Background Notes: Bulgaria

PA/PC Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Jan 15, 19901/15/90 Category: Country Data Region: Europe Country: Bulgaria Subject: Military Affairs, Cultural Exchange, Travel, History, International Organizations [TEXT] Official Name: People's Republic of Bulgaria


Area: 110,987 sq. km. (44,365 sq. mi.); about the size of Ohio. Cities: Capital-Sofia (pop. 1,114,759). Other cities-Plovdiv (377,637), Varna (297,090), Burgas (188,367), and Ruse (185,425). Terrain: About three-fourths mountainous and one-fourth plains. Climate: Temperate continental similar to U.S. Midwest (dry, hot summers and damp, cold winters) but with strong regional variations.
Nationality: Noun and adjective-Bulgarian(s). Population (Dec. 1985): 8,942,976. Annual growth rate: 2.3/1,000. Birth rate: 13.6/1,000. Density: 80.9/sq. km. (209/sq. mi.). Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 85.3%, Turk 8.5%, others (Gypsies, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Russians)-6.2%. Language: Bulgarian. Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox, Islam, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Judaism. Education: Years compulsory-8. Attendance-1.6 million. Literacy (est.)-98% . Health: Infant mortality rate-16.1/1,000. Life expectancy-Men 69 yrs., women 74 yrs. Work force (4,092,832): Agriculture-22%. Industry and commerce-43%. Construction-8.3%. Transport-5.9%. Government-1.3%. Other-19.5%.
Type: In transition. Constitution: May 1971. Branches: Executive-chief of state (Chairman of State Council), head of government (Chairman of Council of Ministers). Legislative-unicameral National Assembly, State Council: chairman, 1 first deputy chairman, 5 deputy chairmen, 1 secretary, and 21 members. Judicial- Supreme Court, 28 provincial (okrug and Sofia City) courts, 103 local courts. Political parties: Bulgarian Communist Party, Bulgarian National Agrarian Union, other political parties in formation. Suffrage: Universal over 18. Administrative subdivisions: 9 oblasts (districts). Defense (est.): 6% of government budget. National holiday: September 9. Flag: White, green, and red horizontal stripes from top to bottom with a lion framed by wheat stalks on the upper left hand corner of the white stripe.
National income (1988): $67.6 billion. Annual growth rate (1988): 1.8%. Per capita income (1988): $7,540. Natural resources: Copper, lead, zinc, coal, lignite, iron, manganese, limestone, and lumber. Agriculture: Products-Grain, tobacco, fruits, wine, vegetables, sheep, hogs, poultry, cheese, sunflower seeds. Industry: Types-processed agricultural products, machinery, chemicals, metallurgical products. Trade (1987): Exports-$16.8 billion; U.S. share, $40.3 million. Imports-$16.9 billion; U.S. share, $88.3 million. Major trade partners-U.S.S.R. 61%, other CEMA countries 21.5%, developing countries 10.7%. Official exchange rate (April 1989): .41 leva=U.S.$1.
Membership in International Organizations
UN and many of its specialized agencies, Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CEMA), Warsaw Pact.


Located on the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria extends from the western shore of the Black Sea to Yugoslavia in the west. In the north, the Danube River forms the greater part of Bulgaria's common boundary with Romania. Greece and European Turkey lie to the south and southeast of Bulgaria. The country is divided roughly into three parallel east-west zones: the Danubian tableland in the north, the Stara Planina (or Balkan) Mountains in the center, and the Thracian Plain and the Rhodope and Pirin Mountains in the south and southwest. About one- third of the country lies at an altitude of 500 meters (1,640 ft.) above sea level. The average elevation is 480 meters (1,575 ft.) above sea level. On the fringe of the humid continental climate zone, Bulgaria has a climate similar to the U.S. Midwest. The weather varies considerably from year to year, as do the several climatic subzones within the country. Summer temperatures average about 24 C (75 F); winter temperatures average around 0 C (32 F). Annual precipitation averages 63 centimeters (25 in.).


Partly due to its mountainous terrain, Bulgaria's population density is one of the lowest in Eastern Europe, about 81 persons per square kilometer (207/sq. mi.). About two-thirds of the people live in urban areas, compared to one-third in 1956. Sofia, the capital, is the largest city. Other major cities are Plovdiv-site of a major annual international trade fair, the Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas, and Ruse on the Danube River. The principal religious organization is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to which most Bulgarians belong. Other religions include Islam, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism. Before 1989, religious activity was discouraged by the Bulgarian Communist Party, but its new leadership has pledged to support the rights of all citizens to worship freely. Bulgarian is the primary language spoken in the country, although some secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic divisions. The most important of these is Turkish, which is widely spoken by the Turkish minority. From 1984-89, the government, in effect, banned the use of the Turkish language in public. The new leadership has repudiated that policy. Russian, which shares the Cyrillic alphabet and many words with Bulgarian, is widely understood. Education is free and compulsory to age 15. Scientific, technical, and vocational training is stressed.


Bulgaria's name is derived from a Turkic people, the Bulgars, who originated in the steppe north of the Caspian Sea. In the latter part of the seventh century, one branch of the Bulgars moved up the Volga River, establishing the Kingdom of the Volga Bulgars; the other branch moved westward along the Black Sea settling near the mouth of the Danube. Although the name Bulgaria is not of Slavic origin, the Slavic people, who had entered the Balkan Peninsula earlier, absorbed the invading Turkic people and were, in large measure, the precursors of the present-day Bulgarians. Bulgarian kingdoms continued to exist in the Balkan Peninsula during the Middle Ages, following which the Ottoman Turks ruled Bulgaria for 500 years, until 1878. In that year, a Bulgarian principality was established between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains when Russia and Romania assisted the Bulgarians in defeating the Ottomans. In 1885, the union of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia south of the Balkan Mountains created an autonomous Bulgarian state with roughly the same borders as those of present-day Bulgaria. A fully independent Bulgarian kingdom, proclaimed September 22, 1908, participated in an anti-Ottoman coalition that defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War (1912). The coalition soon dissolved over territorial disputes, however, and Bulgaria was isolated and defeated quickly in the Second Balkan War (1913) by Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, and Turkey. It later allied itself with Germany in World Wars I and II and suffered defeats twice more. Bulgaria's involvement in these wars was partly due to its ambitions for an outlet to the Aegean Sea and its desire to annex Macedonian and Thracian territory held by Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey. Although Bulgaria declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom during World War II, it did not declare war on the Soviet Union. In August 1944, Bulgarian emissaries opened talks in Cairo with Allied representatives, seeking to take Bulgaria out of the war. On September 5, 1944, while these talks were still under way, the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria. Communist rule in Bulgaria began September 9, 1944, when a communist-dominated coalition, called the Fatherland Front, seized power from the coalition government formed to arrange an armistice with the Allies. At the same time, Soviet forces were marching into the country without resistance. Communist power, consolidated in the next 3 years, led to the adoption on December 4, 1947, of the so-called Dimitrov Constitution, modeled after that of the U.S.S.R. Yugoslavia's expulsion from the Cominform (a Soviet-led international socialist organization) in June 1948 and the subsequent Moscow-dictated persecution of "national communists" throughout Eastern Europe also led to arrests and trials in Bulgaria. In 1949, Traicho Kostov, a Bulgarian communist leader, was executed on charges of conspiring with the Yugoslavs. He had remained in Bulgaria during the war and was second in rank only to Georgi Dimitrov, who had spent the war years in Moscow. Vulko Chervenkov, Dimitrov's brother-in-law, who also had spent the war years in Moscow, emerged as the "Stalin of Bulgaria" after Dimitrov's death in 1949. In 1954, following Stalin's death and separation in the U.S.S.R. of the positions of party leader and head of government, Chervenkov yielded the position of party chief to Todor Zhivkov. In the next 7 years, Zhivkov superseded his one-time mentor, blaming him for the "Stalinist excesses" and "violations of socialist legality" which had characterized the 1948-53 period. Chervenkov was ousted finally from his last leadership position in November 1961, and shortly thereafter Zhivkov took on the additional post of premier, thus recombining the positions of party leader and head of government. In 1971, he gave up the premiership and took on the newly created and more prestigious position of Chairman of the State Council (chief of state). He held this position and that of Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) Secretary General until November 1989. Petur Mladenov, who led the Politburo in its effort to oust Zhivkov, now also holds both these positions, despite his declarations favoring separation of party and State powers. Mladenov is leading the BCP in its efforts to maintain a credible claim to political leadership in the country, despite a high level of opposition to the Communist Party which is now appearing. Elections, promised for May 1990, will indicate how successful Mladenov has been in that effort.


