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Bulgaria (bŭlgârˈēə), Bulgarian Balgarija, officially Republic of Bulgaria, republic (2020 est. pop. 6,927,000), 42,823 sq mi (110,912 sq km), SE Europe, on the E Balkan Peninsula. It is bounded by the Black Sea on the east, by Romania on the north, by Serbia and North Macedonia on the west, by Greece on the south, and by European Turkey on the southeast. Sofia is the capital. Other important cities are Varna and Burgas (the main Black Sea ports of Bulgaria), Plovdiv and Ruse.

Land and People

Central Bulgaria is traversed from east to west by ranges of the Balkan Mts. (Stara Planina, or “Old Mountains” in Bulgarian); the ridge of the main range of the Balkan Mts. roughly divides the country into northern and southern regions. A fertile plateau runs north of the Balkans to the Danube River, which forms most of the northern border. In the southwest is the Rhodope range, which includes Bulgaria's highest point, Musala Mt. (9,592 ft/2,923 m). The Thracian plain lies south of the Balkans and east of the Rhodope. The Danube, the Iskŭr, the Maritsa, and the Struma are the principal rivers.

About 85% of the people are Bulgars. Turks make up almost 10% of the population, and about 5% are Romani (Gypsies). There are also smaller groups of Macedonians and Armenians; however, Bulgaria, with its historical claim to the region of Macedonia, refuses to recognize Macedonians as distinct from Bulgars. Bulgarian is the predominant language. Most of the population belongs to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; in 1953 the Bulgarian patriarchate, which had been disbanded in 1946, was reestablished. There is also a substantial Muslim minority.


Until 1989, Bulgaria had a Soviet-style economy in which nearly all agricultural and industrial enterprises were state-controlled. A stagnant economy, shortages of food, energy, and consumer goods, an enormous foreign debt, and an obsolete and inefficient industrial complex instigated attempts at market-oriented reform in the 1990s. Since the 1990s S Bulgaria has in general become increasingly more economically developed and wealthier than the north. Long a largely agricultural country, Bulgaria's principal crops are vegetables, tobacco, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds, and sugar beets. Grapes and other fruit, as well as roses, are grown, and wine and brandy production is important. The country has been considerably industrialized since World War II. The leading industries are agricultural processing, petroleum refining, and the production of machinery and equipment, base metals, chemicals, coke, and nuclear fuel. Bulgaria's chief mineral resources include bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, lignite, iron ore, and oil and natural gas. There are many mineral springs. Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery, and fuel are exported. Imports include machinery and equipment, metals and ores, chemicals, plastics, fuels, minerals, and raw materials. Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Greece are Bulgaria's main trading partners.


Bulgaria is governed under the constitution of 1991. The president, who is the head of state, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The premier, who is the head of government, is elected by the legislature, as is the cabinet. The 240 members of the unicameral National Assembly are popularly elected for four-year terms. Administratively, Bulgaria is divided into 28 provinces.


Early History

The earliest evidence of human settlement, a prehistoric walled town near Provadia in E Bulgaria, dates to the 5th millenium B.C. Ancient Thrace and Moesia, which modern Bulgaria occupies, were settled (6th cent. A.D.) by Slavic tribes. In 679–80, Bulgar tribes from the banks of the Volga (see Bulgars, Eastern) crossed the Danube, subjugated the Slavs, and settled permanently in the territory of Bulgaria. The language and culture remained Slavic, and by the 9th cent. the Bulgars had fully merged with the Slavs. The first Bulgarian empire (681–1018), established by Khan Asparuhk, or Isperikh (ruled 680–701), and his successor, Terrel (ruled 701–718), soon emerged as a significant Balkan power and a threat to Byzantium. In 809 Khan Krum (ruled 803–814) captured Sofia from the Byzantines, defeated (811) Emperor Nicephorus I, besieged Constantinople, and withdrew only after obtaining yearly tribute.

In the 9th cent. Bulgaria became the arena of political and cultural rivalry between Constantinople and Rome. In 865, Boris I adopted Christianity, and in 870 Constantinople recognized the independence of the Bulgarian church. Bulgaria received Byzantine culture through the Slavic literary language developed by St. Cyril and St. Methodius in Moravia and brought to the Balkans by their disciples. The first Bulgarian empire reached its height under Simeon I (893–927), who took the title of czar. After his death the country was rent by the heresy of the Bogomils.

Bulgaria crumbled under the attacks of a reinvigorated Byzantium in the 10th cent., and in 1018 it was annexed by Emperor Basil II. Byzantine domination was weakened by the invasions of the Pechenegs and Cumans and by internal disorders at Constantinople. The second Bulgarian empire (1186–1396) rose in 1186 when Ivan Asen (Ivan I) was crowned czar at Veliko Tŭrnovo. His son, Kaloyan, crowned in 1204 with the approval of the pope, defeated (1205) Emperor Baldwin I of Constantinople. The height of Bulgar power was reached under Ivan II (Ivan Asen), whose rule (1218–1241) extended over nearly the whole Balkan Peninsula except Greece. His successors could not maintain his empire.

Bulgaria under the Turks

In 1330, Macedonian Bulgaria was conquered by Serbia. After the battles of Kosovo Field (1389) and Nikopol (1396) Bulgaria was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Turkish rule was often oppressive, and rebellions were frequent. By recognizing the authority of the Orthodox Eastern Church in Constantinople over all Christians in their empire, the Turks undermined the basis of Bulgarian culture. A determined effort was made to destroy Bulgarian Christianity and the Bulgarian language. The role of the Phanariots (see Phanar) was particularly resented.

Although the administration (1864–69) of Midhat Pasha made Bulgaria briefly a model province, by then Bulgarian nationalism was strong. The Mount Athos monastery had continued to use Bulgarian; there, in 1762, a monk had written a history, the first modern literary work in Bulgarian. Bulgarian schools were allowed to open in 1835. In 1870 the Bulgarian Church was reestablished. In 1876 a rebellion, led by Stefan Stambulov, broke out. The subsequent Turkish reprisals (famous as the “Bulgarian atrocities”) provided a reason for the Russians to liberate (1877–78) their neighbors (see Russo-Turkish Wars).

The Treaty of San Stefano created a large autonomous Bulgaria within the Ottoman Empire—a Bulgaria that Russia expected to dominate. In order to avert the expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans, a European congress was called to revise the treaty (see Berlin, Congress of). By the new terms Bulgaria was reduced to the territory between the Danube and the Balkans. Present-day southern Bulgaria—then called Eastern Rumelia—became a separate autonomous province, and Macedonia remained under direct Turkish rule. Alexander (Alexander of Battenberg), first prince of Bulgaria, annexed Eastern Rumelia in 1885 and repulsed a consequent Serbian attack.

Independence and After

Alexander's successor, Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, profiting from the revolution of the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire in 1908, proclaimed Bulgaria independent with himself as czar. Bulgaria was victorious against Turkey in the first (1911–12) of the Balkan Wars, but claims to Macedonia involved it in the Second Balkan War with its former allies Greece and Serbia, and it was soon defeated. By the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), Bulgaria lost S Dobruja and a large part of Macedonia.

The Macedonian issue was largely responsible for the entry in 1915 of Bulgaria into World War I on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary. There was much domestic opposition to the war, and when Bulgaria's military position crumbled, Ferdinand fled and Boris III succeeded (1918). In the peace (see Neuilly, Treaty of) Bulgaria was forced to pay reparations and lost its outlet to the Aegean Sea to Greece and some territory to the former Yugoslavia; S Dobruja was confirmed in Romanian possession.

The Agrarian party cabinet established (1919) by Stambuliski held power until overthrown (1923) in a bloody coup. An era of political confusion ensued, dominated by the violent activities of an irredentist Macedonian terrorist group. The world economic crisis of 1929 had a disastrous impact on impoverished Bulgaria as markets for agricultural exports shrunk. In 1934, Kimon Georgiev became premier with the help of the army and ended constitutional government, but he was ousted in 1935 by Boris III, who established his personal dictatorship.

In World War II, Bulgaria saw an alliance with Germany as an opportunity to satisfy its territorial claims. In 1940, Germany forced Romania to restore to Bulgaria S Dobruja. In 1941, Bulgaria occupied parts of Yugoslavia and Greece (including Macedonia), and declared war on Great Britain and the United States—but not the Soviet Union, because the populace was pro-Russian. The child Simeon II succeeded when Boris died mysteriously (1943). In 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria, and Soviet troops entered the country (Sept.). Pro-Allied political forces (Communists, Agrarians, and the pro-Soviet army officers), headed by Georgiev, seized power immediately. Bulgaria declared war on Germany, and an armistice with the USSR followed (Oct.).

Postwar Bulgaria

After a short period of coalition rule, the Communists succeeded in taking over the government. The monarchy was abolished, and in 1946 Bulgaria was proclaimed a republic with Georgi Dimitrov as premier. The peace treaty with the Allies (1947) allowed Bulgaria to keep S Dobruja, but no gains were made in Macedonia. Dimitrov proceeded to eliminate possible opponents; Agrarian leader Nikola Petrov was executed in 1947. A new constitution was enacted, and Bulgaria became a one-party state. Industry was nationalized and farms collectivized.

Bulgaria closely followed the Soviet Union in its domestic and foreign policies; after the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform in 1948, Bulgaria sided with the USSR. Dimitrov's successor, Vulko Chervenkov, massively purged the Communist party (1950). In 1951–52, Bulgaria deported to Turkey some 160,000 citizens of Turkish origin. Relations with Greece and Turkey improved somewhat after 1954. Bulgaria joined (1949) the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and in 1955 became a member of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the United Nations.

In the mid-1950s the government loosened its grip somewhat. Stalinists fell from power and purge victims were rehabilitated (posthumously in some cases). In 1965 army officers and party officials unsuccessfully attempted a coup. Bulgaria aided the USSR in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1971, Todor Zhivkov, who had been premier since 1962, became president. In the mid-1980s, a “Bulgarization” campaign was launched against the ethnic Turks. Turks were forced to adopt Bulgarian names, and Turkish-language broadcasts and publications were halted. In 1986, Zhivkov experimented with limited economic reforms such as a “self-management” program for industrial workers. Im mid-1989, after ethnic Turkish rights groups mounted protests in May against the government, some 370,000 ethnic Turks left for Turkey in a forced exodus, though many later returned. Zhivkov's ouster in Nov., 1989, set off a year of social and political turmoil.

In Aug., 1990, the first non-Communist political leader in 40 years, Zhelyu Zhelev, was elected president. Economic reforms were introduced and a new constitution (1991) created a parliamentary democracy in the country. No party, however, was able to establish a long-term government, and major economic reforms proved difficult to enact. In 1994, the Socialist party (formerly the Communists) and its allies won a parliamentary majority at the polls, and Zhan Videnov, a Socialist, became premier early in 1995. A period of hyperinflation and economic stagnation followed, and charges of corruption were widespread.

Petar Stoyanov, of the Union of Democratic Forces, was elected president in 1996, and his party won parliamentary elections held in 1997; Ivan Kostov became premier. UN economic sanctions imposed during the 1990s on neighboring Yugoslavia (since dissolved into the nations of Serbia and Montenegro), a major trade partner, had serious negative effects on Bulgaria's economy. In the parlimentary elections of 2001, the National Movement for Simeon II (NMS), a party sponsored by the former king, captured 43% of the vote and half the seats, and Simeon became premier. In the presidential election later in the year, Socialist Georgy Parvanov won the post after a runoff, defeating the incumbent, Stoyanov. Bulgaria became a member of NATO in Mar., 2004, and a little more than a year later the country signed an accession treaty with the European Union (EU).

Parliamentary elections in June, 2005, resulted in a victory for the Socialists, but they did not win a majority and were initially unable to form a coalition, and subsequently NMS also failed to do so. In August, however, the Socialists, NMS, and the largely Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) agreed to form a coalition government. Socialist Sergei Stanishev became premier. President Parvanov was reelected in Oct., 2006.

On Jan. 1, 2007, Bulgaria became a member of the EU, but EU concerns over Bulgarian corruption led the EU in 2008 to suspend more than €500 million in aid to Bulgaria; roughly two fifths of that aid subsequently was denied to Bulgaria. Corruption and judicial concerns also delayed the nation's joining the EU's borderless Schengen Area, and these concerns persisted into the 2010s. Elections in July, 2009, gave the anticorruption Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), led by Sofia Mayor Boiko Borisov, a near majority of the seats in parliament and some 40% of the vote, and Borisov subsequently became prime minister of a minority government. Rosen Plevneliev, the GERB candidate, was elected president in Oct., 2011. The effects of the adoption of austerity measures in the wake of recession, the rising cost of life, and persistent government corruption led in early 2013 to mass protests that resulted in bloody clashes with police. Borisov's government subsequently resigned (Feb., 2013). New elections were scheduled for May, and an interim government headed by Marin Raikov, a career diplomat and former deputy foreign minister, was appointed.

GERB won a plurality but proved unable to form a government; the Socialists and MRF subsequently supported a techocratic minority government led by former finance minister Plamen Oresharski. The appointment (soon reversed) of a media magnate with no security experience as as head of the national security agency led to weeks of anticorruption protests in mid-2013. The country had a banking crisis in June, 2014, when there were runs on two of its largest banks, leading to the failure of one. In July, Oresharski's government resigned; it had lost support after the Socialists did poorly in the May EU elections. Georgi Bliznashki, a law professor and former Socialist legislator, was named interim prime minister in August.

In the Oct., 2014, elections GERB won a plurality of the seats (but only slightly more than a third of them) and formed a government in November with the support of a number of smaller parties; Borisov became prime minister. GERB's coalition gradually lost the support of a number legislators and parties, becoming a minority government in May, 2016. In the presidential election in November, Rumen Radev, a former commander of the air force who was supported by the Socialists, won handily in the runoff, and Borisov then resigned as prime minister. The main parties subsequently proved unable to form a new government, triggering new elections; Ognyan Gerdzhikov, a law professor and former speaker of parliament, became interim prime minister in Jan., 2017.

In the March elections GERB placed first and the Socialists second. GERB subsequently (May) formed a government with three nationalist parties, and Borisov again became prime minister. Beginning in mid-2020 there were ongoing anticorruption protests against Borisov's government and against the prosecutor-general, calling for their resignations; the president vocally sided with the protesters. The government proposed constitutional changes in response, but protesters and ultimately (Nov., 2020) legislators rejected the plan.


See S. Runciman, A History of the First Bulgarian Empire (1930); M. MacDermott, A History of Bulgaria, 1393–1885 (1962); J. F. Brown, Bulgaria under Communist Rule (1970); F. Schevill, A History of the Balkan Peninsula (1922, repr. 1971); J. D. Bell, The Bulgarian Communist Party from Blagoev to Zhivkov (1985); J. R. Lampe, The Bulgarian Economy in the Twentieth Century (1986).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Bulgariia), People’s Republic of Bulgaria (Narodna republika Bulgariia).

Bulgaria is situated in southeastern Europe, in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It has a coastline on the Black Sea on its eastern side and is bordered on the north by Rumania, on the west by Yugoslavia, on the south by Greece, and on the southeast by Turkey. The easiest and shortest route from the countries of western and central Europe to the eastern Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea Straits, and the Middle East goes through Bulgaria. The country has an area of about 111,000 sq km. The distance between its northernmost and southernmost points is 330 km, and between the westernmost and easternmost points, about 520 km. The population at the beginning of 1970 was 8,467,000. The capital is Sofia.

Administratively Bulgaria is divided (1969) into 28 districts (see Table 1), including the capital (which has the status of a district). The districts are in turn divided into urban and rural communes.

Bulgaria is a socialist state—a people’s republic. The present constitution was adopted on Dec. 4,1947; partial amendments were made in 1961, 1965, and 1969. At the present time (1970) a new constitution, which is to consolidate the victory of socialism in Bulgaria, is being drafted. All power in Bulgaria is in the hands of the working people of the towns and villages, headed by the working class. The guiding

Table 1. Administrative division of Bulgaria
DistrsictArea (sq km)Population (end of 1969)Administrative center
Sofia (city; district status)1,038973,000
Stara Zagora4,902374,000Stara Zagora
Veliko Turnovo4,690333,000Veliko Turnovo

and directing force of the state and society is the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP), and the economic basis of the country is the socialist economic system and socialist ownership of the basic means of production.

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria establishes and guarantees broad democratic rights and freedoms for citizens (the right to work, rest, and education; material security in old age and during sickness; freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and association; and the right to inviolability of the person and home and to secrecy of correspondence).

The supreme body of state power and the sole legislative organ is the unicameral National Assembly, elected for a period of four years, by the universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage of the population. One deputy is elected for every 20,000 inhabitants. Between sessions of the National Assembly, which is convened not less than twice a year, the supreme power is vested in the hands of the Presidium of the National Assembly, elected by it and consisting of a chairman, two deputy chairmen, a secretary, and 15 members. The highest executive and administrative body of state power is the government (the Council of Ministers), formed by the National Assembly and responsible to it for its acts; between sessions, it is responsible to the Presidium of the National Assembly.

The local bodies of state power are the district and communal (urban and rural) people’s councils, elected by the population for four-year terms. Each people’s council elects by secret ballot an executive and administrative body—the executive committee. All citizens 18 years of age and over are entitled to vote. Deputies are answerable to their electors and may be recalled before the end of their term of office.

Judiciary power is vested in the Supreme Court and the district and people’s courts. Court assessors, elected by the people, participate in court examinations. The supreme authority for the administration of justice is the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, whose members are chosen by the National Assembly for a period of five years. The district judges are chosen by the district people’s councils, and the people’s judges are elected directly by the people. The attorney general of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria is elected by the National Assembly for a period of five years.


“Konstitutsiia Narodnoi Respubliki Bolgarii.” In the collection Konstitutsii zarubezhnykh sotsialisticheskikh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1956. Pages 33 ff.
Il’inskii, I. P., and B. V. Shchetinin. Gosudarstvennoe pravo stran narodnoi demokratii. Moscow, 1964.
Spasov, B., and A. Angelov. Gosudarstvennoe pravo Narodnoi Respubliki Bolgarii. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Bulgarian.)

Bulgaria is located in a temperate zone; with respect to natural features, it occupies a transitional region between Eastern and Central Europe in the north and the Mediterranean in the south.

Terrain Northern Bulgaria occupies the hilly Danubian plain at elevations of 100–380 m in the west and up to 500 m in the east. Deep river valleys dissect it into hilly and plateaulike sections. The plain is broken up toward the Danube valley by a high (to 100 m) terrace, which becomes the Dobrudzha plateau in the east. To the south of the plain is the Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains), which traverses all of Bulgaria from west to east. The central and western portions of these mountains are the highest (average elevations, 1,500–2,000 m; the highest is 2,376 m), and the eastern portion is lower (600–1,100 m) and more dissected. The Sredna Gora, a range of lower mountains (elevations to 1,604 m), lies to the south of the central portion of the Stara Planina. In certain places, the Sredna Gora and the Stara Planina are connected by bridges 1,000–1,300 m high, between which are located tectonic basins (Kazanluk, Karlovo, and others), called sub-Balkan as a group. The Rila, Pirin, and Rhodope mountains are located in the southern and southwestern parts of the country. The Rila and Pirin mountains, with alpine-type peaks, are the highest part of the entire Balkan Peninsula (Mount Musala, 2,925 m; Mount Vikhren, 2,914 m). The upper Thracian Plain, the most fertile area in the country, extends along the Maritsa River between the Rhodope Mountains and the Sredna Gora. It is separated from the lowlands of the Black Sea by the hilly Tundzha regions and the Strandzha Mountains (Turkish name, Istranca). Bulgaria has a predominantly low coastline along the Black Sea, with steep shorelines in some places; there are many beaches. The northern spurs of the Strandzha Mountains are located in southeastern Bulgaria.


Geological structure and mineral resources The geological structure of the territory of Bulgaria belongs to the Mediterranean fold belt. The Mysian plate, composed of horizontally bedded Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic deposits overlying folded Precambrian rock, is located in northern Bulgaria. The Pre-Balkan zone, which is composed of Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Paleogene deposits gathered into folds, stretches to the south. The Stara Planina meganticlinorium, composed of Paleozoic rocks in the center and Jurassic and Triassic rocks in the east, occupies the axial part of the Balkans. Mesozoic and Paleogene deposits are developed on the limbs and in narrow synclines. Further to the south is the Sredna Gora zone, consisting of horst anticlinoria formed by Paleozoic and Precambrian metamorphic rocks and graben synclinoria filled mainly with Upper Cretaceous flysch and and andesites. The Sredna Gora zone is bounded on the north by the Trans-Balkan plutonic fracture, along which are located overthrusts and troughs filled with continental Neocene and Paleogene deposits. The southern portion of Bulgaria is occupied by the Rhodope massif, which consists of Precambrian crystalline rock overlain by Paleogene deposits. It is bounded on the north by the Maritsa plutonic fracture and on the west by the Kraishte fold-fault system.

The most important minerals are coal (eastern Maritsa, Pernik, and Bobov Dol basins), iron ores (Kremikovtsi deposit), lead and zinc (Rhodope massif), copper (Medet deposit), rock salt (Mirovo district), petroleum (Mysian plate), mineral waters, and building materials.


Climate Most of Bulgaria has a temperate continental climate; the transition to a Mediterranean climate occurs in the south, especially in the Struma and Mesta river valleys. Altitudinal climatic zonality exists in the mountains. The Stara Planina is an important climatic boundary between north and south. Average January temperatures range from -2°C to +2.5° C in the plains and drop to -10.8° C in the mountains (Mount Musala); average July temperatures are 25.1° C (Petrich) and 5.1° C (Mount Musala). Annual precipitation, brought by west and northwest winds, amounts to 450–600 mm in the lowlands and 850–1,300 mm in the mountains; maximum precipitation occurs during the first half of the summer. The driest season occurs in early autumn. Dry spells occur during the summer in many regions (mainly on the plains). Snow cover lasts 50–70 days in the north, 20–30 days in the south, and seven to eight months in the mountains.

Rivers and lakes There are a relatively large number of rivers in Bulgaria (except in the eastern part of the hilly Danubian plain), although most of them are short, mountainous rivers that become quite shallow at the end of the summer. The Danube is the only navigable river. The Iskur River is the largest tributary of the Danube in Bulgaria. The Maritsa (main tributaries—the Tundzha and the Arda) is the deepest river of the Aegean Sea basin, followed by the Struma and the Mesta. The rivers are very important sources of hydroelectric power and irrigation. Many reservoirs have been built on the rivers. There are few lakes (chiefly of glacial origin; in the Rila and Pirin mountains), and they are not very large. There are more than 500 mineral springs in Bulgaria.

Soils and flora Chernozems and gray forest podzolized soils are predominant on the Danubian plain; brown and compact chernozemlike (smolnitz) soils are prevalent to the south of the Stara Planina; and chestnut forest, mountain-forest, dark-colored, mountain-meadow, and skeleton soils are common in the mountains. River bottomlands have rich alluvial soils.

Flora is represented by forests occupying approximately 3.7 million hectares (ha; 1968), or approximately one-third of the country’s territory (including more than 1 million ha of artificial tree plantings). Deciduous forests, composed mainly of oak and hornbeam in the north and eastern beech in the southeast, account for 75.3 percent of the woodland. Tidal forests (elm, ash, and others) are typical. Coniferous forests consisting of pines, spruce, and firs (24.7 percent) occur in the mountains above the broad-leaved forests at elevations of 1,700–2,000 m. Wood is obtained from 87.8 percent of the forests; 5.8 percent are protective forests, 2.1 percent are in health resorts, 1.7 percent are shade-tree zones (greenery zones), 0.5 percent are forest windbreak strips, and 0.4 percent are national forest preserves (1965). Shibliak (scrub oak, Christ’s thorn, juniper, and—in the south—pistachio) is typical of the shrubs and brushwoods. Grassy formations are represented by arid, subalpine, and alpine meadows and vegetation that has become steppelike in the northern part of the country.

Fauna Animals of various origins are represented in Bulgaria. Central European species are observed chiefly in northern Bulgaria and the Stara Planina, steppe species principally in eastern Bulgaria, arctic and alpine species in the high-mountain zones, and Mediterranean species in the southern portion of the country. Red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, chamois, and boars are encountered in the forests; polecats, weasels, badgers, wolves, fox, European cats, squirrels, European hares, dormice, and small mouselike rodents are found in the mountains. Suslik, Siberian polecats, hamsters, and mole rats inhabit the treeless northern regions. There is an abundance of birds, consisting of species common to Southern and Central Europe. There is a variety of reptiles, particularly in the south. Bonito, mackerel, gray mullet, and flounder are caught in Bulgaria along the shores of the Black Sea; Caspian sturgeon, pike perch, and carp are caught in the Danube.

