November 10, 1989 officially fell the Communist regime in Bulgaria. But unlike many Eastern European countries, there is no lustration in Bulgaria, there is a lowering and repainting of the previous elite. The transition is peaceful, with the regime prepared for the natural transition, sacrificing its Party leader but keeping everything else. 35 years later, from a historical point of view, it can be said that the political system and its derivatives are simply gradually attempting mimicry. Culture and art just remain intact, under the pretext that they are not as important as the economy, are left in the shadows on the side. The ex totalitarian artists are enjoying the overwhelming support of the media, with which they sometimes mimic enmity to fend off any pro-Western aspirations. From the prism of time, motives much stronger than self-interest, the inability to evolve and the unwillingness to allow competition shine through. We understand that culture, art and the media are extremely useful propaganda tools in the hands of the Kremlin.
Promoter of Russian Imperial Traditions from Pazardzhik
When we talk about the Art Lobby of Russia in Bulgaria, we cannot help but start with the extravagant PR from Pazardzhik, military school graduate in the 80s, Evgeni Minchev, who the media where serisously, where with mockery to the "Anglo-Saxons" put the title Lord in front of his name. Even he claim he lives partly in London, he is the organizer and host of the pompous Russian Balls in Sofia. He sings Russian chansons and posts pictures with Boris Johnson.
The man not only sang a song for the Alyosha monument in Plovdiv, but also wrote a heroic poem in defense of the Russian Monument in Sofia. Despite being the most prominent representative of the Bulgarian LGBTQ community, there is a lack of any solidarity with the discrimination of the sexually diverse in Russia. But this is typical of the entire Bulgarian community. At the same time Evgeni is not only a PR and lawyer for the Russian imperial traditions in Bulgaria, but also for the biggest crypto scammer in the world, who is in the Top 10 most wanted by the FBI.
The Russian Art World
If one superstar has to be defined in Bulgaria during Communism and after, it is Lili Ivanova. An artist who in her 80s managed to fill halls and sell tickets many times more expensive than anyone else. All the while, the super star of Bulgarian pop does not hide her full support and deep emotional bias towards Russia. All the while, understandably, the entire cultural state apparatus in Bulgaria has been working to concrete her name.
At the beginning of the COVID crisis and the mass hysteria in Bulgaria (which remained the lowest vaccinated country in Europe and one of the world, bringing tens of thousands of victims) Lili Ivanova says she trusts the Russian vaccine.
Through the media, Lili Ivanova defends Russian aggression by blaming the West for it:
Media headline reporting that the super star of Bulgarian music will sing in the Kremlin:
For her birthday, through the media, Lili Ivanova demonstrates pride that the Russian Embassy congratulates her Birthday:
Interview for Russian TV in which Lili Ivanova says that censorship in art is extremely important. Because according to her, the function of art is to educate the young generation. Unfortunately, this does not exist in Bulgaria.
So American Biser Kirov
He looks American, sings country, blues, Beatles, has had countless gigs and sold millions of records in the US, in Europe. It is an extremely complete illustration of what is happening in Bulgarian culture after the completely pain-free transition after the fall of Communism. The result was not only the destruction of generations of new artists in Bulgarian art, because of the old nomenklatura arists who destroyed everything that seemed to them a threat. The result after millions of investments and millions earned by the former totalitarian art greats, we have one of Putin's biggest advocates, but a totally effective tool in the hands of the Russian propaganda machine in Bulgaria. This is Biser Kirov. Бисер Киров - Братушка (bratushka.ru)
Biser Kirov, who had a house in Kalugerovo(Pazardzhik Districkt) is a Bulgarian pop singer, one of the legends of Bulgarian pop. On October 8, 1966 he performed at the Students' Day in Bulgaria, after which the singer was immediately recruited by Bulgaria's best orchestra, Balkanton. His career started in 1967. On March 14, 1967 he performed with the famous orchestra "Balkanton" at the Hall "Bulgaria" in Sofia. Then at the First International Festival of Youth Song in Sochi Biser Kirov received the third prize. In 1968 he won the gold medal at the VIII World Festival of Youth and Students in Sofia, and was awarded the title of "Singer of the Year. At the 1969 Festival in Barcelona (Spain), Biser Kirov won the First Prize (together with Lily Ivanova) and a special prize from the festival organisers. Graduated in 1973 from the Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology, specialising in the chemistry and technology of semiconductor materials.
