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Controversy Erupts Again over Bulgaria's Parliament Speaker Citizenship

Politics | January 23, 2008, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: 1898 | Comments: 67
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Bulgaria: Controversy Erupts Again over Bulgaria's Parliament Speaker Citizenship Bulgaria's Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski appears to be tolling confidently the parliamentary bell despite furious calls for his dismissal and blurred moments in his past. Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)

A serious controversy over the citizenship of the US born Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament Georgi Pirinski erupted again providing grounds for Bulgarian nationalists to call for his dismissal.

The issue of Pirinski's Bulgarian citizenship is being put forth by the nationalistic and far right "Ataka" party which stated that it starts collecting the required 80 signatures of MPs (which is one third of all 240 MPs) to dismiss Pirinski from the parliament speaker position.

The "Ataka" party has 13 MPs but is said to get support from other opposition parliamentary groups.

"Pirinski has repeatedly broken Bulgarian laws through false declarations of his Bulgarian citizenship and through holding government positions", the leader of "Ataka" Volen Siderov said, adding that the party will refer the matter to the Constitunal Court and the Cassation Prosecutor's Office.

Pirinski replied promptly that the nationalists' claims had no legal justifications whatsoever.

Ataka's claim that Pirinski actually has no Bulgarian citizenship flared in the wake of a scandal regarding two new regulations issued by him restricting the access of journalists only to the right lobby of Bulgaria's Parliament, and shifting the position of their offices.

Pirinski was born in 1948 in New York City, USA, in the family of a Bulgarian communist functionary who immigrated to the USA in the 1920s. His family was expelled from the USA in 1953, and Pirinski renounced his US citizenship in 1974.

He grew to become deputy minister of foreign trade in 1989, and one of the leading figures in the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party. In 1996 Pirinski tried to bid for the Presidency as the candidate of the BSP, but the Elections Commission refused to register him arguing that he was not a Bulgarian citizen by birth, a condition required by Artcile 93 of the Constitution.
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» To the forumComments (67)
#67
Kolega - 28 Jan 2008 // 00:13:49

Wildthing belongs to a particular type of embittered Bulgarian, who see only what's in front of their eyes, namely the country's struggle with the new to us, market problems.

To blame Capitalism (something in its infancy in BG) for the modern Bulgarian mentality is looking for the "facts' to justify your feelings.

Everything in history is part of a chain of events, that shape it, and ignoring the effects of one such event, (to satisfy some emotional craving) leaves you out of historical context.

The type of Democracy we are experiencing in BG now, is definitely the byproduct of the type of Socialism we have had earlier.

The type of Socialism we have had earlier, was definitely influenced by the cultural heritage of Ottoman rule of the years before.

Our reaction to the Ottoman rule, can be traced directly to the type of existence we led in the Byzantine/Greek cultural dominance in the centuries before the Turks.

That includes the traditional mental divorce from the power structure of the day, a brilliant survival tool, that allowed us to keep our identity, but taken 15 centuries later, it dictated the un-workability of Socialism in our land.
Its effects, are traceable all the way from the state organized children care, to state of mind for many of today's BG ex-pats like "wildthing", who look at their society from the eyes of an outsider - so you see it all comes back in a circle....

#66
CJB - 26 Jan 2008 // 20:32:37

Presumably they heard you speaking Bulgarian and decided to come over for a chat with their countrymen?

:)

#65
resipsaloquitur - 26 Jan 2008 // 18:24:31

Hello Dirk,

you say that in BG are plenty of prostitutes.

I will say thre are soooooooooooooooooo mny prostitutes in Belgium that I could baraly keep them away from my son and his friend when we were driving through BELGIUM in 1999,going to London.
They were offering their services EVEN on the freeways..we could not enter a restaurant without being molestated by prostitutes,not just females but also males.

Your country and also Germnany collects taxes from the prostitutes...therefore do not try to picture your women as angels.

