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Essence of the regime of T. Zhivkov and processes of de-Stalinization in some countries of Eastern Europe

UDK 94


© 2009. A. Krugloye

North Ossetian state university, North-Osetian State University,

362015, Vladikavkaz, Vatutin St., 46, 362015, Vladikavkaz, Vatutin St., 46,

Questions of social and economic and political character which countries of Eastern Europe faced after I.V. Stalin's death, a problem of a cult of personality and a specific situation in Bulgaria are considered. Process of ascension to Todor Zhivkov's power is shown, his characteristic, the reasons of political longevity is given.

The article considers the questions of the social-economic and political character. To which the countries of the Eastern Europe clashed after Stalin s death, problem of the cult of person and the concrete situation in Bulgaria. It shows the process of T. Jiv-kov s aspect to power, gives his characterization, reasons of his political longevity.

The purpose of the submitted article is opening of the reasons of de-Stalinization, its features in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe, ascension to the higher authority in Bulgaria of T. Zhivkov, display of essence of its mode and political longevity.

I.V. Stalin's death made on March 5, 1953 serious changes to domestic and foreign policy of the USSR and countries of Eastern Europe, to the nature of political regimes of the countries of the Soviet bloc. At once after the death of the leader the race for power between his closest associates began. To disguise sharpness of fight, the thesis about transition to "collective leadership" was put forward. The similar situation developed in the USSR and after V.I. Lenin's death. Expecting such succession of events, V.I. Lenin shortly before death made the proposal on significant increase in members of the Central Committee at the expense of workers.

V.I. Lenin's wish was formal is carried out by a so-called Lenin appeal in party. However I.V. Stalin, being the secretary general, could establish control over the party device and take the management of party, and then and the country in the hands.

History repeated in the 50th. At the XIX congress of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) I.V. Stalin achieved increase in number of the Central Committee and creation of new body of Presidium of the Central Committee where representatives of "old guard" did not get. But the leader did not manage to die as "the old guard", having urgently convened a plenum of the Central Committee, achieved distribution for itself key posts in party and government. The leading role in the first months after I.V. Stalin's death was played by G.M. Malenkov, L.P. Beria, N.S. Khrushchev. The first actions of new governors were intended to cause popularity in the people, to soften extremes of the Stalin mode a little. Amnesty under which criminals generally got was announced, "the case of doctors" is dismissed, the compulsory subscription to the state loans, etc. is cancelled Beria spoke for

normalization of the relations with Yugoslavia also expressed doubts in correctness of a socialist experiment with the GDR.

So vigorous activity of Beria caused concern of other members of the politburo. At the end of June, 1953 he was arrested. Balance in a higher level was broken.

In the long term race for power between G. Malenkov and N. Khrushchev elected in 1953 to a post of the First secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU appeared. Events in the USSR loosened controls of Moscow over people's democracies a little. (This name remained until the end of the 50th). Having used it, in the management of the Polish, Hungarian and Czechoslovak Communist Parties supporters of carrying out more flexible political line, reforms in various spheres of political and economic life became more active.

The socio-political situation in these countries in 1953 became aggravated because of activization of subversive activities from the outside. In structure of the population of the East European countries which followed a way of socialist transformations the groups which are earlier connected with capitalist and small-scale way were still widely presented. They more suffered during the periods of nationalization of the industry and cooperation of agriculture and also as a result of political repressions.

These social groups with great difficulty adapted to the collectivist system of values spread by the authorities and could become a support for expansion of counterrevolutionary movements. At the same time in the environment of the Polish, Hungarian, Czechoslovak, east German working class which was more qualified and numerous, than in other East European countries, oppositional moods also extended.

The working class which in general was positive to on -

to a chal of socialist transformations, took leveling trends in policy of the ruling modes painfully and also maintaining the minimum level of the salary. The mass actions of a protest in the GDR in June, 1953 suppressed by means of the Soviet troops became the first manifestation of these moods. The political situation in other East European countries was tense.

On June 13-14, 1953 at the Soviet-Hungarian negotiations in Moscow of the politician M. Rakosha, the most orthodox pro-Stalin leader, and other Hungarian leaders it was subjected to sharp criticism. Most sharply Beria acted.

The Hungarian side agreed with "recommendations" of Moscow of decrease in tasks about the current 5-year plan, specification in this regard of plans for 1953 and 1954. She undertook to submit the relevant documents to Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU by July 15, 1953. As appears from the diary of the ambassador of the USSR in Hungary fixing record of his conversation with the prime minister of Hungary Imre Nagy of July 16 the last expressed concern that with implementation of the plan of reorganization of economy and policy the situation is not as it was planned earlier. There is a real danger that the government can fail with the promises to improve welfare of workers as to implement a complicated plan of 1953 and at the same time promises it is impossible for the people.

