On the night of 18/19 May 1955, after suffering from verbal and physical abuse at the hands of two police officers at the Chişinău railway station, Zaharia Doncev produced four handwritten texts (leaflets) with a radical anti-regime message. He spread the four leaflets on the premises of the railway station and in the surrounding area. Doncev wrote the text on four white sheets of paper of notebook format, using a pencil. Three of the leaflets were in Russian, while the fourth was written in Romanian, in Latin script. The content of the Romanian-language and Russian-language texts was different. The Romanian text emphasised the crisis of the Soviet regime and appealed to the Moldavian people to rebel and show their “love” for Romania in order to regain their freedom:
“...as you can see, the Communists are getting themselves into a catastrophe. In a year, we will all be liberated. The time is ripe for each of us to take pitchforks and scythes in order to show that we love our dearest Romania that once was. The time has come for us to live better and more easily. Each of us must show his love for our former fatherland. This is the only way for us to win our freedom....”
The texts of the Russian-language leaflets were more explicitly anti-communist, more radical and more incisive in their criticism. One of them read as follows:
“Dear friends, very soon the whole Moldovan people will stand up for the interests that it had before the war. Communism is failing everywhere. Now they are going to find out how the poor Moldovan people lives. We have all become beggars; we have no bread, clothes or land. The time has come for us to rise and tell the communists: it is enough for you to get rich as flunkeys. The time is ripe for us to take revenge for this life of slaves. Each of us must do something to set us free from the communists. Let us prepare a powerful blow [for them]....”
The other two leaflets were less original, repeating the basic content of the one above. However, one of the texts also contained a direct reference to the “Jewish leadership” of the Communist Party, calling for “liberating our fatherland from communists and Yids [zhidov] who have climbed upon our backs” and were exploiting “all the people from the working class.” This passage is revealing for the persistence of anti-Semitic stereotypes within a part of the population and for the specific uses of the nationalist language originating from the interwar period to challenge the legitimacy of the Soviet regime. Although Doncev’s proclamations had no impact on a mass audience and were swiftly removed by vigilant policemen, they point to the patterns of the language of opposition that would emerge later. Besides the already mentioned interwar models of nationalist thought, another topic popular after 1945 was that of impending war with the West and the consequent “liberation” of Moldavia from Soviet domination. Despite the isolated nature of Doncev’s act of defiance, it was clearly indebted to broader patterns of anti-Soviet discourse that he probably borrowed from his earlier Romanian education, his family and his entourage. The context of the early Thaw is even more significant in order to understand Doncev’s motivations. The first signs of a more liberal approach to expressions of dissent, as well as the temporary weakening of police surveillance, provided a more favourable atmosphere for the voicing of discontent, which was to be confirmed by the impact of the Hungarian Revolution on the Soviet citizenry. By the time of Doncev’s arrest in December 1956, however, the party leadership and the KGB had moved decisively to reassert central control and crush any signs of open opposition to the regime. This also explains the harsh sentence in Doncev’s case, despite the overwhelming evidence that his actions had no impact on a wider audience. Still, the atmosphere of the Thaw played a role in the reduction of his prison term in 1960. In his appeal to the Soviet authorities, while emphasising his loyalty to the regime, Doncev also explicitly mentioned Khrushchev’s assertion during the Twenty-first Congress of the CPSU in 1959 that “we have no political criminals.” Although this was clearly intended to impress the recipients of his petition, it is significant that his case received a favourable resolution. The original versions of Doncev’s leaflets were not destroyed by the KGB operatives and are still part of his case file.
This dossier consists of the State Security file on Sevdalina Panayotova, created in the early 1970s. It shows how the state observed and persecuted critically minded members of the intelligentsia, even when their actions had hardly become public. It is also evidence of dissenters’ strategies to create room for critical thought, based on social networks and private spaces.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Sevdalina Panayotova became the center of a group of people with dissident inclinations. The group included former fellow students from Sofia University and colleagues from the March 8 Factory, where she worked as a librarian at that time. They read forbidden literature (such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Cancer Ward, Thomas Mann's A Sketch of My Life, Nikolay Raynov’s Mysticism and Faithlessness, and others), discussed the mistakes of socialism from a philosophical and socio-political point of view, and criticized the nomenklatura and others. Sevdalina Panayotova tried to establish a literary and philosophical workshop in the March 8th Factory and worked out a plan for the topics to be discussed. In parallel, she had two of her closest friends take a survey among their colleagues on Youth and Socialism. The idea was to write a critical account of the situation of Bulgarian youth, which was to be exported to the West (on a ship) and published there. For this purpose, she contacted a sailor from Burgas.
