THE FACES OF BULGARIAN NATIONALISM
Discontent is growing even among Bulgarian nationalists who made their biggest political breakthrough at the elections last summer. The attempts of their leader, Volen Siderov, to deny the coalition nature of the Ataka parliamentary group as well as his biased staff decisions resulted in hesitation in many of his supporters. Mincho Minchev, Chairman of the Zora political circle, was the first to accuse him of trying to substitute the electors' votes and later initiated a large campaign against him on the pages of the New Zora newspaper. The Bulgarian National Union that broke away from the coalition threatened that it would work for the establishment of a new national movement which would keep defending the messages with which Ataka started operating. The union became the organizer of a national assembly of nationalist organisations which took place near Kazanlak two weeks ago.
In fact, even before starting its actual work, the Ataka parliamentary group lost four of its members. The secession may continue until the group falls totally apart. Even now it is too weak to have political influence in the 40th National Assembly.
Does it mean that we should ignore its manifestations forgetting about the hysteria caused by its sudden appearance on the political horizon? That would be the biggest mistake. Because even if it turned out hot air, by its mere existence Ataka keeps sending the gravest accusal against the so called political class in Bulgaria which proved extremely unable to solve the deepening problems of the society.
It wasn't by chance that Antonina Zhelyazkova, Chairwoman of the Managing Board of the International Minorities Studies Centre, was forced to admit that even if Ataka breaks away in parliament, there is still broad social support in the country for the establishment of other groups of its kind which in some future elections could attract even more supporters.
Even if it is hard to believe it, extreme nationalism has a ground in Bulgaria and will keep shooting up if rulers continue to repeat that the integration into the European Union would solve all problems. Just the opposite, in that case the problems will explode even stronger. And we may start accepting Ataka's present face as something absolutely normal.