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

 The image of Todor Zhivkov is not only restricted to his persona as a politician and statesman but also focuses on the purely human aspects of his character. The work studies the changes which took place in him after the death of his wife, Mara Maleeva, in 1971, and the death of his daughter, Liudmila Zhivkova, in 1981. The subsequent collapse of his family left Zhivkov a lonely man, accompanied only by his loyal nurse, Anka Mladenova, the sole person in whom he trusted. Power granted Zhivkov political longevity, but deprived him of normal human relationships, substituted only by his hunting party and his growing trust in his personal guards who watched over him day and night. His diffidence increased after 1965 when State Security thwarted an attempted military coup, and his fears of assassination grew after an incident in Vratsa in 1980 when a young man pushed him and he fell to the ground. In November 1989 ,lonely, isolated, mistrusting, far from his family and concentrated purely on strengthening and maintaining power,  he was overtaken by events and discovered that Kremlin had decided that it was time for him to be replaced. His inevitable retirement took place ironically on the 9th November – the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event which became symbolic of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

The book concludes with Zhivkov’s confessions (he never confessed in public that he was responsible for the failures of his regime) of his mistakes and his responsibility for the serous economic condition in which he left Bulgaria. The confessions were made to the State Prosecutor in 1990 and Hristov in his book brings them to the attention of the public and history.


Hristo Hristov based his documentary investigation on an exceptionally wide range of sources. His advantage over other researchers in Bulgaria is that he is only investigative writer with access to a number of court archives. In particular he has access to the archives connected directly to Todor Zhivkov and his 35-year regime. These include Court Case No.1, 1990, wherein Todor Zhivkov was charged with corruption and abuse of power . In 1993, he was sentenced by the Supreme Court to 7 years imprisonment, but he sentence was later repealed, on the basis of more favourable legislation – the new Bulgarian Constitution, passed in 1991. Under the provisions of the new constitution the head of state could be sentenced only in the event of betraying the state.  Hristov also had access to Case No.3, 1990, relating to crimes in the last of Bulgaria’s communist labour camps, near Lovech, and Case No.4, 1990, relating to the economic catastrophe caused by the BCP regime. Hristov also made use of a  number of not previously investigated state archives, including those of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of the Interior, police archives prior to the 9th September, 1944, as well as the archives of the BCP’s repressive forces of the State Security Services.