By way of illustration jokes of situation in economy Nagy gave situation with coke. They receive it in smaller quantity, than consume the plants. There are no stocks. Neither Czechs, nor Poles fulfill the obligations. Because of it the difficult situation with implementation of the plan is created, and it beats the salary of workers who express great discontent [1, page 779-782].

The internal political situation in Czechoslovakia was difficult. Due to holding a monetary reform in a number of industrial centers, mass riots took place. The decision of the government on cancellation of a rationing system was published on June 1, 1953. Subsequently calculations showed that re - the form led to decline in living standards of all groups of the population for 20%.

In Moscow the news of strikes and disorders in Czechoslovakia was regarded as the signal testifying to weak knowledge of rather real internal political and economic situation in the country, inefficient work Comecon [1, page 786-787].

Events in Czechoslovakia caused serious concern of Moscow. June 6, 1953. The first secretary of the Central Committee of KPCh A. Novotny through the ambassador A. Bogomolov transferred to the Central Committee of the CPSU from the Central Committee of KPCh the extensive document representing attempt of Czechoslovak leaders to estimate carrying out in the country of a monetary reform and the reason, the caused mass actions of a protest of the population. But in Moscow considered unconvincing a conclusion that "though wide groups of workers were affected by a monetary reform, having given -

lyayushchy most of communists and non-parties understand its class character and accepted reform positively", the aspiration of authors of the document to confer responsibility for strikes and demonstrations first of all on "reactionary elements from the former dealers, businessmen and fists" was felt.

In this regard the confidential letter of the correspondent of the Pravda newspaper in Czechoslovakia V.A. Tarasov to the editor-in-chief of the newspaper D.T. Shepilo-va about situation in the country of August 28, 1953 is of interest. According to Tarasov, reform was undertaken without due preparation and without all features of an economic and political condition of the country.

As a result the living standards of the population did not increase, and decreased. The real wage of workers, according to official figures, decreased in comparison with 1946 by 26%, and with the pre-war period - for 40%. The trouble developed also in agriculture though in the country the rich harvest - 30-40 c of grain from hectare ripened. The harvest half was gone as the peasantry sabotaged cleaning [2, page 808-812]. Similar was noted also in other people's democracies.

What there was an economic and political situation in Bulgaria? The political situation there in general was quiet. But in 1953 and there were serious problems. In information note of the assistant manager the department of the Central Committee of the CPSU of communications with the foreign Communist Parties of I.G. Vinogradov and the employee of department V.I. Lesakov noted failure to follow the plan of the 3rd quarter 1953 as in general, and on such important industries as coal, mining, textile, food, production of building materials. Seriously also agriculture lagged behind. Characterizing living standards of workers, authors highlighted that they even at triple reduction of prices of consumer goods, the prices of manufactured goods remained 12% higher on the eve of cancellation of cards. In 1953, interruptions in supply of the population with sugar, vegetable oil and other goods amplified [1, page 779].


especially noted unsuccessful situation with collectivity of the management, weak criticism and self-criticism and the continuing promotion of a cult of personality of V. Chervenkov [1, page 844-852].

Almost along with information note in Moscow the letter the ambassador of the USSR in Bulgaria M.F. Bodrov V.M. Molotova about manifestations of a cult of personality in the country and excessive independence of V. Chervenkov was received. In the letter it was noted that in the last performances that began to pay special attention to the international problems, without consulting on the substance of these performances on the government of the USSR. His performances are thought insufficiently over and caused contradictory responses in the bourgeois press. The attention to that fact that Chervenkov is at the same time the Secretary general of the Central Committee of BKP (in other countries this post was already cancelled), was paid by the Chairman of the board of Ministers and Predse-

giver of the Domestic front. The letter to liquidate such combining jobs and to involve new shots in the leading work came to an end with the offer on expediency to the forthcoming congress of BKP to resolve some organizational issues [1, page 853-854].

In the USSR the problem of a cult of personality rose for the first time on the July Plenum of the Central Committee of 1953 considering Beria's case however is careful also with reservations, reducing everything to the fact that weaknesses and shortcomings of the late leader were dexterously used by Beria.

