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In the late 19th century, several local archaeological societies were founded in different Bulgarian towns and in 1901 the Bulgarian Archaeological Society was established, immediately becoming an important center of the archaeological studies that further strengthened the institutional backbone of the Bulgarian archaeology. After the liberation from the Ottoman Empire, there was a significant interest in the mediaeval archaeology of the First and the Second Bulgarian Kingdoms, given that the new Principality of Bulgaria was considered as their political successor. Thus, in the 1880s archaeological excavations were carried out in Veliko Tarnovo, the last mediaeval Bulgarian capital, and in 1899 – 1900 excavations in Pliska, the first mediaeval Bulgarian capital, were launched by Karel Škorpil. In that period the interest of the foreign scholars in the Bulgarian archaeology
There is an old, black and white comedy film by Billy Wilder called “One, Two, Three!”. It tells the story of Mac, chairman of the Western Germany branch of Coca-Cola. While Mac is trying to earn his promotion by negotiating a deal to export Coca-Cola to the Soviet Union (the shootings were made exactly during the construction of the wall), his boss in the US sends his daughter Scarlett on vacation in Berlin and entrusts Mac with looking after her. As it turns out, the young lady is a convinced socialist, rebelling against her father and to Mac’s horror she secretly marries a German from East Berlin, named Otto. They try to escape to Moscow, but thanks to his negotiating contacts in the USSR, Mac succeeds to bring them
It is by now abundantly clear that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in the process of rapidly transforming Turkey into a religious dictatorship that is increasingly resembling a totalitarian rather than just an authoritarian state. Having suspended all constitutional rights and guarantees, as well as the European Convention of Human Rights, under a blanket emergency rule law, Erdogan governs Turkey today much as the Stalinist regimes did in Eastern Europe after Soviet bayonets installed them there at the end of WWII. The list of abuses is long and getting longer by the day. So far, 79,000 public servants have been dismissed, 40,000 are in jail awaiting trials, 1016 educational institutions, including 15 universities, have been closed down, as have been 129 charitable foundations. Ditto for 1125 citizen associations, 19 trade
Last Friday Bulgaria’s Supreme Cassation Court, the country’s highest court of appeal, overturned the sentences of radical Pazardzhik imam Ahmed Musa and 12 others and returned the case to the Plovdiv court of appeals for a new trial. Importantly, the court determined that the Salafi ideology practiced by the accused imams is not among those “definitively established as anti-democratic movements in Islam,” that it is “determined by experts to be a religious, i.e. legitimate, movement in Islam” and that the sentences were wrongly imposed against a “contemporary ideological tendency within Sunni Islam.” Thus, the court argued that Musa and his colleagues were legitimately practicing their religion rather than engaging in subversive, anti-democratic activities as the lower court found. In doing that, the highest appeals court of the land essentially