WHO IS BEHIND THE PROTESTS?

by Stamen Manolov

Expectedly, the name of George Soros was one of the first to be put into circulation as a chief suspect.

protests bulgaria 2013.jpg

The Hungarian-born billionaire who once forced the pound sterling out of what at the time was referred to as the European Monetary Mechanism is a well-known philanthropist who's spent millions of dollars on promoting democracy, education and free thought in the countries of the former Warsaw Pact. Through his network of Open Society foundations and institutes, Soros has contributed significantly to the development of civil societies in the region, including Bulgaria.

Still, in some pro-Communist circles in the country and the media associated with them, George Soros is known as A/ a Jew, and B/ an American subversive out to destroy Bulgaria's economy and enslave it with cash if not with weapons. This way of thinking may appear hilarious, but it is in fact quite serious and has been going on with varying intensity ever since the financier set up his first charity in Bulgaria in the early 1990s.

So, in August 2013 Vagabond, completely by accident, met some of the figureheads of the ongoing street protests - in the village of Varvara on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. These folks were on holiday but in the best Bulgarian tradition they tried to combine pleasure with business by setting off to nearby Tsarevo to protest against the appointment of Petko Arnaudov, the former mayor, to a senior state environmental position which they considered tantamount to making a convicted murderer head of homicide.

A small girl appears in front of the hotel. Looking at the placard being carried by one of the protestors, the girl asks: "Mum, is this George Soros?"

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