Vulko Chervenkov


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(b. 6 Sept. 1900, d. 21 Oct. 1980).

Secretary‐General of the Bulgarian Communist Party 1949–54 Born at Slatiza (near Sofia), he joined the Communist Party in 1919. He went to the Marx‐Engels Institute in Moscow, where he became an instructor, and an agent for Comintern. During World War II, he worked for the Bulgarian section of the Soviet broadcasting service. He returned to Bulgaria in 1946, and in 1949 his good connections inside (he was Dimitrov's brother‐in‐law) and outside (notably Stalin) ensured his rise to the head of the party and the state. Known as ‘little Stalin’ for his adoration of the Soviet dictator, he set about purging the party of moderate elements, expelling almost 100,000 people. He nationalized industries and agriculture, and expelled around 150,000 ethnic Turks, ostensibly for their resistance to his policies. His overwhelming domination in state and party came under fire after the death of Stalin in 1953. In 1954, Zhivkov replaced him as general secretary of the party, and in 1956 dismissed him from the office of Prime Minister. He was relieved of all offices in 1961, and expelled from the party in 1962.

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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