By Steven Otfinoski
Examines the folks, faith, way of life, politics, tradition, heritage, and geography of Bulgaria, emphasizing its transition from a communist to a unfastened kingdom.
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Extra resources for Bulgaria (Nations in Transition)
18 ■ BULGARIA The Communists set out to eradicate totally the Agrarian Union, their most serious rival for power. Agrarian leader Nikola Petkov (niKO-la pet-KOF) received support and encouragement from the United States to compete politically with the Communists. Yet no sooner was a peace treaty between the United States and Bulgaria ratified in June 1947 than Petkov was arrested on the floor of the Bulgarian parliament. He was tried, convicted, and hanged in September. There would be no further serious resistance to communism in Bulgaria for the next four decades.
While Dimitrov had destroyed the party’s opponents, Chervenkov went about removing all those within the party itself who were a threat to his power. He sent thousands of loyal party members to their deaths following show trials, patterned after the ones that Stalin had conducted in Moscow in the 1930s. ” 20 ■ BULGARIA The Rise of Zhivkov In 1953 Stalin died and Chervenkov suddenly found his position less secure. The following year at the sixth Party Congress, Todor Zhivkov (TO-dor JIV-kof) (see boxed biography), a long-time party official and World War II partisan leader, was named first secretary of the party’s Central Committee.
Inflation soared, as did the prices of staples like bread. Sofia and other cities were filled with long lines of people waiting to buy a loaf of bread that they could barely afford. Workers’ salaries by early 1996 had hit rock bottom—$30 a month, lower than Albania, the poorest country in Europe. Even law and order, one area that the Communists had prided themselves on, was unraveling. Crime and violence were becoming rampant. The crisis reached a peak on October 2, 1996, when former prime minister Andrei Lukanov (an-DREI loo-KA-nof) (1939–96), who had led two THE DEEPENING QUAGMIRE ■ 35 previous Socialist governments in 1989 and 1990, was gunned down in broad daylight by an assassin as he was leaving his home.
Bulgaria (Nations in Transition) by Steven Otfinoski