The World Factbook (1990)/Bulgaria

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World Factbook (1990) Bulgaria.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 110,910 km²; land area: 110,550km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries: 1,881 km total; Greece 494 km, Romania 608 km, Turkey 240 km, Yugoslavia 539 km

Coastline: 354 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: Macedonia question with Greece and Yugoslavia

Climate: temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and south

Natural resources: bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land use: 34% arable land; 3% permanent crops; 18% meadows and pastures; 35% forest and woodland; 10% other; includes 11% irrigated

Environment: subject to earthquakes, landslides; deforestation; air pollution

Note: strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia


Population: 8,933,544 (July 1990), growth rate -0.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 13 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 12 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -4 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 13 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 69 years male, 76 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.9 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Bulgarian(s); adjective—Bulgarian

Ethnic divisions: 85.3% Bulgarian, 8.5% Turk, 2.6% Gypsy, 2.5% Macedonian, 0.3% Armenian, 0.2% Russian, 0.6% other

Religion: religious background of population is 85% Bulgarian Orthodox, 13% Muslim, 0.8% Jewish, 0.7% Roman Catholic, 0.5% Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other

Language: Bulgarian; secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown

Literacy: 95% (est.)

Labor force: 4,300,000; 33% industry, 20% agriculture, 47% other (1987)

Organized labor: all workers are members of the Central Council of Trade Unions (CCTU); Pod Krepa (Support), an independent trade union, legally registered in January 1990


Long-form name: People's Republic of Bulgaria

Type: Communist state, but democratic elections planned for 1990

Capital: Sofia

Administrative divisions: 8 provinces (oblasti, singular—oblast) and 1 city* (grad); Burgas, Grad Sofiya*, Khaskovo, Lovech, Mikhaylovgrad, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Sofiya, Varna

Independence: 22 September 1908 (from Ottoman Empire)

Constitution: 16 May 1971, effective 18 May 1971

Legal system: based on civil law system, with Soviet law influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the State Council; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Anniversary of the Socialist Revolution in Bulgaria, 9 September (1944)

Executive branch: president, chairman of the Council of Ministers, four deputy chairmen of the Council of Ministers, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Narodno Sobranyie)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Petur Toshev MLADENOV (chairman of the State Council since 11 November 1989; became president on 3 April 1990 when the State Council was abolished);

Head of Government—Chairman of the Council of Ministers Andrey LUKANOV (since 3 February 1990); Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Chudomir Asenov ALEKSANDROV (since 8 February 1990); Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Belcho Antonov BELCHEV (since 8 February 1990); Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Konstantin Dimitrov KOSEV (since 8 February 1990); Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Nora Krachunova ANANIEVA (since 8 February 1990)

Political parties and leaders: Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP), Aleksandur Lilov, chairman; Bulgarian National Agrarian Union (BZNS), Angel Angelov Dimitrov, secretary of Permanent Board; Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, Petur Dentlieu; Green Party; Christian Democrats; Radical Democratic Party; others forming

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: Chairman of the State Council—last held 17 June 1986 (next to be held May 1990); results—Todor Zhivkov reelected but was replaced by Petur Toshev Mladenov on 11 November 1989;

National Assembly—last held 8 June 1986 (next to be held May 1990); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(400 total) BKP 276, BZNS 99, others 25

Communists: 932,055 party members (April 1986)

Other political or pressure groups: Union of Democratic Forces (umbrella organization for opposition groups); Ecoglenost, Podkrepa Independent Trade Union, Fatherland Front, Communist Youth Union, Central Council of Trade Unions, National Committee for Defense of Peace, Union of Fighters Against Fascism and Capitalism, Committee of Bulgarian Women, All-National Committee for Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship; Union of Democratic Forces, a coalition of about a dozen dissident groups; numerous regional and national interest groups with various agendas

Member of: CCC, CEMA, FAO, IAEA, IBEC, ICAO, ILO, ILZSG, IMO, IPU, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, UN, UNESCO, UPU, Warsaw Pact WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Velichko Filipov VELICHKOV; Chancery at 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 387-7969; US—Ambassador Sol POLANSKY; Embassy at 1 Alexander Stamboliski Boulevard, Sofia (mailing address is APO New York 09213); telephone [359](2) 88-48-01 through 05

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red with the national emblem on the hoist side of the white stripe; the emblem contains a rampant lion within a wreath of wheat ears below a red five-pointed star and above a ribbon bearing the dates 681 (first Bulgarian state established) and 1944 (liberation from Nazi control)


