Todor Zhivkov 1948

Bulgarian Youth Helps to Build People's Democracy

Written: By Todor Zhivkov, 1948;
Source: For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy! Vol. 2, no. 13; July 1, 1948;
Transcribed: David Adams, March 2022.

Last December the inaugural congress of the People’s Youth Union of Bulgaria was held in Sofia. After working for a long time to consolidate its forces in the struggle against fascism and capitalist reaction, our youth set up at the congress a completely united organisation.

All democratic youth organisations praised the new Union, including the Workers’ Youth Union, the Peasant Youth, Socialist, Zveno and Student Youth organisations.

This unity of people’s youth was achieved through the struggle waged by our people and by the youth against the monarcho-fascist dictatorship, against the German invaders and their Bulgarian hirelings. Since September 9, 1944, the day of the liberation, unity has been steadily developing in the common work of building the people’s republic and the struggle against the machinations of the class enemy.

A leading role in this struggle was played by the Workers’ Youth Union which had maintained its organisation even under the fascist regime. From the union came of 70 per cent of the Bulgarian partisans. The Union took an active part in the Patriotic War and was the first to organise its forces for the country’s reconstruction. It was the organiser, the core, and the driving force of the youth movement in Bulgaria.

During the armed anti-fascist resistance Fatherland Front youth committees were set up immediately after the liberation special youth commissions were established in the front committees to coordinate the work of the various organisations.

At the first congress of democratic youth held in 1946 the Fatherland Front youth commissions were reorganised into democratic youth committees, a step toward the complete unity of the young people.

Six months have passed since the Union’s inaugural congress. During this short period, Union branches have been set up in nearly all towns and villages in the country. They are now carrying out widespread organisational and educational work. The Union has 600,000 members.

The Union is a unified youth organisation of a new type, corresponding to the present conditions and interests of our people’s democracy. It is affiliated to the Fatherland Front, the social-political organisation of the people of Bulgaria led by the Bulgarian Worker’s Party and fully accepts the programme of building the People’s Republic and of achieving socialism in our country.

A profoundly patriotic organisation, it trains the young people to uphold and safeguard the rights and liberties won by the people on September 9, 1944, and to defend unswervingly the national independence and state sovereignty of our People’s Republic.

It mobilises the youth to wipe out the remnants of fascism, bourgeois reaction and capitalism, to consolidate the people’s democracy on a firm basis and to win socialism.

The formation of the union strengthened and improved work among Bulgaria’s young people. The right-hand of the Bulgarian Workers Party and of the Fatherland Front, the Union mobilises all youth forces to fulfil the Two Year Plan from the ranks of our working youth came the first shock workers, textile workers like Maria Todoroya, Olga Nidenova, Violeta Berbenkova, Milke Biserova, Savva Dimitrov and many others.

The youth of Bulgaria has many glorious patriotic deeds to its credit. The Sime Dimitrov youth brigade at the “Brigader” mine used the first modern mining methods. There are now nearly 2,500 youth brigades in industry.

In the countryside, the Union mobilises the young people to improve ploughing, sowing and harvesting.

The young people take an active part in setting up and running the agricultural cooperatives in many of these, special youth brigades have their own land, equipment and livestock. Throughout the country there are over 360 such brigades.

Apart from its activity in industry and agriculture, the Union is starting a broad movement to form youth shock brigades which will build factories, reservoirs, electric-power stations, highways, irrigation canals and similar undertakings. These shock brigades are an important way of drawing young people into work for the Two Year Plan.

In 1946, the 2,000 strong Dimitrov youth brigade helped to build the Main-Bossak pass in Stara Planin. Last year the Dimitrov National Youth Building Brigade, 85,000 strong, took part in many similar undertakings. Their work is valued at 1,134 million leva.

This year the shock brigade movement is developing on an ever larger scale. Some 250,000 young men and women are now working on construction of local and national importance. The corner-stone of the shock brigade movement is the local brigades which build roads, bridges and irrigation canals, work in the fields and, in fact, do anything to fulfil the local targets of the Plan.

At present there are 3,364 such local youth brigades with 97,800 members.

Seventy youth shock brigades are now working on construction sites. One of these has started to build Dimitrovgrad, a new industrial town. Here a chemical factory and a heat and power station will be built.

The laying of the Lovech-Throyan railway which will be completed this year, is another big undertaking. Equally important is the building of two large reservoirs. Young people are large reservoirs. Young people are also working to complete the Samuil-Silistria and Ljaskovez-Slatariza railways, the Pasarel reservoir, a physical-culture centre in Sofia, five power stations and are also building roads and machine-tractor stations.

Their voluntary labour is a great patriotic contribution to the building of the People’s Republic and socialism. Labour emulation among young people is already increasing.

The shock brigades also take a keen interest in educating young people and in developing sport. Performances by amateur art groups and sports festivals are organised in regional centres. The young people of the country are preparing with particular enthusiasm for a national sports day on July 20.

The People’s Youth Union is guiding the work of the children’s organisation with its 650,000 members. Every day the youth of Bulgaria is gaining new successes and steadily consolidating its unity. However, we also have some weaknesses, against which the People’s Youth Union is persistently fighting.

In the first place, measures must be taken to raise the ideological and political level of our young people. Reactionary bourgeois influences must be combated more successfully. The Union is resolutely struggling against smugness and conceit.

It is also necessary to improve work among the young peasants, to strengthen their organisation in the countryside, to increase its membership, to draw the young girls into work.

Led by the Bulgarian Workers’ Party, the People’s youth union will overcome its weaknesses, improve its work among the young people of the country and will be in the forefront of the builders of the People’s republic and of socialism in Bulgaria.