chapter  20
The Struggle for Djerman-Skakavitsa: Bulgaria’s First Post-1989 “Water War”
WithCaedmon Staddon
Pages 18

This chapter focuses on the implications for the economic aspects of Djerman-Skakavitsa. The Djerman-Skakavitsa struggle has lessons for both the theorists of political transitions in post-socialist states and for Bulgarian environmental managers. There is a certain sense in which Bulgaria is literally and figuratively "consuming itself" in order to satisfy the insatiable pangs of unleashed neoliberal accumulationism. The conflict over water resources that took place in the Rila Mountains of southwestern Bulgaria in late 1994 and early 1995 raises some important political challenges for a country facing mounting water crises. It also raises philosophical and theoretical questions for scholars attempting to understand environmental protest and conflict in post-communist countries. Largely in concert and simultaneous with the political and economic reconfigurations, strategically significant cultural symbols were used to bolster each side of the Djerman-Skakavitsa issue. It is tempting to conclude that the police crackdown on the Djerman-Skakavitsa protests constituted a significant failure of the post-communist democratization process.