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“On a string. 1968. A true story” about the Bulgarian heroes of the Prague Spring

The first Bulgarian political cartoon to be on release in September

Photo: sofia.czechcentres.cz

At the end of August 1968, the Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troops in an invasion of Czechoslovakia to crack down reformist trends in Prague. The idea of a freer and more democratic socialism, not only in Czechoslovakia, but also in the entire Eastern Bloc, was gone with the end of the Prague Spring. Bulgaria participated in the events as a member of the Warsaw Pact. In the summer of 1968 three Bulgarians – Eduard Genov, Alaksandar Dimitrov and Valentin Radev, who studied at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, opposed the invasion in Czechoslovakia, despite Bulgaria’s political allegiance to the USSR and the threat of repression against those whose position differed from the official one.

Eduard Genov, Valentin Radev and Alexander Dimitrov

The three Bulgarian students are the main characters of the first Bulgarian political cartoon “On a string. 1968. A true story”, which will be on release in September. Veselin Pramatarov, who learned about the destiny of the three students from his friend and colleague Anton Staykov, is the author of the cartoon.

“This is the story of three twenty-year-old history students. When they heard about the invasion of the Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia, they decided to writeclandestine pamphletsand hand them out in the streets of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia to show their discontent with this act. First, they managed to hand out nearly 200 clandestine pamphlets in Sofia and Plovdiv. However, they were detained during their second attempt. The three students were sentenced and imprisoned and their life was ruined”, explained Veselin Pramatarov.

Aleksandar and Valentin were sentenced to 2 years in prison and Eduard Genov was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was released in 1986 and was expelled from Bulgaria. He spent the rest of his life in the USA together with his family. Eduard passed away on December 16, 2009. Valentin Radev passed away in 1995 in Sofia.

“The cartoon aims to present the motifs of these young people. I tell this story to all modern Bulgarians, because I find many parallels between that time and the present. If we evaluate the current situation, we will see that many of the things that happen today are rooted in the past- explained Veselin Pramatarov.”

“The act of the three Bulgarian students is heroism and something no one had expected”, the Director of the Czech Center Sofia Dagmar Ostranska said on behalf of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. In her words, most people are not acquainted enough with the heroic act of the three Bulgarian students and the historical events that took place at that time. That is why they decided to carry out this project. “We decided to make a cartoon, because it will allow young people and children to get acquainted with the plot easier and quicker”, contends Dagmar Ostranska.

After the official release of the cartoon in September, Bulgarian students are expected to meet with one of the three heroes – Aleksandar Dimitrov.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: sofia.czechcentres.cz and archive


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