The current section of KQ has the ambition to explain the jargon of Bulgarian politics and economy which sometimes is as inexplicable if literally translated as in the above mentioned phrases. Who's Cecoron? Or what "Tsvetan thoughts" means and what for the love of god ladybirds have to do with management?
GenderiThe boogieman to traditional values
Definition: Conservative Bulgarians from all political colors have turned a normal English word into a defamatory homophobic expression in their native language
Regular readers of this KQ section might remember the concept of "third gender" (or "treti pol" in Bulgarian) that was mainstreamed by the toxic debate surrounding the failed ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, colloquially known as the Istanbul Convention. A few months later, "genderi" (a new noun coined from "gender" plus a Bulgarian "-i" ending for plural started to be used by the more traditionalist Bulgarian public as a primary derogatory description of any progressive political opponent. Alongside Sorosoidi, genderi is now a favorite way of describing people perceived to be carrying liberal Western values, foreign agents trying to ruin what is seen as traditional Bulgarian values.
"No to the gender ideology in schools," emotionally said Kornelya Ninova, leader of Bulgarian Socialist Party at its National Council, joining the voices of Bulgarian far-right.
Ever since the Bulgarian government dropped its plans for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention due to popular backlash, media and politicians started liberally using the word "genderi" as a covertly homophobic and transphobic euphemism for any sort of socially progressive values. "Gender agents in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences bought for 24,000 dollars", reads the title of an article published by large-circulation Bulgarian newspaper Trud in August. It refers to a UNESCO-funded grant allocated to the Sofia-based Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences which has the noble goal of training teachers how to address topics about gender discrimination in their classes. Yet, the newspaper, which apparently has turned conservative alongside other major print media outlets like 24 Chasa, saw a conspiracy in teaching children about gender stereotypes. The latter media outlet ran a series of op-eds about the atrocious gender ideology, one of them titled "Those who fell for the gender are falling from power across Europe", with a subtitle "There is a need for convention in defense of the white heterosexual man" written by a senior female reporter.
Bistrishki TigriPrime ministerial football
Definition: PM Boyko Borissov has one persisting passion that sometimes causes him serious trouble - the amateur football team he is playing for
Boyko Borissov is famous for his fondness of sport, especially football and tennis. Apparently, he is so infatuated with the 11 vs 11 game that he left on several occasions meetings of EU heads of government to watch a football match on several occasions.
Domestically, Mr Borissov has long been known for his close connection to the game and he is even member of Vitosha - Bistritsa team, a second-tier football club from Bistritsa, one of the posh neighborhoods of outer Sofia. Known as the Bistritsa Tigers ("Bistrishki Tigri") it has brought a lot of positive and less so moments to Borissov.
Recently, a video of the Bulgarian PM playing at a football veterans' final became viral, as it saw players of the opposing team seamlessly falling around Mr Borissov while he was scoring goal after goal. Later, a picture of him being thrown into the air by his teammates became the reason for many spoofs on the web.
Mr Borissov rarely allows anything take precedence over his football passion, even state affairs. Famously, while protesters surrounded the government building in May to voice their anger at the restart of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, Mr Borissov was scoring against the team of Ludogorets - Razgrad. Two years earlier, while the ruling coalition and the opposition were shredding to bits the reform proposals of Minister of Justice Hristo Ivanov in Parliament, Borissov was again seen on the pitch instead of backing the long overdue reforms of the justice system called for in numerous European Commission reports.
But it is not always fun and games. The Tigers have cost Mr Borissov a serious public scandal. In 2013, after a tip-off from a member of ultranationalist Ataka party, which was then part of the Socialist-led cabinet and is now backing Mr Borissov's GERB in parliament, the Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into a supposed misuse of the government airplane to carry the Tigers to the coastal city of Varna for a friendly game for free. After the fall of the Socialist-led government, the probe was closed, but at the time it was considered an attack against the PM.
KorpulentenPeevski's massive influence
Definition: Attacking someone for their physical appearance is ungentlemanly, but when their influence equals their size
In the past five years, the shadow of Delyan Peevski, the now infamous member of Bulgaria's parliament from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms has been looming large across the country's politics and economy. The MP, whose name has become synonym of oligarchic rule in Bulgaria, is best known for his short-lived appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, back in 2013. It lasted only a day but sparked the largest nation-wide protests since the 1997 anti-Socialist marches.
It also put Mr Peevski's figure in the limelight, making him a victim of Bulgaria's favorite national sport - satirizing the powerful. As Mr Peevski displays a physically bulky persona, alongside his oversized influence in the media, politics and business, one of the descriptions of him that has stuck (alongside "A Successful Man at the age of 33", as he described himself in an interview) was "Korpulenten businessman", or a corpulent businessman.
Although he largely hid from the public eye in the years following the collapse of the Oresharski government (2013-2014), his influence - and his actions - remain just as tangible. Although he hasn't appeared in parliament ever since the current National Assembly was inaugurated in the spring of 2017, Mr Peevski introduced a number of controversial legislation proposals, including a media regulation law and a bank insolvency law that hide lobbyist intentions behind concerns about public good.
Moreover, the media mogul who has formally worked only as a public servant throughout his career, declared an impressive amount of wealth in the past two years - 57 million euro. Yet, the institutions that ought to be interested in how this wealth came into his hands, mainly the Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture, does not seem to give a toss. Maybe because of Mr Peevski corpulent influence.