Bulgaria is not one of those countries that are regularly seen in U.S. news media outlets. Considering that news organizations often seem to conflate bad news with news worthy of coverage that may well be a good thing. Bulgaria is not collapsing from debt burdens or desperate from natural disasters or reeling from civil war or fomenting ethnic cleansing.
But just the same there is news coming out of Bulgaria that has made its way through the ether and a good bit is either interesting or just sheer fun. Here is a sampling.
A Bulgarian businessman who opens up about his finances to a journalist? Apparently Rosen Daskalov is such a Bulgarian businessman. He somehow merged his adolescent go-kart experience with his education as a mechanical engineer to make a whole greater than the sum of its automotive parts. Sin Cars has a very specific market—and a name that one really can’t forget—and seems ready to compete for more than media attention.
Bulgaria has a lot to answer for—and improve—in terms of transparency, corruption, and the effectiveness of its judicial system, so it was somewhat surprising and rather encouraging to see it rank quite well on 2017 Global Impunity Index. So well in fact that only Croatia did better and the United States was rather far behind. Impunity was held to have three major dimensions: security, justice, and human rights. Though the MSN coverage focused on the bad actors, and in fact on the very worst actor, it does as well note Bulgaria’s happy place with the good guys.
Bulgaria is the archeological gift that keeps on giving. It sometimes seems impossible that land that has been traversed and settled and resettled since ancient times can still be revealing relics from the past, but in fact there is a great deal still being uncovered. A site near Балей (Baley) near Vidin in northwest Bulgaria has been studied for over four decades, but recently discovered gravesites revealed Bronze Age pottery circa 1400 BCE. Meanwhile at the other side of the country and at the bottom of the sea, the Black Sea Maritime Archeology Project (Black Sea M.A.P.) has been investigating shipwrecks dating from Hellenistic to medieval times. Some of the ships were found erect and seemingly ready to sail, albeit nearly 6000 feet below the surface.
In February 2016, I wrote a post focusing on China’s Great Wall car company in Bulgaria. I did not know then that when some Chinese business leaders were scouting Bulgaria to build a modern convenience within the country, others were scouting an ancient bacteria to bring back home—Bulgarian yogurt. Lactobacillus bulgaricus apparently translated well into Chinese. Now there is a Chinese-Bulgarian Yogurt Festival in the village of Momchilovtsi, Bulgaria, and one visitor from Shanghai asserts “There’s two things every Chinese knows about Bulgaria—yogurt and roses.”
From the newest of the new back to the ancient and the ancient appreciated anew, there is, ahem, some good news coming out of Bulgaria. If you hear of other good news, please do share