End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

The 16th century Miri-i-Arab Madrasah defaced before its extensive renovation. It closed in 1924 and it was used as the city’s children’s library. The Madrasah re-opened in 1946 as part of Stalin’s post-war concessions to the region.

The Miri-i-Arab Madrasah was the only Islamic spiritual educational establishment in the Soviet Union.

The Miri-i-Arab Madrasa was the only Islamic spiritual educational establishment in the Soviet Union

The Austrian writer and soldier Gustav Krist was captured on the Eastern Front in WWI and ended up in Soviet Turkestan. Later on he returned to the area and in his 1937 book 'Alone Through the Forbidden Land' he recounted his visit to Bukhara - the ancient city known as Bukhara the Holy:

…The Russians were reluctant to rob it completely of an impressive epithet and is now entitled Bukhara the Noble. You may here see the Red Star or the portraits of Lenin in queer juxtaposition with the ancient text books of Sharia Law and commentaries on the Quran. The Madrasah Mir Arab is a typical example. The narrow cell of the Imam has shelves along the walls, laden with sacred books in Arabic and Kufic script, above which hangs a poster in Uzbeg which screams: 'Proletarians of all Lands Unite!'

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

Photography © Velislav Radev

Published in Red Square

A piece of visual history - the first photo album of the Bulgarian capital after the Communist takeover in 1944.

Most of the over 100 photographs were taken by Architect Nikolay Popov and Pencho Balkanski, both established internationally in the 1930, with exhibitions in Vienna and Belgrade.

Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959

(more to come)

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria
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Ilija Djadjev from the town of Gevgelija in the then Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a geography teacher. However, his passion is music and he is one of the very few performers of the 'Hawaiian' guitar in this part of the world.

Ilija has had more than one thousand concerts, some of them in most unusual places. We see him here playing to a bee-keeper, as well as to soldiers at a remote post on Yugoslavia's border with Greece.

Ilija's dream is to visit Hawaii one day. Meanwhile, he enjoys playing by the Macedonian Lake of Doiran.

Rescued and converted from a 16 mm Orwo film

Published in YOUR STORY

Сталинское выселение народов: воспоминания очевидцев

70 лет назад - 23 февраля 1944 года в 02:00 по местному времени - на Северном Кавказе началась операция 'Чечевица' по депортации чеченцев и ингушей. Всего в 1944-м году было выселено на восток около 873 тысяч человек, а к октябрю 1948 года - 2 млн 247 тысяч. В ходе депортации и после нее погибли тысячи людей.

Российский журналист и фотограф Дмитрий Беляков в течение двух лет встречался на Северном Кавказе с участниками тех событий. Результатом этих встреч стал специальный проект -  серия фотопортретов, а также свидетельства очевидцев и жертв переселения. Би-би-си публикует фрагменты этих рассказов.

Published in Red Square

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Nikola Mihov was a prominent Bulgarian army commander at the turn of the XX century. A career officer who managed to stay clear of politics in the turbulent 1930s, he ran the country's Military Academy till 1941. In 1942 he became a defence minister in Bulgaria's Nazi-allied government. In the summer of 1943 General Mihov was appointed as one of the three regents to the boy King Simeon after the death of his father King Boris.

Just over a year later, after the Communist takeover of Bulgaria, Nikola Mihov's fate took a dramatic turn – he was arrested, taken to the Soviet Union for questioning, then returned, put on show trial in Sofia and executed together with 96 other statesmen and prominent Bulgarians. They were all shot and buried in a mass grave on 1-2 February 1945.

Lyudmila Doytchinova was Nikola Mihov's niece. She remembered vividly the day her uncle vanished.

 

Filmed in Sofia, 2008

Published in YOUR STORY

Prespa Lake - an area of stunning nature and relentless politics.

After several campaigns of ethnic purges and other of the 20th Century's upheavals: the Balkan wars, the 1920s, the Greek Civil war of 1947-49, the Slav speakers – Bulgarians and Macedonians - largely disappeared from Northern Greece. Their houses are sill there in ghost villages, the stories of survivors in remote pockets still untold, their identity still intact. We spoke to some of them on camera.

Published in Balkans

 

74 years ago on 10-11 March 1943 Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was mainly down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev.

Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. 

His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembered.

Published in Bulgaria

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A journey from 2002

© Velislav Radev

Juris Podnieks was a Latvian film director. He graduated from the Moscow VGIK film school in 1975 and worked at the Riga Film Studio.

Over 3 years Podnieks filmed his documentary 'Hello, do you hear us?' as the Soviet Union was collapsing. It showed civil unrest in Uzbekistan, survivors of the earthquake in Armenia, striking workers in Yaroslavl, former residents returning to Chernobyl.

Juris Podnieks, 1990, 51 minutes

More on Juris Podnieks (1950 - 1992)

Published in Red Square

16 mm silent film.

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop.

The rapprochement between the Soviet Union and Germany in the summer of 1939 led to an agreement officially signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939 - the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union. It was a non-aggression pact under which the two countries were to remain neutral  in the event that either nation were attacked by a third party. The treaty also included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.  It sealed off the fate of Poland and the Baltic states.

Molotov_Ribbentrop_MyCent

Soon after the signing of the treaty, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland and divided the country between them.

The date of signing, 23 August, is commemorated each year across the EU as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.

Molotov_Ribbentrop_4_Russian

Molotov_3_German

 

Published in Red Square