Natural regions The hilly Danubian plain is composed mainly of limestones and has the most continental climate in Bulgaria. It has steppe or forest vegetation in loessial chernozem soils and is almost completely plowed up. The Stara Planina has a northern, more humid, wooded (oak and beech) slope whose landscape differs sharply from that of the steeper, arid, and—in large areas—treeless southern slope. The Cis-Balkan area consists of the hilly, low-mountain northern foothills of the Stara Planina, partly covered by oak forests but to a greater degree occupied by vineyards, orchards, and fields. The Sredna Gora is a region of medium and low mountains with gentle slopes that are covered with beech forests in the western and central areas and are intensively plowed up in the east. The upper Thracian and Burgas lowlands have the most fertile soils and a moderate climate; they are densely populated and almost entirely under cultivation. Southeastern Bulgaria (the Tundzha massif and the Strandzha Mountains) is an area of ancient leveled massifs, covered with broad-leaved forests and shibliak undergrowth. Western Bulgaria is a region of alternation of rather high (500–900 m) basins with temperate continental climate, densely settled and cultivated, which are separated by wooded mountain massifs. The Rila-Rhodope region consists of mountains composed of ancient crystalline rocks. The central and western sections are high, with coniferous forests and subalpine and alpine meadows; the eastern section is lower and considerably reclaimed.


Geografiia na Bulgariia, vols. 1–2. Sofia, 1961–66.

Most of the population (more than 7.2 million according to the 1965 census) is made up of Bulgarians. The population also includes Turks, (living in compact groups in the northeastern and southern areas) and gypsies. In the larger towns live Armenians, Russians, and Jews, and in towns along the Black Sea—Greeks and other nationalities.

Most Bulgarian believers are Orthodox, but there is a small group of Protestants and Catholics; some are Muslims (the descendants—living in the Rhodope Mountains—of Bulgarians) who were forcibly converted to Islam under the Ottoman yoke. The Turkish population and many of the gypsies are Muslims. The Julian calendar was in use until Mar. 31, 1916, but on Apr. 14, 1916, it was replaced by the Gregorian.

The real population growth is 0.7–0.8 percent per year. The average population density in 1969 was over 76 inhabitants per sq km. In the upper Thracian Plain and in the central part of northern Bulgaria it is more than 100 per sq km. The number of workers and employees in the national economy in 1969 was 2.6 million (excluding those working on labor-cooperative-agricultural farms), as compared with only 629,000 in 1948. In 1969, 30 percent of the total gainfully employed population was engaged in industry, 38 percent in agriculture, 6 percent in transportation and communications, and 6 percent in trade and supplies. Considerable internal migrations of population (from poor mountain areas to the plains and from agricultural to industrially developed areas) are taking place in the process of socialist construction. The proportion of urban population is growing rapidly—according to census returns, from 24.7 percent in 1946 to 46.5 percent in 1965 and 51.7 percent (estimate) in 1969. In 1970 there were 171 cities, six of which had populations of more than 100,000: Sofia (973,000), Plovdiv (247,000), Varna (219,000), Ruse (150,000), Burgas (132,000), and Stara Zagora (109,000).

From prehistoric times to the second half of the seventh centuryA.D. Bulgaria has been inhabited since Paleolithic times. There are monuments of the Mousterian era in the Devetaki caves near the city of Lovech and in Bacho-Kiro near the town of Drianovo. The farming cultures of the Neolithic period in Bulgaria have become known through the excavation of a number of settlement mounds (tells). The oldest Neolithic layer (from the sixth to fifth millennia B.C.) has been studied at a tell near the village of Karanovo (Karanovo I culture). One of the most important Neolithic cultures found in western Bulgaria was the Vincha culture. The economic basis of the Neolithic culture was a sedentary agricultural system combined with livestock raising, hunting, and fishing. A number of cultures whose members were apparently engaged in pastoral livestock raising spread throughout the territory of Bulgaria during the Bronze Age.

At the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age the territory of Bulgaria was inhabited by Indo-European tribes called Thracians in Greek sources of the eighth to sixth centuries B.C. They are the oldest known population of the Bulgarian lands. Beginning in the seventh century B.C., Greek colonies established themselves side by side with the Thracian tribes—Apollonia (present-day Sozopol), Odessos (Varna), Mesembria (Nesebur), and others. These Greek colonies exerted considerable influence on the Thracian tribes. A class society began to develop among the Thracians, and at the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the first state—the kingdom of the Odrysae—came into existence. By the first century A.D., the Thracian lands were subjugated by the Roman Empire, which set up two provinces there: Moesia (c. A.D. 15) and Thrace (A.D. 46). In the third century A.D., the invasion of northern tribes of barbarians (Quadi, Iazyges, and Goths) began. After the Roman Empire split up into western and eastern parts (A.D. 395), Thrace and Moesia formed part of the eastern empire. Slavic tribes penetrated into these territories beginning in the early sixth century and began to settle there in the beginning of the seventh century. With the coming of the Slavs, the ethnic composition of the population of the Balkan Peninsula changed. Part of the Thracian population was assimilated by the Slavs, whereas the rest (for example, some of the Illyrian tribes) was driven back to the western part of the peninsula (the Vlachs and Albanians).

The feudal periodGROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF FEUDAL RELATIONSHIPS (TO THE BEGINNING OF THE 11TH CENTURY). The Slavs who settled in the Bulgarian territories were farmers. Feudal relationships had already begun to develop among them by the second half of the seventh century. On the basis of these relationships the Union of the Seven Slavic Tribes was established in northern Bulgaria—the first united Slavic state on the Balkan Peninsula. In the 670’s its territory was invaded from southern Bessarabia by the Proto-Bulgarians. With a strong cavalry force at their disposal, the Proto-Bulgarians, led by Khan Asparukh (Isperikh), crossed the Danube, destroyed the Byzantine army that opposed them, and established themselves in northeastern Bulgaria. Asparukh won the Union of the Seven Slavic Tribes over to his side, subjugated other Slavic tribes, and concluded peace with Byzantium (681). He became head of the Slavic Bulgarian state that was established in 680 and was called Bulgaria. It was bounded by the Danube, the Black Sea, and the Stara Planina and included some lands on the other bank of the Danube. The city of Pliska became the state’s capital. For a long time the Proto-Bulgarian aristocracy (the boliades and bagains)— under their military leader and priest-khan—and the Slavic landowner nobility remained the rulers of Bulgaria. The livestock-raising Proto-Bulgarians fell under the influence of Slavic culture and developed feudal relations based on land ownership. A gradual process of assimilation of the Proto-Bulgarians by the Slavs went on. Byzantium recognized the existence of the Bulgarian state, the so-called First Bulgarian Kingdom (680–1018). From the seventh to ninth centuries the development of crafts (potters, smiths, and builders in Pliska), which had begun to separate from the agricultural economy, was still insignificant, and a natural economy prevailed. However, the growth of large estates and the impoverishment of the peasantry as a result of natural disasters, wars, and outright plundering by the nobility increased the number of landless or land-starved peasants.

The main political events in the life of Bulgaria were governed by its relations with Byzantium, which vainly endeavored to turn to its own advantage the struggle between the feudalizing elements of the Bulgarian aristocracy and the supporters of the old prefeudal production relationships in order to subjugate Bulgaria. Under Khan Krum (ruled 803–814), the nobility, which was endeavoring to grow stronger, defeated the Avar Khaganate, having seized its lands up to the Tisza River. New territory was seized in Thrace, as were the cities of Sredets (now Sofia; 809) and Adrianople (813), and the Bulgarian troops went on as far as Constantinople. The first laws were proclaimed under Krum, which reflected the process of feudalization that was being accomplished and consolidated the position of the ruling class. Under Khan Omortag, who ruled from 816 to 831, a 30-year peace treaty was concluded between Bulgaria and Byzantium, the borders in the northwest were extended, and building activities were begun. Under Khan Krum’s successors, Bulgaria included the Slavic tribes of the Rhodope region and part of the historical region of Macedonia. The adoption of Christianity as the official state religion circa 865 under Prince Boris (ruled 852–889; the Bulgarian Church submitted to the authority of Constantinople) strengthened Bulgaria’s international situation. At the same time, the ruling position of the developing landowning class (boliars)—in which Slavic elements came to occupy an important place—was strengthened. The process of Slavicization of the state was accelerated. All this gradually led to the disappearance of ethnic differences between Proto-Bulgarians and Slavs and to the formation of a single nationality, called Bulgarian after the name of the state. The Slavs played the determining role in the ethnic evolution of the Bulgarian people. In 894, Slavonic writing was introduced by the brothers Cyril and Methodius. Slavonic also became the language of the church and state, and the foundations of an original Bulgarian literature were laid.

At the end of the ninth century, the main classes of the feudal society had already taken shape: the feudal lords (the boliars and the higher clergy) and the dependent peasantry. The main forms of exploitation were the corvée and rent in kind. Feudal cities were established. In addition to Pliska and the second Bulgarian capital of Preslav, well-known towns included Sredets (the Slavonic name for Sofia), Plovdiv, and Preslavets on the Danube.

The wars of Tsar Simeon (reigned 893–927) against Byzantium led to a considerable increase in Bulgarian territory. The independence of the Bulgarian Church from the Patriarchate of Constantinople was proclaimed. Bulgarian culture flourished during Simeon’s reign. Writers included Ioann the Exarch, Constantine of Preslav, and Chernorizets (the monk) Hrabr. Notable architectural monuments were erected. However, under Simeon’s successor, Tsar Peter (reigned 927–969), the kingdom grew weaker and broke up into two parts, eastern and western (the West Bulgarian Kingdom). The growth in the exploitation of the dependent peasantry (pariki, kliriki, and others), which had worsened as a result of the prolonged and extending wars with Byzantium, was the cause of a powerful antifeudal peasant movement that took the form of the Bogomil religious heresy. From 968 to 971, Bulgaria became the battleground of a Russo-Byzantine war. The forces of Sviatoslav Igorevich invaded Bulgarian territory, which was then invaded in turn by the Byzantine emperor John Tzimisces, who captured Preslav in 971. Samuil, tsar of the West Bulgarian Kingdom (reigned 997–1014), which had its center at Ohrid, successfully advanced on Byzantium and occupied part of northern Greece, but a counterattack by the Byzantines followed beginning in 986. In 1014 the Emperor Basil II, the “Bulgar-slayer,” defeated Samuil near Belasitsa, and in 1018 the Byzantines subdued the West Bulgarian Kingdom.

BULGARIA UNDER BYZANTINE RULE AND THE BULGARIAN PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE AGAINST BYZANTINE DOMINATION (BEGINNING OF THE 11TH TO END OF THE 12TH CENTURIES). As a result of the Byzantine conquest, Bulgaria was transformed into a Byzantine province. The Bulgarian Church was under the domination of the Byzantine clergy. The lack of sources of information makes it difficult to form a clear idea of the various aspects of feudal relations in Bulgaria at the time. A free peasantry still remained, particularly in the western provinces. Most of the land apparently belonged to big landowners (ecclesiastical and secular) and the state. The Byzantine forms of conditional landownership (kharistika, solem-nii, and proniia) were introduced, and the Byzantine feudal lords severely exploited the Bulgarian population. As early as the first decades of Byzantine domination, the Bulgarian people began an obdurate struggle to free itself. The first uprising against Byzantine rule was that of Peter Delian in 1040, which began in Macedonia and spread to Epirus and Albania. In 1072, 1074, 1078, and 1084 there were uprisings in the towns of Sredets, Plovdiv, and Mesembria. The Bogomil movement gained in strength, and there were a number of revolts by Bogomils and Paulicians in the 1080’s. A strong revolt (1185–87) against Byzantine rule, led by the brothers Peter and Ivan Asen, led to the overthrow of foreign rule and to the creation of a new Bulgarian state between the Danube, the Black Sea, and the Stara Planina, known historically as the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1187–1396).

BULGARIA DURING THE PERIOD OF DEVELOPED FEUDALISM (13TH AND 14TH CENTURIES). Under Tsar Kaloian, who reigned from 1197 to 1207, the Bulgarian state regained the borders it had had before being conquered by Byzantium. It attained its highest political and economic development under Tsar Ivan Asen II, who reigned from 1218 to 1241. Its borders extended to three seas—the Black, the Aegean, and the Adriatic. The Bulgarian state became the main force on the Balkan Peninsula. Coinage was introduced, and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was reestablished in 1235.

In the second half of the 13th century, a feudal hierarchy was already in existence: the Tsar, the greater boliars, and the lesser boliars. The big feudal lords had their own troops. The church was also a major landowner. Feudal immunity strengthened the juridical power of the boliars over the population on the estates they held. The main body of dependent peasants were the pariki. The small body of free peasants remaining at the beginning of the 13th century was growing ever smaller. The most common form of feudal rent at the beginning of this period was rent in kind, though it could also take the form of money payments or corvées. Towns developed and became handicraft and trade centers. Bulgaria’s greatest trading partner was Dubrovnik, but it also traded with Venice, Genoa, Byzantium, Poland, Galician Rus’, and other countries. Beginning in the second half of the 13th century, the corvées were increased, apparently as a result of the cultivation of more land by the landowners. This led to a sharpening of the class struggle (the Bogomil movement, Ivailo’s revolt of 1277–1280, and others). The struggle between the boliar factions became more acute and was accompanied by frequent changes of tsars. A weakened Bulgaria was compelled to pay tribute to Batu and subsequently to become a vassal of Nogai (end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries.) In the first half of the 14th century rivalry between the Bulgarians and Serbs became more acute (the Battle of Velbuzhd [Kiustendil], 1330). Separatist tendencies among the feudal lords during the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander led in the middle of the 14th century to the breakaway of the northeastern areas of the country and to the creation of the principality of Dqbrotitsa (Dobrudzha). About 1363 the remaining part of Bulgaria was divided by Ivan Alexander between his sons Ivan Shishman and Ivan Stratsimir into two kingdoms, Vidin and Turnovo. The Turkish attacks against the Balkan Peninsula, which began in the middle of the 14th century and were made easier by the feudal discord of Bulgaria and other Balkan states, resulted in the destruction of the Turnovo Kingdom in 1393 and the fall of Vidin in 1396. The Turkish conquest interrupted the independent social, economic, and spiritual development of the Bulgarian people for nearly 500 years.

BULGARIA UNDER OTTOMAN RULE. STRUGGLE OF THE BULGARIAN PEOPLE AGAINST OTTOMAN DOMINATION (15TH TO SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURIES). After being taken by the Turks, Bulgaria was included in the Rumelian province (governed by a beglerbeg) of the Ottoman Empire. The conquerors established the Turkish military-fief system in Bulgaria. All land was declared to be state property (mirie). Part of it in the form of timari or ziamet was distributed to Turkish spahis as feudal holders. In the 15th and 16th centuries, a third of the seized lands became the personal property of the sultan (the sultan’s khas). These khas lands were also owned by representatives of the dynasty. Some of the Bulgarian boliars, having made their submission to the new authority and embraced Islam, retained their estates and merged with the feudal Turkish ruling class. The peasantry (raia), who were the feudally dependent holders of the land, had to pay numerous taxes to the state (such as the jizya and a number of emergency and other taxes) and to the feudal lord (in the form of a natural tithe—the ushr—and later also the corvée). The peasant could sell his land or transfer it by succession only with the consent of the spahi and with proper registration (tapiia). He could not change the use to which the land was put—for example, plow up a meadow— without the spahi’s consent. Certain groups of peasants—voinugani, dogandzhii, dervendzhii, and others—were directly dependent on the state bodies and performed special duties that entitled them to certain tax reliefs. As a result of the Turkish conquest, a considerable number of artisans and tradesmen among the population were exterminated, emigrated to other countries, or fled to rural areas. At the same time, however, the process of improving and enriching the towns began as far back as the 15th century, and Bulgarians began to participate more actively in the economic life of the country. One of the most oppressive results of Turkish rule for the Bulgarian population proved to be the mass conversions to the Muslim faith. This particularly affected the Bulgarians in the Rhodope Mountains, on the Aegean seaboard, in central Macedonia, and in northeastern Bulgaria. A particularly cruel form of conversion to Islam and of assimilation was the “blood-tax” (dev-shirme)—the selection, until the beginning of the 17th century, of some of the fittest male children for the corps of janissaries.

From the very beginning the foreign yoke provoked the fierce resistance of the Bulgarian people. This manifested itself in various ways, mainly in the haiduk movement and in uprisings. The first such uprising, under Konstantin and Fruzhin, broke out in the Vidin and Pirot areas in 1404. However, Turkey was then at the height of its power and was pursuing its conquests in the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe.

Beginning in the second half of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire entered a period of decline. This was reflected in Bulgaria in the crisis that arose in the spahi military-fief system. The spahis evaded military service and sold their fiefs. With the development of commodity-money relations, the urge among landowners to derive a greater income from their domains grew stronger, and rent payments in money or in labor were increased. By the beginning of the 17th century trade between city and country had grown considerably, and the exodus of the Bulgarian population to the cities was increasing. Mixed and subsequently purely Bulgarian guilds arose in the cities side by side with the Turkish artisan guilds. Home industries were developed in rural areas. The specialization of certain localities in the production of certain articles promoted the growth of trade relations within the country. The dominant role in foreign trade belonged to the Greeks and the Bulgarians. The decline of the Turkish military-fief system and the frequent military defeats suffered by the empire created favorable conditions for the development of an anti-Turkish struggle, which grew out of the antifeudal movement. The haiduk movement took on large proportions, and a number of large-scale revolts against the Turks broke out (the Turnovo uprisings of 1598 and 1686, the Chiprutsi uprising of 1688, and the Karposhov uprising of 1689). At the beginning of the 18th century a violent uprising provoked by the wars being waged by the Ottoman Empire in Europe, occurred in the Danubian provinces. Its cruel suppression led to the emigration of part of the population from Bulgaria to the lands across the Danube.

THE BULGARIAN RENAISSANCE AND THE RISE OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT (SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY TO 1878). In the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries changes took place in the socioeconomic, political, and cultural development of the Bulgarian people which led to its consolidation and to the growth of a powerful national liberation movement. The decline of the spahi fief system, which had begun in the previous period, accelerated markedly during the period from the second half of the 18th century to the 1820’s. The refusal of the spahis to do military service assumed mass proportions. The area of non-spahi land—chifliks—increased. The growth in the demand for agricultural produce as a result of the establishment of firm Turkish trade relations with France and Great Britain encouraged the spahis to utilize the land for profitable farming. As commodity-money relations developed, the nature of the exploitation of the peasantry changed. The corvée was increasingly replaced by the métayage, quitrent (kesim), and cash rent systems. Hired labor began to be used in agriculture. In the 1830’s the military-fief system was abolished in Bulgaria. The fiefs were taken over by the state, and the spahis forfeited their feudal rights over the peasants and received in return rent from the state. The reform did not do away with the big landowner, nor did it ease the land hunger of the peasants, whose situation was not in fact improved, since the taxes and dues that had gone to the spahis now went to the state. The penetration of capitalist relations into the village led to the further stratification of the peasantry. Side by side with the landless and ruined peasantry appeared the prosperous top layer—the village bourgeoisie (chorbadzhii). A rapid process of separation between crafts and agriculture was taking place, and many craftsmen were leaving their villages for the cities. (The Bulgarian urban population began to exceed the Turkish.) New cities arose on the slopes of the Stara Planina. In the end of the 18th century, workshops (mainly scattered) began to appear in the textile and metalworking industries. In 1834 the first factory in Bulgaria appeared in Sliven. However, the development of factory industries was hampered by the lawlessness and national oppression prevailing in the country. The growth of commodity-money relations also affected trade: along with small local markets, large fairs of country-wide importance were held, and firms trading throughout Bulgaria, as well as abroad, were established. But the absence in the Ottoman Empire of a proper legal order and of the elementary guarantees of personal freedom and protection of property retarded capitalist development in the country.

In such conditions of economic growth, Paisii of Hilendar expressed the hopes of the Bulgarian people. In his Slavic-Bulgarian History, written in 1762 and published in 1844, he called for an awakening of the national consciousness of the oppressed Bulgarian people and expressed the aspirations of the emerging national bourgeoisie. His work was continued by Sofroni Vrachanski, an outstanding educator who roused the conscience of the people. He was the author of the first printed book in the new Bulgarian literature, Nedelnik (1806).

The activities of the great Bulgarian publicists facilitated the education of the Bulgarian nation, which had begun at the end of the 18th century. The national movement was developing in different directions. In the 1830’s it took the form of a struggle for a national secular school, one of the landmarks of which was the establishment by V. Aprilov of the first secular school in the city of Gabrovo in 1835. The first periodicals (Liuboslovie, Bulgarski Orel, and others) appeared in the 1840’s. The form of the national movement from the 1840’s to the 1860’s was the struggle for an autonomous national church, which led in 1870 to the establishment of a Bulgarian exarchate and promoted the growth of a national consciousness.

Beginning with the 1840’s, ties with Russia were being strengthened, and Russian influence on the development of Bulgarian culture was growing. The Rus so-Turkish wars of the 18th and 19th centuries stimulated the growth of the liberation movement of the Bulgarians, some of whom served as volunteers in the war of 1828–29 and in the Crimean War of 1853–56. As a result of the second of these wars, more Western European commodities and capital penetrated Bulgaria, and an economic crisis arose in Bulgarian industry and trades. At the same time there was an aggravation of Turkey’s financial problems, which it tried to solve by raising the taxes and contributions imposed on the population. In these complex circumstances, the capitalist elements in the Bulgarian population continued to push ahead, overcoming tremendous obstacles as they did so. Some factories were set up, and commercial establishments had considerable capital at their disposal and traded with various provinces of the Ottoman Empire and with many European countries.

Discontent in the country was growing and the people were taking up the struggle. By the Gülhane edict of 1839, the Turkish government made an attempt to remove some of the causes of discontent by introducing certain administrative reforms along bourgeois lines. However, the condition of the enslaved population did not change as a result. Peasant revolts flared up in northwestern Bulgaria in 1835, 1837, 1841, and 1850. The Bulgarian bourgeois national organizations—“The Virtuous Druzhina” (1862), the Secret Central Bulgarian Committee (1866), and the Bulgarian Society (1868)—demanded the autonomy of Bulgaria within the Ottoman Empire. The principles of the national-revolutionary ideology were laid down by G. S. Rakovski, who endeavored to organize revolutionary forces on a nationwide scale. Attempts to achieve independence in alliance with neighboring countries and with their assistance (the Bulgarian Legion) led to no results. The dispatch to Bulgaria from Rumania (1868) of a small band of Bulgarian volunteers headed by H. Dimiter and S. Karadzha likewise proved unsuccessful. The Bulgarian revolutionary V. Levski introduced new tactics in the struggle for liberation. The Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee (set up in 1869), the most important participants of which were Levski, L. Karavelov, and a wide network of local revolutionary committees, made large-scale preparations for an all-Bulgarian uprising for national liberation. The complete destruction of the Turkish feudal rule and the creation of bourgeois-capitalist conditions for the development of Bulgaria were becoming imperative. But the Stara Zagora uprising in 1875 and the April Uprising of 1876, in which the revolutionary poet K. Botev, a national hero of the Bulgarian people, took part with his detachment, were cruelly put down. The atrocities committed by the Turkish authorities in Bulgaria caused a wave of indignation among progressive groups in many European countries, and particularly in Russia.

The Russo-Turkish-War of 1877–78 broke out amid the growth of the national liberation movement in the Balkans and a worsening of the Eastern crisis. The operations of the Russian Army were combined with the armed national liberation struggle of the Bulgarian people. A Bulgarian volunteer corps was formed in Russia and Rumania, mainly out of those who had fought in the freedom movement and had emigrated after the suppression of the April Uprising. The Russian soldiers and Bulgarian people’s volunteers displayed unparalleled heroism in the defense of the Shipka Pass and in the battles for Plevna and Stara Zagora. The victory of the Russian Army in the war of 1877–78 ensured the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke. The Treaty of San Stefano of 1878, which brought the war to an end, provided for a de facto independent state of Bulgaria: it was proclaimed an autonomous principality with the right to choose its prince, who would recognize himself to be a vassal of the sultan. The principality of Bulgaria was to include Mysia, part of Thrace, and Macedonia. The fear that Russian influence in the Balkan Peninsula might be strengthened caused Austria-Hungary and Great Britain, with German support, to demand that the peace treaty provisions be revised at a European congress. The congress was convened in Berlin, and the result of its revision was the Treaty of Berlin of 1878, under which liberated Bulgaria was partitioned. Its northern part became the principality of Bulgaria, a vassal of Turkey, with Sofia as its capital (from 1879). The southern part became the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, a part of the Ottoman Empire, with Plovdiv as its main town and headed by a Christian governor general, to be appointed by the sultan. The part of Thrace and Macedonia that was to form part of Bulgaria under the Treaty of San Stefano remained under the Ottoman yoke.

