THE FATHERLAND FRONT AND PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY
Extracts from Report to the Fifth Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party
on December 19, 1948.
On September 9, 1944, political power in our country was wrested from the hands
of the capitalist bourgeois and. the monarcho-fascist minority of exploiters and
passed. into the hands of the vast majority, the working people from towns and
villages, under the guidance of the working class and its vanguard-the Communist
Party. Having triumphed with the decisive aid of the heroic Red Army, the
September 9 uprising cleared the road for building Socialism in our country.
The combination of the September 9, 1944, people’s anti-fascist uprising and the
victorious advance of the Soviet Army in the Balkans ensured the triumph of the
uprising and gave it great impetus. The hatred against fascism accumulated in
the course of two decades, and the determination of the working people to do
away with it, burst forth irrepressibly and swept away the fascist regime at one
blow. The anti-popular bourgeois-fascist police apparatus was smashed to pieces
and a people’s militia was formed to crush the opposition of the fascist
elements and to defend the people’s uprising. Power was wrested from the
capitalist class, united around the monarchy and closely allied with German
imperialism. It passed into the hands of the militant alliance of workers,
peasants, artisans and intellectuals united in the Fatherland Front, under the
leadership of our Party. The state power radically changed in character: the
instrument for the oppression and exploitation of the masses in the interests of
the capitalists was dismantled and a people’s government was created, as an
instrument for the annihilation of capitalism and for the gradual liberation of
the working people from exploitation of all kinds.
True, the old bourgeois state machine was not completely smashed on September 9.
The Communists were still a minority in the newly formed Cabinet. Many key posts
were still in the hands of individuals, some of whom later proved unstable and
even hostile to the people’s regime. It was the Party, however, which animated
the anti-fascist movement: the Party was, as it were, its sparking plug. In many
localities power was actually in the hands of the Fatherland Front Committees.
Our Party held the Ministry of the Interior as well as the newly created
Institute for Assistant Commanders in the Army. This was in the interest of the
people, because only our Party could organise the suppression of the defeated
monarcho-fascist clique, ensure internal order and the successful participation
of the reorganised army in the war against Hitler Germany. The Party’s great
power and influence among the people, as well as its position in the Fatherland
Front Committees, enabled it to assume in practice a leading role in the
Government and to wage a successful fight against the fascist reactionaries and
their stooges within the ranks of the Fatherland Front.
New people, springing up from the midst of the working class, came to the fore.
Vast masses of people, long oppressed under the jack-boot of fascist
dictatorship, awoke to active political life and, under the leadership of the
Party, played their part in various administrative bodies. A new type of
people’s democratic government was created and perfected.
Although its immediate tasks were of a democratic character, the September 9
uprising could not but shake the capitalist system in our country to its very
foundation, thus transcending the limits of bourgeois democracy.
This, then, was the salient feature of the September 9 uprising. You cannot
eliminate fascism, grant democratic rights to the working masses, consolidate
and develop these rights without challenging the very rule of capitalism, for
fascism is nothing but the ruthless, terrorist dictatorship of big business. The
eradication of fascism cannot be completed without challenging big business.
Democratic rights cannot be granted to the working people if big business
preserves its political and economic power. The September 9 uprising, therefore,
undertaking the solution of problems of a democratic character together with the
great national problem of our people’s participation in the war for the final
destruction of Hitlerism, could not but turn subsequently against the domination
of big business, deal it further serious blows and prepare the ground for its
abolition, for the abolition of the entire capitalist system and the transition
Laying the Foundations of Socialism in Bulgaria
The victory of the people under the guidance of our Party over the attempt of
capitalist reaction to set back the clock of history created the conditions for
speeding up the political and economic development of our country, for
proceeding to bring about basic transformations and carry out constructive tasks
of our people’s regime.
