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.
And Pazardzhik, in general, is interesting because it can be considered the birthplace of Bulgarian nationalism.
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.
С тържествено честване Панагюрище отбеляза 142 години от Освобождението на България - PIA-news
Boyan Angelov Panagyrishte
But the father himself, the mayor of Panagyurishte, is quite interesting, with his ties to the chairman of the Bulgarian Writers' Union Boyan Angelov - who is also a native of Panagyurishte, Pazardzhik. The Bulgarian Writers' Union was the most important propaganda organ of the Communist regime, shaping, and continuing to do so, Bulgarian culture for 75 years. Boyan Angelov is a two-term member of the Supreme Council of the BSP (former Communist Party), making him one of the most powerful contemporary people in Bulgaria in the former Communist Party. Boyan Angelov is on the Board of the all-powerful institution in Bulgaria - the Culture Fund - operating with hundreds of millions of funds from the culture budget and setting the trends in contemporary Bulgarian culture, which is financially completely dependent on his funding.
There are 3614 registered People's community libraries in Bulgaria, which differ from the library network, but are funded by the Budget funds, as well as relying on projects from the Culture Fund.
Since 1990 he has been the editor-in-chief of People's community libraries magazine, and from 1994 to 2002 he was the deputy chairman of the People's community libraries. He is the chairman of the People's community libraries-1870 Foundation.
Since the beginning of 2013 he has been the director of Bulgarian Writer Publishing House.
When we talk about Bulgaria and Bulgarian culture we should keep in mind that we are talking about the most corrupt country in Europe. Secondly, when we talk about the Culture Fund and the Ministry of Culture, we have to remember that we are talking about hundreds of millions every year, unaccountably spent. And all these huge ressources from EU go to finanse a Bulgarian culture that for 35 years has been based on nostalgia for Communism. And we are talking about the presentation of everything Western as Decadent, Harmful, Vile, Fascist and Nazi.
And last, but not least, when we talk about Culture related to Pazardzhik, we should not forget an extremely important family - the Minenkovs, who are responsible for the overall image of Bulgarian culture over the last 75 years.
More than just friends
НИКОЛА БЕЛИШКИ ВРЪЧИ НАГРАДА НА БОЯН АНГЕЛОВ - Съюз на Българските Писатели (sbp.bg)
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.