Zelu Zelev (1935 - ...)

Zelu Zelev (1935 - ...)

Zelu Zelev was born into a farming family in a small country village.

In 1958 he graduated in philosophy from the University of Sofia and in 1960 joined the Bulgarian Communist Party; soon, however, he began to criticise the dogmatism inherent in Marxism Leninism. He printed 200 copies of one of his articles (Philosophical definition of matter in contemporary natural sciences) and distributed it in scientific and artistic intellectual circles. As a result, in 1965, he was expelled as an anti-Marxist and anti-materialist from both the party and the university. He was also prevented from discussing his research dissertation and banned from living in Sofia. He moved to his wife’s native village in the country. In 1967, he wrote The Totalitarian State, which soon spread far and wide, passing from hand to hand via the samizdat.

In 1968 he was allowed to return to Sofia. In 1974 he was finally able to discuss his dissertation and obtained a research job.

The Totalitarian State was published in 1982 under the title Fascism, and was almost immediately withdrawn from the bookshops. In it he affirms that there are no substantial differences between the Nazi and Communist systems and this naturally attracted the attention of the security services and party officials. All the publishing firm’s employees that had had anything to do with the book were either sacked or punished in other ways, but precisely because of these persecutions the book became a legend.

In the Eighties Zelev continued his studies into the essence of the Communist system and exposed himself increasingly in public, causing the security services to open a file in his name in 1983. In 1988 he helped organize the “Social Committee for the Defence of the Environment”. He was a founding member and first chairman of the “Glasnost and Perestrojka Support Club”. During the Club’s first plenary session, on 2 November 1989, he launched the idea of bringing all the opposition forces together in a single front. This was the first step towards the creation, on 7 December 1989, of the “Coalition of Democratic Forces”, of which he became president.

On 14 December he took part in the demonstration to remove article 1 – on the guiding role of the Party – from the Constitution. Zelev’s personal equilibrium and moral authority contributed to ensuring that the major changes taking place in Bulgaria would be introduced without resorting to violence. He headed the opposition delegation during the Round Table talks held from 3 January to 5 May 1990.

From 1990 to 1997 he was president of Bulgaria and at the end of his office, he became president of the foundation that bears his name.

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Wefor is our Website dedicated to the figures of moral resistance against totalitarianism. The virtual Gardens of Europe’s Righteous and the teaching section YouFor are the core of this project realized by Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous. Through the establishment of the European Day of the Righteous by the Brussels Parliament, Wefor has received its highest recognition.