A country in eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula.
Country in SE Europe, bounded N by Romania, W by Yugoslavia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, S by Greece, SE by Turkey, and E by the Black Sea.
Under the 1991 constitution, Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. There is a single-chamber legislature, the 240-member national assembly, directly elected every five years by a system of proportional representation. The prime minister is the leader of the party or group with a majority in the assembly. The state president, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, is popularly elected for a five-year term.
In the ancient world Bulgaria comprised Thrace and Moesia and was the Roman province of Moesia Inferior. It was occupied in the 6th century AD by the Slavs, followed by Bulgars from Asia in the 7th century (the Bulgarian language combines Slavonic and other Balkan influences). In 865 Khan Boris adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and under his son Simeon (893–927), who assumed the title of tsar, Bulgaria became a leading power. It was ruled by Byzantium from the 11th century until 1185, when a second Bulgarian empire was established. From 1396 Bulgaria formed part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years, becoming an independent kingdom 1908.
Bulgaria allied itself with Germany during World War I. From 1919 a government of the leftist Agrarian Party introduced land reforms, but was overthrown 1923 by a fascist coup. An authoritarian pro-monarchist government was established 1934 under King Boris III. During World War II Bulgaria again allied itself with Germany, being occupied 1944 by the USSR.
In 1946 the monarchy was abolished, and a republic was proclaimed under a communist-leaning alliance, the Fatherland Front, led by Georgi Dimitrov (1882–1949). Bulgaria reverted largely to its 1919 frontiers. The new republic adopted a Soviet-style constitution 1947, with nationalized industries and cooperative farming introduced. Vulko Chervenkov, Dimitrov's brother-in-law, became the dominant political figure 1950–54, introducing a Stalinist regime. He was succeeded by the more moderate Todor Zhivkov, under whom Bulgaria became one of the Soviet Union's most loyal satellites.
During the 1980s the country faced mounting economic problems, chiefly caused by the rising cost of energy imports. During 1985–89, under the promptings of the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a haphazard series of administrative and economic reforms was instituted. This proved insufficient to placate reformists either inside or outside the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). In Nov 1989, influenced by the democratization movements sweeping other East European countries and backed by the army and the USSR, the foreign secretary Petar Mladenov ousted Zhivkov. Mladenov became leader of the BCP and president of the state council, and quickly promoted genuine political pluralism. In Dec 1989 legislation was passed to end the BCP’s “leading role” in the state and allow the formation of free opposition parties and labor unions; political prisoners were freed; and the secret-police wing responsible for dissident surveillance was abolished.
relations with Turkey
Bulgaria’s relations with neighboring Turkey deteriorated during 1989, following the flight of 300,000 ethnic Turks from Bulgaria to Turkey after the Bulgarian government’s violent suppression of their protests at the program of “Bulgarianization” (forcing them to adopt Slavic names and resettle elsewhere). The new Mladenov government announced Dec 1989 that the forced assimilation program would be abandoned; this provoked demonstrations by anti-Turk nationalists (abetted by BCP conservatives) but encouraged the gradual return of most Turkish refugees to Bulgaria, greatly improving relations with Turkey.
In Feb 1990 Alexander Lilov, a reformer, was elected party chief, and Andrei Lukanov became prime minister. Zhivkov was imprisoned on charges of corruption and abuse of power. A government decree relegalized private farming and a phased lifting of price controls commenced April 1990 as part of a drive toward a market economy. Huge price rises and food shortages were the result. In the same month the BCP renamed itself the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). Petar Mladenov resigned as president July 1990, and the opposition leader Dr Zhelyu Zhelev was elected in his place.
In Nov 1990, after mass demonstrations in Sofia, a general strike, and a boycott of parliament by opposition deputies, the government of Andrei Lukanov resigned. He was replaced by a nonparty politician, Dimitur Popov (1927– ), heading a caretaker coalition government, and the strikes by workers and students were called off.
end of communist rule
A new constitution was adopted July 1991 which defined the country as a parliamentary republic with a “democratic, constitutional, and welfare state”. The general election of that year resulted in a hung parliament and the right-of-center Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) formed a minority government, headed by Filip Dimitrov. This was Bulgaria’s first wholly noncommunist government for 46 years. In 1992 Zhelyu Zhelev became Bulgaria’s first directly elected president, capturing 53% of the vote, and a nonparty “government of experts” was formed, with Lyuben Berov, a professor of economics, as prime minister. Berov resigned Sept 1994, having suffered a heart attack, and Zhelev dissolved parliament and appointed Reneta Indjova, an economist, as interim prime minister pending a general election. This was held Dec 1994 and the former communist Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) won 125 of the 240 assembly seats. Zhan Videnov, hard-line leader of the BSP, became prime minister.
Bulgaria was formally invited to apply for European Community (now European Union) membership June 1993. It agreed to joint military operations with Romania Feb 1994.
Bulgaria · Republic of Bulgaria
Država u Evropi.