- Title: City of Dreams: residents of Bulgarian town nostalgic for communist past
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: DIMITROVGRAD, BULGARIA (NOVEMBER 27, 2019) (REUTERS) EX-BRIGADIERS WHO WERE INVOLVED IN BUILDING BULGARIAN CITY OF DIMITROVGRAD SINGING, MAN CONDUCTING VARIOUS OF EX-BRIGADIERS SINGING
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 10:22
- Keywords: Bulgaria Dimitrovgrad Georgi Dimitrov brigadier movement city of dreams city of youth communism communist nostalgia fall of communism socialist way of life
- Location: DIMITROVGRAD, BULGARIA
- City: DIMITROVGRAD, BULGARIA
- Country: Bulgaria
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAI5TTL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Although many Bulgarians see the country's communist past as a time of deprivation and repression, the residents of one town are nostalgic for an era when unemployment was zero, food was cheap, and social safety was high.
In Dimitrovgrad, former 'brigadiers' who helped to build the town in the late 1940s say although life in the city is good, lack of work has caused young people to leave.
Named for Bulgaria's first communist leader Georgi Dimitrov, Dimitrovgrad was built almost from scratch by the brigadiers, who came in their thousands from all over the country.
Envisioned as a new kind of city, it was nicknamed the 'City of Dreams' and 'City of Youth'.
Elena Georgieva, the director of the city's history museum, said many of the brigadiers stayed on in the city they had built with "enormous enthusiasm".
Nearly 70 years after the city's construction, some residents still remember how much they wanted to be a part of the project.
Eighty-eight-year-old Danka Valkanova remembers admiring the brigadiers' uniforms but family commitments prevented her from joining them.
Twenty-six-year-old Ivan Stoev grew up hearing the story of how Dimitrovgrad was built. He said the heritage that young people in the town have inherited deserves respect.
However, the collapse of Bulgaria's planned economy hit the town hard, with local industries forced to close or cut jobs.
The population of the town has fallen from 54,000 inhabitants in the mid-1980s to 35,000 today.
(Production: Miroslav Roussinov, Angel Krasimirov, Lewis Macdonald, Dominik Starosz)
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