The capitalist periodESTABLISHMENT OF A BULGARIAN BOURGEOIS STATE. CONSOLIDATION OF CAPITALISM (1878–1900). The war of 1877–78, during which the peasants seized the lands of the fleeing Turkish feudalists and of the Turkish state fund and liquidated of their own accord the various forms of feudal dependency, accelerated the process of elimination of Turkish feudal land ownership, thereby serving as an instrument of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. During the war and during the years immediately following, when a Russian administration was functioning (a provisional Russian administration for Bulgaria), the foundations were laid for an independent Bulgarian national state (organization of civil administration with the aid of Russian experts, creation of armed forces, and so on). The changes in the socioeconomic system of the Bulgarian community was reflected in the Turnovo Constitution of 1879, one of the most democratic of its time. In the 1880’s the transfer of land to the Bulgarian peasantry was confirmed by a series of legislative measures providing for the time of redemption. The elimination of the Turkish feudal system accelerated the development of capitalist relations. The process of primary accumulation of capital went on in the country in the 1880’s and 1890’s.

The first prince, the German Prince Alexander of Battenberg, who ruled from 1879 to 1886, oriented his foreign policy toward Austria-Hungary and Germany, and in his internal policy relied on the conservative party, which represented the interests of the prosperous merchant and money-lending bourgeoisie. In 1885 the artificial division of the country into two parts, which was retarding the development of the country, came to an end. The uprising in Plovdiv prepared by the Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee on Sept. 6,1885, resulted in the reunion of Eastern Rumelia with the Bulgarian Principality. This gave rise to the Serbo-Bulgarian War, unleashed by King Milan Obrenović at the instigation of Austria-Hungary. The war, which was won by Bulgaria, ended in an armistice on Dec. 7, 1885. The Treaty of Bucharest, concluded on Feb. 19, 1886, secured the frontiers of a united Bulgaria. In March 1886, Bulgaria ceded to Turkey—by agreement between Prince Alexander of Battenberg and the sultan— the Tumrush and Kurdzhali districts on its southern border, in return for which Turkey recognized the reunion of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria. On Aug. 9, 1886, Alexander of Battenberg was deposed by Russophile officers in a palace revolution, but through a counterrevolution power was seized by the Austrophiles, headed by S. Stambolov, who remained in power from 1887 to 1894. On June 25, 1887, Prince Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg was chosen as Prince of Bulgaria. Ferdinand and Stambolov pursued a policy hostile to Russia, subjecting Bulgaria more and more to Austrian and German influence. A dictatorial regime was established in the country, which in effect did away with all constitutional freedoms, introduced a severe censorship, and adopted other similar measures. Foreign capital had broad access to Bulgaria, which was detrimental to the emerging Bulgarian industrial bourgeoisie. Stambolov’s government was replaced as a result of the general discontent with his regime. The new government reestablished diplomatic relations with Russia in 1896. A number of measures, such as a law for the promotion of national industries (1894), aided the development of Bulgarian industry. The first workers’ trade unions came into existence. Starting in the mid-1880’s, D. Blagoev actively propagated the ideas of socialism in Bulgaria. In 1891 the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party was founded; the constituent meeting was held on top of Mount Buzludzha. From 1894 it was known as the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (BWSDP). In 1899 the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union was set up.

BULGARIA FROM 1900 TO 1917. In the first decade of the 20th century the development of capitalism in Bulgaria was marked by considerable success. The beginnings of capitalist monopolies began to appear, and the process of merging of banking and industrial capital began. The social contradictions in the towns and villages became more marked and were accentuated by the oppression of foreign imperialist elements, who transformed Bulgaria into an object of plunder. Foreign capital played a leading role in the coal industry, generation of electric power, the state finances, joint-stock companies and banking, and industry and trade, particularly foreign trade. An ever stronger influence on the struggle of the working class was being exercised by the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists), or BWSDP (NS), as it began to be called after it was purged of opportunists. The revolutionary General Workers’ Trade Union was set up under its guidance in 1904.

Under the influence of the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, the strike movement gained considerably in scope in Bulgaria (for example, the Pernik miners’ strike in 1906).

On Sept. 22, 1908, following on the Young Turks’ revolution and Turkey’s weakened position, Bulgaria repudiated its vassal dependence on Turkey as laid down in the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 and proclaimed its full independence. The Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand assumed the title of king. Bulgaria became one of the initiators of the creation of the Balkan League of 1912, which was directed against the Turks. As a result of the First Balkan War, which began in October 1912 and which—viewed objectively—was progressive in nature, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro liberated from Turkish subjugation a considerable area of territory inhabited by oppressed populations. Under the Treaty of London of 1913, Turkey ceded to the victors its possessions on the Balkan Peninsula northwest of the Enez-Media line. However, the great power aspirations of the ruling circles of Bulgaria and the other Balkan countries and the intrigues and intervention of Austria-Hungary and Germany, which were trying to disrupt the Balkan League (formed with the participation of the Entente), led to the Second Balkan War (June-August 1913). In this war, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro, which were joined by Rumania and Turkey, defeated Bulgaria. Under the treaties of Bucharest and Constantinople of 1913, Bulgaria lost not only nearly all the territory it had acquired as a result of the First Balkan War but part of its old territories as well. After the defeat suffered in the Second Balkan War, the ruling circles began to prepare for a revanche and turned toward the Austro-German imperialist bloc. On Oct. 1, 1915, Bulgaria entered World I on Germany’s side.

BULGARIA FROM 1917 TO 1944. During World War I, Bulgaria’s economic position grew worse. The population suffered from hunger and epidemic diseases. At the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918, hunger riots and demonstrations occurred in Plovdiv, Sliven, and Gabrovo. The Great October Socialist Revolution had a tremendous impact on events in Bulgaria, and its ideas were propagated by the Narrow Socialists. Strikes among workers became more frequent, and discontent among the peasantry—who suffered from the food requisitions—increased. In the spring and summer of 1918 a number of Bulgarian regiments mutinied, demanding the immediate conclusion of peace. A revolutionary crisis was threatening in Bulgaria. During the retreat of the Bulgarian armies after the Entente forces had broken through their front in the region of Dobro Pole (Sept. 14–18, 1918), the troops mutinied at Vladaisk. During this uprising, on Sept. 27, 1918, the overthrow of Ferdinand was announced at the town of Radomir, and a republic was proclaimed. The troops marched on Sofia but were defeated by government troops with the help of German military units. On Oct. 3, 1918, Ferdinand was forced to abdicate in favor of his son Boris and to flee the country. An armistice had already been signed on September 29 in Thessaloniki; under the very severe terms of a peace treaty concluded at Neuilly, Entente troops occupied Bulgaria.

In an atmosphere of revolutionary enthusiasm the party of the Narrow Socialists headed a mass movement. In March 1919 it took part in the founding of the Communist International. In May 1919 the Twenty-second Congress of the Narrow Socialists renamed their party the Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialists), or BCP (NS). The congress approved the break with the Second International and the entry into the Communist International.

In the summer of 1919, mass political strikes and demonstrations took place, and a “Hands off Russia!” movement developed. The struggle culminated in a general strike of railway and communications workers, which lasted 55 days (December 1919 to February 1920), and in a seven-day general political strike in support of it in December 1919, organized by the BCP (NS).

In 1919 and 1920 a peculiar situation developed in Bulgaria. The proletariat could not as yet seize power, but the strength and political influence of the bourgeois parties were so undermined as a result of the workers’ revolutionary struggle that the bourgeoisie was forced to relinquish the government of the country to the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union (BAPU). In May 1920, A. Stamboliski, leader of the BAPU, which had gained the largest number of votes in elections held in March of that year, formed a single-party cabinet. The leaders of the BAPU endeavored to realize the Utopian idea of establishing independent peasant rule. Stamboliski’s reforms—the law on labor land ownership, fixing a maximum of 30 hectares (June 25, 1921), progressive income-tax law (July 6–8, 1920), the labor service law (May 28, 1920), and others—were democratic in nature and adversely affected the interests of the upper bourgeoisie, but they did not alter the bases of capitalism. At the same time the government continued its struggle against the Communist Party, whose influence was growing.

A fascist coup d’etat occurred on June 9, 1923. It had been prepared by the Naroden Sgovor (National Union), the secret Military League, and other reactionary organizations that had been active in Bulgaria in the 1920’s. The BAPU government was overthrown, and Stamboliski and his colleagues were killed. Thousands of members of the BAPU also died. The spontaneous antifascist uprising of the popular masses of June 9–14 (the June Antifascist Uprising) was put down. A fascist dictatorial government headed by A. Tsankov, who represented the interests of the wealthy bourgeoisie and was backed by foreign capital, came into power. On September 23, under the direction of the BCP (NS), the September Antifascist Uprising broke out. After a prolonged and heroic struggle by the workers and peasants, the uprising was crushed. Despite its failure, it played the part of the “Bulgarian 1905” and demonstrated the strength of the fighting unity of the toiling people of the towns and villages and of their readiness to fight with determination against fascism and reaction. The fascist government of Tsankov kept itself in power by resorting to cruel terrorist methods.

In January 1926, Tsankov was replaced as premier by A. Liapchev. The new government pursued a policy of strengthening the bourgeoisie but was obliged to face the fact that the dictatorship was weakening. Toward mid-1926 the working class succeeded in restoring most of the trade unions. In 1927 on the initiative of the BCP (NS), which was still working underground and was endeavoring to utilize legal means in its work for the masses, a legal Workers’ Party was formed, and in 1928 a Workers’ Youth Union was formed. The world economic crisis of 1929–33 had its repercussions in Bulgaria. After 1929 industrial production declined sharply, unemployment increased, and the prices of agricultural commodities dropped, which caused widespread impoverishment among the peasants. The new upsurge among the working people which had already begun under the direction of the BCP (NS) in 1928–29, led in 1931 to a breach of the fascist dictatorship’s front: the ruling fascist Democratic Union Party was defeated in the elections. At the Leipzig Trial of 1933, G. Dimitrov scored a great moral and political victory over fascism, and a movement developed in the country for the establishment of a united antifascist front. However, the inclusion of the Agrarian Union in the bourgeois bloc of parties enabled the bourgeoisie to prevent the creation of a united antifascist front of workers and peasants. This proved possible mainly because of the mistakes of “left” sectarian elements that headed the BCP (NS) at the time.

On May 19, 1934, a coup d’etat occurred, engineered by the Military League and the Zveno political group, and a military fascist dictatorship was set up in the country. The so-called supraparty government of K. Georgiev abolished the democratic gains of the working people and disbanded the trade unions and all political parties. In view of the restored international authority of the USSR, the traditional sympathy of the Bulgarian people for Russia, and the danger of German aggression (which had increased with the ascension to power of fascism in Germany in 1933), the Georgiev government established diplomatic relations with the USSR on July 23, 1934. In January 1935 the regime placed in power by the coup d’etat of May 19 fell, and a monarchical-fascist dictatorship headed by King Boris was established. In its foreign policy Bulgaria looked toward fascist Germany, which began to take over the Bulgarian economy, converting the country into an adjunct supplying it with agricultural products and raw materials. Bulgaria was arming intensively with the aid of Germany and Italy. This was facilitated by the Thessaloniki Agreement of 1938, concluded by Bulgaria with the countries of the Balkan Entente, which legalized the abolition of the military restrictions imposed on Bulgaria by the Treaty of Neuilly. The policy of the fascist government was decisively repudiated by the popular masses. Having overcome the wrong policy of the left-wing sectarians, the BCP (NS), headed by G. Dimitrov, followed a policy of strengthening its ties with the masses and organizing the Popular Front for the Struggle Against the Threat of War, for Friendship and Collaboration With the USSR, and for the Defense of Democratic Freedom and National Independence. In 1938 the Central Committee of the BCP (NS) adopted a decision to combine the Workers’ Party (reestablished in 1936) into a single Marxist-Leninist Bulgarian Workers’ Party (BWP).

From the outset of World War II (1939–45), the Bulgarian government, Bulgaria’s proclaimed neutrality notwithstanding, increased its collaboration with fascist Germany. On Sept. 7, 1940, a Bulgarian-Rumanian treaty was concluded in Craiova whereby the Southern Dobrudzha was restored to Bulgaria. The government of B. Filov (1940–43) refused to accept the proposal by the USSR for the conclusion of a Soviet-Bulgarian treaty of friendship and mutual assistance. On Mar. 1, 1941, Filov, acting against the country’s national interests, signed the Vienna Agreement for the inclusion of Bulgaria in the fascist bloc of powers. German troops entered Bulgarian territory, which was soon used by Germany as a base from which to attack Yugoslavia and Greece (April 1941). After the defeat of these countries by fascist Germany, Bulgarian administration was established in eastern Serbia, in part of Macedonia, and along the Aegean Sea. On Dec. 13, 1941, Bulgaria declared war on Great Britain and the United States.

The Bulgarian people could not reconcile itself to the criminal policy of its fascist rulers and waged, in difficult circumstances, a struggle against fascism for many years. The struggle assumed wide proportions after Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union. The BWP was in the forefront of the struggle that developed in Bulgaria against fascism and the involvement of the country in a war against the USSR. On June 24, 1941, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the BWP embarked on an armed struggle against the German occupiers and their Bulgarian accomplices. In July 1941 the first partisan cheta (detachment) was formed in the Razlog district, and in August and September detachments began to operate in the districts of Dupnitsa (now Stanka-Dimitrov), Batak, Karlovo, Kalofer, Sevlievo, Gabrovo, Iambol, and Sliven. In 1942, on the initiative of G. Dimitrov and under the direction of the BWP, the Fatherland Front was created, which organizationally strengthened the union of antifascist forces. The Fatherland Front included the BWP, the left wing of the BAPU, the Narrow Socialists, the Zveno political group, and representatives of the progressive intelligentsia. Throughout the country, hundreds of local Fatherland Front committees sprang up, and in August 1943 the National Committee of the Fatherland Front was established. The basis of the Fatherland Front was the alliance—which grew ever stronger in the struggle—of the working class and the toiling peasants, headed by the proletariat and its party. Under the direction of the BWP, sabotage activities were organized in production, and underground work was carried on in the army. The large partisan formations created in 1943 and 1944 openly engaged the gendarmerie and government troops. In April 1943 the foundations of the Insurgent Army of National Liberation were laid. Twelve partisan military-operational zones were established, with a general and zonal headquarters. The armed antifascist struggle against the Hitlerite aggressors and their accomplices intensified after the defeat of the German fascist troops at the hands of the Soviet Army in the Battle of Stalingrad. It was in effect a revolutionary struggle of the working people headed by the working class and its vanguard—the BWP—against the bourgeoisie, the reactionary civil service, and the monarchist officer class, who collaborated with the occupiers.

As the Soviet Army drew closer to the Balkan Peninsula, the antifascist struggle in Bulgaria gained in intensity. A crisis began to develop among the Bulgarian ruling circles. The Soviet government, having evaluated Bulgarian policy as being in effect the conduct of a war on the side of Germany against the Soviet Union, declared that the Soviet Union would henceforth be in a state of war with Bulgaria (note of the government of the USSR of Sept. 5, 1944). The entry of the Soviet Army into Bulgaria on September 8 paralyzed the reactionary designs and actions of the ruling monarchical-fascist clique and was a decisive factor in bringing the national liberation struggle to a successful conclusion. Under the direction of the BWP it became a mass national armed uprising. On Sept. 9 the Bulgarian people overthrew the monarchical-fascist regime. Central and local government was in effect taken over by the working class and peasantry and by the Fatherland Front committees, in which the BWP played a guiding role. (After Sept. 9, 1944, the BWP became the BWP [Communist].) A government of the Fatherland Front was established, with K. Georgiev at its head.

Period of the people’s democratic revolution and building of socialism (since 1944). The people’s democratic revolution of Bulgaria, as shown in the resolution of the Seventh Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) on the report of the Central Committee (1958), was from the outset—by its nature, content, and significance—a socialist revolution. Its victory was a natural result of the revolutionary struggle of the Bulgarian working class in alliance with the urban and rural workers. The force directing the revolution was the BWP (Communist). Under the democratic-national rule established on Sept. 9, 1944, the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat were being successfully fulfilled. The scope of the bourgeois-democratic changes to be made in Bulgaria was of no great significance in view of the absence of pomest’e (fief) land ownership and the almost total abolition of feudal institutions when Bulgaria was freed from Ottoman rule. This determined the anticapitalist orientation of the revolution, which made its main aim the liquidation within a short period of the economic basis of capitalism and the laying of the foundations of a socialist society, solving in the process general democratic problems.

From the first days of its existence the government of the Fatherland Front carried through a number of radical democratic reforms, which secured for it the support of the masses of the people. Fascist laws were repealed, fascist and war criminals were handed over for trial by the people’s courts and their property was confiscated, fascist organizations were dissolved, and the fascist police was disbanded and a people’s militia set up. The army and the state machinery were purged of profascist elements, private monopolies were abolished, and new labor legislation was introduced. The government of popular-democratic Bulgaria declared war on fascist Germany. Detachments of the new Bulgarian Army soon began military operations under the operational direction of the command of the Third Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army.

On Oct. 28, 1944, representatives of the USSR, Great Britain, and the United States signed an armistice agreement with Bulgaria, in accordance with which detachments of the Bulgarian Army, operating with the Soviet Army, took part in operations to liberate the territories of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria from the German fascist troops. On Aug. 14, 1945, diplomatic relations were resumed between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. On Nov. 18, 1945, elections were held in the National Assembly, which passed a number of laws consolidating gains made by the working people— law on labor land ownership (agrarian reform, Mar. 12, 1946), law on a progressive income tax (Sept. 27, 1946), and others. On Sept. 8, 1946, a general referendum on the form of government was held; 92.7 percent of the participants voted for the abolition of the monarchy and the proclamation of Bulgaria as a people’s republic. The country was proclaimed a people’s republic on Sept. 15, 1946. On Nov. 22, 1946, a new Fatherland Front government was formed, headed by G. Dimitrov. On Feb. 10, 1947, at the Paris Peace Conference, a peace treaty was signed with Bulgaria which confirmed its national independence, state sovereignty, and territorial integrity. On Dec. 4, 1947, the Great People’s Assembly confirmed the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, which legally confirmed the victory of the principles of the people’s democracy as a distinctive form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. With the support of British and American imperialists, the counterrevolution within the country fought bitterly against the people’s democratic system and for the restoration of a reactionary regime. The complete exposure, isolation, and defeat of the counterrevolutionary opposition of N. Petkov and K. Lulchev, brought about under the guidance of the BWP (Communist) and concluded by the middle of 1947, the elimination of other antinational and conspiratorial groups, and the further strengthening of the union of the working class and peasantry created the necessary political conditions to deprive the bourgeoisie of the important economic position it still held. At the end of December 1947 the people’s democratic government nationalized industrial enterprises, mines, and private banks and established a state monopoly of external and wholesale internal trade. With the fulfillment of a two-year national economic plan (1947–48) the task of the restoration of the national economy was solved. On Mar. 18, 1948, a Soviet-Bulgarian treaty of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance was concluded; similar treaties were signed with other people’s democracies in 1947 and 1948. The guiding and directing force in the building of the new Bulgaria was the BWP (Communist). In February 1948, at the Second Congress of the Fatherland Front, rules and a program for the front were adopted. Under the rules the coalition elements were eliminated, and the Fatherland Front was transformed into a single sociopolitical organization of the Bulgarian people, working under the guidance of the Communists. From May to August 1948, on the basis of Marxist-Leninist ideological and organizational principles, the BWP (Communist) merged with the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Broad Socialists), or BWSDP (BS). The Fifth Congress of the Communist Party, held in December 1948, restored its previous name—the Bulgarian Communist Party.

The five-year national economic plan (1949–53), adopted by the congress and subsequently confirmed by the Great People’s Assembly—which provided for the industrialization and electrification of the country and the mechanization of agriculture and its organization into a cooperative system—defined the main problems in the building of the foundations of socialism. The successful fulfillment of the first five-year plan (the industrial sector of the plan was fulfilled in three years and ten months) made possible the transformation of Bulgaria from a backward agrarian country into a developed industrial-agrarian country. Between 1949 and 1952 more than 700 industrial enterprises were built or rebuilt and put into operation. The yield of industrial production in 1952 had more than doubled as compared with 1948 and was more than four times what it had been in 1939 (before the war). New industrial areas and settlements were created (Dimitrovgrad, Madan, and Rudozem). Considerable success was achieved in agriculture. On the basis of the Lenin cooperative plan, and taking into account the experience of collective farm organization in the USSR, agriculture was organized on a cooperative basis without prior nationalization of the land, in the form of labor agricultural cooperatives. These cooperatives, which at the beginning of the first five-year plan comprised about 11 percent of all peasant farms and about 6 percent of all cultivated land, comprised by 1952 more than 50 percent of the farms and 60 percent of the cultivated land.

As a result of the fulfillment of the second five-year plan for the development of the national economy (1953–57), Bulgaria became a socialist industrial-agrarian country with a large-scale system of cooperative and mechanized agriculture. The figure for the relative values of industrial and agricultural production, which in 1948 had been 30:70, changed by 1957 to 68:32. However, these successes could have been even greater if during this period the cult of personality, which had been condemned at the April Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the BCP in 1956, had not become common in the Communist Party and in the whole public life of the country. In the course of the adoption of decisions by the plenary session, a number of material defects that had been retarding the development of the cooperative system were eliminated, the principle of material incentive in farms and cooperatives was reestablished, and a policy of acceleration of industrialization was adopted. In 1958 the labor agricultural cooperatives became an inseparable and integral part of the Bulgarian socialist system: 92 percent of the cultivated land was worked by the cooperatives.

The Seventh Congress of the BCP in 1958 noted that the socialist system prevailed throughout the country’s national economy. Socialist public ownership of the means of production was the firm basis of society in Bulgaria. Exploitation of man by man had been eliminated. The socialist reconstruction of the economy had also brought about radical changes in the class structure. With the victory of the cooperative system in agriculture, the economic basis for capitalist elements in the villages—the last remnants of the exploiting class in the country—had been eliminated. As was noted at the Seventh Congress of the BCP, two friendly classes now existed—the workers and peasant members of cooperatives and the country’s intelligentsia, which was inseparably linked with them.

In 1958, Bulgaria entered upon a period of full development of the socialist society, improvement of socialist relations, and the extension of socialist democracy to all spheres of economic, political, and social life. The Seventh Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party adopted directives for the third five-year plan (1958–62), which was fulfilled in its main sectors in the space of three years. In 1960 the total volume of industrial production had increased by 68 percent as compared with 1957, and agricultural output had increased by 21.2 percent. As a result of the accelerated development of heavy industry, much progress was made in the structure of industrial production. Much work was done in enlarging the cooperatives, consolidating them organizationally and economically, and technically reequipping agriculture. The further development of the cooperatives showed that their enlargement was essential for the development of their productive forces and production. As compared with 1948 the national income had almost trebled by 1960. Illiteracy was eliminated up to the age of 50. Nearly all children of school age were enrolled in primary schools.

With scientific and technical collaboration from the USSR and with the help of loans advanced by it (amounting to 1.8 billion rubles in 1969), old branches of Bulgarian industry were reconstructed and new ones were set up (the machine-building, power-engineering, chemical, and other industries). Mutually advantageous and comprehensive Soviet-Bulgarian cooperation was established. In accordance with its national and international aims and problems, Bulgaria is extending its cooperation with the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON). Bulgaria supplies about 90 percent of the need of members of COMECON for battery-powered industrial vehicles and telphers and 20 percent of their requirements for storage batteries. It is developing cooperative enterprises specializing in the production of various products and is increasing its foreign trade.

The Eighth Congress of the BCP in 1962 adopted directives for a 20-year long-term development plan (1961–80) and formulated its main economic task—to conclude the building of the material and technical bases of socialism and gradually go over to the full-scale construction of the material and technical bases of communism. During the fourth five-year plan (1961–65) the fixed production stock was increased by 75 percent, the social product grew by 51 percent, and the national income rose by 38 percent. The proportion between the volumes of industrial and agricultural production in 1965 was 74:26. During this time the main branches of heavy industry—power engineering, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, machine building, and chemicals—were developing particularly rapidly. Their output rose from 26 percent of total production in 1960 to 34 percent in 1965. In 1964 a new system of national economic management began to be introduced; it was rendered objectively necessary by the requirements of the new stage of development. It consists essentially in raising the effectiveness of production through the maximum use of economic incentives and the increased role of cost accounting.

The Ninth Congress of the BCP in 1966 noted the concrete program for the development of the national economy, the growing tempo of the scientific-technical revolution, the intensification of the national economy, and the rise in the level of scientific direction of the whole life of society in all its spheres of activity. The plenary sessions of the Central Committee of the BCP dealt with these problems in July and November 1968, September 1969, and March and April 1970. Guided by the BCP, the Bulgarian workers made great strides in the development of all sectors of the national economy.

