12 January 1995
DIMITROV AND THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY
12 CONTENTS: EDITOR'S REMARKS
Alliance 12 contains
an article that in advance, is known to be controversial. As the Introduction
states however, it is a topic that demands serious attention from the Marxist-Leninist
forces world wide over. We would be delighted to engage in principled debate
upon the issues raised.
DIMITROV AND THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY :
of Contents By Page number
1) THE COMMUNIST
LEAGUE (CL) ARGUMENT SUMMARISED
FROM CONTROL OF THE COMINTERN
2) WHAT EXPLAINS
THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF COMINTERN HISTORY
REACTION TO THE CL POSITION - SILENCE
4) DIMITROV IN
RELATION TO THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY - SCOPE OF THIS ARTICLE
5) ECONOMICS OF
BULGARIA TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR - FROM VASSAL OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE TO
STIRRINGS OF CAPITALISM
6) THE BULGARIAN
7) BULGARIAN POLITICAL
PARTIES UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR: The Agrarian National Union Party
(BANU), The Liberal Party, The Democratic Party, The Tsankov Movement and
Naroden sgovor (National Alliance), The Military League, The Zveno, Internal
Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO), The Democratic Alliance,
People's Bloc, People's Consitutional Bloc (PCB), Bulgarian Communist Party
(BCP). . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . page 13.
8) WORLD WAR I
AND POLITICAL EVENTS UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR
i) Attitude to
the War . . .. . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . page 21
ii) THE RADOMIR
REBELLION . . . . . . .. . . .. . page 22
COALITION GOVERNMENT AND THE FASCIST COUP ULTRA-LEFT BCP WATCHES ON AS
FASCISTS CRUSH AGRARIANS. . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . .. . .
9) DEBATES ON BULGARIAN
INDUSTRIALISATION IN BULGARIAN RULING CLASS PRE-SECOND WW.. page 28
10) BCP ATTITUDE
TO OTHER PARTIES PRE-WAR .. . page 31
11) THE CONSTRUCTION
OF THE FATHERLAND FRONT . page 34
12) STALIN ACCELERATES
THE PACE OF SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA . . . . . . .. . . .. . page
13) DJILAS AND
DIMITROV VERSUS STALIN AND MOLOTOV - ON BALKAN FEDERATION . . . .
. . .. . . .. . . . . page 49
. . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .page 57
FOR THIS ARTICLE . . . . .page 58
. . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . page 59
have recently come a very significant way forward. Now at least there is
a growing agreement in the Marxist-Leninist movement world wide that :
1. Socialism was
created in only 2 European states - the former USSR and the former Albania.
The other so called People's Democracies did not establish socialism.
2. That J.V.Stalin
fought against the resurrection of capitalism, and for the maintenance
of socialism in the USSR. His principal enemy was Vosnosensky whose revisionist
theories were fought by Stalin. From the movement of Stalin's death, the
capitalist restoration inside the USSR began. This analysis was first put
in Marxist-Leninist terms, by W.B.Bland in 1980.(See:"The Restoration of
Capitalism In the USSR." London, Wembley Select Editions. ISBN: 0 86237
Only upon this understanding
and principled basis, will the new Communist International movement be
built. This means, in effect to jettison notions of "market socialism"
first raised by Vosnosensky (See Bland 1980, "The Leningrad Affair", Ibid).
It also means to jettison any equations of "Khruschevism, Brezhnevism,
and Gorbachevism" with socialism. By this jettisoning, the best elements
have begun to rally back to the banner of Stalin. Marxist-Leninists now
accept that inside the USSR, there was a hidden struggle going on against
the Marxist-Leninist faction, who were led by Stalin, and that the hidden
revisionists came to power under the leadership of Khrushchev.
difficult questions remain. These concern the burning need to fully understand
crucial international events:
Was the victory
of fascism in Germany an error of Communist strategy and tactics?
The Communist League
of the UK, led by W.B.Bland, argues that hidden revisionists did seize
control of the Comintern. We will here briefly summarise this view. Then
the relationship of Dimitrov to the actions of the Bulgarian Communist
Party are explored, in particular the formation of the Fatherland Front,
and how later it was used to obstruct moving to the second stage - the
socialist revolution. Finally the attitude to "The Balkan Federation",
proposed by Yugoslavia and Dimitrov, as well as Stalin's response, are
Or was the victory
of fascism in Germany simply the force of objective circumstances ?
Did hidden revisionists
seize hold of the Communist International, just as they did the CPSU(B)
THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE (CL) ARGUMENT SUMMARISED
REMOVED FROM CONTROL OF THE COMINTERN
Communist League (UK), and its immediate predecessor the Marxist-Leninist
Organisation of Britain (led by M.Baker and Bland) charged that the Communist
International was brought under the sway of hidden revisionists led by
Dimitri Manuilsky, Otto Kuusinen, and Georgi Dmitrov.
(See Section 16.
Relevant Bibliography of the Communist League. These articles cite full
The CL argues that,
after the successful open struggle against Trotskyite and Bukharinite revisionism,
revisionism went underground. These hidden revisionists used the failure
of the Chinese revolution in 1927 to remove Stalin from any effective control
of, or role in the CI.
advice to the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), the CPC refused to listen.
Instead the CPC followed a path leading to collapse of revolution and annihilation
of their cadre. The debacle of the Chinese Revolution, only followed ONLY
AFTER the CPC had ignored Stalin's advice. This is revealed by the testimony
of M.N.Roy, the Comintern emissary to the CPC. Nonetheless, the hidden
revisionists utilised the failed Chinese revolution to remove Stalin from
leadership of the Comintern.
Even some bourgeois
historians, have recognised that Stalin did not play any role in the Comintern
"The very words
'Communist International' almost completely vanished from Stalin's speeches
and political report after 1933. Unless I have missed something, he alluded
to the Comintern only twice thereafter: in his report to the 18th Party
congress of the CPSU, in March 1939 when he waxed ironical about those
'who look for Comintern "hotbeds" in the deserts of Mongolia, and in 1943,
when he said that the dissolution had put an end to a 'calumny".
IN FACT, THE COMMUNIST
INTERNATIONAL WAS THEN LEFT IN THE HANDS OF OTTO KUUSINEN, GEORGI DIMITROV,
DIMITRI MANUILSKY; AND LATER PALMIRO TOGLIATTI.
: "The Communist Movement. From Comintern to Cominform". Harmondsworth,
UK, 1975. (ISBN 0 14. 055.097 6). p.90.
Of course, wanting
their cake, and wanting to eat it also, these same bourgeois historians
SIMULTANEOUSLY blame Stalin for any perceived mistakes made by the Comintern.
Nonetheless, Claudin does goes on, to point out that at the 7th Comintern
"The congress focused
its attention on the problems of struggle against Fascism and war. The
policies of 'Workers United Front' and 'People's Front' clearly tended
towards an alliance with the Socialist parties (described not long ago
as 'social fascists') and the democratic and liberal section of the bourgeois.
From a formal standpoint this strategy seemed to be subordinated to an
overall prospect of struggle against capitalism, but the emphasis was laid
on immediate aims: defence or recovery of bourgeois democratic freedoms,
in face of the Fascist threat, fight against the danger of war, support
for the collective security policy of the USSR. It is noteworthy that even
the very words 'world revolution' made not a single appearance in Dimitrov's
WHAT EXPLAINS THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF COMINTERN HISTORY ?
Claudin, Ibid p.90-91.
Every honest historian,
and every honest Marxist-Leninist will acknowledge that there were twists
and turns in the Comintern over the period 1925, to its dissolution in
1943. But only Marxist-Leninists understand that "History makes sense."
These various twists and turns can only be understood if one of three
possibilities are true :
1. The turns were
dictated by objective reality. This position basically argues the tactical
turns of the Comintern reflected "correct" tactic and strategy. Thus, for
example, German fascism could not have been avoided.
This is the usual
position of most honest Marxist-Leninists. This argument concludes that
Stalin was still in control of the Comintern. It suffers from the fault
of excusing any subjective errors at all, and of trapping the parties inthe
vise of "Objective factors". This argument is often advanced by honest
comrades who feel trapped into arguing this way against the following,
SECONDLY IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT :
2. The turns of
the Comintern were incorrect and betrayed serious errors or distortions
of Stalin. These errors are seen as Stalin's sabotage. Stalin is here portrayed
as the hidden "Orchestrator" of the Comintern, concerned only to preserve
the Soviet Union, wishing to prevent the revolution elsewhere. Revolution
elsewhere it is argued, would destabilise the USSR, and furthermore, Stalin
would have to share "power" with other socialist states. This argument
suffers from the fault of a reliance upon an alleged 'omnipotence' of Stalin.
Those that present this view, are usually Trotskyites or bourgeois historians.
BUT THE CL HAS PRESENTED
A THIRD VIABLE OPTION, ONE THAT AVOIDS THE SCYLLA OF THE FIRST ARGUMENT
AND THE CHARYBDIS OF THE SECOND.
THE CL ARGUMENT MOREOVER,
HAS A GREAT DEAL OF FACTUAL SUPPORT.
3. This argument
has been presented above. It is that there was a conscious betrayal of
the international revolutionary movement, by the hidden revisionists Kuusinen,
Dimitrov and Manuilsky. Furthermore, that the take over by German Fascism
was facilitated by criminally wrong tactics foisted not by Stalin, but
by hidden revisionists. These revisionists followed a two step strategy
to disrupt the socialist revolution. Firstly, a criminal Ultra-Left tactic
(Attack social democracy as the greatest enemy) prevented the effective
unity of social democracy with communists, in order to stop fascism. Then
secondly, after fascist victory, an opportunist ultra-right-ism was promoted
leading to unprincipled united fronts where the Communists never exercised
independence of criticism, as in the French Government.
The CL, further
contends that when taking control of the Comintern, the hidden revisionists
pushed out Stalin from control of the Comintern. Furthermore, when Dimitrov
was put on a farce of a show trial (The so called Reichstag Fire trial
which took place in September 1933) by the German fascists, it was in order
to invest him with a spurious authority as a "leader of the world's proletariat".
The German fascists let Dimitrov free, despite the fact that they had killed
thousands of Communists. The prestige that Dimitrov gained by this Trial,
facilitated his later traitorous actions in foisting criminal and mistaken
policies on the Comintern. This allowed him to subvert from within the
Comintern, the correct Leninist tactics towards bourgeois democracy and
united Front work, at the 7th World Congress of the Comintern. They were
subverted into an unprincipled loss of freedom of voice for the Communist
Dissolution of the Comintern
The work of the
revisionists had been crowned by the victory of fascism. Therefore, the
ECCI Presidium consisting of Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Palmiro Togliatti,
felt able in 1943, to dissolve the CI. They claimed two
specious reasons for this:
: that the international situation was increasingly complex.
that the CI was now superfluous as the parties of the world had become
THE CL POINTS OUT THAT
STALIN LATER STATED THAT THE DISSOLUTION OF THE COMINTERN WAS INDEED OF
BENEFIT TO THE WORKERS MOVEMENT.
Stalin said to Harold
STALIN THOUGHT THIS WAS OF BENEFIT, FOR A TOTALLY DIFFERENT REASON TO THAT
STATED BY THE CI REVISIONISTS.
of the Communist International is proper and timely.. it facilitates the
work of patriots for unifying freedom-loving peoples into a single international
camp for the fight against the menace of world domination by Hitlerism."
The CL contends that
Stalin knew the Comintern had been infiltrated. This is shown by Stalin's
actions in the formation of the Cominform. When
Stalin set up the Cominform (to deal with "mature" communist parties, as
Dimitrov, Togliatti and Manuilsky termed them), Stalin put only trusted
Marxist-Leninists like Zhdanov in command. Noticeably, Stalin avoided placing
any of the old coterie (Dimitrov, Kuusinen, Togliatti and Manuilsky) in
control of the Cominform. Only stalwarts like Zhdanov were trusted to first
expose the French revisionists; and then to expose the Yugoslav revisionists.
Dissolution of the CI -Answer to Reuter's correspondent, May 28th, 1943,'
In War Speeches, Orders of the day and answers to Press Correspondents
During the Great Patriotic War: July 3rd, 1941-Jun 22, 1945', London, 1956;
p.66. Cited by CL, Compass March 1994, no.112. p.13)
INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO THE CL POSITION -SILENCE
For the most part,
the CL position has been ignored.
As right revisionism
was until recently dominant - following the lead of the then revisionist
CPSU - this silence was understandable. But, even pro-Albanian parties,
for the most part, have adopted a studied silence. As right revisionism
has rapidly crumbled, and as honest comrades in the splinters of the right
revisionist movement are forced to ask themselves:
It becomes increasingly
difficult to ignore the CL position.
The line could
of course be taken that the CL argument is so absurd that no one should
take the energy to bother with it. But if that were the case, even that
deserves to be placed on paper. The analysis marshalled by the CL deserves
It is true that
the CL has been hotly challenged by some honest comrades. For these comrades,
the emotions surrounding Dimitrov have been impossible to shake. If FACTS
and not EMOTION would dictate a refusal to accept the CL analysis, some
written cogent counter-analysis would be forthcoming.
Those comrades who
indeed, have had the courage of their convictions to put views formally
on paper (for instance a group in Birmingham UK), have not thus far produced
any weighty counter-attack. Instead reliance is placed on the "Historic
role and bravery of Dimitrov in challenging German Fascism in Open Court".
Only one group has even responded in a written form, and this emotion is
the sole crux of the argument put.
This "defence" had
already been anticipated and refuted by the Communist League. The CL case
here rests on the improbability of the German fascists responding to an
individual in court, when German fascists had crushed world wide many other
anti-fascists; and that Dimitrov was afforded extraordinary good treatment
in prison etc. These arguments remain unanswered (See Compass March 1994,
No.112. "Georgii Dimitrov: Tool of imperialism").
Other comrades have
responded negatively, but verbally. Some comrades, cite various data -
eg : Stalin put flowers on Dimitrov's grave, and gave a speech at the funeral.
This weak "counter-argument" is typical. In the absence of analytic counter-attacks,
reliance is placed upon purely emotional arguments that Dimitrov was a
DIMITROV IN RELATION TO THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY (BCP) - SCOPE OF
THIS ARTICLE, WILL
NOT FURTHER RE-TREAD OLDER GROUND.
INSTEAD, WE EXAMINE
DIMITROV'S ROLE IN BULGARIAN HISTORY.
WE ASK INSTEAD
what role did Dimitrov play in the early history of the BCP ?
what role did Dimitrov play building of the Bulgarian Communist Party led
Fatherland Front; and what did the Fatherland Front in practice implement?
