SOUGHT AND LIVED THROUGH 1891-1944
Author: Dimo Kazasov
Dimo Kazasov (Tryavna, 1886 - Sofia, 1980 ) was a Bulgarian politician. Kazasov was initially a social democrat. In 1923 he was involved in the coup that put an end to the agrarian regime of Prime Minister Alexander Stamboliyski. He was then Minister of Communications in a coalition government of nationalists, liberals and social democrats headed by Prof. Alexander Tsankov.
In 1926 it was Kazasov from the Bulgarian Social Democratic (Labour) Party that founded and put into operation the authoritarian group "Zveno" (Link), which maintained contacts with the Military League and the Officer's Clubs. In May 1934, the committed pro-Zveno officers (including the colonels Kimon Georgiev and Damyan Velchev ) made a coup and claimed a policy based on corporate principles. In February 1935 the Zveno regime came to an end, but Dimo Kazasov found himself as independent parliamentarian.
During the war he turned to several public offices and ultimately was outspoken in the campaign against the persecution of Jews and racist legislation that pro-German Bulgarian government tried to implement. This "Group of 63" where some parliamentarians, public figures and church leaders belonged (including Metropolitan Kiril and Bishop Boris Kharalampiev), focused in an open letter their thesis' against anti-Semitic policies.
After the coup of 9 September 1944 which ended the fascist regime in Bulgaria and the Government of the Fatherland Front (FF) came in power, Kazasov became Minister of Propaganda in the new government. During the early years of the communist regime in Bulgaria, he maintained the post of independent and non-partisan minister in several governments.
With the disbandment of Zveno in 1949, Dimo Kazasov left politics and remained active only as publicist. He died in Sofia in 1980, aged 94.
Zveno (Link, translated from bulgaria) was a Bulgarian social movement founded in 1927 by disgruntled politicians and military against the then existing party system. Closely related to the Military League, Zveno committed in April 1934 a coup, after which colonel Kimon Georgiev became prime minister. However, the real rulers were Colonel Damjan Velchev (Zveno) and General Petar Ivanov Zlatev (League Militaire). Under the new government dominated by Zveno were banned political parties and there became established a trade union coalition. The population was divided into various professions (corporas) and the Government entered an economic and political course based on corporatism.
When colonel Velchev, a Republican, tried a project for new constitution, the royal power of King Boris III of Bulgaria was drastically endangered. There was now a fight within the members between anti-monarchical Zveno and Military League. Using the chaos, King Boris appointed General Zlatev, a monarchist, as prime minister (1935). In the summer, the government drastically changed and that led to an end the influence of Zveno.
Zveno remained in politics. In 1942 the organization made a coalition with the Communists (BKP ), radicals, socialists, democrats and agrarians (BANU ) in a Fatherland Front, a resistance movement against the Germans and the pro-German Bulgarian government. The increasing influence of the Communists quirked the first Patriotic Front into demise. In 1943, a new Fatherland Front was established. This second front, with the same parties, including the Zveno, became a success. It was the Zveno members within the Fatherland Front in September 1944 that overthrew the pro-German government. Then Kimon Georgiev, who was already premier in 1934-1935, became a prime minister again. The vice-premier Damjan Velchev became Minister of Defence. Several other Zveno members also joined the government. The Communists had only two ministerial posts, but the most influential that of Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Communists made an end to the broad coalition within the Front, and from the election year 1946 continued government alone as renamed BKP, ousting BANU, Zveno party and the radicals from politics. The Zveno had much influence within the army but the army reforms of 1946 made its correction. Both Georgiev and Velchev came to loose power in that year. Until the fifties Zveno continued existence and later on disappeared altogether.
Addendum: It has been difficult for some time to protocol a viable review for this particular book. The reasons were many-sided and consistently resisted the so-called historical logic. Let us first introduce the titular free lance journalist Dimo Kazasov, member of the "Zveno" political party and two times holding ministerial posts in diametrically different political cabinets: 1) Ministry of Communications, Roads and Railways, with government of Prof. Alexander Tsankov (1923); and, 2) Ministry of Propaganda and Culture, with government of Col. Kimon Georgiev (1945). Both ruling cabinets came to power after coup d'ιtat, fascist and communist.
