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Bulgarian Communist Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bulgarian Communist Party
Българска комунистическа партия
First leaderDimitar Blagoev
Last leaderAleksandar Lilov
Founded28 May 1919 (1919-05-28)
Dissolved3 April 1990 (1990-04-03)
Preceded byBSDWP (NS)
Succeeded byBSP
HeadquartersParty House, Largo, Sofia
NewspaperRabotnichesko Delo
Youth wingWorkers Youth League
Armed wingMilitary Organisation of the BCP (1920–1925)
Membership (1989)1,000,000
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationFatherland Front (1943–1990)
European affiliationBalkan Communist Federation (1921–1939)
International affiliation
ColorsRed, White
AnthemThe Internationale
Party flag

The Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP; Bulgarian: Българска Комунистическа Партия (БКП), romanizedBalgarska Komunisticheska Partiya (BKP)) was the founding and ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1989 when the country ceased to be a socialist state. The Bulgarian Communist Party had dominated the Fatherland Front coalition that took power in 1944, late in World War II, after it led a coup against Bulgaria's tsarist regime in conjunction with the Red Army's crossing the border. It controlled its armed forces, the Bulgarian People's Army.

The BCP was organized on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle introduced by Russian Marxist scholar Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the BCP was the Party Congress, convened every fifth year. When the Party Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year, most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader has held the offices of General Secretary.

BCP was committed to Marxism-Leninism, an ideology consisted of the writings of the German philosopher Karl Marx and Russian political leader Vladimir Lenin (from 1922 to 1956 as formulated by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin). In the 1960s, the BCP announced some economic reforms, which allowed the free sale of production that exceeded planned amounts. After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985, the BCP underwent political and economic liberalization which promptly liquidated the party and dissolved the People's Republic of Bulgaria completely. After the end of the BCP, the party was renamed to the Bulgarian Socialist Party in 1990.


The party's origins lay in the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Narrow Socialists) (Tesni Sotsialisti, "Narrow Socialists"), which was founded in 1903 after a split in the 10th Congress of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party.[1]

The party's founding leader was Dimitar Blagoev, who was the driving force behind the formation of the BSDWP in 1894. It comprised most of the hardline Marxists in the Social Democratic Workers' Party. The party opposed World War I and was sympathetic to the October Revolution in Russia. Under Blagoev's leadership, the party applied to join the Communist International upon its founding in 1919. Upon joining the Comintern the party was reorganised as the Communist Party of Bulgaria.

Georgi Dimitrov was a member of the party's Central Committee from its inception in 1919 until his death in 1949, also serving as Bulgaria's leader from 1946. In 1938 the party merged with the Bulgarian Workers' Party and took the former party's name.

Following Dimitrov's sudden death, the party was led by Valko Chervenkov, a Stalinist who oversaw a number of party purges that met with Moscow's approval. The party joined the Cominform at its inception in 1948 and conducted purges against suspected "Titoites" following the expulsion of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia from the alliance. Suspected counter-revolutionaries were imprisoned. In 1948 the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (Broad Socialists) was forced to merged into the BKP, thus liquidating any left-wing alternative to the communists.

In March 1954, one year after Joseph Stalin's death, Chervenkov was deposed.

From 1954 until 1989 the party was led by Todor Zhivkov, who was very supportive of the Soviet Union and remained close to its leadership after Nikita Khrushchev was deposed by Leonid Brezhnev. His rule led to relative political stability and an increase in living standards.[2] The demands for democratic reform which swept Eastern Europe in 1989 led Zhivkov to resign. He was succeeded by a considerably more liberal Communist, Petar Mladenov. On December 11 Mladenov announced the party was giving up its guaranteed right to rule. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of Communist rule in Bulgaria, though it would be another month before the provision in the constitution enshrining the party's "leading role" was deleted.

Membership card to the BCP
Membership card to the BCP

The party moved in a more moderate direction, and by the spring of 1990 was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party. That April, the party changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). A number of hardline Communists established several splinter parties with a small number of members. One of these parties, named Communist Party of Bulgaria (Komunisticeska Partija na Balgarija), is led by Aleksandar Paunov.


The leaders of the Bulgarian Communist Party were:

General Secretaries of the Bulgarian Communist Party (1948–1990)

General Secretary Term of office Notes
Portrait Name
Took office Left office Duration
Georgi Dimitrov.jpg
Georgi Dimitrov
Георги Димитров
27 December 1948 2 July 1949 187 days Also Prime Minister (1946–1949)
Valko Chervenkov.jpg
Valko Chervenkov
Вълко Червенков
2 July 1949 4 March 1954 4 years, 245 days Also Prime Minister (1950–1956)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0115-0010-066, Berlin, VI. SED-Parteitag, Warnke, Shiwkow - Zhivkov.jpg
Todor Zhivkov
Тодор Живков
4 March 1954 10 November 1989 35 years, 251 days Also Prime Minister (1962–1971), and Chairman of the Council of State (1971–1989)
Petar Mladenov 1978 (cropped).jpg
Petar Mladenov
Петър Младенов
10 November 1989 2 February 1990 84 days Also Chairman of the Council of State (1989–1990)

Chairmen of the Bulgarian Communist Party (1990)

Chairman Term of office Notes
Portrait Name
Took office Left office Duration
Alexander lilov.jpg
Aleksandar Lilov
Александър Лилов
2 February 1990 3 April 1990 60 days Also Member of the Parliament (1962-2001)

See also


External links

This page was last edited on 16 May 2022, at 14:02
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