The transition in Bulgaria has shown certain similarities and differences from the transitions taking place in the other East European countries. The conditions under which the break from the old regime takes place often determine the nature and success of the transition itself. In the Bulgarian case, the revolution initially took the form of a palace coup. Todor Zhivkov, the Bulgarian leader who had been in power for decades, was removed from power on November 9,1989, by the other members of the ruling elite. Zhivkov actually resigned on November 10, 1989. Perhaps it was no accident that the coup took place on the day that the Berlin Wall came down. Zhivkov's ouster may also have taken place with the tacit approval of the Soviet Union. For example, a key role in Zhivkov's ouster was played by the foreign minister of Bulgaria, Petur Mladenov. Mladenov visited Moscow on the way back from China before the coup took place. 1 Clearly, Gorbachev wanted to see Zhivkov go. 2 Besides the Gorbachev factor, another contribution to the collapse of Zhivkov's power was the economic decline of the country in the latter half of the 1980s, as Bulgaria acquired a burdensome foreign debt of about $10.3 billion. Moreover, Zhivkov's campaign to Bulgarize the Turkish minority resulted in the increasing isolation of the country in the international community. The last act in this ethnic conflict took place at the end of
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Publication information: Book title: Change in Eastern Europe. Contributors: Robert Weiner - Author. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 109.
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