East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times

By David A. Kideckel | Go to book overview

13
Social Change
as Reflected in the Lives
of Bulgarian Villagers

Radost Ivanova

The resignation of Todor Zhivkov as president and leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party on November 10, 1989 is widely regarded as the turning point which placed Bulgaria on the road to change. Though those events are fairly recent, the situation in the country has drastically altered. Along with the political polarization accompanied by mass protest rallies, the transition from socialism towards democracy and a market-oriented economy has been extensively furthered. There is hardly a person who could predict how drawn out and painful this transition was to be, how profound the transformations it would bring to the political and economic life of the country, to its people as a whole, and to every single individual. This time of change is not only visible in society but is also taking place in the very mentality and actions of every Bulgarian.

Different layers of society accept in different ways the realities of this transition. Furthermore this process is highly individualized. Very frequently it is a function of the personal fate of the individual, of his or her past and present, of their social position, education and age, of one's political ideas and party affiliation. In this transition towards the market economy Bulgarian villagers especially face new challenges, especially changes in agriculture which occupied the leading role in the Bulgarian economy until the end of World War Two. 1 It is a fact of common knowledge that agriculture is not only a means of livelihood but a way of life as well. For this reason the various political and economic changes have much more profoundly marked the life of the rural population than their urban counterparts.

-217-

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