The PJ Tatler

The Nation Runs an Essential Story about Communist totalitarianism in Bulgaria

No, dear readers. I haven’t lost my mind. I’m recommending an excellent article, believe it or not, in The Nation magazine. The relatively new book review editor has chosen to make his lead review a discussion of the late Georgi Markov, assassinated by the KGB in London, and to use the pages to have Dimiter Kenarov tell his story. Called “A Capitaving Mind,” a take-off on the famous 1953 book by the late  Czech author Czeslaw Milosz, Kenarov reveals the nature of totalitarianism in the Soviet controlled “People’s Republic” in the post-Stalinist era Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was, he writes, a society of controlled totalitarian mediocrity:

 Faced with arbitrary conditions, artificial norms of production demanded by the Soviet-style command economy, comprehensive low pay, and the negative example of an incompetent party elite openly skimming off the state, ordinary Bulgarians were only too quick to learn the proper lessons.

Unfortunately, he writes that post-Communist Bulgaria, still controlled by the old apparatchiks who seized once state property and made themselves rich running the factories and businesses, the Stalinist past has been covered up, and regular citizens do not know why and how Bulgaria was under the control of the Soviet Union.  He also reveals how Markov was killed by the state security services in London. This is a compelling story everyone should read.