To do this, we review
some of the history and economics of Bulgaria up to the Second World War.
what did Dimitrov feel about Tito and Yugoslavia, and what were his actions
regarding the Balkan Federation ? What did various acknowledged scoundrels
(such as Milovan Djilas) say about Dimitrov ? What was Djilas's view of
Stalin, and in contrast what was his view of Dimitrov?
ECONOMICS OF BULGARIA TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR FROM VASSAL OF THE OTTOMAN
EMPIRE TO STIRRINGS OF CAPITALISM.
the 19th Century as a vassal state of the Ottoman
Empire. As a Bulgarian cultural revival in the 1820's took hold
in the colony, the oppressed Bulgarians began uprisings. They were struck
down brutally, but struggles persisted, culminating in the wide spread
but suppressed rising of April 1876. But Russian Pan-Slavic ambition,
led the Russian Tsar into war; driving the Ottomans out of what became
the Bulgarian state in 1878. But tribute continued to be paid to the Ottomans.
Simultaneously a bourgeois democratic constitution was granted.
under the Turnovo Constitution was made, turning Bulgaria into a bourgeois
democracy with civil rights, limited monarchy and a National Assembly (The
Subranie) elected on full male suffrage. Turkish landlords had fled and
their estates broken up to be given to the peasantry. This led to major
land re-distributions :
officials and also smallholding peasants scrambled to sell off their holdings
at reduced prices throughout the decade of the 1880's.. These properties
were often larger and used more as pasture than the average Bulgarian holding,
but were soon subdivided for sale to peasant households.. a large fraction
of the Bulgarian peasantry had acquired small-holdings."
But very shortly, the
rival antagonisms of the other European Great powers - particularly of
Germany against Russia - were felt. These led to the Treaty of Berlin,
barring the Russian Tsars from the Bulgarian throne; and denying Bulgaria
part of its' territory - Macedonia. Bulgaria was ceded to the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. Prince Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, now ruled Bulgaria
from 1894 to 1918, when the Allies forced his abdication to his son - Tsar
(John R Lampe:
"The Bulgarian Economy In the Twentieth Century", New York, 1986. p.24.)
(See Also : J.D.Bell.
"The Bulgarian Communist party. From Blagoev to Zhikov". Stanford, 1986,
On 5th October 1908,
Ferdinand, at the same time as the Austrian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
proclaimed the complete independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman empire
and took the title for himself of Tsar. Thereafter, German and Russian
struggle over Bulgaria ultimately led to the Balkan Wars from 1912 onwards.
These wars ravaged Bulgaria. In the inter-imperialist First World War,
Bulgaria was on the side of Central Powers. By 1918, and the defeat of
German imperialism, Bulgaria was quite diminished in size.
BY NOW, BULGARIA
WAS EXPERIENCING MAJOR ECONOMIC CHANGES TENDING TOWARDS A CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT
"The century preceding
the disastrous end to the First World War witnessed enough agricultural
growth to triple domestic commerce and to increase foreign trade at an
even faster pace. Monetisation and modern commercial practice spread into
the countryside from upland towns. It was from there that Bulgarian artisan
manufacture expanded during the mid-19th Century. Mechanised factories
mushroomed after 1900. This was still small scale private production. Some
state initiatives to promote modern growth also emerged from the government
ministries and two semi-official banks in Sofia.. these public institutions
had.. established a clear predominance over the private centers of economic
power by the First World War."
THE TURNOVO DEMOCRATIC
CONSTITUTION, AND THE BREAK UP OF THE LARGE ESTATES OF TURKISH LANDOWNERS,
LED TO TWO IMPORTANT SEQUELAE :
Lampe, Ibid, p.
The history of state
sponsored modernisation in Bulgaria was quite long, even by this time.
Even the Ottomans had under pressure of foreign debts, sponsored modernisation
centred on Sofia - to be tested by Midhat Pasha for a network of co-operative
banks for agriculture. (Lampe Ibid, p.23).
FIRSTLY, A MAJOR PART
OF THE ANTI-FEUDAL TASKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION, ASSOCIATED
WITH THE SLOGAN "LAND TO THE TILLER" HAD BEEN PART CORRECTED ALREADY. THERE
DID REMAIN A SMALL LANDLORD CLASS, BUT IT WAS ONLY SMALL.
SECONDLY : THERE WAS
A HISTORICAL BACKDROP OF STATE SPONSORED DEVELOPMENT, PEAKING IN NATIONALISATION.
But, despite the
beginning stirrings of capitalist development, the economy of Bulgaria
in this period, was still mainly agricultural (see table below). Table
1, also shows the rapid rises occurring in the industrial sector.
1: BULGARIAN GROSS SOCIAL PRODUCT IN 1911.
*LEVA PER CAPITA (* Bulgarian unit of currency) REAL GROWTH
Large scale private
Small scale private
(From Lampe J.R.
this rate of rise of industry was the most rapid for any Balkan state,
for example, being only 10% for Serbia; and 5.3% for Rumania (Lampe Ibid.
p.35). But the industrial scale was still small.
THE BULGARIAN PEASANTRY
The major part of
the population of Bulgaria belonged to the peasantry. Even by 1948, that
is allowing for a further period of industrialisation (See Table 2 on the
problems facing the industrialisation of Bulgaria before the Second World
War) the vast majority of the peoples were still peasants :
2: DISTRIBUTION BULGARIAN LABOUR FORCE 1948-60
(percent of active
INDUSTRY AGRICULTURE CONSTRUCTION
OWNERSHIP OF LAND
WAS MAINLY IN THE HANDS OF SMALL PEASANTS
As mentioned above,
there was only a very small landlord class... following the break up of
the Ottoman lands. Many of the small peasantry had some small land. But
these were very fragmented:
"Some of the smallholdings
were simply too small to afford a worthwhile marketed surplus. One third
of the country's private owners held less than 2 hectares; and another
30% 2-5 hectares. Literally no trend toward largeholdings appeared between
the 1897-1908 data. Worse still these holdings were unconsolidated, typically
divided among ten or more scattered plots. Half of the holdings under 2
hectares were.. plots away from the peasant's own village, so called parakende
land.. Smallholders on properties under 20 hectares owned over 75% of private
The lot of the peasant
was not great, to put it mildly. The re-distribution of Turkish land had
left small packages of land. Worse, these bore a heavy debt load to Bulgarian
middle men (merchants or officials who had made the original purchase from
the Turks), of over 40 million leva. This forced the peasant to generate
a marketable surpus, made up in grain production on the whole (See Lampe,
Lampe, Ibid, p.27-8.
By 1911, a series
of disastrous harvests led the peasantry into worse penury.
It was now that
the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BZNS)
was formed, and organised protests. After 1903, it was led by Aleksandur
Stamboliiski. (The Agrarian Party
is discussed in detail below). Under Stamboliiski's leadership the Agrarians
made some headway, but they were prevented by Ferdinand I, from taking
more than 15% of the vote in any pre-Ist World War election. They initally
confined themselves at that stage to extensively re-building the network
of rural co-operatives. By 1910 :
"Some 576 cooperatives
with 40,000 members banded together to join the new Central Co-Operative
Upon taking power (See
below for the political developments after World War One) The Stamboliiski
Government promulgated some reforms that further assisted the re-distribution
of land :
Lampe Ibid, p.30.
"The notion of
'labour property', restricted to the size of holding which one peasant
household could work, was .. central to Stamboliiski's Agrarian ideology..
The reform.. of 1920, was however, the result of careful preparation and
economic calculation.. cooperatives discussed the measure.. Its provisions
did decree the confiscation of absentee ownership over 4 hectares and provided
for distribution of state land to households with less than 1 hectare."
However, there was
also an emphasis upon modernisation towards a new capitalist farming. This
allowed some exemptions:
Lampe, Ibid, p.57.
"The maximum holdings
of 30 hectares provided exemptions for workers who could promise conversion
to fruit or vegetable cultivation, or to some form of manufacture within
3 years." Lampe, Ibid, p.57.
The final land re-distribution
due to the Agrarians was not a sweeping one.
it did not affect the land ownership of the "kulak", or the middle rural
bourgeoise. It did however complete a large scale process set in train
from the dissolution of the Turkish Ottoman landowning days. This ensured
that the very large landed estates were relatively few and did not control
much land :
"Only 330,000 hectares
or 4% of arable land, was thereby redistributed.. Nearly two thirds of
that 4% was in fact state land. By 1926, holdings under 5 hectares covered
23.6 % of arable land, 5-10 hectares covered 34.5%, and 10-30 hectares
36.6%. The remaining 5.3 over 30 hectares compared to 14.3% in 1908."
Also the Stamboliiski
Government, reinforced the Bulgarian Agricultural
Bank (Bulgarska Zmedelska Banka [BZB]), enabling
it to become the largest source of
short-term credit in Bulgaria. The industrial crops of tobaco, sunflower,
and sugar beets were promoted as well as mechanisation. These further assisted
the attempts of the native bourgeoise to capitalise and modernise Bulgaria.
The Stamboliiski goverment also improved the lot of the peasant, by further
co-operativisation. Later governments, used these same institutions
Lampe, Ibid, p.57.
The tack of collectivsation
was adopted by the later bourgeoisie, who saw as part of its fruits, a
larger produce export trade. Even Andrei Liapchev
(Agriculture and trade Minister [1908-10] and Prime Minister [1926-31])
heavily promoted agricultural co-operatives. Liapchev also established
a central grain purchasing agency for export known as Hranoiznos
in 1930. This later played a part in BCP strategy to consolidate agriculture
after the Second World war. Also under his regime, a special promotion
of iron ploughs and steam powered machinery through the Agricultural Bank
(BZB), led to an increase in iron plough use by 40%; and the percent of
all ploughs in use being iron was also 40%, for the period 1925-9. Modern
agricultural equipment also more than doubled.
THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS
CAN BE DRAWN THAT A GOOD, FERTILE GROUND FOR COLLECTIVISATION UNDER A CORRECT
SOCIALIST LEADERSHIP AND STATE EXISTED:
i) THERE WAS INDEED
A LARGE LAND OWNERSHIP; BUT THIS LAND OWNERSHIP HAD BEEN EXPERIENCED BY
THE BULK OF THE PEASANTS AS OF ITSELF, INADEQUATE TO ENSURE IT A FRUITFUL
ii) THE EXPERIENCE
OF CO-OPERATIVISATION HAD BEEN FAVOURABLY RECIEVED BY THE PEASANTS.
ii) THERE WAS A RELATIVELY
HIGH DEGREE OF MODERNISATION IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.
BULGARIAN POLITICAL PARTIES UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR
As described above,
Bulgaria was left as a constitutional monarchy, with the Tuvorno
Constitution. The shifting coalitions and factions over 1918-1938
resulted in many governments which are summarised on page 16. (See Table
of Dates on web edition below).
Below this we continue,
and will describe the main parties and blocks.
AND GOVERNMENTS UP TO SECOND WORLD WAR
War One (WWI), during WWI and post war the Government of Democrats under
Prime Minister Malinov.
1918: Radomir Republic;
short lived. President Stamboliiski.
1919: Agrarian Party
Government; in coalition with National Party and Progressive Liberal Party.
Prime Minister Stamboliiski.
1919: Majority Agrarian
Government, under Stamboliiski.
1921: Fascist Coup
led by Alexsandur Tsankov, under the so called People's Alliance (PA).
Later, PA transformed itself into the so called Democratic Alliance, which
formed the fascist government; under Tsankov.
1926: "Bloody Tsankov"
stands down. Gradual return to some measures of bourgeois democracy, still
led by the Democratic Alliance. Prime Minister Andrei Liapchev.
1931: Peoples' Bloc
electoral victory leading to Government : Peoples' Bloc consisted of a
bloc of Democrats, Radical party, Liberal Party, Agrarian Union - the Vrabcha
I section. Peoples' Bloc led by Malinov (Democratic party) and Agrarians
and Radical Party. Led by Prime Minister Malinov briefly, then PM Mushanov.
1934: In May a fascist
Coup led by Military League; suspension of Turnovo Constitution,
dissolution of Subranie; severe censorship. Government of Kimon Georgiev.
1935: In January
Transitional Government of General Pencho Zlateve. January to October -
Various Generals and fascist led governments. Ultimately Tsar Boris establishes
his dominance once more.
opposition forms the People's Constitutional Bloc. Tsar Boris petitioned
for return to constitutional law.
1937: Informal and
loose agreement between People's Constitutional Bloc and the communists
in elections. Prime Ministers Kioseivanov and then Bogdan Filov.
during which the People's Constitutional Bloc is attacked by the BCP.
1940: Tsar Boris
allows German troops on Bulgarian soil.
1943: Boris dies,
his 6 year old son Simeon II takes over. PM is Filov. Continues to ally
1945: 9th September,
Fatherland Front takes power.
Government: 4 members
from each of : The BCP; Zveno; Pladne; and 2 Social Democrats, 2
Because of the
bewildering parade of blocs etc; we give an overview of each main consitutent
of the parties and blocks, and their objective class basis.
In discussing the
parties of Bulgaria, primarily we aim to review their class orientation.
We will then examine
the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP).
AGRARIAN NATIONAL UNION PARTY (BANU).
This party represented
the interests of the peasantry, and was formed in the late 1890's. As discussed
in the previous section, many of their policies would favour both small
and middle (kulak) peasants. But their reluctance to restrict the holdings
of the middle kulak peasants, ultimately made this party the class representatives
primiarly of the kulaks.
The BANU became
important as a mass force, after Alexander Stamboliiski took the leadership
in 1903. His energy, and insight and desire to destroy the monarchy made
him the enemy of the Tsars and his various regents such as Stefan
Stambolov, the repressive President of the National Assembly, and
regent after Tsar Alexander.
to inspire opposition to the BANU, was their pro-Yugoslav stance. They
viewed this as the best guarantee of modernisation.
then, the BANU represented a class coalition of the middle and large landowning
peasantry; who had strong comprador tendencies towards Yugoslavia.
But they also had
the support of the large poor peasant section of the people, for whom they
represented a reformist, but progressive tendency.
By 1908, the BANU
had become the largest opposition party polling over 1000,000 votes. After
they formed the Government post war, they posed a major threat to all the
ruling circles, ie: That section of the bourgeoisie interested in capitalist
development, the merchant classes, the landowners and their followers-
the frightened petit bourgeoisie.
resulted in a fascist coup.
Agrarians were crushed, and formed several factions.
Given the differences
between the rich and the poor peasant, this could hardly be otherwise.
Even in the Stamboliiski
Government, there had been two wings:
wing was led by Daskalov and Obbov;
and the Right wing by Turlakov,
Tomov, and Omarchevski.
