Popov, Blagoi Semenovich
Born Nov. 28, 1902, in Dren, Pernik Province, Bulgaria; died Sept. 28, 1968, in Varna; buried in Sofia. A leader of the Bulgarian and international youth and workers’ movements. Member of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) from 1922.
The son of a rural teacher, Popov joined the Communist Youth League in 1919. In 1923 he was head of the district and deputy head of the Sofia underground Komsomol organizations. He was a participant in the September Antifascist Uprising of 1923 and subsequently a member of the Vidin Province Party and Komsomol committees. In 1924 he participated in preparing and conducting the first (underground) conference of the Bulgarian Komsomol. Having been sentenced in absentia by the fascist government to 15 years of imprisonment, Popov emigrated on Oct. 30, 1924, in accordance with a decision of the BCP Central Committee.
In 1929, Popov graduated from the N. K. Krupskaia Academy of Communist Upbringing in Moscow and returned illegally to Bulgaria. In October 1929 he became a member of the Central Committee of the Komsomol and in November the committee’s political secretary and a member of the BCP Central Committee. In December 1930 he was made a candidate member of the Politburo of the BCP Central Committee. In 1931 he became a member of the Executive Committee and Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Communist International of Youth. In Sepember 1931, Popov again went underground in Bulgaria. During this period, he was a member of the Politburo of the BCP Central Committee and directed the parliamentary faction of the legal Workers’ Party and the work of the Komsomol Central Committee. In October 1931 he was arrested. He succeeded in escaping and was sentenced in absentia to 12 1/2 years imprisonment. In January 1932 he emigrated again. In November 1932 the Executive Committee of the Comintern sent him to Berlin. He was arrested in February 1933 by the fascist Germans on a fabricated charge of setting fire to the German Reichstag. At the Leipzig Trial of 1933 (September-December), together with G. Dimitrov and V. Tanev, Popov exposed the Hitlerite provocation. The fascist court was forced to acquit the Communists, who were subsequently granted Soviet citizenship.
Popov returned to Bulgaria in 1954 and held leading posts in the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1964 he was awarded a special pension. Streets are named after Popov in the cities of Sofia and Stanke Dimitrov, as is a plant in the city of Pernik.