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Alexander Rayko Alexiev was named for his father, the famous painter, caricaturist, and satirist Rayko Alexiev, who was tortured and killed by Bulgaria’s Soviet-backed communist regime in 1944. His mother was dispatched for many years to Bulgaria’s gulag from which she was fortunate to emerge alive. These events created the context for their son’s life and work, which was intense, focused, intellectually profound, spirited, and inspirational. Unsurprisingly, Alex harbored a deep-seated hatred of communism and those who claimed to follow it, or who advanced preposterous claims on its behalf. He was raised largely by his grandparents and other relatives, for whom he had the deepest love and respect. His grandfather, in particular, figured in many of Alex’s recollections of his childhood, which were invariably full of dark humor.
With the deepest sorrow and a heavy heart, the team of the Bulgaria Analytica lets you know the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies, a friend and a partner passed away in the early hours of the 28th of July, 2019. His legacy will live in time as his work, analyses, commentaries, presentations, interviews, lectures will continue to serve as a guide for the current and future generations of readers. He was a true son of his father, Rayko Alexiev, who was tortured to death by the totalitarian regime in Bulgaria. After years of repression, he fled Bulgaria in 1968 and settled in the US, where he had a remarkable life, starting with his graduation from the University of California,
Odessos was founded by Ionian Greek colonists from Miletus during the years 585–550 BC. The Greeks established their colony on the site of a Thracian settlement with the same name. Both Greeks and Thracians coexisted peacefully in the colony and in its vicinity, and there is strong evidence of bilateral trade relations and cultural interaction. Odessos was governed by the Boule (City Council) and Demos (Assembly). A monumental Doric temple was built during the second half of the 6th century BC. However, until the middle of the 4th century BC, Odessos remained a relatively small town, although its port was quite important for maintaining trade relations between the ancient Greeks and the Thracians. The first fortification wall was built around the middle of the 4th century BC, and the
The earliest traces of human occupation in present-day Plovdiv date back to the Neolithic period in the 6th millennium BC. Later on, during the 1st millennium BC the area was occupied by the Thracians. According to some Greek sources, the name of the Thracian town that existed on that place was Eumolpia, after the name of Eumolpos, a mythical Thracian king. In 342 BC, the Thracian town was conquered by Philip of Macedon who reconstructed and enlarged the urban area, built monumental fortification walls, settled a Macedonian military garrison there and renamed the settlement to Philippopolis, or “the Town of Philip” in his own honor. The local Thracians called the town Pulpudeva, which was the Thracian translation of Philipopolis, a name later inherited by the Bulgars in the Early
In September 1944 Bulgaria was occupied by the Soviet army, and subsequently a Communist dictatorship was established in the country. During the following decades several hundred thousand Bulgarians who were considered enemies of the Communist regime were expelled from their homes and resettled across the country, or sent to labor camps and prisons, and many of them died or were killed. The Communist ideology and total party control ruled not only the everyday life of the Bulgarian people, but also the science and humanities. Many outstanding achievements in Bulgarian archaeology before World War II were neglected and even forbidden because of the Communist ideological control and censorship and the Soviet domination. The contacts with Western scholars and institutions were restricted and often forbidden, and only a few Bulgarian archaeologists
Bulgarians and the British fought each other for the first time during the First World War. But in the war there was also time for relaxation in the frontline theatres. Writing about the theatres on the Balkan front, H. Collinson Owen, Official Correspondent in the Near East, emphasized the tolerance of the Bulgarians, who were just a shot away: “All the Divisional theatres had the added spice that they were well within the enemy artillery range – they were, in fact, the most advanced of any war theatres – and the programme contained instructions as to scattering tactics in case of bombardment. But the Bulgar hardly ever tried to shoot at them, and this was one of the things put down to his credit” The Bulgarians at the