After the fascist
coup, Kosta Todarov and Obbov led the Agrarians
for a while.
By 1927, the right
wing under Kosta Tomov entered into alliance
with the Democrats (See below). Most of the Left wing formed the AGRARIAN
UNION. This was led by Petko D. Petkov;
who had advised Stamboliiski on foreign affairs. He was murdered in June
1924. Many others of the Left wing were murdered.
By 1927, Dimitur
Gichev had come to the leadership of the Left. They formed a bloc
with the Social Democrats and the small Artisans Party to form the so-called
"From which the
Communists' newly formed Workers' Party was excluded" (Oren: Ibid, p.19).
They went on to form
the principal body of the Agrarian movement named the Agrarian
Union-Vrabcha I (after the address). Gichev then formed an alliance
with the Democrats in the People's Bloc.
then came objectively to represent, that section of the landed landowners
who wished to participate in developing industry, and were trying to transform
themselves into an industrial class.
Meanwhile many Agrarians
had been forced to flee into exile. They expected the People's Bloc Government
with Gichev to grant an amnesty. But this not being forthcoming, and coupled
with the continued kow-towing of the Democrats, this forced the emergence
of the Pladne Group, named after a newspaper
of Georgi Vulkov.
The Pladne Group
was placed at the service of the more left of the Agrarians. Pladne became
very sharply critical of the Democratic Alliance. But they were also pro-Yugoslavia,
just as Stamboliiski had been. Kosta Todorov, Alexsandur
Obbov and others had wanted to develop a party as a successor to
Stamboliiski's party, with a:
in Stamboliiski's principles - political and economic peasant democracy,"
It also saw:
had returned objectively, to represent that wing of the self proclaimed
leaders of the Balkan bourgeoisie in Bulgaria who favoured a Federation,
of a pro-Yugoslav type.
"An alliance with
Yugoslavia as the keystone of a united Balkans." Oren, Ibid, p.23-24.
This party, had
all but disappeared by the beginning of the period we refer to. But its
splinters lived on in many parties. This party even in 1884, was already
undergoing schisms. These led to the Progressive
Liberals, the Democrats (see below), the National
Liberals (whose leader Stefan Stambolov
formed the repressive Government that crushed early worker and peasant
movements), the Young Liberals, the Liberals
under Vasil Radoslavov and the Radical
Democrats under Naicho Tsanov. A Conservative wing re-grouped as
the Conservative Party led by Konstantin
Stoilov. It is true, as Bell says :
"There were few
or no differences in principle amongst these parties as their shifting
blocs and alliances came to attest." J
But, there were some
differences amongst the factions.
this party was a broad coalition of the large landowning aristocracy, and
merchants; and the capitalists whose interests were more keenly focused
this party came to represent the interests of the small but developing
national capitalist class.
But even they,
especially in the early days of their party, also carried a small core
of support for the court, forming the so-called Tsarska
partiia (Tsar's party). There were then, wings of this party, forming
a class coalition. The party's wings took up various alliances with other
forces at various times, entering into shifting coalitions.
But in the main
the dominant faction was objectively representing,
the interests of the national capitalist class, interested in developing
The party was led
by Aleksander Malinov and Nikola Mushanov.
Malinov was the prewar prime minister of Bulgaria. Under the Malinov wing,
they formed in the 1931 run up to election, an electoral pact with the
Agrarian Union section led by Dimitur Gichev. Together they formed the
MOVEMENT AND NARODEN SGVOR
Alexsandur Tsankov was the primary spokesperson of this movement,
which represented itself as being a "non-partisan organisation of citizens".
In fact it represented the interests of the most reactionary of the conservatives,
whose inspiration derived from the fascists in Italy. Tsankov led the fascist
coup that broke the Stomboliskii peasant Agrarian government of
1921. Tsankov later became a member of the Democratic Alliance, but he
then broke with this and launched a truly full-fledged fascist party, The
Naroden sgvor, that ultimately tied its fortunes with the Zveno
this party represented a vacillating force of petit-bourgeoisie who served
the interests of the reactionary and most conservative sections of the
large landowning aristocracy, the merchants, and the small developing national
As its name implies,
this secret Organisation was composed of various members of the Armed Forces.
They were led by General Ivan Vulkov, and Lieutenant-Colonels
Damian Velchev, Kimon Georgiev, Nikola Racheva. These individuals
played a major role in the anti-Stamboliiski fascist coup. Kimon Georgiev
later joined other fascist coalitions that emerged. But their members were
on the whole also in the Tsankov movements.
they represented a force that was used at various times by the large landowning
aristocracy, the merchants, and the small developing national capitalists.
to Tsvanko, was a fascist group called the Zveno. They were led by Dimo
Kazasov, who was a member of the Social Democratic party, until
his expulsion in 1926. He was made Minister of Communications after the
anti-Stamboliiski coup of 1923. At this point he started Zveno. It attracted
many of the Tsankov Movement, and ultimately became the political vehicle
for the Military League (ML). Kimon Georgiev (of the ML) joined Zveno with
many other colonels and generals. They therefore formed an important strength
of the Zveno. They physically carried out the coup of 1934.
They favoured rapprochement
they represented that wing of the self proclaimed leaders of the Balkan
bourgeoisie in Bulgaria who favoured a Federation, of a pro-Yugoslav type.
capitalists also saw an imperative need for state involvement to finance
native industry. (See Oren N, Bulgarian Communism. The Road To Power. 1934-1944.
" London, 1971. p.14.).
MACEDONIAN REVOLUTIONARY ORGANISATION (IMRO)
employed open terror in their bands operating in Macedonia.
Their sole raison
d'etre was Macedonian separatism; and thus
they targeted the opponents of Macedonian separatism.
they were initially a vehicle for Italian ambition in the Balkans, and
were supplied by the Italians.
As they had no
clear other political agenda, they were somewhat promiscuous in their choice
of allies. In fact they often joined the united fronts of other fascist
organisations like Tsankov, Naroden sgvor and Zveno. As Stamboliiski for
the Agrarians had signed a pact with the Yugoslavs (The Treaty of Nis),
aimed at restraining IMRO terrorism and Macedonian separatism, the IMRO
willingly joined the coup against the Agrarians.
Their hopes for
Tsankov were somewhat spurned, when he did not break the Treaty of Nis.
Furthermore, the Yugoslavia Government further undercut IMRO by signing
the Pact of Rome in 1924. This disillusionment
led to a section of the IMRO negotiating with the BCP. This wing of IMRO
did negotiate secretly in Vienna with the Macedonian Communists (acting
for the BCP) Dimitur Vlakhov and Dimo Hadzi Dimov.
This negotiation included support for a Macedonian Republic "Within a voluntary
union of independent Balkan republics".
But the IMRO led
by Ivan Mikhailov purged this wing, and kept
IMRO to Tsankov's apron strings.
Meanwhile the BCP
established a "United-IMRO" Front led by Dimitur
Vlakhov and Vladimir Poptomov (Oren, Ibid, p.188).
After the Munich
Pact of 1938, the German Nazis established contact and assisted
the IMRO substantially (Oren Ibid, p.145). Later on, there were further
contacts between the BCP and IMRO.
then, the IMRO were first agents of Italian ambition, and then of German
Alliance emerged from the Tsankov grouping that supported his premiership
after Stamboliiski. It was an enlarged version of the People's Alliance
- which carried out the coup against the Agrarian Union government of Alexander
The Democratic Alliance
contained the Military League; plus civilians like Aleksandur Tsankov who
had welded together a rag bag of individuals : from the National Liberal
Party under Boian Smilov, from the People's
Progressive Party, the Democratic Party, the Radicals, and individuals
like Dimo Kazasov from the Social Democrats, and Atanas
Burov of the conservative Narodniatski Party (Narodniks).
The Democratic Party
split on the issue of whether to join the Alliance, and Aleksander Malinov,
remained outside the Democratic Alliance. But led by Andrei
Liapchev, the majority of members entered the Democratic Alliance.
This Alliance objectively
represented the interests of the petit-bourgeoisie, but more importantly
- their masters the developing national capitalist class. It formed the
government of Bulgaria from June 1923 to June 21 1931. The government was
led by Prime Minister Tsankov until January 1926, when it was led by Prime
This was the 1931
electoral party formed by the Malinov Democrats,
a wing of the Radical party (led by Kosturkov),
a wing of the Liberal Party (led by G.Petrov)
and the Agrarian Union section of Gichev known as Vrabcha I. It formed
the government in 1931, by a large margin, though the elections themselves
were interfered with by the government in power.
it represented the aspirations of the democratic bourgeoisie, those who
were interested in the development of the national capitalist class.
CONSTITUTIONAL BLOC (PCB).
After the 1934
coup, all the parties were severely repressed. Under Tsar Boris' personal
regime, established after Boris had managed to sidestep the generals, severe
repressions continued. Democratic opposition forces (The Petorka), led
by Dimitur Gichev, Pastukhov, Georgi Genov, Boian Smilov and Grigor Vasilev
formed the People's Constitutional Bloc. They petitioned the Tsar Boris
for return to constitutional law.
it represented the aspirations of the democratic bourgeoisie, those who
were interested in the development of the national capitalist class.
COMMUNIST PARTY (BCP)
The Bulgarian Communist
party was an offshoot of the Bulgarian Party of Russian
Social Democrats founded in 1891; by
It was heavily
influenced by Georgii V. Plekhanov.
Blagoev soon joined
forces with Yanko Sakhuzov, and Nikolai Gabrovski.
They formed an open party in 1891. But repressions ensued, and Sakhuzov
split off to form a Social Democratic Union.
Both wings faced repression from Prime minister Stambolov's ruthless police,
and they decided to re-unite, forming the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers
Party in May 1893. As a charter they took Blagoev's adaptation of the Erfurt
Programme. For a paper they had Gabrovski's Rabotnik (Worker), Sakhuzov's
Den (Day), and Drugar (Comrade).
But deep differences
soon came to the fore. In the most they centred on the tactics towards
bourgeois parliament; and the role of the peasantry. In Sakhuzov's and
Gabrovski's view, both parliament and the peasant had to be viewed as arenas
of legitimate work for the Marxists. But Blagoev disagreed. He thought
parliament was corrupting; and moreover that work amongst the peasants
was being purely "Socialist".
on the attitude towards the peasantry were critical in such a country as
Bulgaria, and the two wings had very different lines towards the peasantry.
Thus whereas Sakhuzov
"That the party
would only socialise large capitalist enterprises and had no designs on
the peasant's land, home, or livestock,"
Blaghoev on the contrary
argued that :
Bulgarian Communist Party From Blagoev to Zhivkov", Stanford, 1986, p.10.
"The party would
abolish private property from the biggest machine to the tailor's needle,
from the large tracts of land to the last inch of land."
In 1903, these differences
matured into a split. Two factions "Broad Socialists"
and "Narrow Socialists" were formed. The names
derives from their conceptions of work, the Narrows claiming to be "purely"
worker orientated. Blagoev stated that the Sakuhoz led faction was "Broad
and engaged in social collaboration".
The Broads led by
Sakhuzov, stated they also wished to work in other movements as well as
the proletarian movement, saying Blagoev had: "Interpreted socialism narrowly".
The Narrow Socialist
faction was led by Dimitur Blagoev, and formed
the nucleus of the later Communist party. It took part in the formation
of the Third Communist International (CI)
under the name of the Bulgarian Communist party (BCP).
Numerically it was much smaller than the BANU, and numbered about
30,000. Georgi Dimitrov and Vasil Kolarov
were prominent supporters of the Narrows.
immaturity, inexperience and tendency to sectarianism of the Narrows manifested
tiself soon. It was reflected by its poor handling of
the peasantry, its extreme sectarianism was reflected in the Radomir
Rebellion, and finally the September 1923
After the failed
uprising, a turn to ultra-leftist individualist terrorism
occurred with the 1925 attempted assassination of Czar Boris of Bulgaria
in the Sofia Sveta Nedelia cathedral (see below).
debacles, Georgi Dimitrov left Bulgaria for
exile. He firstly went to Moscow, and then entered into struggle for the
control of the Bulgarian party. During this process, he was placed in Berlin
to oversee the affairs of the Communist International.
After the Comintern
was formed in 1919, the Narrows voted unanimously to join. The name was
changed to the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) 'narrow
socialists', and the 22nd Narrows Congress
became the First BCP congress. It endorsed the goal to be the "Dictatorship
of the proletariat". But Blagoev had learnt from some of the prior errors,
and also claimed that socialist revolution in Bulgaria depended:
on the external situation and one quarter on the internal situation." (Bell,
The Broad Socialist
faction were led by Sakhuzov. He had already founded a journal called Obsshto
delo (Common Cause), and aimed to expand the peasant support for socialism.
But this party was heavily based on the revisionist ideas of Eduard
Bernstein. They continued to approach the Narrows to unite. The
Socialist International in 1910 heard an appeal from Sakhuzov to mediate,
and sent Rakovski and Leon Trotsky. This attempt
at mediation was unsuccessful. Within the Narrows, various calls for unity
from small factions, led to these factions being expelled.
Broads later formally became known as the Social Democrats.
Both parties grew
slowly. The membership by 1910 of the Narrow was 2,126 (J.D.Bell Ibid,
p.12). The Broads by 1911 numbered 3,000.
The class position
of the BCP is discussed after the following sections.
WORLD WAR I AND POLITICAL EVENTS UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Attitude to the First World War
During the Balkan
Wars, the Narrows had taken a strong anti-War position. But this had stopped
short of a revolutionary solution to the Balkan Wars. But, there can be
no doubt that the Narrows took in the main, a principled line in relation
to the First World War. Blagoev analysed the war, as being caused by the
"relations between the European powers created by the development of capitalism"
(Bell, Ibid, p.18).
Blagoev even publicly
criticised Plekhanov, (until then his hero), for supporting the "patriotic"
camp. But at the International Socialist Conference at Zimmwerwald (September
5-8th, 1915), the Narrows did not grasp Lenin's notion of creating a New
International and converting the war into a revolutionary war.
The Narrows voted
for the Majority resolution calling simply for a condemnation of the war.
In fact, the Narrows (delegate Vasil Kolarov) voted against Lenin's resolution
at Zimmerwald in September 1915. But in the Bulgarian National Assembly,
the Narrows were the only party to vote against the war budget.
did not call for a revolutionary solution to the inter-imperialist war.
It was actually
Stamboliskii, of the BANU, who called on the troops to dis-obey the mobilization
order. In fact, throughout the war, the Narrows were tolerated as a marginal
opposition, and even its organ Rabotnicheski vestnik was continuously,
openly published, except occasionally at the front (Bell Ibid. p. 20).
