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Todor Zhivkov

Zhivkov, Todor (tôˈdôr zhĭvkôfˈ) [key], 1911–98, Bulgarian political leader. A printer, and a Communist party member from 1932, he rose to prominence as a partisan leader during World War II and headed the coup against the monarchy in Sept., 1944. In 1948 he became a member of the Communist party central committee. His steady rise culminated in 1954 when he became first secretary of the party. He served (1962–71) as premier before assuming (1971) the post of president of Bulgaria. He maintained close relations with the Soviet Union throughout his tenure, making Bulgaria the most compliant Soviet satellite. On Nov. 10, 1989, Zhivkov was ousted from the presidency following a revolt against him within the Communist party that was backed by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and his supporters in the politburo were purged. His 1992 conviction on corruption charges was voided in 1996.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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