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Balkan SmokeTobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria$
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Mary C. Neuburger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450846

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450846.001.0001

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Smokes for Big Brother

Smokes for Big Brother

Bulgartabak and Tobacco under Communism

(p.199) Chapter 7 Smokes for Big Brother
Balkan Smoke

Mary C. Neuburger

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the tobacco industry, led by the Bulgarian state tobacco monopoly Bulgartabak, fared under communism. The Bulgartabak leadership propelled the tobacco concern to a place of prestige in the international circles of global tobacco. Ever attuned to Soviet and Bloc tastes, Bulgaria became the biggest exporter of cigarettes in the world between 1966 and 1988 (or in some years second only to the United States). About 90 percent of Bulgartabak's cigarette exports went to its closest trading partner and political ally, the Soviet Union. This chapter considers the role played by the tobacco industry in the integration of Muslims into Bulgarian socialist society as well as in domestic and international political dynamics. It also discusses the growth of tobacco export trade and concludes by assessing the collapse of communism in Bulgaria, which signaled the end of the Bulgartabak empire.

Keywords:   tobacco industry, Bulgaria, Bulgartabak, communism, cigarettes, Soviet Union, Muslims, tobacco export trade

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