Bulgaria doesn’t make international news very often. For a country of 7.3 million people to show up on the BBC or BuzzFeed, something really remarkable or ridiculous has to happen. In the case of the teal tabby of Varna, it’s the latter.
This green cat has been a big hit on the internet this week. There was speculation that the cat had been painted that color as a cruel prank, but according to locals, it’s more likely that the cat slept in green paint and washed itself green. The guy in the video below says this happened to a cat last year. While we discussed the teal cat with a friend of ours, she told us that 3 dogs in her neighborhood dye themselves blue every year. Evidently things getting painted weird colors is more common than one would think.
This is also true of the last time Bulgaria made the rounds on social media. Last summer, Russia asked Bulgaria to stop vandals from painting over the Monument of the Soviet Army here in Sofia. The monument, which depicts the Red Army surging triumphantly forward, has in recent years been painted to make political and artistic statements. It’s been painted to look like American corporate mascots and comic book heroes, painted the Ukrainian colors after the annexation of Crimea, and painted pink as an apology for Bulgaria’s participation in crushing the Prague spring.
During the Cold War, Bulgaria was Moscow’s closest satellite. Since The Changes, Bulgaria has forged bonds with the EU and NATO to escape Russia’s orbit. Consequently, their relationship with Russia is contentious–3 days ago, Vladimir Putin told Turkish PM Tayyip Erdoğan that he was “fed up with the Bulgarians.” The Monument has become a site where anonymous Bulgarians can communicate their feelings about this as long as they have paint.
Most of the time, Bulgaria flies under the international media’s radar. However, all it takes is for something to get painted a weird color and you’ll probably hear about it.