Gorunya's plot is the most famous and serious conspiracy against Zhivkov. Between 1960 and 1972, however, there were other attempts to overthrow Zhivkov or to change the politics of the BKP.
In 1962 Mitko Grigorov, Zhivkov's deputy in the BKP, plotted against his superior with assistance with some Moscow connections. Zhivkov, however, was better connected in Moscow and soon Grigorov was removed, becoming a footnote in history books.
In 1967-1968 some of Gorunya's associates, who had remained at large after the 1965 failure, reignited the conspiracy. They, however, also failed, ending up in prison and/or discharged from the army. Nevertheless, the northwestern part of Bulgaria became the centre of anti-Zhivkov sentiment. Zhivkov retaliated, turning the area into the most economically undeveloped in Bulgaria. It still is.
The last open rebellion against Zhivkov has elements of farce. The so-called Parvenetsko Shushukane, or the Whispering of Parvenets, was a 1972 meeting of Plovdiv apparatchiks in the nearby town of Parvenets. All of them were unhappy with Zhivkov and were presided over by Anton Yugov himself. Officially, the gathering was a birthday party, but when spirits rose, speeches critical to Zhivkov were given. The evening ended with the arrival of the State Security, who arrested everyone present.
The sad truth is that all of these attempts were organised by people who were either Stalinists, like Gorunya and his followers, or just power-hungry, like Grigorov and the "whispering" Plovdiv apparatchiks.
Probably the only senior BKP members who ever reacted against the totalitarianism of Zhivkov's rule and voiced the need for more democracy and transparency, were the seven from the so-called Kufardzhiev Group. On 1 June 1960, led by Nikola Kufardzhiev, they issued a letter to the Central Committee alerting them to the fact that Socialism in Bulgaria had transformed into a personal regime. The seven were denounced during an official meeting organised by Zhivkov, and were condemned as "traitors."
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