Is It for Money, Mr General... Is It for a Lot of Money?
It strikes one that, especially lately, more and more generals are taking part in politics - from the armed forces, from the police, from the fire brigade. But mostly from the armed forces. In the forthcoming general elections on October 5, a dozen of army generals are again set to storm the Parliament's benches using the ballot boxes. From the presidential ABV movement, Gen Miho Mihov placed his bid. He enjoys a good reputation and is considered to be intelligent and with a rich expertise.
Gen Zlatan Stoykov, the last army Chief of the General Staff of the army, as the institution was named before being transformed into a Defense Staff, upheld his loyalty to the "hundred-year-old" BSP [Bulgarian Socialist Party]. Legends are still going around about him in the military institution that he supposedly made no difference between "cheers" and "chips", but anyway, he was proposed to the office by his predecessor Gen Nikola Kolev, who for his part became a military advisor to then-President Georgi Parvanov.
An exotic candidacy is that of the last Chief of Defense, Gen Simeon Simeonov, who is running to become MP from... the DPS [Movement for Rights and Freedoms]! Due to this "position" he drew quite a lot of criticism from his former subordinates and colleagues. Let's not forget another "acting" general - a mayor of Sliven - Brig Gen Kolyo Milev. These are many and there are more, as we said, from the army, from police and from the fire brigade.
This is nothing new, of course. Generals are involved in politics in a number of other states as well. Years ago a leutenant-colonel from the Military Publishing House admitted "this is what they have been taught to do," to be leaders! Indeed, These former generals have been instructed to lead. They also have the right to a position, even a political one; though being depoliticized under the law, they are free to voice their political outlook at home. The problem, however, stems from their transition to becoming reservists.
How is it that one goes to bed as a non-partisan general and wakes up with a clearly manifest political position in the morning? Generals hold exceptionally high offices, but mostly national ones - commanders of armies, corps, brigades, heads at different levels (staffs included, even the army's General Staff). These are non-partisan offices, with many people, and even the whole nation under given circumstances, to be responsible for. This is precisely why generals are depoliticized - they should not allow any influence in order to carry out their duties in an unbiased way.
At the same time, literally just days after retiring, these responsible generals suddenly develop as outspoken defenders of the political positions, let's get things straight, predominantly on the left side of the political spectrum... Of course, there are exceptions within the right political space, but they are so negligibly few that they are not worth mentioning.
It is inexplicable how these generals defended the national interests of all Bulgarians - left, right, centrist, tsarist, nationalist - and when they put off their uniform, it turns out they have joined the rearguard of the army and, at the same time, of the left.
We will not comment on how can the generals be useful in politics, because they are primerily "political generals". A vast part of them are, more or less, merely well-known faces. Not to mention some of them went to parties which correspond in no way to their profile as Bulgarians, as former military men, as defenders of the homeland, as officers of honor and dignity.
There is no other plausible explanation but to think this is all about money, obviously about a lot of money, since the compromise is enormous. Nonetheless, how much does it take for one to put the uniform aside, how much is a general's dignity worth?... It seems everything has its price.
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