In that case we should try to look for parallels, whom to compare Dimo Kazasov with, and how to elucidate an image of a politician who could righteously be called father of "grey literature" in modern Bulgaria. Yet his book "Sought and Lived Through 1891-1944" (published in its first edition as "Tumultuous Years 1891-1944), has remained an unexpurgated bestseller both in 1949 /1st printing/ and in 1969 /2nd printing, with introduction by Prof. Kiril Vasilev/. The author of these lines was coherent that there was no other reliable source, written in Bulgarian or other language, that gave account for the troubled years of World War II in this country and that situation persisted right to the mid-1970s.
The question that comes here is, subsequently "How is it possible to live in political blindness for such long time?" Funny enough, people in this country never even knew that they have had reigning monarch not so long ago, at least such was the frenzy of mass propaganda and exhilaration of victory over some unidentified enemy for prolonged 45-years period after ending the World War. Bulgaria was a no man's land.
This short essay should search for literature precedents but it shouldn't find it. The blindness of totalitarian communism in Eastern Europe was almost full, both from within and without. It couldn't be otherwise in a state without archives, where every published word was strictly censored and every now-and-then a white sparrow from the West came to throw light on the misty, but was gone away. And that is how the book from Dimo Kazasov became a № 1 citation source. It has no reference apparatus at all, besides the radio excerpts of communist propaganda dating from the 1930s, and it doesn't rely on published literature in the 1930s and 1940s from the working government printing office. This was not journalism, this was a publication. The book did survive in time, but it carried its fallacies through the years in the national and international press.
We have been looking staunchly for literature in Bulgarian and English language to corroborate the pages written on the years 1935-1944. Soon there appeared wide array of books and journals that were published under the auspices of the German collaborative governments from the time. These are too numerous to expound and for long time were classified by the communist government and press. If you were looking for trouble, that's the way to become involved with it and so much for your aspirations to become an archivist.
Where are the blueprints for the journalism of Dimo Kazasov. If one exempted from the partisan literature that was written lavishly on the period, it becomes clear that monarch regime didn't parted easily with its stray in Bulgaria. But this was difficult to prove de visu, and it was only words from partisan commissaries like Todor Zhivkov that mattered for long time. In fact sometime, life in pre-capitalist Bulgaria was that of a jobless printer such as Todor Zhivkov and his political mentors Georgi Dimitrov and Vasil Kolarov soliciting from capital Moscow in Red Russia. Also funny and unprecedented, this motive was continued in international literature where a whole Publishing House "Pergamon Press" and its managing director Robert Maxwell were instituted.
It remains to give in a nutshell few explicit references that an embezzled reader could check, if he wants to get an idea for the time period under discussion. The book ends abruptly on censored day 9 September 1944. The author never wrote a page to further continue his narrative though he lived to some 30 years later. In the early 1970s the partisan mist was slightly dispelled by several publications on the Jewish Question in Bulgaria. American scholar from Pittsburg, Pa., Frederick Chary became involved in publishing a book on Bulgarian Jewry. Then the same American found the manuscript of a book called "Diary of Bogdan Filov 1939-1944" and published it in translation at the journal "South-East Europe". It was already evident that something was stirring in the air and the Bulgarians hurried to publish an edition of the "Diary ..." in bulgarian, with long introduction essay on the life-time of Bogdan Filov written by Acad. Ilcho Dimitrov. Times in the country became sore for "perestroyka" and rehabilitation.
One more fact on histories of the rotten capitalism ("iztorii na gniliya kapitalizm") could be found in some belletristic and prose novels. The Bulgarian Writers Union existed only nominally for some 50 years. It did create fiction only from the milieu of socialist realism. Those books were not granted, they were obligatory. An interested reader could consult, for example, the novels of bulgarian author Dimitar Dimov that narrated wartime stories from the 30s and 40s of the past century. They are filled with mockery, yet are somehow pathetic cf., following novels "Tobacco", "Doomed Souls" and "Lieutenant Bentz" from D. Dimov were all adapted for the movie screen and shot by Bulgarian Cinematography, ditto.
Picture 1: Sample illustration on the text above.
(i). Dimo Kazasov (1886-1980) politician, publisher and man of letters.
Copyright © 2010 by the author.