decars? This is the total size of the lands of the village. Who is the one who has
so much land in Bulgaria?"
As a veteran member of the Nikola Petkov Agrarian Union Hristo Paskalev
was severely disappointed with the leadership of his own party. In his view, the
leaders who are supposed to deal with the fate of the ordinary people are
unfamiliar with their problems. Moreover, they are in constant conflict among
themselves. It is true there are significant differences between the agrarian
unionists belonging to the two agrarian parties, and that the "red" agrarians have
always been "authorities' informants" during the totalitarian period. However "a
single stone does not build a house." For this reason Hristo thinks that unless the
agrarians unite and take their well-deserved place in parliament, there will be no
improvements in Bulgarian agriculture. As of now, however, only the inertia of
the reform process currently on-going in the villages provides people with some
optimism. As Hristo believes "This (reform in agriculture) will never stop!"
Thus hesitatingly, and sometimes with a lot of guess-work, the movement
According to statistics in 1946 the share of the rural population as part of the total
population of Bulgaria was 75.3%. Of these 62% owned up to fifty decars of arable land,
27.3% from 50 to 100 decars, 9.2% from 100 to 200 decars, 1.4% from 200 to 500
decars, and 0.1% over 500 decars. This clearly indicates that the rural poor were
predominant in Bulgaria. The processes of rapid industrialization accompanied by
collectivization of lands which followed 9 September 1944 led to subsequent massive
urbanization. As a result the population structure was heavily unbalanced in favor of
urban settlements. According to the 1975 census figures the rural population comrpised
42% of the total. The social structure itself of the rural population, however, has also been
changed. Thus, 62,2% were registered as workers, 8.2% as employees, 1.5% were
involved in other professional activities, and only 28.1% were cooperative farm members.
For more information refer to Entsiklopedia na Bulgaria, vol. 6, Sofia, 1988: 153-154.
Here I would like to acknowledge Vesselina Slavova and her parents for the
assistance that I received during my work in the village of Panaretovo. The interviews
there were recorded and subsequently archived with the Audio-archives of the Institute of
Folklore with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences under call numbers 1097, 1098, 1099,
1100 and 1101.
An agrarian-industrial complex is a conglomerate of agricultural collective farms
joined with other units that provided them with technical services.
A village located in the vicinity of Sliven.
Bertaux, Daniel. 1993. "The Biographic Approach: Methodological Value and
Perspectives". Bulgarian Folklore 2: 19-29.