the Fatherland Front organization throughout the communist era. Its membership was restricted to 120,000. Its leaders acknowledged the leading role of the Communist party in Bulgarian society and willingly supported the party's policies. Most leaders of the Agrarian Union henceforth received political training in the Communist party's ideological schools. They were permitted to retain some local units of their party and were even given 100 deputies in parliament out of 400. A member of the Agrarian Union was appointed deputy to premier Todor Zhivkov (see Zhivkov, Todor) in the 1960s.
In 1974, the Agrarian Union's leaders declared that they had transformed their organization into an educational institution.
Oren Nissan, Revolution Administered: Agrarianism and Communism in Bulgaria ( Baltimore, MY, 1973); The Trial of Nikola Petkov, August 5-15, 1947. Record of Judicial Proceedings ( Sofia, 1947); Bell John D., Peasants in Power: Alexander Stamboliiski and the Bulgaria Agrarian National Union, 1899-1923 ( Princeton, NJ, 1987); Petkov, Michael, Dimitrov Wastes No Bullets. Nikola Petkov: A Test Case ( London, 1948).
Assassinations and Drug Trafficking. It has been suspected for a long time--as the recently opened East German and Hungarian secret archives proved--that the secret services of the Soviet satellites often acted as surrogates for the Soviet KGB in sponsoring international terrorism, espionage, and drug trafficking against the Western states. For instance, Hungary provided a safe haven for the notorious terrorist gang of Carlos in the mid-1980s.
Bulgaria's role in these clandestine activities was also suspected although never proved beyond a reasonable doubt. What threw some light on these activities was the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981 by Mehmet Ali Agca, who claimed that he was prompted by Bulgarian nationals stationed in Rome. The investigation, however, never succeeded in proving the Bulgarian connection, although some sources have recently claimed that this was indeed the case.
With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, a trickle of documents have appeared. However, the Bulgarian files on Agca had disappeared, together with the chief of Bulgarian secret police, who ended up in Moscow. There is little doubt, however, that the Bulgarian secret service was directly involved in other clandestine activities. In October 1978, the Soviet KGB provided the Bulgarians, at the personal request of Todor Zhivkov (see Zhivkov, Todor), poison for the murder of Georgy Markov. Markov, a Bulgarian exile working for the BBC radio in London, had excellent sources within Bulgaria and often broadcast revelations of corruption. Evidently, he was so much detested by the party leaders that he was marked for assassination. Markov was killed in London by a poison pellet that was injected into his leg by a specially modified umbrella.
Another assassination attempt was made against Vladimir Kostov, an opponent of the communist Bulgarian regime, who lived at that time in Paris. This attempt, how-