Bulgarian Communist Party BCP

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP)


The foundations of the BCP were laid in July 1891 when, on the initiative of D. Blagoev, the social democratic circles of Tyrnovo, Gabrovo, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Kazanlyk, and other cities united to form the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP). The first and founding congress of the BSDP, which was held on July 20 (Aug. 1), 1891, adopted a party program and party statutes and elected a governing body, the General Council of the BSDP. The Marxist nucleus of the BSDP (later, the so-called partisty), which was headed by D. Blagoev, was opposed by a group of opportunists who were essentially opposed to making the social democratic movement into a party.

After the Second Congress of the BSDP (August 1892), the party began publishing a political organ, the newspaper Rabotnik. In 1893 a group of opportunists founded a reformist organization, the Bulgarian Social Democratic Union (hence their name, Unionists). In 1894, Blagoev’s supporters (partisty) agreed to unite with the Unionists in the interests of working class unity. However, since ideological positions had not been sharply clarified, the merger strengthened the petit-bourgeois elements in the party, who took the name Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (BWSDP). The First Congress of the BWSDP (July 1894), at which the Unionists were in the majority, adopted a program and statutes that were primarily’ opportunistic. The opportunists (la. Sakyzov and others) gained the majority in the leadership.

The struggle of the Marxist wing against the opportunists brought its first significant results at the Fourth Congress of the BWSDP (July 1897). The congress made some changes in the statutes and decided to publish the newspaper Rabotnicheski vestnik for agitation and propaganda among the workers. D. Blagoev became the editor of the theoretical organ of the BWSDP, the magazine Novo vreme, which was published beginning in January 1897. At the Fifth Congress of the BWSDP (July 1898), which discussed the character and goals of the party and the party press, Blagoev’s supporters fought to make the BWSDP a true vanguard of the working class. They defeated the opportunists, who wanted to direct the main efforts of the party toward propaganda among the masses of urban and rural petite bourgeoisie.

In 1900 the opportunistic elements grouped themselves around the magazine Obshcho delo (edited by la. Sakyzov), which propagandized the idea of class cooperation with the bourgeoisie. From that time on they were called obshchedel’tsy. The Eighth Congress of the BWSDP (July 1901) rejected the ideas of the obshchedel’tsy. A split in the BWSDP was the unavoidable result of deep ideological and tactical differences within the party.

At the Tenth Party Congress in 1903 the Marxists, who advocated a narrow, tight-knit party (hence their name, Narrow Socialists, or Tesniaki), formed a separate revolutionary Marxist party of the Bulgarian working class, the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists), or BWSDP(NS). The opportunists, so-called Broad Socialists, who wanted to transform the party into a broad organization of all “productive strata” (including the bourgeoisie), formed their own reformist party, the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Broad Socialists), or BWSDP(BS). The Broad Socialists launched a struggle for the solidarity and organization of the working class and led the revolutionary actions of the Bulgarian proletariat. The General Workers’ Syndical Union (founded in 1904) and the Union of Workers’ Social Democratic Youth (founded in 1912) were under the influence of the BWSDP(NS). The party purged its ranks of the antiparty groups of anarchist liberals (1905) and progressives (1908). The BWSDP(NS) fought against not only the obshchedel’tsy but also the supporters of Bernsteinism, centrism, and other manifestations of opportunism in the international socialist movement. The Narrow Socialists were among the left-wing parties in the Second International, but they were closer to Bolshevism than to many other left-wing tendencies.

The BWSDP(NS) fought against militarism and nationalism, and its representatives were prominent at conferences of the social democratic parties of the Balkan countries (1909, in Belgrade; 1915, in Bucharest). During the Balkan wars of 1912–13 and World War I, the BWSDP(NS), which was led at that time by D. Blagoev, G. Kirkov, V. Kolarov, G. Dimitrov, and Kh. Kabakchiev, remained true to the principles of proletarian internationalism. The party fought resolutely against chauvinism and the war and for the democratic development of the Balkan countries. The party exposed the annexationist aims of the imperialist war and voted against war credits in parliament. The BWSDP(NS) condemned the opportunists in the Second International, who advocated defense of the bourgeois fatherland, and called their position a betrayal of the interests of the proletariat.

However, the BWSDP(NS) was not completely Leninist at that time. The Narrow Socialists did not understand that the peasantry is an ally of the proletariat and did not consider the dictatorship of the proletariat the fundamental problem of the proletarian revolution. They had not posed the question of power concretely, they did not connect the struggle for democracy with the struggle for socialism, and so forth. These errors caused the party to adopt the wrong position at the time of the Vladaia Uprising of 1918. The party as a whole did not lead this uprising, although soldiers and officers who were Narrow Socialists took part in it.

The BWSDP(NS) enthusiastically welcomed the Great October Socialist Revolution and became a propagandist of its ideas in Bulgaria. This subsequently played a great role in the further development of the BWSDP(NS) as a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party.

