The day before the crash – Bulgarian‑Soviet relations in the nineteen eighties

Iskra Baeva



This article is devoted to changes in Bulgarian-Soviet relations in the last decade of the twentieth century. Throughout the whole postwar period the relations between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union were exceptionally close. The connections were rather one-way - the USSR gave Bulgaria economic aid and thanks to that the country became more industrialized and almost until the end of the system could count on Soviet loans and raw materials. Bulgaria in turn repaid the political obedience and the demonstration of particularly close relations binding itself with the USSR, which gave foreign and domestic analysts the bases to name Bulgaria „the most loyal Soviet satellite.” However, along with the end of the Cold War there has been a fundamental geopolitical change. „Special” relations between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union, of which Bulgaria was proud and which were used, were transformed into a barrier and a cause of problems in the Bulgarian transition to market economy. The path, which Bulgaria had to undergo, proved to be longer than in the case of other the Eastern Bloc countries preserving a greater distance of the Soviet Union. Even before the overthrow of Zhivkov, a new trend could be seen - the reorientation of Bulgarian foreign policy from East to West. During the autumn session of the General Assembly of the UN in New York, Petar Mladenov spoke with US Secretary of State, James Baker, and almost openly promised him an immediate implementation of changes in Bulgaria. This indicates that the political forces after Zhivkov in Bulgarian Communist Party were prepared not only to follow Gorbachev, but also to reorient foreign policy of Bulgaria - something that was made by other politicians in the last decade of the twentieth century.

Słowa kluczowe

Bulgarian-Soviet relations; Petar Mladenov; Theodor Zhivkov; Eastern Bloc; Bulgarian foreign policy; Bulgarian Communist Party

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