GEORGI PURVANOV - The President of the Republic of Bulgaria
United in Our Differences
The writer and publisher Georgi Grozdev asked the President Georgi Purvanov a number of questions of present interest. Despite his heavy schedule at the moment in the country and abroad, the President found time to address them. So today the Literary Balkans magazine expresses its gratitude for the gesture. When the intelligent minorities on the Balkans are joined by statesmen of such rang, then, truly, there is hope …
Dear Mr. Purvanov, as a historian you know better than anyone else the home-use myths of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Aren’t these myths and lies still standing in our way to the future?
Probably you are referring not to the rich cultural mythological heritage of the Balkan peoples, but to the manipulative myths of the political space surrounding us today. Particularly the nationalistic-flavored ones. Undoubtedly, such pseudo-mythology gives negative ideas and creates obstacles on our way to full-fledged integration in the European structures and our taking a worthy place in the development of world processes.
On the other hand, the priceless richness contained in the myths and legends of the Balkans, one of the cradles of human civilization, can bring to the European cultural space experience and morals confirmed through the centuries
What do you think unites the Balkan spirit, the Balkan mentality, despite the dramatism of the small differences between Balkan neighbors?
The Balkans, this cradle of antique civilizations and cultures, have sheltered peoples, who share a lot of their traditions, customs, songs, dances, national costumes and dishes. Their histories are closely intertwined; their cultures complement and influence each other.
The living memory of the civilizations in our region has long since created a specific Balkan spirit, built a Balkan mentality which is a sound foundation for the relations among all the Balkan neighbors.
We should rely on the common values, common strategic goals and interests for our future, not on the dramatism of existent differences. The Balkans should emit positive signals to the whole international community to unite culture, peace and development.
What are the advantages of the future over the past which people staring at the past don’t see thus isolating themselves in the freezer of history?
Everyone who looks at the past as an end in itself without gaining experience and knowledge, without reflecting it through the crystals of the present and seeing the perspectives of the future is doomed to self-isolation in the freezer of history.
The advantage of the future over the past is the opportunity to judge and sieve through and not repeat the negative which has already come to pass. To begin with a new perspective of a better life, to strive towards spiritual heights.
This is within the power and ability of all Balkan nations wielding a great creative potential.
After Bulgaria enters Europe what advantages will that have for the integration of Macedonia, for example?
Bulgaria and Macedonia have always been in Europe. The accession of our two countries to the common European structures now is a natural and normal process. It doesn’t matter all that much how in time this will happen. The fact Bulgaria will be a step ahead with the integration process gives Macedonia a chance to benefit from our experience, to avoid certain mistakes down the road. On the other hand, the great similarity between us in terms of alphabet, mentality, life, and history will allow the other members of the European family to more easily understand and accept Macedonia, after Bulgaria has already taken its place in the common European house.
What is the basic truth we have to incorporate in our foundations today, so that our children’s children don’t curse but bless us?
It is the well-known and simple truth we are all doomed, on the Balkans, and in Europe and the world to live together. We have to respect each other’s right to a worthy place under the sun. To live in peace and cooperation with the rest of the people, regardless of racial, national, religious and other differences existing among us. To increase the material and spiritual wealth we possess through hard work and talent.