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Speaking of taxes, let me present the Bulgarian view of this unnecessary and easily avoidable social burden.

As a member of the EU, Bulgaria had to comply with the European standard excise duty on alcohol and tobacco products. This basically meant that prices of bottled alcohol and the cost of alcohol production would increase drastically.

Home-made alcohol is brewed from garden-grown plums, apples, and grapes in large distillers in basements and log cabins

So far so good, but the European Union didn’t know that for centuries, Bulgarian families have produced wine and rakia (80 proof alcohol made from grapes, apples, or plums) in the comfort of their homes. The European tax would mean that many low-income families would be deprived of their traditional source of income and of a very typical Bulgarian alcoholic delicacy.  

Thus, the whole nation rose against the cruel tax. The people threatened to enter protests and to hide their distilling condensers in their attics and basements.

Not long enough, the government complied with the people’s demand to preserve the home-made wine and rakia and abandoned its plan to raise taxes. It was a true people’s victory.

But this is not the climax of my story.

As a sign of gratitude, Bulgarian villagers named a brand of home-made rakia from vintage 2009 after our Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, Borisovka. Not surprisingly, the village happens to be the picturesque Kapatovo in the Melnik region, the birthplace of my father! The idea for Kapatovo’s rakia Borisovka came from the Russian vodka Putinka, which was named after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Boiko Borisov, similar to Putin, is a notorious figure in the Bulgarian political arena and in our popular culture.

It seems that not only Americans have a special attitude towards taxes!

Read the article on Kapatovo’s rakia Borisovka from Reuters.  

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April 2010

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