Moscow Lessons

The Bulgarian Communists followed closely the Soviet example in every aspect of life: in the theory, as well as in the practice.

Their efforts to copy the ritual, the manners, even the body language of their Soviet masters, were often striking. Officially, the Party Congress is to elect a Central Committee which, in turn, is to elect a General Secretary. In the Soviet Union under Stalin however, this model is reversed and it is the General Secretary who determines the composition of the Politburo and Central Committee.

Under Todor Zhivkov, Communist Bulgaria never deviates from this model. In 1951, he becomes a full member of the Politburo, in 1954 he is made First Secretary of the Central Committee. He would rule the country till November 1989. In the best Soviet fashion, we see here Todor Zhivkov shaking hands with his closest loyalists, the 11 'wise men' of the Politburo, and other Central Committee members.