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Monument to Soviet Army Dismantled in Bulgarian Capital

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Photo: Monument to Soviet Army Dismantled in Bulgarian Capital. Source: Google Maps
Photo: Monument to Soviet Army Dismantled in Bulgarian Capital. Source: Google Maps

In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, the process of dismantling the monument to the Soviet Army has resumed after a long pause. Following the resumption of work on the monument, the inscription "To the Soviet Army - liberators from grateful Bulgarian people" was removed. This was reported by the Bulgarian service of Radio Free Europe.

Criticism of this inscription has been widespread in the country, as it portrays the Red Army as the "liberator" of Bulgaria, despite the Soviet Union imposing a repressive communist regime on the country after World War II.

It is worth noting that on September 8, 1944, the Red Army entered Bulgarian territory despite the country declaring its exit from the war on the side of the Third Reich a few weeks earlier, claiming "full neutrality." On the same evening, the communist opposition staged a coup.

The dismantling of the Soviet Army monument began in December 2023 with the dismantling of the sculpture group on the pedestal. The key argument for the decision was an expert opinion stating that the monument, due to its deteriorating condition, posed a threat to the surroundings, as a crack had appeared along its entire length.

However, the process was suspended due to an appeal against the relevant decision of the Sofia municipality, which has now been rejected. The dismantled sculpture group has been transported to the village of Dolni Lozen, with plans to later move it to the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia.

To complete the final dismantling of the monument, more than a million euros (2.5 million Bulgarian lev) are needed, which will be allocated by government decision.

The Gaze publication previously discussed the decolonization experience using the example of Czech society. In 1962, for instance, a monument to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was demolished there. However, the real process of decommunization and decolonization in the country began after 1989.

One of the last prominent monuments to communist figures in the Czech Republic was the monument to Marshal Ivan Konev, who not only commanded the Ukrainian Front and participated in the liberation of Czechoslovakia from the Nazis but also played a key role in suppressing the Hungarian uprising in 1956, building the Berlin Wall in 1961, and overseeing the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. His monument, located in Prague, was dismantled in 2020.

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