On August 25, fences were erected around the Soviet Army monument in Sofia, following heated controversy over its dismantling.
It is now closed. On August 25, local authorities ordered the Soviet Army monument in Sofia to be protected, following heated controversy over its dismantling. The mayor of Sredets district, Traicho Traikov, invoked security reasons to justify the work.
The monument, erected in 1954, has sparked fierce controversy in the country since the Ukraine conflict between pro and anti-Russians, with calls to move it from the city center sparking opposition and social unrest.
On August 18, four people were arrested while trying to vandalize the monument, at the foot of which activists wanting to defend it had set up a small camp.
37 meters high, the Red Army Memorial was erected in 1954 by the Soviet authorities to celebrate the “liberation” of Bulgaria at the end of the Second World War, then governed by a monarchy allied to the Third Reich. The latter, however, did not declare war on the USSR, which did not intervene in the country until 1944.
Last March, during the City Council’s vote, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova described the monument as a work of “propaganda”, as Euractiv reported, and called for it to be moved to a museum of socialist-era arts. Activists, supported by the pro-Russian Vazrazhdane party and the Socialist Party, had reacted, demanding the defense of the monument.
Bulgaria is going through a deep political crisis, divided between the West and the Russian world. Following a legislative election held in early April – the fifth in two years – a pro-Western coalition government was elected. Several demonstrations have been organized since the spring to demand the neutrality of the country. Moreover, at the beginning of July, President Roumen Radev firmly reminded his Ukrainian counterpart of Bulgaria’s refusal to supply arms to Kiev and pleaded for a political resolution of the conflict.
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