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From World War II until 1989, Bulgarian foreign policy revolved around the Soviet Union. Without exception Sofia imitated or supported Soviet twists and turns such as Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Substantial historical and economic ties supplemented the ideological foundation of the relationship. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bulgaria improved its diplomatic relations with nations outside the Soviet sphere. But in 1989, domestic and international events jolted Bulgaria from forty years of uniformity and forced it to consider for the first time major diversification of its foreign policy, abandoning its paramount reliance on the Soviet Union. This meant a lengthy period of reevaluation, during which general goals were agreed upon but specific policy was hotly debated.
In 1991 Foreign Affairs Minister Viktor Vulkov listed several general goals of his ministry: the integration of Bulgaria as fully as possible into the unified European Community to facilitate development of a market economy and Western political institutions; improving relations with all Bulgaria's Balkan neighbors and the countries of the Black Sea region, with emphasis on mutual territorial integrity and sovereignty; active participation in the United Nations and other international organizations able to guarantee the security of small states; and maintaining as much as possible of Bulgaria's unique relationship with the Soviet Union while drawing much closer to the United States. Once the economic advantages of membership in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistancedisappeared in 1990 and instability became chronic in the Soviet Union, other sources of economic and geopolitical security became the primary quest in Bulgaria's pragmatic search for foreign partners and Israel and an official invitation for the pope to visit Bulgaria.
Data as of June 1992
Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.
Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bulgaria was first published in 1992. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.
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Section 206 of 256
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