Under the conditions created by the elections to the Grand National Assembly and
the formation of a government under the direct leadership of our Party, there
could be no further development of the productive forces, of the national
economy and of the well-being of the working people without a radical
encroachment on the economic basis of the capitalist class. Bulgaria’s
experience confirmed the thesis of Lenin and Stalin that under decaying
capitalism, when the inherent insoluble crisis of bourgeois democracy gives
birth to fascism, no serious and lasting democratic changes are possible, no
progress is feasible, without attacking the very foundations of capitalism,
without taking steps in the direction of Socialism. In this our country’s task
was greatly eased by the fraternal aid received from a strong Socialist
The way was open for the full unfolding of the constructive tasks of the
People’s Government, for revolutionary changes in our national economy, for the
elimination of the economic basis of capitalist reaction, for the transition
from capitalism to Socialism, which, of course, cannot be realised without
waging an uncompromising class struggle against the capitalist elements.
In this situation the Party had to formulate new tasks in order to arm its own
cadres, the Fatherland Front and the working people with a clear perspective.
There was, however, a certain lag. After the chief tasks’ of the preceding
period were in the main solved, the Party by and large continued to be guided by
its old slogans. We permitted a certain delay in the destruction of the
reactionary opposition. We continued to speak of the possibility of coordinating
the interests of private industrialists and merchants with the general interests
of the State at a time when the whole situation made it possible to take radical
measures for the elimination of the rule of big business in the national
economy, and when factors had emerged which enabled us to advance resolutely
towards laying the foundations of Socialism in our country.
We have never lost track of the general perspective of our development towards
Socialism. We have always clearly realised that the destruction of fascism and
the realisation of the many reforms which figured in the Fatherland Front
programme of July 17, 1942, was intimately tied up with our ultimate
goal-Socialism and Communism. We have said again and again that, from the
viewpoint of our Party as the vanguard of the working class, the Complete
realisation of the Fatherland Front programme meant the creation of the
necessary conditions for our people to advance to Socialism. We always stressed
that there was no contradiction between our Fatherland Front policy and the
struggle to unite all democratic and progressive forces, in the Fatherland Front
for the realisation of its programme, on the one hand, and the struggle for
Socialism, on the other. But at that time the transition to Socialism still
seemed to us a question for the comparatively distant future and the
international and domestic situation seemed to us not yet suitable for the
application of such radical measures.
Meanwhile, the Fatherland Front programme, as proclaimed in 1942 and specified
after September 9 in the declaration of the first Fatherland Front government,
had by the end of 1946 already been in the main fulfilled. What is more, with
the proclamation of the People’s Republic and the elaboration of the Two-Year
Plan, we had already gone beyond the first Fatherland Front programme. The
development of the revolutionary process started on September 9 made it
indispensable to take decisive measures for the liquidation of large capitalist
private property, for starting a consistent policy of muzzling !he kulak
elements in the village, for radically overhauling the entire state apparatus
and for working out anew Fatherland Front programme with clearly formulated
perspectives of the movement towards Socialism, for a corresponding
reconstruction of the Fatherland Front, for a further consolidation of the
dominant role of the Party.
The lag in the rate of the economic and political development of our country
shows that our Party temporarily underestimated its own forces and those of the
working class and working people, and overestimated the forces of reaction. As
the Sixteenth Plenum of the Central Committee stated, our Party “lacked the
necessary clarity regarding the perspectives and the pace of our movement
towards Socialism”. It was not armed with a consistent Marxist-Leninist analysis
of the September 9 turning-point and of the ensuing possibilities and failed to
understand at the proper time the different stages of our development.
Fortunately however the Party, although with a certain lag and with an
insufficient theoretical examination of the problems, did manage to take action
and ensure the solution of the new tasks arising from the changed conditions.
This example confirms once again the old truth that it is easier to learn by
heart the principles of Marxism-Leninism than to apply them in practice as a
guide to action, correctly and in time, at every stage of social development.
For the mastery of this art, the Party leaders, at the top and at the bottom,
must work tirelessly and study diligently so that the Party shall neither fall
behind and be late in taking necessary action nor rush ahead too far.
We shall never forget the invaluable and timely aid which we received from the
great Bolshevik Party and in particular from Stalin personally, through advice
and explanation on matters of our Party’s policy as a leading force of the
People’s Democracy, which enabled us quickly to correct our mistakes.
