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Making Bulgarians Socialist: The Fatherland Front in Communist Bulgaria, 1944–1989

Written by Ulf Brunnbauer, this article appeared on the first issue of Vol. 22 of East European Politics & Societies in the winter of 2008.
This paper discusses the activities of the Fatherland Front in communist Bulgaria. The Fatherland Front evolved from the communist-led anti-fascist coalition, which had taken power in 1944, into the largest mass organization in socialist Bulgaria, though without real political power. Since the late 1950s, its primary goal was the creation of the “socialist way of life,” which would signal the triumph of communist ideology in all walks of life.
Propaganda campaigns, lobbying efforts, and the peculiar institution of “Comrade Courts” were employed by the Front in its struggle for rendering everyday life socialist. The analysis, which is based on archival records and published texts, elucidates some of the party-state’s strategies to establish cultural hegemony. The activities of the Fatherland Front also reveal which popular practices and consequences of social change were considered problematic by the communist regime, and how they were addressed.


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