Professor Chervenkov, at the beginning of the New Year, we usually take stock of what we have done in the old year, note the achievements and things we have not been able to accomplish, in short, seek an answer to the question whether the past year was a good one. What was your 2018 year like? Let's not forget that you had an 70 year anniversary. Has the year passed under the sign of this anniversary?


Indeed, I had to make an account of the anniversary. I am very pleased, but I have not done enough, I have not fulfilled. However, I am most glad that we are still working within the Scientific Society of Bulgarians. I am grateful to my colleague Ivan Duminika, who collected my articles on historiography and published my collection "Historical Bulgarian Studies in the Republic of Moldova". We participated in scientific events dedicated to the 140 anniversary of the Liberation of Bulgaria. It is a memorable year for me personally - at last I became a grandfather, my granddaughter Elitsa was born. I had the opportunity with my family to visit Paris, see Cyprus, travel around Bulgaria.


Tell our readers about your roots, the path of your life, which I suppose was difficult. You are a popular person both in Moldova and in Bulgaria and it will be interesting to find out what were the most important moments in your life that determined the direction of your future development.


I was born in one of the large and well-preserved Bulgarian villages of Chishiai (Gorodne), Bolgrad, Odessa region. I am grateful to my patriotic family that I grew up in. We have been through difficult years. When I was born, my family was forced to flee the village in order not to be deported as a turret. My grandmother spent a winter with me in Moldova, and my mother, grandfather and brother - in Ukraine, Podgornoye village, Tarutiv district. My father was sent to Siberia at that time. Already in the spring of 1949, my grandmother and I returned to ours. Soon my father came there. After a few years, we were lucky to return to our village. We lived in the summer kitchen for a long time and our house was transformed into a kindergarten. It was not until I graduated from 11 that we were able to enter the house.


From a young age I was breastfed with Bulgarian. The family strictly adhered to Bulgarian and Christian traditions and rituals. Mom was known as a folk singer. It comes from her family, where she had musical traditions. I remember singing and dancing at all the holidays. I was amazed by the dancing of Uncle Gergi, the songs of Grandpa Todor - the grandfather's brother who sang at the opera in Bucharest on time. This is probably where the roots of the future of my brother Pancho (Stepan), who became a famous musician-theorist, work for a while as a deputy director of the Chisinau Music School and then director of the Kotel Music School in Bulgaria.


The atmosphere of the Bulgarian environment has surrounded me throughout my school years. At that time people were still playing with us, seats, there was a large Bulgarian ensemble, traditional Bulgarian weddings were held, etc. Not only was this surrounding me, but I was also a participant in what was happening. This made me think about where we are, who the Bulgarians are. I was fortunate that my sixth and seventh grade teacher was Konstantin Pogubko who became a famous Bulgarian. He created a historical circle at the school, where we obtained information about Bulgaria, about the history of the Bessarabian Bulgarians. I was in charge, they included me in the committee to organize the 150 anniversary of the village. I was with my teacher at the opening of the museum in the village of Zadunaevka, where Hristo Botev taught. Then I met the dedicated local historian Georgi Apostolov, who was collecting material and books about Botev. For my part, I assisted my teacher in the creation of the museum and in the collection of materials for the history of our village. Even for a few weeks I worked with my teacher in the Odessa libraries.


Of course, when I graduated from high school, I had no question what to do next, because I had decided - only the History Faculty at Odessa State University "I. Swordsmen. "


Your scientific interests are in the field of history, Slavic studies, interethnic relations, you are the author of hundreds of articles, books, monographs, collections, textbooks, you have been a scientific leader of international projects, you have done a great deal of scientific activity for half a century. Tell us what you are currently working on, what topics in your story inspire you in your research? 


As a student I specialized in Bulgarian History. I participated in a student scientific society, searching for material in libraries and archives. I had the opportunity to get acquainted with famous Bulgarian patriots of Bessarabia, such as the Bulgarian researcher Prof. Mihail Dihan, Prof. Peter Nedov, who spent his exile in the Gulag because of his patriotic activities. After graduating from the university, I decided to start a scientific activity in the field of Bulgarian studies. My idea was not so much to discover something new in history, but to be able to gain more knowledge in order to promote national, history among my compatriots, as I witnessed that the Bulgarian among us began to lose actively. And one of the reasons is that we know little or nothing about our past, there was no way forward.


By becoming a research associate at the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, I gained the opportunity, on the one hand, to do historical research and, on the other, to promote knowledge about Bulgarians. In particular, I could actively fulfill these two tasks with the establishment of the Scientific Society of Bulgarians. I am delighted that with my colleague Dr. Ivan Grek we were able to publish a very up-to-date book - Bulgarians from Ukraine and Moldova: Past and Present, from which readers have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the history of Bessarabian Bulgarians.


I am currently involved with several topics. First of all, I work with my colleague Ivan Duminika on the second volume of the history of Taraclia. At the same time, I am preparing a booklet on the activities of the Scientific Society of Bulgarians in the Republic of Moldova, preparing a book on the participation of Bessarabian Bulgarians in the national liberation struggle of the Bulgarian people, etc. I have a great commitment in the preparation of various collective collections.