During the past year and half, under the leadership of our Party, a series of
momentous and fundamental measures were carried out which completely
consolidated the People’s Democracy and prepared the ground for laying the
economic foundations of Socialism in Bulgaria.
The new Republican Constitution was adopted, which legally consolidated the
historic gains of the September 9 uprising and of the people’s democratic form
of government and opened up prospects for the country’s further development.
On the initiative and under the leadership of our Party, industry, private
banks, foreign trade, domestic wholesale trade, large urban property and forests
were socialised, while farm machinery and implements were bought up from the
farmers. The bulk of the means of production and exchange have thus passed into
The nationalisation of industry was the most important revolutionary measure in
our economy. It consolidated our planned development on the road toward
Socialism. In industry, credit and transport, the public sector has come to
occupy an almost monopolistic position. The same is true in foreign trade and
wholesale domestic trade. In our retail domestic trade the public sector already
outweighs the private sector. In agriculture and handicraft industry the public
sector has grown firm roots which are becoming ever stronger through the
creation of more than 70 machine and tractor stations, of over 1,000
co-operative farms with some 300,000 hectares of arable land, of state farms
with almost 100,000 hectares of land, of new artisans’ co-operatives and through
the rapid rise of the co-operative movement in towns and villages.
Hand in hand with these radical changes and in conformity with our people’s
constitution, our entire state apparatus was thoroughly overhauled, and, in
spite of some defects, it continues to improve as an apparatus of People’s
Our Party took the initiative in reorganising the Fatherland Front under its own
guidance into a unified political organisation with its own rules and a revised
programme formulating the new tasks of transforming the country with a view to
its forward march toward Socialism. Thus, as a result of the Party’s steadfast
work, the coalition elements- in the Fatherland Front were completely done away
with. It has now become an organisation of the militant alliance of the working
people of town land countryside under the generally accepted leadership of the
working class, headed by our Party. All parties and public organisations
composing the Fatherland Front recognise today the necessity of building
The Second Congress of the Fatherland Front marked a very important stage in its
development. The hostile, vacillating and unstable elements which had
infiltrated into the Fatherland Front with the aim of disintegrating it and
undermining it from within dropped out or were expelled. The Fatherland Front
only gained from that. In their place, after the Second Congress, new forces
came m from the ranks of the working people and their mass organisations. The
Fatherland Front as a mass political organisation of the militant alliance of
the working people of town and countryside, under the leadership of the
proletarian class, is now stronger and more united than ever. Favourable
conditions exist for closer collaboration between the Fatherland Front parties.
Applying different methods of persuasion, agitation and propaganda, depending on
the peculiarities of those sections wherein each is mainly working, the
Fatherland Front parties are contributing to rallying as many people as possible
for the common goal-the construction of the foundations of Socialism by way of
the People’s Democracy.
Today the Fatherland Front embodies the ever-increasing moral and political
unity of the working people of our country-a basic condition for bringing to a
successful end the fight against the capitalist elements and the building of the
foundations of Socialism.
The transformation of the Fatherland Front into a unified political organisation
with a common programme socialist in essence, with strict discipline and the
recognised leading role of the Communist Party, is undoubtedly a great
achievement. It is for this reason that we condemn every underestimation of its
significance and role. It was and continues to be a vital necessity for our
country. We cannot but call to account those Communists whose scornful attitude
toward the Fatherland. Front brings grist to the mill of our class enemies, who
are principally interested in discrediting it.
It goes without saying that within the framework of the Fatherland Front some of
the component parties may prefer to merge or to discontinue their independent
organisational existence, whenever they consider this timely and useful. But
that is their own affair.
These profound transformations and the changed correlation of the class and
political forces in our country, together with the active support of the Soviet
Union, paved the way for the building of the foundations of Socialism in our
country as an urgent, vital and practical task. This is now the general policy
of our Party. At the head of the working class, closely allied to all the
working people of town and countryside, it will carry out this correct general
policy firmly and unflinchingly, with unshakable confidence in victory,
notwithstanding all internal and especially external difficulties and obstacles.
