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By R. J. Crampton

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Before the First World War, Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and Jews from Russia and Romania found a safe refuge in a Bulgaria where the only ethnic group to suffer real harassment was the Greeks, most of whom left the country under an agreement signed shortly after the First World War. The most notable achievement of the Bulgarian state in the field of minority policy was the saving of its Jews from the Nazi death factories, a policy which won widespread endorsement. Between 1945 and 1950 all but five thousand of the fifty-five thousand Page xxxi Bulgarian Jews emigrated to Israel, and here again the Bulgarian government showed a commendable independence of mind, in that it is difficult to believe that the Soviet Union, which was at the time aligning itself with the Arab cause, could have welcomed the arrival in Israel of some fifty thousand industrious and enthusiastic new citizens.

In the Subranie *, the parties split and splintered whilst, after 1929, the economic situation declined alarmingly. In 1931 a relatively free election resulted in the return of a government of the People's Bloc in which the Agrarians were again represented, but they did little beyond squabbling over the spoils of office. In 1933 the coalition government dissolved the Sofia city council because the Communists, now operating as the Bulgarian Workers' Party, had secured a majority in the elections held in the previous year; BWP deputies in parliament were likewise deprived of their seats.

In 1975 she was appointed chairman of the Committee for Art and Culture and thereafter, to the delight of the Bulgarian intelligentsia and the chagrin of many Soviets, she emphasized Bulgaria's individual cultural heritage in an unprecedented fashion. She also explored mystical ideas, some of them derived from semi-religious movements seen in Bulgaria in the 1930s. The culmination of her efforts on the cultural front was the First International Congress of Bulgarian Studies held in Sofia in May 1981 to celebrate the 1,300th anniversary of the foundation of the first Bulgarian state in 681.

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