Axinia Mikhailova for the Max Jacob Award

Axinia Mikhailova for the Max Jacob Award

Most recently, the poet Aksinia Mihaylova received the prestigious French award "Max Jacob" with her book "The Kiss of Time". This is the second prize from France, after the Guillaume Apollinaire Prize in 2014, and the second book written directly in French. The news is ...

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Are young people interested in history today? 


Possibly less than my generation. However, there is something good - now the interest is deeper, the young have the opportunity to make extensive use of new technical possibilities. Here is an example - my young colleague Ivan Duminika, who is 30 years old, but managed to defend a doctoral thesis, write four monographs. Besides him, many interesting young people passed through our society - Ekaterina Chelak, Emilia Taraburka, Maria Zabunova and others who became doctors of science and successfully engaged in scientific and pedagogical activity. I am glad that our youth has more than a decade to follow in Bulgaria. And many of them are happy to stay here and prosper, among them are my two sons.


Introduce, if you like, readers to the activities of the Scientific Society of Bulgarians in the Republic of Moldova, whose chairman you are. How do you manage your job after living in Bulgaria?


In the 2019 year we celebrate the 25 years of the Bulgarian Science Society. Its creation was attended by famous Bulgarians - Dr. Ivan Grek, Prof. Nikolay Rusev, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nadezhda Kara, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena Raceeva, Ivan Kavalov and others. Its main task is to study the history of the Bulgarian people, including the Bessarabian Bulgarians, Bulgarian-Moldovan relations, and to promote the past and present of the Bulgarians. We work in several directions - history, Bulgarian dialectology, ethnology, local lore, genealogy, etc. During these years, alone or in cooperation with other institutions, we have published more than thirty monographs, published the Bulgarian Horizons almanac, and now maintains our own web site, regularly conducts scientific expeditions and conferences, national and cultural events, etc.

Together with Prof. Dr. Plamen Pavlov from Veliko Turnovo University “St. St. Cyril and Methodius "

Yes, indeed, although I have been in Bulgaria for more than three years, but at the request of my colleagues head of the company. Modern communication allows this. The organizational structure that has been developed for years also contributes. In these circumstances, the responsibility of the members of the Board of Directors of the company, especially of one of the deputy chairman, Dr. Ivan Duminika, who carries out a large organizational work, is a great responsibility. In addition, I regularly travel to Chisinau. On the other hand, being in Bulgaria, I have the opportunity to organize more active relations of our company with Bulgarian state and public institutions, for the development and implementation of joint events. Moreover, I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Association for the Support of the Bessarabian and Tavrian Bulgarians, Rodolyubets.


You are a true Bulgarian! You have shown over the years that the cause of "Bulgarians in Moldova" has become your mission, a destiny. Why? How do you maintain the flame of love for Motherland Bulgaria?


Everything that I do as a historian, as well as through the social line, which I spoke about, is directed precisely to this: to preserve ourselves as Bulgarians, to carry within us the connection with the native Bulgaria.


What qualities does the Bessarabian Bulgarian in Moldova possess? How does it fit into the overall life of the country? 


Traditionally, Bulgarians in Bessarabia characterize them as working, morally resilient, pious, responsible, good farmers. However, in recent times, these qualities tend to diminish, less and less we have features that set us apart from other peoples in the republic. But there is still a positive attitude towards us, the Bulgarians, who mostly remain safe, respectful people who honor their neighbors.


Have you not been tempted by politics?


I didn't intend to deal specifically with politics. However, with his scientific and organizational activities, as chairman of the company and rector of Taraclia State University "Gr. Tsamblak, "I have always sought to encourage politicians to address the issues of our countrymen in the republic.


Each era gives birth to its great personalities. What are the great personalities today in Europe and in particular in Bulgaria and Moldova?


For Bulgaria it is clear. This is Vasil Levski, who is dedicated to his people. As a student I learned about him. I am glad that in time I was able to write for this great Bulgarian a popular science book for the Russian-speaking reader. From my student years, the French educator Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been a great idol for me.


Is it difficult for a person to remain honest, honorable, noble today in a time of high commerciality, low passions, degraded value system?


Yes, it's very difficult. However, sometimes it depends not only on the setting of the individual who strives objectively and does everything to meet these positive qualities. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when one is misled by them, who become known later. Therefore, you need a lot of attention, strong character, good orientation in society.


Is today's society healthy? As a wise person, what would you advise the young people to do? 


Resist historical categories. Each period of development they are re-formed, struggling with the past. In doing so, I would urge young people to be careful not to miss out on the valuable heritage, especially those things that characterize its rich traditional national content. It is with this that the person can be interesting both at home and abroad.


In the 2018 year you were awarded the Order of "St. St. Cyril and Methodius “Grade I, you are the bearer of other high honors. Do you think these honors are the biggest recognition of your many years of outstanding work?

I am grateful that the Bulgarian state has made my modest contribution to the development of Bulgarian studies and the support of Bulgarian people among Bessarabian Bulgarians. Until then, I have been noted by various Bulgarian institutions. I understand that such an assessment is not only to my personality but also to the patriotic activities of my colleagues. This undoubtedly gives a new impetus to work in maintaining the Bulgarianness among our compatriots in Moldova and Ukraine.


Before I thank you for your time, I would like to ask you what you would like for the Bulgarians in the new 2019 year?


I wish grace and harmony at home, health and a wonderful New Year!



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