Todor Hristov Zhivkov (Bulgarian: Toдор Xpиcтoв Живков; IPA: ) (7 September 1911 – 5 August 1998) was a communist politician and leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989.
He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1954 and remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation. His rule was a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, which lasted 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 November 10, 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognize problems and deal with public protests. Only two months later, in January 1990, the People's Republic of Bulgaria and its Communist regime ceased to exist.
Zhivkov was born in the Bulgarian village of Pravets into a peasant family. In 1928, he joined the Bulgarian National Youth Union (BSNM), an organisation closely linked with the Bulgarian Workers Party (BRP) – later the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP). The following year he obtained a post at the Darzhavna pechatnitsa, the official government publisher in Sofia. In 1932, he joined the BRP proper, later serving as secretary of its Second Borough Committee and as a member of its Sofia County Committee. Although the BRP was banned along with all other political parties after the uprising of 19 May 1934, it continued fielding a handful of non-party National Assembly Deputies and Zhivkov retained his posts at its Sofia structure.