The Essence of a People’s Democracy
The character of a People’s Democracy is determined by four major factors:
(1) The People’s Democracy represents the power of the working people-of the
overwhelming majority of the people, under the leadership of the working class.
That means, firstly, that the rule of the capitalists and landlords is
overthrown and the rule of the working people from the towns and villages, under
the leadership of the working class, established, that the working class as the
most progressive class in contemporary society is playing the principal role in
State and public life. Secondly, that the State serves as an instrument in the
fight of the working people against the exploiters, against all efforts and
tendencies aimed at re-establishing the capitalist order and bourgeois rule.
(2) The People’s Democracy is a State in the transitional period, destined to
ensure the development of the State on the path to Socialism.
That means that although the rule of the capitalists and landlords is overthrown
and their property handed over to the people, the economic roots of capitalism
are not yet extirpated; capitalist vestiges still persist and develop, trying to
restore their rule. Therefore, the onward march towards Socialism is possible
only by waging a relentless class struggle against the capitalist elements and
for their liquidation.
Only by advancing directly on the road to the achievement of Socialism can the
People’s Democracy stabilise itself and fulfil its historic mission. Should it
cease to fight against the exploiting classes and to eliminate them, the latter
would inevitably gain the upper hand and would bring about its downfall.
(3) The People’s Democracy is built in collaboration and friendship with the
Just as the liberation of our country from the fetters of imperialism and the
establishment of People’s Democracy were made possible by the aid and liberating
role of the U.S.S.R. in the fight against fascist Germany and its satellites, so
the further development of our People’s Democracy presupposes the safeguarding
and further promotion of close relations and sincere collaboration, mutual aid
and friendship between our State and the Soviet State. Any tendency toward
weakening this collaboration with the U.S.S.R. is directed against the very
existence of the People’s Democracy in our country.
(4) The People’s Democracy belongs to the democratic anti-imperialist camp.
(a) Only by joining in the united democratic anti-imperialist camp, headed by
the mighty Soviet State, can every People’s Democracy ensure its independence,
sovereignty and safety against the aggression of the imperialist forces.
(b) Under the conditions of the military collapse of the fascist aggressor
States, of the abrupt sharpening of the general capitalist crisis, of the
immense strengthening of the power of the Soviet Union and of the existing close
collaboration with the U.S.S.R. and the New Democracies, our country and the
other New Democracies were enabled to realise the transition from capitalism to
Socialism without the establishment of a Soviet order; through the regime of
People’s Democracy, on the condition that that regime was consolidated and
developed, and by leaning on the U.S.S.R. and the other New Democracies.
(c) Embodying the rule of the working people under the leadership of the working
class, the People’s Democracy, in the existing historical situation, as is
already proved by experience, can and must successfully perform the functions of
the dictatorship of the proletariat for the liquidation of the capitalist
elements and the organisation of a socialist economy. It can crush the
resistance of the overthrown capitalists and landowners, crush their attempts to
restore the rule of capital, and organise the building of industry on the basis
of public ownership and planned economy. The regime of the People’s Democracy
will succeed in overcoming the vacillations of the urban petty-bourgeoisie and
middle-class peasantry, in neutralising the capitalist elements in the villages
and in rallying all the working people around the working class for the onward
march toward Socialism.
The regime of the People’s Democracy will not change its character during the
carrying out of this policy, which aims at eliminating the capitalist elements
from the national economy. The key positions of the working class in all spheres
of public life must continuously be strengthened and all village elements
rallied who might become allies of the workers during the period of sharp
struggles against the kulaks and their hangers-on. The People’s Democratic
regime must be strengthened and improved in order to render powerless and
liquidate the class enemies.
(d) The New Democracies, including Bulgaria, are already marching towards
Socialism, in ceaseless struggle against all domestic, and especially foreign,
enemies. They are now creating the conditions necessary for the building of
Socialism, the economic and cultural basis for a future socialist society.
This is the central task today facing the New Democracies and, consequently, the
working class and its vanguard, the Communist Party.
This task embraces the following important aspects:
(a) Consolidation of the key positions held by the working class, headed by the
Communist Party, in all spheres of political, economic and cultural life.
(b) Strengthening the alliance between the working class and the working
peasants under the leadership of the working class.
(c) Speeding up the development of the public sector of national economy and, in
particular, of heavy industry.
(d) Creating the conditions for liquidating the capitalist elements in village
economy by a consistent policy aiming at their isolation and subsequent
(e) All-round development of producers’ co-operatives among the peasants, giving
state assistance to the poor and middle peasants through machine and tractor
stations, agricultural machines, credit, seed loans, etc., intensifying their
interest in the alliance with the working class, persuading them by the example
of the co-operative farms of the advantages of that system, and re-educating
them in a spirit of intolerance toward capitalist elements.
So far as the nationalisation of the land is concerned, we consider that in our
situation and with the development of the co-operative farms, this question has
no practical importance, i.e. we think that the nationalisation of the land is
not a necessary condition for the development and mechanisation of our rural
(f) The People’s Democracy stands for internationalism. Nationalism is
incompatible with the People’s Democracy. Our Party sees in internationalism,
i.e. international collaboration under Comrade Stalin, a guarantee of our
country’s independent existence, prosperity and progress towards Socialism. We
think that nationalism, under no matter what guise, is an enemy of Communism.
This wag clearly demonstrated by the anti-Communist actions of Tito’s group in
Yugoslavia. Hence the fight against nationalism is a primary duty of Communists.
Fighting ail manifestations of nationalism, we must re-educate the working
people in the spirit of proletarian internationalism and devotion to their
country, i.e. in a spirit of genuine patriotism.
Education in the spirit of proletarian internationalism and devotion to one’s
country means, above all, to make people fully conscious of the unique
importance of a firm united front of the new democracies and the U.S.S.R. in the
struggle against the aggressive forces of international, reaction and
imperialism. The entire future of our people depends, on the one hand, on the
power of the Soviet Union, and, on the other, on their readiness and ability, in
case of capitalist aggression, honourably to fulfil their duty in the common
At the same time, education in the spirit of proletarian internationalism means
to render people fully aware of the importance of complete co-ordination of the
activities of the Communist Parties, and of the leading role of the Bolshevik
Party, For there exists for the Communist Parties one and only one theory as a
guide to action-the theory of Marxism-Leninism; one and, only one aim in their
policy; and there exists the great party of Lenin an-d Stalin, as the leading
party of the’ international labour movement.
It is essential that we educate in this spirit the Party, the working class, the
working peasantry and intelligentsia.
From concluding speech at the Fifth Congress
THE second remark refers to the definition of the People’s Democracy given in my
report. Some comrades who in their discussions touched on this problem were
inclined to put the emphasis mainly on that which distinguishes the People’s
Democracy from the Soviet regime, something which may lead to incorrect and
According to the Marxist-Leninist principles, the Soviet regime and the People’s
Democracy are two forms of one and the same rule-the rule of the working class
in alliance with and at the head of the toilers from towns and villages. They
are two forms of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The particular form of
transition from capitalism to Socialism in Bulgaria does not and cannot alter
the basic laws on the transition period from capitalism to Socialism which are
valid for all countries. The transition to Socialism cannot be carried out
without the dictatorship of the proletariat against the capitalist elements and
for the organisation of socialist economy.
But whereas bourgeois democracy is the dictatorship of capital, of an exploiting
big-business minority over, the great majority of working people, peoples
Democracy fulfils the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the
interests of the overwhelming majority of working people and realises the widest
and most complete democracy-socialist democracy.
From the fact that People’s Democracy and the Soviet regime coincide in the most
important and decisive respect, that is, that they both represent the rule of
the working class in alliance with and at the head of the working people, there
follow some highly essential deductions on the necessity of making the most
thorough study and widest application of the great experiment of socialist
construction in the U.S.S:R. And this experiment, adapted to our conditions, is
the only and best model for the construction of Socialism in Bulgaria, as well
as in the other People’s Democracies.