The paragraphs in Article One of the Bulgarian Constitution that guaranteed the "leading role in society" of the BCP were removed by the National Assembly on January 16, 1990. Further changes in the constitution are under consideration, and more, significant changes in the political structure of the country may follow. As currently written, the constitution provides for a unicameral 400-member National Assembly, described as "the supreme organ of state power." Each deputy in this body represents a particular district and, in the past, ran for election for a 5-year term on a single Fatherland Front list. The government has pledged that the assembly elections called for May 1990 will permit competition by multiple candidates representing different parties. The National Assembly is required to meet three times a year. Formerly, its sessions were typically pro forma affairs, but since November it has convened more frequently and has shown signs of independence. The executive branch is the Council of Ministers (cabinet), the chairman of which-the prime minister-is head of government. The number of Cabinet-rank officials has varied over the years but generally is about 30. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body. It is responsible for and reports on its activity to the National Assembly and, between assembly sessions, to the State Council. Judges are elected for a 5-year period. The Bulgarian judicial system also has a chief prosecutor, elected for a 5-year term, who is constitutionally charged with seeing that laws are obeyed, particularly those concerning Bulgarian national and economic interests, independence, and sovereignty. Bulgaria has a three-tiered system of government. Below the central government are 27 provinces (okrugs) and one city, Sofia, which also has the status of a province. Subordinate to the 27 provinces are more than 1,100 urban and rural communities (obshtina), constituting the third level of government. The provinces and communities are governed by elected People's Councils and party-appointed executive officials.
Principal Government Officials
Chairman, Council of State; General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party-Petur Mladenov Chairman, Council of Ministers-Georgi Atanasov (premier or prime minister) Chairman, National Assembly-Stanko Todorov Minister of Foreign Affairs-Boyko Dimitrov Politburo (Full Members) Petur Mladenov Georgi Atanasov Andrei Lukanov Aleksandur Lilov Belcho Belchev Dobri Dzhurov Pandeley Pachov Mincho Yovchev Politburo (Candidate Members) Petko Danev Ivan Stanev Dimitar Stanishev Ivan Ivanov Ambassador to the United States-Velichko Velichkov Ambassador to the United Nations-Aleksander K. Strezov Bulgaria maintains an embassy in the United States at 1621- 22d Street NW., Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel. 387-7970).


The removal of long-time Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov from government and party positions on November 11, 1989, began a period of significant change in Bulgarian political life. Until this time, the BCP, with about 984,000 members, controlled all phases of Bulgarian life. The Bulgarian constitution guaranteed it a role as the leading force in society. Petur Mladenov, former Foreign Minister, took over from Zhivkov as Head of State and Secretary General of the BCP. In the period that followed, six of the nine full Politburo members were dismissed, as were three of the six candidate members. In most cases, these were individuals closely associated with former leader Zhivkov or with his most unpopular policies. There also were changes in the Central Committee (CC) membership, which were widely viewed as an effort to bring more liberal and reform-minded party members into responsible positions. Most important, however, the CC of the BCP voted in December 1989 to relinquish its monopoly on power. On January 16, 1990, the National Assembly formally removed the clauses guaranteeing the BCP's preeminence from the constitution. The other political party that functioned in Bulgaria during communist rule is the Bulgarian National Agrarian Union (BANU). A coalition partner of the BCP, it could not have an independent program. Its leadership also changed in November 1989, and some of its members have begun to take the initiative, in the National Assembly and elsewhere, to assume a more independent position. Other political parties have begun to form since Zhivkov's dismissal. A new law on associations is expected to be considered by the National Assembly early in 1990; this would set the guidelines for the functioning of other political parties. In the meantime, independent parties are forming without benefit of legal guidelines and have apparently been permitted to function without government interference. A Social Democratic Party has been formed, as has a Green Party, among others. The government has promised "free, democratic" elections for the National Assembly before the end of May 1990. Some of the opposition members have called for elections in May for part of the assembly seats, followed later in the year by further elections; this is in order to give the newly formed opposition parties more time to organize. The current National Assembly, generally considered to be a "rubber stamp" Parliament, has begun to take some tentative steps toward independence. The Bulgarian media, although still state-owned and controlled, has made some effort at keeping pace with the political changes underway, and has reported accurately and objectively on opposition positions in many cases, although not in every instance. After decades in which Bulgarian political development was marked by stability and lack of dissent, it has now entered a period in which many voices are being heard. It has taken some important initial steps toward greater freedom and respect for human rights, but it faces a difficult task in achieving true democracy.


At the end of World War II, Bulgaria was among the least industrialized European countries. In 1948, 18% of the work force was employed outside the agricultural sector. Since then, however, the government has pursued a policy of rapid industrialization so that today about 80% of the work force is employed in sectors other than agriculture. The national income grew rapidly in the 1960s and early 1970s, averaging more than 6% annually during the 1960s and reaching 9% in 1975. Economic growth has slowed markedly since the late 1970s and has averaged only 1%-3% annually in recent years. Bulgaria's gross national product (GNP) was $67.6 billion in 1988, or $7,540 per capita. The national currency, the lev, is not a convertible currency and has been tied to the Soviet ruble. The official lev-dollar exchange rate is, therefore, not necessarily an accurate index of the true value of the lev (BL). A major factor in Bulgaria's postwar growth rate was Soviet assistance, the dollar value of which cannot be accurately estimated. The assistance included raw materials at favorable prices, technical assistance, and substantial credits, partly in hard (convertible) currency. In contrast to some more developed East European countries, which have suffered economically from their dependence on the Soviet Union, Bulgaria's ties with the Soviet Union have brought economic benefits during most of the post-World War II period. However, during the 1980s, reduced deliveries of Soviet raw materials and fuels, coupled with higher prices, have reduced these benefits to Bulgaria.
Economic Reform and Plans
Bulgaria's command economic system has been patterned on the Soviet model. For several years in the mid-1960s, it appeared that Bulgaria had launched a program of economic reform involving decentralization of decisionmaking, a greater reliance on market forces, and even embryonic workers' councils. In 1968, however, fears aroused by the course of developments in Czechoslovakia and by domestic abuses in the use of decentralized authority prompted the BCP to reverse the trend toward decentralization. Since 1971, productive enterprises have been grouped into more than 60 state economic amalgamations responsible for almost all nonagricultural production. In the agricultural sector, state and collective farms began to be combined in 1970 into "agrarian- industrial complexes" averaging 17,776-26,664 hectares (44,000- 66,000 acres). Since 1979, halting attempts have been made to decentralize the economic planning and decisionmaking process in both the industrial and agricultural sectors. The most recent reform process, which began in 1986, is intended to make the economy operate more efficiently, but so far, implementation haS been half-hearted and disappointing. Major features are: -- Decentralized management decisionmaking; -- Financial stimuli to workers; -- Creation of a commercial banking system; -- Greater emphasis on market forces and incentives; and -- More rational pricing policies. Decree 56 of January 1989 provides for the restructuring of economic organizations as companies, with varying forms of ownership and liable to bankruptcy. Theoretically, companies are free to engage in foreign trade, ending the state's monopoly. The basic legal code for self-managing entities is not expected to enter into force until January 1991. The beginnings of a commercial banking system may have been established in late 1987 with the creation of eight new commercial banks. They are initially functioning only as investment banks. Price controls are to be lifted in stages through the end of 1990. It remains to be seen whether the market will play a greater role in the allocation of productive resources, but the new political leadership has affirmed market-oriented reforms as a high priority and plans to reinvigorate the 1986 reform program, which is expected to extend over a period of 10-15 years. Bulgaria's economic strategy has been set forth in 5-year development plans closely patterned after and coordinated with the Soviet Union's 5-year plans. The current 1986-90 plan sets lower economic growth targets but continued strong emphasis on the industrial sector, particularly electronics, machine-building, and biotechnology. The plan calls for approximately BL 54 billion in capital investment, roughly 70% slated for modernizing and reconstructing existing plants and equipment, rather than for new projects.
