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3 The Vŭzroditelen Protses: Identity Crisis and the Forced Renaming of the Pomaks (1944–1989)

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Chapter Summary

The vŭzhroditelen protses was the last forced assimilation of Pomaks in Bulgaria, and, for the first time, it targeted the Turkish-speaking Muslims. As the Turkish vŭzhroditelen protses of 1984-1985 was much larger in scale, it ultimately obscured the Pomak name changing of 1972-1974. As early as the mid-1950s, the communist politics in Bulgaria began to change. By then, "The Party" had stabilized its control over the country and could comfortably consider a reversal of minority policy, especially in regard to the Muslims. The emerging communist nationalism saw the large number of people professing Islam in the country as a malignant growth within, what had to be, the healthy, ethnically uniform body of the nation. To achieve a homogenous and compliant nation, the regime put forward a suitable ideology, calculated to appeal to the patriotic sentiments of the ethnic majority.

Keywords: Bulgaria; minority policy; Muslim; nationalism; Pomaks; vŭzroditelen protses



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