THE BOOK: ‘The Legitimacy Machine: The Role of State Security in the Communist State’ is part of the Unfinished Past series of the Institute for Studies of Recent Past done in co-operation with Open Society Institute. The book is published by Ciela publishing house and is available at major bookshops
The ghost of communist-era secret services has haunted Bulgarians for the past 20 years, similar to any other nation shaking off totalitarianism and embracing democracy. The debate in Bulgarian society, just like that of other countries, has been dominated by emotions surrounding 45 years of communism.
The desire to find culprits has left little room for an objective examination of the communist State Security apparatus. Instead, attention has been focused on State Security archives and its revelations about undercover agents and informers during communism. In the midst of all this tittle-tattle, a new book by graduate historian and researcher Momchil Metodiev is a welcome addition. Entitled “The Legitimacy Machine: The Role of State Security in the Communist Atate”, the book addresses the true nature of State Security, its explicit functions, its control and leadership.
Two days before the book was launched on April 17, The Sofia Echo interviewed Metodiev. “The book’s goal is a scientific analysis of State Security. I don’t want it to be interpreted the same way as people commonly refer to State Security, as just another aspect of communism,” Metodiev says.
As a researcher, he wants to make clear that his interest in the subject is strictly scientific. This has made his book one of the rare exceptions to the debate about the role of State Security in Bulgaria.
The research took Metodiev about three years. The book is based on his studies of the archives of the former Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) and the country’s rulers between 1947 and 1989. “These archives are open for research, unlike those currently maintained by the Interior Ministry and the other successors to State Security, such as the Defence Ministry and National Intelligence Service. I was able to go through most of State Security’s internal regulations and the bulk of daily reports written by its officers and internal regulations. It’s all there in the communist party archives,” he says.