#64
CreepyS - 26 Jan 2008 // 17:21:52

CJB,

I dont care about chalga as long as I can shut it down when I dont want to listen to it. Its just our version of one facette of the show business for the people who make it and a pass-time for those who listen to it.

When the Germans get drunk they like to listen to their pop-music which is awful, sounds like Alla Pugatchova hits from the 19 - er, either 70s or 80s. I mean, so what?

#63
DP - 26 Jan 2008 // 17:06:36

Author: wildthing 26 Jan 2008 15:29:07
"JKS,
what happens now in Bulgaria has as much to do with "the destructive force of communism", as with the not less destructive force of the new comer (Balkan) capitalism.
There was nothing false or forced in the warm and caring behaviour of my teachers in the kindergarten or in school.
Human nature is basically selfish, that's way capitalism works (for some)."

wildthing,
The damage inflicted on Bulgarian by communism can't be overstated. It is one thing to remember fondly your childhood, your parents, your friends--it is called nostalgia and we all are susceptible to it, however, once you start introducing arguments involving the basically most corrupt, oppressive, ineffective communist's system you really go off the rocker, for in your sentimental remembrances you seem to see even the background grow sunnier, warmer and, oh, so wonderful with each passing day...
On the other hand if your papa and mama were aparatchiks and you had all the privileges entailed by their situation, you are rightfully bitter. But in this case you are one of the few and what you are talking about is just a case of "sour grapes". Nothing to do with reality.

#62
JKS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:58:18

"Scondly, Im afraid the old traditions that protected the virtues of the BG culture are gone with the generation that kept them, except some superficial ones that dont matter for the social behavior.

Its over, the BG people are shaped differently now. So the society has to create its traditions anew through evolution, I personally dont believe that one can revive dead traditions or import foreign ones. One can be inspired from those but it will never be the same traditions."

You might be right, I need to ponder this.

#61
JKS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:54:24

"But then why the capital punishment is now abolished in most countries and frozen even in Russia and why the probability of global war is much tinnier now than in the 1960s? Why Bill Gates would give 300 millions to figth hunger in Afrika? How comes there are people in court for crimes against humanity? If nobody cared, these things wouldnt happen."

There have been some great things (and some horrible) that have happened in the last 50 years, however, peace has been an allusive concept since the beginning of time. It has only been about 20 years since Europe has as a whole been free. You (I think you are young) and I have been blessed to live where and when we have but the world is bigger than Europe and America and 20 years is not that long.

#60
CreepyS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:47:35

JKS,

I think you are wrong on two points: Firstly, there is no such a thing like pure capitalism after the communism. In pure capitalism you dont get a bank or a huge plant for nothing, you have to pay for that.

Scondly, Im afraid the old traditions that protected the virtues of the BG culture are gone with the generation that kept them, except some superficial ones that dont matter for the social behavior.

Its over, the BG people are shaped differently now. So the society has to create its traditions anew through evolution, I personally dont believe that one can revive dead traditions or import foreign ones. One can be inspired from those but it will never be the same traditions.

#59
CreepyS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:40:21

JKS,

Really? Thank you, Im honored you say that because I didnt read those phylosophers;)

But then why the capital punishment is now abolished in most countries and frozen even in Russia and why the probability of global war is much tinnier now than in the 1960s? Why Bill Gates would give 300 millions to figth hunger in Afrika? How comes there are people in court for crimes against humanity? If nobody cared, these things wouldnt happen.

#58
JKS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:32:24

CreepyS,

"As for people getting bad globally, I dont agree - I think as a whole people are getting more human and better because of the media coverage and other factors that make people identify much easier with "the others" and imagine what it is to be at the "others" place, what it looks like to be in civil war, to be cronically hungry, etc. Well, at least for the people in the developed countries I think this is true, but also globally things get better as long as there is no more isolation of a country or a region."

You just repeated the dominant European philosophy of the 18th century... that is up until WWI, WWII, etc.

