The recently published reports of the “Commission for the Opening of State Police Files” regarding the agent activities of church dignitaries have triggered an intensive debate among the Bulgarian public about the role of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church during the Cold War. The large-scale opening of the archives gives us better insights into the history of the Church during the Cold War.
The Turks constitute the largest ethnic minority in Bulgaria. The Turkish minority is well represented in politics and public administration, but it only marginally takes part in social and economic life in Bulgaria. In the public perception of the ethnic Bulgarians negative attitudes towards “the Turks” and Islam prevail, which can be traced back to the Ottoman era.
The Pomaks are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims living in Southern Bulgaria and Northern Greece. Both countries developed different strategies to deal with the minority. While Bulgaria’s policy aimed at both the cultural assimilation into the Bulgarian nation and the socio-structural integration into the Bulgarian society, Greek policy resulted in the assimilation of the Pomaks into the Turkish minority of Greece.
In June, protests against the loosening of environmental protection provisions in the Bulgarian forestry law took place in the capital city Sofia. However, the feared environmental damage was not the only cause of the protests. Instead, the protests also articulated a general dissatisfaction with the social and political situation. The author examines the potential for the emergence of a critical public in Bulgaria.