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Georgi Dimitrov in 1930
Statue of Dimitrov in Moscow

Georgi Dimitrov Mikhaylov (Bulgarian: Георги Димитров Михайлов), also known as Georgi Mikhaylovich Dimitrov (Russian: Георгий Михайлович Димитров), (June 18, 1882 - July 2, 1949) was a Bulgarian Communist leader.


Early career

Georgi Dimitrov was born in Kovachevtsi in today's Pernik Province, as the first of eight children to working-class parents from Pirin Macedonia (a mother from Bansko and a father from Razlog). His mother, Parashkeva Doseva, was a Protestant Christian, and his family is sometimes described as Protestant.[1] The family moved to Radomir and then to Sofia.[2] Dimitrov trained as a compositor and became active in the labor movement in the Bulgarian capital.

Dimitrov joined the Social-Democratic Party of Bulgaria in 1902, and in 1903 followed Dimitar Blagoev and his wing, as it formed the Social Democratic Labour Party of Bulgaria ("The Narrow Party") - the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1919, when it affiliated to Bolshevism and the Comintern. From 1904 to 1923, he was Secretary of the Trade Union Federation; in 1915 (during World War I) he was elected to the Bulgarian Parliament and opposed the voting of a new war credit, being imprisoned until 1917. In 1906, Dimitrov married his first wife, Serbian emigrant milliner, writer and socialist Ljubica Ivošević, with whom he lived until her death in 1933.[2]

In June 1923, when Prime Minister Aleksandar Stamboliyski was deposed through a coup d'état, Stamboliyski's Communists allies, who were initially reluctant to intervene, organized an uprising against Aleksandar Tsankov. Dimitrov took charge of the revolutionary activities, and managed to resist the clampdown for a whole week. He and the leadership fled to Yugoslavia and received a death sentence in absentia. Under various pseudonyms, he lived in the Soviet Union until 1929, when he relocated to Germany, where he was given charge of the Central European section of the Comintern.

Leipzig Trial and Comintern leadership

In 1933 he was arrested in Berlin for alleged complicity in setting the Reichstag on fire (see Reichstag fire). During the Leipzig Trial, Dimitrov's calm conduct of his defence and the accusations he directed at his prosecutors won him world renown.

During the Leipzig Trial, several German aviators who had been trained in secret in the Soviet Union were arrested. They were released when, after secret negotiations, the Bulgarian communists Dimitrov, Vasili Tanev and Blagoi Popov tried in Leipzig were allowed to leave for the Soviet Union. There Dimitrov was awarded Soviet citizenship. The massive popularity he enjoyed made him an asset of Joseph Stalin's regime, and Dimitrov was appointed General Secretary of the Comintern from 1934, remaining in office until the organization's dissolution in 1943. He asserted himself as a Stalinist during and after the Great Purge. While in the Soviet Union, Dimitrov married his second wife, the Czech-born Roza Yulievna, who gave birth to his only son, Mitya, in 1936. The boy died at age seven of diphtheria. While Mitya was alive, Dimitrov adopted Fani, a daughter of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.[2]

In 1935, at the 7th Comintern Congress, Dimitrov spoke for Stalin when he advocated the Popular Front strategy, meant to consolidate Soviet ideology as mainstream Anti-Fascism — a move later exploited during the Spanish Civil War.

Leader of Bulgaria

Joseph Stalin and Georgi Dimitrov, Moscow, 1936

After the war, Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria to head the Communist party there, and in 1946 succeeded Kimon Georgiev as Premier, while keeping his Soviet citizenship. In 1946, Dimitrov issued the order that the Bulgarians of Blagoevgrad Province ("Pirin Macedonia") should claim Macedonian identity, in anticipation of the failed future incorporation of the region into the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, and Bulgaria's into Yugoslavia. As a result of this, Dimitrov is admired by many in the Republic of Macedonia with a Skopje high school being named in his honor.

While displaying the same hardline façade, Dimitrov become involved in discreet projects for the creation of a Balkan federation according the project of Balkan Communist Federation. Approaching Josip Broz Tito, the two signed the 1947 Bled accord calling for closer cooperation in several areas.

Although in tune with the inter-war Soviet dogma which Dimitrov himself advocated throughout his career, this attitude had become an obstacle in the way of Stalin's wish for total control over the new Eastern Bloc. This was worsened after the falling out between Stalin and Tito in 1948, and Dimitrov's public speech during his visit in Romania at the beginning of the same year, when he had tried to convince the Romanian leadership to join the proposed Federation. Tito's dissidence prevented the secession of Pirin Macedonia and the negotiated admission of Bulgaria as a republic into the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia.

Dimitrov died in 1949 in the Barvikha sanatorium near Moscow. The rising speculations that he had been irradiated (or poisoned in some other way) have never been confirmed, although his health seemed to degenerate quite abruptly. His body was embalmed and placed on display in the Sofia Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum. After the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, his body was buried in 1990 in the Central cemetery of Sofia. His mausoleum was torn down in 1999.

A massive painted statue of Dimitrov survives in the centre of Place Bulgarie in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, two decades after the country abandoned Marxism-Leninism and the colossal statue of Lenin was removed from Place Lenine. Few Beninois are aware of the history of the statue or its subject. There is also an important avenue (#114) named for him in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, despite the three decades that have passed since the end of Communist rule.


  1. ^ Staar, Richard Felix (1982). Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Hoover Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780817976927.  
  2. ^ a b c Ценкова, Искра (21–27 March 2005). "По следите на червения вожд" (in Bulgarian). Тема. Retrieved 9 January 2010.  

External links

Preceded by
Kimon Georgiev
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Vasil Kolarov


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Georgi Dimitrov Mikhaylov (Bulgarian: Георги Димитров Михайлов) (June 18, 1882July 2, 1949), also known as Georgi Mikhaylovich Dimitrov (Russian: Георгий Михайлович Димитров), a Bulgarian Communist leader, was appointed General Secretary of the Comintern from 1934, remaining in office until the organization's dissolution in 1943.


  • (On 1941.7.2 Dimitrov handed Molotov a proposal, suggesting a help fund of 2 millions US Dollars be given to Chinese Communist Party. After discussion, the Soviet Communist Party had approved the sum of One million US Dollars.) Dimitrov then wrote to Molotov:"It is very important to let Chinese comrades to have at least half of the sum as soon as possible, we believe it is necessary to deliver the fund using illegal methods by planes through Mongolia.
    • Dimitrov Diaries
  • On the topic of supplying weapons to the Eighth Route Army, this needs the decision from the USSR; it is of the USSR's opinion that, had the weapons been supplied, instead of helping you(Chinese Communist), it would only harm you....Because it would help to deteriorate the relationship between KMT and CCP, and give excuses for the KMT to isolate and apply sanction on Yan'an. Finaly,...Comintern made a gift of US$300,000 to CCP.
    • Xu Jehhow:(Biography of Wang Jiaxiang), edition 1996, page 296-297.

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