If the Oscars are ever to be awarded to Bulgarian actors, a few must go to Panagyurishte, Pazardzhik.
At first glance, it seems that there are young people in Bulgaria who hate Russia so much that they burn Russian flags and embrace far-right ideology. But this is all on the surface, as there is a funny expression in Bulgaria: "For the eyes of the American Embassy". But sometimes to understand some macro events we need to look at micro regions and specific people. A rather interesting one is the town of Panagyurishte, Pazardzhik Region, where the media has so developed a young man Ivan Belishki, who lit the Russian flag and came into conflict with the Russophile Vazrazhdane. As well as from there is probably one of the most important people in Bulgarian culture- Boyan Angelov, also from Panagyurishte.
On February 23rd, 2023 a plaque was broken on the Russian Monument in Sofia. A wave of nationalist support was raised on social media. One of the main ones was from various political figures from VMRO, one of the bosom of Bulgarian "nationalism". Which, between the two, had been in the government of Bulgaria for more than a decade, as independent partners or as patriotic coalitions. The same nationalism that in many cases played the role of Putin's regime's lawyer, as well as an accomplice in pushing Russian gas policies in the Balkans and Europe.
But the "pseudo" nationalist forces in Bulgaria
have generally quite selective positive anti-Russian campaigns. Take for example the man who lit the Russian flag in Sofia. If we look on the Internet, the guy is supported and promoted by VMRO and other patriotic organizations. As is compulsively working on his personal brand as a pro-Ukrainian nationalist.
Ivan Belishki Case
But let's look behind the personal and political PR, who he is, where he comes from:
Ivan Belishki, is the son of Nikolai Belishki(mayor of Panagyurishte, Pazardzhik region). He is a fan of CSKA Sofia, who in the last two years has undergone a complete personal catharsis, typical of Bulgarian patriotic and nationalist political formations.
Public Image today:
His current public image (yes he has been developed quite seriously on bulgarian medias as an anti-Russian image) is characterized as an ultra-nationalist, hating Russia (the first Bulgarian to publicly burn the Russian flag several times). Who is supported by VMRO and who is in conflict with the pro-Russian Vazrazhdane.
Two years ago:
2020, together with his father on March 3, 2020 celebrate officially in front of the monument of the Russian General Dandevil, the so-called "Liberator of Panagyurishte", 142 years since the liberation of Panagyurishte from "Turkish rule". Ivan Belishki is in military uniform and Russian military medal given for bravery in the 19th century.
Boyan Angelov Panagyrishte
One of the most important people in the distribution of state money (hundreds of millions) for culture in Bulgaria is Boyan Angelov, a PhD student at the Institute for Philosophical Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He is part of the leadership of the Higher Council (the highest body) of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (former Communist Party) member of the Board of the National Fund "Culture", Chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Writers, Boyan has been Editor-in-Chief of the magazine "People's Chitalishte Libraries", and from 1994 to 2002 he was Deputy Chairman of the Union of People's Chitalishte Libraries. He is the chairman of the People's Community Libraries-1870 Foundation. There are 3,614 registered People's Chitalishte Libraries in Bulgaria, which are distinct from the library network and have nothing in common with the same number of state libraries, but are financed by budgetary funds, and rely on projects from the Culture Fund. Since the beginning of 2013 he has been the director of the Bulgarian Writer Publishing House.. Angelov is from Panagyurishte, Pazardzhik Region. He was appointed to the Culture Fund by the Minister of Culture from Pazardzhik - Veleslav Minenkov. He is the author of the book "The Image of the Contemporary in Young Bulgarian and USSR Poetry". More about Boyan Angelov: The Deceptive Hatred Towards Russia (theangel.today)
More than just friends
The Union of Bulgarian Writers with Chairman Boyan Angelov, in 2020 the winners are the Mayor of Panagyurishte Nikola Belishki and Deputy Mayor Galina Matanova "For contribution to contemporary Bulgarian literature".
Boyan Angelov received from Nikola Belishki in 2022 the most prestigious award of Panagyurishte "Luborodie", which is awarded for his overall creative and professional path and his worthy life causes.
Even Panagyurishte Municipality finances books of a man with such a rich portfolio of businesses, including even a publishing house like Boyan Angelov.