The foreign policy of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria is a policy of peaceful coexistence with states having different social systems—of peace and friendship between peoples. Bulgaria supported the proposals of the USSR on general and complete disarmament (1959 and 1962) and the proposals of the Polish People’s Republic for the establishment of a Central European nuclear-free zone (the Rapacki plan). It signed the Moscow Treaty of 1963 banning nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water and the 1968 treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The Bulgarian government has on a number of occasions supported the conversion of the Balkan area into a zone of peace and security. It has been a member of the United Nations since December 1955 and is also a member of more than 200 other international organizations. It maintains diplomatic relations with more than 84 countries (1970) and trade relations with 111 countries (1969). The basis of its foreign policy is its friendship with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. It supports the struggle of the peoples of the Arab countries against Israeli aggression and the struggle of the peoples of Indochina against the aggressive war of American imperialism. Bulgaria has been a member of COMECON since January 1949 and was a participant in the Warsaw Pact of 1955. In 1967, Bulgaria signed new treaties of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance with the USSR, the Polish People’s Republic, the German Democratic Republic, and the Mongolian People’s Republic; in 1968, with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic; in 1969, with the Hungarian People’s Republic; and in 1970, with the Socialist Republic of Rumania. In August 1968, together with four other socialist states, the People’ s Republic of Bulgaria took part in measures adopted for the defense of the socialist gains in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.


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Bolgarskii narod v bor’be za sotsializm: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1954.

S. A. NIKITIN (to 1878) and L. B. VALEV (since 1878)

Bulgarian Communist Party (Bulgarska komunisticheska partita, BCP). The foundations of the BCP were laid in 1891, when the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party was founded. (After 1894, it was called the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party, or BWSDP.) In 1903 the party purged its social-reformist elements and was renamed the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialist), or BWSDP (NS). In May 1919 the BWSDP (NS) was renamed the Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialist), or BCP (NS). After the unification of the BCP (NS) with the Workers’ Party (founded in 1927), the party was called the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (BWP), and after Sept. 9, 1944, the BWP (Communist). After December 1948, when the BWP (Communist) merged with the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Broad Socialist)—BWSDP (BS)—on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles, the party was called the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). Its membership at the end of 1969 was over 672,000.

Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union (Bulgarski zemedelski naroden suiuz, BAPU). The Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union was founded in 1899. Its membership as of January 1970 was 120,000.

Fatherland Front (Otechestven front) The Fatherland Front was founded in 1942 on the initiative of the BWP as a way of uniting the patriotic and democratic antifascist forces of the Bulgarian people. In August 1943 the National Committee of the Fatherland Front was established, consisting of representatives of the BWP, the left wing of the BAPU, the Zveno political group, the left wing of the BWSDP, and the progressive intelligentsia. On Sept. 20, 1945, the Radical Party also joined the front. In 1948 membership on an individual basis was introduced in the Fatherland Front; only the trade unions, the Dimitrov Communist Youth League, and a number of other public organizations remained as collective members. Membership in 1959 was 3,772,800.

Trade unions and other social organizations The trade unions arose at the turn of the 20th century. The Universal Workers’ Trade Union was organized in 1904 but was outlawed in 1925. Independent workers’ trade unions were established in 1925, but in 1934 they were dissolved. In 1945 the General Workers’ Trade Union was founded, and in 1958, after it was reorganized, it was renamed the Central Council of Trade Unions. Trade union membership in Bulgaria as of July 1, 1970, was 2,572,300. The Dimitrov Communist Youth League was founded in December 1947 after the merger of the Workers’ Youth League (founded in 1928) with.a number of other democratic youth organizations. Membership in January 1970 was about 1.2 million. Other public organizations include the Committee of Bulgarian Women, founded in 1944; the National Committee for the Defense of Peace, founded in 1949; the Slavic Committee of Bulgaria, founded in 1944; and the All-National Committee for Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship, founded in 1957. The last-named committee is elected at regular national conferences, and there are local committees for Bulgarian-Soviet friendship in cities and large villages.


General state of the economy Before the victory of the socialist revolution of 1944, Bulgaria was caught in the subordinate role of supplier of agricultural raw materials to the developed capitalist states of Europe. The greatest part of the national income on the eve of World War II (1939–45) came from small-scale agriculture. According to the last prewar census (1934), 79.7 percent of the gainfully employed population was engaged in agriculture, 8.3 percent in industry and handicrafts, 1.2 percent in transport and communications, and 2.3 percent in trade and finance.

Factory-based industry was poorly developed, and cottage industry was rather important. In 1939 there were 112,000 persons employed in factory industry and about 146,000 in handicrafts. Land under cultivation was owned by approximately 1 million individual farmers. The poorly developed division of labor among different regions of the country was organically related to the general low level of economic development under capitalism. Except in the Sofia-Pernik region, the regional economies had an exclusively agrarian character. The southern mountain districts (Pirin, Rhodope, and Strandzha) and certain northern areas (above all the southern Dobrudzha) were especially backward.

Fundamental social and economic transformations were carried out in Bulgaria by the people’s power after the victory of the socialist revolution. During the years of socialist construction, Bulgaria was transformed from a backward agrarian country to an industrial and agrarian country with well-developed modern industry and large-scale co-operativized and mechanized agriculture. From 1939 to 1969 the proportion of the economically active population employed in industry increased to 30 percent, and the proportion employed in agriculture was reduced to 38 percent. In 1969 the national income was 5.4 times greater than in the last prewar year (1939), the volume of industrial production had risen by a factor of 33, and that of agricultural production, by a factor of 2. The share of industry in the aggregate social product of industry and agriculture had increased from 25 percent to 79.6 percent.

Agricultural raw materials continue to play an important role in Bulgarian industry. Bulgaria’s extensive participation in the international socialist division of labor has a beneficial effect on its rate of economic development and on the territorial and branch structure of its economy. On the basis of the international socialist division of labor there has been especially rapid development of metallurgy, machine building, the fuel and energy industry, and the chemical industry; agriculture and older branches of industry have been made more intensive. Bulgaria’s maritime and river (Danube) transport are of steadily growing importance in the country’s foreign trade relations. Bulgaria is active in the world market not only as a supplier of agricultural products and processed agricultural goods; it also supplies machine tools, electrical-engineering goods, and chemical products in ever-increasing quantities.

Industry Under the conditions of a planned economy, in accordance with the special features of the country and taking into account the possibilities offered by the international socialist division of labor, the rapid rate of development in the field of heavy industry meant that the production of producer’s goods would take precedence over consumer goods production (see Table 2). But light industry and the food industry continue to play an important role in the country’s economy.

Table 2. Industrial structure by economic groups
(percent; prices adjusted on the basis of 1956 prices)
Means of production
 (Group A)22.646.253.4
Consumer goods
 (Group B)77.453.846.6

During industrialization the foundations were laid for ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy and for a number of important branches of machine building and electrical engineering and the chemical and power engineering industries (see Table 3). The majority of these branches of industry are distinguished by a high degree of territorial concentration. This was made possible to a considerable extent by the aid and technical support of the Soviet Union. In 1970 a number of productive units had been built or were being built with the aid of the Soviet Union, including major steam power plants with capacities of 500,000, 600,000, and 800,000 kilowatts in the eastern Maritsa coal and electric power complex and at Varna; metallurgical combines at Kremikovtsi (with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tons of rolled metal) and Pernik (for ferrous metals), in the Plovdiv region, and at Kurdzhali (for nonferrous metals); machine-building plants at Karlovo (a tractor plant), Sofia (electrical engineering and other plants), Varna (shipbuilding and instrument-making plants), Ruse (agricultural machinery), Gabrovo (electrically propelled telphers), and Lorn (battery-driven and motor-driven industrial vehicles); chemical and petrochemical plants at Dimitrovgrad, Burgas, Pleven, Stara Zagora, Devnia, and Vidin; and paper-cellulose factories and synthetic-fiber plants at Krichim, Svishtov, Razlog, and elsewhere.

Table 3. Branch structure of industry
(in percent of combined total output; prices adjusted on the basis of 1956 prices)
Fuel and electric power6.
Metallurgy, including mining of ores0.
Machine building and metalworking2.47.312.319.7
Chemical, including rubber1.
Lumber and woodworking10.311.66.53.8
Textile and knitting19.818.319.714.4
Food and condiment industry51.241.430.626.5

As a result of the successes of socialist construction and the rapid rate of industrial development there has been a significant increase in the output of the most important types of products (see Table 4).

Table 4. Production of most important types of industrial products
Coal, tons2,200,00011,900,00031,200,000
Petroleum, tons285,000325,000
Electric power, million kW-hr.2662,65617,228
Cast iron, tons54,0001,134,000
Steel, tons6,000159,0001,515,000
Rolled ferrous metals, tons4,000117,0001,215,000
Lead, tons109,00095,000
Zinc, tons8,00076,000
Copper (electrolytic), tons36,0001
Telphers, units42,500
Battery-driven industrial vehicles, units# 20026,500
Light tractors, units3,706
Machine tools, units .....1,80012,800
Nitrogen fertilizers (in terms of 100% nitrogen), tons41,000545,000
Phosphorous fertilizers (in terms of 100% P2O5), tons.3,000140,000
Soda ash (based on 98%), tons92,000270,000
Sulfuric acid, tons#40,000498,000
Cement, tons225,000880,0003,551,000
Cotton fabric, million m34153335
Footwear, million pair1.55.315
Canned goods, tons ....11,000166,000469,000
Sugar, tons25,000117,000316,000
Vegetable oils, tons ....40,00061,000149,000
Tobacco products, tons4,00012,00053,000
Radios, units108,000160,000
Television sets, units174,000
Washing machines, units141,000

The geography of industry has changed; several new industrial regions have taken shape in socialist Bulgaria. The Sofia-Pernik region (approximately one-fourth of Bulgaria’s gross industrial product) is the country’s chief metallurgical and machine-building center, with well-developed light industry as well. The western Maritsa region (centered in Plovdiv and Pazardzhik) is characterized by nonferrous metallurgy and the food (canning and tobacco) and lumber industries. The eastern Maritsa region (centered in Dimi-trovgrad and Stara Zagora; location of the “Maritsa-East” industrial complex) is the coal and electric power center of the country, with a major basic chemical industry as well. The last region consists of the Burgas, Gabrovo-Sevlievo, and Pleven industrial centers and the more recent industrial centers at Vratsa, Vidin, and Lovech.

FUEL AND POWER INDUSTRY. Bulgaria is poor in fuel and power resources. The coal deposits on its territory are of low quality; over four-fifths of the deposits are lignites, of which there are about 4 billion tons of reserve deposits. Seventy percent of the total coal production has been lignite. The main coal field was formerly the Pernik brown coal basin southwest of Sofia. As these deposits were being depleted the main stress has been on exploiting the lignite of the eastern Maritsa basin and brown coal of the Bobov Dol basin. Small petroleum fields in the Pleven (Dolni Dubnik) and Shabla districts and natural gas deposits in the Vratsa district (Chiren) are being worked.

The production of electric power in Bulgaria has been growing at a rapid rate. In 1969 production exceeded 2,000 kilowatt-hours (kW-hr) per capita (42 kW-hr in 1949). The fuel-power balance has become more efficient. Steam power (85 percent in 1969) is of decisive importance in the electric power balance. Three power plants based on low-grade lignites, with an overall capacity of 1.9 million kW, have been built in the eastern Maritsa basin. The Bobov Dol Steam Power Plant (utilizing brown coal; capacity of over 600,000 kW) is being built in the southwestern part of the country. Since 1962–63, high-grade coal and petroleum have been systematically imported from the USSR. (Beginning in 1974, gas from the USSR will enter Bulgaria via a pipeline from Ismail to Varna.) By 1968 the relative importance of petroleum and petroleum products in the fuel-power balance had reached two-fifths. Increased import of fuels, primarily by water transport, will make necessary the creation of new electric power centers along the Black Sea coast, where steam power plants utilizing imported coal are already functioning near Varna and Devnia (there is a plant using mazut near Burgas), as well as others along the Danube at Ruse, Svishtov, and Vidin.

The hydroelectric power resources being utilized are primarily those in the Rila-Rhodope massif, where hydroelectric power-station networks have been built on the Iskur, Batak, and Arda rivers. Networks are under construction on the Dospat Vucha, Sestrimo, and Sandanska Bistritsa rivers. The combined capacity of these plants was approximately 2 million kW. Joint utilization with Rumania of the hydroelectric power of the Danube, including the construction of a hydroelectric power plant at Somovit-Islaz with a capacity of approximately 900,000 kW, is planned.

An atomic power plant with a capacity of 880,000 kW was being built in 1970 on the Danube near Kozlodui. Bulgaria participates in the “Peace” power grid that unites the socialist countries, drawing electric power from the USSR by way of the Socialist Republic of Rumania.

PROCESSING INDUSTRY. In the years of socialist industrialization a metallurgical industry has been built which by 1969 provided the country’s basic needs in nonferrous metals (lead, zinc, and copper) and two-thirds of its needs in rolled ferrous metals. In the Sofia region all ferrous metal production is concentrated at the V. I. Lenin Metallurgical Combine in Pernik and a combine at Kremikovtsi. The Kremikovtsi combine, which mainly utilizes the iron ore deposits at Kremikovtsi, is the largest new construction project in Bulgaria. In terms of per capita volume of lead and zinc extracted, Bulgaria stands ahead of all other socialist countries and is one of the world’s leaders. Lead and zinc smelting is centered in combines in Kurdzhali and in the Plovdiv region, primarily utilizing ores from the mines of the Rhodope Mountains. Copper is smelted at a combine in the Zlatitsa-Pirdop region east of Sofia that makes use of ore deposits in the southeast section of Bulgaria and the nearby Medet deposit. The production of nonferrous rolled metals is concentrated in Sofia.

Machine building specializes primarily in lining and transporting equipment (battery-driven and motor-driven industrial vehicles, electrically propelled telphers, and elevators), electrical-engineering products, radioelectronic technology, and communications engineering. Bulgaria also specializes in instrument-making, shipbuilding, agricultural machine building, and equipment for the food and condiment industry. Production of metal-cutting and metal-processing equipment (including automatically controlled machinery, aggregate machinery, automatic production lines, lathes, and milling machines) and heavy power equipment have increased. The main machine-building centers are Sofia, Ruse, Varna, Burgas, Gabrovo and its environs, Lovech, Plovdiv, and Shumen.

The basis of the chemical industry has been built in Bulgaria with the aid of the USSR. Fertilizer production— especially nitrogen fertilizers—has attained significant dimensions. This industry is located in Dimitrovgrad, Stara Zagora, and Vratsa. At Povelianovo, to the west of Varna and near the city of Devnia, a complex-fertilizer combine was being built in 1970. A chemical combine (utilizing local deposits of rock salt and producing soda and chlorine derivatives) has been built and a large new soda combine is under construction at the same location. A petroleum refinery with an annual capacity of 6 million tons (to utilize petroleum imported from the USSR) and a petrochemical combine (whose output is processed at chemical plants in Iambol, Plovdiv, Vidin, and elsewhere) have been built near Burgas. A second petroleum refinery (with a capacity of 7 million tons) and a petrochemical combine were being built in 1970 in the Pleven district. The cement industry is represented by plants at Dimitrovgrad, Devnia, Pleven, and Zlatna Panega (near Vratsa).

The woodworking industry is based on lumber from the pine forests of the Rila and Rhodope mountains and the beech forests of the Stara Planina. According to a 1967 agreement with the Soviet Union, Bulgaria is participating in the exploitation of the forest reserves of the Komi ASSR. An increase in deliveries of lumber from the USSR to Bulgarian ports on the Black Sea and the Danube has led to certain changes in the geographical distribution of the woodworking industry that is developing at these ports.

The cotton-textiles branch is the largest of the various branches of the textile industry. Two-thirds of textile production is concentrated in Sofia, Gabrovo, Sliven, Plovdiv, and Varna; Gabrovo and Sliven are the main centers for the older branch of the textile industry, woolen goods. Other branches of light industry, especially footwear, are well developed.

The food and condiment industry plays a prominent role in the economy of Bulgaria. It is located for the most part in the agricultural regions, but also in the capital. One of the main features of the food and condiment industry is that certain branches of production that are merely for export, such as tobacco, canned goods (with specialization in fruits and vegetables) and wine-making, exist along with branches aimed primarily at the internal market (meat, milk, flour, butter, and sugar).

Agriculture Agriculture provides food for the country and raw materials for the food industry and light industry. Agricultural products, especially tobacco, vegetables, fruits, and grapes, occupy an important place in the country’s exports. Agriculture’s transition to the socialist path was brought about in Bulgaria earlier than in other European socialist countries (except the USSR). In 1961 there were 795 labor cooperative agricultural farms and 159 state farms. On the average there were 4,100 hectares (ha) of arable land per labor cooperative agricultural farm, and 4,000 ha per state farm. There were also about 80 specialized state farms. In connection with the concentration and specialization of agricultural production and the creation of agrarian-industrial complexes, as well as the introduction of complex mechanization into agriculture, a new stage in the industrial technology and techniques of Bulgaria opened up. Specialized inter-cooperative and state cooperative agricultural enterprises (especially in livestock raising) and agricultural-industrial companies are being created. The productivity of labor in agriculture has increased significantly, and the use of machinery has become much more extensive. In 1969 more than 90,000 tractors (in terms of 15-horsepower units) and about 17,000 combines were in use. There was also increased use of chemical fertilizers—for example, in 1968, 175 kg (based on active substance) were used for each ha of cultivated land.

Land used for agricultural purposes in 1968 accounted for 52 percent of the country’s land area. Of the total of 5.8 million ha used for agriculture, cultivated lands constituted 82 percent (of which plowed land was 71 percent, orchards and vineyards 7 percent, and hayfields 4 percent), and meadows and pastures accounted for 18 percent. The largest areas of arable land are on the Danubian plain and the upper Thracian Plain (areas that are 50–70 percent cultivated). In the mountainous regions in the central and southwestern parts of Bulgaria, less than 15–20 percent of the territory is under cultivation. Artificial irrigation has been developed, and about 1 million ha, or one-fifth of the total cultivated land in 1970, have been reclaimed. This is primarily on the upper Thracian Plain, along the Danube and its tributaries, and in the valley of the Struma River. The raising of crops predominates over livestock raising (almost two-thirds as against more than one-third) in Bulgaria’s gross agricultural output.

FARMING. The cultivation of cereal grains is well developed; the chief crops are wheat (one-half of the cereal grains grown), maize (one-quarter), and barley. It is characteristic of Bulgaria that industrial crops and vegetables take up a large portion of the area under cultivation and have an especially important place in the gross agricultural output (see Tables 5 and 6).

Table 5. Structure of crop cultivation (percent)
Industrial crops9.212.214.9
Vegetables, melons, and potatoes2.33.04.0
Fodder crops6.211.519.4

The place of cereal grains in the country’s crop structure has been reduced, although Bulgaria continues to meet its own needs for food and fodder cereals. The wheat yield has been increased from an average of 12.5 centners per ha in 1934–39 to 26.5 in 1965–69; the yield of maize has correspondingly risen from 11.7 to 33.3. The main industrial crops are tobacco and cotton (in the southern regions) and sunflowers and sugar beets (mostly in the north on the Danubian plain and in the southeast). The raising of essential-oil-bearing crops such as roses, mint, and lavender, plantings of which are found primarily in the Karlovo and Kazanluk valleys on the southern slopes of the Stara Planina, is a Bulgarian tradition. Bulgaria holds first place in the world in the cultivation of oil-bearing roses and in the production and export (over 1 ton annually) of extremely valuable rose oil. The high quality of Bulgarian market gardening is justly famous; the yearly average yield of market-garden crops in 1965–68 was almost 304 centners per ha for tomatoes, 100–120 for peppers, and 100 for onions. Bulgaria is a country of numerous orchards (especially apples, plums, peaches, and apricots) and of berry-growing (strawberries), and viticulture (with an annual yield of more than 1 million tons of grapes). Bulgaria exports table grapes and in some years shares first place in the world for that product with Italy. Most of the grapes are used in wine-making.

Table 6. Pattern of gross farm production (percent)
Industrial crops10.312.118.7
Vegetables, melons, and potatoes7.413.512.2
Fodder crops6.69.29.8
Fruits and grapes21.217.818.3

LIVESTOCK RAISING. The pattern for stock breeding is similar to that of other southern European countries since ancient times. The number of livestock as of Jan. 1, 1970, was as follows: cattle, 1,255,000; sheep, 9,223,000; hogs, 1,967,000; horses, 182,000; donkeys and mules, 300,000; and poultry, 29,600,000. By comparison with the prewar period the number of horses and buffalo has decreased, but the number of hogs has trebled. The average dressed weight for cattle has more than doubled, the average yield of milk per cow has risen by 4.5 times (from 450 liters to 2,000 liters and more), and the yield of wool from sheep-shearing has nearly doubled, reaching as high as 3.2 kg per sheep. In the lowlands cattle are kept in sheds; in the highlands they are driven out to pasture.

FISHING. Thanks to the development of deep-sea fishing, the annual catch has grown considerably: from 5,000 tons in 1939 to 77,000 tons in 1969. The main fishing ports are Burgas and Sozopol.

Transportation As a result of the reconstruction of the transportation network and the increase in the stock, freight turnover for all types of transportation has increased. The share of railroad transportation has fallen from 73.8 percent in 1952 (in terms of ton-km) to 21.8 percent in 1969. The share of maritime transportation has risen (from 11.9 percent in 1952 to 64.7 percent in 1969), accounting for the major part of freight shipments out of the country.

Motor vehicle transportation accounted for approximately 11 percent of the freight turnover in 1969 (in terms of ton-km), but in terms of the total tonnage of freight shipments it accounted for 84.6 percent.

With the exception of certain junctions and connections, the rail Unes are single-track. Electrification and dieselization on the most heavily used main tracks was begun in 1962. In 1969, 55.6 percent of the total volume of railroad freight was hauled by electric and diesel locomotives. There are more than 4,000 km of railroad track in the country (1969). Three east-west main lines form the basis of the rail network; they converge on Sofia from Varna, Burgas, and Svilengrad. The railroad line from Ruse, which crosses the Danube on a bridge built in 1954, connects Bulgaria with Rumania and the USSR. There are 30,000 km of highway in the country.

The gross registered tonnage of the commercial maritime fleet in 1969 was 640,000 tons. The main shipping between the USSR and Bulgaria is via the Black Sea. (Between 1966 and 1970, Bulgaria received approximately 19 million tons of coal, 16 million tons of petroleum, and several million tons of petroleum products from the USSR by way of this maritime route.) The chief ports are Varna and Burgas on the Black Sea and Ruse, Svishtov, and Lorn on the Danube. Specialized ports include the “Friendship” petroleum port on the Bay of Burgas and a coal port on Lake Varna, which is linked by a canal with the sea and with Lake Beloslav, on the shores of which the “Varna-West” maritime port was being built in 1970. The civil air fleet in 1969 consisted of 157 airplanes. There are 24,275 km of airways, of which 21,200 km is domestic and 3,075 km is international. Passenger traffic in 1969 was 921,000.

Foreign trade Bulgaria held third place in 1968 among socialist countries (after the German Democratic Republic and Czechoslovakia) in terms of foreign trade turnover per capita. In 1969 the volume of foreign trade was approximately 16 times greater than the prewar level of 1939. Fundamental changes have taken place in the pattern of foreign trade in the postwar period. Machinery and industrial equipment have taken the foremost place in imports (over two-fifths in 1969). Industrial raw materials and fuel—for example, coal and coke, petroleum and petroleum products, cotton, cellulose, synthetic fibers, and rubber—occupy second place, accounting for approximately one-third of all imports. In exports the proportion of finished manufactured goods has grown larger and that of unprocessed agricultural products has grown smaller (only about 8.5 percent of all exports). Among important exports are fresh vegetables (over 230,000 tons in 1969; chiefly tomatoes—about 170,000 tons), fruits (over 300,000 tons), grapes (170,000 tons), and eggs (about 400 million). The biggest export item (46.7 percent) is manufactured goods produced from agricultural raw materials such as canned fruits and vegetables, partly cured tobacco and tobacco products, wine, and essential oils. The share of manufactured goods not connected with agriculture has increased from 0.4 percent in 1939 to 4.8 percent in 1968. At the same time the share of products from the machine-building industry in exports grew from 8 percent in 1958 to 28 percent in 1969. Among the goods in this category exported by Bulgaria are battery-powered and motor-powered industrial vehicles, electrically powered telphers, electric motors, ships, machine tools, agricultural machinery, storage batteries, and various types of cables. Other important export items are rolled sheet steel, nonferrous metals, soda, and medicines. Bulgaria’s woodworking (furniture and plywood), textile, and knitting industries also produce goods for export. Before 1939 nearly four-fifths of Bulgaria’s foreign trade went to major capitalist countries, such as Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States; in the postwar period over three-quarters of its exports (76–79 percent in 1965–69) go to the socialist countries, including more than half to the USSR. The other major trading partners are the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Bulgaria has trade relations with many capitalist countries—for example, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, the Arab countries, and India.