For 20 years his name has been among the 10 most popular pop artists of Eastern Europe. He sang with the orchestras of Woody Herman, Karel Krautgartner, Tony Tanjo's Orkestra della Música Moderna (Cuba), the Big Band of the German Radio (Martin Hoffmann), the Big Band of Radio Prague (Vaclav Wobruba), Yuri Silantiev's Big Band (Moscow), Glenn Miller Orchestra (Niwola Festival), Bulgarian National Radio Big Band (Willy Kazasian), Polish Radio Big Band and many others. He has released 15 vinyl long-playing records in Bulgaria, Cuba, GDR, Poland and USSR, released small records (some of them in Spain and USA) and 9 CDs in Bulgaria and Russia with a total print run of over 7 million copies. He has recorded more than 700 songs by Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish, German and English composers.
In 2013 in Russia he recorded the album "Around the World in 80 Minutes", a compilation CD of 23 songs in 14 languages that he has sung over the years. His most recent album, My World, released on CD by the Russky Mir Fund in 2014, includes 17 songs thematically connected to Russia.
Russian Documentary movie from September 2022, about the Russian World of Biser Kirov:
When we talk about the Culture Front's Hybrid War, the failures must be accounted for. Because the West, in particular the US was winning the big battle through the entertainment conglomerate Hollywood. But it demonstrates the problem of big boxers versus little ones- the head is too high and the chin remains usually uncovered. While mass culture wins, the West allows Bulgaria in full force to preserve the culture popular under Communism, even giving many of the totalitarian pop greats a chance at successful appearances. With the end result being a complete failure, with the same artists becoming lawyers for Putin's regime.
Bulgarian pop singer Biser Kirov, former Bulgaria's cultural attaché in Moscow, in an interview with Russia's most widely read newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, spat at the Bulgarian president over his refusal to respect Victory Day this year and take part in the parade. Scena.bg informs about it." In front of the Russian audience, Bisser Kirov says: "You have lost nothing by the President of Bulgaria not coming to Moscow. There are people who are worthy of this holiday, and there are those who are not. He falls into the second category. May Ninth - Victory Day is celebrated all over the world. It is a celebration of greatness of spirit. It is the beginning of Europe. And all of Europe should bow to the Soviet soldier, because Europe would not have been if this day had not happened," said Bisser Kirov.
Бисер Киров оплю президента и България заради Русия и парада в Москва - Фактор (faktor.bg)
Part of his autobiographical book in which he tells about the greatest country and civilization- Russia. About the luck that Bulgarians have, to get into the Slavic world, the Russian World and Culture....
When we talk about the media in Bulgaria, there is no way not to start with the man Legend of Bulgarian journalism- Kevork Kevorkian. The man who created and hosted the most watched political and review show during Communism and after- Every Sunday. Lawyer, critic, TV presenter, a man with perhaps the most mysterious biography. Although in Wikipedia he naively presents himself as an anti-Communist, for "allegedly" conspiring just before the fall of the totalitarian regime, in this case the biography does not matter, because this is the man who media shaped Bulgarian society for decades, which in itself speaks who and what he is. By the way, at the moment Kevorkian and his journalistic protégés are either lawyers or echoes of Putin's propaganda, cleverly hiding behind a Bulgarian version of Trumpism and Orbanism. Interesting are two journalists who started their careers under his mentorship and in his show, who are currently on the crest of the wave in Bulgaria- Martin Karbovsky and Stoycho Kerev.
