Virginia Malevolti for GACY’68
Story of Virginia Malevolti
As a member of a groupf of circus artists from Bulgaria, a 21-year-old Virginia Malevolti hosts a travelling circus “Humberto” which is now performing in Bratislava. On the morning of August 21, the whole circus crew is surprised by the view of the tanks in front of the main entrance. V. Malevolti explains it by the presence of two soviet artists, the children of Evgeni Milayev who was married to Brezhnev’s daughter, Galina, until 1962. Despite the fact their marriage ended in divorce before the August of 1968 and the children were not Brezhnev’s blood-related grandchildren (they were born in Milayev’s first marriage, their mother died during childbirth), this explanation can be considered convincing. The marriage of Milayev and Brezhnev’s daughter lasted for approximately 10 years and it is likely that their step-grandfather kept the fate of his grandsons in mind while planning Operation Danube. Thus the memories of V. Malevolti are drawing an interesting detail on the history of big politics.
Authentic impressions and personal emotions are described by lively V. Malevolti through her memories of shootings in the streets of Bratislava, of shopping panic and bread shortage, as well as misunderstanding in communication with population whose attitude towards foreigners from the Warsaw pact countries was disapproving. Her narrative also gives us details from the circus’ backstage regarding the cancelled performance of August 21, which is talked about from a perspective of a disappointed spectator, Eva Novak, in another film from GACY ‘68 archive.
In her memories of Prague V. Malevolti humorously depicts several incidents from shopping which tell us not only about the population’s hateful attitude towards Bulgarians, but also about deficient commodities in communist Bulgaria. . From the point of view of oral history theory it is worth to notice Malevolti’s confusion when talking about the memorial to the victims of the invading armies, in which some elements of J. Palach’s story are involved. V. Malevolti, however, was only able to learn about him later and not as a firsthand witness.
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