Bulgaria was involved in both Balkan Wars, winning the first but emerging losers in the second. This left Bulgaria militarily weak. They declared neutrality in WWII but were swayed by Hitler with an offer of Macedonia. Russia invaded Bulgaria and Allied forces bombed Sofia from the air inflicting heavy loss of life and demolishing huge parts of the capital. Following WWII a man nicknamed ‘Little Stalin’ governed Bulgaria. The name was given for his unquestioning loyalty to the strict Stalin regime.
Communism followed, which was enforced by the Bulgarian secret police who had a fearsome reputation for dealing with dissidents. Communism in Bulgaria included a total ban on religion and a strict doctrine allowing residents virtually no individuality or personal creativity. Communism fell in 1989 and the subsequent electorate collapsed within a year.
The 1990’s were a period of economic chaos, hyperinflation, a sharp drop in living standards and woeful poor access to food and fuel.
Bulgaria joined the EU in January 2007; unfortunately, the European Commission have since accused Bulgaria of inadequate measures to fight money-laundering, vote-buying, fraud and organised crime. An EU spokesperson gave this damning summary “Bulgaria today is characterised by low wages, unemployment and the growth of organised crime.”
Problems faced by the population include the lowest wages in Europe (the public sector workforce resigned enmasse in 2009 in protest at wages of less than £100 per month); high unemployment; deserted villages as the working age population move to towns in search of work; and stories of over 10,000 women being trafficked for sex every year. In the face of these problems, many people in Bulgaria are committed to improving the economic and social needs of their country. In addition to some excellent Christian Churches and Social Care Organisations, a growing tourism industry in the ski resorts & along the Black Sea, is boosting the economy.