Born June 14,1856, in the village of Zagorichane; died May 7, 1924, in Sofia. First Marxist propagandist in Bulgaria. Founder and leader of the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (of Narrow Socialists, or Tesniaki). Born into the family of a poor peasant.
In his youth Blagoev participated in the national liberation struggle of the Bulgarian people against the Turkish yoke. He studied at the Odessa Realschule from 1878 to 1880 and at the University of St. Petersburg from 1881 to 1885, becoming friends with progressive Russian students and familiarizing himself with the first volume of Marx’s Das Kapital and other socialist literature. In December 1883, Blagoev organized one of the first social democratic groups in Russia. In 1885 the Blagoev Group embarked on the publication of an illegal newspaper, Rabochii, and established ties with the Plekhanov group in Geneva, Osvobozhdenie truda (Emancipation of Labor). Blagoev was arrested in March 1885 and exiled to Bulgaria. From June 1885 he published the journal Suvremennii pokazatel’ in Sofia, propagandizing the ideas of scientific socialism. In the pamphlet What Is Socialism and Can It Take Root Here? (1891), Blagoev expounded the basic propositions of scientific socialism and criticized the views of the group of Russian populist émigrés, who believed that the conditions for a socialist movement did not exist in Bulgaria. He demonstrated the inevitability of the development of capitalism in the country and of the growth of the proletariat, whose mission was to transform society and build socialism. The Bulgarian Social Democratic Party was founded in 1891 under Blagoev’s leadership. Over the course of 12 years the revolutionary Marxist wing of its membership, led by Blagoev, waged a stubborn struggle against the reformists; the end result was the ideological rout of the opportunists and the formation (in 1903) of an independent revolutionary Marxist party out of the revolutionary wing—the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (of Narrow Socialists). From 1897 to 1923 (with interruptions), Blagoev directed the publication of the party’s theoretical organ, the journal Novo vreme, which published more than 500 of his articles. He devoted much energy to the publication of the party newspapers Rabotnik, Rabotnicheski vestnik, and others. In 1905, Blagoev translated into Bulgarian the first volume of Das Kapital (providing an introduction) and a number of other works by Marx. Blagoev’s book From the History of Socialism in Bulgaria was published in 1906; it had great value for the ideological fortification of the party of the working class and for the theoretical substantiation of its struggle against opportunism. The book initiated Bulgarian Marxist historiography. Blagoev linked the struggle for the vital interests of the Bulgarian working class and its love for the homeland with proletarian internationalism. He was an implacable foe of monarchism and bourgeois nationalism. He led the delegations of narrow socialists at the Balkan socialist conferences in Belgrade (1910) and Bucharest (1915), speaking for the rapprochement of the Balkan peoples and their common struggle against the expansionist aspirations of the imperialists. In 1910 he led the Tesniak party’s delegation to the eighth congress of the Second International (Copenhagen); there he participated in the work of the conference of leftists in the Second International that was convened by V. I. Lenin. During World War I (1914–18), Blagoev exposed the war’s imperialist nature and the traitorous role of the social chauvinists of the Second International. A deputy to the National Assembly of Bulgaria, Blagoev voted in October 1914, along with the rest of the faction of narrow socialists, against war credits; he opposed Bulgaria’s involvement in the war. Blagoev hailed the Great October Socialist Revolution enthusiastically and propagandized for the ideas of the Bolsheviks. Under his leadership the Narrow Socialist party broke with the Second International even while the war was still going on. In 1919 the party was renamed the Communist Party, and it took part in the founding of Comintern. However, during this period Blagoev and the party as a whole did not completely adopt Leninist positions on the basic questions of the proletarian revolution. This determined the party’s incorrect policies during the Vladaia Soldiers’ Uprising of 1918 and the fascist military coup of June 9, 1923, when the party adopted a position of neutrality. Blagoev’s frank acknowledgment and criticism of these errors, in addition to his approval of the decision of the party’s central committee on the preparation and realization of the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923, played an important role in the restructuring of the Bulgarian Communist Party in the spirit of bolshevism. Blagoev was the author of a number of research essays on questions of Marxist philosophy, political economy, history, esthetics, and Bulgarian literature.
WORKSSuchineniia, vols. 1–20. Sofia, 1957–64.
Kratki belezhki iz moia zhivot, [4th ed.]. Sofia, 1960.
REFERENCESDimitrov, G. “Za povorot v partii.” In Izbr. proizv., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957.
Dimitrov, G. “Velikii uchitel’ i vozhd’.” In Izbr. proizv., vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
Dimitrov, G. “Politicheskii otchet TsK BRP(k) V s”ezdu partii.” In Izbr. proiz. Moscow, 1957.
Kabakchiev, Kh. “Dmitrii Nikolaevich Blagoev (1885–1924).” Letopisi marksizma, 1934, book 1(11), pp. 31–57.
Khristov, Kh., and K. Vasil’ev. Dimitr Blagoev (biograficheskii ocherk). Moscow, 1958. (Translated from Bulgarian.)
D. Blagoev: Bibliografiia. Edited by T. Borov and Kh. Khristov. Sofia, 1954.
Likhacheva, L. Dimitr Blagoev (1856–1924): Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’ (K stoletiiu so dnia rozhdeniia). Moscow, 1956.
Vuprosi na marksicheskata teoriia vu trudovete na Dimitur Blagoev: Sbornik statii. Sofia, 1955.
Natan, Zh. Ikonomicheskite vuzgledi na Dimitur Blagoev. Sofia, 1955.
L. B. VALEV