The Speculator of Patriotism
Martin Karbovsky is among the most successful journalists of the transition in Bulgaria. Television, radio, newspapers... Today Martin Кarbovski maintains succesful image of a dissident blogger, when in reality he has almost full public recognition and support. He preaches characteristics and political peculiarities of the contemporary Bulgarian man.. This psychological composition of the nation is the most developed and for this it is exploited the most. In terms of rhetoric Martin is the Bulgarian copy of one of the most successful Russian journalists Solovyov (who is on the US sanctions list, a man ironically calling for a nuclear attack on Britain).
Solovyov is also known for his attitude towards the Death Squads, so popular in Bulgaria. Usually, what is said in his broadcast starts a long repetition in Bulgaria:
Vladimir Solovyov is the journalist calling to nuke London.
Martin Karbovsky, one of the most famous Bulgarian journalists in the last 30 years, chooses his guests in a very interesting way. For example, in 2023 he had as a guest Yakov Kedmi (a regular guest of Solovyov), called the voice of the Kremlin. A man who was calling for Kiev to be wiped off the face of the earth from the most watched show in Russia.
"The voice of the Kremlin" Yakov Kedmi is a favorite comentator of other well established Bulgarian journalists. Yavor Dachkov, who is one of the founders of the democratic society in Bulgaria in general, at one point started preaching Kremlin propaganda.
In fact, unlike the Russian original, Martin Karbovsky was until recently a known devotee of the affluent life and displays of expensive acquisitions, with super luxury cars constantly sprouting up in his fleet.
When you started out as a DJ, then you were a radio DJ, at one point you found yourself under the tutelage of Kevork Kevorkian, all the doors in the media in Bulgaria have opened for you.
While Stoycho Kerev is Bulgaria's top conspirologist, having top prime time in Bulgarian National Television, Selling books and doing seminars to packed houses. He is a journalist and writer, startlingly reminiscent of Russian end of Socialism tv sensation- Kaspirovsky, in his way of speaking, TV behavior and influence on the mass audience. He even organizes seminars on public psychological influence.
Участвай в Медиа тренинг „Моделиране на влиянието със Стойчо Керев“ с отстъпка и вземи подарък - книгата "Бащата на манипулацията" | EventsPRO.bg
A Psychic Healer Tried to Hypnotize Soviets to Distract From the Fall of Communism - Atlas Obscura
A “Common Madness”: TV Psychics and Hypnosis in the Soviet Union | Hidden Persuaders (bbk.ac.uk)
The issue is the continuing paganism in the Bulgarian mentality. We(Bulgarian, Russians, societies, in spite of the so proclaimed hollow education, kept by the totalitarian regime in naivety) were pagans and we are still pagans in many ways, even in the resurgent Ethno-nationalism. A fact that Putin's political architect, Dugin, has used to great effect. Instead of pagan simulacrums, Christian ones appeared(replacing to some extent the communist symbolism and social structure), just so we could mimic the European family. The church as immediately become a state institution, but paganism is still with us. People are subject to superstitions as they were under Communism- incidentally the icon of Pagan superstitions was the Communist elite's courted prophetess Vanga, who is still a symbol for association with Bulgaria in Russia:
Vanga, is part of the phenomenon of superstitions covering the Communist Regime. Fortune tellers, witch doctors, para psychology, the occult, UFOs, these are only parts of the informal culture of Communism. In modern media conditions, this has made it possible, on the one hand, to play on the fears and prejudices of people who have pagan roots and using the stream for political engineering. On the other hand, to make money out of it and ensure the sustainability of diverse projects behind.
The Storytellers of Nostalgia- Georgi Toshev
Who is Georgi Toshev? Producer of BTV's morning block, the most watched daily show in Bulgaria, with an audience of about two million per day. The man who wrote two biographies about the most famous Bulgarian totalitarian actor Stefan Danailov, and one of the key people in the Bulgarian Communist Party. The writer wrote the biographies of another pleiad of totalitarian actors who shaped the images and perceptions of several generations of Bulgarians.
