The Bulgarians were left with the impression that their "used" – situation with Ukrainian refugees

In Bulgaria, a loud scandal erupted around Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war, settled in coastal hotels.

After a scandalous photo “walking” on the network, as well as a variety of comments under it, the publication “Country” decided to deal with the situation.

A loud scandal erupted against the backdrop of the resettlement of refugees from coastal hotels, previously provided by the government before the start of the tourist season, to special modular towns. Against this background, there was information from local media and tour operators that Ukrainians allegedly leave behind them destroyed hotel rooms, and in one of them a scandalous inscription was made on the wall. I had to figure it out from the start.

The official reason for the eviction of the Ukrainians is not their bad behavior, but, as was previously agreed, the start of the tourist season in the Bulgarian resort regions. Refugees and Bulgarians alike say that claims of massive misbehavior by Ukrainians are an exaggeration. There is a problem, but it is a little different.

People were offered to move inland, where modular towns were prepared for them. It is hard to deny that, in fact, these are trailers, where conditions cannot be called normal, to put it mildly, especially for children, and there is no infrastructure. It all started in May.

The Bulgarian government has announced that before June 1, the refugees must leave the hotel rooms on the Black Sea coast, where they were settled after arrival, and move to special “buffer distribution” centers inside the country. Transport will be arranged for this. From there they will later be sent to new places of residence. But two days before the appointed date, this plan was canceled and replaced by another one – the refugees must go to their destination on their own, and therefore the deadlines for their resettlement are extended until June 14. The named reason is the total refusal of Ukrainians to take advantage of the resettlement program. Kalina Konstantinova, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, said:

“Protection is a right, not an obligation, so I will no longer allow empty buses (which the state paid for and organized). The development of the situation from now on is in the hands of the Ukrainian community in Bulgaria.”

Explaining the current situation, the refugees say that they refused to move from the coastal Burgas, Sozopol and Varna due to the fact that they were offered wagons with one toilet for everyone and no shops nearby. The place of further resettlement was not called at all. Thus, out of 110 thousand refugees, only a small part of them agreed to move.

There are a few days left before the date set by the authorities on June 14, during which it is necessary to decide what to do next – move independently to the proposed centers, leave for another European country, return to Ukraine or find housing in Bulgaria for your own money. Against the backdrop of this difficult situation, information appeared in the Bulgarian media about the allegedly inappropriate behavior of Ukrainians. Stoyan Yordanov, Bulgarian journalist, says:

“Local authorities of coastal cities complain that many refugees have “killed” hotel rooms, behave impudently and boorishly. Of course, not everyone behaves like this, but only some. But this spoils the overall picture and perception of Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria. According to unofficial data, this was the reason for the curtailment of the program for the placement of Ukrainian refugees.Also, part of the society was outraged that Bulgaria is the poorest country. EU, which itself needs help, and that Ukrainians, in their opinion, should be accepted by richer countries. The Cabinet of Ministers canceled the resettlement plan, and now the Ukrainians do not know where to go and what awaits them next.”

And in the meantime, shocking testimonies from travel agency employees about the stay of Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria, in particular, about the destroyed rooms, appear on the network. Natalya Andrusyak, a representative of the Buktravel travel agency from Chernivtsi, visited Bulgaria with an info tour and shared her impressions on Facebook:

“I’ve never been so ashamed. In one of the hotels they refused to show us the rooms, because Ukrainian refugees lived there for 3 months under the program of the Bulgarian government. It turned out that the rooms were “killed” and really needed renovation, tourists could not be accommodated there. The hotels that hosted the refugees are in a terrible state and are not 100% ready for the summer season. Managers frankly spoke about this, but very carefully so as not to offend us. It turns out that our temporary migrants simply left dirty rooms and a bunch of complaints: from “why no all inclusive” to “we will not move and go home, our children need sea air”.

