Georgi Dimitrov (1946-1949)

Georgi Dimitrov is one of the few Bulgarians who is included in world encyclopedias. Though subject to much dispute, there is little doubt about the strength of his influence on Bulgaria's modern history. He and the communist rulers that succeeded him were caught in the despotic grip of Stalin's Asiatic regime. The power of that regime was imposed on Bulgaria after World War II, under Georgi Dimitrov's direction.

Born in 1882 in the village of Kovachevtsi near Pernik, Dimitrov was drawn into the revolutionary movement at a young age. He lived in time of turmoil when one could swiftly find his way to the top in the vortex of violent social struggles and political commotion. In September 1923 he was among the leaders of the uprising organized by the Bulgarian Communist Party. Defeat of the revolt forced him to emigrate, and during his years abroad Dimitrov gradually established himself as a leading figure in the communist party's leadership in exile.

The Leipzig fire trial of 1933 was a defining moment in his life and career. Accused of having set the Reichstag on fire, he defended himself brilliantly, and the imperial court was compelled to acquit him. Dimitrov displayed remarkable political courage in what came to be known by many as the trial of the century, and he won world-wide recognition.

His global fame brought Dimitrov the office of general secretary of the Third Communist International with headquarters in Moscow. He soon developed the self-confidence of a leader of international magnitude. His report at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935 outlined his ideas for the struggle against fascism. In the years of World War II he headed the bureau of the communist party in Moscow and from there directed the communist armed struggle in Bulgaria.

In 1946 the Grand National Assembly elected Georgi Dimitrov prime minister. As he also held the post of general secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party, he was in a position of unlimited power. Georgi Dimitrov in one fell swoop imposed socialism on Bulgaria - a process which had been going on for decades in the Soviet Union under Stalin's leadership.

Prime Minister Dimitrov was a Stalin-style party leader who imposed the Communist Party as the single ruling power in the country, eliminated the bourgeois opposition from political life and crushed ideological resistance by means of staged trials and political oppression and executions.

This unmistakably Stalinist political course had much to do with the international balance of forces. It had been agreed between the states that had won the war the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States - that Moscow would be in control in Bulgaria. Once again Bulgaria's future was in the hands of a Foreign power.

Georgi Dimitrov applied the Soviet approach in destroying the old state system and building a new one according to communist rules. He designed the land collectivization and the nationalization of large industrial enterprises and banks. The state seized all private property and took total control of the country's economic system. As a result of these profound transformations the participants in the production process became disinterested and undermined the very foundations of Bulgarian economy. The forcible creation of cooperatives alienated the peasantry from the land.

The republican programme of the communist party and Dimitrov's personal hatred for the crown made any compromise with the monarchy impossible. He was the driving force behind the referendum which resulted in the adoption of a new republican constitution in 1947.

Georgi Dimitrov made certain efforts to adapt the Soviet experience to Bulgarian conditions. At the Fifth Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1948 he outlined the fundamental concepts of Bulgaria's future development, which according to him, was supposed to bring about the victory of the socialist revolution and a people's democracy as a form of working class domination in the state system. The results of the application of these ideas in government are much disputed, but had little to do with true democracy. Four decades later the whole system collapsed.

Georgi Dimitrov's foreign policy was marked by his conviction that Bulgaria was to follow the Soviet line. The blind obedience to Moscow's orders eventually prevented the formation of a federation in the Balkans. To the end of his life Georgi Dimitrov failed to divest himself of the shadow of Stalin who ordered him to bring the party's former executive secretary, Traicho Kostov, to trial and have him sentenced to death. Dimitrov died in the summer of 1949 in a sanatorium near Moscow.

Primary Source:
- Translated from the book "Rulers of Bulgaria"
- Bulgarian text by Profesor Milcho Lalkov, Ph.D.
- Published by Kibea Publishing Company, Sofia, Bulgaria

text used here with permission from translator, save modifications for noding

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