Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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was predetermined. He was condemned to death and executed together with several of his other--equality innocent--followers. In 1956, following Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin's crimes, Kostov was rehabilitated.


Bibliography

Brown J. F., Bulgaria under Communist Rule ( New York, 1970); The Trial of Traicho Kostov and His Group ( Sofia, 1949); Ulam Adam, Titioism and the COMINFORM ( Cambridge, MA, 1952).

Mobilization of Bulgarian Women. One important aspect of the economic policies of communist leaders everywhere in the Soviet bloc was their attempt to draw women into the labor force, since rapid industrialization created labor shortages that could be only partially alleviated by peasants displaced from the villages by the collectivization of agriculture. In addition, Marxist ideology proclaimed the equality of the sexes; this became an important consideration everywhere in Eastern Europe since most of these societies had traditionally considered women's role in raising a family more important than working outside the home.

In Bulgaria, the principle of the equality of sexes was included in the Dimitrov constitution of 1947 (see Dimitrov, Georgy). In subsequent years, the Bulgarian communist government introduced a whole series of measures to enable women to work outside the home. Abortion was legalized; a network of state-run kindergartens and nursery schools was created; privileges--although at lower pay--were extended to pregnant women and nursing mothers. The law gave leaves for child care as long as a whole year if so desired.

On the other hand, women were not expected to enter the hierarchy of the communist leadership. There were always one, or at the most two, token women in the Politburo and there were some in the Central Committee. But no one comparable to a Margaret Thatcher would emerge in a communist system in Eastern Europe. Ana Pauker of Romania came closest, but she was purged during the anti-Tito hysteria. The two women in Bulgaria who rose to membership in the Politburo were Tsola Dragoicheva, a long-time, radical communist, and Ludmilla Zhivkova, the daughter of the general secretary of the Bulgarian Communist party after 1965. The Central Committee of the party which consisted of 195 full (voting) members, included only twelve women in 1986.

The social changes induced by rapid industrialization did make women enter the labor force in large numbers. It should also be noted that wherever a profession or craft became dominated by women, salaries or wages dropped. Communist policies concerning women's roles were also extended to education. In 1953, over half of the students at the University of Sofia, as well as at the four-year and two-year colleges, were women. In the professions, especially in health care and teaching, women came to be employed in overwhelming numbers.


Bibliography

McIntyre Robert J., Bulgaria: Politics, Economics and Society ( London, 1988).

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