THE KOSTOV TRIAL IN BULGARIA
Once the show trials in Yugoslavia's subsatellite, Albania, were ended, logic required that the next nation to undergo Stalin's postwar purge be Bulgaria -- its Communist party being the one with the closest ties to Tito.
A federation uniting the two south Slav peoples of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria had long been a dream of liberals, socialists, and communists. 1 When the communists took over the governments of both nations, it appeared that a Balkan federation might at last become a reality. Not only would they be brought together under the dual banners of proletarian internationalism and Slav brotherhood, but such a solution would also solve a regional problem of long standing: what to do about the Macedonians. This Slav people with a separate culture and language had been divided between Bulgaria and Serbia at the end of the Second Balkan War, in 1913. Since that time, they had been a constant irritant, inflaming relations between the two nations. Both Tito and Georgi Dimitrov, the grand old man of Bulgarian communism, were enthusiastic promoters of such a federation, and Stalin also favored the plan at the end of World War II. 2 The reasons were twofold: The plan suited his own pan-Slav propaganda, and a union of communist Yugoslavia and communist Bulgaria seemed to him to offer a strong bulwark against British influence in the Balkans.
To this end, the Yugoslavs began negotiating with the Bulgarians in November 1944, when Edvard Kardelj, Tito's closest collaborator, traveled to Sofia for discussions with the new communist government, installed there just a few weeks previously. He proposed an immediate union of Bulgarian Macedonia with the Federal Macedonian Republic of Yugoslavia and the establishment in Belgrade of a committee of representatives of both countries to work out a system under which Bulgaria would become the seventh republic of a new federal socialist South Slav union. Understandably, the Bulgarians backed away from the plan, fearing that the Yugoslavs would swallow them up, and suggested instead a federation in which both nations would be on equal footing. Stalin backed the Yugoslavs, and the Bulgarians prepared to send a delegation to Belgrade to establish a joint regency council with Tito in the role of prime minister of the federation. Two hours before its scheduled departure time, the Soviets ordered the delegation to remain in Sofia; Great Britain had learned of