At first glance, he has the perfect biography and legend. Journalist, writer, studied and lived in New York(like Bisser Kirov and many others), and then even director of the Varna Theater Festival press center. But here comes something interesting, the books Georgi writes (the only Bulgarian writer with such privileges) are autobiographies of some of the greatest legends of Bulgarian totalitarian culture.
Most notably, his two books on Stefan Danailov, a man not only a legend of totalitarian culture, but also a man in the highest leadership of the BSP. Stefan Danailov was also a full-time collaborator of the secret services during the communist rule.
Georgi Toshev is perhaps the only Bulgarian journalist who can boast of having spent hours in Gorbachev's home. And that he spent the time he was in Russia arguing with Gorbachev's opponents afterwards. This is his Facebook post when Gorbachev died in which he talks about his time as Russian president.
Georgi Toshev can definitely be called the best narrator of Bulgaria's totalitarian past and culture. Who started the current trend of nurturing nostalgia for the communist past with positive stories, museums, films, books and the lives of famous personalities from the time of the totalitarian system.
Варненец направи музей на соца (СНИМКИ) - Варна - DarikNews.bg
Музей на социализма в пловдивско училище - Българска национална телевизия (bnt.bg)
Областен лидер на БСП облече ученици като пионерчета, прескочен ли е законът? - Новини от Actualno
The Very Big Producer in Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, things on the surface have nothing to do with what is really happening. Usually, as in the fall of Communism, a scapegoat is simply thrown to the public to save everyone else who really matters. There are two cards in the Tarot, the Fool and the Deceiver, and both are extremely similar, yet very different. Every now and then a useful Idiot appears, who is just the sacrificial lamb given to be served up.
It is interesting to look at the connections of the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev who is behind the Far Right Kremlin Propaganda, the Greek pro-Russian business and the Bulgarian Media Market and the development of the Far Right in Bulgaria.
The Orthodox Oligarch, His Guard Dog, and Their Tsarist Dream (kyivpost.com)
Bulgaria’s Largest Telecoms Firm Shares Bought by Group Linked to Sanctioned Oligarch (occrp.org)
Oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev: US indicts Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for sanctions violations - The Economic Times (indiatimes.com)
God, church, Tsar: The world of Russian oligarch Malofeyev and his Western associates (france24.com)
Pro-Russian Bulgarian party head reportedly met with Russia’s Lavrov – EURACTIV.com
Ex-Fox News Producer Charged for Working With Russian Oligarch - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Russia's war on Ukraine: The Kremlin's use of religion as a foreign policy instrument (europa.eu)
Malofeiev's connections in Greece are extremely interesting. As well as the Greek presence in Bulgaria and on the Bulgarian media market.
Despite the statistics shown to the public and Western partners, the reality in Bulgaria is huge public support for Putin's regime. And this is thanks to the successful hybrid war and the multi-layered distribution of assets in Bulgaria.
WHY DO SO MANY BULGARIANS SUPPORT PUTIN? | VAGABOND
Euro elections: Respect for Putin in Bulgaria - BBC News
Welcome to Bulgaria, where the Ukraine war is NATO’s fault – POLITICO
For Putin, Against 'Global Liberalism': Why So Many Bulgarian Parties Support Russia (rferl.org)
Russia’s Political Influence in Bulgaria - Foreign Policy Research Institute (fpri.org)
In Bulgaria, An Open Road For Putin's Favorite Biker Gang, The Night Wolves (rferl.org)
Bulgaria to QUIT EU? Unrest ahead of election as nation shifts to PUTIN | World | News | Express.co.uk
But in the end, Russian propaganda cleverly manages to deceive by putting in our blind spots the important figures who set policies and cultural trends. Here are a few more examples from Pazardzhik, of a media and PR expert at the helm:
As well as about the architect of cultural life in Pazardzhik: