Freedom for Bulgaria
The path to freedom for Bulgaria was named the “gentle revolution” which began with the forced resignation of the dictator Todor Zhivkov in November 1989. This set off a wave of rallies and tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the central squares of the capital and other big cities. They demanded free elections and the end of the Soviet regime.
Due to the changing of the guard from Zhivkov to the reforming wing of the Communist Party and the alliance of democratic organizations, Bulgaria managed to break free from Communist rule without bloodshed or violence. Negotiations took place between the reforming Communist Party and the Union of Democratic Forces. These talks led to the first free election in 1990 and the formation of a New Democratic constitution which was established in 1991.
Even with this hope of freedom now becoming a reality for Bulgaria they would have a long, hard road ahead to bring healing to a nation divided over its Communist past. From 1990 through 1997 Bulgaria had its first experience with democracy with Zhelyu Zhelev of the Union of Democratic Forces as the first postwar noncommunist president. Nevertheless the 1990’s were marked by constant public unrest and political instability. The economy in crisis but forging forward into the free-market after the collapse of the Soviet system.
By the early 2000’s rapid inflation, high unemployment and continued economic instability caused widespread disillusionment. In 2001, former king, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was elected as prime minister. He retained this position until 2005. During Simeon’s term the country pressed forward with reforms and eventual growth. Unemployment rates began to fall, inflation was under better control and foreign relations were improving.
In 2004, Bulgaria became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in 2007 they joined the European Union (EU). These both helping to stimulate the economy and create more political and social stability.
Today, Bulgaria is on a more steady road towards wholeness. A nation pressed down but never crushed. Many generations persevering, pressing on towards the goal of independence and freedom. Not once giving up hope, always holding true to their beautifully rich, deeply rooted traditions, history and culture.
This post concludes the history portion of my series. In my next post, I will take a look at Bulgaria’s government, economy, city life and tourism. Keep me in your prayers as I strive to finish up my essay. This is the last of our adoption education and we will then be able to move forward to the Dossier process! Thanks for joining me so far and for all your support and encouragement. I am ever grateful.
[This post is part of the Heart for Bulgaria series. An overview of our research on the country of Bulgaria.]