In concluding remarks G.M. Malenkov said: "The cult of personality of companion Stalin took the painful forms that led to such mistakes as harmful tax policy in the village, the crazy idea of a produktoobmen which is put forward in the latest work of Stalin & #34; Economic problems of socialism in СССР" an invention with construction of the Turkmen channel" [3, page 86].

On August 8, 1953 the session of the Supreme Council of the USSR heard Malenkov's performance "Of urgent measures in the field of the industry and agriculture and measures for further improvement of material well-being of the people".

He saw an essence of these tasks and measures in the organization of large rise of production of commodities and increase in their quality for what it is necessary to increase investments in development of the light and food industry and also agriculture which considerably lagged behind. The government and the Central Committee were going to overcome lag by increase in procuring meat price, milk, wool, potatoes and vegetables and also considerable decrease in obligatory deliveries from subsidiary farm of collective farmers and decrease from them a monetary tax [4].

This performance of Malenkov had a big resonance both within the country, and abroad, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe which had similar problems. Not only in the USSR, but also in countries of Eastern Europe the de-Stalinization process began to gain strength. It was difficult and contradictory, its many motives and details were hidden from society. In Bulgaria the gradual discharge from the top party and state posts of V. Chervenkov and gradual ascension to tops of the power of Todor Zhivkov became one of visible manifestations. From February 25 to March 4, 1954 in Sofia there took place the VI congress of BKP which approved directives by the second 5-year development plan for Bulgaria (1953-1957). It was decided to provide during a five-years period rise in agriculture, to liquidate lag of livestock production, and in the field of the industry to provide development of the electrical power and coal industries, nonferrous metallurgy and constantly to increase production of consumer goods. Performance of these tasks had to guarantee further systematic development of the national economy and lead to implementation of the main task of the second five-years period - to sharp improvement of material and cultural level of workers [5, page 432].

So, carry out influence of malenkovsky innovations -

an elk in Bulgaria fully. Also recommendations concerning division of posts of heads of party and the state were implemented. Todor Zhivkov [5, page 473] became the first secretary of the Central Committee. He was elected thanks to support of Moscow, in particular N. Khrushchev. However V. Chervenkov who reserved the prime minister's post was still responsible for work of the Politburo of the Central Committee.

The interesting situation turned out - its main carrier had to direct fight against a cult of personality. De-Stalinization of Bulgaria proceeded sluggishly, in 1954 provided amnesty to some former functionaries of BZNS, amnestied or reduced terms of punishment to the persons condemned on other political processes.

Sluggishly proceeding de-Stalinization caused discontent of the Kremlin that weakened V. Cherven-kov's positions. The choice of soviet leadership and first of all N. Khrushchev was made in favor of T. Zhivkov who proved to be to good tactics, the master of intrigues and compromises.

As well as Khrushchev, he managed to win round a row authoritative party and statesmen. The new impulse gave to development of social and political processes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe the XX congress of the CPSU which took place in February, 1956. Dethronement of a cult of personality of I. Stalin on it led to aggravation of an internal political situation in a number of the countries, to discharge from the power of pro-Stalin leaders.

In April, 1956 the plenum of the Central Committee of BKP took place. He heard information on decisions of the XX congress of the CPSU on overcoming a cult of personality and respect for Lenin norms of party life, to the adoption of collective leadership, inner-party democracy. The great value of this document for life and activity of all communist and labor parties was emphasized.

The plenum accused V. Chervenkov of a cult of personality and the related violations of norms of party and state life, socialist legality [6, page 9].

He was dismissed the Chairman of the board of Ministers though he remained the member of the Politburo, the deputy prime minister and the minister of education and culture. Subsequently V. Chervenkov was discharged of the state and party posts, and in November, 1962 is expelled from party for anti-party activity [2, page 395].

Following the line of the management of the CPSU, new leaders of BKP led by T. Zhivkov respectively adjusted the ideological and propaganda office of party.

Recovery of victims of political processes began. T. Kostov, a row less large party and statesmen, representatives of the creative intellectuals was rehabilitated.

However the "April line" proclaimed on a plenum was generally a fiction, the propaganda declaration.

Nevertheless to the middle of the 80th Bulgaria was one of the most reliable links of the socialist commonwealth.

In the conditions of confrontation of two world systems it in the political and ideological plan less than other socialist countries of Eastern Europe delivered efforts to "elder brother" - the USSR in spite of the fact that in its territory there were no Soviet troops and there was an existence of the general border with members of NATO - Greece and Turkey. In the domestic and foreign policy Bulgaria generally steadily followed a course of the Soviet Union, adequately reacted to the processes happening there, sensitively caught the signals arriving from Moscow. She had reputation of the most faithful ally, the obedient USSR satellite, but managed to take from such subordinate of situation and considerable benefits at the solution of national security issues and also social and economic problems [7, page 396].

