Bulgaria, Sofia, 1989

In the Footsteps of a Revolution

The end of WWII, in 1945, was a turning point for Europe and the world. The West began to rebuild their homes, institutions, and re-commit to democratic norms. But the East set on a 45-year long path in which communism extended its tentacles into every aspect of the societies. In a way, the fall of the totalitarian regimes in 1989/91 brought the promise to the East that 1945 brought to the West. 75 years after the end of WWII and 30 years after 1989, the generation born after these events is now asking the question: “What is the impact of history of the recent past on our present?”

Dealing with the past has been a difficult topic for the Bulgarian society – both when it comes to the communist history and to the history of transition to democracy. With a series of documentary video tours in Sofia, SofiaPlatform aims to explore the events of ’89 through the places and people that bear witness of them. Contemporaries will take you on a tour to different historical sites in the capital and will talk about their experience of the revolution.

Episode 1: Symbols of Authority: The Mausoleum, the State Security and the Fear

Follow Louisa Slavkova from Sofia Platform Foundation and Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov on their tour around places and events in Sofia in the context of the 1989 revolution.

Episode 2: The Emergence of the Resistance Movement

Join Louisa Slavkova from the Sofia Platform Foundation and Deyan Kyuranov, philosopher and human rights activist, in exploring the resistance movement, in the end of communism in Bulgaria in 1989.

Episode 3: "Down with the Communist Party!"

Follow Louisa Slavkova from the Sofia Platform and former prime minister of Bulgaria, Philip Dimitrov, on the third tour through Sofia in 1989 and learn how discontent about the communist regime turned into political action.

  • Production: Concept Studio
  • Translation and VoiceOver: Eric Halsey
  • Edited by: Sofia Platform Foundation, Charlotte Jahnz (bpb)
  • Published by: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Sofia Platform Foundation

Momchil Metodiev (Bulgaria), Ph.D. and Dr. habil. (Philosophy), is the Editor in Chief of the Christianity and Culture Journal and Research Fellow in the Institute for Studies of the Recent Past, Sofia. He is a historian, whose research interests are focused on the history of the communist State Security and Bulgarian Orthodox Church. He also worked in several Bulgarian and international projects researching the communist past, including the Cold War Research Project in the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington, DC.

Louisa Slavkova is co-founder and director of the Sofia Platform Foundation. She is advisory board member of the European Network for Civic Education (NECE). In 2016 Louisa was Ronald Lauder Visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, NYC. From 2013 to 2016, she was programs manager at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Prior to joining ECFR, Louisa served for two years as adviser to Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov (currently UN’s envoy for Middle East peace). She is author and editor of several books and publications on foreign policy, democracy development and civic education, as well as co-author of а text book on civic education in Bulgaria. Since 2019 she is co-head of the Capacity Building Program at Civic Europe, a program for locally rooted civic actors in so called civic deserts in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Sofia Platform Foundation (SPF), a nongovernmental organization, is working in two main strands – teaching history of the recent past and civic education in both, formal and non-formal settings. Over the past seven years it has been initiating and managing projects related to dealing with the past with students and teachers in Bulgaria. On the local level, it supports the development of capacities and skills of individuals and organizations to strengthen their active citizenship. To provide high-quality educational activities, SPF’s formats are based on solid research and practice, constant impact measurement of its activities and working with a broad network of experts. On an international level, SPF focuses on informing the debate on historical legacy, transition and democracy consolidation through research, public dialogue and discussions. This includes developing educational materials on communism and transition in Eastern Europe as well as civic education materials for hard-to-reach learners together with international partners.