The Radomir Rebellion
After World War
I, a Leftward drift of the people's of Bulgaria was reflected in the elections
of 17 August 1919, when the BANU took 85 deputies, and 28% of the vote.
This all led to the RADOMIR REBELLION of 15 September 1918.
As the Allied Expeditionary
Force on the Macedonian Front broke through the Bulgarian defence at Dobro
Pol, there was disarray. Bulgarian troops rebelled and moved back to march
on Sofia to punish those "responsible for the war". By 24 th September,
they had reached Kiustendil, a critical rail center.
At this stage Prime
Minister Malinov released Stamboliiski from his sojourn in jail, and suggested
a joint government of "national unity" until an armistice was signed. Stamboliiski
refused. But instead, on the 25th September, Stamboliiski sought out Blagoev
(BCP) and proposed an alliance to overthrow Ferdinand, saying :
"You are strong
in the towns, we are strong in the villages; together we can take power."
was an offer that can be termed a Worker-Peasant Alliance.
Blagoev refused, citing "irreconcilable differences".
offered to take up the whole of the Narrow Programme - except the stand
on private property for peasants. Blagoev still refused.
went by himself to meet the troops, and arrived at Radomir, where the head
of the troops were and placed himself at the head, declared the monarchy
overthrown and declared Bulgaria to be a Republic with himself as President.
But as the armistice was signed rapidly after, on the 29th September, the
troops laid down their arms and returned home. German and loyalist troops
repulsed the remainder.
STAMBOLIISKI'S Coalition Governement And the Fascist Coup: The Ultra-Left
BCP Watches On As Fascist Crush Agrarians.
BUT UNDOUBTEDLY THE
MAIN REASON FOR THE FAILURE WAS THE LACK OF CRITICAL SUPPORT FROM THE NARROW
THE REASON FOR THIS
WAS THE ULTRA-LEFT ATTITUDE OF THE NARROWS, AND THEIR FAILURE OF MILITANCY.
After the crushing
of the Radomir Rebellion, Ferdinand was forced to abdicate by the Allies.
He did so in favour of his son, Boris who became Tsar. Malinov continued
as Prime Minister, enlarging the Cabinet to include some BANU and Broad
Socialist elements. Through this period, the Narrows grew in size.
At the first post
war elections of 17th August 1919, the BANU was dominant with 85 (28% of
the vote) deputies of 233 elected. The BCP gained 47 deputies (18 % of
the vote), the Broad Socialists won 36 deputies (13% of the vote). The
other parties winning seats were the Democrats (28 seats) Nationals (19
seats), and the Progressive Liberals (8 seats), Liberals (2 seats) and
Radicals (8 seats).
But the BCP refused
to join a coalition government. That left the Broad Socialists who agreed,
but demanded the ministries of the interior, war, commerce, rails, post
and telegraph. Stamboliiski found these demands excessive, and turned to
the National Party and the Progressive Liberal party to form a Government.
Soon the BCP called
a General Strike. But after the army was sent to the Piernik coal mines,
which was a stronghold of the BCP, the strike collapsed. But Stamboliskii
scheduled new elections. The BANU doubled its vote and could even form
a one-party Agrarian cabinet.
wide reforms including: land reform with ceilings at 30 hectares of arable
land per family; educational access; compulsory labour service instead
of military service; renouncement of the erst while goal of a Strong Bulgaria.
But the BCP was
hostile and characterised the regime as:
power of the ignorant rural bourgeoisie and kulak class, And he is able
to appeal to the unenlightened un-classconcious peasantry with his demagogy."
ultra-left sectarian attitude presaged even worse problems. The reform
plans of the Agrarians may not have inspired the BCP, but they had certainly
antagonised the reactionary and conservative elements in Bulgaria. The
National Progressive, Democratic and Radical Democratic parties formed
the Constitutional Bloc which at elections, won a third of the vote.
Cited Bell Ibid, p. 30.
By the end of 1921,
the fascist Naroden Sgvor had been formed under the leadership of Alexander
Tsankov. Moreover the other Bulgarian conservative parties were regaining
electoral strength. The Fascists had the support of the Tsar Boris, the
Military League, the Naroden sgvor, and the IMRO. With The Constitutional
Bloc, they organised a coup. At the beginning of August, Atanas Burov (Constitutional
Bloc) announced that the Bloc would take to the streets to drive out :
"That garbage from
the Bulgarian village".
The BCP did, it is
true, modify slightly its sectarian approach to the Agrarians. At
a secret meeting, they pledged to support the Agrarians in the event of
a coup. Unfortunately, as the BCP never made this public, this was a rather
ineffective pledge. One moreover, that when the need arose was not even
lived up to.
(Bell, Ibid, p.32).
At Turnovo, the
Agrarians confronted the Constitutional Bloc mass meeting. The train carrying
the members of the Constitutional Bloc was stopped by peasants, who arrested
It was only belatedly
that the BCP offered help. But even this willingness to help soon vanished.
With the apparent victory at Turnovo, the old attitudes of the BCP re-surfaced
in regards to the Agrarians. This can be seen from their statements. The
BCP stated in council (January 21-22 1923), to discuss various recent Comintern
"No worker - peasant
government could be achieved in Bulgaria through coalition between the
BCP and the BANU, and that the party understood the Comintern Resolution
as calling for greater effort to win the peasantry away from the Agrarian
is true that the Comintern did not address the issues of coalition with
the Agrarian parties.
Bell, Ibid, p.
the Comintern's deliberations, did address the very policies that the BCP
had deliberately set itself against.
ie. Joint work
with the poor and labouring peasants. The 4th Congress of the Comintern
(the last attended by Lenin) had stated that the tactics of the United
Front were to be applied to the peasantry. "The Comintern Agrarian Action
Programme Theses" adopted by the November 1922 4th Comintern Congress,
only the proletarian revolution could liberate the peasantry finally and
that the poor working peasants and the small tenants are natural allies
of the industrial proletariat;
that the agricultural labourers and poor peasants, and sections of the
middle peasants must be made conscious of their objective allies-the industrial
workers. In order to do this:
"It is not enough
to put forward a programme or carry on propaganda, the communist party
must prove by constant action in the interests of these strata that it
is really the party of all working and oppressed people."
Therefore the Communist Party places itself at the head of every struggle
waged by the rural working class against the rural classes.. Using their
day to day demands as a rallying point, the Communist party unites the
scattered forces of the land workers, stimulates their will to fight, and
supports the fight by bringing to bear the forces of the industrial proletariat..
the fact that the industrial workers fight for the interests of the rural
workers and poor peasants will convince them that:
1) It is only the
Communist party which takes their cause seriously, while all other parties,
agrarian as well as social-democratic only want to dupe them with demagogic
phrases and are really at the service of the large landowners and capitalists.;
(2) No permanent
improvement in their position is possible within capitalism."
Extracts from Original
published 30.11.1922, in Protokoll, iv, p.831, cited by : Jane Degras :
"The Communist International. 1919-1943", London, 1971, Volume One. p.396.
In a new election,
the BANU was able to form a majority Assembly (212 deputies elected for
the BANU out of 245 in total). The coup began on 9 June, 1923. Tsar Boris
declared Tsankov as Prime Minister. Physical attacks intensified, and Agrarians
were defending themselves. In this charged atmosphere, Stamboliiski asked
the BCP for aid. The BCP's CC instead issued a proclamation that:
THE WHOLE LOGIC OF
THESE THESES, IS TO TAKE THE POOR AND SECTIONS OF MIDDLE PEASANTRY AS AN
AS SEEN, THE BCP HAD
REJECTED THIS LOGIC LONG AGO.
UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE
MEANTIME, THE FASCISTS, WERE NOT GOING TO BE CONTENT WITH THE TEMPORARY
DEFEAT IMPOSED UPON THEM AT TURNOVO.
overthrow of this "peasant bourgeoisie", and ordering party members "not
to come to the aid of this government.".. forces already mobilised, were
disbanded after the central committee's directives. In other areas, local
Communists who had instinctively sided with the Agrarians were also persuaded
to abandon the struggle. Stamboliiski.. was beheaded after prolonged torture.
By June 14th, the country was pacified."
The BCP had adopted
the line that the coup was part of a war between two wings of the bourgeoisie.
It therefore advised and took a "neutral line".
Bell, Ibid, p.34-35.
The BCP had calmly
watched, and worse had sabotaged active defence of the Agrarian masses.
Remembering the words of the Comintern at the 4th Congress:
"It is not enough
to put forward a programme or carry on propaganda, the communist party
must prove by constant action in the interests of these strata that it
is really the party of all working and oppressed people."
The Comintern reacted
adversely to the news of the coup.
IT SHOULD BE ASKED
: COULD THIS SABOTAGE OF THE BCP, POSSIBLY BE CONSTRUED AS:
IN THE INTERESTS OF THESE STRATA." ?
compared the situation to the Kornilov Affair where the Bolsheviks had
supported Kerensky, and stated that support to Stamboliiski at that juncture
would have been imperative. It should be remembered that at this stage
Zinoviev led the Comitnern and as yet had not adopted a revisionist track.
Radek demanded that the BCP consider now an alliance with the BANU
"from above"; and Kolarov (Member of the CC
of the BCP) was sent back to Bulgaria to discuss these issues. Despite
being caught at the border by the police, and his standing as "One of our
best comrades in the ECCI", according to Zinoviev - (See Jane Degras :
Ibid, Volume 2: p.27), he was freed.
Bell comments :
"It was a measure
of the party's good relations with the Tsankov regime that it was able
to gain Kolarov's release." Bell, Ibid, p.35.
The ECCI, as yet not
fully in revisionist control, clearly condemned the mistaken policy of
THE ECCI IN FACT
CHANGED THE WORDING OF THE SLOGAN "WORKERS GOVERNMENT" TO "WORKERS AND
To explain the new
slogan, it also carried a resolution explaining its meaning (See p.27 Degras
J, Ibid, Vol 2.). In its ECCI Appeal To The Workers and Peasants of Bulgaria
To Oppose The New Bulgarian Government (printed Inprekorr, iii, p.985,
5 July 1923), the ECCI pointedly stated :
thinks that the struggle of the now triumphant white clique against Stamboliiski
is a struggle between two bourgeois cliques in which the working class
can be neutral, will now be taught better by the bloody persecution of
the workers organisations. The putchists are now the enemy and must be
defeated. Unite for the fight against the white revolt not only with the
broad masses of the peasantry, but with the leaders of the peasant party
who are still alive. Show them what a split between the workers and peasants
has led to, and summon them to a common struggle for a workers' and peasants'
government." J.Degras, Vol 2, Ibid, p.50.
the party CC met and still endorsed the neutrality policy by a vote of
42 to 2. Thereafter, even after still further criticism by the
ECCI, the CC of the BCP on 10 July, still held to their line, saying that
the ECCI did not have "full information" (See Degras, Ibid, Vol 2, commentary
p.48). The CC of the BCP even disowned some of its local communists who
had been arrested and tried by Tsankov for resisting; four of these were
later sentenced to death.
Kolarov's release and arrival in Sofia, he managed to reverse the BCP-CC
line after installing four new members.
He then began to
organise a counter-coup, approaching the Agrarian Union, the Broads and
even members of IMRO. The Broads rejected this approach, a member of theirs
- Dimo Kazasov having joined Tsankov's Cabinet. The IMRO fascists also
rejected the offer. Only some Agrarians agreed. But Tsankov's police swooped
on 12 September arresting most key players.
In this precarious
situation, it is extremely dubious that any call should now have been given,
to rise. But a final decision was left to a committee,
consisting of Kolarov, Dimitrov, Lukanov and Todor
Petrov. They moved near the border, and against Lukanov's solitary
vote, a decision to commence a rising was taken.
But no preperations
had been made.
The 22-23 September
was not surprisingly then, a fiasco.
Many units did
not rise, leaving isolated revolts to be bloodily suppressed by IMRO and
government troops. As Bell, with some justice says:
"At best the September
Uprising was a blood sacrifice through which the party gained expiation
for its past sins in the eyes of the Comintern, and it provided its survivors
with reputations as revolutionary heroes."
Bell, Ibid, p.37.
final Ultra-Left posture was the bomb blast in 1925 in Sveta Nedelya
Cathedral in Sofia, which aimed to kill Tsar Boris, but it failed in even
doin this. However, teh blast did succeed in killing 128 people and wounding
THE HISTORY OF THE
BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY IN THESE YEARS REVEALS SERIOUS ULTRA-LEFT SECTARIANISM.
MOST SERIOUS OF THESE
WAS THE REFUSAL TO UNITE WITH THE PEASANTRY.
THIS FATAL ERROR WAS
COUPLED AT TWO CRITICAL JUNCTURES
- THE RADOMIR REBELLION,
AND THE 9 JUNE COUP - TO A SERIOUS LACK OF REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT.
AS A MEMBER OF THE
LEADING CIRCLES OF THE BCP AT THIS TIME, DIMITROV
SHARES RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE SERIOUS ERRORS.
distinguish between solitary acts of individual terror, and mass movements
that use revolutionary terror. The latter is necessary. The former is counter-productive
and acts to isolate the perpetrators of the individual terror. Therefore
Marxist-Leninists condemn individual terror. The Sveta Nedelya bombing
was conducted without a mass base, and was an act of individual terror.
claimed firstly that there was no BCP involvement in the decision to place
the bomb in Sveta Nedelya; but he then accepted the bomb was the work of
an ultra-left faction of the BCP. But, subsequently the testimony of Petur
Semerjeev (Then on the Central Committee), given to Bell, states
that Georgii Dimitrov himself gave the order for the blast (See Bell, Ibid,
The next phase of
much of the history of the BCP, is the story of the battles within various
factions of the party to gain control of the BCP.
We can not enter this
labyrinth of factional fights, for the purposes of space, in this article.
Dimitrov was allied
to Kolarov, and found a niche within the Communist International.
The Comintern did not
fully support the faction of Dimitrov and Kolarov, in their struggle for
control of the BCP, until later.
It was only after the
full seizure of the Comintern by the hidden revisionists, and after Dimitrov
had been catapulted into prominence by the Reichstag Trial, that Dimitrov's
position within the CC of the BCP became fully secure.
