February 27, 2014
Here is an excerpt from an interview with the anonymous Bulgarian guerrilla artists, who painted Sofia's Red Army statue in yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, in a show of solidarity with Ukraine's revolution.
It is the latest in a series of colorful twists of the monument which have tried to make political points.
Activist and blogger Asen Genov spoke with the group of artists, who have been dubbed the Banksy of Bulgaria.
Why did you give the Red Army monument in Sofia a Ukrainian makeover?
We don't believe in fairy tales about Eurasia. Eurasia is just a new Soviet Union, in which Ukraine and Bulgaria are fawning on Putin, get in return loans and gas, become more and more indebted to Kremlin and restrict more and more people's personal and political freedoms. The countries are ruled by former communist apparatchiks and security-service officers and controlled by mafia thugs. Corruption abounds. The old communist regime revisited.
Ukrainians showed that they are not going to take this and gave Putin and his protege Yanukovych a bloody nose. The painting of Sofia's Red Army memorial is in a show of admiration for Ukrainians' courage and disgust at Russia's servants in Bulgaria.
Monuments to Russia's dominance over Bulgaria are fair game to graffiti artists. This particular sculpture was imposed on Sofia to celebrate an army of invaders. One can only imagine how many more colorful adventures the future holds in store for this monument until it crumbles down to the ground under the weight of too much humiliation.
Who is the target audience of your campaign?
We want our message to reach the wonderful people of Ukriane. We sincerely hope that they will like what we have done. We want our message to reach the pro-Russian sleepyheads. We hope they choke on that. We want our message to reach all ordinary people in Bulgaria. We hope that this will encourage them.
How would you comment the reaction of Moscow and Russia's Embassy in Sofia, who slammed you as vandals, mocking the memory of Soviet soldiers?
We don't give a damn. Putin's very existence is a barbaric act against the laws of nature. It is good the Russophiles are so keen to clean up the monument – more free space for us to realize our ideas.
What do you think about the emblematic date September 9, 1944, which marks the communist takeover in Bulgaria?
(September 9 is considered both the date of Bulgaria's anti-fascist uprising in 1944 and the beginning of the Communist regime)
A violent coup d'etat, murders, followed by merciless destruction of the country.
How would you describe the current situation in Bulgaria?
Lies and poverty, poverty and lies. Bulgaria is a country, where pregnant women suffer humiliation at hospitals, patients at squalid mental institutions suffer humiliation too, Muslims suffer humiliation because of nationalists' insults, Christians suffer humiliation because ethnic Turks leaders preach about Christian values.
In the meantime Delyancho (a reference to Delyan Peevski, a controversial 33-year-old media mogul, whose designation as head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) triggered widespread protests in the summer of 2013. He is also believed to be involved in the recent purchase of tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac) feeds the public with cigarettes and arrogance. And if you mind what is happening in the country, you are slammed as either part of Soros-funded network, a reptile or an agent of the evil imperialists. Bulgaria had a chance to go through its catharsis, but this is being delayed. The peaceful protests in 2013 failed to bring about any changes. This makes us think it could be a good idea to tap Ukrainian experience and import Ukrainian instructors.
What is the best thing Bulgaria should do with monuments, which stand as symbols of the totalitarian communist regime?
We should either destroy them or make them colorful with graffiti to the horror of Russophiles. Moving them from one place to another is an expensive exercise, which a poor and indebted country like Bulgaria, can not afford.
You can read the full text of the interview at Asen Genov's blog