Russian émigré officers and their families at leisure - Serbia 1922.
Wars are less about destructive hardware or other imaginative ways of extermination – they're all about destroying the fabric of society and family ties. The Bolshevik Revolution and Russia's Civil War literally cast overboard several generations of educated people, and those who made it to safer havens were considered lucky to survive.
While Dr Zhivago's characters were fictitious, the real victims were millions – there were to be found on Turkish islands, on the pavements of the Balkan cities, in the libraries of Prague and European universities, most of them cherishing their dreams of reaching France, yet slowly dissolving into the societies of their new host countries. Hundreds of thousands of Russian émigrés settled down in 1919-1920 in Serbia and Bulgaria. In late 1921, in a few days only, 9330 Russian émigrés disembarked from 4 ships in the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas.
Moscow's new rulers ruthlessly obliterated even the memories of their own educated exiles, shunning any reference of them that differed from the 'class enemy'. Few visual memories of the 'White Russians' have survived, mainly outside Russia and Ukraine.
Amateur filming by western tourists in Communist Bulgaria was relatively rare, compared to its neighbours in the same period. Here is some footage, shot by a group of British youths, who travelled from the Bosphorus to Bulgaria's Black Sea coast. They even filmed in the strictly prohibited border zone on the Bulgarian side!
Converted from Kodachrome Super 8 mm film
Mountainous area - straddles Bulgaria, Turkey and the Black Sea. For nearly fifty years the villages on the Bulgarian side were a remote outpost on the border with Turkey: right on the faultline which separated Communism from the rest of the world.
© Velislav Radev
The Bulgarian village of Brashlyan has always sat at a crossroads. For nearly fifty years it was a remote outpost on the border with Turkey -- right on the faultline which separated Communism from the rest of the world.
Brashlyan's elderly residents still share stories about the horrific and sometimes surreal efforts to protect Bulgaria's frontier. The derelict relics of that time are still there, but Brashlyan is looking for a new role in life. One of the villagers, Maria Kichukova tells us about its painful past and her big hopes for the future.
Българското село Бръшлян в полите на Странджа е винаги било на кръстопът. Близо 50 години то е изолиран, ”преден пост” на границата с Турция, която тогава дели комунизма от останалия свят.
Възрастните жители на Бръшлян все още разказват за зловещите, а понякога и почти сюрреалистични усилия да се опази българската граница. Овехтялите съоръжения от онова време са все още по местата си, но днес Бръшлян търси нов облик. Една от неговите жители, Мария Кичукова, разказва за болезненото минало и за големите си надежди към бъдещето.