Personal correspondence provides a better insight into social and economic conditions than press accounts. The following is shared by David McReynolds. It gives one an idea of life in Bulgaria —
I have deep roots here, since 1991, taught long in Bulgarian higher ed. Now no more teaching, my university was paying me less than US$70 a month to teach 10 hours a week last year. This is Bulgaria.
Remarkable in BG how many born 1970 and before think the old state socialism they grew up in was so much better for ordinary people. This is far more than just nostalgia. ‘Democracy’ is a word many older Bulgarians I know use with contempt, identifying it with poverty, neoliberalism, NATOization of the country, mass emigration, collapse of BG agriculture and much more. Pentagon has four bases here. Some 20% of the BG population has emigrated in the past two decades, economy and society largely in constant crisis. This article on ‘desert of Transition’ in post-socialist Balkans http://bit.ly/HWqyZp can also be applied to Bulgaria.
No radical left visible nebbich, even among students. Totally different from Greece, short bus trip to the south. I’ve worked a lot with Roma community, here in BG northeast impoverished subalterns in every way, mainly Muslim. Truly fierce widespread prejudice against the Roma across Bulgaria, even among university academics. It is getting worse. Here article I published years ago on Roma in NEW POLITICS: http://nova.wpunj.edu/newpolitics/issue40/Templer40.htm