DEBATES ABOUT BULGARIAN INDUSTRIALISATION IN THE BULGARIAN RULING CLASS
- BEFORE THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
German and French
capital had effectively prevented the development of industrial capital
in Bulgaria. They blocked the use of the former Oriental Railway Company,
which had fallen to the Deutsche Bank, who prevented Bulgarian railways
from establishing an independent route. But this was just a symptom of
For the Bulgarian
merchants and capitalists who had designs on furthering themselves, capital
investments proved difficult. The debate about how to finance the growth
of Bulgarian industry centred on the inability of the native banks to fund
them. Foreign capital deliberately kept Bulgarian under-financed. Most
sections of the Subranie wanted industrial investment. Even the earlier
opposition to industrialisation by the Agrarians had now become transformed
into a desire for state ownership. This was articulated by Stamboliiski's
statement in the Subranie (National Assembly) (Lampe Ibid, p.39).
IN ESSENCE ALL
PARTIES WERE AGREED, THAT TO LIMIT FOREIGN INROADS WAS CRITICAL FOR BULGARIAN
This is also why, later,
the un-concealed capitalists would indeed join the battle for "building
socialism" under the Fatherland Front.
They knew the need
for a state sponsored investment programme. That is why the speeches of
Dimitrov accented the need for these capitalists to "ensure their future"
by turning themselves into state functionaries (See below).
were other precedents in the Bulgarian State for a widespread policy of
For example, there
was the co-operative movement in agriculture organised very largely by
state assistance; secondly there were the attempts to building up native
industry behind protective barriers and state assistance; thirdly there
was the state role in the banking system outlined below.
War I, the State took control of much of the labour force, and the
agricultural reserves. But trade agreements with militarist Germany obviously
favoured the drain of Bulgaria's resources. By the end of the First World
War, the people were penurious and starving. Now the Allied War Reparations
were an additional problem. But by the late 1920's comprehensive, protective
Tariffs had been put in place by Liapchev. This ensured some
further development of industry. But this was destroyed by the new world
wide depression (excluding the Soviet Union). The elections of 1931 brought
down Liapchev's Democratic Concord. Now the National Bloc took over, but
their goals were no different. The new prime Minister (Aleksandur Malinov,
then Nikolai Mushanov); was supported by Dimitur Gichev of the Vrabcha
I wing of the Agrarian party.
But an increasing
fascisisation led to the Zveno movement (founded in 1927), who aided
by the Military League, staged a successful bloodless coup on 19
May 1934, seizing power. Their leader Kimon Georgiev became Prime
Minister. They tried to continue "modernisation" (Lampe p.79). Over this
period, private banking virtually collapsed, apart from the Banka Bulgarski
Kredit. This latter bank, had been formed as a new state institution
from 19 private banks by the Zveno regime. The collapse of most private
banks left the state central bank (Bulgarska Narodna Banka) and
the Bulgarian Agricultural Bank (BZB); along with the Banka Bulgarski
Kredit (another state institution) in control. Simultaneously, European
banking capital assets in Bulgaria fell drastically (Lampe Ibid, pp.90-93).
By the beginning
of the Second World War, import substitution had allowed a certain amount
of growth for the Bulgarian industry. Real output increased by 52% between
1929 and 1938, at an annual rate of 4.8%. Contrasted to this was the European
average of 1.1. But manufactured goods were still low in this output, as
opposed to processed foodstuffs (Lampe Ibid, p.94). Actually, artisan based
industry appeared to have done better than mechanised industry in firms
of 10 or more employees. Over 1926-1938 the share of artisan production
went from 5 to 9.3%; whereas the share of labour force in the mechanised
industries went from 13 to only 14%.
By 22 January, 1935,
Tsar Boris and the military high command had carried out a counter-coup.
Tsar Boris restored a limited and shame democracy. He established Subranie
membership from "approved lists", and an election in 1938 was allowed without
any party labels and thus participation. Now the economic objectives of
the State, did indeed change. For Tsar Boris, now aimed to turn Bulgaria
into a more compete dependency of German imperialism. Boris turned the
state towards an alliance with Germany. The German share of all Bulgarian
exports was now 36 % in 1931, but by 1939 was 88% (Lampe Ibid, p.89). Now
Bulgaria entered the Second World War as an ally of the Germans, its ruling
class having been bribed by Germany's invitation to occupy Macedonia and
INTERIM CONCLUSION :
Bulgaria entered the
Second World War as a dependent colony upon German imperialism.
By then, Bulgaria had
established some forms of State sponsored support of its' infant industries,
but this had not been able to build up a critical mass.
Bulgaria remained largely
a peasant based economy, where the State had built up a degree of co-operative
modes of production, in order to counter-act the previously overwhelming
small scale production.
The urgent economic
problems of Bulgaria still revolved around how to industrialise rapidly.
Which class was in
power, would dictate the route chosen by which to industrialise.
BCP ATTITUDE TO THE OTHER PARTIES PRIOR TO THE WAR
Of course, after
the rebukes recieved at the Comintern, the BCP tried to follow the Comintern
BUT AFTER 1928,
THE COMINTERN HAD FALLEN FULLY INTO THE CONTROL OF HIDDEN REVISIONISTS
LED BY KUUSINEN AND MANUILSKY.
In the period before
the 7th World Congress of the Comintern, for the BCP, this meant pursuing
the line of "Class Against Class". This line was elaborated by the perversion
of correct United Front tactics, by the revisionist 10th Plenum of ECCI,
in July 1929. Here Otto Kuusinen had distorted Stalin's thesis on fascism.
In September 1924, Stalin had said :
is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.. These organisations (ie Fascism
and social democracy) are not antipodes, they are twins."
But Kuusinen introduced
the term 'social-fascist', standing
for social democracy, and declared that :
the International Situation" (September 1924), in 'Works', Volume 6, 1953;
"The aims of the
fascists and the social-fascists are the same."
UPON THIS INCORRECT
ASSUMPTION - THAT ALL SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS WERE IN REALITY FASCISTS- WAS DEVELOPED
THE PSEUDO-LEFT STATEGY KNOWN AS "CLASS-AGAINST-CLASS" :
To the 10th Plenum of ECCI, in 'International Press Correspondence',
Volume 9, no.40, (20 August, 1929), p.848.
"The switch from
United Front to 'Class-Against-Class became known in the Comintern as the
The social democrats
were represented now as the 'main bulwark of the capitalist class' and
so as 'the main enemy' of the working class, against whom the main blow
should be directed. At the 12th Plenum of the ECCI, in August/September
1932, Otto Kuusinen said:
Jane Degras: United
Front Tactics In the Comintern', in David Footman (ED): 'International
Communism', London, 1960, p.22.
still remains the main support of the bourgeoisie.. The main blow.. must
in the present period.. be directed against social-fascism and the reformist
IT IS NOT SURPRISING
THEN, THAT THE BULGARIAN BCP ALSO ADOPTED AN ULTRA-LEFT, OR PSEUDO-LEFT
International Situation and the Tasks of the Sections of the Comintern",
in '12th Plenum of the ECCI', London, 1932; p.105, 141.
"The party's point
of departure going back as far as early 1930, had been that among all the
non-Communist political formations in the country, no differences existed
so far as fundamentals were concerned. Following the 1931 election, the
Agrarian Union was considered "the social base for the fascist dictatorship"..
the Social Democrats.. and the Agrarian Union.. had "given their support
to the regime along with all other middle class parties."
Indeed the Comintern
statements on Bulgaria concurred stating that :
Orens, Ibid, p.116.
"All the bourgeois
parties including the social democrats and the peasant leagues are fascists,"
This mitigated against
the possibility of a United Front. In fact the calls for a United Front
were specifically and only directed at a United Front from below, instead
of a United Front from below and from above. The party was, in any case
Coup D'etat in Bulgaria, Inprecorr, June 1, 1934, pp.836-37. Cited Orens,
is inevitable.. the immediate problem is one of rapid revolutionary mobilization
of the masses."
This perpective made
the percieved need for a United Front seem less acute. In fact, the missed
opportunities were poignant. The political parties of the Agrarians, the
Democratic Party and the Social Democrats (previously the Broad Socialists):
vestnik, 5 th July 1934,
Cited by Oren,
the pro-German alliance.. and also opposed the dictatorial nature of the
Boris regime in domestic affairs."
This sectarian and
pseudo-left line of the BCP, continued until December 1934. By this time,
it was clear that the Right wing of the Military League and IMRO threatened
the existence of the Georgiev government itself. This made the line of
the BCP seem even more outlandish. Only by January 1935, did the BCP really
seek a United Front. It now said :
Under Communist Rule", New York, 1970, p.4.
"The United Front
should not be employed as means of exposing the unrevolutionary character
of the social democracy and of the Peasants' League, but must embody the
earnest will to gather all forces for this extension."
of the CC of the CP of Bulgaria, Inprecorr, March 23 rd, 1935, p.367. Orens,
After the BCP failed
to initiate a correct United Front earlier, when it did suddenly start
to push for one, it met with much scepticism. Under these circumstances,
an effective anti-fascist front was not possible, it had already been sabotaged.
THIS IN FACT REPRESENTED
THE REVISION OF THIS SECTARIAN LINE, THAT WOULD LATER BE FORMALISED BY
THE 7TH CONGRESS OF THE COMINTERN IN AUGUST 1935.
BUT AS OUTLINED ELSEWHERE
THE ULTRA-LEFT OR PSEUDO-LEFT ERROR WAS HERE "CORRECTED" INTO A RIGHT ERROR.
THIS WAS TO PRESERVE A UNITED FRONT AT ALL COSTS, AND AGAINST ALL PRINCIPLES.
(See "The Popular Front in France", Compass April 1994, No.112. Communist
THIS RIGHT ERROR, WOULD
PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR THE NEXT REVISIONIST PEVERSION OF THE CORRECT UNITED
THIS WOULD BE THE PERVERSION
OF A CORRECT ANTI-FASCIST FRONT IN WAR TIME, TO A POLICY OF DAMPING DOWN
THE CLASS STRUGGLE AFTER THE ANTI-FASCIST VICTORY POST WAR.
By the time that
Tsar Boris felt himself able to take more overt control of the Government,
in July 1934, the new cabinet under Kioseivanov felt secure enough to hold
Petorka (quintet) of 5 party leaders Gichev (Agrarians), Hrustiu
Pastukhov (Social democrats), Professor Genov (Radicals), Smilov (Liberals),
and Grigor Vasilev (the left elements of the Democratic Alliance); established
a "Popular Front" of their own. Even the more
left wing of the Pladne Agrarians now withdrew from collaborations with
In fact the BCP
itself, was forced by reality, to back the Petorka's 'Popular Front', which
evolved into the People's Constitutional Bloc.
This provided a forum for the BCP to work within, and was predominantly
fighting for a return to full democracy.
But the next set
of elections were in 1938, where a Right perversion
of correct United Front tactics were displayed by the BCP. Here
the ECCI and the BCP Buro-in-exile (led by Dimitrov) instructed them to
"Reduce the political
price to the very minimum. In the face of these dictates, the Communists
entered the pre-electoral interparty negotiations with a greatly reduced
bargaining posture. Gichev and the democratic leaders.. grasped the advantages..
a minimum electoral platform acceptable to all opposition forces was fashioned.
This agreement was not to be formal however. Its terms could be stated
orally in the electoral campaign, but the platform was not to be published,
not even as an underground document. The democratic leaders did not want
the stigma of Communism.. they wanted the anonymous support of Communist
and pro-Communist voters, but were not prepared to take the risk of repelling
the determined anti-Communist workers. The Communists had no choice but
to accept the terms".
BUT OF COURSE, THE
COMMUNISTS DID HAVE ANOTHER CHOICE, AND THAT WAS TO MAINTAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE
OF CRITICISM AND IDENTITY.
Oren Ibid, p.127.
THIS IS HOW STALIN
ADVISED COMMUNIST PARTIES TO BEHAVE IN A UNITED FRONT.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FATHERLAND FRONT
After fascist Germany
had commenced World War II, Bulgaria declared war against Britain and the
USA in December 1941. Bulgaria under the rule of Czar Boris, allowed the
Germans to occupy her territory. But Bulgaria did not declare war on the
USSR. This would have been very unpopular with the Bulgarian peoples. But,
by allying with the German fascists, Bulgaria recovered territory that
had been lost in the Balkan Wars and World War I. This bribe formed
a major reason for Tsar Boris to ally with Germany. Bulgaria was invited
by Germany to occupy, and thereby regain South Dobrudja from Rumania, and
Macedonia from Yugoslavia, and parts of Thrace, from Greece.
Even under the Popular
Bloc Government of 1934, that took power in a coup, the BCP and its legal
front - the Workers Party were banned. Anti-Communist repressions intensified
very sharply, such that the International Red Aid estimated by 1937, that
there were 1,500 political prisoners, mainly communists in jail (Orens,
The BCP had dwindled
in the mean time.
"At the time of
the German attack on the Soviet Union, the BCP claimed 10,6000 organised
members and a youth Organisation of 19,000. Directing it from within Bulgaria
itself was a Politburo of Traicho Kostov, Tsola Dragoicheva and Anton Yugov.
Directing it from Moscow.. was a buro-in-exile composed of Dimitrov, Vassil
Kolarov, Georgi Damyanov, Stanke Dimitrov and Vulko Chervenko."
The party was still
largely non-proletarian in composition. Industrial workers accounted for
10.2% of members in 1919, and 11% in 1935. Most party members were peasants
(Orens, Ibid, p.109).
Brown J.F. "Bulgaria
Under Communist Rule", New York, 1970, p.5 Ibid.
Despite later claims
of the BCP, most authorities accept that the Bulgarian resistance was relatively
weaker and less effective than many of the surrounding Balkan areas such
as Albania and Yugoslavia. Even though the BCP was committed to an anti-fascist
war, this was NOT seriously implemented until after Stalingrad and the
Soviet victory in 1942. The most effective Bulgarian
Partisan Commando unit was led by Slavcho
Trunski; and Dobri Terpeshev also played a prominent role. But it
was only when the Soviet troops had entered Rumania and begun to approach
the Bulgarian border, that there were militarily significant actions.
the BCP did try to set up an anti-fascist coalition. The Fatherland Front
was meant to be a broad United Front against fascism. During the war years,
a correct anti-fascist policy was undertaken, with the anti-war effort
being characterised as a national struggle:
"The only way of
saving our people - that is the nation wide movement of the army and people
against the treacherous policy of our rulers who have sold out to Hitler..
The pursuit of a really national Bulgarian policy directed towards freeing
their country from the German invaders and their Bulgarian Quislings, must
be achieved at the cost of any efforts and sacrifices."
As part of this policy
the FATHERLAND FRONT PROGRAMME was broadcast
on July 17th, 1942, from the Soviet based radio "Hristo Botev". This set
out, that the urgent tasks were to prevent Bulgaria from being dragged
into the Nazi war, to withdraw the Bulgarian troops, and to disband local
fascist troops; and to disrupt the Nazi war machine heading to the USSR;
and to tear up the Axis agreements of alliance with Nazi Germany and to
substitute an alliance with the Soviet Union Great Britain and the USA
and other peace loving nations.
