Bulgarians are often branded as unhappy pessimists. This is an exaggeration, but if you look at recent events over the past month or so, you can feel some sympathy for those gloomy folk.
During his active campaigning to get appointed as Bulgaria's next Prosecutor General the only contender for the job, Ivan Geshev, declared unhesitatingly that he is not a fan of the separation of powers. A few weeks later, the chairman of the culture and media committee in parliament Vezhdi Rashidov said: "Enough with freedom of speech".
Mr Rashidov was reacting to the public outcry against an attempt to silence radio journalist Sylvia Velikova, allegedly because she dared to criticize Mr Geshev. In the best traditions of a classic coup d'état, the national public radio BNR was shut down for six hours to make sure that Ms Velikova's colleagues wouldn't voice their protest on air. Since BNR has never been taken off air in its eighty-year history, the Prosecutor's Office started an investigation, assigning the case to... Mr Geshev, who - surprise, surprise! - found nothing wrong with the actions of the BNR management.
You've probably got a headache already. But let me assure you that after witnessing similar scandals on a daily basis, Bulgarians have developed an incurable form of migraine.
All of these episodes are part of the election crusade of Mr Geshev in which the usually outspoken Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has remained conspicuously silent. Not out of respect for the independence of the judiciary, of course, but in order to gain early bonus points with the future Prosecutor General. But while Mr Borissov is keeping a low profile, the toxic circle of politicians and former agents of the Communist-era security services supporting Mr Geshev is taking the initiative. This often happens behind the back of the PM, either by pressing ridiculous espionage charges, or by exerting pressure on the media, or by launching smear campaigns via brown media outlets, the nauseating form of yellow tabloid journalism.
Mr Borissov says he has nothing to do with them. Regardless of whether he is honest or not about that, these episodes show that power is slipping through his fingers and Bulgaria's behind-the-curtain establishment is gaining the upper hand.