Security in Transition
- Book Publishing Aspects in the Bulgarian Practice
The changes initiated on November 10, 1989, in the recent
history of Bulgaria embraced all the aspects of the country's
social, political and economic life. In the moral and ethical
realms, society has begun a painful transformation which
continues to this day, with variable success, ten years
after the beginning of the transition from a totalitarian
to a democratic system.
One of the fields where changes are implemented with the
most difficulty is within the sphere of security matters
- international, regional, national, corporate, business,
and personal, which is understandable since the security
complex contains political, economic, military, legislative,
public, social, demographic, ethnic, religious, ecological,
informational, and a number of other components.
lack of understanding was demonstrated when the issue of
the secret services was addressed - a fundamental tool for
resolving part of the problems in the field of security.
The exaggerated politicization of the approach to the question
on whether a democratic society needs such institutions,
and which form they should take under the new conditions,
has a negative effect on the national interest. The public
opinion has swung from one extreme to the other. The services,
which had been protected under the veil of secrecy, and
hailed for their unlimited power and possibilities, the
populist bravery of their defenders of socialism, ergo of
the public interest, against the "aspirations of world
imperialism", were suddenly given a nasty connotation.
Political forces have apparently forgotten the elementary
fact that these services are a tool for implementing power,
not power itself, and that attacking them is reminiscent
of the folk tale in which the farmer beats the packsaddle
instead of teaching a lesson to the mule upon which the
result of political machinations, often due to external
influences and suggestions, an atmosphere of total or large-scale
negation of the role of these services as institutions aimed
to uphold the national sovereignty and interests was created.
This was not only possible but easily achievable, due to
the fact that society was deprived of even the most basic
information on the structure, objectives, competencies and
functions of these services in a normal democratic state.
The public also knew nothing about their role and use in
a totalitarian state. This ignorance and lack of information
provided great opportunity for manipulation and, in practice,
for an attack against the state's defense system, which
was in need not of destruction, but reform.
These factors caused a normal and ever-increasing public
interest in issues related to the special services, which,
on its part, generated a publishing boom in this peculiar
As a defensive reaction, the market was literally flooded
with memoirs. Professionals of different ranks, qualities
and motivation began publishing their memoirs on the activities
of the special services. The books, written mainly by domestic
authors, were so diverse that the largely uninformed reader
was unable to make a competent analysis. Hundreds of books
appeared, usually of humble literary merit, in the whodunit
genre, which was neglected in the time of the totalitarian
state. Only a few could be defined as worthwhile, excepting
for some translated titles which have been successful in
the international book market.
the over 200 existing publishing houses - a figure which
seems exorbitant to the author, considering the relatively
small Bulgarian market - were those which began to intensely
specialize in this genre. Nevertheless, their products include
mainly translated materials intended for entertainment purposes.
of the leaders among the publishing houses, such as Media
Holding - Trud, Atika, Atlantis, Lik, Albatros, launched
their own specialized series. Translations appeared of "Origins
of Intelligence Services" by Francis Dvornik and "The
Anonymous Power" (Die anonyme Macht) by Gert Buchheit,
published by LIK Publishing House; "The Mafia in Eastern
Europe" (Das neue Mafia - Kartell) by Werner Raith,
and "The Dirty Tricks of the Economic Espionage"
(Die schmutzigen Geschäfte der Wirtschaftsspione) by Erich
Schmidt and Eenboom Jo Angerer (of Atlantis Publishers).
"Top Secret" series of Media Holding - Trud in
a little more than two years books such as "Spymaster"
by Markus Wolf, "My Secret War" by Kim Philby,
"Spy Catcher" by Peter Wright, "English-Bulgarian
and Bulgarian-English Dictionary of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
Terminology", "Victory" by Peter Swizer,
"Criminal Russia" by Alexander Maximov, "A
Handbook of Intelligence and Security" by Anatoliy
Taras, "Mata Hari" by Russell Warren Haw, "Counterintelligence"
by Boycho Assenov and Petko Kiprov, "The Intelligence"
by authors' panel, "The Encyclopedia of Espionage"
by Norman Pollard and Thomas Alain, "Firm Security
- Spying as a Trade" by an authors' panel appeared.
