Watched closely by the Kremlin elite, the Yugoslav Communist leader Tito receives the Order of Lenin. It's an unusual piece of visual history - the renegade Marshall had to embrace Soviet customs to receive Moscow's highest award: from the 'brotherly kisses' to laying a wreath at Lenin's mausoleum.

Moscow and Belgrade fell out after after the Kremlin gave orders to crush the Prague Spring in 1968. The moment here shows their reconciliation, and this visit to Moscow in 1972 comes only months after the Soviet leader Brezhnev's visit to Belgrade.

Grudgingly, Moscow acknowledged Yugoslavia's right to chose its own way. This is the time of détente between East and West, when Tito's role in the Non-Aligned Movement became more important for Moscow than what kind of socialism he chose for Yugoslavia. It's time to bury the hatchet.

Converted from 16 mm film, silent.

Published in Balkans

Todor Zhivkov , Bulgaria's Communist leader for 35 years, regularly met writers and artists.

There were very few among them who didn’t feel obliged to attend, or privileged.

Here is one of those gatherings, in Borovets, spring 1966. The newly-elected leader of the Writers’ Union Georgi Djagarov is pledging loyalty to the Communist party. His message is clear: 'Writers are obliged to further embrace the ideas of Communism, reflect its glory and beauty.  We are the bearers of a new spirituality.'  There'll be no Sofia Spring in 1968.


Audio starts at 2'11"


Тодор Живков редовно се срещаше с писатели, художници и артисти, обединени в техните «творчески съюзи» - тук нa среща в Боровец през март 1966 с новоизбрания начело на Комитета по култура и изкуство Павел Матев.

Малцина бяха онези, които не се ласкаеха от тези срещи. Посланието на Георги Джагаров, току-що поел Съюза на писателите, е ясно: 'Писателите са призвани да утвърждават идеите на комунизма, величието и красотата на неговите строители. Ние сме носители на нова душевност.'  През 1968 няма да има 'софийска пролет'.

Published in Bulgaria

In this rare 1976 recording, Georgi Markov introduces some of his favourite music. My Kind of Music, with Paddy Finney, BBC World Service.

В този рядък запис от 1976 година, Георги Марков представя любимата си музика. С Пади Фини от Световните Служби на Би Би Си.

Georgi Markov was one of the few open critics of Bulgarian Communism, a writer and a broadcaster, a BBC journalist. On 7 September 1978, on Waterloo Bridge, just across from Bush House, Georgi Markov's desk at the BBC World Service, he was jabbed in the thigh by a man holding an umbrella. The man apologized and walked away.

Markov later would tell doctors that the man had spoken with a foreign accent. He recalled feeling a stinging pain from where he had been hit by the stranger. Back at work in Bush House, Markov noticed that a small red swelling had formed and the pain from being jabbed had not gone away. He told his close friend and colleague at the BBC, Teo Lirkoff, about this incident.

That evening Georgi Markov developed a high fever and was admitted to hospital where he died three days later, on 11 September 1978, at the age of 49.

British police ordered a thorough autopsy of Georgi Markov's body. The forensic pathologists discovered a spherical metal pellet the size of a pin-head, containing traces of highly toxic ricin.

An acclaimed writer in the 1960s, Georgi Markov was leading a privileged life in Bulgaria and knew many Communist leaders personally. After 1968 he was becoming more outspoken against the system; one of his novels was banned, and, just as a new play was about to be stopped, in 1969 Georgi Markov left Bulgaria.

He first went to Italy, where his brother lived, in 1971 he came to Britain, where he joined the BBC's Bulgarian Service. In 1974, his play 'The Archangel Michael' -- his first after coming to the UK -- won an award at the Edinburgh Festival. Georgi Markov regarded this as a breakthrough as a writer in the West.

Between 1975 and 1978 Markov worked on his analysis of life in Communist Bulgaria. His pieces were broadcast weekly from Munich on Radio Free Europe. Their criticism towards Bulgaria's Communists and personally towards the Party leader for 35 years, Todor Zhivkov, made Georgi Markov one of the most hated enemies of the regime. The 7th September 1978, when he was attacked, was the birthday of Todor Zhivkov.

No one has yet been charged with the murder of Georgi Markov. The investigation in the UK, where the crime was committed, will continue until the case is resolved.

Velislav Radev

38 години от смъртта на Георги Марков - един от малцината открити критици на българския комунизъм, писател, глас в ефира, журналист от Би Би Си.

На 7 септември 1978 година, на моста 'Ватерло', недалеч от Буш Хаус и работното му място в Световните Служби на Би Би Си, Георги Марков е ударен в бедрото от мъж, с чадър в ръка. Непознатият се извинява и се отдалечава.

Марков по-късно ще каже на лекари, че човекът говорел английски с чужд акцент. Той си спомня остра болка на мястото, където го удря непознатият. Завръщайки се в Буш Хаус Георги Марков забелязва малък червен оток, болката  от убождането не отминава. Той разказва на близкия си приятел и колега от Би Би Си Тео Лирков за случилото се.

Същата вечер Марков развива висока температура и е приет в болница, където умира три дни по-късно, на  49-годишна възраст. По настояване на британската полиция се провежда пълна аутопсия. В тялото на Георги Марков, точно там, където той посочва на своя приятел и колега, че го е ударил непознат, патоанатомите откриват миниатюрна метална сачма. В нея те намират следи от високотоксичната отрова рицин.

В България 'Задочните репортажи...' на Георги Марков все още не са включени в учебната програма.


Published in Bulgaria