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The Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP; Bulgaian: Българска Комунистическа Партия, Bâlgarska Komunisticheska Partiya (БКП)) was the Communist and Marxist-Leninist ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1989 when the country ceased to be a communist 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.

Bulgarian Communist Party
Българска Комунистическа Партия
Bâlgarska Komunisticheska Partiya
First leader Dimitar Blagoev
Last leader Alexander Lilov
Founded 1919
Dissolved 3 April 1990
Split from Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by Bulgarian Socialist Party
Headquarters Sofia
Newspaper Rabotnichesko Delo
Youth wing Workers Youth League
Armed wing Military organisation of BCP
Ideology Communism
European affiliation Balkan Communist Federation (1921–1939)
International affiliation Comintern (1919–1943), Cominform (1948–1956)
Colours Red, White
Anthem The Internationale



The party's origins lay in the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Narrow Socialists) (Tesni Socialisti, "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. In 1948 the BWP reunited with the Social Democrats to become the Bulgarian Communist Party once again.

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 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. However, events soon overtook him, and 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.

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.


Sculptures of the communist Bulgarian leaders in the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia:
Vasil Kolarov, Dimitar Blagoev, Georgi Dimitrov and Todor Zhivkov

The leaders of the Bulgarian Communist Party were:

General Secretaries of the Bulgarian Communist Party (1946–1990)Edit

General Secretary Term of office Notes
Portrait Name
Took office Left office Duration
1   Georgi Dimitrov
Георги Димитров
December 1946 2 July 1949 2 years, 7 months Also Prime Minister (1946–1949)
2   Valko Chervenkov
Вълко Червенков
2 July 1949 4 March 1954 4 years, 245 days Also Prime Minister (1950–1956)
3   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)
4   Petar Mladenov
Петър Младенов
10 November 1989 2 February 1990 84 days Also Chairman of the Council of State (1989–1990)

See alsoEdit