2019 - Sofia‚ Bulgaria



Sofia, Bulgaria

10th August 2019

hosted by: Jan Syvertsen, Norway

                   Rune Moe, Norway         

                      Michal Dominik, Slovakia 

written by: Rune Moe, Norway

                                          Heinz-Ulrich Kammeier, Germany

                                                  Stefan André Krosvik, Norway             

participants:  Jan Syvertsen, Norway

                                                                             Michal Dominik, Slovakia                                    

                                                                                      Rune Moe, Norway

                                                        David, Czech Republic

                                                                                      Christer Danielsson, Sweden                      

                                                                                      Karl, Austria

                                                                                      Maciej Olbert, Poland

                                                        Heinz-Ulrich Kammeier, Germany

                                                                                      Ralf, Germany

                                                                                      Stefan André Krosvik, Norway

                                                                                      Anders, Norway

                                                        Dag, Norway


The 7th official WLAS meeting was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, which had been voted for in Minsk last year. Just five days before the meeting, we still had not confirmed any meetings with world leaders, but suddenly we got two former Prime Ministers who were kind enough to see us at our hotel and to sign for us.

On Friday 9th of August we had a meeting with the former Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki. He was introduced by the Slovak Ambassador before he talked about his life.

Professor Bliznashki was caretaker-Prime Minister of Bulgaria from August to November 2014. He was also the very first Bulgarian to be elected into the European Parliament in 2007.

Because of the short time, we did not have time for questions and answers. Then the time for autographs and pictures had come.

After the meeting with Prof. Bliznashki we had dinner at the hotel (which had been arranged before).


On Saturday we had the first part of our annual meeting before we welcomed lovely Reneta Indzhova, who was the first female Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 1994 to 1995. She told a lot about her life, especially her fight against corruption, and we also asked questions. Like the day before there was some time to ask her for autographs and “selfies”. Later we had dinner with her at the hotel.


In the second part of our meeting there were two talks about our hobby. First, Christer Danielsson talked about his trip to several states in the Pacific Ocean where he met several Presidents and Prime Minister, e.g. on Nauru. Then Heinz-Ulrich Kammeier gave us insight into his collection of handwritten national anthems. Finally there was the vote of the members of WLAS where to meet in 2020. There was a majority for Sarajevo (Aug 14-Aug 16).

On Sunday some members went on a sightseeing tour in Sofia. In the evening we all met at a Bulgarian restaurant where we spent a couple of hours with excellent food and drinks. And on Monday four members of our group had the opportunity to see another Prime Minister of Bulgaria (cf. the following article)

See you in Sarajevo next year!



written by Stefan André Krosvik, Norway

We had a few interesting days in Sofia. Anders, Dag, Rune and I met up to visit the former Prime Minister Georgi Atanasov. He was a leading member of the Bulgarian communist party for many years, and in 1986 he became prime minister of the former People's Republic of Bulgaria. He served until 1990. Atanasov was one of those who wanted to remove Zhivkov, which they managed to do in 1989.

We knocked his door and he and his partner invited us in. Atanasov himself didn't speak a single word of English, but that didn't stop him from talking. His partner spoke little English and some German. In addition Anders used a translator, so we managed to have a long and nice conversation with them. We sat down around the table and they signed some stuff for us.

They put some nice chocolates and snacks on the table. But then suddenly Atanasov told his partner to bring the crystal glasses and then she appeared with a huge box of some king of local alcohol/wine.

His partner also held various positions within the communist party, she was vice-minister of education in the 70s, amongst other things. For example he escorted Margaret Thatcher on her trip through Bulgaria. Atanasov also had interesting stories about playing tennis with Gagarin, being in charge of the communist party’s youth camp he spent the summers with Shevardnadze and other prominent leaders of the USSR. When we were talking about Yeltsin and mentioned vodka he started to laugh a lot.

We took some selfies, and they wanted selfies too, so we took some pictures with her phone as well. They told us to keep in touch and that we shouldn't be afraid to visit them again.

I think many of you have him in your collections, and some of you have also met him. But to me, this is really one of the funniest and most interesting meetings I have ever had with any politician/celebrity! Especially meeting a living former leader from the communist era. A memory for a lifetime!