Under the influence of the October Revolution the BWSDP(NS) freed itself of most of its former social democratic views and came under the banner of Leninism. The BWSDP(NS) took an active part in founding the Third Communist International. The entire membership of the party joined the International in 1919. At its Twenty-second Congress in May 1919 the BWSDP(NS) took the name Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialists), or BCP(NS). At the same time, this congress became the First Congress of the BCP(NS). The congress adopted the “Program Declaration,” which reflected Lenin’s ideas on the imperialist stage in the development of capitalism, the seizure of power by the proletariat, and the dictatorship of the proletariat. By the end of 1919 the Party had 35,500 members. On Dec. 27, 1919, the BCP(NS) led a general strike of the transportation and communications workers. In support of the general strike, the BCP(NS) organized a seven-day political strike of all the workers in the country.

The Second Congress of the BCP(NS) (May to June 1920) adopted a program and defined the tactics of Party work in district and communal councils. The Third Congress (May 1921) confirmed a resolution on the agrarian question that proposed a policy aimed at establishing an alliance between the working class and the toiling peasantry. The Fourth Congress of the BCP(NS) (June 1922) approved the tactics of the united front.

On June 9, 1923, a fascist coup d’etat took place in Bulgaria. During the spontaneous armed uprising of workers and peasants (June Antifascist Uprising of 1923), the Central Committee of the BCP(NS) adopted an erroneous neutral position because the committee considered the fight between the fascists, led by A. Tsankov, and the supporters of A. Stamboliiski’s government a fight between the urban and rural bourgeoisie. The leadership of the BCP(NS) soon understood its mistake and, as early as September 1923, led an armed uprising of the people against the fascist dictatorship. Although the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923 was defeated, it played an enormous role in the development of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement and was a turning point in the ideological strengthening of the Party in Leninist positions. After the defeat of the uprising, the Party was declared illegal. During this period the Vitosha Party Conference of 1924 and the Moscow Conference of Central Committees in 1925 were important events in the life of the Party. The Vitosha Conference rallied the healthy forces of the Party, and the Moscow Conference outlined the policy for the next few years.

In 1927 the Workers’ Party (WP) was founded under the leadership of the BCP(NS) to take advantage of the opportunities for legal party work. The Second Conference of the BCP(NS) was held from December 1927 to January 1928. However, in 1929 left-wing sectarians seized the leadership

Table 1. Party Congresses and Conferences
1 From 1919 to 1948 meetings, Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialists); thereafter Bulgarian Communist Party
2 This meeting was also the 22nd Congress of the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists)
Bulgarian Social Democratic Party
 FirstMount BuzludzhaJuly 20 (Aug. 1), 1891
 SecondPlovdivAug. 20 (Sept. 1), 1892
 ThirdTurnovoJuly 3–6 (15–18), 1893
Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party
 FirstSofiaJuly 3–7 (15–19), 1894
 SecondSofiaJuly 27–31 (Aug. 8–12), 1895
 ThirdSofiaJuly 21–25 (Aug. 2–6), 1896
 FourthKazanlukJuly 13–18 (25–30), 1897
 FifthlambolJuly 13–17 (25–29), 1898
 SixthGabrovoJuly 11–18 (23–30), 1899
 SeventhSlivenJuly 9–14 (22–27), 1900
 EighthPlevenJuly 22–28 (Aug. 4–10), 1901
 NinthTurnovoJuly 28-Aug. 3 (Aug. 10–16), 1902
 TenthRuseJuly 6–12 (19–25), 1903
Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists)
 11thPlovdivJuly 18–20 (July 31-Aug. 2), 1904
 12thSofiaJuly 31-Aug. 4 (Aug. 13–17), 1905
 13thSlivenJuly 31-Aug. 4 (Aug. 13–17), 1906
 14thPlevenJuly 8–11 (21–24), 1907
 15thGabrovoJuly 20–23 (Aug. 2–5), 1908
 16thVarnaJuly 19–22 (Aug. 1–4), 1909
 17thSofiaJuly 11–14 (24–27), 1910
 18thPlovdivJuly 3–7 (16–20), 1911
 19thRuseAug. 15–17 (28–30), 1912
 20thSofiaJune 29-July 1 (July 12–14), 1914
 21stSofiaAug. 10–12 (23–25), 1915
 First ConferenceSofiaSept. 16–17, 1917
 Second ConferenceSofiaSept. 22,1918
Bulgarian Communist Party1
 First2SofiaMay 25–27, 1919
 SecondSofiaMay 31-June 2,1920
 ThirdSofiaMay 8–10, 1921
 FourthSofiaJune 4–7, 1922
 First Underground ConferenceVitosha MountainsMay 17–18, 1924
 Second Underground ConferenceBerlinDec. 8-Jan. 15,1927–1928
 FifthSofiaDec. 18–25, 1948
 SixthSofiaFeb. 25-Mar. 3,1954
 April Plenum of the Central CommitteeSofiaApr. 2–6, 1956
 SeventhSofiaJune 2–7, 1958
 EighthSofiaNov. 5–14, 1962
 NinthSofiaNov. 14–19, 1966

of the Party. In 1935–36 they were removed from the leadership on the initiative and with the participation of G. Dimitrov, and the Party adopted a policy based on the decisions of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern (1935). In 1938–39 the BCP(NS) and the WP merged to form the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (BWP); after Sept. 9, 1944, it took the name of BWP(Communists), or BWP(C).

