZHA LIGHTS UP AGAIN

The Flying Saucer, which in recent years has become one of the Top 10 world monuments for urbex, or dark tourism, was constructed in the early 1980s. It was designed to celebrate the Bulgarian Communist Party, in control of this country from 1944 to 1989. It was supposed to withstand the ravishes of both time and nature for several hundred years, as the Communists, who had commissioned it, thought they would be in power eternally.

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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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IS THERE A PILOT IN THE PLANE?

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 noticed the activity and alerted the local police. But the aircraft was quicker. It took off before the police arrived.

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IRON BARS, NO IRON BARS

Lovers of freedom were quick to cry fowl. Is this what the supposedly liberal, pro-Western Changes Continued government is doing? Protecting itself from the love of the general public with iron bars? Not even in the darkest days of Boyko Borisov's GERB had we seen anything like that, they intoned to their agony aunt, Facebook.

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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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WE CATCH THEM, THEY LET THEM GO FREE

As soon as the news of the Thursday evening arrests broke out a significant chunk of the Bulgarian population went into a frenzied jubilation comparable, according to one observer, to that goal at the 1994 World Championship Bulgaria scored against Germany. That goal. Folks started popping open new bottles of Rakiya and some of Borisov's neighbours in Bankya even organised a small fireworks display. Is the tyrant really going where he should have gone a long time ago?, Bulgarians were asking their Facebook friends.

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OLD IS NEW, AND VICE VERSA

The leaders of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, or BSP, Kornelia Ninova; of Yes Bulgaria, Hristo Ivanov; and of Democratic Bulgaria, or DB, Gen Atanas Atanasov resigned. The reason, they said, had to do with the bad election performance of their respective political organisations. Their action was novel in Bulgarian politics and the civil service as such: very few Bulgarians resign from any position of power unless they really have to.

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