Teodora Panayotova graduated from Sofia University with Master Degree in Philology and Higher Education. She worked as a lecturer at the Institute for Foreign Students in Sofia; she participated in the informal movements of the 1980s; was co-founder of the teachers and the journalists trade union “Podkrepa”. Actively supporting the political change to democracy, since 10 November 1989, Teodora Panayotova has been working in the oppositional newspapers Reporters 7, Podkrepa and Democracy. She also became member of the the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF): a broad coalition established in December 1989 by a group of non-governmental organizations and restored parties from the period prior to the establishment of the communist regime.
Since their childhood, Teodora and her sister Boryana witnessed the activity of their mother, "who has always provoked the disapproval of the socialist power. As a teacher, screenwriter and theater director, Sevdalina Panayotova, for half of a century, created scenarios and plays that were stopped and obstructed by the institutions, but which raised generations of courage, civic position, activity and anti-communist thinking."
Teodora explains her anticommunist beliefs by the characteristics of the totalitarian regime: "To enforce and to survive, the regime systematically and purposefully destroyed the basic moral norms and transformed the amoral behavior into normality: murder, lawlessness, betrayal, slander, lying, duplicity, falsification, corruption etc. At the same time, the regime held the population subject to fear and terror, which turned paranoia into a constantly mental state, destroying trust among people. And trust is the foundation of every society."
Having beeing parent herself in non-fear and non-obedience, Teodora Panayotova maintains that "the claim that there was no resistance in Bulgaria against the communist regime, comparing it with the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the Czech 1968 revolution and the Polish resistance 1981, is not true. In the first years after 9.IX.1944 there was the so-called Goryanstvo movement. These were militarized bands who fought against the communist regime and who were killed in very cruel way. Periodically in Bulgaria there were groups and individuals who have been against the communist regime, and who therefore spend years in forced labour camps or in prisons, or have been objects of dismissal, interrogations and other repressive measures; or forced to emigrate. One such group was also around Sevdalina Panayotova, whose collection we are presenting."
Her understanding of cultural opposition Teodora Panayotova expresses as follows: "Cultural opposition is an opposition through the means of culture in the narrow sense of the word, i.e. through the forms of art (verbal and non-verbal, of written and oral speech, which includes education). During the 45 years of socialist Bulgaria there was a cultural opposition, which is less expressed in works (written, paintings, sculptures, theatrical and musical) directed openly against the totalitarian power, but more in getting out from the established interpretation of works and breaking the pattern of socialist realism."
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- Sofia, Bulgaria
Author(s) of this page
- Kasabova, Anelia Dr.