Overview: Growth in the sluggish Bulgarian economy fell to the 2% annual level in the 1980s, and by 1989 Sofia's foreign debt had skyrocketed to $10 billion—giving a debt service ratio of more than 40% of hard currency earnings. The post-Zhivkov regime faces major problems of renovating an aging industrial plant, keeping abreast of rapidly unfolding technological developments, investing in additional energy capacity (the portion of electric power from nuclear energy reached 37% in 1988), and motivating workers, in part by giving them a share in the earnings of their enterprises. A major decree of January 1989 summarized and extended the government's economic restructuring efforts, which include a partial decentralization of controls over production decisions and foreign trade. The new regime promises more extensive reforms and eventually a market economy. But the ruling group cannot (so far) bring itself to give up ultimate control over economic affairs exercised through the vertical Party/ministerial command structure. Reforms have not led to improved economic performance, in particular the provision of more and better consumer goods. A further blow to the economy was the exodus of 310,000 ethnic Turks in mid-1989, which caused temporary shortages of skilled labor in glassware, aluminum, and other industrial plants and in tobacco fields.

GNP: $51.2 billion, per capita $5,710; real growth rate -0.1% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 12% (1989)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $26 billion; expenditures $28 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (1988)

Exports: $20.3 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—machinery and equipment 60.5%; agricultural products 14.7%; manufactured consumer goods 10.6%; fuels, minerals, raw materials, and metals 8.5%; other 5.7%; partners—Socialist countries 82.5% (USSR 61%, GDR 5.5%, Czechoslovakia 4.9%); developed countries 6.8% (FRG 1.2%, Greece 1.0%); less developed countries 10.7% (Libya 3.5%, Iraq 2.9%)

Imports: $21.0 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—fuels, minerals, and raw materials 45.2%; machinery and equipment 39.8%; manufactured consumer goods 4.6%; agricultural products 3.8%; other 6.6%; partners—Socialist countries 80.5% (USSR 57.5%, GDR 5.7%), developed countries 15.1% (FRG 4.8%, Austria 1.6%); less developed countries 4.4% (Libya 1.0%, Brazil 0.9%)

External debt: $10 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 0.9% (1988)

Electricity: 11,500,000 kW capacity; 45,000 million kWh produced, 5,000 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: food processing, machine and metal building, electronics, chemicals

Agriculture: accounts for 15% of GNP; climate and soil conditions support livestock raising and the growing of various grain crops, oilseeds, vegetables, fruits and tobacco; more than one-third of the arable land devoted to grain; world's fourth-largest tobacco exporter; surplus food producer

Aid: donor—1.6 billion in bilateral aid to non-Communist less developed countries (1956-88)

Currency: lev (plural—leva); 1 lev (Lv) = 100 stotinki

Exchange rates: leva (Lv) per US$1—0.84 (1989), 0.82 (1988), 0.90 (1987), 0.95 (1986), 1.03(1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 4,294 km total, all government owned (1986); 4,049 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 245 km narrow gauge; 908 km double track; 2,342 km electrified

Highways: 37,397 km total; 33,352 km hard surface (including 228 km superhighways); 4,045 km earth roads (1986)

Inland waterways: 470 km (1986)

Pipelines: crude, 193 km; refined product, 418 km; natural gas, 1,400 km (1986)

Ports: Burgas, Varna, Varna West; river ports are Ruse, Vidin, and Lom on the Danube

Merchant marine: 108 ships (1,000 GRT and over) totaling 1,240,204 GRT/1,872,723 DWT; includes 2 short-sea passenger, 32 cargo, 2 container, 1 passenger-cargo training, 5 roll-on/roll-off, 16 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 railcar carriers, 48 bulk

Civil air: 65 major transport aircraft

Airports: 380 total, 380 usable; about 120 with permanent-surface runways; 20 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 20 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations 15 AM, 16 FM, 13 TV; 1 Soviet TV relay; 2,100,000 TV sets; 2,100,000 radio receivers; at least 1 satellite earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Bulgarian People's Army, Frontier Troops, Air and Air Defense Forces, Bulgarian Navy

Military manpower: males 15-49, 2,177,404; 1,823,111 fit for military service; 66,744 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.6051 billion leva (1989); note—conversion of the military budget into US dollars using the official administratively set exchange rate would produce misleading results