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I will take you to a place you don’t want to visit but bear with me. We’ll have a peek behind the Iron Curtain. Namely, a small and proud country on the Balkans that has felt torn between the West and the East for centuries. A country that took to heart the doctrines of both Fascism and Communism and created its own unique blend.
Welcome to Bulgaria.
Is Bulgaria Communist?
The Bulgarian Communist Party was founded in 1919 in ideological lockstep with the Bolsheviks in Russia.
For 25 years, it fought the bourgeois and status-quo. It organized multiple armed coup attempts and uprisings against the ruling fascist government. When Bulgaria allied with Hitler in World War II (WWII), the Communists led the resistance.
The repercussions were severe. The uprising and coup attempts were squashed with increasing brutality. Many of the fighters were rounded up and shot to death. Many of the organizers were put in prison or had to flee the country. The party itself existed illegally for a very long time.
Then, the tides started to change. Hitler was losing the war and the Soviets were advancing West.
On September 9, 1944, finally had a successful coup attempt. In just a few short days, fighter groups organized, broke political captives out of prison, allied with the army, and finally took down Bulgaria’s government.
In the following months, under the watchful eye of the Soviets, the Bulgarian communists executed all members of the last few governments, journalists, heads of the army, Parliamentary members, and regents serving the monarchy. They proceeded to execute intellectuals, priests, teachers, and doctors.
A total of 30,000 people were killed in the span of three months. The monarchy was officially abolished via a referendum held in the presence of the Soviet army. The Tsar — the last Tsar in history — and his family were exiled.
Engineers and specialists who had studied in Europe were brought to court, accused of being foreign spies, and swiftly sent to prison or concentration camps.