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Bulgaria Table of Contents


The Foreign Policy Establishment

Major changes were made in the organizations conducting Bulgarian foreign affairs after the ouster of Zhivkov. Post-Zhivkov governments ended the practice of selecting members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for diplomatic positions in which they gathered intelligence and carried out subversive activities abroad (see Security and Intelligence Services , ch. 5). Admitting that the Bulgarian intelligence presence abroad had been extensive under Zhivkov, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared in mid-1991 that henceforth only a single, identified intelligence officer would remain in each Western embassy. In a sharp streamlining of the diplomatic corps, 200 of Bulgaria's 544 foreign diplomats were called home in 1990 and 1991, and 20 of its 79 foreign missions were closed, mostly in Third World countries (relations with those countries continued, however).

Under the communist Lukanov government of 1990, President Zheliu Zhelev assumed major responsibilities as head of state in talks with foreign leaders; his nonpartisan political position at home and his direct approach to foreign and economic issues gained Zhelev respect as a spokesman in Bulgaria and abroad, as well as large-scale commitments of aid from several Western sources (see Domestic and International Economic Policies in the 1990s , ch. 3). When Popov formed his government in 1991, Vulkov (leader of BANU) replaced a former Zhivkovite intelligence official as minister of foreign affairs, supplementing Zhelev's efforts and improving the world image of Bulgaria's official foreign policy agency.

Data as of June 1992