"Selected Works", Sofia Press, nd, Volume 2, p.212.
It then also stated
that it would:
"10. Preserve the
nation's wealth and the people's labour from alien encroachments and to
create the conditions for the proper economic development of Bulgaria as
a free and independent country,"
WOULD AGREE THAT THIS POLICY OF NOT PLACING SOCIALISM AS A CENTRAL GOAL,
AT THIS TIME WAS CORRECT.
Volume 2, Ibid,
The principal other
parties to whom the Fatherland Programme was directed at were :
But these leaders were
intransigent, and would not be drawn into support of the joint programme.
However, sections of their parties, and yet other leaders and parties were
(led by Nikola Mushanov)
by Dimitur Gichev)
Party -formerly the Broad Socialists Party (led by Hrustiu Pastukhov).
AGREE THAT IT WAS CORRECT THAT THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NO PROGRAMME FOR
SOCIALISM AT THE START OF THE FATHERLAND PROGRAMME IN 1942.
Party - leaders interested in playing a role were Rigor Chesmedzhiev and
Zveno (The Link)
led by Kimon Georgiev and Colonel Damyan Velchev).
the left wing off-shoot of the Agrarians. Led by Dr.G.M.Dimitrov in exile
and by Nikola Petkov, from within Bulgaria.
BUT BY SEPTEMBER
9TH, 1944 THERE HAD BEEN A MAJOR CHANGE IN THE OBJECTIVE CIRCUMSTANCES,
As DIMITROV HIMSELF NOTES:
After the fall
of Rumania, and under the impetus of the Soviet Red Army invading the Northern
part of Bulgaria, there was a:
"A victory of the
Fatherland Front.. the decisive break with Nazi Germany, the toppling from
power of the fiendish Nazi agency, the traitors and gravediggers of Bulgaria,
the establishment of the Fatherland Front Government and the restoration
of the renovated Bulgarian army in the patriotic war against the German
predatory hordes on the side of the Great Democracies - all this constitutes
a solid foundation for the building up of a new free independent and strong
Works: Volume 2, p.245. Ibid.
"NOW THERE WILL SOME
TALK ABOUT SOCIALISM", SAYS THE STUDENT OF LENIN AND STALIN.
LET US LISTEN FURTHER TO DIMITROV:
"RIGHT, NOW, WE WILL
ENTER INTO THE LANGUAGE OF BREACHING THE FIRST STAGE AND NOW THE SECOND
STAGE OF THE REVOLUTION", SAYS THE MARXIST-LENINIST.
"There is no doubt
that the prime task under the present conditions is to consolidate the
Fatherland Front as the only really sound factor in Bulgaria, as a militant
alliance of all really national, popular democratic political and social
forces of our people. The victory of September 9th would not have been
possible without the Fatherland Front and its Resistance movement.. The
realization of the Democratic programme of the Fatherland Front would not
be possible either. And without the firm and steadfast implementation of
this programme in the field of foreign and home policy, in the economic
social and cultural life of the country, there can be no question of building
up a new democratic Bulgaria.. the Workers Party (Communists) is called
upon to play the role of a rallying factor in the Fatherland Front, to
set an example fraternal collaboration and militant friendship of all anti-fascist
patriotic parties, public groups and currents within the Fatherland Front,
for the complete triumph of its cause so salutary for the people and the
country. Standing well above all group and selfish interests and considerations,
the Communists have the duty to pay always heed to the general, vital and
lasting interests of the people in deciding internal economic, social,
cultural and international questions, affecting our country's present and
future as a People's Democracy which lives in a real friendship with our
liberators, the great Russian people." Dimitrov Georgi : "All For The Front:
To the CC of BWP (C) IN Selected Works, Volume 2, p.246-247.
ELSE DOES DIMITROV SAY ?
HERE IS A SURPRISE.
NO WORDS ABOUT SOCIALISM.
WHAT IS GOING ON?
WELL, PERHAPS ONE COULD
NOT COME OUT FOR SOCIALISM SO SOON AFTER WAR.
AND YET.. DID LENIN
IN THE APRIL DAYS MINCE HIS WORDS?
WELL AGAIN, PERHAPS
IT WAS A TAD EARLY, PERHAPS ONE COULD NOT COME OUT FOR SOCIALISM THAT SOON.
BUT THEN.. DID HOXHA
COMING OUT OF THE ANTI-FASCIST WAR WATER DOWN THE ANTI-CAPITALIST WORDS
OF THE PLA?
WELL, LET US BE FAIR,
PERHAPS IT WAS A LITTLE EARLY.
LET US MOVE ON.
he does reassure the unconvinced, and perhaps nervous bourgeoisie that
there is indeed, a peaceful road to socialism. Moreover, it may be many,
many moons that are passed before socialism is here, because it is a "march",
who knows "when and how" the people will reach the end of the "march"?
"It is very important
to have a proper perspective. All peoples are marching and will continue
to march towards socialism. No power can stop this development towards
socialism. When and how the peoples will reach it, is another matter. And
secondly: It should be known that they will follow their own path, not
everywhere will they follow one and the same pattern. An armed uprising
is not an inevitable necessary; in certain conditions socialism may be
attained without an armed uprising. These conditions now exist: on the
one hand a great socialist country with tremendous political and moral
influence-the Soviet Union, and on the other democratic transformations
being put through in a number of countries, which clear the way to socialism."
In January 27th, 1947
(ie. A full two years after the end of the war), in a speech to the Association
of Bulgarian Merchants, "Private Trade and Industry Stand In Need of Partial
Reform" Dimitrov further reassured the good burgers of the association.
He made it perfectly clear to the waverers of the bourgeoisie that the
Bulgarian Communists were going to follow their own path, and that this
was not the same as the Russian or the Albanian path. But this path would
include nationalisation. But, this path of nationalisation, did not need
to provoke too much anxiety in the hearts of the industrialists. In fact
Dimitrov wanted to hear the advice of the Association of Bulgarian Merchants
"The Young workers League Must Be A School For Socialism."
Vol 2, Ibid, p.356.
"A certain reform
of private trade and industry is called for in order to achieve this coordination
of national and public interests with the private interests of our merchants
and other businessman. I do not consider it to be in the interests of our
state and people to let the food supply, for instance the restaurants,
hotels etc remain in the hands of the private business for long. You must
realize that whatever concerns the health of the people, whatever directly
affects national interests, must gradually pass under the control of the
state which on its part ought to make good use of the organisational experience
I will ask you,
the organized merchants - since it is you who are directly concerned and
since you are far better versed in these matters than many of our bureaucratic
civil servants in this government apparatus- to seriously consider and
discuss among yourselves in which branches it should be consolidated, so
that you need not worry about the morrow, and in which branches, as well
as sectors of trade, private initiative should be restricted or even completely
eliminated in the interests of the Bulgarian nation as a whole. You are
in a position to do this far better than many bureaucrats in the state
apparatus, inform the Government of your final well considered opinion
as to the branches in which private trade should be developed and this
in which of necessity as a result of our economic policy, it should be
curtailed." Dimitrov: Selected Works, P.26-27. Volume 3.
Of course the general
strategy being laid out was to reassure the merchants that in the new Bulgarian
nation they could also find a comfortable niche.
OBVIOUSLY, AN EMPHASIS
ON THE "NATIONAL INTEREST", AS OPPOSED TO THE "CLASS INTEREST", WAS BEING
DIMITROV HERE EVEN
ASKS THE BOURGEOISIE, TO TELL THE WORKERS WHAT SECTORS OF INDUSTRY NEED
TO BE DEVELOPED!
FACT, DIMITROV WAS VERY FRANK, GIVING THEM SEVERAL CLEAR DIRECTIONS AS
TO HOW THEY MIGHT FIND THEIR PLACE AS TRUE "NATIONAL BULGARIANS" :
A. THEY SHOULD CAREFULLY
CONSIDER WHICH SECTIONS OF PRIVATE TRADE TO FORGO:
They were enjoined
to discuss :
it should be consolidated, so that you need not worry about the morrow,
and in which branches, as well as sectors of trade, private initiative
should be restricted or even completely eliminated in the interests of
the Bulgarian nation as a whole."
B. THEY SHOULD RECOGNISE
THAT THERE WOULD BE SURFACE CHANGES IN THE MAIN CONSISTING OF A STATE NATIONALISATION;
BUT THIS WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED SLOWLY:
Vol.3, Ibid, p.26.
For those sectors
that would have to taken over, and indeed that would happen, but slowly:
the health of the people whatever directly affects national interests must
GRADUALLY pass under the control of the state".
BUT THEY SHOULD BE
CLEAR ALSO, THAT THE FACADE BEING IMPOSED, DEMANDED THERE BE A PRIORITY
TO THE STATE SECTOR:
Volume 3, Ibid,
There were clearly
going to have to be changes:
"There should be
no illusions.. state and public enterprises will enjoy a certain priority..
our task is not to achieve compete equality but to give our businessmen
a chance to show their mettle as organisers and to be fairly renumerated."
But, as shown above,
the key sections of the bourgeoisie had long ago realised that they needed
to capitalise the industrial base, using state resources. Therefore, of
itself, this was not a stumbling block.
Volume 3, Ibid,
C. THE BOURGEOISIE
SHOULD TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO THE STATE BUREAUCRACY AND THEREFORE ENSURE
A THEY HAD A "BETTER LIFE THAN THEY HAD BEFORE".
Despite the inevitability
of changes, they could re-paint themselves, from private capitalists into
"state managers and directors" for a "much better off" future than before.
It would be necessary for them to think out what to do:
"Part of our businessmen,
capable organizers as they are, will I think have to cease to be businessmen
in the future and find their proper place in public, state and other business
enterprises according to their abilities. There are countries in the West
where former industrialists and merchants are now directors of state and
public enterprises, and are much better off then they were before."
Indeed changes were
needed to ensure that the "people in private trade" would not become "despondent":
Volume 3, Ibid,
"The people now
engaged in them should not be allowed to grow despondent, to break down
and consider themselves superfluous, but should be helped by all of us
to promptly find another job in another field, where their work and their
children's future will be guaranteed." Ibid, Volume 3, p.28.
D. FINALLY THEY WERE
ASSURED THAT ALL PRIVATE TRADE WAS NOT BEING ABOLISHED:
So as to fully reassure
even the mentally slowest of the capitalists - Dimitrov also stated:
"We are not going
to attempt to nationalise private trade in general, because for the time
being the state apparatus alone cannot secure the desired results.. THERE
IS NO ROOM FOR DEMAGOGY IN THIS MATTER (Dimitrov's emphasis). Our Government
is not like the former governments. You must realize this. Our action will
not be at variance with our words."
E. FURTHERMORE, DIMITROV
DID NOT HAVE ANY THOUGHTS OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT :
p.28 Ibid, Volume
"I must state quite
emphatically that we are not against the existence of an opposition per-se.
In a country like others it is only natural that there should be an opposition.
But the interests of the people do not allow us to tolerate opposition
groups which organize a sabotage of our economic undertakings , which endanger
the state and national sovereignty of the country by their actions."
EVEN BY JUNE 1947,
DIMITROV WAS STILL INSISTING THAT THE INDUSTRIALISTS AND MERCHANTS COULD
WORK TOGETHER WITH THE WORKERS AND PEASANTS:
G. Dimitrov, Statement
Made To John Fisher Correspondent of the London Daily Mail. In Volume 3,
"We have to.. have
the Grand National Assembly adopt a truly democratic and progressive constitution
of the People's Republic which will help completely stabilise our democratic
social order and render any return to the fascist past quite impossible.."
3, p.73,Ibid, Statement to L'Humanite.
"The mistaken opinion
that we are trying to stamp out any opposition whatever should not be encouraged,
Our government is so closely linked with the people that it fears no opposition,
But the Government of Bulgaria will not allow anyone to hamper the rehabilitation
of our economy, the implementation of the economic plan to try and prevent
us from securing our national and state sovereignty. We want to avoid internecine,
civil strife. We will not allow Bulgaria to become a second Greece. That
we shall never allow.. We desire and are going to establish a normal democratic
system, guaranteeing the necessary peace and security for constructive
Dimitrov G, Statement
Made to Rigal, Special correspondent of L'Humanitie. p.76. Volume 3.
"Under the conditions
in which we live and when we must rely on our own labour and our own means
and natural and other resources, the subjective factor is of exceptional
importance. This subjective factor are we and you. This subjective factors
is the Government of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the Fatherland
Front and its local committees, the railwaymen's and miner's unions, in
general the whole General Trade Union and Agricultural Workers Union and
the other trade union and cultural unions. This subjective factor is the
Workers Party (communists). This subjective factor also includes the Agrarian
Union and our other fraternal parties in the Fatherland Front. This subjective
factor includes also hundreds of thousands of non-Party workers and peasants,
craftsmen, industrialists and merchants, economic workers and intellectuals,
men and women and young people, who have today devoted their efforts and
their creative labour to the fulfilment of the Two Year Economic Plan".
Idleness, Waste and Bureaucracy. Speech to the Congress of the Railwaymen's
and Sailors' Trade Union, June 24th, 1947. Volume 3, Ibid, p.83.
DIMITROV HAD NOT BARGAINED FOR STALIN'S INTERVENTION.
THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT
THAT DIMITROV WAS ACCOMODATING THE BOURGEOISIE INTO THE NEW BULGARIA.
THEY WERE BEING ENCOURAGED
TO HIDE AS BUREAUCRATS, TO CHANGE THEIR SPOTS.
STALIN ACCELERATES THE PACE OF SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA
There can be little
doubt that the path being followed by Dimitrov was to delay and retard
the development of both the class struggle, and the transition to the socialist
stage of revolution.
As the following
facts show, Stalin had well understood this "delaying and stalling" of
Dimitrov. Because facts show, that it was only the direct intervention
of Stalin, and later the more indirect interventions of the Cominform,
that accelerated Bulgarian development towards a Marxist-Leninist path.
On 6 June 1946,
Dimitrov, Kolarov and Kostov met with Stalin and Molotov in Moscow to discuss
among other things:
"The pace at which
the revolutionary transformations would come about and measure to strengthen
the people's democratic power in Bulgaria."
The return of the BCP
CC was marked by a major change in the approach of the BCP. Now a more
militant stand was taken. This path also had been adopted, by the Party
of Labour of Albania. But the PLA had not required Stalin's prodding. The
PLA had independently taken similar steps some two years earlier. These
steps are described by Bell:
Bell, Ibid, p.94.
