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.
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.
April 2000- The Balkans in general and Macedonia in particular have been characterized by widespread multi-lingualism. Ironically, while the term Balkanization has come to mean "fragmentation," the linguistic term Balkanism refers to shared grammatical and lexical features which originated through intense multi-lingual contact. Such contact could only have arisen under conditions of predominantly peaceful coexistence. Yet, although language served as a group marker, religion was a more important source of identity in Ottoman Turkey where it constituted the basis of an individual's millet ('nationality').
335. Religious Freedoms and Islamic Revivalism: Some Contradictions of American Foreign Policy in Southeast EuropeJul 07, 2011
May 2007 - Religion was one of the most strictly controlled elements of everyday life under the 45 years of communist rule in Bulgaria. The 1949 Law of Religious Denominations gave the state broad powers over the spiritual life of its citizens. The Bulgarian Communist Party promoted a Marxist atheist ideology, which held that communist subjects would abandon their faith as the living standards of the workers and peasants were improved through the marvels of the command economy. Religious education was largely banned and foreign religious exchanges were prohibited. The official clergies of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Bulgarian Muslim denomination were infiltrated by Communist Party members who mobilized religious discourses to solidify support for the centralized state. In the case of Islam, traditional clothing, burial practices and circumcision were outlawed, and Bulgaria's Muslims were forced to trade their Turko-Arabic names in for Slavic ones.
March 1997 - Two March meetings at the Wilson Center outlined the economic catastrophe and unprecedented political promise which have crowded into this small country. The political promise, only in part the consequence of catastrophe, must fulfill the long-delayed privatization of major enterprises and banks and construction of an iron-clad framework for legal business and transform the Bulgarian economy. Its partial criminalization over the past few years makes the legal framework, as John Lampe's recent trip reminded him, a crucial priority. Only full-scale reform will allow the economy to service its present foreign debt, attract private investment, and mobilize its domestic resources, human as well as financial.
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.