In addition to foreign trade, Bulgaria engages in scientific and technical collaboration, joint construction of economic installations and exploitation of natural resources, educational and cultural collaboration, and the development of tourism with other, primarily socialist, countries. The mutual approval of each other’s national economic plans by members of COMECON, of which Bulgaria is a member, is of primary importance in economic relations with the socialist countries.

Income from foreign tourists and from health resorts has become increasingly important in Bulgaria’s balance of payments. In 1969 approximately 2.1 million tourists visited the country. The monetary unit is the lev (1 lev equals 100 stotinki). The foreign-exchange rate for 100 leva at the State Bank of the USSR in October 1970 was 76.92 rubles.

Rising standard of living The rapid rate of growth of national income (8.4 percent annually in the period from 1948 to 1968) has made it possible to increase the standard of living of the people. The absolute size of the social consumption fund in the period from 1952 to 1969 has grown by a factor of more than 3. For the most part it is used for personal consumption and is paid out primarily in wage increases for production and service workers and increased labor payments for peasants. The wage for those employed in the national economy, not counting the labor cooperative agricultural farms, more than doubled from 1952 to 1969. The rate at which real wages of production and service workers increased can be seen from the following statistics <taking 1952 as the base year equivalent to 100): in 1960 real wages were equivalent to 195, and in 1968, to 255. The average income for cooperative peasants in terms of payments for labor days increased by a factor of 4.6. The process of reducing differences in income between the rural and urban populations is under way. In 1968, for example, the average yearly wage for urban workers was 1,366 leva; for peasant members of the labor cooperative agricultural farms it was 1,342 leva. Wage differentials between individual categories are also being reduced. Approximately 30 percent of the workers’ needs are met out of public funds. The real income of the population rose by a factor of 2.6 from 1952 to 1968. Deposits in savings accounts increased from 940 million leva in 1960 to 2.725 billion leva in 1969. The increased purchasing power of the population contributed to rising retail trade turnover, which went, in terms of adjusted prices, from 1.2 billion leva in 1952 to 5.2 billion in 1969. Every second family in Bulgaria lives in an apartment built since 1944. (The number of new apartments, allowing an average living space of 11 sq m per person, is 1,160,000.) At the end of 1969, 92 percent of the inhabited areas (containing 99.4 percent of the population), were electrified, as opposed to 13 percent under capitalism in Bulgaria.

State-funded social security provides complete and obligatory coverage for all workers in government, public, cooperative, mixed, and private enterprises, offices, or organizations. It also covers free-lance workers and foreigners working in the country. In 1968 the number of people covered by social security was 2.6 million, or 31 percent of the total population. Social security is administered by the Central Council of Trade Unions. Financial aid is given for temporary disability and for pregnancy and birth. Leave is granted automatically for pregnancy and birth, and pensions are paid to invalids or retired persons. Pension payments in 1968 amounted to 58.8 percent of all social security payments (634.2 million leva). In comparison with 1952, these payments increased by a factor of 8.8. In 1969, 1,676,000 persons in three categories—those who had worked for 15 years and were 50 years old, those who had worked 20 years and were 55 years old if male and 50 if female, and those who had worked for 25 years and were 60 years old if male, or had worked for 20 years and were over 55 if female—received pensions. The size of pensions varies from 55 to 80 percent of the average monthly wage earnings over a period of three consecutive years, which may be chosen at will out of the last 15 years of the worker’s career. Pensions for invalids fall into three categories. Members of labor cooperative agricultural farms (of whom there are more than 1.1 million) and crafts cooperatives, as well as private craftsmen and professionals, also receive pensions based on the number of years worked. Workers in these categories also receive invalids’ pensions.


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25 godini sotsialistichesko selsko stopanstvo v Bulgariia: [Sbornik]. Sofia, 1969.
Atanasova, G., S. Savov, and S. Stanchev. Sotsialisticheska Bulgariia v tsifri ifakti. Sofia, 1969.


The armed forces of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria consist of ground forces, air defense forces, the air force, the navy, and border troops. They are under the jurisdiction of the minister of national defense. Leadership of party-political work is carried out by the Main Political Administration. The building of the Bulgarian People’s Army (BPA) began at the time of the September People’s Armed Uprising in 1944 and was based on the revolutionary transformation of the army that existed up until that time. During the Great Patriotic War of the USSR against Hitler’s Germany, the BPA participated jointly with Soviet troops as part of the Third Ukrainian Front from October 1944 to the beginning of 1945 in defeating the German fascist army groups in the Balkans and contributing their part to the liberation of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. More than 32,000 Bulgarian troops were killed in these battles. Over 120,000 were awarded orders and medals by the Soviet Union.

The BPA is equipped with missile, motorized and tank, artillery, aircraft, engineering, naval, radar, and other technology. Since the founding of the Warsaw Pact Organization in 1955, the BPA has actively participated in joint efforts aimed at strengthening the unified armed power of these forces in order to guarantee European peace and security. Officer training is carried out at higher military schools and at the G. S. Rakovski Military Academy. Personnel for the Bulgarian armed forces are recruited under the law on military obligations. The term of service in the ground forces, air defense units, air force, and border troops is two years; and in the navy, three years. Young men are eligible for the draft after reaching the age of 19. September 23 is observed as BPA Day in Bulgaria. (It was on Sept. 23, 1923, that a worker and peasant uprising against fascist rule broke out.)

Medicine and public health In 1969 the birthrate per 1,000 population in Bulgaria was 16.9 (21.4 in 1939), the death rate was 9.5 (13.4 in 1939), and infant mortality was 30.5 (per 1,000 live births; 138.9 in 1939). Average longevity (1965–67) is 70.6 years (51.7 in 1939).

Noninfectious pathology predominates. Major causes of death are disruptions of blood circulation to the brain, malignant tumors, and heart attacks associated with atherosclerosis. Great progress in controlling infectious diseases has been made during the years of the people’s government: malaria, typhus, relapsing fever, visceral leishmaniasis, poliomyelitis, brucellosis, and other diseases have been eliminated. The incidence of typhoid fever, diphtheria, and phlebotomus fever and mortality owing to children’s infections have declined sharply.

Maximum longevity predominates among inhabitants of the higher parts of the low and medium mountain zones.

The Ministry of Public Health, established in 1944, is charged with guarding the health of workers. In the districts, cities, and village communities, public health services are administered by the public health department of the executive committees of district and urban people’s councils. Medical services are free in Bulgaria. In 1969 there were 198 hospital institutions, with 54,500 beds (160 institutions with 10,600 beds in 1939); one hospital for communicable diseases, with 400 beds; 15 tuberculosis hospitals, with 3,500 beds (in 1939 there were no communicable-disease or tuberculosis hospitals); 12 psychoneurologic hospitals, with 3,300 beds (eight in 1944); and three psychiatric colonies, with 300 beds (none in 1939). There were also 3,507 outpatient-polyclinic institutions, with 7,300 beds (1,261 in 1939); 29 dentistry clinics (none in 1939); 187 village public-health service institutions, with 1,300 beds; 1,783 village feldsher health centers; and 60 specialized dispensaries, with 3,300 beds (27 in 1939). In 1969 there were over 470 full-time children’s nurseries, with 30,100 places; and 136 social security institutions, with 11,100 beds. The supply of hospital and sanatorium beds in 1969 was 9.2 per 1,000 population (1.9 per 1,000 population in 1939). In 1969, 15,300 physicians were working (1 physician per 555 population) as against 3,100 (1 per 2,021 population) in 1939; 3,100 dentists (1,206 in 1939), 4,900 feldshers (1,190 in 1939), 5,600 midwives (918 in 1939), and 24,000 nurses (462 in 1939). Medical cadres are trained in three medical institutes (in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna) and 18 intermediate medical schools. The Institute of Specialization and Advanced Training for Physicians (founded in 1950) is in operation; there are also 15 scientific research medical institutes. In Bulgaria (1969) 177 sanatorium-health resort establishments are operating, with 15,900 places, including 14 health resort polyclinics and 26 balneo-physiotherapeutic nursing homes. The health resorts Druzhba, Golden Sands (near Varna), Sunny Shore and Nesebur, Borovets, Kiustendil, Khisaria, and Tuzla are internationally famous.

Appropriations for public health in 1968 amounted to 280.7 million leva (33.4 leva per capita), as against 3.16 million leva (0.46 leva per capita) in 1944.


Zdravookhranenie ν Narodnoi Respublike Bolgarii za gody narodnoi vlasti 1944–1968. Sofia, 1969. [Statistical data. Translated from Bulgarian.]
Zdraveopazvaneto ν Narodna Republika Bulgariia. Sofia, 1966.
Stanchev, G. “Profilaktika na zaraznite bolesti ν Bulgariia.” Epidemiologiia, mikrobiologiia i infektsiozni bolesti, 1966, no. 2.
Veterinary services Brucellosis in cattle, glanders and copulation disease, and sheep pox have been eliminated in Bulgaria. Tuberculosis morbidity in cattle has been reduced to 0.013 percent (1966) of the number of cattle. The average annual anthrax morbidity of cattle is 0.03 percent; of sheep, 0.02 percent. Newcastle’s disease (among fowl) has been eliminated on public farms but is found on individual ones. Fowl cholera is limited to certain regions of the Dobrudzha. Fowl typhoid has been eliminated. Isolated cases of swine erysipelas are found. Brucellosis is noted in the East Balkan breed of swine. Its natural source has been established in the region of the eastern Stara Planina, in the basin of the Kam-chin River, and in the region of the Strandzha Mountains. Mycoplasmosis of fowl is often diagnosed. Aujeszky’s disease and paratyphoid of young swine are no longer of as much significance as formerly. Owing to herd vaccination, enterotoxemia of sheep and anaerobic dysentery of lambs seldom occur. Certain helminthiases of agricultural animals, mainly fasciolosis, are widespread.
The Board of Veterinary Medicine administers veterinary services in the country. The veterinary network includes all regions of the land. There are 2,300 veterinarians in Bulgaria. Highly qualified specialists are trained in the Higher Veterinary Medicine Institute (founded in 1923). The Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1961) directs scientific research in veterinary medicine. Important veterinary research centers are the Veterinary Institute of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (1901) and the Institute of the Biology of Reproduction and Infectious Diseases (1938, both in Sofia). The graduate departments of these institutes train scientific cadres.


Kalupov, I., and N. Dimitrov. Organizatsiia na veterinarnata sluzhba. Sofia, 1959.
Kalupov, I. Deloto na prof. G. Pavlov. Sofia, 1953.
Prinos kum istoriiata na veterinarnata meditsina ν Bulgariia. Sofia, 1959.
Izv. na Akademiiata na selskostopanskite nauki: Veterinarnomeditsinski nauki, 1969, book 6.

The first Bulgarian schools (clerical and monastic) were opened in the late ninth century by disciples of Cyril and Methodius, the enlighteners of the Slavs. The most famous schools were those of Ohrid and Preslav. In the 13th and 14th centuries, monastery schools of a higher type appeared at Kilifarev and Turnovo. Here philosophical and philological studies, as well as theological, were pursued. In the 17th and 18th centuries the so-called kiliia schools were widespread. (The name is derived from the Bulgarian word for the cells at the monasteries.) The first secular Bulgarian school opened in 1835 in Gabrovo; in 1873 it became a Gymnasium. The 1840’s saw the appearance of women’s schools. The development of education was speeded up considerably after Bulgaria’s emancipation in 1878 from the 500-year-long Ottoman yoke. In 1880 primary education for the first four years was declared compulsory, and secondary schools for general education and professional training began to appear. The first higher educational institution was founded in 1888 in Sofia, and in 1904 it was reorganized as a university.

In the early 1920’s certain democratic reforms in the field of public education were carried out by the government constituted by the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union. A 1921 law extended compulsory education to the first seven years. Admission to secondary schools was made more widely available, and the number of schools, especially for professional training, was increased. After the fascist take-over in 1923, and especially after the rapprochement between the Bulgarian ruling clique and Hitler’s Germany in the mid-1930’s, public education was subordinated to the needs of the fascist dictatorship. Progressive-minded teachers began to be persecuted, and the tendency for instruction to take a reactionary and chauvinistic form was strengthened. Many schools were closed.

After the people’s democratic system was established in 1944, public education was reorganized on the basis of democratic principles. The 1947 constitution legally established free, compulsory education for all children from ages seven to 15, the unity and democratic character of the educational system, the separation of the schools from the church, and the right of national minorities to have instruction in their own language and to develop their national culture. A 1959 law made education compulsory for the first eight years.

As of 1969 the public education system included nurseries for children from ages three to seven, four-year primary schools, basic eight-year schools, Progymnasiums (grades 5–8), Gymnasiums (9–11), and full 11-year general and polytechnical secondary schools. There are also professional-technical colleges and technicums, art colleges, two-year and three-year mid-level institutions of higher learning, and four-year to six-year institutions of higher learning.

The training of instructors and teachers for all educational institutions is conducted on the basis of a secondary school education. Primary school and preschool teachers receive training in two-year mid-level teachers’ institutes. Secondary school teachers and teachers in the fifth to eighth grades of the basic schools receive training on the university level or in higher pedagogical institutions.

In the July 1969 resolution by the Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the BCP entitled “On the Reorganization and Further Development of the Educational System” the following projections were made: to make the transition to start children in the first grade at age six; to introduce compulsory polytechnical secondary education; to enlarge the network of preschool institutions, boarding schools, and partial boarding schools; and to reorganize instruction in the higher organizational institutions to relate it more closely to research work.

The following figures show how the public educational system has developed under the people’s power. In 1969 there were 330,900 children attending kindergarten, compared to 35,400 children in preschool institutions in 1939. In the 1969–70 academic year there were 133,900 students in primary schools, 852,200 in basic schools, 29,500 in Progymnasiums, 70,600 in Gymnasiums, and 80,600 in complete secondary schools, compared with 1,072,200 students attending all schools in the 1939–40 academic year. Also in 1969, there were 121,600 students at professional-technical training schools, compared to 10,100 in the 1939–40 academic year; 151,000 were attending technicums; art colleges had more than 2,000 students, the junior colleges had over 10,000 students; and the institutions of higher learning had 85,600 students (compared with 10,200 in the 1939–40 academic year).

In the 1969–70 academic year there were 26 institutions of higher learning in Bulgaria, compared with five in the 1939–40 academic year. The major institutions of higher learning are the Clement of Ohrid University of Sofia and institutes of electrical engineering, medicine, economics, agriculture, mining, chemistry and technology, and civil engineering in Sofia; institutes of the national economy, electrical engineering, and medicine in Varna; institutes of agriculture, the food and condiment industry, medicine, and pedagogy in Plovdiv; an institute of finance and economics in Svishtov; and a pedagogical institute in Veliko Turnovo.

Major libraries include the Cyril and Methodius National Library (founded in 1878; contains over 1.1 million volumes), the University of Sofia Library (1888; 770,000 volumes), and the library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1869; over 854,000 volumes) in Sofia; and the I. Vazov National Library (1882; over 541,000 volumes) in Plovdiv.

The main museums are the National Art Gallery (founded in 1948), the Ethnographic Museum (1906), the Archaeologi cal Museum (1878), the Museum of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Movement (1950), the homes of D. Blagoev and I. Vazov (open as museums), and the Central G. Dimitrov Museum in Sofia; archaeological and ethnographic museums in Plovdiv; and the Military-Historical Museum in Pleven (1904–07).


Natural and technical sciences The sources of scientific and technical knowledge in Bulgaria date back to the cultures of the ancient Thracians, Greeks, and Romans. Town building, architecture, mining, and weapons manufacturing have been carried out and developed since the formation of the Bulgarian state. Although many centuries under the Byzantine and Ottoman yoke had a deleterious effect on Bulgaria’s development, the Bulgarian people managed to avoid assimilation.

A national revival of Bulgarian culture and science began in the second half of the 18th century. The first science manuals were written, as were original works on natural science and medicine. Works on geography (for example, Brief Political Description of the Earth by Neofit Bozveli of Hilendar) appeared in the first half of the 19th century. Geographic route research and geological explorations in Bulgaria were conducted beginning in the 1830’s, primarily by foreign scientists. Works on biology began to appear in the 1860’s: Man in Comparison With Other Animals by V. Beron (1870; published in Rumania) and Zoology (1886) and Natural History of Domestic Animals (1869; published in Vienna) by I. Gruev.

By the end of the 19th century, more favorable conditions for the development of scholarship in Bulgaria were created jointly with the achievement of state independence and the founding of scientific institutions. The Bulgarian Literary Society (Bulgarsko knizhovno druzhestvo) founded in the city of Brăila (Rumania) in 1869, resumed its activities in Sofia. It organized a natural-science division in 1884. The Natural Science Museum was established in 1899. In 1911 the society was reorganized as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, with a division of natural sciences and mathematics. The Higher College in Sofia (founded in 1888), where the basic scientific research of prominent Bulgarian scientists in geology, biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other fields has been concentrated for 40 years, became the first institute of higher learning. The development of agricultural sciences began with the opening of the first experimental farms in Pleven (1901), Sadov (1902), and the Ruse area (1905).

The works of A. Iavashev, who compiled a compendium of Bulgarian flora in 1887, are outstanding in the field of biology. I. Urumov, S. Petkov, D. Davidov, D. Iordanov, C. Georgiev, B. Akhtarov, N. Arnaudov, and others authored works on geobotany, floristics, plant taxonomy and morphology, and conservation. In 1925, N. Stoianov and B. Stefanov published their work The Flora of Bulgaria. Zoology was represented by the works of S. Iurinich, G. Shishkov, T. Morov, I. Buresh, P. Drenski, and others. Problems in general biology and cytogenetics were studied by M. Popov, D. Rostov, and others. The achievements of A. Zlatarov in biochemistry and organic chemistry are well known. The Marine Biology Station and Aquarium in Varna, which later became the Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, was founded in 1930. Research in the specialized field of agrobiology was developed by K. Markov, I. Ivanov, Kh. Daskalov, and others. Zh. Ganchev, S. Petrov, G. Khlebarov, and N. Platikanov wrote works on animal husbandry.

During the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), the activities of S. P. Botkin, N. I. Pirogov, N. V. Sklifosovski, and others contributed to the development of medicine and the enactment of medical legislation in Bulgaria. Kh. Stambolski, D. Mollov, and P. Orakhovats played a prominent role in the field of medicine. Significant research was conducted by N. Tsokov, I. Batsarov, I. Piperkov, V. Georgiev, and M. Ivanov. The first medical journals were founded during the 1880’s and 1890’s. The department of medicine of the university was established in 1918 (subsequently reorganized as the Higher Medical Institute). The first centers of microbiological research were the bacteriological stations created in 1897 and 1901, which later became veterinary, bacteriological, and hygienic institutes.

The development of veterinary science was associated with the veterinary department of the University of Sofia (1923; now the Higher Veterinary Medicine Institute).

G. Zlatarski, a prominent geologist, laid the foundations for the stratigraphy of the country and began geological mapping in 1897. The State Geological Service began operations in 1890. In 1891, S. Vatsov began to carry out seismic research. Subdepartments were established in mineralogy and petrography (1895) and geology and paleontology (1897). Research was conducted in geotectonics (S. Bonchev and others), mineralogy and petrology (G. Bonchev), and paleontology (P. Bakalov). The Bulgarian Geological Society was founded in 1925, the Bulgarian Geographic Society was organized in 1918, and the Subdepartment of Physical Geography was established at the University of Sofia in 1927. Studies of regional geography (A. Ishirkov), geomor-phology, and climate were made. Problems of soil science were studied (N. Pushkarov). The Central Meteorological Institute was formed in 1934 on the basis of the Meteorological Service, which was founded in 1894.

The scientific activities of P. Raikov, who directed the subdepartment of organic chemistry from 1894 to 1935, played an important role in the development of chemistry research. The chemistry research studies of Z. Karaoglanov (analytical chemistry), D. Balarev (general and inorganic chemistry), G. Rankov (technology of fats), D. Ivanov (organic chemistry), and I. Stranski are well known. The Society of Chemists and the publication Khimiia i promishlenost (Chemistry and Industry) have been in existence since 1923.

Physics research was begun in the Higher College in Sofia and in the Physical Mathematics Society of Bulgaria, which was founded in 1898. The first prominent physicist to work in Bulgaria was the Russian scientist P. I. Bakhmet’ev, whose research covered the problems of ferromagnetism (in particular the phenomena of magnetostriction) and thermoelectricity; he also studied the phenomena of anabiosis. Research was conducted in the molecular physics of solutions and electrolytes by A. Khristov and in the radioactivity of natural water and rock by P. Penchev, E. Karamikhailov, and others. G. Nadzhakov, who discovered the photoelectretic state of matter, is working in the areas of dielectric and semiconductor physics. The subdepartment of astronomy was created in 1892 at the Higher College in Sofia, and the observatory was established in 1894 under the direction of M. Buchvarov. The first works on astronomy were completed by N. Stoianov and K. Popov.

The mathematical sciences were developed principally in the works of professors K. Popov, I. Tsenov, L. Chakalov, and N. Obreshkov of the department of physics and mathematics at the University of Sofia.

Development of the natural and technical sciences was hampered by the political regime, a lack of material resources, and an insufficient number of research personnel.

The overthrow of the fascist monarchic regime in Bulgaria (1944) and the country’s embarcation on the path of socialist construction heralded the beginning of a new era in the history of Bulgarian science. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Agricultural Sciences have become the chief scientific centers.

The modern phase in the development of Bulgarian sciences has witnessed progress in many disciplines. Fruitful mathematical investigations were continued by K. Popov (mathematical theory of irreversible thermodynamic processes), L. Chakalov (theory of functions), I. Tsenov (analytical mechanics), and N. Obreshkov (series theory, linear algebra, and probability theory). Research work was also done by G. Bradistilov (nonlinear differential equations and their applications), B. Petkanchin (axioms of geometry, differential geometry), B. Dolapchiev (analytical mechanics), L. Iliev (theory of functions), and la. Tagamlitski (functional analysis). During the 1960’s teams were formed to work on the chief problems of modern mathematics and their applications. Problems related to the mathematical provisions of electronic computers, automation theory, and mathematical simulation (L. Iliev and B. Sendov) are being studied in conjunction with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the academies of other socialist countries.

Advances in the physical sciences are being stimulated by major improvements in material resources and experimental facilities. Basic research efforts are being made in the fields of solid-state physics (particularly semiconductors), nuclear physics, and electronics (G. Nadzhakov, S. Petrov, M. Borisov, and R. Andreichin). Research on the production of semiconductor devices has begun. Integrated analysis of problems in solid-state physics is being carried out jointly with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, and other academies. In 1961 the USSR assisted in the construction of an experimental nuclear reactor, the organization of a laboratory, and the initiation of nuclear research. In cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a high-altitude space observation station with a laboratory for studying cosmic rays was installed on the summit of Mount Musala. The main research trends in electronics are emission and gas electronics, quantum electronics, superhigh frequencies, and thin-film electronics (E. Dzhakov and others). A. Datsev, Kh. Khristov, and I. Todorov are working in the field of theoretical physics. In 1952 the Astronomy Section was established by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Bulgarian astronomers are working on problems relating to cosmogony— particularly of the moon (N. Bonev), variable stars, solar activity, meteor astronomy, and small meteorites.

Progress has been made in geodetic and cartographic standardization, and original research work is being done on geodetic coordinates (V. Khristov). Geophysical research has become multifaceted. Atmospheric physics is developing in conjunction with meteorology, climatology, synoptic meteorology, and aerology. Processes involved in the formation of clouds and precipitation, atmospheric circulation, and air-current turbulence (L. Krustanov and others) are being investigated. The electrical characteristics of the middle ionosphere have already been obtained (G. Nesterov and others), and now the lower ionosphere is being probed. Research is also being conducted in gravimetry and seismology.

Developments in the earth sciences are associated with problems relating to the utilization of the country’s natural resources and, in particular, with the intensification of geological prospecting. Geological research is conducted in conjunction with hydraulic engineering, highway engineering, and capital construction. Regional studies of the composition and structure of the earth’s crust and the principles governing the distribution of mineral resources constitute the chief trends in this research. Research is under way in geotectonics (E. Bonchev), magmatism and metallogeny (S. Dimitrov), crystal chemistry, geochemistry, and mineralogy (I. Kostov), engineering geology and soil science (B. Kamenov), hydrogeology, and hydrogeochemistry. Stratigraphic and lithological studies are being made of geological formations and the mineral resources associated with them. Progress has also been made in paleontological research (V. Tsankov). Regional studies have led to the discovery of new mineral deposits, including oil, coal, iron and manganese ores, polymetals, copper, and molybdenum (I. Iovchev and others), and have contributed to the solution of water-supply problems in individual regions (the Dobrudzha) and populated areas. The engineering-geological and hydrogeological zonation of Bulgaria has been completed.