During World War II the BWP fought vigorously against Bulgaria’s entering the war and advocated a pact of friendship and mutual assistance with the Soviet Union. After the treacherous attack of fascist Germany on the USSR in 1941, the Party began organizing an armed struggle of the toilers against the fascist invaders and their Bulgarian agents. In 1942 the Fatherland Front was founded on the initiative of the BWP, and in 1943 the isolated partisan detachments united into a single rebel army. By September 1944 the BWP had about 25,000 trained revolutionary fighters in its ranks. The Soviet government’s declaration of war against monarchist fascist Bulgaria (September 5) and the Soviet Army’s entry into Bulgaria tipped the balance decisively in favor of the revolutionary forces. The Party, which was the guiding force of the Fatherland Front, aroused the Bulgarian people to an armed revolt on Sept. 9, 1944. The monarchist fascist dictatorship was overthrown, and a people’s democracy was established in the country.

The Communist Party became the leading force in the state. Under its leadership the Bulgarian people carried out radical democratic and socialist reforms in a short time. The monarchy was abolished, an agrarian reform was carried out, industries and banks were nationalized, and a new constitution was adopted. Between May and August 1948, the BWSDP(BS), which had been reestablished after the victory of the people’s regime, fully accepted the ideological and organizational principles of Marxism-Leninism and united with the BWP(C). The Fifth Congress of the BWP(C) was held on Dec. 18–25, 1948. The congress adopted a policy aimed at the industrialization and electrification of the country and the cooperative organization and mechanization of agriculture. It also adopted a decision on the first five-year plan, a plan for building the foundations of socialism in Bulgaria. At this congress the BWP(C) was renamed the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). The Sixth Congress of the BCP in 1954 adopted the “Directives on the Second Five-year Plan for the Development of Bulgaria for 1953–57.”

The historic plenum of the Central Committee of the BCP in April 1956 was very important for the further development of the Party and the country. The plenum condemned the cult of personality and proposed measures to liquidate its consequences in all areas of public life. The Seventh Congress of the BCP, which was held on June 2–7, 1958, adopted the “Directives on the Third Five-year Plan for the Development of Bulgaria for 1958–62” and made some changes in the Statutes of the Party. At the congress it was emphasized that from that moment on socialism would be the “universally dominant and sole commanding force in the whole national economy” in Bulgaria. The Eighth Congress of the BCP (November 1962) adopted the “Directives on the Development of Bulgaria for 1961–80” and made a number of changes in and amendments to the Statutes of the Party. The Ninth Congress of the BCP (November 1966) adopted the “Directives on the Fifth Five-year Plan for the Development of Bulgaria for 1966–70.” In addition, the congress recognized that its main task was the intensification of all branches of the national economy on the basis of scientific and technological progress and adopted a policy aimed at the accelerated development of the machine-building, chemical, metallurgical, and electrical power industries. The congress made some changes in the Statutes of the Party. (In particular, it abolished the candidate phase in admission to the BCP.) The Ninth Congress was a powerful demonstration of Bulgarian-Soviet friendship and the unity of the CPSU and the BCP. BCP delegations attended the Conferences of Representatives of Communist and Workers’ Parties (November 1957, November 1960, and June 1969 in Moscow). The BCP approved the documents adopted at these conferences.

The BCP is built on the principles of democratic centralism. The highest agency is the party congress, and between congresses, the Central Committee. The politburo of the Central Committee is elected to guide political work, and the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the BCP, to handle current questions. In conformity with the administrative division of the country, there are district, city, community, and raion (in Sofia) committees of the BCP. At the end of 1969 the BCP had more than 672,000 members. The first secretary of the Central Committee of the BCP is T. Zhivkov. The central organ of the BCP is the newspaper Rabotnichesko delo, and the theoretical organ is the magazine Novo vreme. The Central Committee of the BCP publishes the magazines Partien zhivot and Politcheska prosveta.


Blagoev, D. Prinos kum istoriiata na sotsializma ν Bulgariia. Sofia, 1949.
Dimitrov, G. Suchineniia, vols. 1–14. Sofia, 1951–1955.
Petrov, S. Strategiiata i taktikata na BKP ν borbata protiv monarkho-fashizma (1941–1944). Sofia, 1969.
Istoriia Bolgarskoi Kommunisticheskoi partii. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Bulgarian.)
Istoriia na Bulgarskata komunisticheska partiia, parts 1–3. Sofia, 1967–1968.
Istoriia na Bulgarskata komunisticheska partiia. Sofia, 1969.
Bulgarskata komunisticheska partiia ν rezoliutsii i resheniia na kongresite, konferentsiite iplenumite na TsK, 2nd ed., vols. 1–5. Sofia, 1957–1965.
Bulgarska komunisticheska partiia: Kongres 9-i. Sofia, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Encyclopedia browser ?
Full browser ?