writers capitulated and apologized to the party. Only then did the Politburo remove Chervenkov from the ministry of education and culture. But the criticism of the regime quieted down, and conformity once again became the order of the day.
In 1958, the Seventh Congress of the Bulgarian Communist party put three demands on intellectuals; they were to be more intimately involved in the political, economic, and cultural endeavors of the party; they had to raise the ideological level of their activities; and they had to commit themselves to the struggle against "bourgeois penetration" of Bulgarian cultural life. A year later, the writers were simply told that, if they wanted their works published, they had to become propagandists for the communist cause. Some of the writers continued to struggle against the stifling policies of the party. In 1959, two works caused official furor. These were Orlin Vassilev play, The Buried Sun, and Dragomir Assenov novel, The Roads Bypass One Another. The two authors were accused of presenting a distorted image of Bulgarian communists, of accusing communist leaders of having become "bourgeois" themselves after achieving power. According to the critics, the two works asserted that communists were no longer motivated to fight for a better life for the people.
The two authors were not imprisoned; nevertheless, the outcome was predictable. Bulgarian writers thereafter increasingly avoided themes that could land them in trouble. A gray uniformity settled over literature and the arts. The regime's monopoly of control over cultural affairs continued, but minor violations were overlooked.
In September 1966, the party finally reorganized its Committee for Culture and held a Congress of Culture the following year. The committee was the supervisor of the various unions of creative people. The new push was now against what the leaders considered to be the dangerous inroads made in Bulgaria by Western culture. By then, thanks to the general relaxation that had begun to characterize East-West relations, nearly a million tourists visited Bulgaria every year, half of them from the West. The continuation of the old policy of isolation of citizens from this movement was becoming impossible. In the end, all efforts at suppressing the longings of creative individuals for freedom of expression were bound to fail.
During the 1970s and most of the 1980s, the party leaders who were growing old ( Zhivkov himself was reaching his late seventies by 1988) were fighting a holding action. Eventually all their efforts failed. There was an uneasy compromise until the very end of communist rule in Bulgaria, but writers and artists gradually freed themselves from the party censors. By 1989, all restraints had been removed, and society began to recover its balance with the disappearance of the communist system.
Brown J. F., Bulgaria under Communist Rule ( New York, 1970); Held Joseph, "Cultural Developments," in Stephen Fischer-Galati, Eastern Europe in the 1980s ( Boulder, CO, 1981).
Dimitrov, Georgy ( 1882-1949). Born in Radomir to a father who was an independent craftsmen, Dimitrov was involved in the Bulgarian trade union movement from an early age. His oldest brother, Konstantin, was secretary of the union of printers'