Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Todorov, Stanko (1920–1976)

Bulgarian politician and prime minister. Born in Klenovik, Bulgaria, on 10 December 1920, Stanko Todorov attended only primary school and then apprenticed as a tailor. By age sixteen, he was politically active and had joined both the leftist Worker Youth Federation (RMS) and the tailors' union. Todorov served in the Bulgarian Army in World War II during 1941–1943 but deserted and joined the illegal Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). He was a key leader in the September 1944 rebellion that formally ended Bulgaria's monarchy and established the People's Republic of Bulgaria.

Later in the 1940s, Todorov remained active in the RMS and BCP, holding increasingly prominent positions in both organizations. During 1952–1957 he served as minister of agriculture. In 1954 he was elected to the BCP's Central Committee and in 1957 became its secretary. During 1959–1962 he served as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, led the National Planning Commission, and represented Bulgaria in the Comecon. By 1962 he was also a full member of the Politburo.

In 1971, BCP chief Todor Zhivkov became the new Bulgarian head of state, which left Todorov as prime minister and head of the Council of Ministers. Over the next ten years, he improved relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) in an attempt to stimulate trade with the West. He resigned as council president and prime minister in 1981 to become parliamentary president. In 1988 he was ousted from the Politburo. By then, he had become a proponent of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika policies although favoring a more gradual approach than that of the Soviet Union. Todorov's support of perestroika no doubt marginalized him within the BCP. As communist regimes began to fall in Central Europe, he was reelected to parliament in 1990. His health quickly failed, however, and he withdrew from public life within months of election. Todorov died in Sofia on 17 December 1996.

Luc Stenger


Further Reading
Starr, Richard F. Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1988.; Todorov, Stanko. Do vurkhovete na vlastta: Politicheski memoari [At the Summit of Power: Political Memoirs]. Sofia: Izdatelska kushta "Kristo Botev," 1995.
 

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