Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges

By Minton F. Goldman | Go to book overview

4
Bulgaria

Like other Central and East European countries, Bulgaria came under communist rule in the late 1940s. Shortly thereafter, Bulgarian communists transformed their country into an orthodox socialist dictatorship and a loyal Soviet satellite. By the early 1950s, the pattern of Communist Party rule for the next thirty-five years had been set.


Bulgarian Authoritarianism

Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov, in power from 1954 until the end of 1989, was an ideological hard-liner. During his rule, Bulgaria became one of the most repressive regimes in Eastern Europe, characterized by a harsh, censorship, an ubiquitous secret police, a ruthless suppression of dissent with no workers' strikes and no samizdat publications, and a Soviet-style highly centralized autocratic command economy involving a thorough destruction of free enterprise and the extension of state control over almost all aspects of Bulgarian economic life.

Bulgaria's repressive authoritarianism under the communists had deep roots in the country's history, in particular, the many centuries of authoritarian government under the Ottoman Turkish Empire and in the brief period of independence from 1909 until the end of World War II. Most Bulgarian people had little experience with and understanding of Western parliamentary democracy and less sympathy for political liberalism. For most of the communist era, the Bulgarian people tolerated without serious challenge the communist dictatorship forced on them by the Soviet Union after World War II.1

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Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Roots and Causes of Communist Collapse 3
  • Conclusions 22
  • 2 - Problems of Postcommunist Development 23
  • Conclusions 51
  • 3 - Albania 53
  • Conclusions 82
  • 4 - Bulgaria 83
  • Conclusions 111
  • 5 - From Czechoslovakia to the Czech and Slovak Republics 113
  • Conclusions 152
  • 6 - East Germany 155
  • Conclusions 178
  • 7 - Hungary 181
  • Conclusions 216
  • 8 - Poland 219
  • Conclusions 263
  • 9 - Romania 265
  • Conclusions 298
  • 10 - Yugoslavia-----Collapse and Disintegration 299
  • Conclusions 331
  • 11 - Yugoslavia--The Bosnian Civil War 341
  • Conclusions 389
  • Conclusions 391
  • Notes 405
  • Bibliography 453
  • Index 471
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