Veselin Lichev, Mayor of the Central Bulgarian town of Sopot, speaks in an interview for Focus News Agency about the monuments of the generals and brothers Georgi and Vladimir Vazov. The monuments are due to be unveiled today.
Focus: The monuments of the two Vazov brothers – Georgi and Vladimir, are to be unveiled today in Sopot. Who is going to attend the ceremony?
Veselin Lichev: Defence Minister Anyu Angelov will unveil the monuments, while the Rector of the Higher Military School in Veliko Tarnovo will present a short biography of the duo. The school in Veliko Tarnovo is among the biggest ones on the Balkans. The deeds of the two brothers are studied in military academies around the world. The monuments are lovely; the brothers have done wonders and deserve to be remembered in such a way.
Focus: And what do the monuments look like?
Veselin Lichev: They are 3 metres-tall busts. The brothers are depicted in military uniforms and wearing their medals.
Focus: Where exactly are they located?
Veselin Lichev: Right next to the brothers’ home in the centre of Sopot. They are also brothers of prominent Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov. One of them, Georgi, managed to capture the Adrianople fortress Iin just three days. He introduced the military use of the bike, telephone, throwing bombs from airplanes, and many other innovations. A team of experts from Japan, Canada, and the USA came to study the way he managed to do all this. For him it was too simple – his forces captured the whole of Macedonia, after all. The other brother, Vladimir, managed to capture 4 British and 2 French divisions with his single division. And this with minimal casualties of 7 or 8 soldiers. His achievement is acknowledged all around the world and especially in England. Only four foreign generals have been written down in British history as great military strategists and his name is second on this list. They even lowered the flags in his honour, as the great strategist he was. He was also a long-serving mayor of the capital Sofia and introduced a lot of innovations to the city. He straightened the roads and brought water to Sofia. That is why we have also invited incumbent Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to the event. However, she has to attend a session of the municipality and probably one of her deputies will come and lay a wreath at the monuments. We owe a lot to those two heroes, but up until now we had always failed to erect monuments of them. And now, thanks to the Minister of Defence who provided us with scrap and to local donators who provided the money, I managed to finish the monuments of the Vazov generals. We did it in such a way that the monuments will fill with pride everyone that pass near-by. They have both an aesthetically pleasing look and high moral and historical worth. The brothers are two of the few people who could tingle the patriotic spirit of the Bulgarian soul. We might as well, as the Ministry of Defence suggested, see off soldiers going to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq at this spot – in front of the brothers’ very eyes. There is enough place to host such events in the centre of the town.
Focus: How did the people from the region reacted about the idea for the construction of this monument?
Veselin Lichev: I’ve been occupying the Mayor position since the year 2003 and since the beginning of my duty, we tabled the project related to the construction of the monument of the Vazov brothers. Thanks to local sponsors and the Minister of Defence, who granted us the brass scrap, we’ve managed to finish the monuments.
Focus: Who made the monuments?
Veselin Lichev: Our local sculpture Dishko Dishkov has manufactured the pieces.
Focus: What memory is kept about the Vazov family in Sopot?
Veselin Lichev: When we speak of the Vazovs, this family name should arouse admirations in every Bulgarian and I believe it would be right at 12:00 o’clock today, we all to pay a tribute to those two national heroes.
Focus: Are there any materials left from the time they were alive?
Veselin Livhev: Of course there is. The Director of Ivan Vazov’s native house is opening today an exhibition related and dedicated to their life and activities. The exposition is in the right wing of the building, in the immediate vicinity of the monuments of the Vazovs.