History of Bulgaria

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1946 Jan 1 - 1991

People's Republic of Bulgaria


During the "People's Republic of Bulgaria" (PRB), Bulgaraia was ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). Communist leader Dimitrov had been in exile, mostly in the Soviet Union, since 1923. Bulgaria's Stalinist phase lasted less than five years. Agriculture was collectivised and a massive industrialisation campaign was launched. Bulgaria adopted a centrally planned economy, similar to those in other COMECON states. In the mid-1940s, when collectivisation began, Bulgaria was a primarily agrarian state, with some 80% of its population located in rural areas.[53] In 1950 diplomatic relations with the United States were broken off. But Chervenkov's support base in the Communist Party was too narrow for him to survive long once his patron Stalin was gone. Stalin died in March 1953 and in March 1954 Chervenkov was deposed as Party Secretary with the approval of the new leadership in Moscow and replaced by Todor Zhivkov. Chervenkov stayed on as Prime Minister until April 1956, when he was dismissed and replaced by Anton Yugov.

Bulgaria experienced a rapid industrial development from the 1950s onwards. From the following decade, the country's economy appeared profoundly transformed. Although many difficulties remained, such as poor housing and inadequate urban infrastructure, modernisation was a reality. The country then turned to high technology, a sector which represented 14% of its GDP between 1985 and 1990. Its factories produce processors, hard disks, floppy disk drives and industrial robots.[54]

During the 1960s, Zhivkov initiated reforms and passed some market-oriented policies on an experimental level.[55] By the mid-1950s standards of living rose significantly, and in 1957 collective farm workers benefited from the first agricultural pension and welfare system in Eastern Europe.[56] Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of Todor Zhivkov, promoted Bulgaria's national heritage, culture and arts on a global scale.[57] An assimilation campaign of the late 1980s directed against ethnic Turks resulted in the emigration of some 300,000 Bulgarian Turks to Turkey,[58] which caused a significant drop in agricultural production due to the loss of labor force.[59]

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Last Updated: : Fri Jan 26 2024