Dimitrov, Georgii Mikhailovich
Born June 18, 1882, in the village of Kovachevtsi, Pernik District, Bulgaria; died July 2, 1949, in Barvikha, near Moscow. Leader of the Bulgarian and international workers’ movement. Son of a craftsman.
At 12 years of age, Dimitrov went to work as an apprentice typesetter; he was elected secretary of the printers’ union in Sofia in 1901. In 1902 he joined the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party, siding with its revolutionary-Marxist wing. When the party split in 1903, this wing became an independent party, the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party (Narrow Socialists) [which in 1919 was renamed the Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialists), the BCP (NS)]. Dimitrov was elected a member of the Central Committee of the party in 1909 and remained in the leadership until his death. He was a leader of the Revolutionary Trade Union Federation from 1905 to 1923, becoming secretary in 1909, and actively participated in organizing the important activities of the Bulgarian proletariat, including the strikes of the coal miners in Pernik in 1906 and 1911, the strikes of the match factory workers in Kostenec in 1909, and the rail-waymen’s strikes of 1919-20.
During the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Dimitrov denounced the chauvinist and expansionist policy of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie, making use of the Parliament, where he served as a deputy from 1913 to 1923, as his forum. He was repeatedly persecuted for his active antiwar work. Dimitrov participated in the First (1909) and Second (1915) Balkan Social Democratic conferences, where he struggled to consolidate the international organizational ties of the Bulgarian proletariat and opposed opportunism in the international workers’ movement. On the eve of and during World War I, Dimitrov denounced Bulgarian nationalism. As a deputy in Parliament, he voted against war credits and opposed Bulgaria’s participation in the imperialist war. He helped to popularize the slogans and cause of the Great October Socialist Revolution and fought for the defense of the Soviet republic. In 1921 he participated in the work of the Third Congress of the Comintern, where he met V. I. Lenin. In the same year he was elected a member of the executive bureau of the Profintern. Dimitrov, with V. P. Kolarov, led an antifascist armed uprising in September 1923. He emigrated from Bulgaria after the uprising was suppressed. The fascist authorities of Bulgaria sentenced Dimitrov to death in absentia. In emigration, Dimitrov was a member of the foreign bureau of the Bulgarian Communist Party (Narrow Socialists), worked on the Executive Committee of the Communist International and the executive bureau of the Profintern, and was the secretary of the Balkan Communist Federation.
Dimitrov was arrested in Berlin in 1933, after the German Reichstag fire on a fabricated charge of arson. At the Leipzig trial staged by the German fascists, which took place from September 21 to December 23, 1933, Dimitrov unmasked the Hitlerite provocateurs, held high the banner of proletarian internationalism, and dealt a crushing moral and political blow to fascism. The failure to substantiate the charge and the worldwide protest movement compelled the fascist court to acquit Dimitrov and the other accused Communists.
The Soviet Union granted citizenship to Dimitrov, and he lived in the USSR from 1934 to 1945. He was elected a deputy of the Leningrad Soviet in 1934 and was general secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International from 1935 until the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943. Dimitrov was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1937 to 1945. During World War II, Dimitrov took the lead in founding (in 1942) the Fatherland Front of Bulgaria. The front, led by Dimitrov, played an important role in mobilizing the popular masses of Bulgaria in the struggle against the fascist invaders and in the victory of the revolution of Sept. 9, 1944. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded Dimitrov the Order of Lenin in 1945 for his outstanding services in the struggle against fascism. On Nov. 6, 1945, Dimitrov returned to his native Bulgaria, becoming chairman of the council of ministers in November 1946 and general secretary of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party in December 1948. Holding these posts, he directed the establishment of people’s democracy in Bulgaria, dexterously applying the general principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete historical and national conditions of Bulgaria. The promulgation of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria on Sept. 15, 1946, the adoption of the popular-democratic constitution on Dec. 4, 1947, and the implementation of radical socialist transformations are all associated with Dimitrov’s name. In the political report of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (Communists) to the Fifth Congress of the party in December 1948, Dimitrov formulated the general line for building the foundations of socialism in Bulgaria and provided a Marxist-Leninist analysis of people’s democracy as one of the historical forms of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Dimitrov was an ardent fighter for the strengthening of Bulgarian-Soviet friendship. He opposed revisionism and leftist dogmatism in the international workers’ movement, supported the strengthening of the anti-imperialist camp, and favored the coordination of the activities of Communist and workers’ parties on the basis of Marxism-Leninism.
Dimitrov’s coffin was interred in a specially constructed mausoleum in Sofia. The Bulgarian people honor Dimitrov’s memory, and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria has established an Order of Georgii Dimitrov. The new town of Dimitrovgrad and a number of the largest new projects bear his name. The Young Communist League of Bulgaria is also named after Dimitrov. Dimitrov Prizes have been established for achievements in science, technology, literature, and art. Dimitrov’s home in Sofia is now a museum.
Sochineniia, vols. 1-14. Sofia, 1951-55.
Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1957.
V bor’be za edinyi front protiv fashizma i voiny. Moscow, 1939.
Leiptsigskii protsess: Rechi, pis’ma i dokumenty. Moscow, 1961.
Protiv fashizma: Izbrani proizvedeniia. Sofia, 1969.
Blagoeva, S. Georgi Dimitrov. Moscow, 1951.
Georgii Dimitrov: Kratkii biograficheskii ocherk. Sofia, 1948.
Georgii Mikhailovich Dimitrov 1882-1949: [Materialy]. [Moscow] 1949.
V pamet na velikiia naroden sin Georgi Dimitrov. Sofia, 1950.
Savova, E. Georgi Dimitrov, Letopis na zhivota i revoliutsionnata mu deinost. Sofia, 1952.
Savova, E. Georgi Dimitrov: Bibliografiia. Sofia, 1968.
Koren’kov, A. Georgii Dimitrov. Moscow, 1962.
Sokhan’, P. Plamennyi revoliutsioner: Zhizn’ i revoliutsionnaia deiatel’nost’ G. Dimitrova. Kiev, 1962.
L. B. VALEV
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.