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.

Published in Red Square
Published in Bulgaria

Atidje's story takes you back to 1973, when her family was caught up in dramatic events that no one could have dreamt would occur in the quiet, mountainous village of Kornitsa, on Bulgaria's Greek border.

The entire Muslim community stood up against the Communist government, demanded their rights, and cut the village off from the rest of the country, camping out for months in the main square. Atidje's husband was the leader of the rebellion. When the crackdown came, she paid her price.

Four decades later she still remembers vividly what happened that night, the deportation with her children, and her missing husband, who was sent to prison. Both of them now live in Turkey.

Published in YOUR STORY


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

Published in Bulgaria


A story of national identity and European citizenship, shot in Bulgaria, Belgium and Moldova and sponsored by the Bulgarian Memory Foundation. Reported/produced by Velislav Radev, directed by Janet Barrie.

On Bulgarian National TV , Sunday 23 February 2014. 

Made by

Един филм за националната самобитност и европейската идентичност, за Гражданската награда на Европейския парламент. Заснет в България, Белгия, Молдова, и спонсориран от Фондация Българска Памет.

Репортер / продуцент Велислав Радев Режисьор Джанет Бари 

Published in Bulgaria

"When I first moved to Sofia, I knew hardly anyone, and spent most of my free days wandering the streets around ulitsa Pirotska, taking photos and drinking coffee in 'Halite'.

One of the first people I got to know was a fellow English photographer, a 50-something divorcee working for a financial institution in Sofia. In emails he referred to the city as 'So Fear' and the name stuck. It became some kind of title to our photography of our Sofia. For a year I lived in a flat with paper-thin double glazing next to a busy junction on Dondukov, so the sound of So Fear for me has always been a trolley bus pulling away from traffic lights, perhaps why I take so many pictures of public transport. "

Sofia So Fear
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Photography © James Crouchman

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria

A film in development. Following the lives of White Russians and their heirs today.

Shot on location in Russia, Bulgaria and Belgium.

Published in Red Square

It's 44 years since the violent crackdown on a remarkable protest in two remote Muslim villages of Communist Bulgaria. In the winter of 1973 their entire populations rebelled against the state and spent months camped out in the main square. Uniquely for Communist Eastern Europe, their villages became a no-go area for the authorities. We talked to those who remember and who experienced it first hand.

Навършват се 44 години от насилственото потушаване на забележителната протестна акция на две помашки села в комунистическа България. През зимата на 1973 жителите им възстават срещу властите и прекарват 3 месеца на площада. Уникално за комунистическа Източна Европа по това време, тези села се превръщат в зона, недоостъпна за централната власт. Разговаряхме със свидетели и хора, изпитали на собствен гръб репресиите.



Published in Bulgaria

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A journey from 2002

© Velislav Radev

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.

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© Velislav Radev

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria