Bulgaria has become the only former Warsaw Pact country to have a stooge for president
Issue 9, September 2007
by Stoyana Georgieva, Mediapool; photography by BTA
Abraham Lincoln famously said that you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Perhaps the masses are more malleable than Lincoln thought, at least in present-day Bulgaria. President Georgi Parvanov, it transpires from recently declassified documents, was an informer for DS, or Darzhavna sigurnost - the Communist-era secret police, the Bulgarian equivalent of Stasi and Securitate.
Before standing for a second term last year, President Parvanov denied what at the time was an allegation that he had collaborated with DS. Documents now declassified prove that he had in fact been a collaborator, code-named Gotse. He had signed a declaration of allegiance to DS and had received payment for his services. These are the facts. In July, the commission for the declassification of the archives of DS officially confirmed that Georgi Parvanov was a “secret collaborator” with its First Main Department. He was recruited in October 1989, a month before Todor Zhivkov's regime fell, and his file was closed in 1993.
In June 2006, a few months ahead of the presidential election and responding to rightwing opposition pressures, Parvanov admitted that he had “held” the Gotse file. He insisted that, as a historian at the History Institute of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP), he believed he had been working for the Foreign Ministry. His task was to assist a “very eminent” man write his memoirs. President Parvanov denied he knew he was really working for DS but added that, even if he had, he would have carried out his assignment.
Last year, his recruiting officer, the now retired First Lieutenant Tsvetkov, said that Parvanov “knew perfectly well” that he was collaborating with DS. Tsvetkov said he had chosen the code name Gotse because the two were working on the “Macedonian issue” and Parvanov reminded him of Gotse Delchev, one of the turn-of-the century leaders of the Macedonian liberation movement.
When the commission opened the Gotse file, they found inconsistencies with the president's account. Tsvetkov had written in one of the documents that Parvanov “showed readiness and willingness to cooperate with DS”. The file also contained a statement of expenses, at loggerheads with President Parvanov's assertion that “there is no document to prove any remuneration, but I will admit that I did receive a one-time fee for consultation and editorial work.”
The Gotse file was incomplete when it was finally made public. The commission determined that 36 pages had disappeared. According to the Monitor daily, they were the so-called “work records”, the reports that agent Gotse made to his supervising officer. Without these pages, Gotse's true links with the DS will never be known. The commission stated that this was not the first time that the National Intelligence Service (NRS), the guardian of the DS and other intelligence archives, had sent them “doctored” files.
When was this “editing” done? It could have happened during the massive “purging” of files in the 1990s. Yet the Gotse file went into the NRS archives on 4 February 1997. On that very date, after the resignation of Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, under pressure from street protests and amidst an economic crisis, the BSP abandoned its attempts to form another government, a move that triggered an early parliamentary election. At the time, President Parvanov was leader of the BSP.
Perhaps the tampering occurred more recently, just before the commission began its work. Kostadinov said that the Gotse file was last “handled” on 27 March this year.
The government did respond to these revelations, albeit in an odd way.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers