As agreed by the Allies, Bulgaria entered the Soviet sphere of influence. On 5 September
1944, the USSR declared war on Bulgaria. As a result of a coup d'état, on 9 September the
Patriotic Front took over power (a coalition of left-wing parties that sought to declare war on
the Germans and abolish the monarchy). On 16 September the Soviet army entered Sofia.
There was a change of alliance and Bulgaria took the side of the Allies, starting military
actions against the German army.
After the Patriotic Front took over power, the trials of both the opponents of the newly created
power and of the German collaborators began. From December 1944 to April 1945, more than
11,000 people were charged (crimes and profasciary activities). More than 9 000 sentences
were passed, including more than 2 700 death sentences and 1 300 life sentences. Among
other things, the Bulgarian regent Prince Cyril (Boris III's brother) was sentenced to death for
collaborating with the Germans. According to other available data, 20-30,000 people were to
be murdered in autumn 1944, most of them on the basis of pre-established letters. It is
believed that it was a kind of revenge for the repressions after the September Uprising in
The first post-war election, in November 1945, was won by the Patriotic Front, which won
88% of the vote. It consisted of Communists and the Zweno Political Circle, the Bulgarian
People's Peasant Union and the Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party. However, the
Allies have raised concerns about counterfeiting and acts of violence. The Allies proposed
changes that would be beneficial to the opposition. Most of them were rejected, but the
symbolic participation of the opposition in the newly formed government was accepted.
On September 8, 1946, a referendum was held on the abolition of the monarchy. More than
90% of Bulgarians voted against the monarchy. The 9-year-old tsar Symeon II, together with
his family, left his homeland.
More than a month later, on 27 October, elections for the Grand National Assembly were
held. The Patriotic Front won again, winning 366 seats. The opposition won 99 seats, and the
leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Georgi Dmitrov, became the Prime Minister. The
Communists began another step in strengthening their influence - the elimination of the anti-
In 1947, an alleged military conspiracy was revealed, which was used to liquidate the
opposition. Nikola Petkov, the leader of the Bulgarian People's Peasant Union, was accused of
participating in the event. After a token trial, he was hanged despite the lack of evidence. As
part of further repression, the peasant party was dissolved and the leadership of the social
democratic party “voluntarily” decided to join the communist party. In 1947 the People's
Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed and the Constitution was passed. In 1949, an internal
cleansing of the party began, and the former Prime Minister Trajczo Kostov, among others,
was sentenced to death. Georgia Dmitrov dies on 2 July that same year. Wasil Kolarov
became Prime Minister, but he ruled for more than six months: he died in January 1950. He
was taken over by Wylko Czervenkov who served as First Secretary until 1954.
However, some Bulgarians did not agree with the communists taking over power. An anti-
communist guerrilla was formed: Goriani. Their name derives from the fact that they were
mainly stationed in the mountains. It is estimated that there were about 600 branches in
operation. They went into battle after the coup d'état in 1944 and were only broken up in the
mid-1950s, with individual units operating until the mid-1960s. Most of them died in fighting,
those who were caught sentenced to death or sent to labour camps.