The Fireworks of Communism
Large amounts of obsolete ammo are scattered across Bulgaria – explosives, grenades, shells, piled up during the Communist regime when the Warsaw Pact was preparing to attack NATO or to counter the enemy.
These "ticking bombs" are supposed to be detonated or "utilized" as is the preferred word of the Finance Ministry, but sometimes they explode... There have been six explosions at munitions storage sites in Bulgaria since 2000.
The most "impressive" one occurred in July 2008, in a military storage right outside of the capital Sofia. The blast engulfed tons of conventional munitions and TNT. What was left was transported to another facility in southeastern Bulgaria to be "utilized" by a private company...Until it exploded on June 5 2012.
"It is much easier at all times to prevent an evil than to rectify mistakes," George Washington used to say.
Not in Bulgaria. In Bulgaria the institutions pass the ball until the story is forgotten, most often overshadowed by some newer scandal - outrages happen every day and get forgotten every day.
The Parliament passed the controversial Forestry Act and mass protest "engulfed" Sofia.
The blast story subsided without anyone finding out why the Interior Ministry's checks discovered no violations at the ammo depot and why the Defense Ministry is suspecting huge omissions, how Bereta Trading got the contract, what the alleged conflict of interests committed by a Defense Ministry employee had to do with it, what is known about the owner, except his name, how were people hired to dismantle explosives, what qualifications and training did they have, why were they paid the meager BGN 350 a month, and constantly asked to work overtime ...? Why are they so afraid to talk?
In another blunder, instead of keeping quiet, the owner reemerged to direct the blame for all of the above to one single worker, who failed to obey an order to not touch something... Someone hired, trained (or not), underpaid, and overused by his own company...
The bottom line – 3 dead, 9 injured, broken house windows, and other damage, terrified people, farm fields filled with scattered explosives, lost harvest, and murky promises for compensations...
The fireworks of Communism still blasting us...