Since April (1956). A plenum of the Central Committee in Bulgaria the era of "zhivkovizm" proceeding until the end of the 80th began. Khruschev's thaw had no large-scale character in Bulgaria and was carried out under the influence of Kremlin "falcons". So, after "defeat" in the USSR of "anti-party group" of G. Malenkov, L. Kaganovich, V. Molotov of the structure of the management of BKP representatives of "old guard" G. Chang-kov, D. Terpeshev, etc. were brought. It meant the end of so-called "collective leadership". The party power became more significant in comparison with the government. Combination of party and state posts was widely applied. In 1958 N. Khrushchev, having displaced N. Bulganin from a post of the Chairman of the board of ministers, itself held this post. In 1962 T. Zhivkov, remaining the party leader, headed the government. In 1971 he conceded a position the prime minister to the member of the politburo S. Todorova, having become the chairman of the newly established State Council, i.e. the head of state.

Leading party and the state, T. Zhivkov consistently created prerequisites and conditions for own glorification, the approval of the myth about the infallibility as theorist and practice of construction of socialism. Except BKP congresses, it made the main reports almost on all party actions (conferences, plenums of the Central Committee) irrespective of questions which were considered there, and its installations formed the basis of the made decisions. The majority of its inner circle which it periodically shuffled numerous party apparatus, mass media, etc. worked for formation of a cult [7, page 396].

However it is necessary to notice what is here, as well as in the field of economy, there was a copying of the Soviet leaders, at first N. Khrushcheva, and then L. Brezhneva. Zhivkov had magnificent adaptability. N. Khrushchev's falling in 1964 did not affect its destiny, he managed to adapt also to L. Brezhnev. At the same time T. Zhivkov was not a thick-headed politician.

In his performances, other party documents the questions connected with protivo-were repeatedly raised

rechiya and deformations in socialist society, turned to burning issues, but most often it had propaganda character to emphasize "innovation", "revolutionism of thinking" of T. Zhivkov, and did not lead to large-scale, sweeping changes in life of society. At all the democratic curtseys T. Zhivkov did not refuse broad application of repressive measures: moral on lytic pressure, dismissals from work and the ban to be engaged in a certain activity, solutions of freedom, etc. Especially he cared for preservation of strengthening of a personal authority, on this matter he did not go on any compromises. The Zhivkovsky mode leaned on the party device, army, law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies. At the same time the policy which presented to most of the people real confirmations of advantages of a new social order was pursued. As well as in the USSR, in Bulgaria in the 50-70th there were large social and economic shifts which radically changed its shape.

Already by the beginning of the 60th Bulgaria in which structure of the national economy the small land tenure prevailed turned in industrially - agrarian where more than a half of the made national income fell to the share of the industry.

At the end of 1958 the VIII congress of BKP which drew a conclusion that socialist relations of production won all spheres of society [8] took place.

However during industrialization and especially in 6080 of the 20th century elements of an autarchy and a gigantomania were shown. The large industrial facilities which are not provided with raw materials and domestic market, besides seldom turning out noncompetitive products were built. Calculation often was based on its sale to "the brotherly countries" - members Comecon which had also own interests not always coinciding with the Bulgarian. The main hopes were pinned on the capacious Soviet market [7, page 393].

So, in 1980 in foreign trade of Bulgaria the share of export to the socialist countries made more than 70%, including in the USSR - about 50%, and an import share - respectively 79 and 57% [9, page 183].

At the same time a course towards industrialization answered a real state of the economy and society.

On this basis there was a coincidence of interests of a considerable part of the people and ruling elite which remained for many years. The main explanation consisted in it why in Bulgaria the mass resistance to the mode as it occurred in the GDR, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia was not observed. E. Valeva and D. Zudinov specify as an important factor also the low initial level of social and economic development of Bulgaria, and socialism provided to its people comparative wellbeing and it till certain time compensated absence civil and first of all political freedoms [10, page 183-184].

Bulgaria the first among the East European countries

carried out agriculture collectivization which took place without formal nationalization of the earth. Cooperation "rassosat" big agrarian overpopulation, delivering the labor necessary for industrialization.

However though there was a significant growth in working class (from 1956 to 1975 it grew from 29 to 60%), more than a half of workers carried out unqualified labor operations, and over 65% had no secondary education [2, page 402].

