betrayed his friends, so that everybodynwould forever look on him as a traitornand spit on his grave.”nBut if the communist movement didnattract the idealistic, including especiallynthe young, once in power a communistnregime is absolutely insensitive “tonmoral beauty, to any show of nobility”:n”their response to the gesture of thenknight who throws down his gauntlet,”nMarkov writes, “is to … hit him with anstone in the back of the neck.” A communistnregime deliberately creates ansystem based upon envy and hatrednwhich, unfortunately, channels thennatural inclinations of many individualsnin any society. As Markov points out,nonly fools and incompetents can beneffectively united as a political force;ntruly creative people are too independentnof mind to follow a party line.nFor all the terror of the revolutionarynperiod, there were those who stoodnagainst the regime even under BulgariannStalinism. One of them was an anonymousn”comrade M” (in fact Markovnhimself) arrested for participating in annopposition group which had plarmed tonpublish an illegal bulletin. Many of itsnmembers were cruelly tortured innprison, but not M, whose interrogatornsought to convert him through persuasion.nThen on September 9, the regime’snanniversary, he was permitted to gonhome for two days, sent out into thenfestive streets with their banners,nbouquets, and laughing faces chantingn”STALIN—CHERVENKOV with energeticnenthusiasm. As his interrogator hadnsurmised, the experience cured him ofnhis ambition to liberate people whonseemed so content in their servitude,nand so oblivious of those suffering onntheir behalf He resolved to make hisnpeace with the regime. “That was hisnjustification,” Markovsays of comrade M.n”I am not sure, however, that it satisfiednhim. Because he knew that he was one ofnthose who conveniently justify theirnown sins by the sins of others.”nAs a leading writer in a small country,nMarkov had the chance to observencertain famous Bulgarian communistnleaders at close hand. He offers two briefnbut repulsive vignettes of Georgi Dimitrov,nthe “hero” of the Reichstag FirenTrial and the first prime minister ofncommunist Bulgaria. He provides anmore himian portrait of Vulko Chervenkov,nthe leader the festive crowdsncheered that September 9. Much later,nafter he had fallen from power, henwandered alone into a dance hall at anseaside resort filled with semi-dissidentnintellectuals who had suffered under hisnregime, and who drove him into thennight by singing the pro-communistnnational anthem as a sign of contempt.nThe most interesting portion of Markov’snbook, though, describes his personalnacquaintance with Todor Zhivkov, firstnsecretary of the Bulgarian CommunistnParty since 1954, and feithfiil servant ofnhis Soviet masters.nZhivkov launched his campaign toncultivate potential dissidents in the arts anshort time before Khrushchev fell fromnpower. Markov found much to admirenon the personal level in Zhivkov, but henalso realized howmuch damage Zhivkovnnninflicted upon Bulgarian literature andnculture by reigning in “Bulgarian potentialnSolzhenitsyns,” in Markov’s words.nSometimes Zhivkov could blunt thenpower of dissident criticism simply byndoing small fevors. And he knew how tonemploy the rod as well.nMarxists preach the theoreticalnsupremacy of economic forces andnpolitics in the world, but in practice theynperceive the importance of individualnexample and leadership. Although henbent for a time—^and Markov is usuaUynquite honest about his own rationalizations—innthe end he resolved to set anmoral example by exchanging all thenprivileges he enjoyed in Bulgaria for thenuncertain future in the West, and tonspeak the truth even in the fece of death.nBy his death he affirmed the ultimatensuperficiality of economic interests andnpolitics, and thereby denied the foundationnstone of communist doctrine. Afterna successful life he died a successfulndeath, in a manner of speaking: it appropriatelyncompleted the example he hadnI^MBMBMISnFebruary 1985n