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   Course Title    Contemporary Bulgarian History
Lecturer    Mina Marinova
Institution    Plovdiv University
Country    Bulgaria


The aim of the course is to reveal the historic developments in Bulgaria under communism. The course presents knowledge about the governmental structure, the constitutional framework, the ruling party developments, domestic policy and foreign relations etc. The discussion of questions concerning the character of the regime, Stalinism and its implementation in the country, the parameters of Bulgaria’s adaptation to the Soviet model in political and social life in comparison with the other socialist countries etc. is to develop students’ abilities to ask purposeful questions about the past, to improve their skills of historical analysis, to develop their critical thinking, etc.



The course is compulsory according to the state requirements for obtaining educational qualification – Bachelor. Although comprising a short period of time it has as the objective of teaching about and scientific research on one of the most dynamic and well substantiated periods of Bulgarian history. The significance of this course and of the discipline is determined by the fact that after World War II Bulgaria was driven away from its natural historic development and involved in the largest political, social and economic experiment of the XX century – the building of a socialist society and the creation of the world socialist system.


The Political development of Bulgaria after World War II

1. Bulgaria in the Period of Peoples’ Democracy 1944-1948.

1.1 The Turnovo Constitution and the Changes in the State Organization and the Government of the Country after September 9, 1944.

1.2. The Character of the Developments on September 9, 1944 – seminar.

1.3. The Fatherland Front and the Multi-party System.

1.4. The "Constitutional Question" in Bulgaria 1946-1947.

1.5. The Character of the Peoples’ Democracy System – seminar.

2. The Establishment of the Stalinist Model of Socialism 1948-1954

2.1. The Establishment of Cominform and Laying the Groundwork for an Accelerated Seizure of Power by the East European Communist Parties. The Course of Accelerated Socialist Changes in Bulgaria. The Purges and the End of the Multi-party System.

2.2. The Purges in BCP- the Trials against Traicho Kostov and other Communists - seminar.

2.3. Characteristics of Chervenkov’s Political Regime /1950-1956/. The Personality Cult. The Purges.

2.4. Stalinism. Bulgaria’s Adaptation to the Soviet model – seminar.

3. Political and Social Development in Bulgaria from the Middle of the 50’s till the End of the 70’s.

3.1. The April Plenum in 1956 and the Liberalization of the Stalinist System.

3.2. The Stagnation of Political life during the Second Half of the 60’s.

3.3. The Formation of the New Social Structure of Bulgarian Society - seminar.

3.4. Basic Features of Yugov’s and Zhivkov’s Government Policy. The New Constitution /1971/. The Changes in the Institutions of Government.

4. Nationalism and Nationalities under Communism. The Controversial Bulgarian Policy towards National Minorities. The Bulgarian Turks. – seminar.


II. Economic developments in Bulgaria after World War II

1. Developments and Changes in Bulgarian Industry.

1.1. Economic Change and Post-war Recovery.

1.2. The Establishment of the Five-Year Plans after 1948. The Structure and Development of a Centrally Planned Economy.

1.3. The Strategy of Industrialization of Bulgaria. The Role of the USSR and CMEA – seminar.

2. Characteristics and Structural Changes in Bulgarian Agriculture after World War II

2.1. The Fatherland Government Policy in the Field of Agriculture.

2.2. Stages of Concentration in Agriculture – seminar.


III. Foreign Policy after the World War II

  1. International Status and Foreign Policy of Bulgaria /1944-1948/.
  2. Bulgaria in the Policy of the Great Powers /USA, UK, USSR/- /1944-1947/ - seminar.
  3. The Balkan Policy of Bulgaria after World War II.
  4. Bulgaria’s Participation in CMEA and The Warsaw pact – seminar.
  5. Bulgarian Foreign Policy during the 50’s and 60’s.


IV. Cultural Policy, Education and Science in Bulgaria after the World War II

  1. State and Social Institutions in the Field of Culture, Education and Science.
  2. Changes in Education, Illiteracy, Educational Policy, the Educational System.
  3. Science and Ideology – seminar.
  4. Culture and Ideology – Literature and the Arts – seminar.
  5. Media and Ideology – Newspapers, Magazines, BTA, BNR, BNT – seminar.
  6. Religion under Communism – seminar.



Crampton, R.J., Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century – and after. London; New York: Routledge. 1997.

Dellin L.D., Editor. Bulgaria. Frederick A. Praeger – New York, 1957.

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Stalinism: New Directions. London and NewYork. Routledge. 2000.

Fowkes, Ben. Eastern Europe 1945-1969. From Stalinism to Stagnation. London. Pearson Education Limited. 2000.

Furet, Fr. The Passing of an Illusion. Chicago and London. The University of Chicago Press. 1999.

Janos, Andrew C, Editor. Authoritarian Politics in Communist Europe. University of California Press. 1976.

Lewis, Paul G. Central Europe since 1945. Longman Publishing, NewYork. 1994.

Oran, Nissan. Revolution Administrated.Agrarism and Communism in Bulgaria. The Johns Hopkins university press. Baltimore and London.

Schoplin, George. Politics in Eastern Europe. Oxford. Blackwell Publishers. 1999.

Staar,R.F. Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe. Hoover Institution Press. Stanford. 1988.

To put together this course the author has used historical, empirical, and theoretical research of Bulgarian and Russian historians as well as documents from the archives of BCP.

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