In 1972 the State Security opened a so-called “Terrorist Operational development case” against a close associate of Sevdalina Panayotova, Georgi Konstantinov Georgiev. Georgiev had been "sentenced to death in 1953, commuted into 20 years' imprisonment, as an organizer of a terrorist organization that committed various bombings, including the one in the 'Park of Freedom' on 3 March 1953, at the Stalin's monument..." (according to the State Security file).
Sevdalina Panayotova was then also put under surveillance by State Security. Sevdalina Panayotova and Petar Peev were accused of being anarchists. Some months later, in July 1973, Georgi Konstantinov Georgiev emigrated from Bulgaria. Petar Peev was sentenced in September 1973 to the forced labor camp in Belene for 3 years as “an irrepressible enemy of the people's republic and socially dangerous".
Sevdalina Panayotova was subjected to day-to-day pressure from the State Security including a search of the apartment and a series of interrogations for "reading and disseminating literature directed against the socialist system". State Security accused her of “conversations in which you expressed slanderous information about the public and state system”. In September 1974, she was detained for 14 days as “accused under Art. 108”, i.e. “Anti-government propaganda and agitation, spreading defamatory claims and literature affecting the state and public order”. Further on, the file reads: "It was found that Sevdalina Panayotova did not commit any criminal activity because of which she was released on 18 January ”. However, because of her "bad influence" on the youth, State Security found "it expedient [for her] to be expelled from Sofia". Thus, Sevdalina Panayotova was forced to move with her family to the small town of Chepelare in the Rhodope Mountains. Due to a lack of evidence, her investigation was terminated in the spring of 1974.
All quotations are from the file "Investigation Case No. 6965 Anarchists", Central Archive of the Commission for the Disclosure of Documents and Declaration of Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People's Party Army (CRDOPBGDSRSBNA), Arh. No II sl.d. 6965; III raz. 32666r.
- Sofia ulitsa "Bigla", Bulgaria
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The collection contains a draft of the Czechoslovak-German Treaty: the Good Neighbourhood and Friendly Cooperation, of May 1991, for the negotiations between the Czechoslovak president Václav Havel and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The final version of the treaty was signed in 1992. The draft is extensive, containing 72 pages and is provided with Gruša´s comments written with pencil. Gruša proposed to replace the order of some paragraphs, to reformulate the passages concerning especially different rights of both nationalities with a goal to unify their rights, etc. The unique document is in Czech and German, and illustrates the negotiation process between these two countries as well as Gruša's own views and opinions.
This document is a part of the Draganović’s never completed nor published manuscript. Its topic is the suffering of the Croatian people at the end and immediately after World War II, popularly known as the Bleiburg tragedy.
The document contains several sections: "Death Marches," "Extradition of the masses," "Cemeteries," and "Camps." It explained the situation in Croatia at the end of the war in May 1945 and clearly states that the aim of the manuscript (future book) is to document and describe the crimes committed by the communist authorities against Croats. Draganović raised the question of the purpose of even organising death marches. He assumed that Partisan movement in 1945 did not have sufficient support from the Croatian population and that therefore the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) decided to intimate and break the Croats and cripple any further resistance. In the "Death Marches" section, he covered the “death marches” and presented the testimonies of survivors. The purpose of the death marches was “to show them what will happen to those who dare to oppose communist rule.”
The chapter on "Extradition of the masses" deals with the extradition of captured, mostly Croatian soldiers and civilians. The Allies extradited them to the Partisan authorities. The emphasis in this chapter is placed on the responsibility of the British military command for the crimes committed by the Partisans.
The chapter “Cemetery” tells the story about the obliteration of cemeteries and graves of enemy soldiers who were considered “occupiers” and “enemies of the people” by the new communist authorities. It shows the “Yugoslav communists’ intention of staging a complete and radical reckoning with the enemy immediately at the end of World War II” (Geiger & Josipović Batorek, 2015: 316).
The chapter “camps” deals with the existence of the prison camps which the new government formed for the people they considered enemies. Draganović mentioned 28 known camps throughout Yugoslavia, mostly in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and described the treatment of prisoners and their living conditions.
The document includes some inserts: four sheets with data and testimonies which Draganović added to the already written text.
Draganović's work was totally unacceptable to the Yugoslav communist authorities because it revealed their criminal activities immediately after World War II.
The use of the material is limited because it contains personal information that is subject to the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act (Narodne novine 106/2012).
- Zagreb Trg Marka Marulića 21, Croatia 10000
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- LV-1050 Rīga Raiņa bulvāris 7 , Latvia
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