Transitions and Growth in Post-Soviet Europe
7. Bulgaria: impatient but indecisive* We failed to explain to our people – because we didn’t know – that in order to build a society with a market economy and mature democratic institutions, we needed to go through the valley of tears. (Petar Stoyanov, President of Bulgaria, May 2001)1 So … you had no bidders other than worker/management buyouts. Most of these enterprises are garbage. People can make them work for a while but investors are not interested. (Georgi Ganchev, Centre for Liberal Strategies, May 2001)2 Bulgaria has for centuries been a battleground between East and West, swamped by sea changes of foreign conﬂicts and overrun by powerful neighbors. Prior to the late nineteenth century Bulgaria was under Ottoman Turk domination for 500 years. During most of the twentieth century it was controlled by either Germany or the Soviet Union. In spite of the long period under the Turks and communist oppression of the Muslim minority in the 1980s, Bulgaria is peaceful and enjoys good relations between the Bulgarian majority (85 percent) and the Turkish minority (9 percent). Bulgarians are tolerant people; they provided shelter to Armenians in 1915 and they protected their 50,000 Jews in the 1940s. In the 1990s Bulgarians again found their fortunes largely driven by outside forces, primarily the collapse of the Soviet empire. Prospects for Bulgarian reform toward a healthy Western market democracy are uncertain. Its long history of foreign domination, the effects of its communist period and its upheavals in reaction to Gorbachev’s...
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