Svetlozar Eldarov

Paranoia: Glimpses of the Day-to-day Life of the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome in the 1950s

Etudes balkaniques (Sofia) 2016 N 4

Abstract: The article is based on documents of the Bulgarian Communist Party group at the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome drawn up in the 1950s: minutes of meetings, plans, reports, etc. They recreate truly and vividly the spirit of the coldest phase of the Cold War, which dominated the Bulgarian-Italian relations at that time as well. The documents provide clear evidence of the way in which Party members, respectively all Embassy officers, perceived the world in which they worked and lived as required. Seen through their eyes, the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome resembled a besieged fortress. There was even more to it. Full, with small exceptions, of people selected according to the criteria of partisan suitability, most of them with limited knowledge, and some of them without language skills, obsessed with paranoia and spy scare, burdened by Marxist-Leninist scholasticism, the Embassy was no exception against the backdrop of the other missions abroad, but in hindsight and through the eyes of its party elite today it seems like a veritable small mental home. A mental home under siege. Furthermore, at that time the position of a Press Attaché at the Embassy was held for several years by Valeri Petrov, the future well-known writer, screenplay writer, playwright and translator, which would also be of interest to those who know and appreciate his work.

Keywords: Cold War, Bulgarian Embassy in Rome, Bulgarian-Italian relations, Valeri Petrov