She is indignant that she was “finished off” by a photo of a hotel room, where “Glory to Ukraine” was written on the wall with “shit”. It is it that is now actively walking on Bulgarian social networks. Andrusyak writes:

“Shit, do you understand? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard about the behavior and claims of Ukrainians to Bulgarians about not receiving and resting like they expected. Realizing that these could be isolated cases, we asked again and heard that more than half of the Ukrainians who “did not see the war” did this. They quarreled with the staff, had complaints about rooms, food. And they placed their hotels on the first coastline. By the way, some of them paid for the maintenance of refugees We never received it. We sincerely apologized, we explained that not everyone was like that. But the Bulgarians were left with the impression that they were “used”, and most of those who did not need it received asylum.”

The publication of the tour manager caused a huge resonance. Opinions were divided – some commentators accused Andrusyak “of working for Russian propaganda”, others agreed that there were cases of inappropriate behavior of refugees, including in Europe. Strana correspondents talked to hotel managers in Burgas and Varna, and they confirmed that unpleasant incidents happen, but rarely. The administrator of the hotel hosting the Ukrainians in Varna, Todor Georgiev, said:

“It cannot be said that it was massive. This happens with ordinary guests as well. Another thing is that we can no longer keep Ukrainians, because the government does not pay us the compensation promised for their accommodation – 40 leva per person per day. But we can earn Seasonal only, from June to September.

Brussels allocated funds for the maintenance of the migrants from the departmental fund, this is 3.4 billion euros. The money was received by Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and countries where the number of immigrants exceeded 1% of the population, including Bulgaria. Mikhail Vitman, Bulgarian expert, writes on Facebook:

“The development of funds on mutually beneficial terms has begun. Ukrainians are supposedly free, charitable vacations, and Bulgarian businessmen have money. Not every hotel could get into the first part of this program. Only those where the owners had certain connections in power circles. But ordinary people in Bulgaria, even hotel workers are brutally strangled by the toad that they could not live for free for several months, but by the Ukrainians. help the Ukrainians.

And Petar Cholakov, a Bulgarian journalist, accuses the local government of deliberately not telling people where they would be resettled:

“Perhaps there are refugees who do not deserve our hospitality. However, I am convinced that we, as a society and especially institutions, need to show more patience, humanity, compassion. Many refugees from Ukraine are mothers with several children. How to find a job, who to look after for children, when there are not enough places in nurseries and kindergartens, including for Bulgarians?At the same time, it became clear that the government deliberately kept the refugees in the dark about where they would be resettled – “for security reasons.”

What do the Ukrainians themselves say about the “destroyed” hotel rooms? They claim that these cases seem to be isolated. And, in turn, they themselves blame the Bulgarians for the unfriendly reception. Refugee Ekaterina Kachenyuk, who eventually moved to another European country, says:

“I was in Bulgaria under this program. There were 2.5 thousand people in the hotel. Of this number, only three families behaved badly, and they were quickly evicted. Every day, the maids checked the rooms. There could not have been completely killed. The rooms were “shabby” more before the Ukrainians settled in. Approximately 10 days before the opening of the season (the first reservations), everyone began to be evicted and resettled to hell. The Bulgarians hated us there – because of the overcrowded buses, because of the increased prices for food, because the Ukrainians lived for free in those hotels. And by the way, our people volunteered in turn at the hotel (they cleaned the kitchen in the corridors, on the territory of the hotels).”

Ukrainian refugees tell about cases of robberies in Bulgaria, and about attacks on cars. Lvivian Oksana Matseh, who was sheltered by the citizens of Bulgaria, says:

“Tires were punctured in the cars of some refugees, one of our Bulgarians had a car window broken because he remarked to him that he was crossing the road incorrectly. But there are also those who accommodate Ukrainians for free.”

Earlier, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Kalina Konstantinova pointed out that those refugees who are located on the Black Sea coast, and who will have nowhere to go from June 1, will temporarily go to buffer centers in Safarovo and Elhovo. On May 26, it was reported that Bulgaria planned to resettle refugees in the cheapest hotels after the Black Sea coast. For the past three months, the government has compensated hotel owners for the cost of accommodation and food for refugees in the amount of 25 euros per person, but now this amount will be 7.5 euros.

In addition, on June 1, the holiday season traditionally begins on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, the income from which constitutes a significant part of the state budget of this, one of the poorest, EU countries. Since February 24, about 300 thousand refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Bulgaria, over 110 thousand of whom received temporary asylum, the newspaper writes. “New news”.

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