Sofia Embassy Cable, Bulgarian Reportage of Krenz-Gorbachev Summit Stresses Unanimity, Stability, and Party Supremacy
On November 1, 1989, the new East German leader Egon Krenz traveled to Moscow for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss the mounting crisis in the GDR and seek a greater level of cooperation between the two states. The following excerpt is taken from a diplomatic cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Sophia, Bulgaria and reports on how the summit was depicted in the Bulgarian press. When compared with the reports by both the Soviet and East Germangovernments, it is clear that the public portrayal of the situation in Bulgaria was cleansed of any information that might incite similar movements or calls for reform.
U.S. Embassy Sofia to U.S. Secretary of State, "Bulgarian Reportage of Krenz-Gorbachev Summit Stresses Unanimity, Stability, and Party Supremacy," 3 November 1989, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
The major dailies ran only two distinct stories Nov 2 on the Krenz/Gorbachev summit. A BTA dispatch printed in Rab Del, Narodna Armiya, and Trud summarized the speeches of the two, and emphasized the party's vanguard role, the commitment to supporting stability in Europe, and the "complete unanimity on all questions" between the two leaders. Otechestven Front ran its own story, which blandly glided over the basically same themes.
Comment: The stories continue the Bulgarians' habit of playing down crisis situations in allied countries. With the exception of an admonishment - that "the inclusion of different social forces in political life demands restructuring of the forms, methods, and content of party work .... communists will succeed in finding a response to the challenges of the times only on the condition that they act decisively, with initiative, and without falling behind the course of events." The overall portrayal of the talks, their context and hoped-for results, was rosy.