Ethnic and religious minorities in Bulgaria
Title: Ethnic and religious minorities in Bulgaria
Author: KOINOVA, Maria
Citation: South-East Europe review for labour and social affairs, 1999, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 147-158
External link: https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=121319
Bulgarians very often say about themselves that they are very tolerant people. This is especially true against the backdrop of the Balkans, where ethnic hatred and militant nationalism has fuelled the international media, especially in the 1990s. After the collapse of communism, a guilty conscience about the Muslim assimilation campaign in the 1980s, as well as efforts for European integration, have made the younger generation of Bulgarian politicians grant the ethnic Turks many, although not the whole range, of minority rights. For their part, the Turks have not been militant, unlike other ethnic minorities in the Balkans. The majority of Bulgarians also treat the Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks) very positively, although in comparison to the Turks, they do not pay much attention to them. Jews and Armenians often play the role of the flower on the lapel of the Bulgarian official’s suit, which is pinned on when it is necessary to appear internationally and talk about the country’s ethnic tolerance. But where are the other minorities in the Bulgarians’ “tolerance” scale? Some remain almost invisible, like the Catholics, Tatars, Vlachs and Karakachans, for example. Here ‘tolerance’ seems to be equal to ‘disinterest’. Other minorities are much more ‘intriguing’ for the society, but in negative terms. Claims about the existence of Macedonians in Bulgaria provoke enormous suspicion and hostility. Roma are branded for a whole range of crimes in the country, which they have or have not committed. New religious minorities, and even the older Evangelist Church, are branded as sects without much knowledge about the substance of their activities.
Type of Access: openAccess
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