Scapegoats for a burned-out system

Silviu Mihai, 22 May 13
In Bulgaria, massive protests against rising energy prices are spiralling into an unprecedented political crisis. Corrupt leaders are blaming renewables for the hefty electricity bills.

Aleksander Dunchev, a young Bulgarian activist, was out protesting again today. This is the third month in a row that he has taken to the streets. It’s cold and grey in Sofi; the sky is heavy with the threat of rain. “It’s weather for drinking tea and dozing on the sofa at home in the warm,” says Dunchev. But people in the Bulgarian capital are far too angry to sit back and relax. Although widespread protests led to the government’s surprise resignation in February, this has done little to quell the unrest. “Many people can no longer afford to heat their homes. We’re sick and tired of monopolies and corruption,” says Dunchev, who has spent years championing sustainability and environmental protection, and campaigning against controversial building projects. “When building permits are issued illegally and shady businesspeople make profits at the expense of, say, a nature park, then that’s basically the same problem as we are facing now. Energy corporations are profiting from their monopoly position, and the state is giving them free rein to do so,” he says.

This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 03/2013

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