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The Militant, 31 August 1946

Full Story of Bulgarian Trotskyist Arrests

(16 August 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 35, 31 August 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


PARIS, Aug. 16 – The full story of the arrests of the Bulgarian Trotskyists by the Stalinist-dominated government in Sofia (reported in The Militant of July 6) has now been received here.

On June 13, during the night, our comrades Dr. Dimiter Gatchev and Dr. Mintho Telbizov had a visit from the “Communist” militias at their home in Plovdiv. Thorough searches were made. Pamphlets, issues of the Trotskyist paper Communist Appeal, letters, etc., were taken away. The comrades were arrested.

For three days the comrades were held in the cellars of the Inspection of the Regional Militias at Plovdiv. On June 16 they were brought by railway to Nord-est. They are now being held in the village of Dulovo, between Toutracan and Silistra (Dobrudja). Their precise whereabouts are kept strictly secret.

On June 17 the militias continued their arrests of our comrades. In Plovdiv, Comrade Liliana Pirintchieva has been arrested. Other arrests are expected.

The militias use the fact that the fascist reaction is reorganizing itself and preparing for a coup d’etat as a pretext to smash the Trotskyist movement – a movement which day by day has drawn the attention of the workers and revolutionary elements in the Stalinist party to this fact.

During the last months our Bulgarian party has carried out a very great activity. It launched, through its paper and public demonstrations, the slogan of a “Workers and Peasants Government” and appealed energetically to the Bulgarian Workers Party (Stalinist) for a united front against reaction.

Dimiter Gatchev

Dimiter Gatchev, 46 years old, was a student in Germany and a member of the Spartakus Bund from 1921 to 1923. In 1924 he was sent by the Comintern to reorganize the Bulgarian Communist Party, which had suffered defeat in 1923.

Gatchev went to Bulgaria and worked there illegally for the restoration of the CPB. At the time of the new fascist repression in 1925 he was leader of the military organization of the CPB. Together with many other militants he was condemned to death after being terribly tortured. It was the period of the Tzankoff dictatorship.

Gatchev remained in prison until 1932 when he was released under an amnesty which opened the prison gates for the Communists. Since then he has been arrested several times and placed in prison for his Communist activities.

During the German occupation of Bulgaria he followed a revolutionary policy of defeatism in relation to the Bulgarian bourgeoisie and advocated fraternization with the German workers, and peasants in uniform. The Stalinists accused him of being a “provocateur” and “traitor.” He was kept under police surveillance and the archives of the fascist police refer to him as a “dangerous Communist.”

Gatchev joined the Trotskyist Left Opposition in 1925 by “self-orientation,” without having any information about the movement in Russia. He was expelled in 1927 from the CPB and remained an uncompromising Bolshevik-Leninist. There was a severe struggle between the Trotskyist and Stalinist tendencies within the Communist Party. The Stalinists tried to kill him. In prison, as well as out of prison, he conducted himself as a real revolutionist.

In 1932 Gatchev led the Left Opposition in Bulgaria and published the organ, La Liberation. At that time, some differences arose between Gatchev and another comrade, Manov. The latter returned to the ranks of the Stalinist party, is now a judge in the “People’s Court,” and states publicly that he was “in error” when he was a Trotskyist.

After the “liberation” of Bulgaria by the Red Army in 1944, Dr. Gatchev advocated a consistent revolutionary policy. He condemned the Stalinists for betraying the Socialist revolution, advocated uncompromising struggle for popular democratic liberties, and called for the seizure of power by the workers.

For this he was arrested in January 1945, and kept for one month in the cells of the Inspection of Militias in Plovdiv. Only the energetic intervention of his wife and comrades saved him, but prison life had seriously weakened his physical condition.

After a long illness, he returned again to work. He went to Stalinist meetings where he defended the name of Trotsky against the slanders of the Kremlin hacks. The Stalinists answered with threats. One night, two individuals attacked him at his home. The Stalinists declared that he was an “incorrigible Trotskyist.”

During the last months, he insisted upon a united front of the workers and peasants to save the gains of the Bulgarian mass uprising of September 9, 1944. He warned against the new massacre being prepared by reaction against the revolutionary vanguard and the working class.

Dr. Mintcho Telbizov

Dr. Mintcho Telbizov, 36 years of age, was for many years a member of the Communist (Stalinist) Party. In 1934 he was expelled for defending revolutionary Marxist principles. For some years he was isolated and could not find any precise political orientation. Last year he became a Trotskyist, active in the mass movement.

The Stalinists instigated his expulsion from the hospital where he worked. They also tried to drive him out of the workers’ section where he lived. He agitated for socialism everywhere – in the buses, inns and shops and at public meetings.

In the ranks of the medical doctors, together with Comrade Gatchev, he struggled for dialectical materialism against the priests and their dope. For this activity he was expelled from the medical association.

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