Victims of Communism Project



The Research Team has been collecting and publishing the names and biographies of all known victims of communism in Bulgaria since November 2009, when the virtual memorial Victims of Communism in Bulgarian was created both in a Bulgarian and an English version. Ca. 23,000 names, both of Bulgarian and other nationalities, have been entered so far, with brief biographical information accompanying each name. The site also contains links to various bibliographic and educational materials on the subject of totalitarian regimes as well as video materials, including several documentary films and interviews with survivors of labor camps.


Our major objectives are to:

  1. complete the records of all known individuals who lost their lives as a result of communist repressions and
  2. record the names and biographies of labor camp and other repression survivors.

This will allow us to establish a relatively accurate historical estimate of the number of the victims of the regime (the preliminary accounts are imprecise and vary from 100,000 to 225,000, not including the members of the Turkish minority who were repressed during the 1980s; with them, the number will increase to ca. 500,000) as well as to attach authentic documents to each name, where available. These documents represent official records, e.g., death sentences and certificates, imprisonment and deportation orders, memoirs, letters, diaries, photographs, testimonials from family members and eye-witnesses, and other material.

We are researching documentary information in publications such as the Dr. Kyril Drenikoff Collection at the Stanford Library, the Bulgarian State Gazette, multiple printed volumes on the subject (published by The Institute for the Study of the Recent Past, Vasil Stanilov's Publishing House, The Institute for the Study of Bulgarian Immigration, independent monographs, etc.); public archives in various Bulgarian municipalities; inventories; and other sources in Bulgarian libraries and government institutions as well as private document collections, eye-witness accounts, and the archive of the Istina (Truth) Union.

Advisory Committee

  • Professor Mark Kramer, Program Director, Project on Cold War Studies, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
  • Alexander Kashumov, Chair of the Legal Team of Program “Access to Information”; Legal Consultant  to the Bulgarian National Archives Agency
  • Irina Nedeva, Senior Editor, Bulgarian National Public Radio; Manager Political Debates, The Red House.  
  • Stoyan Totev, Professor of Economics, Institute of Economics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 
  • Evelina Kelbecheva, Professor of History, Department of History and Civilizations, American University in Bulgaria
  • Ana Luleva, Assoc. Professor, Head of  the Department of “Ethnology of Socialism and Post-socialism” 
  • Nikolay Nenov, Assoc. Professor, Director, Rousse Regional Museum of History 
  • Latchezar Toshev, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Dilyana Ivanova, Ph.D., ARCS Chief Administrative Consultant; anthropologist and author of the ARCS Series Volume III monograph "Memories of Everyday Life during Socialism in the Town of Rousse, Bulgaria"
  • Philip Dimitrov, Ph.D., former Prime Minister of Bulgaria; Ambassador to the US; and EU Ambassador to the Republic of Georgia
  • Nassya Kralevska-Owens, journalist and author of the ARCS first academic publication "Communismvs. Democracy. Bulgaria 1944 to 1997"