Bulgarian Communist Dictator Zhivkov Pops Up on Billboard in Nessebar

Society | September 8, 2011, Thursday // 19:24
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Communist Dictator Zhivkov Pops Up on Billboard in Nessebar The billboard featuring Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria's communist dictator, in Nessebar for which a local resident paid with his savings. Photo by Burgas24

A local resident has rented a billboard in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Nessebar in order to feature a portrait of Bulgaria's communist dictator Todor Zhivkov for his centenary.

The billboard featuring the long-time dictator of the People's Republic of Bulgaria toppled in 1989 is the initiative of a man named Docho Dochev, who believes that Zhivkov should not be forgotten, Burgas24 reported.

"In 1989, when comrade Todor Zhivkov resigned, I started a piggy bank at home to collect money for him. He was accused of theft but at the end it turned out that he had just one villa," Dochev is quoted as saying.

He has now used the piggy bank money he collected since the early 1990s in order to pay the Municipality of Nessebar, the most popular Bulgarian Black Sea resort, for the billboard featuring the dictator's portrait, reading "100 Years since the Birth of Comrade Todor Zhivkov!"

The man has a huge collection of books and photos about Zhivkov, and is resentful about what he describes as the ingratitude of the Bulgarian society towards the former communist dictator.

His billboard is one more event that raises serious questions about Bulgarians' coming to terms with their communist past and its interpretations.

On September 7, 2011, dozens of Bulgarians and some political figures flocked to the town of Pravets to commemorate the 100th anniversary of September 7, 1911, the birthday of longtime communist leader of Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov.

Todor Hristov Zhivkov (September 7, 1911 – August 5, 1998) was a communist politician and leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989.

He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) in 1954 and remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation.

His rule marked a period of both economic stability and political repressions for Bulgaria, dominated by complete submission of Bulgaria to the Soviet rule, which lasted until the deterioration of East-West relations in the 1980s, when a stagnating economic situation, a worsening international image and growing careerism and corruption in the BCP weakened his positions.

He resigned on November 10, 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognize problems. Only two months later, in January 1990, the People's Republic of Bulgaria and its Communist regime ceased to exist.

Zhivkov remains one of the most controversial figures in Bulgarian history, triggering outrage and hate on one side and veneration and nostalgia on the other. The celebration of his 100th anniversary in Bulgaria has also been marked by controversy and heated debates.

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Tags: anniversary, BCP, West, Soviet Unon, Soviet, controversy, Ministry of Defense, North Korea, Pravets, 1989, communist regime, communist, Todor Zhivkov, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Bulgarian Communist Party, Nessebar
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