1947-1956 1969-1989

Bulgaria a People's Republic, 1956-1969

Administration . In 1956, PM Vulko Chervenkov (BCP) was replaced by Anton Yugov (BCP, 1956-1962) who was followed by Todor Zhivkov (BCP, 1962-1971). Chervenkov was expelled from the BCP in 1962.
In 1956, calls for freedom of the press and other policies of political liberalization were quickly suppressed, the Bulgarian leadership wanting to prevent the events in Hungary and Poland to have an impact on Bulgarian policy (BBoY 1957 pp.188-189). Parliamentary elections were held in 1958, 1962 and 1966; voters were presented with a single list of candidates, of the BCP-dominated Fatherland's Front, to approve.
The Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) held party congresses in 1958, 1962, 1966. An administrative reform was implemented in 1959 (BBoY 1960 p.128).

Foreign Policy . Bulgaria remained a loyal member of COMECON (since 1949) and Warsaw Pact (since 1955). In 1968, Bulgarian forces participated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Relations with Yugoslavia, a Communist state, but neither member of COMECON nor Warsaw Pact, was of a special nature, characterized by the Tito-Stalin confrontation and by Bulgaria's old claim on (Yugoslav) Vardar Macedonia. From 1956 to 1968, both governments attempted to downplay their differences; in 1968 Bulgaria reiterated the Macedonia claim (BBoY 1969 p.181).
Diplomatic relations with the U.S., interrupted in 1950, were reestablished in 1959. In 1967, Bulgaria supported Syria, Egypt and Jordan during the Six Days War with Israel. Bulgaria's relations with the PR China in 1967 were strained (BBoY 1968 p.179).

The Economy . Second Five Year Plan 1953-1957, Third Five Year Plan 1958-1962, Fourth Five Year Plan 1963-1967, Fifth Five Year Plan 1968-1972.
The economic policies of collectivization and stressing industrialization lead to a decline in agricultural production. In 1957 investments in industrial projects, and industrial production targets were reduced. 15,000 Bulgarians were sent to work in the USSR, in order to address the unemployment problem in Bulgaria (BBoY 1958 p.127).
In 1958, all citizens were obliged by law to perform 80 hours of supplementary labour; industrial managers were given a somewhat greater authority in the direction of plants (BBoY 1959 p.129). In 1959 the Bulgarian leadership aimed at emulating the P.R. China's Great Leap Forward (BBoY 1960 p.128). 1960 figures showed that progress was made, but the ambitious targets were not met. In 1960 there was a shortage of bread and fodder, which resulted in many animals being slaughtered (BBoY 1962 p.114). In 1966 the relaxation of central planning, the intention to allow the operation of free market forces to some extent was announced (BBoY 1967 p.181).
In the 1960es Bulgaria's Black Sea beaches became a favourite destination of tourists from within the socialist block.

Ethnic, Religious Minorities . The Bulgarian People's Republic promoted atheism. The Dimitrov Constitution of 1947, valid until 1971, stressed minority rights, among these the right to have their children educated in their own language. The largest ethnic minorities were the Turks and Roma (Gypsies).

Social History . The 1956 census counted 7.6 million Bulgarians, the 1965 census 8.2 million; Jan Lahmeyer estimates 8.4 million for 1969.
In 1963, African students studying in Bulgaria clashed with Bulgarians; many of the African students left the country (BBoY 1964 p.205).

Cultural History . In 1956 the city of Stalin was renamed Varna (BBoY 1957 p.189). In 1959 television broadcasting began in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968. In 1969, Bulgaria celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Communist Revolution.

Articles List of Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Vulko Chervenkov, Elections in Bulgaria, Bulgaria at the 1956 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1964 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1968 Summer Olympics, from Wikipedia
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Bulgaria
A Readers' Guide to Bulgaria, from Bulgaria Info
L. Petkova, The ethnic Turks in Bulgaria : social integration and impact on Bulgarian-Turkish relations 1947-2000, posted on Eldis
Bulgaria : The Party System in 1950-1956 and 1957-1962, in : Kenneth Janda, Political Parties : A Cross-National Survey
DOCUMENTS Table of Bulgaria's Prime Ministers, 1879-present, from Bulgaria Online
World Statesmen : Bulgaria, from Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Bulgaria, from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
Flag of Bulgaria 1946-1990, from FOTW
Warsaw Pact, May 14th 1955, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Bulgarian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money and from Currency Museum
Bulgarian Five Year Plan 1962, from Open Society Archives
Shortcomings in the Second Bulgarian Five Years Plan, 1958, from Open Society Archives
REFERENCE R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge Concise Histories 1997 pp.187-200, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7 C889a
Article : Bulgaria, pp.623-636, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia vol.14, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.14
Raymond Detrez, Historical Dictionary of Bulgaria, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 2006, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 949.9003 D 483h
Chapter 23 : Satellites and Soviet Policy, pp.327-352, in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
Article Bulgaria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1957, p.189, 1958, p.127, 1959, p.129, 1960, pp.128-129, 1961, pp.126-127, 1962, p.114, 1963, pp.230-231, 1964, pp.204-205, 1965, pp.201-202, 1966, pp.159-160, 1967, pp.181-182, 1968, p.179, 1969, pp.180-181 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Americana Annual 1957 pp.110-112, 1961 pp.99-101, 1962 pp.98-99, 1963 pp.105-107, 1964 pp.106-107, 1965 pp.128, 1967 pp.135-136, 1968 pp.126-127, 1969 pp.138-139 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1961 p.52 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Facts on File : News Dictionary 1965 pp.61-62 [G]

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First posted in 2000, last revised on September 28th 2007

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