Industry and Agriculture
Industry has been the motor of Bulgarian economic growth for most of the past 45 years. However, by the early 1980s, it was clear that the process of extensive industrialization had carried the Bulgarian economy about as far as it could. Bulgaria has, therefore, launched its current campaign to modernize its aging industrial base, increase efficiency, and introduce new technology (e.g. robotics). The largest industrial sector is "machine building" (heavy industry), which accounts for more than one-quarter of industrial production. The largest single industrial plant is the Metallurgical Combine at Kremilkovtsi (near Sofia), one of the largest iron and steel mills in the Balkans. Despite its lower priority, agriculture remains a key component of the economy. Although only about 40% of the land is arable, Bulgaria has one of the highest ratios of arable land to population in Eastern Europe. Small private farms exist, mainly in the uplands. The size of the private plots is based on the size of the household: one-half hectare is the maximum in most places; in mountainous areas, 1 hectare. Climate and soil conditions are suitable for raising livestock and for growing various grain crops, vegetables, fruits, and tobacco. More than one-third of the cultivated land is devoted to growing the principal grain crops- wheat, corn, and barley. Bulgaria is a major tobacco producer-the fourth largest exporter of tobacco and the largest exporter of cigarettes (mainly to the Soviet Union).
Bulgaria's ambitious nuclear energy program is increasing the share of total electric energy generated by nuclear power-36% in 1988. A nuclear power plant at Kozloduy was recently completed, and construction of a second nuclear power complex has begun at Belene. In northeastern Bulgaria, deposits of black and coking coal may contribute to the effort to increase energy self-sufficiency. Estimated deposits are 1.2 billion metric tons, but great physical obstacles, such as the depth of the deposits (between 1,375 and 1,950 meters) and water-bearing rock strata, must be overcome if they are to be successfully exploited.
Foreign trade is important to the Bulgarian economy. In 1988, exports, which were $17.2 billion, constituted about a quarter of GNP. Since 1985, foreign trade has remained relatively stagnant. In the late 1980s, exports and imports have been basically in balance. Bulgarian foreign trade is conducted principally with other communist countries. In 1987, 82.5% of Bulgaria's exports and 80.5% of its imports were with communist partners. Almost 60% of Bulgaria's trade was with the Soviet Union in 1988. Bulgaria is a member of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CEMA), an economic/trade organization of communist countries. The share of Bulgaria's trade with developed Western countries is relatively modest: 6.8% of exports and 15.1% of imports in 1987. West Germany is the largest exporter to Bulgaria. Bulgaria's main interest in trade with the West is to import technology to modernize its industrial base and to use more efficiently raw materials and energy. In many cases, Bulgaria has been able to pay in hard currency for its imports from the West. Bulgaria's net debt to the developed Western countries increased to $7-$7.5 billion by the end of 1989 because of growing purchases of Western goods. Since 1967, Bulgaria has been an observer in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It is presently seeking accession to full GATT membership on the grounds that it has now reformed its economy sufficiently along market lines to be able to accept both the benefits and obligations of GATT membership. The Bulgarian Government promulgated a joint venture law (Decree 535) in March 1980 to attract Western technology and investment. However, most Western businesses have responded cautiously because of the vagueness of many of its provisions. Decree 535, on paper one of the most liberal joint venture laws in Eastern Europe, allows the formation of joint enterprises with unlimited foreign participation for operations in Bulgaria.


The first and overriding goal of Bulgarian foreign policy has been "to strengthen and expand the unbreakable alliance, friendship, and all-round cooperation with the U.S.S.R. and the other fraternal socialist countries." Bulgaria has supported consistently the Soviet position on all major world issues. Within the Warsaw Pact and CEMA, Bulgaria has been an advocate of greater integration of military, economic, and political policies under Soviet leadership. Bulgaria participated in the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Because of its geographic position, Bulgaria devotes particular attention to relations with the other Balkan states. It has achieved substantial progress in improving relations with Greece, but its relationship with Turkey has suffered because of the government's campaign of forced cultural assimilation aimed at the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. The end of this policy has led to some improvements in the relations between the two countries. Relations with Yugoslavia are troubled periodically by the Macedonian question. Relations with Albania are not particularly close because of Albanian distrust of Bulgaria's close links to the Soviet Union. More recently, Bulgaria also has been more active in its relations with West European countries and with certain developing countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Bulgaria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and participates in some of its specialized agencies.


Diplomatic relations between the United States and Bulgaria were established on September 19, 1903, but were broken on December 13, 1941, when Bulgaria declared war on the United States. The post-World War II treaty of peace between the Allies and Bulgaria entered into force September 15, 1947. The first postwar U.S. minister to Bulgaria presented his credentials on November 8, 1947. Relations were suspended in February 1950, however, when Bulgaria refused to withdraw false charges of complicity in espionage made against the U.S. minister during the trial of the Bulgarian Communist Party Leader Traicho Kostov. Another U.S. minister was accredited to Bulgaria in 1960 after Bulgaria withdrew as false the charges made against his predecessor. Following settlement of certain claims of U.S. citizens against Bulgaria as a result of an agreement signed on July 2, 1963, the United States resumed paying government benefits to persons entitled to them living in Bulgaria, and Bulgaria was allowed to open a trade office in New York City. The Bulgarian and U.S. Legations at Washington and Sofia were raised to embassy status on November 28, 1966. A consular agreement was concluded, which became effective on May 28, 1975. Other advances were the cultural and scientific exchange agreement signed during the June 1977 visit by the late Chairman of the Committee for Art and Culture, Lyudmila Zhivkova, and the reciprocal elimination of discriminatory bilateral restrictions on the travel of accredited diplomats on November 9, 1977. A joint agricultural statement on cooperation between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bulgarian National Agro-Industrial Union was signed in November 1979. A maritime agreement was signed in February 1981 to facilitate marine traffic between the two countries. U.S. cultural and other exchanges with Bulgaria have been much smaller than with other East European countries. In 1970, two significant exchange agreements were negotiated-one between the National Academies of Science and the other between the International Research and Exchange Board and the Bulgarian Committee for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. These were followed by the cultural and scientific exchanges agreements that entered into force on March 23, 1978, and has been renewed successively every 2 years; the latest extension was in June 1986. U.S.-Bulgarian trade has never accounted for more than a small fraction of either country's total commerce. Bilateral trade, which peaked in 1981 at $283 million, was $159 million in 1988. Since the mid-1980s, U.S.-Bulgarian trade has averaged $150 million annually, with the balance favoring the United States, and has consisted mostly of agricultural raw materials. The United States has not extended most-favored-nation status to Bulgaria since 1951. U.S. policy toward Bulgaria has sought to promote a more constructive, reciprocal relationship by resolving specific, concrete issues. Consistent with the Helsinki Final Act, the United States has endeavored to encourage improved Bulgarian respect for human rights, increased cultural and people-to-people contacts, removal of barriers to information flows, and trade facilitation. Recent liberalizations by the Bulgarian Government have led to improvement in U.S.-Bulgarian relations.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador-Sol Polansky Deputy Chief of Mission-William D. Montgomery Head, Political-Economic Section-Douglas Ray Smith Press and Cultural Affairs Officer-John Menzies Consular Officer-Jonathan J. Coyne Defense Attache-Col. John M. Handley USA The U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria is located at 1 Alexander Stamboliiski Boulevard, Sofia (tel. 88-48-01 through -05).


