The Helsinki Commission’s last comprehensive report on Bulgarian CSCE implementation was published in 1988. (The Commission also published a report in 1991 on the ethnic Turkish minority in Bulgaria). At that time, Bulgaria was in violation of many of its CSCE commitments. Its human rights record was among the worst
of the Helsinki signatory states. Clearly, much has changed since then. Since the fall of communism in November 1989, Bulgaria has made impressive strides towards becoming a democratic state based on the rule of law.
Bulgaria is experiencing a rare historical opportunity in which it can genuinely forge its own fate. Unshackled from the external Soviet empire of communist rule with which it had especially close links, Bulgaria is developing a democratic, rule of law state where the rights of all of its citizens are being met with greater respect.
While Bulgaria faces considerable problems in its post-communist transition, and will continue to in the foreseeable future, it is doing much better than most of its Balkan neighbors. Moreover, it is exceeding the expectations of those who until recently viewed Bulgaria through the prism of being the Soviet Union’s “16th
republic” and the home of papal assassination plots and forcible assimilation campaigns. Despite its very real problems, Bulgaria is indicating that it is more tolerant, pluralistic, democratic and stable than many would have