The author of the research – Spaska Shumanova gave this summary to the readers of The Bridge of Friendship blog.
The development of the Bulgarian-Romanian political relations from 1944–1989 was influenced by multiple factors. Undoubtedly, the placement of Bulgaria and Romania in the sphere of Soviet influence at the end of the Second World War predetermined the imposition of a certain political regime in these countries, namely Soviet-type socialism. The Communist Party, the central decision-maker for the established state political system, defined the objectives, set the tasks, directed the processes and provided an assessment of the results obtained in all areas of public life in the country, as well as in foreign policy and international activity. Therefore, bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Romania depended directly on the ruling communist parties, and at a later stage they were umbilically linked to the personal perceptions or dissatisfaction of party and state leaders in the two neighboring countries.
The fact that Bulgaria and Romania were part of the Eastern Bloc, a bloc created in the late 1940s, was a factor that determined the nature of their relations, relations influenced by the problems and crises that accompanied the development of the socialist community in the second half of the twentieth century. Changes in relations between Eastern and Western blocs, blocs formed after World War II that oscillate between extreme opposition and attempts to overcome the contradictions between them, do have an impact on relations between Bulgaria and Romania.
Without interruption, the political relations between Bulgaria and Romania in the period 1944–1989 had their ebbs and flows. Their development was determined both by the two countries’ membership in the socialist community and by the specific objectives that the two countries set in their political development. At the same time, bilateral relations reflect the specific place that each occupies within the Eastern Bloc, as well as their dependence on the USSR as a leader in the socialist system and the international communist and workers’ movement. These characteristics from the historical course of Bulgaria and Romania in the second half of the twentieth century determine the relevance of the subject of the development of political relations between the two countries. The lack of a historical study able to present and comprehensively analyze all aspects of this issue makes necessary the search, discovery and multiplication of sources containing various information about the meaning and nature of relations between the two neighboring countries that gravitated to the USSR after the Second World War.
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In Bulgarian and Romanian historiography, the issue of bilateral relations in the years of socialism was addressed only in the context of Balkan history and international events. One of the contemporary Bulgarian researchers who worked on topics of Bulgarian-Romanian relations, especially in the period before and after 1944 is Blagovest Nyagulov. His work is based on a systematic study of archives, literature and periodicals in Bulgaria and Romania. His study of Bulgarian-Romanian relations in post-World War II historiography highlights the Stalin period, from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, as a time when historical studies of bilateral relations, influences and connections are largely resolved in the political sphere. The defining topics for historians are those that highlight the cooperation between Bulgarians and Romanians over the centuries. Consequently, topics of conflict in the first half of the twentieth century, which could revive past hostilities, were banned or avoided. A change in the historical literature took place after 1956, with the consolidation of the idea of ”national” in all spheres of public activity. The reading of controversial issues in historiography regarding relations with our neighbors was filtered through the lens of national priorities. An example in this direction was the one related to the development of the subject regarding the history of Dobruja.
Until the mid-1980s, the subject of Bulgarian-Romanian relations after World War II was mainly explored by Parashkeva Kishkilova and Georgeta Grigorova. In his articles, P. Kishkilova draws, albeit in more general terms, not only the political, economic and cultural ties of the complex and important stage of the strengthening of national democratic regimes after the Second World War, which ends with declaration of the two nation-states (in 1947), but also the development of bilateral relations until 1970. In her monograph “Balkan Policy of Socialist Bulgaria 1944–1970”, G. Grigorova presents the diplomatic, political, economic and cultural contacts between the two countries in the context of Balkan history and international events. Assuming that “the two countries are socialist, their policies and cooperation are based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, unity and cooperation with the countries of the world socialist system”, the author considers their development as “ascendant”. Such an approach, characteristic of the historical sciences prior to 1989, leads to the question of the particular course of the opposition to the USSR as leader of the socialist countries, an opposition that began openly in Romania in the 1960s, by putting forward problems concerning the workers’ issue, the international communist movement and its impact on relations between the two countries. Another historian interested in the subject is Rumyana Todorova, who examined the January 1948 treaty signed between Bulgaria and Romania, which dealt with the relations of Eastern European countries and the USSR by building a system of two-year treaties of friendship on cooperation and mutual assistance in the context of the Cold War policy of 1947–1948.
The political change in Bulgaria on November 10, 1989 was followed by not so sudden but profound changes in the working conditions of specialists in contemporary Bulgarian history. The major change makes the post-war period one of the most limited, starting from the thematic selection and access to archive documents, to those regarding the opening of new ideas, interpretations and concepts. The obedience to the line of the single party and ideological control were no longer necessary. Of particular importance became the free access to state archives, which gradually opened after 1991-1992. However, there are still archival documents that have not been processed or are undergoing procession, and access to them remains limited. The job opportunities were extended to the departmental archives of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for the period after 1975), as well as to the State Military History Archive.
However, freer working conditions and access to archival documents do not arouse greater scientific interest in the subject of Bulgaria’s relations with its northern neighbor, despite geographical proximity and identical processes taking place in the two countries and efforts. parallels for accession to European structures. Few Bulgarian researchers are familiar with the Romanian archives and the perspective of Romanian historiography on the nature of Romania’s relations with the Balkan countries, especially with Bulgaria in the second half of the twentieth century. Therefore, in contemporary historiography, Bulgarian-Romanian relations continue to be dependent on the past, not as an object of independent study, but as facts and events in the history of the Balkans, the history of the bloc in Eastern Europe or the general history of Europe. Historians, who in recent years have focused on relations between Bulgaria and Romania, emphasize the policies between the two states, but lack analysis of economic and cultural contracts.
Iskra Baeva is interested in the Bulgarian-Romanian issues, but emphasizes the political situation in the two countries and their foreign policy towards East and West, without taking into account in particular their bilateral relations. In other publications, Bulgarian-Romanian relations are just a note on the common theme of building the Eastern Bloc. Lyubomir Ognyanov, in “Diplomacy of Contemporary Bulgaria”, considers Bulgarian-Romanian relations as part of the subject of Balkan politics in Bulgaria after the Second World War. Krastyo Manchev seeks the development of Romania after the Second World War in the context of Balkan history, highlights the main events in the country’s domestic policy, as well as the changing attitude of the Romanian Communist Party towards the USSR and its positions on the problems of the international communist and workers’ movement. It also gave a specific place to the “national minority policy” of Bulgaria and Romania in the second half of the twentieth century.
Iliana Marcheva’s publications dedicated to Bulgarian-Romanian relations in the second half of the twentieth century have a positive character. The pursuit of relations between Bulgaria and Romania from the mid-1950s to the 1960s underlies the main conclusion that their development is influenced by the contradictions and crises in the Eastern bloc and the USSR-led communist labor movement. In his article “1956 through the eyes of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Todor Zhivkov”, I. Marcheva highlighted the meeting of the two party leaders a year after the events in Hungary (March 28 – April 4, 1957), emphasizing the questions derived from this meeting: (i) how Dej and Zhivkov viewed the 1956 “cataclysms”; (ii) what problems were caused by the Hungarian events in Bulgaria and Romania; (iii) what decisions and actions were taken by party leaders, etc. Faced with the revolt in Hungary, although they expressed their unconditional support for the USSR, the first differences arose in the positions of the two countries. The Romanian leader, with more international experience and more “pragmatic”, proves more cautious reaction and avoids getting involved in an active intervention, while Zhivkov, “more inexperienced and emotional”, maintains the ideology, and hence the line of foreign policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The distinctions are the result of the foreign and internal political objectives of the two countries, which will initiate the gradual separation of their positions and the different approaches to the events of the Eastern Bloc in the 1960s. By comparing the two leaders – Zhivkov and Ceauşescu – I. Marcheva came to the conclusion that they have in common “much more similarities than differences”, similarities due to political regimes, the way the two “power mechanisms” are run, the behavior of the communist nomenclature, as well as the influence of external factors. At the same time, she emphasizes that “Zhivkov is flexible and Ceausescu is more dogmatic”, indicating that Ceausescu’s dictatorship “causes much greater trauma to Romanian society”.
In his studies of military-political history, the history of intelligence, the history of European and Euro-Atlantic security organizations, civil-military relations and international peacekeeping operations since 1945, based on little-known and recently discovered documents in the Bulgarian archives and foreigners, Yordan Baev reveals in particular Romania’s position on the establishment of the Warsaw Pact Military Organization between 1955 and 1969, with a focus on tensions between Romania and the USSR since the early 1960s. With the distance of Romania, a “discriminatory” policy is maintained, which leads to the violation of the independence and sovereignty of the Romanian state. Y. Baev focused on exacerbating relations between Romania and its allies in connection with the military intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968. He points out that in the second half of the 1960s and 1970s Leonid I. Brezhnev assigned a “conciliatory” role to Todor Zhivkov “to convince, discourage and influence Nicolae Ceausescu.” He considers that “the development of Bulgarian-Romanian relations in various fields provides interesting indirect information about the relations of the Soviet Union.” It notes that public and party relations continue throughout the period at various levels, with them being related to the existence of “similar, communist and united regimes” in both countries.
In general, post-1989 research uses new, unpublished archival documents, up-to-date historical literature, and has insights into the development of Bulgarian-Romanian relations and cooperation during the socialist period. It reveals not only the “ceremonial friendship”, but also the problems of bilateral communication in the political, economic and cultural fields. However, the general historiographical review shows that, by 2020, the available publications reveal and analyze the individual problems of relations between Bulgaria and Romania, but do not create a panoramic view of the directions and diversity of the era of socialism, nor do they fully reveal the character and their importance as a form of interstate communication at bilateral level.
In Romanian historiography, the Bulgarian-Romanian bilateral political, economic and cultural relations during the period of socialism were also approached especially in the context of international events, which is why there is no comprehensive study on this topic. The events related to the Bulgarian state were reduced to the “Valev” plan, the frequent official visits between N. Ceausescu and T. Zhivkov and the end of the Bulgarian political regime (1989), but without a deliberate analysis or a generalized assessment.
A recent review of the scientific literature on the problems of bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Romania shows that this subject, part of the contemporary history of Bulgaria, needs a systematic and comprehensive study based on documentary collections, journals and memoirs published since 1989, as well as on a series of reference scientific books, specialized biographies and historical encyclopedias.
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The object of the research in this monograph is the Bulgarian-Romanian political relations from 1944–1989, and the subject of scientific research refers to domestic and international political factors that influence the development of relations between Bulgaria and Romania after the Second World War, respectively (i) the mechanisms and areas of interaction between the two neighboring countries, (ii) the topics addressed, (iii) the results obtained and (iv) the unresolved issues in the bilateral relations in the socialist period of Bulgaria and Romania.
The main objective is to follow and analyze the whole, in the context of the functioning of the totalitarian system and in the context of relations within the socialist system, the most important trends and specificities in the development of political dialogue between Bulgaria and Romania from the end of World War II to the fall of the communist regimes in both countries – with 1989 as the end year.
Therefore, the chronological frameworks are clearly delimited and cover the period 1944–1989. The years marked the beginning and end of the socialist period in the development of Bulgaria and Romania – from the imposition of similar political regimes in both countries and their inclusion in the sphere of influence of the USSR in the late 1940s (Eastern Bloc) until the collapse of the socialist system and the overthrow of T. Zhivkov and N. Ceausescu. In these chronological boundaries, the outlined stages of the political relations between Bulgaria and Romania reflect the specific problems of each country in domestic policy, internal issues derived from the problems of the socialist community and the trends in international life. The Bulgarian-Romanian relations go through different stages, marked both by successes and by the inability of the two countries to obtain constructive results in the face of controversial issues.
Achieving the goal of this study is related to (i) the consistent monitoring and analysis of the geopolitical situation in the world and the Balkans in the second half of the twentieth century; (ii) presentation and understanding of the directions and changes of the internal political situation in Bulgaria and Romania in the different stages of their development after the Second World War; (iii) discovering the place and role of Bulgaria and Romania in the Balkans and within the socialist bloc; (iv) monitoring the Bulgarian-Romanian bilateral relations in the context of the two countries’ membership of the Eastern Bloc; (v) clarifying the specifics of the political relations between Bulgaria and Romania in terms of the place occupied by the two countries in the socialist system and their dependence on the USSR – the undisputed leader of the socialist community and the international communist movement of the twentieth century; (vi) the discovery and analysis of problems less known or revealed to the public in bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Romania – both inherited from the pre-war period (pre-1944) and reappeared in the era of socialism, some of them obsolete and others remaining unresolved even today.
The accomplishment of the established tasks allows a complete presentation of the tendencies in the development of the Bulgarian-Romanian relations; revealing their nature and character in the processes of confrontation and recognition between East and West; an explanation of the different positions that the Balkan and neighboring countries hold towards the USSR. Such studies are important to clarify the historical process in the analyzed period, because despite the structural and functional similarity of political systems and government, despite the unified ideological framework of social and economic development of socialist camp countries (the eastern part of the bloc), there are differences between the countries, which remain unnoticed and unexplained in general studies.
Observance of the thematic-chronological approach in this exposition makes it possible to present and constantly follow historical facts and events in the context of the development of Bulgaria and Romania after the Second World War – as part of the Eastern Bloc and the changing international environment during the 1950s. -’80 of the last century. By applying the comparative-historical method, a panoramic vision and a more objective understanding of the general and specific in the positions of Bulgaria and Romania in relation to their obligations within the socialist community, their attitude towards the USSR and the international communist movement, it is possible to estimate their role in international politics and their initiatives related to inter-Balkan relations.
For the first time in Bulgarian historiography, an attempt was made to present the complete and complex subject of Bulgarian-Romanian political relations in the era of socialism. A large volume of Bulgarian and Romanian archival documents were introduced into the scientific circulation, revealing not only Bulgarian-Romanian political contacts, but also bilateral economic, cultural and legal relations. Important and essential topics in Bulgarian-Romanian political relations are analyzed, such as solving the pressing problems that arose after the signing of the Treaty of Craiova (September 7, 1940) and the delimitation of the Bulgarian-Romanian border along the Danube. For the first time, the facts are revealed and the problem of building the complexes of Romanian and Bulgarian embassies in the political relations between the two countries is exposed. Based on archival documents, issues related to the conservation and maintenance of cultural and historical monuments in the two countries are addressed and analyzed in the context of Bulgarian-Romanian political relations. New documentary sources were examined and analyzed for a comprehensive presentation of events related to attempts to solve environmental problems in the Ruse area, as part of the political relations between Bulgaria and Romania in the 1980s.
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In terms of structure, the monograph contains an introduction, three chapters (divided thematically into subchapters), conclusions, annexes, sources used (archival documents, publications, periodicals and memoirs) and specialized literature (studies and references), plus a list of abbreviations.
The introduction (pp. 9–22) explains the need to develop the topic, discusses the general and main objectives, presents the object and topic, the scope and research methods used. A review of the literature on historical studies dedicated to Bulgarian-Romanian political relations was made. The main works, the memoirs of the participants direct to the events and the archival sources discovered in the archives of Bulgaria and Romania are indicated.
The first chapter, “Bulgaria and Romania in the Transition to the” People’s Democracies “(1944-1948)” (pp. 23-80), follows the behavior of the two countries at the end of World War II. In the context of political realities, the Bulgarian-Romanian political relations are determined by the directives of the party and those of the government. During the “people’s democracies”, political and diplomatic figures from Bulgaria and Romania called for a good understanding, making joint calls for bilateral cooperation, the development of friendly relations, the deepening of mutual assistance and support. This is due to the almost similar post-war situation of the two states and the identical tasks pursued, the first of which was to stabilize political regimes and break out of the international isolation in which they were positioned as “defeated states”, whom was attributed the position of Hitlerite Germany’s former allies. The second major reason that generated the direction in the relations between Bulgaria and Romania was due to the integration of the two countries within the emerging Eastern Bloc under the leadership of the USSR.
After the consolidation of the Western bloc and under the influence of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Romania began to resolve their pre-war problems and expand political ties by organizing a summit between Prime Ministers Gheorghi Dimitrov and Petru Groza (July 12-16, 1947). The most important result of the first bilateral meeting in 1944 was the solution of the outstanding issues following the signing of the Treaty of Craiova and the conclusion of a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (signed on January 16, 1948 in Bucharest). The main objective of the treaty was to guarantee national independence and strengthen the defense of the two republics, to create conditions for comprehensive political, economic and cultural cooperation and to facilitate political, economic, transport and cultural relations. By signing the treaty, Bulgaria and Romania believed that all issues were resolved and shifted their attention from the aftermath of the war to the prospect of future political and economic cooperation.
The second chapter, “Bulgarian-Romanian Political Relations – From “Stalinism” to the “Specific Path of Development” (1949–1970)” (pp. 81–173), looks at relations between Bulgaria and Romania since the end of “people’s democracies” in the countries of the socialist community and recalibration on a new axis, namely the accelerated alignment with the model of Soviet socialism, pending the signing of a new bilateral treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance (November 19, 1970). We refer mainly to the years of Stalinism (until 1953), the years of “de-Stalinization” and the beginning of the first significant discrepancies between the positions of Bulgaria and Romania towards the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, especially with regard to the problems of economic and military integration of the countries from the socialist camp within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) and the Warsaw Pact Organization, the year of the Prague Spring (August 20-21, 1968) and the military intervention of the five Warsaw Pact member states, the conflict between the USSR and China.
During the Cold War, Bulgaria and Romania were among the most loyal satellites of the USSR and participants in the construction and validation of organizations in the Eastern Bloc – COMECON and the Warsaw Pact, which strictly respects the Moscow line and undertakes various actions for strengthening peace and deepening bilateral relations.
The socialist “new course”, shaped by the death of Soviet leader Joseph V. Stalin, relativized the liberalization of the political and economic model established in Eastern European countries aldo in the context of changing international relations and the contradictions of the international communist and labor movement, which appeared in the 50s and in the early 60s of the twentieth century. Then the two countries developed their relations from different positions – Bulgaria as a loyal partner of the USSR, and Romania as a “dissident” in the Eastern Bloc. The ongoing political processes in both countries lead to the consolidation and concentration of power in the hands of a party and state leader – Todor Zhivkov in Bulgaria and Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania.
In its foreign policy, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria supported all the ideas and actions of the USSR, and Todor Zhivkov managed to build personal relations with Nikita S. Khrushchev and Leonid I. Brezhnev, which helped him not only to strengthen its positions, but also to develop the country’s economy. There are other principles that guide the Romanian foreign policy: solving international problems only on the basis of bilateral relations; maintaining a centrist stance on issues challenged both in international relations and between the parties; a strong demonstration of independent positions on all issues and reluctance to coordinate the actions of socialist countries in a more organized manner, emphasizing its historical ties to Western civilization as a counterbalance to the political influence of the USSR. This direction of Romania’s foreign policy reflects the growing nationalist tendencies in the behavior of the Romanian party and state leadership. The “political curve” in relations between Bulgaria and Romania is due precisely to the different positions addressed by the two countries regarding the USSR, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact Organization, which will require Bulgaria to exercise caution in relations with Romania and, in many cases, appears a delay in decisions on issues with the neighboring country.
The changes that took place in the relations between Bulgaria and Romania during this period are taken into account – the bilateral meetings remain without real results because the contested problems (drawing the interstate border along the Danube, the hydrotechnical complex “Somovit – Islaz” etc.) did not find a mutually advantageous solution. The distinctions were the natural result of the foreign policy of the two countries. The search and finding of mechanisms to overcome them were pursued, but, in reality, the only joint project finally completed, following the pressure of the USSR, was the construction of the “Friendship Bridge” from Ruse – Giurgiu (officially opened on June 20, 1954).
Chapter Three, “Zhivkov’s Bulgaria, Ceausescu’s Romania (1971–1989)” (pp. 174–299), focuses on Bulgarian-Romanian relations from the signing of the Second Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance to the end of the rule of T. Zhivkov in Bulgaria and N. Ceausescu in Romania (November – December 1989). The development of international relations in the 1970s and 1980s was marked by the preparation and organization of the Security and Cooperation Council in Europe and the signing of the so-called Helsinki Final Act (1 August 1975), a pioneering act in the recognition process of the nuclear issue. This period was followed by a “new Cold War” related to the arms race between the USSR and the United States, but also to the beginning of global change that took place under Ronald Reagan’s presidential term in the United States (January 20, 1981) and the election of Mikhail S. Gorbachev as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (March 11, 1985), which ended with the collapse of the socialist system and the end to the division of blocs in Europe. The place, role and position of Bulgaria and Romania in international processes in the world, Europe and the Balkans are presented in this chapter.
An analysis was made of the state and directions of development of Bulgaria under T. Zhivkov and of Romania under N. Ceausescu, as well as of the perspectives and problems faced by bilateral political relations. The period 1971–1989 was one of intense political meetings (especially official ones) between the two party leaders and heads of state and joint initiatives – for example, the idea of creating a nuclear-free and chemical-free zone in the Balkans, but also many other remarkable aspects (remaining since 1989): (i) the hydrotechnical complex issue “Nikopol – Turnu Măgurele” continues to be discussed, but without concrete results; (ii) preservation of Bulgarian cultural and historical monuments in Romania; (iii) construction of embassy buildings in Sofia and Bucharest for the diplomatic missions of both countries; (iv) the escalation of the ecological situation in Ruse, etc.
In the 1970s and 1980s, bilateral political relations between Bulgaria and Romania were marked by trends and developments in international relations: information involved in the preparation and conduct of the Security and Cooperation Council in Europe (1975); “Second Cold War”; the emergence of “new thinking”; expanding “advertising” and announcing “perestroika”. In Bulgaria and Romania, the changes led to the removal of Todor Zhivkov from power (November 10, 1989) and the overthrow and execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu (December 25, 1989).
During the analyzed period there was a change in the relations between the state institutions from the two neighboring countries, especially between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Assembly of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Grand National Assembly of Romania. Following these contacts, a wide range of issues related to the improvement of consular relations between the two countries, bilateral cooperation in civil, family and criminal cases, facilitation of visa-free travel for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in the two neighboring countries, the opening of new border checkpoints at Vidin, Silistra, Ostrov and Kardam, delimitation of the land border between Bulgaria and Romania and others.
In the 1980s, formal meetings between T. Zhivkov and N. Ceausescu became traditional, with results, however, little visible at all. Discussion of past issues and those that arose during the development of the Bulgarian-Romanian bilateral political relations was avoided, their solution being practically postponed, which indicated the lack of will and agreement between the two neighboring Balkan countries for concessions and mutually advantageous solutions.
The chapter of conclusions (p. 300–305) summarizes and generalizes the analysis of historical facts, events and processes that characterize the development of Bulgarian-Romanian political relations in the socialist period (1944–1989) presented in the text of the monograph. It is emphasized that bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Romania depend directly on the communist parties and their leaders and are determined by the two countries’ membership of the Eastern Bloc. The problems and crises that accompany the development of the socialist community have a significant impact on the development of political contacts between the two countries. Romania’s secession from the Soviet Union and the exit from the Warsaw Pact Organization, manifested, on the one hand, by Romania’s adherence to the application of Marxist-Leninist principles in the construction of socialism in the country and, on the other hand, in the development of a foreign policy based on nationalism, contrasts with the line of close cooperation, loyalty and closeness to the USSR followed by the party and leadership of the Bulgarian state.
This circumstance allows the Soviet Union to use T. Zhivkov’s frequent contacts with N. Ceausescu (while the USSR provides economic dividends for the People’s Republic of Bulgaria in exchange for that) to obtain information about the decisions and positions of the Romanian state and party leadership, ideas and the specific actions of Ceausescu and the maintenance of Romania in the Eastern Bloc. In turn, the political leadership of the Romanian state demonstrates good neighborly relations with Bulgaria, trying to indicate that Romania’s political line is accepted by other socialist countries, only the USSR showing “misunderstanding”. The close ties between Bulgaria and Moscow remain an opportunity for Romania to improve relations with the Soviet Union.