Climate and clothing: Summer temperatures range from 18 C to 30 C (65 F-90 F), but humidity is low. Sweaters are recommended for the cool evenings. By December, the weather is cold with considerable snowfall. Customs: A valid entry visa is required. Check with the Bulgarian Embassy for specific requirements. Currency: The lev (pl. leva) is the basic unit; the stotinka (pl. stotinki) is the fractional unit. Leva may not be imported, exported, or freely converted into Western currencies. Personal importation and exportation of dollars by Americans are unrestricted, and no declaration is required. Health: Apart from winter smog, affecting those with respiratory or sinus problems, Sofia causes no special health problems. Tapwater in the capital is potable. Eating in larger restaurants is advised. Telecommunications: Local and long-distance telephone and telegraph services are available. Sofia is seven times zones ahead of eastern standard time. Transportation: There are no direct flights to Bulgaria from the United States. Connections may be made in Frankfurt, London, or Vienna with foreign airlines that serve Sofia. Rail accommodations may be booked from Paris, Frankfurt, or Vienna. Air or rail service links Sofia with the Black Sea resorts near Varna and Burgas. Sofia has streetcars, trolley-buses, and buses. Taxis are available at stands or by telephone. Cars may be rented. An international driving permit is required. Main roads are good. Snowtires are advisable during October-May.
Further Information
Bell, John. The Bulgarian Communist Party: From Blagoevto Zhivkov, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, l985. Bokov, Georgi, ed. Modern Bulgaria. Sofia: Sofia Press, 1981. Bromke, Adam. The Communist States at the Crossroads. New York: Praeger, 1965. Brown, James F. Bulgaria Under Communist Rule. New York: Praeger, 1970. Butler, Thomas, ed. Bulgaria Past and Present. Columbus: AAASS, 1976. Chary, Frederick B. The Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution, 1940-44. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972. Constant, Stephen. Foxy Ferdinand, Tsar of Bulgaria. London: Sidgwick ∧ Jackson, Ltd., 1979. Evans, Stanley G. A Short History of Bulgaria. London: Lawrence ∧ Wishhart, 1960. Gianaris, Nicholas V. The Economics of the Balkan Countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. New York: Praeger, 1982 Hosch, Edgar. The Balkans: A Short History from Greek Times to the Present Day. London: Faber ∧ Faber, 1972. Land, David M. The Bulgarians. Thames ∧ Hudson, 1976. Lendvai, Paul. Eagles in Cobwebs: Nationalism and Communism in the Balkans. Garden City: Doubleday, 1969. MacDermott, Mercia. A History of Bulgaria, 1393-1885. New York: Praeger, 1962. Markov, Georgi. The Truth that Killed. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1983. Newman, Bernard. Bulgarian Background. London: R. Hale, 1961. Oren, Nissan. Revolution Administered: Agrarianism and Communism in Bulgaria. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1973. Osborne, R.H. East Central Europe: An Introductory Geography. New York: Praeger, 1967. Popov, Kostadin. Cultural Policy in Bulgaria. Paris: UNESCO Press, 1981. Rothschild, Joseph. The Communist Party of Bulgaria, 1833-936. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960. Seton-Watson, Hugh. The East European Revolution. New York: 1951. Starr, Richard F. The Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe An Introduction. Stanford University Press, 1967. Sugar, Peter F. and Ivo J. Lederer, eds. Nationalism in Eastern Europe. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1969. Vazov, Ivan. Under the Yoke. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1971. Zhivkov, Todor. Statesman and Builder of New Bulgaria. Oxford and New York: Pergamon, 1982. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402: American University. Area Handbook for Bulgaria. 1974. Background Notes are published by the United States Department of State --Bureau of Public Affairs--Office of Public Communication - -Editorial Division --Washington, D.C.-- October 1989--Editor: Juanita Adams Department of State Publication 8874--Background Notes Series -- This material is in the Public domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of this source is appreciated. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.(###)