Transformation of the Bulgarian Political Elite in the Period of Transition (1988-1995); Challenges, Strategies, and Fate of the Communist Elite


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


Graduate Schl. of Public & Int'l Affairs


This study examines the transformation of the Bulgarian political elite in the period of transition. It investigates the questions: What happened to the communist elite in the period of transition? Did it manage to preserve its power (and how)? Was it challenged by an organized counter-elite? Where did the challenge to the old elite come from? Who where the challengers? This project argues against the dominant theoretical framework classifying elite change in Eastern Europe as either circulation or reproduction, and offers a theoretical approach based on classical elite theory. By starting with the communist elite intact, rather than working back from the post-communist elite, the study does not assume elite turnover, enabling identification of new spheres of power to which the communist elite has transferred.