"After their return
the politburo announced that a referendum would be held in the future of
the monarchy, followed in turn by elections for a Grand National Assembly
that would alter the Constitution..no party defended the institution of
the monarchy, and on the referendum, held on 8 September, 93 % of the voters
favoured a republic, 4% a monarchy, and 3% of the ballots were ruled invalid.
Bulgaria proclaimed a republic one week later and Tsar Simeon II and the
other members of the royal family left the country."
Bell, Ibid, p.94.
Cominform was founded in September 1947,
at a meeting in Szlarska Poreba, in Poland. The Cominform had been formed
by Stalin, primarily in order to fight resurgent revisionism, led by Tito
of Yugoslavia, Palmiro Togliatti of Italy, Maurice Thorez and Jacques Duclos
of France. (Talk to the Stalin Society By W.B.Bland; reprinted in Alliance
M-L, North America, No.7, June 1994). After the CC of the BCP came back
from Moscow, the changes instituted led to the disintegration of the other
THE RESULTING DEFEAT
OF THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION, COINCIDED WITH THE FORMATION OF THE COMINFORM.
OF COURSE THIS WAS
NOT BY CHANCE.
"The defeat of
the political opposition in part coincided with, and in part was followed
by, the elimination of nearly all elements of pluralism in Bulgarian society,
This process was accelerated after the founding congress of the Cominform
on 22-27 September at Szklarska Poreba in Poland. Here Zhdanov and Malenkov
emphasised the increasing aggressiveness of the imperialist camp led by
the USA and the necessity for a more rapid socialist transformation in
the democratic camp led by the Soviet Union."
Following the Founding
Conference of the Cominform, the Bulgarians were again given specific instructions.
During the briefing, held in Moscow, they were told that the Bulgarians
had not moved towards the second stage of the revolution with any vigor,
that they had in fact, not even "recognised the beginning of a socialist
Bell Ibid, p.97.
Delegates Vulko Chervenko and Valdimir Poptomov went directly to Moscow
after this conference, and on 14 October conveyed Moscow's further instructions
to a BCP Central Committee plenum. According to Chervenko's report the
Bulgarian party had not fully recognised that 9 September had been the
beginning of a socialist revolution and had proceeded too slowly in asserting
and institutionalising its leading role. In response the plenum decided
to complete the elimination of the opposition, impose new conditions on
the Fatherland Front and strengthen the socialist character of the new
Only after this, was
the former Turnovo Constitution, which had
been adopted as the emblem of the bourgeois constitutional monarchy of
Bulgaria, now changed. The model adopted instead, was the Soviet
Stalin Constitution of 1936. This new form, was termed the Dimitrov
Consitution. The framing of the Dimitrov Constitution, was assisted
by the prescence of Soviet jurists (Bell, Ibid, p.97). However of course,
the other parties and capitalists and merchants and bourgeois, had been
alerted already by Dimitrov that serious changes were coming. Dimitrov
made clear to them, that as a result, they should re-think their approach.
They therefore circumvented the obstacles, by simply dissolving their parties
and joining the BCP :
Bell, Ibid, p.97.
"The impact of
this "intensification of the revolutionary process" on the non-communist
parties was immediate:
This would obviously
have two effects, one to dilute the
worker and rural worker class conciousness inside the BCP; and secondly
to provide shelter for the bourgeoisie.
joined the BCP..
On 11 August 1948,
the Socialist officially merged with the BCP..
the BANU on 28-29
December, Georgi Trikov formally repudiated Agrarian ideology and.. following
a purge, BANU defined itself as "the help meet of the Communists";
In the winter of
1948-49 Zveno, the Democratic Party and the Radical Party announced "Self-liquidation"and
dissolved into the Fatherland Front, which itself became a broad patriotic
organisation under communist control",
Bell, Ibid, p.97.
The initial nationalisation
of German compradors, and of traitors decreed by the Peoples' Court had
led to a sizeable increase of State property:
"By 1947, the state
industrial sector had grown in size to a prominent though not commanding
position. These enterprises now included over half of the total capacity,
but only one-quarter of production.. The conversion of the Varna shipyards
from a German into a Soviet - Bulgarian joint enterprise and of the several
arms factories, including the Lovech airplane works, into agricultural
machinery plants, involved enterprises already under state ownership..
the largest addition to the state sector came from government offers to
buy out firms producing necessities and from the confiscations decreed
by the People's Court.. to deal with wartime collaborators."
There is little doubt
that under Moscow's urging, the state sector expanded:
Lampe, Ibid, p.134.
"By 1946, 11.8
% of the country's industrial capital was already in government hands.
The Dimitrov Constitution (passed on 4 December 1947-ed) provided for the
large scale nationalisation of private property that soon followed its
industry was still not in a "commanding position.", in the words of Lenin.
Moreover, disgruntled workers were leaving the state industries and going
back to the land.
"By 1947, the Communists..
were therefore facing a long term threat to the coal and metal production
that would be crucial to its vision of a modern industrial economy.. and..
The further Cominform
decision to push even harder for nationalisation, was therefore not only
an option bound to come because the Soviets were urging it; but it also
aided the BCP, as it tended to relieve the labour problem:
Lampe Ibid, p.134-5.
"Thus the Cominform
decision to proceed more quickly with nationalisation of industry taken
at the meeting between Eastern September 1947 between Soviet and other
Eastern European Communist leaders, was a welcome one for the Bulgarian
party. None of its leaders could conceive of another solution to the problem
they were facing in 1947... By 23 December, 1947, cadre began entering
the private industrial enterprises (numbering 6,000) to announce the firm's
nationalisation..Over 90% of the enterprises had else than 50 employees,
and their average size was 23. These typically small firms could no longer
act as a magnet to attract workers form the large state enterprises.. The
problem now facing the Communist leaders was how to combine these small
firms into the modern factories."
In accordance with
the model of industrialisation followed by the Bolsheviks, whilst Stalin
was alive, the BCP, followed an appropriate policy in relation to the development
of heavy versus light industry:
Lampe, Ibid, p.135-6.
with the adoption of the Dimitrov Constitution, all large scale industry
banks, and insurance companies were nationalised, and government monopolies
were established over the major items of retail trade. By the end of 1948
approximately 85% of industrial production was in the hands of the state,
with another 7% carried on by cooperative organisations.. the first 5 year
plan was approved by the 5th Party Congress at the end of 1948 and clearly
reflected Soviet development strategy. The output of heavy industry was
scheduled to increase by 220% and the output of light industry by 75%.
Priority was given to metallurgy, and machine building, chemical production
electrification and transportation, Such ambitious targets required enormous
investments-over a quarter of the country national income- with the result
that living standards were held down. The situation was aggravated by the
fact that light industry and agriculture had the lowest priorities and
fell farther short in receiving their planned share of resource."
BUT FOLLOWING STALIN'S
DEATH ALL THIS REVERSED. THUS IN JUNE 1958, THE BCP'S 7TH CONGRESS APPROVED
THE THIRD 5 YEAR PLAN:
Bell, Ibid, p.110-1.
"The plan set relatively
moderate goals and increased the share of investment devoted to consumer
Over the ensuing years,
the disparity got worse, as the social imperialism of the Khruschev revisionists
took more firm hold. This made the People's Democracies into the colonial
base for the developing Russian new capitalist class. The following table
shows the relative growth rates industry, agricuture and construction.
As seen, following Stalin's death, the growth rates for industry fell:
Bell, Ibid, p.118.
3 ANNUAL GROWTH RATES BY SECTOR (in percent)
(From Lampe Ibid,
But even more revealing
is the split between Heavy (Marx's Department A) and Light (Marx's Department
B). This is an important consideration for the development of a country's
industrial, and economic independence. As Stalin said:
"We must maintain
the present rate of development of industry; we must at the first opportunity
speed it up in order to pour goods into the rural areas and obtain more
grain from them, to supply agriculture, and primarily the collective farms
and state farms, with machines, so as to industrialise agriculture and
to increase the proportion of its output for the market.
Should we perhaps,
for the sake of greater "caution", retard the development of heavy industry
so as to make light industry, which produces chiefly for the peasant market,
the basis of our industry? Not under any circumstances! That would be..
suicidal; it would mean abandoning the slogan of industrialisng our country,
it would mean transforming our country into an appendage of the world capitalist
sytem of economy."
Stalin J.V.S. 28
May, 1928. "Speech to the Institute of Red Professors, On the Grain Front",
'Works', Volume 11, Moscow 1954, p.98.
4: BULGARIAN RESOURCES FOR HEAVY VERSUS SLIGHT
1951-60 (In %)
1960 (In New leva)
(From Brown J.F.
"Bulgaria Under Communist Rule" Ibid, p.147).
As Table 4 shows,
whilst in the earlier period, there was approximately a 2:1 ratio of resources
invested, favouring heavy industry to light industry. However, in
the later period there was approximately a 1:1 ratio, as expressed in the
(admittedly different) units, of new leva.
(or light industry) was preferentially treated following Stalin's death.
This reversal of
the correct Marxist-Leninist attitude to industry, was associated with
the transformation of Bulgaria from a country developing towards socialism,
into a country developing towards a neo-colonial dependency upon the now
capitalist former Soviet Union.
DJILAS AND DIMITROV VERSUS STALIN AND MOLOTOV - ON BALKAN FEDERATION
The idea of Balkan
Federation, in Bulgaria was not new, and had been supported by the Narrow
party previously :
"In January 1910,
a Narrow Socialist Party delegation consisting of Blagoev, Kirkov, Kolarov,
Dimitrov and Kabakchiev attended the first Balkan Social Democratic Congress
in Belgrade, there the Bulgarians met with representatives of socialist
groups from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Rumania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia,
Turkey and Montenegro. Blagoev presided over the congress which adopted
a resolution condemning the interference of the great powers in the Balkans
and the effort of the rulers of the various Balkan states to achieve hegemony
at the expense of their neighbours. The congress supported the idea of
a Balkan federal republic,and the socialist parties agreed to fight for
peace and Balkan unity. The movement for unity among the socialists was
hampered however, by the Narrow Socialist Party's objections to inviting
the Broad Socialist Party to join. The Congress's unwillingness to reject
the Broad Socialists altogether caused the Narrow Socialist Party to cancel
plans for a second congress in Sofia the following year. Instead it invited
the Balkan and other Slavic socialist parties to send delegates to the
Narrow Socialists Party's 17th conference in July, which was proclaimed
a pan-socialist confernce in contrast to a pan-Slav Congress held in Sofia
a few weeks earlier."
In fact Blagoev had
a historical explanation for the backwardness of Bulgaria, for which the
remedy was Federation. It was this perspective, that blinkered the Narrows
at the Zimmerwald Conference (See above), and prevented them from voting
for Lenin's resolution on converting the inter-imperialist war into a revolutionary
"Later in 1913,
Blagoev wrote that the Balkan bourgoisie had appeared on the historical
scene as a latecomer, at a time when the bourgeiosie has lost its revolutionary
democratic drive and was only cabable of approaching the Balkan question
through militarism and reactionary, monarchic, political institutions.
This could only lead to perepetual conflict with the Balkan dynasties.
The only way out for this impasse, was through the long term economic development
of the peninsula,the growth of Social Democracy, and the eventual birth
of a Balkan federative republic.. But at no point did Balgoev suggest a
revolutionary approach to the First World War. When the party took action
it was limited to organizing measures for the relief of causualties and
When Dimitrov went
back to Bulgaria he embarked upon the resurection of this old idea. But
with Tito in power in Yugoslavia, this would have meant something quite
different, from a socialist Federation of Republics.
Hoxha has described how Stalin gave the fledgling
socialist state of Albania the full support it needed to prevent Yugoslavia,
in truth "swallowing Albania". (See Enver Hoxha "With Stalin"; Tirana;
this is discussed also by Alliance 10/11, See H.Kirkland, "J.V.Stalin and
Enver Hoxha".) It is quite in keeping with Hoxha's account then, that Stalin
vehemently objected to a federation between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
WERE TWO MAIN REASONS FOR STALIN'S OPPOSITION:
1. Stalin recognised
that the imperialist hold on the Balkans would be aided, if Yugoslavia
was enabled to become even more dominant.
2. There would be
a further effect on all the People's Democracies, where the transition
from the National Democratic Revolution (victory over fascism); to the
socialist revolution might be even further delayed.
his opposition to the process rapidly.
Pravda condemned the moves by Dimitrov in public.
Stalin and Molotov met the Yugoslavs and the Bulgarians in Moscow. Thirdly,
the movement towards the full exposure of the Yugoslavs was accelerated
under the Cominform (See Speech W.B.Bland to the Stalin Society, UK, :
Reprinted Alliance 7).
Before the final
exposure of Yugoslav revisionism however, Stalin had already shown his
tactics. This was to provoke the Yugoslavs, into showing their hand, by
baiting a trap. Stalin displayed this tactic first, with Milovan Djilas
when Stalin "suggested that the Yugoslavs "Swallow Albania".
Djilas, was a member of the Politburo for the Communist Party
of Yugoslavia (CPY) during the Second World War, and immediately after.
His subsequent career descended into frank support for bourgeois democracy.
He fell out with Tito on whether to maintain the facade of Yugoslav revisionism,
or to drop the facade and openly become a bourgeois democratic state. The
dictatorial aims of Tito were incompatible with Djilas' expressed views,
and Djilas was expelled from the CPY.
Earlier on however,
Djilas was a trusted emissary of Tito's to Moscow, where he met Stalin
several times. During these meetings, the topic of Dimitrov naturally cropped
up. For this article, there are three main relevant meetings concerned.
The first relevant meeting, took place on the eve of the Allied landing
in Normandy. Djilas reports here, the stated views of Stalin upon the Comintern
just prior to its dissolution :
which leaders I had met in Moscow, and when I mentioned Dimitrov and Manuilsky,
he remarked, "Dimitrov is a smarter man than Manuilsky, much smarter."
At this he remarked on the dissolution of the Comintern, ".. The situation
with the Comintern was becoming more and more abnormal. Here Vyacheslav
Molotov and I were racking our brains, while the Comintern was pulling
in its own direction - and the discord grew worse. It is easy to work with
Dimitrov, but with the others it was harder. Most important of all, there
was something abnormal, something unnatural about the very existence of
a general Communist forum at a time when the Communist Parties should have
been searching for a national language and fighting under the conditions
prevailing in their own countries."
Obviously, the bulk
of Djilas' memories of these meetings concern the period leading up to
the Soviet Union exposure of Yugoslav revisionism. Post-war, Stalin and
Molotov became increasing aware that the Yugoslavs were pursuing a treacherous
route. They watched Yugoslavia bullying Albania. (See "Enver Hoxha and
J.V.Stalin." in Alliance 10/11; plus The Formation of the Cominform" CL
Compass, Number ; reprinted in Alliance Number 7). Stalin was convinced
that the Yugoslavs had expansionist aims, by the time of the suicide of
Nako Spiru, in December 1947.
