Todor Zhivkov

former General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party

Todor Zhivkov (7 September 1911 – 5 August 1998) was the 50th premier of Bulgaria.

Todor Zhivkov memorial in Pravets


  • Now every day, every hour, everywhere there is mat'rial (material) for meeting demonstrations![1]
  • Competition principle does not mean a competitive edge, comrades.[2]

Quotes about

  • In Bulgaria, the key development was not people power, but rather a crisis in the Communist Party as the elderly leader (he was born in 1911), Todor Zhivkov, First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party since 1954, no longer enjoyed the confidence of many of his colleagues, and did not have that of Gorbachev. Zhivkov had been completely slavish to the internal policies of the Soviet Union. As was true in all of the Eastern Bloc countries, standards of living, industrialisation, urbanisation, education, medical care and longevity went up in Bulgaria, from the early 1950s into the mid-1980s; having a southerly location helped considerably in encouraging a healthy diet. However, no dissent was tolerated. The intellectual discontent that ebbed and waned in Poland would never have been tolerated in Bulgaria. The Derzhava Sigurnost, Bulgaria’s KGB, were heavily repressive. From the mid-1980s, Zhivkov had expelled ethnic Turks from Bulgaria, forcing some 200,000–300,000 of them to flee to Turkey. Zhivkov did not have the mentality of a reformer although in the last month or so of his rule he introduced pseudo-reforms. However, in November 1989, opposition by Politburo colleagues led to his resignation. A pro-Gorbachev group took power in Bulgaria only to find itself under pressure from public expectations. Elections, held in June 1990, led to the former Communists winning power. Nevertheless, their inability to deal with the serious economic crisis and with strikes resulted in the formation in December of a coalition. The new constitution, promulgated in July 1991, was that of a democratic state.


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