#57
CJB - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:25:33

"So if BG communism followed closely the Russian one, it may be logical that the BG post-communism necessarily follows the Russian one with all "side effects"."

In most respects, especially political and economic, this is the case. But hold on, there is no Chalga in Russia! That is much more Balkan style. It is not uniquely Bulgarian either: "chalga" is a Turkish word. There are similar folk pop stars in Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Romania...

The only thing unique about Bulgarian Chalga is how dominant it became in the local culture. This is partly a small country problem. It also shows how badly educated and lacking in taste are the mutri and nouveau riche in BG who provide the finance for these "divas". Alas, it shows too that the mass of Bulgarians actually like this stuff.

All of would be harmless enough if there were successful alternatives in popular culture. But unfortunately the real traditional folk music of BG has been kind of tarnished by the way the Commies supported it at official level.

The rise of Chalga in Bulgaria shows in one way that the country is similar to its neighbours. But its dominance also leaves very little room for anything else in the popular culture.

#56
JKS - 26 Jan 2008 // 16:17:10

I agree. It is the perfect storm. You have Communism stripping the virtue from Bulgarian society as a whole; you then have an unrestrained (pure) form of capitalism filling the void which fuels the selfish tendencies people so naturally have. And there you go.

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America (Bulgaria) than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” — Samuel Adams

I am sure your teachers were kind and many more Bulgarians as well. But not all and I would venture much less in 1980 than in 1950. Of course those that belonged to the Nomenclature probably have a totally different view…

In my opinion there needs to be a revival of those traditions that protected the virtues of Bulgaria (culture), or at the very least import some (I’m sure not very popular)…

#55
CreepyS - 26 Jan 2008 // 15:47:58

Well, about the dehumanization in BG, I hate that it follows closely that observed in the Russian post-commie society with small-scale replicas of their tycoons, mafia thugs, corruption, crazy poor people etc.

So if BG communism followed closely the Russian one, it may be logical that the BG post-communism necessarily follows the Russian one with all "side effects".

As for people getting bad globally, I dont agree - I think as a whole people are getting more human and better because of the media coverage and other factors that make people identify much easier with "the others" and imagine what it is to be at the "others" place, what it looks like to be in civil war, to be cronically hungry, etc. Well, at least for the people in the developed countries I think this is true, but also globally things get better as long as there is no more isolation of a country or a region.

#54
wildthing - 26 Jan 2008 // 15:29:07

JKS,
what happens now in Bulgaria has as much to do with "the destructive force of communism", as with the not less destructive force of the new comer (Balkan) capitalism.
There was nothing false or forced in the warm and caring behaviour of my teachers in the kindergarten or in school.
Human nature is basically selfish, that's way capitalism works (for some).

#53
JKS - 26 Jan 2008 // 15:17:33

Wildthing,

Yes and no.

“The dehumanisation we wittness now in Bulgaria is more complicated to explain than with the famous "50-years-communist-rule"- mantra (Kolega's).”

I agree it is more complicated. What I stated was a rant and as such was filled with stereotypes and generalizations, albeit well thought out ones, I think. But I think it would be foolish to totally rule out the ramifications of communism. Institutionalization is a powerful force in dehumanizing and from what I can tell Communism was/is the king of institutionalizing. I know there were great teachers during communism. My wife’s grandparents were some, until they were kicked out for being Protestant Christians and forced to work at the train stations until they retired…

“I think it is a global problem - everywhere people get more selfish, rude and bad.”

Yes and no. Yes people are bad everywhere, but there are some unique situations in the post commie countries that are extreme. Namely, how the disenfranchised/helpless are cared for. I agree with you that during communism there was a false/forced sense of morality that kept people in check while at the same time destroying the traditional things that had preserved these things in Bulgarian society for hundreds of years. The evidence of the destructive force of communism was what happened when it left. What did it leave behind?

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