Bulgarian State Security
The State Security (Darzhavna sigurnost, DS) of the People's Republic of Bulgaria was established in 1947, growing out of the Department of State Security, which had been established in 1925.
From its very beginning, it took its orders from the Politburo of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). It was modeled on the Soviet KGB, with whom it closely worked together. The State Security was a separate body in the structure of the Ministry of Interior. Thе institutional system initially underwent frequent reorganizations before it reached its final (up to 1989) form in 1962. In 1963 the State Security was removed from the Ministry of Interior to the Council of Ministers and renamed in Committee for State Security
In the 1960s, the State Security consisted of 7 directorates, for: foreign intelligence; counter-intelligence; military counter-intelligence; surveillance; government security and protection; political police (6th Directorate); and information work (7th Directorate). The 6th and 7th directorate were most notorious, implementing repressive measures against political opponents. A special service was directed to work against critical emigres, including the murder of dissidents abroad, such as the famous writer Georgi Markov, who was assassinated in London in 1978.
The State Security was the main instrument of repression as well as observation of so-called "hostile activities" of people and groups deemed (potentially) illoyal by the communist regime. After Stalin's death, the party decided that the State Security should not be used for inner-party struggles. The State Security played a major role in all the examples of mass repression in communist Bulgaria, such as against members of the former opposition in the late 1940s or against the Turkish minority in the 1980s.
The legacy of the State Security has been one of the most serious problems for the democratization process in Bulgaria after 1989. Some structures of the State Security survived under different names and until the disclosure law of 2006, its documents remained inaccessible to the public. However, knowledge about them was frequently used to tarnish the image of political opponents. In 2007 the "Commission for the disclosure of documents and announcing affiliation of Bulgarian citizens with the State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army (CRDOPBGDSRSBNA)", commonly known as "Commission on Dossiers", was established. It grants access to the archvies of the former State Security and the army's Intelligence Service and preserves these documents.
A detailed description of the State Security is provided in Bulgarian by Wikipedia (https://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/Държавна_сигурност), with many further references.
Държавна сигурност и краят на тоталитаризма. Документален сборник. Съст. Мария Дерменджиева, Момчил Методиев, София: КРДОПБГДСРСБНА, 2011 [The State Security and the End of Totalitarianism. Documents collection. Eds. Maria Dermendzhieva, Momchil Metodiev. Sofia: CRDOPBGDSRSBNA, 2011].
Държавна сигурност – политическа полиция. Документален сборник. Съст. Исмаилов, Орхан, Христо Христов, Момчил Методиев. София: КРДОПБГДСРСБНА, 2011 [State Security – Political Police. Collection of Records. Eds. Orhan Ismailov, Hristo Hristov, Momchil Metodiev. Sofia: CRDOPBGDSRSBNA, 2011].
Методиев, Момчил: Машина за легитимност. Ролята на Държавна сигурност в комунистическата държава. София: Институт за изследване на близкото минало, Сиела, 2012 [Metodiev, Momchil: The Legitimacy Machine. The Role of the State Security in the Communist State. Sofia: Institute for the Study of the Recent Past & SIELA, 2008].
Христов, Христо: Държавна сигурност срещу българската емиграция. София: ИК „Иван Вазов“, 2000 [Hristov, Hristo: The State Security against the Bulgarian Emigration. Sofia: IK „Ivan Vazov“, 2000].
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Date of founding
Type of organisation
- Government/State organisation
Author(s) of this page
- Kasabova, Anelia Dr.
Metodiev, Momchil 2012. Mashina za legitimnost. Rolyata na Darzhavna sigurnost v balgarskata darzhava [Machine of Legitimacy. The Role of State Security in the Bulgarian State]. Sofia: Institut za izsledvane na blizkoto minalo [The Institute for Studies of the Recent Past]; CIELA.
Metodiev, Momchil and Maria Dermendzhieva 2016. Darzhavna sigurnost - Predimstvo po nasledstvo [State Security – Advantage per Inheritance].Sofia: Institut za izsledvane na blizkoto minalo [The Institute for Studies of the Recent Past]; CIELA.