In 1989, Bulgaria was part of the "wave" of nonviolent revolts against domination by the Soviet Union and its Communist-led governments in Eastern Europe (see Bulgarians campaign for democratic reforms and multi-party rule, 1989-90).
By 1989, Bulgaria’s Communist Party Leader Todor Zhivkov had ruled the country for 35 years through a constitutionally sanctioned single-party government. Zhivkov and the communist Politburo had always quickly repressed any opposition and independent unions or organizations were illegal in the country. In the late 1980s Zhivkov and his regime had also begun an assimilation program for Muslims and ethnic Turks, which had forced nearly 300,000 Turks to leave Bulgaria in 1989 to avoid persecution. At the same time, however, reforms were sweeping through Eastern Europe as prot