Feature 05 Dec 16

Anti-Communist Law Opens Old Wounds in Bulgaria

Legal amendments banning the public display of communist symbols have angered communists across Europe and reawakened old disputes at home. 

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
The monument of the Soviet army in Sofia, illegally painted by anonymous artists in 2011. Photo: Ignat Ignev/CC BY 3.0

As the world turns its gaze towards the funeral of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s long-lasting communist leader, memories - and arguments about - the old communist regime that fell 27 years ago are very much alive in Bulgaria.

By amending a law passed in the 2000s on the “Criminal Nature of the Communist Regime”, to ban the display of communist symbols in public and introduce the history of the communist era into schools, Bulgarian MPs have provoked heated debates at home as well as condemnation from remaining communists in Europe.

The European Communist Initiative, which unites around 30 communist parties across Europe, on Friday said it totally condemned the new anti-communist law, “which provocatively claims that the ‘communist regime is criminal’ and requires the removal of communist symbols and messages, and makes anti-communist propaganda in university and school books compulsory."

It added: “This new anti-communist offensive is integrated into the goal of the EU bourgeois governments to falsify and rewrite history, employing persecution of communist parties and of communists, criminalizing their activity and banning communist ideology.”

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