"Conversations With Stalin," New York, 1962, p.80.
Spiru had been
a Central Committee member of the Party of Labour (PLA) of Albania. Unfortunately,
Spiru had once been a Yugoslav agent; but he regretted this serious treachery.
In his remorse, Spiru committed suicide, when the Yugoslavs pressured him
into further treason that involved the betrayal of Enver Hoxha, the General
Secretary of the PLA.
So convinced was
Stalin, of the territorial ambitions of the Yugoslavs, that he tried to
provoke the Yugoslavs into an overt demonstration of their underlying hidden
designs. This is described by Djilas, when Stalin set a baited trap, in
the famous incident when :
We have no special interest in Albania. We agree to Yugoslavia swallowing
Albania!.." At this he gathered together the fingers of his right hand
and, bringing them to his mouth, he made a motion as if to swallow them..
I was astonished.. I do not know if this was visible on my face.. Again
I explained: "It is not a matter of swallowing, but unification!" At this
Molotov interjected: "But this is swallowing!" And Stalin added again with
that gesture of his: "Yes, yes swallowing! But we agree with you: you ought
to swallow Albania-the sooner the better."
Djilas himself admits:
Djilas, Ibid, p.143.
"The thought that
there might be something obscure and inconsistent about Yugoslav policy
toward Albania did not however, cause me to admit that this policy was
one of "swallowing". Yet it did strike me that this policy did not correspond
with the will and the desire of the Albanian Communists.. Why did Spiru
THAT DJILAS, HIMSELF
A WILY MAN, HAD IN REALITY FULLY UNDERSTOOD THE REAL AIM OF STALIN'S PLAY
ACTING THAT NIGHT, IS CONFIRMED WHEN HE RELATES HOW HE REFUSED TO SEND
A REQUESTED DISPATCH:
Djilas, Ibid, p.146.
"Stalin ended the
conversation about Albania which had barely lasted ten minutes:"There are
no differences between us. You personally write Tito a despatch about this
in the name of the Soviet Government and submit it to me by tomorrow."..While
writing the despatch the next day, the thought occurred to me that it might
someday be used against my country's government, and so I formulated it
carefully and very briefly.. that despatch was never sent.."
The third meeting of
direct relevance to Dimitrov; was on February 8, 1948. This involved Dimitrov
also in a meeting with Stalin. It was concerning the issues of the proposed
BALKAN FEDERATION. Here Stalin and Molotov clearly demonstrated in a very
heated meeting, their opposition to the plans of the Bulgarians and the
Djilas, Ibid, P.146
As related above,
Pravda had first blown the whistle:
"Prior to that
on January 29th, Pravda had disavowed Dimitrov and dissociated itself from
his "problematic and fantastic federations and confederations" and customs
unions. This was an admonition and a foretaste of the tangible measures
and stiffer course that the Soviet Government would undertake... We were
seated so that to the right of Stalin who was at the head, sat the Soviet
representatives-Molotov, Zhdanov, Malenkov, Suslov, Zorin; to the left
were the Bulgars-Kolarov, Dimitrov, Kostov; then the Yugoslav representatives-Kardelj,
myself, Bakaric...Molotov.. brought out that serious differences had appeared
between the Soviet Government on the one hand, and the Yugoslav and Bulgarian
Governments on the other hand, which was "impermissible from both the Party
and the political point of view."
Obviously from what
transpired, Pravda's critique had been prompted by Stalin himself:
Djilas Ibid, p.
"As examples of
these differences (i.e., between Bulgarian and Yugoslavia on the one hand,
and the Soviet Union on the other) he cited the fact that Yugoslavia and
Bulgaria had signed a treaty of alliance not only without the knowledge
of, but contrary to the views of the Soviet Government, which held that
Bulgaria should not sign any political treaties before signing a peace
that it had not been the case that he was proposing a customs union; but
that he had only spoken of federating in general terms, and not in specifics,
especially with Rumania. This was bluntly criticised as untrue by Stalin
to dwell rather longer on Dimitrov's statement in Bucharest concerning
the creation of an East European Federation, in which Greece was included,
and a customs union and coordination of economic plans between Rumania
and Bulgaria. However, Stalin cut him short.
gets too carried away at press conferences-doesn't watch what he's saying.
And every thing he says, that Tito says, is taken abroad to be with our
knowledge. For example, the Poles visit.. I ask them What do they think
of Dimitrov's statement? They say : A good thing. And I tell them that
it isn't a good thing. Then they reply that they, too, think it isn't a
good thing-if that si the opinion of the Soviet Government. For they thought
that Dimitrov had issued that statement with the knowledge and concurrence
of the Soviet Government and so they approved it. Dimitrov later tried
to amend that statement through the Bulgarian telegraph agency, but he
didn't help matters at all. Moreover, he cited how Austria-Hungary had
in its day obstructed a customs Union between Bulgaria and Serbia, which
naturally prompts the conclusion: The Germans were in the way earlier,
now its the Russians. There, that's what is going on!"
Djilas, Ibid, p.173-74.
"But Stalin interrupted
him:"No, you agreed on a customs union, on the coordination of economic
plans." Molotov followed up Stalin:.."And what is customs union and coordination
of economics, but the creation of a state?"
But Dimitrov still
continued to tried to maintain that the Treaty at Bled was:
Djilas, Ibid, p.174.
"Only a statement
that an agreement had been reached leading to a treaty."
Dimitrov then tried
another tack, arguing that:
"Yes, but you didn't
consult with us!" Stalin shouted..
obliquely justifying his position on the customs union with Rumania.,
"Bulgaria is in
such economic difficulties that without any cooperation with other countries
it cannot develop. As far as my statement at the press conference is concerned,
it is true that I was carried away.".
"It was completely
wrong, for such a Federation is inconceivable. What historic ties are there
between Bulgaria and Rumania? None! And we need not speak of Bulgaria,
and let us say, Hungary or Poland."
Djilas, Ibid. p.175-6.
"There are essentially
no differences between the foreign polices of Bulgaria and the Soviet Union."
Again in response to
Dimitrov's excuses, Stalin said:
and firmly said:
"There ARE serious
differences. Why hide it? It was Lenin's practice always to recognise errors
and to remove them as quickly as possible."
Djilas Ibid, p.176.
"Your trouble is
not errors, but a stand different from ours."
(another prominent member of the CC of the CPY, also present at this meeting)
stated that the Yugoslavs always consulted with the Soviets on foreign
policy. In reply, Molotov :
Djilas, Ibid, p.176.
"Took up a piece
of paper and read a passage from the Bulgarian - Yugoslav Treaty: That
Bulgaria and Yugoslavia would "work in the spirit of the United Nations
and support all action directed at the preservation of peace and against
all hotbeds of aggression., and asked:
STALIN NOW AGAIN BAITED
"What is the meaning
that these words signified solidarity with the United Nations in the struggle
against hotbeds of aggression.
Stalin broke in:
"No this is preventive
war-the commonest Komsomol stunt; a tawdry phrase which only brings grist
to the enemy mill."
Djilas, Ibid, p.180.
HE SUGGESTED SEVERAL
TIMES THAT YUGOSLAVIA AND BULGARIA SHOULD FEDERATE, AND THEN JOIN WITH
"Stalin went on
: "A customs union, a federation between Rumania and Bulgaria-this is nonsense!
A federation between Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania is another matter,
Here there exist historic and other ties. This is the federating that should
be created, and the sooner the better - right away if possible, tomorrow!
Yes tomorrow, if possible! Agree on it immediately."
The next day:
that a Yugoslav-Bulgarian Federation was already in the making.
But: "Stalin stressed
"No first a federation between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia and then both with
Albania. We think that a federation should be formed between Rumania and
Hungary, and also Poland and Czechoslovakia.."
Djilas, Ibid, p.179.
to the coordination of economic plans between Rumania and Bulgaria. "That
is senseless for instead of cooperation there would be soon be a quarrel.
The unification of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia is another matter-there are
similarities here, ancient aspirations."
out that at Bled it had also been decided to work gradually together toward
federation between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, but Stalin broke in by being
more precise: "No, but immediately-by tomorrow! First Bulgaria and Yugoslavia
ought to unite, and then let Albania join them later." Djilas Ibid, p.181.
"According to an
agreement made in Stalin's anteroom, we went to Dimitrov's for lunch, to
agree on a federation. We did it mechanically-the remnant of discipline
and authority of the Soviet Government."
AS DJILAS HIMSELF RUEFULLY
NOTES, STALIN'S PROPOSAL WAS INDEED A TRAP:
Djilas, Ibid, p.184.
"To be sure all
this came to nought, for a month alter Molotov and Stalin began to attack
the Yugoslav leadership in their letters, finding in this the support of
the Bulgarian Central Committee. The federation with Bulgaria turned out
to be a snare- to crack the unity of the Yugoslav communists-a snare into
which no idealist wished to place his neck any longer. although on the
surface all was quiet, and it appeared that we were united, the protagonists
were taking exaggerated positions. This was the prelude to what was to
come after, the open division between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia,
which occurred in June of 1948".
BOTH JUST BEFORE, AND
AFTER THE OPEN SPLIT BETWEEN THE SOVIET UNION AND THE YUGOSLAVS, DIMITROV
CONTINUED TO HAVE SUPPORT YUGOSLAVIA SURREPTIOUSLY ACCORDING TO DJILAS:
Djilas, Ibid, p.185.
"On March 20th..
the Soviet Government pulled out its military instructors from Yugoslavia...In
(early) April the Stalin-Molotov letter.. blaming the Yugoslav leadership
for deteriorating relations was received..On April 16th, Judin of the Cominform
handed Tito a letter from the Hungarian Central Committee.. expressing
their solidarity with the.. Molotov-Stalin letter.. On April 19th.. Dimitrov
was passing through Belgrade.. I spotted Dimitrov at a window and boarded
his train coach.. He squeezed my hand in both of his, he said emotionally,
"Hold fast, hold fast!".. "You must remain steadfast, The rest will follow."
WE SHOULD NOT FORGET
THAT IT HAD BEEN DIMITROV WHO HAD BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN OBTAINING TITO'S
APPOINTMENT AS SECRETARY OF THE YUGOSLAV PARTY:
reliable reports, Dimitrov had to be forced into confronting Yugoslavia.
Of all the East European leaders, Dimitrov was the only one to congratulate
Tito on May 25, his birthday..neither I nor anyone else ever thought Dimitrov's
encouragement .. to have been insincere or provocative. We held him in
good memory. His vision had not matured to the point where he dared get
into a scrap with Stalin and the Soviet Union."
Djilas M. :"Rise
and Fall", New York, 1985, p.180-191.
"When the subject
came up of whom to appoint Secretary.. there was some wavering, but I was
for Walter (Josip Broz's Party pseudonym at that time; later he adopted
the name Tito".
With Stalin", Ibid, p.32.
WE SUGGEST THAT MARXIST-LENINISTS
MUST NOW TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT GEORGII DIMITROV WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SERIOUS
ERRORS IN THE MOVEMENT;
PREVIOUSLY, IT HAD
BEEN SHOWN THAT DIMITROV ACTED AS AN AGENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL IMPERIALISTS,
BY HELPING TO DESTROY ANY EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT.
HERE, WE SHOW THAT
DIMITROV WAS ALSO ASSISTING THE BOURGEOISIE IN BULGARIA, TO PREVENT THE
SHIFT FROM THE FIRST STAGE OF THE ANTI-FASCIST DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION, TOWARDS
THE SECOND, SOCIALIST STAGE.
BUT ALSO IN BULGARIA.
BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS ARTICLE
Bland, William B
:The Restoration of Capitalism In the USSR. Wembley, London, 1980. ISBN:
0 86237 000 0) 1944." London, 1971.
Bell J.D., "The
Bulgarian Communist Party From Blagoev to Zhivkov", Stanford, 1986.
Brown, J.F., "Bulgaria
Under Communist Rule", New York, 1970.
: "The Communist Movement. From Comintern to Cominform". Harmondsworth,
"Selected Works", Sofia Press, Sofia nd, Volumes 2 and 3.
: "Conversations With Stalin," New York, 1962.
: "Rise and Fall", New York, 1985.
Degras Jane : "The
Communist International. 1919-1943", London, 1971, Volume One, and Volume
Correspondence'. Various issues.
Degras Jane : 'United
Front Tactics In the Comintern', in David Footman (ED): "International
Communism", London, 1960.
Kuusinen Otto, "The
International Situation and the Tasks of the Sections of the Comintern",
in '12th Plenum of the ECCI', London, 1932.
Lampe, John R :
"The Bulgarian Economy In the Twentieth Century", New York, 1986.
Oren, Nissan, "Bulgarian
Communism. The Road To Power. 1934- 1944", New York, 1971.
Stalin J.V.S. 28
May, 1928. "Speech to the Institute of Red Professors, On the Grain Front",
'Works', Volume 11, Moscow 1954.
Stalin J.V.S. War
Speeches, Orders of the day and answers to Press Correspondents During
the Great Patriotic War: July 3rd, 1941-Jun 22, 1945', London, 1956.
OTHER RELEVANT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE MARXIST LENINIST ORGANISATION OF BRITAIN;
OF COMPASS (COMMUNIST LEAGUE) AND ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST) (NORTH AMERICA).
1. MARXIST LENINIST
ORGANISATION OF BRITAIN
Report of the CC
of the Marxist Leninist Organisation of Britain: Origins of Modern Revisionism.
Revisionist betrayal at the 7th World congress of the Comintern. 1971.
2. COMPASS (COMMUNIST
LEAGUE) ISSUES :
January 1977. Revisionism
In Germany. Part 1: to 1922.
April 1977, M.N.Roy
and the colonial Question Part 1.
December 1977 M.N.Roy
and the Colonial Question, Part 2.
No. 110 The assassination of Trotsky.
No. 111 United Front Tactics.
March 1994. No.
112 Georgii Dimitrov, Tool of imperialism
April 1994. No.
112 The "popular Front" in France.
3. ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST)
Summer 1993. No
4. Contains : "Origins of Modern Revisionism", reprint of the article by
the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain, listed above.
October 1993. No
5 : The role of the Bourgeoisie In Colonial Type Countries. What Is the
Class Character Of The Indian State? Part One : Changing the Line, Revisionists
Distort Lenin and Stalin.
December 1993, No.6.
Contains : Stalin - The myth and the Reality. Reprint of Communist League
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