The facts show that the differences between Bulgaria and Romania were also reflected in their positions on relations between the Balkan countries. The activity of the Balkan policy of the Romanian side is given by Romania’s desire to use Balkan relations as an effective means of promoting Romania’s place, role and prestige in Europe and in the world. In discussions on the Balkans, T. Zhivkov and Bulgaria support a balanced policy which, on the one hand, adheres to the position of the USSR but does not engage in multilateral cooperation, as the aim of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Greece was to reduce the influence of the Member States on the Warsaw Pact Organization and the USSR in the region. On the other hand, in order not to isolate the People’s Republic of Bulgaria from the ongoing processes in the region, the aim is to signal that there are common problems in which Bulgaria should be involved, without creating a regional union.
The change came after 1985, when Romania’s proposals to turn the Balkans into an area free of chemicals and nuclear substances became a part of Romania’s interests and opinions. The evolution of Bulgaria’s Balkan policy is quite clear – from a pending settlement of bilateral disputes between different Balkan countries to support Romania’s idea of organizing a summit of all Balkan countries. This is most likely the consequence of changes in the Eastern Bloc and in the world, dissatisfaction with the socio-economic situation of Eastern European countries, calling for a rethinking of political interaction and economic cooperation in the Eastern Bloc.
In the second half of the 1980s and 20th century, under the conditions of the imposition of “glasnost” and “perestroika” by M. S. Gorbachev, there was a change in relations between Bulgaria and Romania. The intense meetings focused on the accumulated problems, especially in the field of economy, the conservation of cultural and historical monuments on the Romanian territory and the solution of the problems related to the deterioration of the ecological situation in Ruse. However, the special relations established between T. Zhivkov and N. Ceausescu proved to be insufficient for their resolution. Repeated attempts by the Bulgarian state to stir effective actions by Romania for the preservation of Bulgarian historical monuments remain unsuccessful, and in 1988 the building of the Bulgarian school “Hristo Botev” in Bucharest was demolished. After ten years of supporting the project for the hydroelectric complex “Nikopol – Turnu Magurele” (1978-1989), party and state leaders in Bulgaria and Romania decided to temporarily suspend it (which proved to be a final decision). The serious problem of environmental pollution in Ruse by the chemical plant “Verahim” in Giurgiu, a problem reduced to silence for 10 years (1981-1991), remained another very difficult and unsolved problem.
The facts presented provide reasons to conclude that in the second half of the twentieth century, the difficult and conflicting problems in Bulgarian-Romanian relations were resolved at the political level. The nature of the political regimes in the two neighboring Balkan countries highlights the key role of the communist parties and their leaders in resolving their problems. Attempts to resolve existing disputes refer not only to their discussion between party leaders, but also to the initiation of contacts at various levels between party and state bodies and the establishment of commissions in search of an acceptable outcome in opposition situations between Bulgaria and Romania. . In cases where economic and legal mechanisms and arguments are powerless, political decisions are the last resort. However, they do not always prove effective, as they do in trying to solve the politically important problem for Bulgaria of preserving its historical monuments in Romania, as well as the embassy issue – successfully completed in Romania’s situation in Sofia, a problem left unresolved in the case of the Bulgarian embassy in Bucharest.
Overall, the historical review of the political relations between Bulgaria and Romania in 1944–1989 proves that they are determined by the following specific political objectives of each of the two countries and are achieved under a strong influence of various external factors, some with an impact on the exchange rate. the development of these relationships.
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The data of the great events in the history of bilateral political and diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Romania from 1944–1989 are summarized in the chronology (pp. 306–317).
The appendices to the text (pp. 318-343) include unknown archival documents (nos. 1-2), spreadsheets (nos. 3-7) and photographs (nos. 8-17), which complete and illustrate particular aspects of the relationship Bulgarian-Romanian from the mentioned interval.
In the text and in references, the names of countries, political parties, public organizations, etc. they are indicated by their unanimously accepted abbreviations – explained in the List of Abbreviations (pp. 367–370). It also includes the bibliographic abbreviations used in the sources used and literature (pp. 344–366) and in the footnotes of the bibliographic titles of the Bulgarian and Romanian periodicals. In addition, for a quicker and easier orientation in the text, I have attached an Index at the end (pp. 371–378).
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