Author`s books
About the authorBooksGeorgi Markov`s casePiccadilly fileThe archives of the SSSContacts
Summary E-mail

The work also examines the creation and functioning of Zhivkov’s cabinet. A number of his former political colleagues describe the General Secretary and his way of working over the years and changes in his behaviour. Hristov also provides documentary facts about the way in which his team wrote his reports and speeches. They were published in 39 volumes in the name of Zhivkov who received all royalties for them. Zhivkov’s royalties were set at a special high rate and for the period between 1975-1989 he received in excess of 1.8 million levs.  Detailed explanations are also given regarding Zhivkov’s illegal practice of handing out hundreds of houses and apartments to selected representatives of the party, cultural, artistic and sporting elite through the creation of an illegal housing fund.


Hristov pays special attention to the Zhivkov’s economic policies which brought Bulgaria to bankruptcy three times – in 1960, 1977 and 1989. A number of representatives of the senior echelons of the BCP and the commercial banks of the communist era provide evidence of the personal decisions which Zhivkov took in relation to the economy. These led to serious mistakes and display his tendency towards megalomania. His policies lead to serious consequences in two major sectors – heavy machine building and agriculture.  The book studies the mechanisms by which Zhivkov accumulated foreign and domestic debt as well as the mechanisms for managing the “hard currency reserve” which he exercised sole control over. Former directors of the Bulgarian National Bank and economists provide evidence of his refusal to undertake any real economic reforms. This refusal was a result of the demagogical way in which he constructed the greatest illusion of his rule – that the Bulgarian people lived cheaply and well. The economic legacy which Zhivkov left was exceptionally serious – an economy and market focused solely on the USSR and almost 11 billion dollars external debt and 26 billion internal debt.

Against the background of his authoritarian rule another specific feature of Zhivkov’s rule is shown – his systematic removal of party and state functionaries whom he suspected of being threats to his position or anyone who dared not to agree with his opinion.


Hristov also examines Zhivkov’s destructive interference in the areas of culture and the arts where the damaging effects of his policies are exceptionally serious.

 In a separate chapter the author examines a number of crimes perpetrated by Zhivkov’s regime. These include the creation of the labour camps in Lovech and Skravena between 1959 and 1962, assassination attempts against the Bulgarian émigrés who dared criticize his policies, such as the writer, Georgi Markov (1978) in London; the illegal payment of 22 million levs to the USSR to finance the special “Moscow” fund designed to assist a number of revolutionary movements around the world; the attempt to turn Bulgaria into the 16th Soviet Republic; international terrorism, such as the shooting of Pope John Paul II and Carlos the Jackal; state sponsored contraband of goods, arms and illegal medicines; the illegal renaming of Bulgarian Turks known as the “revival process”.