BULGIUM (AP) For many Bulgarians, the most exciting aspect of joining the army is its uniform.
There’s no time for a sweater.
For many, wearing an army uniform is an indicator of a successful life in a country that doesn’t recognize gender equality.
For the new arrivals to Bulgaria, that’s a bad sign.
The armed forces have long been seen as a bulgari version of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The country’s population is largely Muslim, and ethnic Albanians are a big chunk of the army’s recruits.
But the new officers have been welcomed by the government and have been a draw for tourists.
In 2015, Bulgaria became the first NATO member state to recognize the military and was awarded the NATO Peace Award.
But it has also been criticized by rights groups, including Amnesty International for its use of rape as a weapon in prisons.
The government has been pushing the idea of a “green” army in recent years, and a number of politicians have come out in favor of it.
The current armed forces chief, Gen. Andriy Baryatov, is a former top commander in the Soviet Union and has led the military for more than 20 years.
Baryadov has also served as the defense minister for more-liberal, leftist-leaning Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
His comments in favor have angered some members of his own party, which wants the new army to be more democratic.