The last two titles are still in circulation.
Several specialized magazines also emerged, dedicated mainly
to security problems and to the equipment used - signaling,
protective, fire-prevention, special intelligence tools.
Especially worthy of mention are "Business Detective"
the first CD-ROM appeared, which collected several thousands
of secret and top secret documents from the archives of
the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Interior and the
Defense of Bulgaria, and of the Politburo of the Bulgarian
Communist Party, and which have been declassified during
the last few years and are directly related to the participation
of Bulgaria in the Warsaw Treaty - "Bulgaria in the
Warsaw Pact". For obvious reasons, this CD became highly
popular among historians and researchers, not only in Bulgaria
but also in a number of other countries. The formal presentation
of this CD was held, along with the presentation of the
book "The Intelligence", during the International
Conference on the theme "The Cold War and the Balkans"
which took place in Plovdiv at the end of May, 2000.
reaction to the changes and the manipulation of public opinion
through the exploitation of the public's lack of information,
there emerged also several professional associations and
open civil societies oriented towards security matters.
of these guild-like organizations are the "Association
of the Retired Intelligence Officers", the "Association
of the Retired Counterintelligence Officers", the "Military
Intelligence Officers Club", the "Red Berets'
Association", etc. As a rule, these are closed organizations,
where membership is allowed only to former officers - military
or civil - of these services.
of the open organizations, an NGO of a purely civil character,
which brought together professionals and intellectuals from
many fields who participate in the processes of public opinion-making,
is the "Bulgarian Euro-Atlantic Intelligence Forum"
to specific programs in the field of security, some of these
organizations are also involved in publishing books in the
same field. At the BEAIF's initiative, and in cooperation
with different Bulgarian publishing houses, the memoirs
of Kim Philby, the book "KGB and the Power" by
Army General Filip Bobkov, former First Vice-Chairman of
the KGB, the memoirs of the last USSR Intelligence Head,
Gen. Leonid Shebarshin, under the Bulgarian title "Life
Seems Hard Only in the Evenings", the book of Dennis
McCarty and Philippe Smith, "President's Bodyguard
Agent", "Raising the Curtain" by Gen. Vadim
Kirpichenko, "The Mafias Against Democracy" by
Admiral Pierre Lacoste, "The Intelligence", and
"Firm Security - Spying as a Trade" have been
above, due to the informational vacuum that existed for
years in this sphere, there is now a great interest among
readers for such titles. The lack of serious readers is
reflected to a considerable extent by the quality of the
selected and published titles. Unfortunately, most books
still belong to the area of mass culture.
trend is shown by the fact that many of the books within
the large number of titles already outlined contain a serious,
thorough, and in a number of cases even academic approach
to the elaboration of different aspects of the special services
and their activities.
be mentioned here that the fundamental work "The Art
Of War" of the ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Zi has
had three different printings within a short period. The
book "The Intelligence" became a bestseller and
its initial print run was sold out within less than two
weeks - an excellent achievement for the Bulgarian book
published were interesting titles such as "The Bulgarian
Special Services - Looking Towards A Unified Europe",
"The Spies' Plot - Do We Need Secret Services?",
"A History of Espionage", "Private Guard
Activity", and many other books written by Bulgarian
In conclusion, it could be said that, though this is not
a purely Bulgarian phenomenon, the readers' increasing interest
in literature related to the special services is one of
the indications that society as a whole is beginning to
readjust its conceptions of these institutions and its understanding
of this peculiar activity; that the public is rejecting
political manipulation and assuming a more sober, analytical
and evaluative approach to these issues.
a state of affairs inspires hope that these services will
find their appropriate and recognized place within the defense
organs of the new democracies.
is a brief review of the CD and some of the books by Bulgarian
authors dealing with the special services' activity, which
have been published in the last two years.