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Bulgaria: Anonymous Letter Attributed To Army Officers

Sofia, 7 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A letter complaining of corruption and unpaid wages in Bulgaria's army and signed: a "group of officers from Sofia" is being published in Bulgarian newspapers this week. Our Sofia correspondent reports that the letter notes the protests taking place in neighboring Serbia, and draws parallels with the situation in Bulgaria.

Outgoing President Zhelyu Zhelev met yesterday with the Chief-of-Staff of Bulgaria's army, General Zvetan Totomirov. Totomirov was appointed by Zhelev.

The letter strongly criticizes the Defense Ministry for allegedly spending money on lavish foreign trips for top officers, for expensive cars and new German-made computers, while, the letter reads, "hungry, ill-dressed soldiers" are forgotten. The letter cites what it calls widespread corruption in the Defense Ministry, while praising Chief-of-Staff Totomirov.

Our correspondent cites reports in Sofia that say the letter is believed linked to a hard-line-reformist split in the governing Socialist Party, and the Party's attempts to form a new government. And the reports say the intent of the letter might be to try to prevent the re-nomination of current Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov, a high-ranking member of the Party.