1956-1969 since 1989

Bulgaria 1969-1989

Administration . The office of PM was held by Todor Zhivkov (BCP, 1962-1971), Stanko Todorov (BCP, 1971-1981), Grisha Filipov (BCP, 1981-1986) and Georgi Atanasov (BCP, 1986-1990).
Parliamentary elections were held in 1971, 1976, 1981 and 1986; voters were presented with a single list of candidates, of the BCP-dominated Fatherland's Front, to approve. In 1971, a new constitution (the Zhivkov constitution) was adopted. The Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) held party congresses in 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986.

Foreign Policy . Bulgaria remained a loyal member of COMECON and Warsaw Pact. In The Macedonia issue continued to trouble relations with Yugoslavia.
Relations with the west have been improved by the establishment of diplomatic relations with the FRG in 1973 and by Zhivkov's visit of the Vatican in 1975.
The Bulgarian secret service implemented assassination plots disregarding the officially improved relations with the west; in 1977 G. Markov, a Bulgarian exile living in London, was assassinated, in 1981 a Bulgarian agent failed in the attempt tp assassinate Pope John Paul II.

The Economy . Fifth Five Year Plan 1968-1971, Sixth Five Year Plan 1972-1976, Seventh Five Year Plan 1976-1980, Eighth Five Year Plan 1981-1985, Ninth Five Year Plan 1986-1990.
From the 1960es onward, Bulgaria became transit country for the Turkish migrant workers living in the F.R. Germany and elsewhere in central Europe.
Economic reforms in 1971, intended to address the economic problems, resulted in further centralization and increased party control. Needless to say, the economy showed no significant improvement, except for the black sea tourism, which also attracted western tourists (and be it relatives of GDR or Hungarian citizens using the opportunity for family reunions).
Bulgaria was affected by the Oil Crisis of 1973. In 1974 Bulgaria devalued her currency, the Lev. In 1979 the nuclear power station in Kozloduy, the first in Eastern Europe, was taken in operation (BBoY 1980 p.227). In 1982 a new mechanism to manage the nat'l economy was announced (BBoY 1983 p.222). In 1983 food prices were raised (BBoY 1984 p.219).

Ethnic, Religious Minorities . By contrast to the Dimitrov constitution (of 1947), the Zhivkov constitution of 1971 did not concede the right to be educated in their respective languages to the country's ethnic minorities (the Turks and Roma being the largest). Discrimination against the Turkish and Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) minorities resulted in further emigration, over 100,000 in the 1970es, mostly to Turkey. From 1984 until 1989, Bulgaria pursued a policy of enforced Bulgarization, causing another 300,000 to emigrate.

Social History . Bulgaria's population in 1969 is estimated at 8.4 million; the census of 1975 counted 8.7 million, the census of 1985 8.9 million, the population of 1989 is estimated at 8.99 million (Jan Lahmeyer).

Cultural History . In 1974 the 30th anniversary of the Socialist Revolution in Bulgaria was celebrated. In 1981 Bulgaria celebrated 1300 years of statehood. The National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia was opened in 1981.
Bulgarian athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988. Bulgaria boycotted the Summer Games of Los Angeles 1984.
In 1979 Boyana Church, Madara Rider, the Churches of Ivanovo and the Thracian Tomb at Kazanlak were enrolled as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Ancient City of Nessebar, Rila Monastery, Srebarna Nature Reserve and Pirin National Park followed in 1983, the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari in 1985.

The Fall of Communism . In the 1980es it became evident that Communist rule had led the country into economic stagnation and decline. Yet party control had been so strongly established that it was difficult to form an opposition. Only after demonstrations had caused the more industrialized hardline communist governments of eastern central Europe, the GDR and Czechoslavakia, to fall, did the opposition in Bulgaria manage to enforce changes.

Articles List of Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Elections in Bulgaria, Bulgaria at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1976 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1980 Summer Olympics, Bulgaria at the 1988 Summer Olympics, NDK, from Wikipedia
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Bulgaria
List of World Heritage Sites, from UNESCO
L. Petkova, The ethnic Turks in Bulgaria : social integration and impact on Bulgarian-Turkish relations 1947-2000, posted on Eldis
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
Bulgarian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money and from Currency Museum
REFERENCE R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge Concise Histories 1997 pp.200-215 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
Article Bulgaria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp.179-180, 1971 pp.173-174, 1972 pp.159-160, 1973 pp.156-157, 1974 pp.163-164, 1975 pp.148-149, 1976 p.176, 1977 p.179, 1978 pp.232-233, 1979 p.230, 1980 p.227, 1981 p.225, 1982 p.225, 1983 p.222, 1984 pp.218-219, 1985 pp.547-548, 646, 1986 pp.542, 642, 1987 pp.513, 611, 1988 pp.468-469, 563, 1989 pp.469, 563, 1990 pp.485-486, 579 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.777-784, 1975-1976 pp.789-796, 1976-1977 pp.796-803, 1978-1979 pp.239-245, 1979-1980 pp.238-244, 1980-1981 pp.239-245, 1981-1982 pp.244-251, 1983-1984 pp.242-249, 1984-1985 pp.241-248, 1985-1986 pp.240-247, 1986-1987 pp.242-249, 1987-1988 pp.242-248, 1988-1989 pp.241-247, 1989-1990 pp.243-249 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.212-214, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.212-214, 4th ed. 1984 pp.212-214 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Americana Annual 1970 pp.142-143, 1971 pp.166-167, 1972 pp.168-169, 1973 pp.162-163, 1974 p.148, 1976 p.146, 1988 p.256, 1989 pp.152-153, 1990 pp.150-151 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia 1983 p.94 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1980 pp.11-19, by John D. Bell [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on June 22nd 2007

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