T. Zhivkov and his immediate environment implicitly followed the Kremlin course. When the XXII congress of the CPSU in October, 1961 set the task to complete in 1980 the construction in the USSR of bases of communistic society, the Bulgarian leaders immediately took up this initiative. The VIII congress of BKP which took place in November, 1962 defined as the general prospect of development of the country till 1980 creation of socialism and gradual transition to construction of communism.

Further these purposes underwent adjustment towards their bigger realness. It was recognized that in assessment of date of completion of a socialist phase and the beginning of construction of material and technical resources of communism the overlap was allowed forward [11, page 462].

The leadership of the USSR gave support to T. Zhivkov. Especially close relations with Bulgaria at the USSR developed during an era of government of L. Brezhnev.

The Soviet raw materials, especially the oil delivered to Bulgaria at the prices are much lower than world, allowed to re-export favourably it. In return Bulgaria supported positions of the Soviet Union on the international scene during crisis situations in the GDR, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, strain of relations with China and Albania. At the beginning of the 60th, in the period of N. Khrushchev's government, T. Zhivkov began to put forward actively the idea about the closest economic and scientific and technical rapprochement of Bulgaria with the USSR, and in the long term - even about the entry into the USSR. The similar proposal was made L. Brezhnev in 1973, but did not get support of the leadership of the USSR because with formally - the legal point of view it was insolvent as Bulgaria had no general border with the USSR. It is unlikely this idea would be approved also by the international community, and hardly it was necessary also for T. Zhivkov especially as he well understood that in case of the introduction in structure of the USSR its personal authority will be strongly restrained. Most likely it was talked not of accession, and of the maximum rapprochement, first of all economies of two countries that, by the way, was characteristic also of other socialist countries and the comprehensive program of economic integration of the countries Comecon adopted in 1971. Designated in during the long-term board T. Zhivkov did not face open anti-Communist opposition (except for the last years). However it had opponents, critics, but all of them, as a rule, were natives of the communistic environment and expressed the disagreement with poly-

tick T. Zhivkova either from orthodox, or from the liberal positions. Even during "collective leadership" there were contradictions between T. Zhivkov, V. Chervenkov and A. Yugov.

Shortly before the VIII congress of BKP A. Yugov criticized the 20-year development plan for Bulgaria and also policy of the USSR developed with assistance of the USSR in relation to China and Cuba. It formed the basis for shift it from a post of the Chairman of Council of ministers and removal from the structure of the Central Committee.

At a congress V. Chervenkov and A. Yugov were accused of anti-party fractional activity [6, page 873].

Along with fight in the political management at a boundary of the 50-60th the oppositional group in the Bulgarian labor unions led by N. Kufard-zhiyev was formed. She demanded democratization in all areas of public life [12, page 13]. Members of the group were excluded from BKP, discharged from office. In 19631964 among journalists the pro-Chinese group headed by the employee of radio M was formed. Dock-torovym [7, page 408]. The opposition arose among officers of the Bulgarian army. In 1965 over them trial was organized [12, page 16].

Thus, in the 60th and later in Bulgaria there were few antizhivkovsky groups. However all these and other manifestations of a frondirovaniye in relation to T. Zhivkov did not shake seriously social and political life in the country. In the 70th T. Zhivkov's regime reached the peak of the power. The best for it was to leave, having provided reins of government to younger receiver. But, as history of communist regime showed, the top officials left political arena either as a result of death, or as a result of public performances. Zhivkov should pass a stagnation era, the beginning of a Gorbachev perestoroyka and crash. Administrative to - mandny systems remained untouched.

Therefore it is no wonder that praise of new political leaders soon began. Any manifestations of oppositional moods were cruelly stopped. However, in the second half of the 50-70th outstanding successes in social and economic area were achieved, but they were possible due to extensive development. When opportunities of the last were exhausted, and it occurred at a boundary of the 70-80th, there came crisis of real socialism.

From everything told it is possible to draw conclusions that process of de-Stalinization did not make serious changes to social and economic and political structures. Moscow still retained control of these countries. For Bulgaria the second half 50 - the beginnings of the 70th was time of large achievements in social and economic area that allowed it, relying on the help of the USSR, to achieve significant progress in social area. It strengthened also political positions of T. Zhivkov. However development of Bulgaria and other countries of the region was temporary and possible at the expense of extensive methods. Attempts to transfer economy to rails of intensive development failed that affected also the fate of her leaders.


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On June 7, 2008

Ralph Hayes
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