"Closed areas in border regions under socialism" (2016)
In October 2016, twenty-four award winners from EUSTORY competitions met at a History Camp in Georgia. For this occasion they prepared posters about their projects and findings which were displayed in the National History Museum in Tbilisi.
My competition entry was about Bulgaria during the time of communism: The military imposed severe movement restrictions on areas near the borders, people were forced to leave their homes and had to move to different parts of the country. In order to enter other regions they needed a special document issued by the police.
How did you decide on your topic?
I knew about the severe movement restrictions in border regions during the communist era. However, there was very little public information about it. So I got inspired to do my own research. Living in today’s Europe with free movement, I was stunned to discover how political regimes can draw borders between states and within its population.
How did you react when you came upon surprising results during your research?
It was fascinating to see the different thoughts on travel and movement limitations of two generations – those born in the 1940s and their children. It was one of the challenges I faced – to analyse personal testimonies in the light of their social context. Since the research topic is still painful to some and has the potential to divide, it took special efforts to be as objective as possible and to avoid the danger of a simple explanation of experiences and present problems.
Take a closer look at Yana’s poster here