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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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The Elite Coup: The transition to democracy in Bulgaria

Federico Matías Rossi

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The transition to democracy in Bulgaria is commonly defined as a coup d’état carried out by the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) elites against the long-standing dictator Todor Zhivkov. The Bulgarian transition to democracy was a direct by-product of the economic and political collapse of the USSR. No contentious events had any important impact on the democratization process. In brief, Bulgaria was the USSR’s closest ally, acting as a satellite state. The collapse of the USSR (signaled by the fall of the Berlin Wall) implied the end of Bulgarian communism. No other way out was possible at that point in time. The transition was peaceful and elite-led due to the ‘positive’ examples of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, as well as the wish to avoid entering into a cycle of violence similar to that suffered in Romania.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/10

2012WP10COSMOS

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