CWIHP is pleased to announce the addition of a new document to its online Digital Archive. In CWIHP e-Dossier No. 35, introduced by Sue Onslow, the newly released document is a 1979 conversation between the future President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, and communist leader of Bulgaria, Todor Zhivkov.
This conference aimed at exploring the experiences and the political goals of women elected to parliament in the postcommunist countries of East Central Europe and Russia. Since 1989, the political scene in Eastern Europe and Russia has changed swiftly. In many countries, women participated in the drive to transform the communist system through demonstrations, civil activism and roundtables.Yet, in the immediate transition period, civic participation of the population in general has declined and the social and political participation of women seems to have declined more than that of men. This difference is attributed in part to the fact that women have been more burdened by the complex adjustments to the social and economic transformations of their societies. In the last few years, however, women with good qualifications and professional experience are slowly gaining political power and influence in several countries.
October 2000- Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria share more than a common border with Serbia. Both of their disparate governments are engaged in a common enterprise, which if unsuccessful, will render their proper connection to Europe, their democratic prospects, and indeed their very survival unlikely. That common enterprise is not "nation-building," understood across Southeastern Europe to mean the construction of nation-states on the basis of the respective ethnic majority. Such ethnic states override the rights of individuals or ethnic minorities.
December 2007 - Western attention in Southeastern Europe is focused on Kosovo, Bosnia and the surrounding Western Balkans. But, I ask that some attention also be paid to neighboring Bulgaria. This core state of the historical Ottoman Balkans is completing its first year as a member of the European Union and its fourth year as a member of NATO. I resist the temptation of dwelling on how unlikely this prospect seemed when I first went to Sofia as a young Foreign Service Officer some 40 years ago. Now, with the same special interest in wider economic prospects and the same domestic pessimism about its own political process that has repeatedly surfaced over the past century, Bulgarians should nonetheless be looking back with satisfaction on their initial year as a full member of the largest common organization in European history. On a personal level, a Bulgarian friend traveling to Italy welcomed the smile and a wave that replaced a scowl and a Schengen visa check at the Rome airport. Some 60 percent of Bulgaria's foreign trade is now with the EU, and as a new member, it is expecting 11 billion euros of adjustment assistance over the next six years. But before turning to the clouds that I found gathering over Sofia, let me first address the silver lining.
October 1997 - Over the course of 1996, economic collapse and prolonged political malfeasance seriously shook the integrity of the Bulgarian body politic. As a result, the government of the "new democratic majority," elected in April 1997, has taken a number of extraordinary measures to recapture the confidence of the population and the international community. Top priorities for the new cabinet of Ivan Kostov have been to attempt to liquidate organized crime, to rebuild the macro-economic and the state institutional frameworks, and to aid the population, which has been battered by economic decay. Public perceptions have made these tasks all the more difficult. The government has had to push for reforms before a population that for years has been exposed to the schemes of many previous "reformers."
December 2002- Bulgaria's post-1989 transition to a multi-party democracy and market economy, both functioning under the rule of law, has obviously been slow if judged by Hungary's exemplary standard. Ten governments and five parliaments in 12 years have hampered the political pursuit of sustained policies. The shock of a collapsing Soviet trade regime hit Bulgarian exports – one half of which had gone to the USSR – particularly hard. Legal foreign trade suffered and illegal activity mushroomed with Western sanctions against Serbia and Greece's embargo against what it still calls the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But that was the 1990s, and now in the new century, there are enough signs of progress to hope that impending NATO membership will indeed be followed before the end of the decade by EU membership.
The general elections of December 1994 marked a turning point in the Bulgarian transition. The victory of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was part of a common trend across Eastern Europe. At the same time, the change in the political landscape produced an important shift in the orientation of economic policy. This paper focuses on three issues: a general overview of the macroeconomic developments of 1991-95, selected problems related to privatization, and some aspects of the external background to the Bulgarian transition. A final section assesses the economic policy of the new BSP government and its further prospects.
January 2000 - Bulgaria once existed as a totalitarian state and a faithful Soviet ally with a centralized socialist economy. Today, it is a functioning pluralist democracy which embraces the liberal views of the West and strives for integration into the prosperous global civilization of the 21st century. The transition has been long and painful, but one that should be examined and recognized for its accomplishments, particularly those within the past year.
February 2005 - Two recent trips to the region, to Sofia in October and to Belgrade in January, inform these observations. Beyond simply reporting on the latest in my long series of visits to both cities, I welcome the chance to call attention to Southeastern Europe at a time when American interest is flagging. Since 9/11 and the occupation of Iraq, the Middle East has understandably moved to the forefront of policy-relevant regions. But that priority does not justify neglecting Southeastern Europe. Its problems may be "forgotten but not fixed," as Edward Joseph put it in "Back to the Balkans," Foreign Affairs (Jan.-Feb. 2005).
70. Mobility in Bulgaria and the European Union: Brain Drain, Bogus Asylum Seekers, Replacement Migration, and FertilityJul 07, 2011
This paper examines the multiple and overlapping discussions on migration from Southeastern Europe in the context of the demographic crises in both the sending and receiving countries. The author argues that many of these migration discourses obscure the most important underlying issue of demographic decline: fertility. Discussions about migration are conducted in lieu of conversations about the social, political and economic reasons why women in both Eastern and Western European countries are not having children. Both in Bulgaria and in the current 15 EU member states, migration is either a safety valve or a stopgap measure that allows governments to avoid making difficult and unpopular decisions regarding necessary social and economic reforms.