Integrated and diversified geographical research is being conducted in various districts of Bulgaria (Zh. Gulubov and others). Advances in geomorphological research have been made. The Climatic Atlas and Climatic Reference Book of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria have been published. Economic-geographical works are devoted to the geography of population, industry, transport, and agriculture (A. Beshkov and others). The two-volume collective work Geography of Bulgaria (1961—66) was written in collaboration with Soviet geographers.

Chemistry research is being expanded and pursued in depth. The theory of crystal growth worked out in the 1930’s by I. Stranski and R. Kaishev has been further developed by R. Kaishev, G. Bliznakov, E. Budevski, and N. Pangarov. Advances have been made in the study of the stability of colloidal films (A. Sheludko), the mechanism of photographic image formation (I. Malinovski), the quantum-chemical theory of overvoltage of hydrogen and the electron emission of metals and semiconductors (S. Khristov), adsorption and inorganic catalysis, and problems in the field of analytical chemistry (N. Penchev and others).

Successful research is being carried out in the fields of organic synthesis (D. Ivanov, A. Spasov, Ch. Ivanov, and Kh. Ivanov), stereochemistry and conformation analysis (B. Kurtev), homogeneous and heterogeneous organic catalysis (D. Shopov), quantum organic chemistry and molecular spectroscopy, and natural substances (terpenes, alkaloids, and lipids) and synthetic polymers.

Significant research has been undertaken in the field of biology since 1959. Scientific research institutes and laboratories were set up for new specializations (biochemistry, biophysics, plant and animal physiology, and industrial microbiology). New problems and modern experimental methods are being developed in the classical biological sciences. Advances made in the biological sciences are finding effective applications in medicine, agriculture, and industry. A description of plant and animal life in Bulgaria is practically complete. The multivolume work Flora of Bulgaria (edited by D. Iordanov and others) is being published, and Fauna of Bulgaria is being prepared for publication. Studies have been made which have enriched the theory of stimulation and inhibition of life processes among plants and have clarified several distinctive characteristics of photosynthesis and its products (K. Popov and others). Advances have been made in virology, immunology, and microbiology (S. Angelov, V. Markov, A. Toshkov, and I. Kuiumdzhiev). Several aspects of the metabolism of microorganisms have been investigated, and the effects of certain factors on the biosynthesis of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other biologically active substances have been ascertained (I. Emanuilov, I. Pashev, and others). New enzymes and preparations having strong proteolytic reactions and other qualities have been derived (I. Pashev).

An original method for the quantitative analysis of nucleic acids in animal tissues has been developed by R. Tsanev and his coworkers. Integrated studies are being made of bioce-noses and ecosystems, the biological productivity of the biosphere, and the rational utilization of biological resources.

Problems relating to the distribution and ecology of parasites and the manifestations of immunity and pathogenesis (K. Matov, I. Vasilev, and P. Pavlov) are being investigated in the areas of helminthology and general parasitology.

Significant breakthroughs are being made in the agricultural sciences, particularly in selection and plant growing (Kh. Daskalov, A. Popov, P. Popov, R. Georgieva, K. Stoev, and others). Large specialized institutes have been established for the basic agricultural crops (wheat, corn, tobacco, vegetable crops, fruits, grapes, cotton, roses, and so on); their activities are directed mainly toward the development of crop cultivation technology and the creation of new, more productive, and higher-quality strains. New strains and hybrids of tomatoes, grapes, tobacco, corn, and cotton have been developed. Research work is being carried out on the problems of plant conservation (I. Kovachevski), farm-animal breeding (N. Platikanov, S. Kumanov, and K. Bratanov), the establishment of the nutritional values of feeds, the creation of new farm-animal breeds, and artificial insemination.

In the field of veterinary medicine, studies have been made of the physiological processes in the digestive systems of domestic animals (T. Radev and others), problems relating to the biology of reproduction and immunity, reactions during fertilization (K. Bratanov), and problems of zoohygiene, especially in industrial livestock raising (G. Petkov). The pathogenesis, morphology, and immunity of a number of parasitic and other types of diseases of agricultural animals have been studied (K. Ivanov and others). The etiology and epizootology of a number of infectious diseases have been examined (I. Chenchev, T. Iliev, P. Pavlov, A. Toshkov, and E. Ianev). The etiology of fowl mycoses has been established (K. Ivanov, S. Nedialkov, and Z. Mladenov). Disturbances of mineral and vitamin metabolism among growing and highly productive animals (B. Nachev and others) and problems of veterinary toxicology and pharmacology (P. Popov, D. Drumev, and P. Gabrishanski) have been investigated. The dynamics of microbiological and biochemical processes in animal by-products have been studied, and veterinary health control and certification standards have been proposed (I. Emanuilov, Ts. Zakhariev, I. Iotov, and others).

Scientific research work has also been greatly expanded in the field of medicine. All medical science institutions operate under the supervision of a single scientific medical council. Experimental methods are being introduced for the solution of scientific problems in medicobiological, clinical, and hygienic disciplines. The morphology and reactivity of an organism during ontogenesis (A. Khadzhiolov and D. Kadanov), the physiological mechanisms of regulation (D. Orakhovats and D. Mateev), scientific principles of nutrition, dietetics, and gastroenterology (T. Tashev, Kh. Brailski, and A. Maleev), cardiovascular diseases (A. Pukhlev and M. Rashev), neurology and psychiatry (G. Uzunov, N. Shipkovenski, and G. Nastev), dermatology and venereology (L. Popov, P. Popkhristov, and others), endocrinology (I. Penchev and A. Popov), inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases (V. Tsonchev), and pathophysiology (V. Serafimov) are among the most important medical problems currently under study.

The engineering sciences are being developed in institutes of higher learning, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and industrial branch institutes. Advances have been made in water management and hydraulic engineering, engineering and structural mechanics, power and electrical engineering, physical metallurgy and metals technology, and architectural theory and urban planning.

Theoretical problems and experimental studies of building designs are being examined in connection with the introduction of industrial methods to housing construction (G. Brankov and others). Important results have been obtained in the development of new building materials. A quick-setting cement has been developed and put into production by I. Simeonov and others. Research has been completed on many problems related to the construction of hydraulic-engineering and reclamation structures (D. Velev) and on hydraulic engineering and hydraulics.

Special methods for testing metals have been devised in machine-building technology. New casting methods have been developed that make it possible to monitor and control the conditions of the casting process (A. Balevski, I. Dimov, and others), resulting in increased labor productivity and product quality.

Advances have been made in electrical and radio engineering (A. Atanasov and others) as a result of the research being carried out in association with the rapidly developing electrical engineering and precision-instrument manufacturing industries. Problems relating to automation are being resolved. Unique devices and systems that are already in operation or in the process of going into production, including sampling devices to monitor and control production processes, have been developed. A number of technical engineering journals, the most important of which is Tekhnicheska misul (Technical Thought; since 1964), are published in Bulgaria.


Social sciencesPHILOSOPHY. Philosophical and social thought in Bulgaria arose at the turn of the tenth century. Its origin was associated with the name of Ioann the Exarch (tenth century), who created philosophical terminology in Old Bulgarian. He advocated the thesis that god created the world, and he attached a religious interpretation to the works of Aristotle. The heretical movement called Bogomilism (early tenth century), which had an influence on Western European heresies (Cathari, Albigensians, Patarenes, and others), was an ideological form of the Bulgarian peasant struggle. In the 13th and 14th centuries a bitter struggle unfolded in Bulgaria between the different factions within Bulgarian Christianity (hesychasm, the Varlaamites) and the heresies (Adamites, Bogomils, and others). Hesychasm, which became the ruling faction in Bulgaria, was developed in the works of the representatives of the so-called Turnovo school under the leadership of the patriarch Evfimii of Turnovo. The conquest of Bulgaria by the Turks (late 14th century) suspended the development of Bulgarian social thought until the 18th century.

The activities of Paisii of Hilendar, the ideologist of Bulgaria’s national revival, played an important role in establishing the Bulgarian people’s national self-awareness and in promoting the struggle for national independence and a distinctive Bulgarian cultural identity in the 18th century. Interest in the natural sciences contributed to the spread of materialist views in Bulgaria during the first quarter of the 19th century. The development of the materialist tradition in Bulgarian philosophy is associated with I. G. Seliminski. P. Beron, who created the Panepistemiia naturalphilosophical system (Panépistème, Paris, 1861–70), was the leading representative of philosophical thought in Bulgaria’s national renaissance.

The development of two basic tendencies in social thought—the evolutionist (reformist) and the revolutionary-democratic, between which there arose a bitter ideological struggle—was associated with the growing national liberation and revolutionary movement in the early 1860’s. During the 1860’s and 1870’s the reformist press (Chitatishte, Progres, Vek, and others) reflected a mounting interest in idealist philosophy, whose representatives in Bulgaria were V. Khadzhistoianov Beron, L. Iovchev, M. Balabanov, and others; it was developed in the channel of Kantianism and other currents of idealism. Revolutionary-democratic thought, freeing itself of idealist notions, gradually took on a materialist character. The ideologists of revolutionary democracy L. Karavelov, V. Levski, and, in particular, Kh. Botev strengthened the materialist tendency in Bulgarian philosophy. The country’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke (1878) furthered the development of philosophical and social thought in Bulgaria.

At the turn of the 20th century, Bulgarian Marxists led by D. Blagoev criticized populism, Neo-Kantianism, Bernsteinism, and other bourgeois and petit-bourgeois philosophical and sociological conceptions and advocated the ideas of scientific socialism in Bulgaria. The works of D. Blagoev and his criticism of idealist theories (including those of K. Krustev and D. Mikhalchev) contributed to the spread and development of Marxist philosophy, aesthetics, and literary criticism in Bulgaria. While promoting Marxist doctrine on social relationships and the class struggle, D. Blagoev, G. Kirkov, G. Georgiev, T. Petrov, G. Dimitrov, and V. Kolarov criticized la. Sakuzov’s reformist theory on class cooperation and other anti-Marxist conceptions that had become current during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Idealist philosophical ideas advocated by I. Giuzelev (Berkeleianism), K. Krystev, I. Georgov, and A. Nedialkov (Neo-Kantianism), N. Aleksiev (follower of W. Wundt and H. Taine), D. Mikhalchev (follower of the German philosopher J. Rehmke), and others were spreading in Bulgaria during this period. In the early 20th century, Bulgarian Marxists began systematically to criticize idealist views in Bulgaria.

The formation in 1903 of the revolutionary Marxist party—the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists), or BWSDP (NS>—was of particular importance in strengthening the positions of Marxist ideology. The September Antifascist Uprising of 1923, which was the turning point in the development of the Bulgarian Communist Party based on Leninist principles, played a major role in the development of social thought and the revolutionary movement in Bulgaria.

Marxist philosophy was developed during the 1920’s and 1930’s by T. Pavlov (problems related to the theory of knowledge in dialectical materialism; particularly the theories of reflection, aesthetics, and realism in literature), S. Ganovski, G. Bakalov, A. Kiselinchev, and others. During this period, Bulgarian Marxists carried on the struggle against the followers of the idealist philosophies of H. Bergson (I. Saruiliev), W. Wundt (S. Kazandzhiev), and S. Freud (S. Konsulov). An important role was played by the studies of M. Dimitrov on problems of psychology and bourgeois philosophical criticism. I. Khadzhiski worked in the field of sociology.

After the establishment of a people’s democratic system (1944), ample opportunities were created for the development of Marxist-Leninist philosophy in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Marxists began to focus their attention on the problem of building socialism in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. Party decisions and the papers of G. Dimitrov and T. Zhivkov addressed themselves to the problems of the socialist revolution in Bulgaria, industrialization of the country, the reorganization of agriculture based on the Leninist cooperative plan, and issues related to the building of a well-developed socialist society. Bulgarian philosophers, following the lead of T. Pavlov, have studied a number of important problems in the theory of reflection based on modern scientific achievements (the joint Bulgarian-Soviet work The Leninist Theory of Reflection and Modem Times, 1969) and in the methodology of scientific knowledge. S. Ganovski’s works deal with the problems of socioeconomic structure under the coexistence and struggle of two world systems and the history of philosophy, culture, and education. Bulgarian philosophers are also concerned with the problems of logic, philosophical questions of natural science, issues of historical materialism and sociology, the history of philosophy and criticism of modern bourgeois philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, and scientific atheism (A. Bunkov, T. Vulov, P. Gindev, N. Iribadzhakov, Zh. Oshavkov, A. Polikarov, and others; see M. D. Bychvarov, “Razvitie filosofskoi mysli ν Bolgarii,” Voprosy filosofii, 1969, no. 9).

The centers for the study of philosophy and sociology in Bulgaria are the Institute of Philosophy (founded in 1948) and the Institute of Sociology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1968). Articles on the issues of philosophy and sociology are published in the journals Filosofska misul (Philosophical Thought; since 1945), Novo vreme (New Times; since 1947), Sotsiologicheski problemi (Sociological Problems, since 1969), and Izvestiia na Instituta po filosofiia (Proceedings of the Institute of Philosophy; since 1954).

HISTORY. The origin of Bulgarian historiography is associated with the Bulgarian renaissance, which began in the late 18th century. A distinctive feature of historiography during this period was the tendency to extol the past history of the Bulgarian people, to inspire in them confidence in their powers, and to promote the struggle for national independence (Paisii of Hilendar, V. Aprilov, G. S. Rakovski, and others). A trend characterized by a critical regard for sources, facts, and chronology came into its own at a later date. M. Drinov, who laid the foundations for national historical scholarship, was the leading representative of this trend. Working in Russia, he did in-depth research on the most important periods of Bulgarian history and wrote a series of fundamental works on the medieval and ancient history of Bulgaria. In 1869, Drinov founded and headed the scholarly Bulgarian Literary Society in Brăila, Rumania, which played an important role in the development of historical scholarship in Bulgaria.

After Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke in 1878, Bulgarian historical scholarship began to focus its attention on the problems of the national liberation struggle and the history of the Bulgarian renaissance (Z. Stoianov, D. Strashimirov, I. Shishmanov, and others). The basic historical and archaeological research of Slavic scholars working in Bulgaria (K. Jirec̆ek, the brothers Kh. and K. Shkorpil, V. Dobruskii, and F. I. Uspenskii) began to appear.

The establishment of the University of Sofia was of great importance in the development of historical scholarship in Bulgaria. V. Zlatarski occupied a prominent position in historiography during the first decades of the 20th century; he was the author of a fundamental work on the history of medieval Bulgaria. Historical research was carried out by G. Katsarov, who also wrote works on archaeology; P. Nikov; P. Mutafchiev; I. Duichev; and others. R. Popov, N. Mushmov, D. Dechev, and A. Protich also worked in the field of archaeology. The development of Marxist historiography in Bulgaria began in the late 19th century. Its chief representatives were D. Blagoev, V. Kolarov, G. Dimitrov, G. Bakalov, Kh. Kabakchiev, and Zh. Natan. They initiated the study of questions relating to socioeconomic development, classes and the class struggle, and the history of the national liberation, labor, and revolutionary movements in Bulgaria. Marxist historiography finally became firmly established after the formation of the people’s democratic government in Bulgaria (1944).

The comprehensive two-volume work The History of Bulgaria, which presents a complete Marxist history of Bulgaria from ancient times to the present, was published in 1954–55. (A second edition in three volumes, revised and supplemented, was published in 1961—64.) Work has begun on the compilation of a multivolume history of the country. Important contributions to the development of archaeology were made by K. Miiatev, D. P. Dimitrov, N. Mavrodinov, I. Velkov, and V. Mikov. Kh. Danov has done considerable research on the ancient history of Bulgaria. The works of A. Burmov, D. Angelov, and I. Snegarov examined issues concerning the formation of the Slavic-Bulgarian state, feudalism in medieval Bulgaria, Slavic writing, the Bogomil movement, and other subjects. The period of Ottoman rule is elucidated in the works of I. Snegarov, N. Todorov, and others. The chief landmarks in the development of socioeconomic life and the national liberation struggle of the Bulgarian people during the period of national revival are examined in the studies of Zh. Natan, D. Kosev, M. Dimitrov, A. Burmov, Kh. Gandev, and Kh. Khristov.

The works of T. Vlakhov and Ts. Todorova are devoted to the policies of the imperialist powers in regard to Bulgaria during the period 1908–18. Bulgarian historians (D. Kosev, Kh. Khristov, V. Khadzhinikolov, I. Mitev, and others) did much for the study of the economic and political development of Bulgaria during 1918–19 and the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923. Intensive analysis is being done on the history of the Bulgarian workers’ and Communist movement, international relations of the BCP, the resistance movement of the Bulgarian people during World War II, and Bulgaria’s progress along the road of socialism (V. Khadzhinikolov, D. Sirkov, N. Gornenski, and V. Bozhinov). Works revealing the essence of Marxist-Leninist doctrine on the role of the popular masses in history and on the methodology and philosophy of history and studies devoted to the scholarly treatment of issues related to the people’s democratic revolution and socialist construction in Bulgaria have been published. Resources have been expanded for the study of original source materials in historical research; a number of reference works have been published on historical documents and materials.

Centers for the study of history and the preparation of history cadres include the Institute of History (founded in 1947) and the Archaeological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1920), the Institute of History of the BCP Under the Central Committee of the BCP (1953), and the department of philosophy and history of the University of Sofia. Historical journals include Istoricheski pregled (Historical Survey; since 1945), Izvestiia na Instituta za istoriia (Proceedings of the Institute of History; since 1951), Izvestiia na Instituta po istoriia na BKP (Proceedings of the Institute of History of the BCP; since 1957), and Izvestiia naArkheologicheskiia institut (Proceedings of the Archaeological Institute; since 1922).


ECONOMICS. The shaping of economic thought into an integral system of views took place in Bulgaria during the second half of the 19th century and was echoed in the works of the revolutionary democrats and the representatives of the reformist school. The revolutionary democrats (G. S. Rakovski, L. Karavelov, V. Levski, and Kh. Botev) addressed themselves to the study of problems in political economy and specific issues in the economic development of Bulgaria for the purpose of developing and substantiating their own political programs. The revolutionary democrats considered the preparation of a nationwide liberation revolt against the Ottoman yoke and feudalistic oppression to be the paramount task, but they were divided on the issue of determining how the country’s economic development should proceed. Some (Rakovski among them) regarded the development of capitalism in Bulgaria as inevitable; others (such as Botev), influenced by the ideas of Western socialists and utopianists and Russian revolutionary democrats and, assuming that Bulgaria could bypass the capitalist development stage, saw in the peasant community the basis for a future socialist society. The reformist tendency (P. R. Slaveikov and others) reduced the struggle for the country’s economic progress to the problem of education and enlightenment.

Bourgeois economic thought began with the formation of the Bulgarian state toward the end of the 19th century. Its representatives—I. Geshev, G. Danailov, I. Bogorov, K. Popov (the father of Bulgarian statistics), D. Mishaikov, S. Demostenov, and I. Kinkel—adopted the ideas of Western European vulgar bourgeois political economy, primarily of the subjective school. Bourgeois economists engaged in the analysis of practical problems of economic policies; most of them were members of the Bulgarian Economic Society (1896–1946). The Russian legal Marxists (M. Tugan-Baranovskii, P. Struve, S. Bulgakov, and others) and A. Bogdanov’s works on political economy had a definite influence on the development of Bulgarian economics.

The conditions associated with the broad peasant movement in Bulgaria during the late 19th century fostered the development of a petit-bourgeois trend in economic thought, whose representatives—the so-called Agrarians (A. Stamboliski originated the theory of agrarianism)—regarded the land owned by the small and middle peasantry as the chief support of a democratic system.

Marxist ideas began to spread into Bulgaria in the late 19th century. D. Blagoev, G. Georgiev, V. Kolarov, G. Dimitrov, Kh. Kabakchiev, T. Petrov, and other Bulgarian Marxists advocated Marxist economic theory (a number of economic works by Marx and Engels, including the first volume of Das Kapital, were translated into Bulgarian) and developed the fundamental tenets of Marxist economic science in accordance with national conditions.

The establishment of the people’s democratic government created the conditions for the comprehensive development of Marxist economic thought in Bulgaria. Subdepartments of political economy were established at the universities. The Institute of Economics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1949. The Department of Economics of the University of Sofia (founded in 1924) was reorganized in 1952 as the K. Marx Higher Economics Institute.

Economic research is directed toward the solution of the fundamental problems of socialist construction in Bulgaria.

Economists are studying problems of the country’s economic development, the history of the Bulgarian national economy, political-economic questions of capitalism and socialism, and problems in the development of a worldwide socialist system, and they are performing critical analyses of bourgeois and revisionist economic theories. Their works analyze the laws of socialist economics (K. Dobrev and V. Khadzhinikolov), problems concerning socialist economic planning (E. Mateev), finance, credit, and money circulation (K. Lazarov), statistics (I. Stefanov, A. Totev, and S. Stanev), problems of economic cooperation among socialist countries and their interrelationships with capitalist countries (E. Kamenov), and questions of the economics of capitalism (T. Vladigerov) and the history of economic thought (Zh. Natan and K. Grigorov).

Economic research in Bulgaria is conducted in academic institutions, scientific research institutes affiliated with state ministries and departments, the Higher Institute of the National Economy in Varna (founded in 1921), and the Higher Financial-Economics Institute in Svishtov (founded in 1936). The major economic periodicals published are Ikono-micheska misul (Economic Thought; since 1956), Problemi na truda (Problems of Labor; since 1969), Novo vreme (New Times) and Trud i tseni (Labor and Prices; both since 1959), Planovo stopanstvo (Planned Economy; since 1945), Finansi i kredit (Finances and Credit; since 1950), and Statistika (Statistics; since 1947).


JURISPRUDENCE. Until the people’s revolution of 1944, Bulgarian legal science was under the influence of European (German, French, and Italian) bourgeois jurisprudence; this affected the development of the basic Bulgarian legislative divisions. Russian legal science also exerted a certain influence on questions of civil and criminal action. The principal trend and method of prerevolutionary bourgeois Bulgarian jurisprudence was the formal-dogmatic and descriptive or eclectic study and interpretation of legal regulations. The representatives of bourgeois jurisprudence included I. Fadenkhekht (civil law), V. Ganev (commercial law and general theory of law), S. Kirov and S. Balamezov (constitutional law), S. Bobchev (history of law), G. Genov and M. Popoviliev (international law), and N. Dolapchiev and N. Saranov (criminal law). Several representatives of Bulgarian bourgeois jurisprudence joined the fascist trend that arose and spread in the science of law during the 1930’s.

The Marxist-Leninist trend in Bulgarian jurisprudence began to make headway after the establishment of the people’s democratic government. Studies are being made of the problems of socialist government and socialist legislation; the practices of state governmental and administrative bodies, the courts, the attorneys’ offices, the state apparatus, and public organizations are also being studied and summarized. Legal scholars have written works on state law (B. Spasov, la. Radeev, D. Dimitrov, and others), administrative and financial law (P. Stainov, A. Angelov, and M. Kostov), civil law and lawsuits (L. Vasilev, A. Kozhukharov, and Zh. Stalev), labor law (L. Raduilski and others), criminal law and trials (I. Nenov, S. Pavlov, K. Liutov, and V. Buzov), international law (V. Kutikov, P. Radoinov, and S. Stefanova), and the theory and history of the state and law (V. Zakhariev, M. Andreev, and D. Angėlov).

The principal center for law research is the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (founded in 1948). The department of law of the University of Sofia and the subdepartments of government and law at the economic institutes in Sofia, Varna, and Svishtov are also centers for the study of jurisprudence and the training of lawyers. The following legal periodicals are published: Narodni suveti (People’s Councils; since 1951), Sotsialistichesko pravo (Socialist Law; since 1952), and Pravna misul (Legal Thought; since 1957).


LINGUISTICS. The initial development of linguistics in Bulgaria dates to the 1880’s and 1890’s. N. Gerov compiled the Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language With Word Etymologies in Bulgarian and Russian (vols. 1–5, 1895–1904). Research was carried out in dialectology and the historical development of the Bulgarian language during the middle and modern periods (L. Miletich, B. Tsonev, and I. Ivanov), comparative grammar of the Indo-European and Slavic languages (S. Mladenov, V. Georgiev, I. Lekov, and S. Romanski), and grammar of the Bulgarian language (A. Teodorov-Balan, Iu. Trifonov, and L. Andreichin).

