94% of Bulgarians Aged 16-30 Admit They Know Nothing about Communist Era

Society | November 9, 2014, Sunday // 15:29
Bulgaria: 94% of Bulgarians Aged 16-30 Admit They Know Nothing about Communist Era Photo by EPA/BGNES

25 years after the democratic turn in Bulgaria, the collective memory for the socialist period continues to fade away, according to a survey of polling agency Alpha Research.

The survey was conducted among 1200 Bulgarians aged 16+ via direct standardized in- home interviews, according to reports of Sega daily.

According to Alpha Research, 94% of those polled in the 16-30 age category, the youngest group in the survey, say that they know next to nothing about the period, with 40% of them unable to tell whether the end of the communist era is marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Moscow Wall, the Sofia Wall, or the Chinese Wall.

At the same time, 92% cannot specify the borders of the communist bloc.

Knowledge about the era is mostly based on personal impressions and conversations (55%).

Insignificant shares of those polled have learned about the period from a book (10%), a film or a TV program (16%), or at school or at a university (10%).

In March 1991, around two years after the collapse of the communist regime, 76% of those polled gave a negative estimate of Bulgaria’s former Communist leader Todor Zhivkov, compared to an approval rate of 55% nowadays.

More than half of the young Bulgarians do not know the name of Todor Zhivkov.

Almost 2/3 of those polled in the age group 16-30 do not know who Margaret Thatcher was, 73% are unaware of who Ronald Reagan was, 89% know nothing about Helmut Kohl, and the name of Mikhail Gorbachev speaks nothing to 76%.

Asked about where Bulgaria should be headed to after 1989, 30% call for opening borders and free travel, 27% seek an increase in incomes and wellbeing, 20% back developing the market economy and providing new job opportunities, 19% call for more human rights and liberties, 18% seek property restitution, and 15% demand the election of government by free elections.

Asked about their attitude towards the past 25 years, 50% of the respondents find Bulgaria’s development unsuccessful, while 10% approve of it.

29% say they experienced personal losses during the transitional period.

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Tags: Polling agency, transition period, Todor Zhivkov, communist regime, communist period, Communist Bloc, democracy

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