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«October 2019»

CAS Re-link Seminar

14 November 2018

Dr. Elitza Stanoeva will give a talk on the topic: "Bulgaria's Imperative of "Opening to the West" in the 1960s and 1970s" on 14 November (Wednesday) at 16:30h at CAS conference hall.


At the center of this presentation is the Bulgarian pursuit of economic cooperation with Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, discussed mainly through the examples of Bulgaria's bilateral relations with West Germany, a traditional economic partner and by far its largest in the West, and Denmark, a country of little to none prior contacts. In its cautious but resolute opening to the West, the Bulgarian regime was motivated by both symbolic and pragmatic incentives: on the one hand, aspirations for international prestige and, on the other hand, recognition of astute economic needs. Bulgaria's alignment in the Soviet sphere of influence acted as both a propeller and a brake to its ambitions towards the West. It was the fear of remaining more insulated than the other people's democracies in Eastern Europe that propelled its engagement with Western countries and gave it a competitive urge vis-à-vis its allies. Under the domination of the Soviet superpower, the alliance also severely constrained Bulgaria's foreign policy pursuits in the West. While the party leadership was maneuvering along a fine line, the operatives in the Bulgarian foreign services were trying to maintain their own room to maneuver against the interference of political dogmatism.

Elitza Stanoeva holds PhD in History from the Technical University of Berlin (2013). Currently, she is Research Associate at the European University Institute in Florence where she is team member and expert on Bulgaria in ERC-funded project "Looking West: The European Socialist Regimes Facing Pan-European Cooperation and the European Community" (PanEur1970s). She was a CAS fellow in March - July 2016.


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