Tag Archives: Bulgaria

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity


Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Bulgaria News | Asylum-Seekers

Riot at refugee camp in southern Bulgaria leads to crackdown and extraditions
  • More than 400 asylum-seekers detained in the camp at Harmanli in southern Bulgaria clashed with police, throwing stones and setting fire to furniture before police shot them with rubber bullets and a water cannon.
  • Local media had accused refugees at the camp, home to 3,000, of carrying infectious skin diseases, leading to their confinement to the camp and stoking outrage among the detained.
  • The Bulgarian government has initiated arrangements to deport those involved as nationalists have called for the closure of all refugee centers.

Read more:
Bulgarian police fire rubber bullets during migrant camp riot” (The Guardian)
After riot, Bulgaria to send migrants to closed camps, plans extraditions” (Reuters)
Migrant crisis: Riot in Bulgaria’s largest refugee centre” (BBC)

(Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Bulgaria’s highly administered border with Turkey provides stark contrast to Mediterranean migration situation
  • The country has spent €300 million fortifying the border over the last 8 years, including the construction of a razor-wire fence along its 270-km (165-mi) length.
  • Bulgaria has one of the highest rates of asylum-granting in the EU, having granted more than 5,000 of 11,000 applicants refugee status.
  • Conditions in refugee camps have improved in the last couple of years, but Bulgaria faces pressures from both European governments and human rights organizations to at once tighten and ease its policing and intelligence practices at the border.

“Don’t link those fleeing terror with those who would like to create it. …States can protect refugees, and address security concerns too, by screening and registering them early on.”

More on this story at BBC.

(Image Credit: BBC)