Todor Khristov Zhivkov (Bulgarian: ????? ??????? ??????; 7 September 1911 – 5 August 1998) was a Bulgarian politician who served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from 1954 until 1989 as General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The youngest and longest-serving leader in the Eastern bloc, his 33-year dictatorship was marked by both stability and oppression.He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) in 1954–General Secretary from April 1981–and from 1978 concurrently as President of the Republic remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the second longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation after World War II, and one of the longest ruling non-royal leaders in modern history.
His rule marked a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, marked both by complete submission of Bulgaria to Soviet directives and a desire for expanding ties with the West.
His rule remained unchallenged until the deterioration of East-West relations in the 1980s, when a stagnating economic situation, a worsening international image and growing careerism and corruption in the BCP weakened his positions.
He resigned on 10 November 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognize problems and deal with public protests.
Within a month of Zhivkov's ouster, Communist rule in Bulgaria had effectively ended, and within nearly a year the People's Republic of Bulgaria had formally ceased to exist.