The fall of Communism in Bulgaria on November 10, 1989, ushered in as much lawlessness as democracy, resulting in prosperous state-owned companies being sold off for pennies and various old- and new-regime cronies making off with billions of the country’s wealth, never to be seen again. The nineties were a time of organized crime, violence, hyperinflation, austerity, and mass immigration to anywhere less messed up. A blip of happiness was afforded the beleaguered Bulgarian people when the national soccer team beat Germany at the World Cup in ’94 to place fourth in the world overall.
Since 2000, Bulgaria is on a steady, if small, upward slope, joining the EU in 2007 alongside neighbouring Romania. It also has the dubious distinction of being the only state in the world where a deposed monarch has run for public office and served as prime minister. On a platform of “trust me, I’m a royal”, Someon II of Bulgaria ran for office and won a term from 2001 to 2005. He used it to do very little for Bulgaria, but he did restore formerly royal (i.e. belonging to the Bulgarian crown) lands and properties to his personal estate, enriching himself and a few relatives in the process.