A marked increase in the development of Bulgarian linguistics occurred after the establishment of the people’s democratic government in 1944. The Institute of the Bulgarian Language of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1951. Published works include the Dictionary of the Modern Bulgarian Literary Language (vols. 1–3, 1954–59, edited by S. Romanski), the Bulgarian Etymological Dictionary (1955), bilingual and specialized dictionaries, and the Bulgarian Dialectological Atlas. Monographs representing a new phase of Bulgarian linguistics have appeared in the fields of grammar (L. Andreichin and S. Stoikov), lexicology, phraseology, and stylistics (R. Mutafchiev), Old Bulgarian and the history of the Bulgarian language (K. Mirchev, I. Gulubov, D. Mircheva, A. Mincheva, and K. Dagramodzhieva), the history of the modern Bulgarian literary language (L. Andreichin), Slavic linguistics, etymology, and onomastics (V. Georgiev, I. Duridanov, and I. Zaimov), and stylistics (S. Vasilev and M. Ianakiev). The works of S. Stoikov, Ts. Todorov, and I. Mladenov are of great value in the field of dialectology.

Linguistics research centers in Bulgaria include the academic Institute of the Bulgarian Language and sub-departments in the various fields of linguistics (general linguistics; Bulgarian, Russian, and Romance studies; classical languages, and so on) at the University of Sofia. Linguistic periodicals published include Bulgarski ezik (Bulgarian Language; since 1951) and Ezik i literatura (Language and Literature; since 1946).

Scientific institutions The republic’s research center is the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, which consists of 33 scientific research institutes. Scientific research in agriculture is coordinated by the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, established in 1961 on the basis of the Department of Biology and Agricultural Sciences of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It includes 28 institutes, 28 experimental stations, and more than 1,200 employees. The State Committee on Science and Technical Progress, which contributes to the greater singleness of purpose in scientific research, was formed in 1959. It supervises the work of a number of institutes, including institutes of inventions and industrial efficiency, standardization, measures and measuring instruments, computer technology, and the scientific organization of production and labor and scientific, technical, and economic information.

Bulgaria has 368 scientific organizations, 237 of which (including 55 scientific research institutes and 18 design organizations) operate under various ministries and departments; more than 7,000 specialists are employed in these organizations. In the field of chemistry and metallurgy there are five scientific research institutes that study and plan objectives for the chemical, rubber, plastics, and petroleum-refining industries. Eight institutes carry out research in the fields of geology, geodesy, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, ore extraction, and mining; 63 scientific research institutes, five planning organizations, and three science centers work in the construction, machine-building, and power and electrical engineering industries.

Scientific research in economics is conducted at six institutes and two centers and by a financial research group under the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria’s scientific institutions maintain close international ties, primarily with the scientific institutions of the USSR and other socialist countries, but also with those of Great Britain, France, Italy, and the USA.

The results of scientific research activities are made available in a number of scientific publications: proceedings of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, university annuals, proceedings of the institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, transactions of the departmental institutes, and specialized journals.


Bozhkov, S. Bolgarskaia akademiia nauk: Kratkii ocherk 1869–1969. Sofia, 1969.
Grozev, G. Istoriia na bulgarskata filosofiia, parts 1–2. Sofia, 1957–59.
Bunkov, A. Razvitie na filosofskata misul ν Bulgariia. Sofia, 1966.
Birman, M. A. “Osnovnye napravleniia ν issledovanii novoi i noveishei istorii Bolgarii ν bolgarskoi istoriografii.” Sovetskoe slavianovedenie, 1967, no. 2.
Valev, L. B. “Novaia i noveishaia istoriia Bolgarii ν trudakh sovremennykh bolgarskikh issledovatelei (1944–67).” Sovetskoe slavianovedenie, 1967, no. 4.
Istoriografiia novoi i noveishei istorii stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1968. Pages 203–209, 391–100.
Natan, Zh. Istoriia na ikonomicheskata misul ν Bulgariia. Sofia, 1964.
Grigorov, K. Razvitie na burzhoaznata ikonomicheskata misul ν Bulgariia mezhdu dvete svetovni voini. Sofia, 1960.
Mateev, E. Subektivnata shkola i marksistsko-leninskata politicheska ikonomiia, 2nd ed. Sofia [1949].
Andreev, M., and D. Angelov. Istoriia bolgarskogo gosudarstva i prava. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Bulgarian.)

The publication of Bulgarian periodicals began in the 1840’s. Owing to the persecution by the Turkish government, the first newspapers and magazines were published by Bulgarian patriots and organizations outside Bulgaria, and the publication of periodicals inside the country did not begin until 1878. In 1969,710 newspapers with a total circulation of 750 million (including multiple printings) and 780 magazines (including bulletins) with a total circulation of 40 million were published in Bulgaria. Major newspapers include Rabotnichesko delo (Workers’ Cause; since 1927), organ of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP), circulation 650,000 (all circulation figures are for 1970); Zemedelsko zname (Farmers’ Banner; since 1902), organ of the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union, circulation 160,000; Otechestven front (Fatherland Front; since 1942), organ of the Fatherland Front, circulation 220,000; Trud (Labor; since 1946), organ of the Central Council of Trade Unions, circulation 100,000; Narodna mladezh (National Youth; since 1944), organ of the Central Committee of the Dimitrov Young Communist League, circulation 230,000; Narodna armiia (People’s Army; since 1944), organ of the Ministry of National Defense; and Pogled (View; since 1930), organ of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, circulation 220,000. Magazines include Novo vreme (New Times; since 1897), organ of the Central Committee of the BCP, circulation 32,000; Partien zhivot (Party Life; since 1957), organ of the Central Committee of the BCP, circulation 40,000; Politicheska prosveta (Political Education; since 1966), organ of the Central Committee of the BCP, circulation 34,000; Mladezh (Youth; since 1945), organ of the Central Committee of the Dimitrov Young Communist League, circulation 60,000; and Zhenata dnes (The Woman Today; since 1945), organ of the Committee of Bulgarian Women, circulation 327,000 in Bulgarian and 70,000 in Russian.

The dissemination of information within the country and abroad is managed by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (Bulgarska telegrafna agentsiia, BTA; founded 1898).

Radio broadcasting in Bulgaria began in November 1929. Radio communications and broadcasting were declared a state monopoly in 1935.

Radio broadcasts are transmitted by the central radio station in Sofia and regional radio stations in Varna, Plovdiv, and Stara Zagora. Domestic broadcasting in Bulgarian is carried on three national and four regional programs and a special program for the capital. A daily Turkish-language program was introduced in 1959 for Bulgaria’s Turkish population. Radio Bulgaria broadcasts a total of 50 hours a day of domestic programming. Foreign broadcasting is transmitted in Bulgarian (by the Rodina Radio Station for Bulgarians living abroad), Greek, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, English (for the USA, Great Britain, and African countries), French (also for Africa), German, Italian, Spanish (for Spain and Latin America), and Esperanto. Radio Bulgaria broadcasts a total of 24 hours a day of foreign programming. Regular television transmissions began in November 1959. Since 1961, Bulgarian television has been broadcasting programs with a total air time of approximately 35 to 40 hours a week (1969).

Bulgarian literature is the oldest of the Slavic literatures. It arose in the second half of the ninth century. Its origin is related to the activity of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius, who created the Slavic alphabet. Ancient Bulgarian literature (ninth to 12th centuries) was primarily ecclesiastical and didactic, but it was characterized by a civic attitude toward social life and by the posing of philosophical problems (Clement of Ohrid, Konstantin of Preslav, Ioann the Exarch, Koz’ma Presviter, and Chernorizets Hrabr). Its development was promoted by a rich oral folk art. Apocryphal works expressed the attitudes of the popular masses in a religious form. Close to the apocryphal works were Bogomil antifeudal works, such as the Cathari Prayer Book and the Secret Book.

In the 14th century the literature was represented by Feodosii of Turnovo, Patriarch Evfimii of Turnovo, and Evfimii’s disciple Grigorii Tsamblak, the author of Eulogy to Evfimii.

From the end of the 14th century on, the development of literature was held back for several centuries by the conditions of the Ottoman yoke. From the 15th to the 18th centuries collections of narratives and moral tales were popular; they were called Damascenes after the Greek bishop Damascene the Studite, whose sermons were translated into Bulgarian. But even in that period, new translations appeared and literature was becoming more democratic. The works of the 15th-century writers Konstantin Kostenechski, Vladislav Grammatik, and Dimitr Kantakuzin were of a general South Slavic character. The first Bulgarian printed books appeared in the early 16th century.

The national renaissance of Bulgaria, which started in the second half of the 18th century, was also a new period in the development of literature. The prominent enlighteners Paisii of Hilendar (1722–98) and Sofronii Vrachanski (1739–1813) were also writers. A national literature was formed between the 1850’s and the 1870’s—during the national-liberation struggle, which ended in the liberation of the country from the Turkish oppressors in 1878. Literature developed as an intellectual weapon of the struggle.

Russian literature played a great role in the development of Bulgarian literature. Many Bulgarian writers studied in Russia and were educated on Russian classical works. The writers of this period include the poets D. Chintulov (1822–86), P. R. Slaveikov (1827–95), G. S. Rakovski (1821–67), and Kh. Botev (1849–76), whose work represented the summit in the development of literature during the Bulgarian renaissance; the prose writer and playwright V. Drumev (1841–1901), the prose writers L. Karavelov (1835–79) and I. Bluskov (1839–1913), and the play-wright D. Voinikov (1833–78) also appeared. There were also tendencies toward sentimentalism (for example, in the poetry of N. Gerov) and romanticism (in the works of Chintulov and Rakovski); however, they did not become well-defined trends. Realism, which was characterized by the inspiration of heroic romanticism (the work of Karavelov, P. R. Slaveikov, and the young I. Vazov [1850–1921]; and the lyric poetry of Botev), became the chief method. The periodical press developed rapidly, including Karavelov’s newspapers Svoboda (Freedom) and Nezavisimost (Independence), P. R. Slaveikov’s Gaida and Makedoniia, and Botev’s Duma na bulgarskite emigranti (Thoughts of Bulgarian Emigrants) and Zname (Banner). Articles by Botev and Karavelov on literary criticism provided the foundation for the aesthetics of Bulgarian realism, which was close to the aesthetics of the Russian revolutionary democrats.

Beginning with the mid-1870’s, after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and the formation of a Bulgarian national state, a process of ideological and aesthetic differentiation took place in literature. Critical realism reached a high point of development. The major inspiration of the literature of the 1880’s was patriotism. Major works devoted to the national liberation struggle of the 1870’s appeared: the novel Under the Yoke (1889–90) and the lyrical and epic cycle The Epic of the Forgotten (1881–84) by Vazov, the outstanding wordsmith; the narrative poem The Bloody Song by P. P. Slaveikov (1866–1912), on which the author worked for about 20 years (the complete work was published posthumously in 1925); and Notes on Bulgarian Uprisings (1884–92) by Z. Stoianov (1851–89).

The flowering of critical realism began in the 1890’s. Satirical works were created—the cycle of short stories and feuilletons Bai Ganiu (1895) by A. Konstantinov (1863–97) and the novella The Epoch That Nurtured “Great” Men (1888) by Vasov; other great satirists were S. Mikhailovski (1856–1927) and G. Kirkov (1867–1919), who ridiculed the mores of bourgeois society. One of the major themes in the works of the realist writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the ruin of the peasantry. The peasant theme is treated in the works of Elin-Pelin (1878–1949) and A. Stra-shimirov (1872–1937) and in the poems of Vazov, P. Iavorov (1877–1914), and Ts. Tserkovski (1869–1926). The image of the rebellious peasant emerged in the poems and prose works of these writers. The genre of the social and humanist short story is characteristic of the works of Elin-Pelin and Strashimirov, who truthfully showed the life of the peasantry, and G. Stamatov (1869–1942), who exposed the bourgeois morality and intellectual poverty of the bourgeois intelligentsia. Civic lyricism prevailed in poetry.

In the early 20th century a process of ideological and aesthetic differentiation took place. Writers whose work was marked by well-known contradiction—P. P. Slaveikov, P. Iavorov (in the second period of his work), D. Debelianov (1887–1916), and others—continued to write; some part of their work represents modernism. Profound psychological analysis in the depiction of man’s inner world lent new traits to Bulgarian realism of this period. Bulgarian modernism (with its main form, symbolism, founded by P. Iavorov) was formed between 1905 and 1918. Its characteristic traits were a subjective view of the world and the cult of the unreal and the subconscious. In the first decade of the 20th century Bulgarian symbolism was represented by T. Traianov (1882–1945), L. Stoianov (1888–1973), and N. Liliev (1885–1960) and, in many of their works, E. Popdimitrov (1885–1943) and Kh. Iasenov (1889–1925).

Proletarian literature arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The portrait of a new positive hero, a worker and a socialist, was created for the first time in the poetry of D. Polianov (1876–1953) and the prose writing of G. Kirkov (1867–1919). Traits of revolutionary romanticism prevailed in Polianov’s poetry and prose. D. Blagoev (1856–1924) laid the foundation of Marxist aesthetics in Bulgaria. Among the major literary scholars of the democratic orientation were I. D. Shishmanov and B. Penev.

Under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and the revolutionary events in Bulgaria, profound changes took place in literature. Symbolism as a trend disintegrated. Many poets—among them Kh. Iasenov and L. Stoianov—broke with it and went over into the camp of revolutionary literature; G. Milev (1895–1925), the author of the antifascist narrative poem September (1925), came to revolutionary literature from expressionism. A new wave of revolutionary literature arose after the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923: A. Raztsvetnikov (1897–1951), N. Furnadzhiev (1903–68), and A. Karalichev (born 1902). The basic properties of socialist realism were confirmed in the 1920’s, above all in the poetry of Kh. Smirnenski (1898–1923), who depicted life from a broad historical perspective; he created in his poems the portrait of a proletarian revolutionary, a forceful reformer of the world. Whereas verse genres prevailed in socialist literature of the 1920’s, prose came to occupy a considerable place in the 1930’s—for example, in the novellas and novels of G. Karaslavov (born 1904) and K. Velkov (1902–60). The image of the proletarian revolutionary becomes more complex in the poetry of Kh.Radevski (born 1903) and M. Isaev (born 1907). The innovative poetry of N. Vaptsarov (1909–42) marks a new phase in the development of socialist realism. Antifascist motifs were expressed with particular vigor in the works of A. Strashimirov (the novel The Round Dance, 1926), L. Stoianov (publicistic articles, novellas, and short stories), A. Raztsvetnikov (the verse collection Sacrificial Bonfires, 1924), M. Marchevski (1898–1962), K. Belev (born 1908), O. Vasilev (born 1904), G. Belev (1898–1963), A. Todorov (born 1906), N. Furnadzhiev, and others. Democratic writers include I. Iovkov (1880–1937), A. Karaliichev, S. Zagorchinov (1889–1969), S. Rostov (1879–1939), S. Minkov (1902–66), E. Bagriana (born 1893), and Lamar (born 1898). Marxist literary criticism is presented by G. Bakalov (1873–1939) and T. Pavlov (born 1890). N. Vaptsarov, Ts. Spasov, Kh. Kurpachev, and other poets died heroically during the resistance movement of 1941–44.

After the victory of the people’s democratic revolution in 1944, literature faced the new tasks of active participation in socialist construction. The literature of people’s Bulgaria is characterized by a tendency toward a profound psychological analysis and a great variety of genres and styles. Prose literature saw the development of historical and revolutionary novels such as The Iron Lamp (1952), The Bells of Prespa (1954), and Ilia’s Day (1953) by D. Talev (1898–1966); The Road (1945–54) by S. Daskalov (born 1909); For Freedom (1954) by S. Dichev (born 1920); and For Life and Death (1953) by D. Angelov (born 1904). Epic novels about the Bulgarian people’s struggle against capitalist oppression and fascism had been created, among them Tobacco (1951) by D. Dimov (1909–66), Simple Folk (1951–63) by G. Karaslavov, and Ivan Kondarev (1958–64) by E. Stanev (born 1907). The socialist transformations and problems of a new ethics are treated in the novels A Family of Weavers (1956–60) by K. Kalchev (born 1914) and Seven Days of Our Life (1966) by A. Guliashka (born 1914). The development of lyrical prose is characteristic of that period (the work of D. Fuchedzhiev, N. Khaitov, and I. Radichkov). Poetry is represented by poets of the older generation, such as E. Bagriana, D. Gabe (born 1886), M. Isaev, and N. Furnadzhiev, and a galaxy of poets who began writing on the eve of the September People’s Armed Uprising of 1944 and immediately after it—V. Andreev (born 1918), V. Khanchev (1919–66), V. Petrov (born 1920), G. Dzhagarov (born 1925), P. Matev (born 1924), D. Metodiev (born 1922), B. Dimitrova (born 1922), and P. Penev (1930–1959)—who created a diversified civic, intimate, pastoral, and philosophical lyric poetry. Problems of revolutionary humanism and socialist ethics are the focus of present-day Bulgarian dramaturgy (plays by K. Kiuliavkov, O. Vasilev, and K. Zidarov [born 1902]). In the late 1950’s dramaturgy was enriched by a group of poets who tried to lyricize drama (plays by I. Peichev [born 1916], I. Radoev, and V. Petrov) and by prose writers (D. Dimov, D. Asenov, and N. Khaitov). Intellectual, philosophical, and publicistic drama is developing (plays by G. Dzhagarov, N. Rusev, and L. Stelkov).

Questions of the history of literature in Bulgaria are dealt with by P. Dinekov and G. Tsanev; questions of the theory of literature, by P. Zarev and G. Dimitrov-Goshkin; and problems of West European literatures, by M. Minkov and K. Gulubov. Problems of literary relationships are being worked on by E. Georgiev, V. Velchev, S. Rusakiev, and G. Konstantinov. Contemporary critics—B. Delchev, P. Danchev, S. Karolev, E. Karanfilov, and L. Tenev—are also making a contribution to the development of literary scholarship.


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Markov, D. F. Bolgarskaia poeziia pervoi chetverti XX v. Moscow, 1959.
Markov, D. F. Bolgarskaia literatura nashikh dnei. Moscow, 1969.
Zlydnev, V. I. Russko-bolgarskie literaturnye sviazi XX v. Moscow, 1964.
Gachev, G. D. Uskorennoe razvitie literatury. Moscow, 1964.
Estetika i literatura: Stat’i bolgarskikh kritikov. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from Bulgarian.)
Dimitrov, G. Za literaturata, izkustvoto i naukata. Sofia, 1949.
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Velchev, V. Vuzdeistvieto na ruskata klasicheska literatura za formirovane i razvitie na bulgarskata literatura prez XIX vek. Sofia, 1958.
Konstantinov, G., Ts. Minkov, and S. Velikov. Bulgarski pisateli: Biografii, bibliografiia. Sofia, 1961.

Earthenware decorated with drawings and sculptures in geometric patterns and figurines of men and animals modeled in clay (Neolithic, Aeneolithic, and Bronze ages—fourth to second millennia B.C.) have been found in Bulgaria. Dolmens in the Strandzha, Sakar, and Eastern Rhodope mountains and wall drawings of animals and men near the city of Belogradchik date back to the early Iron Age (about the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.). Ruins of ancient Greek colonies with many monuments of antique sculpture—Apollonia, Mesembria, and others—have been preserved on the shores of the Black Sea. The high cultural level of the Thracians is attested to by the ruins of the city of Sevtopolis (near Kazanluk), with remnants of richly decorated public and residential buildings and a domed tomb near Kazanluk with a unique ancient mural portraying daily life in Thrace (fourth century B.C.). Outstanding among the excavated antique treasures are those from the city of Panagiurishte, containing gold rhytons in the shape of animal heads, and dishes with narrative pictures in relief (fourth century). Ruins of cities of the first and second centuries A.D. (Ratsiaria, Vidin District; Eskus, Pleven District; Nicopolis ad Istrum, Veliko Turnovo District; and others), forts (Khisar, Plovdiv District; Abritus, near the city of Razgrad), the Church of St. George in Sofia (fourth century), and the tomb in Silistra (fourth century, with an excellently preserved mural) remain from the era of Roman domination.

Mosaic floors with mythological and genre pictures were discovered in the ruins of Roman villas near Ivailovgrad. The construction of Christian churches (the three-aisled basilica—the so-called Old Metropolis—in Nesebur, fifth century; the domed basilica of St. Sofia in Sofia, fifth to sixth centuries; the centric church in the village of Perushtitsa, sixth century; and others) began during the period of Byzantine domination. With the creation of the First Bulgarian Kingdom (680–1018) indigenous Bulgarian art, based on the culture of the Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians who settled in Bulgaria in the sixth and seventh centuries, began to develop, absorbing the rich ancient and Byzantine artistic traditions. The first monuments of Bulgarian architecture (the remains of fortress walls and rectangles in the plans of palaces in Pliska and Preslav, ninth and tenth centuries), constructed of massive stone blocks, had ponderous and weighty forms. The interiors of palaces had marble colonnades decorated with slabs and carved cornices, as well as sculptures of brass and stone. An imposing and unique sculptural monument of that time, found near the village of Madara—the so-called Madara horseman—is a bas-relief carved out of rock of a generalized figure of a horseman with a dog and a lion pierced by a spear.

The church architecture of the ninth and tenth centuries, derived from Byzantine prototypes (the three-aisled basilica with a spacious atrium and narthex, known as the Great Basilica, in Pliska; and the so-called Round Church in Preslav), had colorfully decorated interiors in which glazed ceramic squares with various plant and geometric designs (palmettes, rhomboids, and circles) and depictions of saints were used. Stone slabs and blocks inlaid with multicolored glass were an original aspect of architectural decor. During the period of Byzantine domination (1018–1187), artistic life died out. Mainly fortifications and castles were constructed at this time (the Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin, the Asen Fortress near Asenovgrad, and others). During the Second Bulgarian Empire (1187–1396), Turnovo (present-day Veliko Turnovo) became the main art center. The Turnovo artistic trend was characterized by relatively smaller dimensions of structures than in the ninth and tenth centuries and by striving for decorative refinement. The traditions of Byzantine art were given a free and original interpretation. The walls of four-pillar and single-nave domed cathedrals, built of stone and brick, are divided by recessed arched niches and blind arcades and are decorated with notched cornices and glazed ceramic squares set with multicolored geometric designs. The external members are often not related to the interior structures of the buildings (the church in the Trapezitsa area of the city of Veliko Turnovo, 12th-14th centuries; the churches of the Almighty and John the Unenlightened in Nesebur, both 13th-14th centuries). The 13th and 14th centuries were the pinnacle of Bulgarian medieval painting and miniatures. An outstanding monument of the Turnovo school of painting is the mural (1259) in the church of the village of Boian (today within the Sofia city limits), which is distinguished by the freshness of realistic details, the animated naturalness of portraits, and the refinement of its restrained, shimmering colors. Increased interest in the real world is reflected in the naively expressive miniatures of the “Manasseh Chronicle” (mid-14th century, Vatican Library, Rome) and the Gospel of Ivan Alexander (1356, British Museum, London), in which scenes of Bulgarian history and portraits of historical characters are combined with reflections of contemporary life (clothing, arms, and architecture). Jewelry-making, wood carving, and other artistic crafts developed in the 12th to 14th centuries.

The conquest of Bulgaria by the Ottoman Turks (end of the 14th century) ended the flowering of ancient Bulgarian art. Many monuments of Bulgarian culture were destroyed. In the 15th and 16th centuries the conquerors constructed mosques, bridges, and baths (the Büyük cami [Great Mosque] in Sofia, 1474; Kada’s Bridge near Kiustendil, 1470). In spite of foreign oppression, the traditions of Bulgarian culture survived in the 15th to 17th centuries in the decorative, applied, and visual arts. The severely-colored Bulgarian frescoes of the 15th to 17th centuries seen in the Peter and Paul Church in Veliko Turnovo (15th century), the Dragilevo Monastery (1476), in Kremikovtsi (1493), and the Bachkovo (1643) Monastery, despite the somewhat schematic and canonically generalized nature of images painted in somber colors, are full of dramatic expressiveness and naive realism. In the architecture of this time, modest single-nave rural churches with cylindrical vaults covered with gabled roofs predominate.

The Bulgarian renaissance (second half of the 18th century to 1878) marked a rebirth of the arts. Both secular and religious art entered a period of expansion. Clock towers, bridges, and inns were constructed in cities, and monasteries with picturesque inner courts surrounded by arched galleries were erected in the rural areas. Monastery churches containing vestibules with a western exposure and arched galleries with softly curving cornices built of rows of two-colored stones are distinguished by their decorative and colorful qualities. Some of the builders of that period were outstanding national masters of their trade, such as Aleksi Rilets, who constructed three of the buildings of the Rila Monastery (1816–19); N. Fichev, who constructed the bridge across the Iantra River next to the city of Biala (1865–67) and a number of inns and churches; and P. Iovanovich, the designer of the Church of the Madonna (1834–60) in the Rila Monastery. The characteristic national types of residential houses, with a stone socle floor, a wooden frame second floor, and an abundance of galleries, bay windows, and balconies with decorated facades and interiors and richly carved wooden ceilings (Lamartine’s house in Plovdiv, Liutov’s house in Koprivshtitsa), took shape in the 18th century. A number of local schools of art—Trevna, the Samokov, and others —whose exponents (carvers and icon painters) created iconostases with diversified carved ornamentation developed in the visual arts. The striving to be free of religious canons became evident in painting. The greatest painter of the Bulgarian Renaissance, Zakharii Zograf, introduced portraits of contemporaries and scenes from real life into his frescoes. He also painted the first secular portraits. Secular realistic art developed in Bulgaria in the 1860’s and 1870’s (portraits by S. Dospevski, Kh. Tsokev, and N. Pavlovich; the last mentioned was the first to paint historical Bulgarian pictures), and patriotic revolutionary graphic arts appeared (G. Danchov and Kh. Dembitski).

After Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke (1878) the country’s art entered yet another period of efflorescence. Great urban construction works were begun. The tangled system of city streets in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, and other cities was partly replaced by a network of rectilinear highways. A number of public buildings were constructed in Sofia (the National Assembly, 1885, architect K. Iovanovich; the I. Vazov People’s Theater, 1904, architects F. Fel’ner and G. Khel’mer; and the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Cathedral, 1904–12, Russian architect A. N. Pomerantsev and others). Along with eclectic tendencies a search for a national architectural style (the Synod Chamber in Sofia, 1908, architect P. Momchilov) began in the first decade of the 20th century. During the period between the two world wars, the influence of functionalism and constructivism became manifest (the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Sofia, 1939, architect G. Ovcharov).

The trend of democratic realism took shape in the visual arts in the 1880’s. The artists A. Mitov, I. Angelov, I. Murkvichka, and others painted scenes from the life of peasants depicting their national customs and rites. The flowering of realistic battle painting is associated with the name of la. Veshin. At the turn of the 20th century the work of a number of artists showed the influence of impressionism. The 19th-century realistic traditions were preserved in landscape and portrait painting (S. Ivanov, N. Petrov, and Ts. Todorov) and also in sculpture portraiture (A. Nikolov).

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Bulgarian art entered a period of contradictory creative seekings. A number of masters of painting drew on the experience of European postimpressionism and expressionism, as well as on the example of Cézanne. Progressive artistic tendencies were gradually formed in an atmosphere of sharp ideological conflict.

The democratic traditions of national culture achieved diversified development in the works of Kh. Stanchev, who paints bluntly truthful scenes of peasant life; in decorative and colorful compositions by V. Dimitrov-Maistora, which are derived from folk art; in village scenes by S. Venev, with their broad vital humor; in compositions by M. Milev, P. Georgiev, and Ts. Lavrenov which are based on national legends and full of vivid poetic fancy; and in engravings by V. Zakhariev, V. Staikov, and others of national architectural monuments. Portrait painting (I. Petrov and D. Uzunov) and landscape painting (Kh. Stanchev, P. Mladenov, and others) are developing. Revolutionary journalistic graphic arts (antimonarchist and antifascist satirical drawings and engravings by A. Zhendov, S. Venev, I. Petrov, I. Beshkov, B. Angelushev, and others) has achieved particular sharpness. In the 1930’s the painters N. Balkanski and S. Sotirov and the sculptors M. Markov, I. Funev, I. Lazarov, V. Emanuilova, and others devoted their works to the proletariat, creating the prerequisites for socialist realism in art.

Following the establishment of the people’s democratic order in Bulgaria (1944), Bulgarian art acquired a new socialist content. The scope of urban construction expanded enormously. General plans for the development and reconstruction of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and other cities were drawn up, and new industrial centers were constructed (Dimitrovgrad, Madan, and others). An ensemble was created in the center of Sofia with a system of squares occupied by elegant, neoclassical buildings and the austere mausoleum of G. Dimitrov (1949, architects G. Ovcharov and R. Ribarov). Public buildings and residential and sports complexes were constructed. In the second half of the 1950’s, after a period of imitation of historical styles, the aspiration to use more modern and simple, functionally oriented forms became apparent (the Wedding Palace in Plovdiv, architects M. Mareev, D. Taneva, and V. Vulchanov, and the Hotel Rila in Sofia, architect G. Stoilov and others; both buildings constructed in 1962). Balconies, bay windows, loggias, and strongly projecting, shading cornices provide the attractive outline and plastic expressiveness of the facades. Buildings constructed in the 1960’s are notable for textural and color contrasts and monumental-decorative painting and sculpture. The buildings are an organic part of the surrounding landscape. New spa complexes near the cities of Varna and Nesebur (Sunny Shore, architect N. Nikolov and others; Golden Sands, architect G. Ganev and others; and Albena, architect N. Nenov and others) are planned and constructed in a picturesque style, with tactful use of national traditions. Extensive work is being done to reconstruct towns and villages and to provide them with all the amenities.

Heroic scenes of revolutionary struggle and socialist construction and paintings of happy workers and peasants and national landscapes have become the dominant subjects of artistic works since the late 1940’s. As it gradually frees itself from an oversimplified interpretation of the problems of socialist realism, Bulgarian art is beginning to assume varied and bright national forms. Great gains have been made in monumental and easel painting (I. Petrov, N. Balkanski, S. Venev, S. Sotirov, V. Dimitrov-Maistora, N. Petkov, B. Denev, I. Kirkov, D. Kirov, S. Rusev, and N. Mirchev), easel and book graphics (B. Angelushev, I. Petrov, A. Poplilov, V. Staikov, P. Vulkov, G. Gerasimov, and M. Bekhar), political caricature (A. Grozev, Ts. Tsekov, and T. Pindarev), and mounted and monumental sculpture (A. Nikolov, I. Funev, I. Lazarov, L. Dalchev, M. Markov, I. Kruchmarov, and V. Radoslavov). Painting in the 1960’s sought to create lofty heroic images, to achieve incisive artistic expression and decorative coloration, and to draw on ancient national artistic traditions. Monumental art (the mosaics of A. Stamenov) and decorative and applied art (wood carvings by V. Vasilev, ceramics by G. Bakudzhiev, and rugs and decorative textiles by M. Iosifova, S. Kamburova, and others), the masters of which are seeking to combine modern artistic concepts with national artistic traditions, are developing successfully.


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Bulgarian folk music took shape on the basis of the folk music of Slavic tribes, absorbing elements of the musical culture of ancient inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula; it subsequently experienced some influence from neighboring peoples and conquerors. Bulgarian folk songs have retained their originality with respect to both the artistic imagery and emotional coloring and to several formal characteristics, such as meter, rhythm, and mode and harmonic structure. Most songs are for one voice, but there are two-part songs in west central and southwestern Bulgaria. Many songs in different regions of the country have complex even-beat and odd-beat measures: 5/8, 7/8, 8/8, 9/8, and so on up to 14/8. The ancient folk songs include ritual songs related to pagan rites and beliefs, and work songs, such as harvest and village festival songs; the folk dances that originated in folk customs are the simple round, the handholding round, and the paidushko round. The folk music instruments include string and bow instruments such as the godulka and the gusla; plucked instruments such as the tambura; various wind instruments such as the gaida, the kaval, the pipe, the dodiuk (a single-barrel pipe), and the dvoianka (a two-barrel pipe); and the tupan and other drums.

The adoption of Christianity in the ninth century led to the development of church singing in Old Bulgarian. A Bulgarian church-singing school arose and influenced the musical culture of other peoples. It is assumed that the so-called Bulgarian raspev (liturgical music style), which was later observed in Russian song collections of the 17th and 18th centuries, arose in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 14th century a theoretical music treatise was composed by Ioann Kukuzel’, a chorister and composer of Bulgarian origin who lived in a monastery in Byzantium.

The national liberation struggle against Ottoman rule gave rise to epic songs: iunashki (heroic songs), khaidushki (rebel songs), and vozrozhdenski (revolutionary songs; second half of the 19th century). The liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 led to the emergence of folk songs about Russia. Later, during the struggle of the Bulgarian proletariat against capitalism, the monarchical regime, and fascism, workers’ folk songs were composed about the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923, and partisan songs were composed during World War II.

After 1878 a lay urban culture began to develop. Choirs attached to popular chitalishta (cultural and enlightenment organizations) were organized, as were wind orchestras. The 1890’s saw the development of professional musical composition, the performing arts, and musicology. The first Bulgarian composers—E. Manolov, A. Bukoreshtliev, D. Khristov, D. Pipkov, A. Morfov, and A. Krustev— worked mainly in the field of choral, solo, and children’s songs, using mainly folk melodies. The work of D. Khristov is of particular importance. The founder of Bulgarian musical theater art was G. Antanasov-Maestro, who wrote six operas, one operetta, and five children’s operettas. The first Bulgarian symphony orchestra was organized by N. Atanasov in 1912.

Since the 1920’s, Bulgarian composers have been working in all genres, mastering various musical forms; in addition to using folk melodies and thematic material, they have created original works around musical themes composed by them in the Bulgarian spirit and with the characteristic national sound. P. Vladigerov, P. Stainov, and L. Pipkov, and later V. Stoianov, M. Goleminov, F. Kutev, P. Khadzhiev, G. Dimitrov, S. Obretenov, D. Nenov, and other composers of operas, symphonic works, and chamber-instrument works made a great contribution to music. The first music school was created in 1904; it became the State Musical Academy in 1921 and the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1954. The Bulgarian Opera Association, which was founded in 1908, became the Sofia People’s Opera in 1921; the first permanent state symphony orchestra was created in 1928. Many amateur choirs were organized; they were united into the Union of People’s Choirs of Bulgaria in 1926 (renamed the Bulgarian Singing Union in 1935; existed until 1952). Performers include the vocalists Kh. Morfova, S. Makedonski, A. Todorova, P. Raichev, Ts. Tabakova, M. Milkova-Zolotovich, K. Kirova, E. Nikolai, and T. Mazarov; the pianists A. Stoianov, P. Pelishek, T. Iankova, and D. Nenov; and the conductors S. Popov, A. Naidenov, and A. Dimitrov. D. Khristov and V. Stoin have made significant contributions to musicology in Bulgaria.

A new period in the development of Bulgarian music culture began with the establishment of the people’s democratic system in Bulgaria in 1944. Conditions were created for the comprehensive development of professional and amateur music art. New music genres (the mass song, the cantata, and the oratorio) arose; modern techniques of music writing were applied, means of music expression were updated, and the range of subjects in works reflecting the revolutionary past and the present daily life of the Bulgarian people expanded in these genres. Composers include P. Stainov, F. Kutev, L. Pipkov, A. Raichev, and K. Iliev in the symphonic genre; and P. Vladigerov, L. Pipkov, V. Stoianov, and M. Goleminov in the instrumental concert genre. Outstanding works of music include operas by L. Pipkov, P. Khadzhiev, M. Goleminov, V. Stoianov, and K. Iliev; operettas by P. Khadzhiev, G. Zlatev-Cherkin, V. Raichev, A. Karastoianov, and Zh. Levi; and cantatas and oratorios by S. Obretenov, F. Kutev, L. Pipkov, and T. Popov. Many composers are writing chamber music and choral and other works.

Prominent Bulgarian performers include the vocalists B. Khristov (Christoff), M. Popov, Kh. Brumbarov, D. Uzunov, N. Nikolov, N. Giaurov, N. Giuzelev, K. Popova (died in 1966), Iu. Viner, L. Bareva, and R. Kabaivanska; the pianists L. Encheva, O. Libikh, N. Evrov, A. Dikov, and Iu. Bukov; the violinists N. Simeonova, B. Lechev, D. Shneiderman, E. Kamilarov, G. Badev, and G. Bainov; and the conductors A. Naidenov, V. Stefanov, V. Simeonov, K. Iliev, D. Petkov, and R. Raichev. Musicologists include V. Krustev, S. Stoianov, S. Dzhudzhev, R. Katsarova, N. Kaufman, and S. Petrov.

The leading musical organizations and collectives as of 1970 are the Conservatory, five musical colleges, the Sofia State Philharmonic Orchestra, and the symphony orchestra of the Bulgarian Radio and Television in Sofia, and five symphony orchestras in other cities (Ruse, Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv, and Pleven). There are also five opera theaters (in Sofia, Ruse, Varna, Stara Zagora, and Plovdiv), the S. Makedonski Musical Theater in Sofia, and the Obretenov Bulgarian Choir Capella, two state folk song and dance ensembles (in Sofia and Blagoevgrad), the Vocal and Dance Ensemble of the Bulgarian People’s Army, and two string quartets. There are also amateur choirs in various Bulgarian cities. In 1948 the Musical Institute was created as part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; the institute works on problems of Bulgarian folk and professional music work, music theory, aesthetics, and musical pedagogy. The composers and music scholars are united in the creative Union of Bulgarian Composers; the union’s published organ is the magazine Bulgarska muzika (Bulgarian Music; founded in 1948), which is also the organ of the Committee on Art and Culture.


Krustev, V. Ocherki vurkhu razvitieto na bulgarskata muzika, vol. 1. Sofia [1954].
Petrov, S. Ochertsi po istoriia na bulgarskata muzikalna kultura, vol. 1. Sofia, 1959.
Sb. statei bolgarskikh muzykovedov. [Edited and compiled by D. Angelov.] Moscow, 1962.
Stainov, P. Za bulgarskata muzikalna kultura: Sust. V. Krustev. Sofia, 1967.

The old dance culture of the Bulgarian people is notable for its richness and variety. The development of the Bulgarian dance was retarded by centuries of Ottoman rule. The first attempts at a creative interpretation of dance folklore were made in 1907 by the gymnastics teachers R. Koleva and P. Radoev, who, after the founding of the Bulgarian Opera Association in 1908, staged the first ballet scenes of opera productions there. In 1919, Radoev opened a children’s ballet school. Tours of Russian ballet artists (1920–22) were important for the further development of professional Bulgarian ballet. In 1927 the Bulgarian dancer and choreographer A. Petrov organized the first professional ballet troupe in the Sofia People’s Opera; that same year he opened a ballet school that trained the first professional Bulgarian ballet artists—E. Voronova, S. Aroe (S. Arova), and A. Manolov, and later N. Kiradzhieva, L. Beron, L. Kolchakova, and others.

In the 1930’s the art of ballet in Bulgaria was marked by contradictory tendencies. The choreographer L. Vulkova, who was a disciple of R. von Labaia and M. Wigman, produced at the Sophia Popular Opera the ballets The Green Flute (to the music of Mozart), I. F. Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and later P. I. Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, in which she used classical dance and the techniques of expressive and free dance. The production of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (1938) by the Russian dancer and choreographer M. Froman was significant for the formation of the traditions of the classical dance in Bulgaria. In 1937, A. Petrov staged the first Bulgarian ballet, Kh. Kamolov’s The Serpent and Iana; in 1939 he staged A. K. Glazunov’s Ray monda. In 1942 the choreographer M. Dimova produced M. Goleminov’s ballet Nestinarka, in which she successfully combined classical ballet with elements of folk dance.

The true flowering of the Bulgarian ballet art began after the establishment of the people’s democratic system. The ballet troupe of the Sofia People’s Opera is working in creative cooperation with such Soviet choreographers and teachers as N. A. Anisimova, N. S. Kholfin, Iu. N. Grigorovich, and V. M. Chabukiani. The choreographer A. Petrov has staged A. Adam’s Giselle (1948 and 1960), Swan Lake (1956), and La Esmeralda by C. Pugni, L. Minkus, and N. S. Vasilenko (1958); N. Kiradzhieva staged A. A. Krein’s Laurencia (1952), S. N. Vasilenko’s Mirandolina (1954), and M. de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat (1961). Leading dancers of the ballet theater in the 1960’s included V. Kirova, K. Koldamova, K. Bogoeva, and I. Lazarov. Ballet troupes have been created at opera theaters in Stara Zagora, Varna, Ruse, and Plovdiv. The State Choreography School, with two divisions (classical dance and Bulgarian folk dance), opened in 1951. International ballet contests have been held in Varna since 1961 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1970).

Elements of theater art were known in Bulgarian folk games since most ancient times. The many centuries of Ottoman rule retarded the development of theater in Bulgaria. Beginning in the 1840’s, elementary school students began playing dramatized dialogues in Bulgarian written by teachers. Amateur troupes and popular chitalishta were created. In 1856 theater performances were staged in the cities of Lorn and Shumen. In 1866, D. Voinikov, one of the first Bulgarian playwrights, founded the Brăila Theater Society, the first permanent amateur troupe. V. Drumev wrote the historical drama Ivanko, which was produced in 1872 and represented the summit of national dramaturgy during the Bulgarian renaissance. Amateur theaters became very widespread in the country in the 1870’s. After the liberation from the Ottoman yoke in 1878, the first professional theater groups formed in Bulgaria: the Bulgarian Dramatic Troupe in Plovdiv, which was created on the basis of the Rumelia Theater Troupe; and the Plovdiv Amateur Troupe, the major part of which separated in 1888 and formed the Osnova (Base) Theater in Sofia. In 1892 the Sleza i Smekh (Tears and Laughter) dramatic troupe was founded in Sofia. The founding of the theater contributed to the development of Bulgarian dramaturgy. Many famous Bulgarian actors of the first years of the professional theater’s existence began acting on the stage of Sleza i Smekh. In 1904 the theater was transferred to the state budget and renamed the People’s Theater. The best actors in the country were members of its troupe—V. Kirkov, A. Budevska, K. Safarov, S. Ognianov, S. Buchvarov, Z. Nadeva, I. Popov, A. Kirchev, Kh. Ganchev, E. Snezhina, G. Kirov, and V. Ignatieva. The playwrights I. Vazov, A. Strashimirov, P. Todorov, and P. Iavorov wrote plays for the People’s Theater.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries other professional theaters arose in Bulgaria—the R. Popova Dramatic Theater, the Modern Theater (under the direction of M. Ikonomov), and the Free Theater (all were traveling theaters). The realist tendency in Bulgarian acting arose in this period. This trend was promoted by the work of the actors of the older generation who had received their theater education in Russia. The People’s Theater in Sofia, which was under the management of the stage director N. Massalitinov (1925–44), followed the stage principles of the Moscow Art Theater. Members of the theater included the actors P. Atanasov, V. Trandafilov, G. Stamatov, M. Popova, N. Ikonomov, B. Mikhailov, and P. Dimitrov; and the playwrights S. L. Kostov, I. Iovkov, R. Stoianov, and G. Raichev, whose work was very important for the development of the national theater. At the People’s Theater, Massalitinov created a drama studio-school, which trained the leading modern actors of Bulgaria, among them I. Dimov, K. Kisimov, Z. Iordanova, M. Gerganova, O. Kircheva, R. Delcheva, and I. Taseva. In the 1930’s the activity of the workers of party theaters (the Blue Blouses, the Tribune Collective, the People’s Stage [later renamed the Union of Bulgarian Theater Personnel], the Realist Theater, the T-35 Theater, and others) was a progressive development in the Bulgarian theater; these theaters were later closed by the bourgeois authorities in view of their antifascist orientation. The traveling theaters were very important in the propaganda of progressive culture.

A renaissance of the theater art began after the establishment of the people’s democratic system. The network of professional theaters increased, and the national drama became the basis of the theater repertories.

The theaters in Bulgaria continued to develop the realist traditions. In 1969, Bulgaria had 40 theaters (32 dramatic and eight puppet theaters) and three Turkish estrada (variety stage) troupes attached to theaters in Shumen, Kurdzhali, and Razgrad. The theaters in Sofia are the I. Vazov People’s Theater, the Sleza i Smekh dramatic theater, the People’s Army Theater, the Satirical Theater, the People’s Youth Theater, the Sofia Theater, the 199 Theater, the Theater of the Word, the Student Theater of the Higher Institute of Theater Art, and the Central Puppet Theater. There is a wide network (more than 3,000) of amateur theater collectives in the country. The Higher Institute of Theater Arts was founded in 1948. The leading theater personalities of the 1960’s were the actors R. Delcheva, O. Kircheva, S. Getsov, K. Kaloianchev, A. Karamitev, I. Kondov, L. Kabakchiev, S. Dzhonev, M. Duparinova, I. Dimitrova, T. Massalitinova, and S. Slavova; and the directors B. Danovski, F. Filipov, K. Mirski, S. Surchadzhiev, and M. Andonov. The monthly magazine Teatur has been published in Sofia since 1946.


Derzhavin, K. Bolgarskii teatr. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Penev, P. Lektsii po istoriia na bulgarskiia dramaticheski teatur, parts 1–4. Sofia, 1952–58.
Sto godini bulgarski teatur. Sofia, 1956.
Indzheva, N. Teatur na revoliutsionniia protest. Sofia, 1966.

The production of newsreels and documentary films in Bulgaria began in 1910. The Gallant Bulgarian (directed by V. Gendov), the first artistic film, was presented in 1915. The Lunafilm joint-stock company, which provided the facilities and capital for the filming of newsreels, documentaries, popular science films, and artistic films on subjects of everyday life (Liliana, Under the Old Sky), was formed in 1919. Private film companies produced comedies, adventure films, and other types of films far removed from the lives of the people. Rebellion of a Serf (directed by Gendov), the first sound film, was released in 1933. Bulgarian Cause, the state organization established in 1939, produced films generally noted for their bourgeois-nationalistic tendencies.

After the victory of the socialist revolution, movie theaters, production resources and facilities, and film stock were transferred to the state (1948). A new generation of directors, who laid the foundations for modern cinematographic art in Bulgaria, began working in films during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Much attention was given to films about the war for national liberation and partisan actions during World War II; the nation’s finest representatives became the heroes of these films. Among the films screened during the 1950’s were Kala’s Eagle (1950, directed by B. Borozanov; entitled Escape From Captivity in the Soviet release), Alarm (1951, directed by Z. Zhandov), Under the Yoke (1952, directed by D. Dakovski), Song of Man (1954, directed by B. Sharaliev), and On a Small Island (1958, directed by R. Vulchanov). Relations between Bulgarian and foreign motion-picture industries have been expanded; joint Bulgarian-Soviet film productions include The Heroes of Shipka (1955, directed by S. D. Vasil’ev), History Lesson (1957, directed by L. O. Arnshtam), and On the Eve (1959, directed by V. M. Petrov).

New trends in Bulgarian film art took shape during the early 1960’s. Directors sought to combine lofty civic sentiments and the enthusiasm of the struggle for the transformation of life with the revelation of individual human psychology, poetic generalizations, departure from the typical sketchiness of earlier films, and pictorialness. Films of the 1960’s included Sun and Shade (1961, directed by R. Vulchanov), How Young We Were (1961, directed by B. Zheliazkova), Captured Flock (1962, directed by D. Mundrov), Tobacco (1963, directed by N. Korabov; entitled The End of “Nikotiana” in the Soviet release), The Peach Thief (1964, directed by V. Radev), The Inspector and the Night (1964, directed by Vulchanov), Knight Without a Visor (1966, directed by B. Sharaliev), Rejection (1967, directed by G. Ostrovski and T. Stoianov), and White Room (1968, directed by M. Andonov). Bulgarian film actors include N. Kokanova, G. Kaloianchev, G. Georgiev, S. Danailov, M. Dragomanska, and D. Toncheva.

The directors T. Dinov, Kh. Topuzanov, R. Grigorov, K. Kostov, and Kh. Kovachev are working on documentaries, popular science films, and animated cartoons. The State Film Archive, located in Sofia, publishes the monthly magazine Kinoizkustvo (since 1946). A festival of Bulgarian films has taken place in Varna every year since 1961. There are 3,104 film projection units in Bulgaria. Releases in 1969 included 14 acted films, 15 animated artistic films, 60 documentaries, 60 popular science films, and approximately 90 film shorts and advertising films.


Pogozheva, L. Khudozhestvennye fil’my Bolgarii. Moscow, 1963.
Kinoizkustvoto ν Bulgariia. Sofia, 1960.
Racheva, M. Sovremennyi bolgarskii fil’m. Sofia [no date].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of Bulgaria Capital city: Sofia Internet country code: .bg Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red National anthem: “Mila Rodino” (O Motherland Most Dear), based on music and lyrics by Tsvetan Radoslavov

National motto: “Unity Makes Strength”

Geographical description: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Total area: 42,823 sq. mi. (110,912 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Nationality: noun: Bulgarian(s); adjective: Bulgarian

Population: 7,322,858 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, and Cir­cassian) 2%

Languages spoken: Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8%

Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 84.5%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4%

Legal Holidays:

Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment, Culture and the Slavonic AlphabetMay 24
Day of the Armed ForcesMay 6
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Enlightenment Leaders DayNov 1
Independence DaySep 22
Labor DayMay 1
National DayMar 3
National Unification DaySep 6
New Year's DayJan 1
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in SE Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula on the Black Sea: under Turkish rule from 1395 until 1878; became an independent kingdom in 1908 and a republic in 1946; consists chiefly of the Danube valley in the north and the Balkan Mountains in the central part, separated from the Rhodope Mountains of the south by the valley of the Maritsa River. Language: Bulgarian. Religion: Christian (Bulgarian Orthodox) majority. Currency: lev. Capital: Sofia. Pop.: 7 829 000 (2004 est.). Area: 110 911 sq. km (42 823 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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