Primary Sources

Pro-Communist Rally in Bulgaria


In Bulgaria, the Communist Party led the movement toward democratic change. Following the legalization of several other political parties, and the formation of the Union of Democratic Forces, the Bulgarian Communist Party Secretary, Petur Mladenov, announced a further set of reforms. The following is an official report from the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria about Mladenov's rally on 13 December 1989, in which he laid out the pace of political change he envisioned over the course of the next year. Mladenov explicitly referenced this change would follow the Soviet model, in which Mikhail Gorbachev had begun a set of reforms to improve the Soviet economy, but with the firm plan of keeping the Communists in power. As the public support and posters brought to this rally suggest, Mladenov's idea of keeping the Communists in power in a democratic Bulgaria had widespread support.


Sofia Embassy to U.S. Secretary of State, "Mladenov Addresses Pro-Communist Rally of 35,000," 15 December 1989, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

  1. Summary. At a hastily convened but well-publicized rally on 13 December, Bulgarian President and BCP [Bulgarian Communist Party] General Secretary Petur Mladenov addressed a crowd of 35,000 Communists and urged them to support the Party's program of restructuring, which would follow that in the Soviet Union. End Summary.
  2. At the meeting in 9th of September Square, which had been filled twenty-four hours earlier with approximately 12,000 citizens demonstrating for democratic changes, two of the speakers claimed to be addressing 50,000 people. In his coverage of the event, the Rabotnichesko Delo correspondent wrote that he could not say how many attended, "whether there were 100,000 or 200,000." Police Chief and Human Rights Officer estimated the crowd at 30-35,000.
  3. Mladenov's principal speech outlined the goals of the Party and the decisions of the Plenum, including the following: to hold a Party Congress on 19 March 1990; to revise the constitution to make a more free and democratic society, by the end of 1990; to create a package of more democratic laws; to organize measures to stabilize the economy; and to remove language which gives the BCP a "leading role" from Article 1 of the constitution. Regarding the latter, Mladenov remarked that the BCP "does not need" laws which guarantee its supremacy. Placards at the meeting echoed his statement: one read, "BCP does not want laws for its power—It has the people instead." Another read, "Even without Article 1, we will be first."

How to Cite this Source

U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria, "Pro-Communist Rally in Bulgaria," Making the History of 1989, Item #244, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:24 pm).

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