A whopping 250+ days of protests in a row demanding the resignation of Plamen Oresharski’s government have gripped Bulgaria since June 14 when the prime minister appointed Delyan Pehevski — a well-known Bulgarian oligarch — for head of the National State Security Agency. The public pressure led to his withdrawal, but Pehevski nonetheless became the summary image of the grotesque that is Bulgarian democracy today: brutal, short-sighted, cynical, oligarchic and shallow.
‘If you want to know the truth — ask a child’ says an old Bulgarian proverb. The current events in Bulgaria have actually confirmed the validity of this folk wisdom. While the analysts internationally had been scratching their heads trying to figure out the political background of the protests, a 7-years-old boy who came to demonstrate with his parents revealed this ‘secret’ — in very simple words — to a journalist of the Bulgarian National Television.
– There is no way we can stand it anymore. You can’t live here! We hate to politicians, we hate the parties, we hate the parliament, we hate the thieves, we hate the mafia, we hate the nonsense around us. No money, no jobs, no state really. Poverty and death around us. You can’t live here! — he shouted to the microphone held against this face and proudly waved the miniature Bulgarian flag he had in his hands. This clip recorded in the early fall last year became one of the major hits in the Bulgarian internet.
This short statement, no matter how childish in its form is — in fact — very exhaustive and explanatory. At first glance it appears very confusing, particularly to an external observer. What does one associate Bulgaria with in the West? Cheap tourist destination most of all. But in the political dimension, officially, Bulgaria has a lot of democracy going on — laws, elections, a parliament, a president, EU membership, free will… Look from the outside, and it’s clearly there. The inside of this strange hologram, though, feels completely different, especially if you are a Bulgarian. One little scratch of this liberal-democratic surface and the excrement starts leaking massively.