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5/15/2007 (

By Jan Buruma

Almost two decades after the fall of communism, Bulgarians are still wrestling with their totalitarian past. They do not yet have complete access to the files of the communist-era secret service (Darzhavna Sigurnost), but that is about to change. In June 2006, a legal deadline to open the files expired. But only in April 2007 has Bulgaria appointed a parliamentary commission to work on the topic.

The Bulgarian secret service was formally abolished in 1990, just after dictator Todor Zhivkov was forced to resign. Despite public pressure to open its archives like in other post-Soviet countries, in January 1990 most of the files were destroyed - those listing 46 percent of the secret services’ collaborators, 30 percent of those citizens who had been placed under surveillance and 91 percent of those who let facilities to the police.

The most high-profile case was the disappearance of the Georgi Markov file. Markov was a dissident writer and journalist who was famously killed in 1978 in London by a poisoned umbrella. KGB officers revealed in the 1990’s that they had cooperated on that case with their Bulgarian counterparts.

Bulgarian investigative journalist Hristo Hristov wrote the bestseller Kill"

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