Bulgarian documentary “Goryani” (2011) reveals Bulgarians’ resistance against communism







At the end of 2011 Andrey Kovatchev, Vice-chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament and Member of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group, supported the distribution of the Bulgarian documentary “Goryani” (“mountain dwellers” in Eng.) directed by Mr Atanas Kirjakov. 

“Goryani” is devoted to one of the most traumatic, but also most remarkable moments of the new Bulgarian history – the resistance movement of the Goryani against the communist rule in the period between 1944 and 1956. The film is based on authentic archival and documental evidence, as well as the memories of living members of the movement and their successors. The film was first presented on 27 September 2011 and it was greeted with huge interest by the Bulgarian civil society.

The Goryani formed the biggest Bulgarian organised movement against the communist authority. At its peak, the resistance involved a few thousand people across the whole country. It was very active during the most oppressive years of the totalitarian rule – the repression during Stalinism and land collectivisation. Despite the existing documents and evidence, this movement remains largely unexplored outside the academic circle. 

In this sense, the information about the Goryani gives eloquent testimony against the widespread idea of a fairly peaceful transition to a communist dictatorship inBulgaria, as well as the foreign perception ofBulgariaas an obedient Soviet satellite. The authentic nature of the movement and its role for the age of totalitarianism have made the film “Goryani” an important evidence of the real Bulgarian stance to the communist rule. 

The film will be distributed among key academic and memorial centres acrossEurope. The film will also form part of the curiculum of several Bulgarian secondary schools, thus constituting a key basis for educating young Bulgarians in the spirit of democracy and freedom.

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