ism-Leninism, openly appeared. Demands for human rights and individual freedoms, especially the freedom to travel, were increasingly being voiced in society, demanding further fundamental changes. Independent groups appeared with increasing frequency, and a trade union, patterned on the Polish Solidarity movement, was organized. All the ferment had one result. It undermined the moral as well as the physical authority of the "leading force" of Bulgarian society, the Communist party. The aging leaders of the party were unable to understand what was going on and they desperately hung onto their power.
In 1984 and 1985, a serious economic crisis emerged. During the summer and fall of 1985, the party's Central Committee openly criticized corrupt party officials and incompetence among the members of the nomenklatura. In 1986, the younger members of the Politburo, Chudomir Alexandrov, Ognyan Doynov, Georgy Atanasov and Stoyan Markov, divided major responsibilities for running the country among themselves. This palace revolution pushed the old dogmatists aside. They followed the example set by Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. Eventually, they changed the name of their party to the Socialist party. In free elections held in 1990 and 1991, the party polled enough votes to survive, but its ideals of a socialist Bulgaria were rejected.
Engelbrekt Kjell, "Bulgaria: The Weakening of the Postcommunist Illusions," Radio Free Europe Research Report 2.1 ( January 1, 1993), pp. 79-83; McIntyre Robert J., Bulgaria: Politics, Economics and Society ( London-New York, 1998).
Purges. The Bulgarian Communist party conducted periodic purges of its leaders and membership, paralleling those held in the Soviet Communist party. In late 1944 and early 1945, the prewar political system was destroyed, and its politicians were executed or jailed. An entire generation of political leaders was, thus, eliminated. Military officers came next, and they were followed by Orthodox Christian priests.
In 1949, Bulgarian communists who had spent the war years in the country or in West European states--not in the Soviet Union--were expelled from the party. When the Yugoslav communists established their independence from Moscow and the conflict was fought on both the ideological and diplomatic levels, Bulgarian communists who favored cooperation with Josip Broz Tito were eliminated. In Bulgaria, this list was headed by Traicho Kostov (see Kostov, Traicho), who was suspected by Joseph Stalin of favoring Bulgarian national interests over those of the Soviet Union, just as Tito has done, and he had to be eliminated. He was arrested by the secret police and was charged with conspiring with Tito to restore capitalism in Bulgaria He was also charged with being a British spy and other offenses against the "people." Georgy Dimitrov (see Dimitrov, Georgy), himself a KGB agent, former secretary of the COMINTERN, charged Kostov in a violent speech of being a "devious, refined scoundrel." Kostov's show trial was held between December 5-15, 1949. His sentence was, of course, predetermined, and he was executed on December 18. His codefendants received long prison sentences, some of them were executed. The American ambassador, Donald R. Heath, was accused of complicity and participation in Kostov's conspiracy with Tito, and he was declared persona non grata by the Bul-