Bulgarian Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov has described the painting of the Soviet army monument as "vandalism", Focus news agency reported on June 20 2011.
On the morning of June 18, Sofians found that the sculpture composition at the base of the monument had been painted to turn the metal soldiers into well-known pop culture icons; the inscription below the composition proclaimed it to be "in step with the times".
Rashidov said that the question of whether the graffiti work had any artistic value was a different matter entirely.
The Soviet army monument is the property of Sofia municipality and the minister said that, in his view, the painting of the monument was a crime.
He said that Bulgaria had its history of socialism, which could not be simply erased. Rashidov cited Berlin in Germany, where the Russian tank had not been removed from the city centre.
"We (Bulgarians) are the only ones led by some kind of destructive force when it comes to monuments of socialism," he said.
The Soviet army monument was built to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Russian "liberation" of Bulgaria in 1944. It is regarded as the prime example of the forceful socialist-realism of the period.