garian Exarchate with the Patriarchate of Istanbul ( Constantinople). But he ordered the incarceration of Exarch Stephen because he was not willing to be a tool of the government; the Bulgarian Orthodox Christian church was completely subordinated to the Communist party.
Chervenkov dominated Bulgarian politics in a way not comparable to other communist leaders in Eastern Europe. He was particularly strict in enforcing Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist dogmas in cultural life. He completely Sovietized Bulgarian literature and the arts.
With the death of Stalin in 1953, Chervenkov was threatened by the new concept of "collective leadership" that ensued in the Soviet Union. But his position remained stable for the time being because the Soviet party leaders were not willing to risk instability in their empire. Chervenkov then brought into the highest party leadership a former guerilla leader, Todor Zhivkov, who, in 1954, became the general secretary of the Bulgarian Communist party. By then, Nikita S. Khrushchev emerged as the successor to Joseph Stalin, and the East European communist leaders, among them Chervenkov, who were implicated in the anti-Tito witch-hunt of the 1940s and 1950s, became a liability for the new Soviet leadership. Khrushchev was determined to settle the conflict with Tito and reestablish good relations with Yugoslavia. Consequently, Chervenkov was shorn of all his party and state positions, and he died a forgotten man in 1963.
Brown J. F., Bulgaria under Communist Rule ( New York, 1970); Mcintyre Robert J., Bulgaria: Politics, Economics and Society ( London-New York, 1988); Denoff Dragomir, The Bulgarian Communist Party ( New York, 1961); Skilling Harold, The Governments of Communist Eastern Europe ( New York, 1966).
Collapse of Communism. The first open manifestation of public discontent with the communist system in the 1980s was a demonstration held in a port on the Danube river in 1988. Romanian industrial plants, opposite the city of Ruse, caused so much ecological damage in the region that ecologists voiced their open opposition against such destruction. The demonstration was brutally suppressed by the Bulgarian secret police, as was a similar protest meeting held in Sofia led by the wife of Stanko Todorov, the current president of the National Assembly Party members who had participated in these expressions of public outrage were expelled from the organization.
By early 1989, however, informal organizations began to appear in ever-increasing numbers. Civil society was organizing itself against a opposition from the Communist party. An independent labor union, patterned on the Polish Solidarity organization, appeared. Todor Zhivkov (see Zhivkov, Todor) ordered the arrest of the members and leaders of the organization, but such coercive acts no longer worked. They only focused the attention of the public on the protests. In October 1989, a conference was held in Sofia concerning environmental issues. The communist government, anx-