Markov, Boris (1927-2018)

Boris Markov

A short biography of the Bulgarian anarchist communist Boris Markov Yanev.

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 7, 2024

“At school I was introduced to the ideas of anarchist-communism. I am captivated by the idea of a society in which there are no poor and rich people, no privileged persons, and all people are equal…My friends and I were very young then, we were constantly reading and commenting, then we were impressed by the principles of mutual aid, justice and solidarity between people, of high morals and morality in society, of protecting freedom and human dignity - all principles that in a well-ordered world that we all wanted to come had to occupy a special place.” Boris Yanev

Boris Markov Yanev, not to be confused with another notable Bulgarian anarchist communist, Boris Yanev, was born in the village of Golem Varbovnik on September 28th, 1927.

Whilst attending high school in the town of Dupnitsa, he was influenced by anarchist teachers and fellow students and himself became an anarchist communist. There had been a strong anarchist movement in the Dupnitsa district since the 1920s. He joined the Bulgarian Anarchist Communist Federation (FAKB) in 1946.
In 1949, mass arrests of dissidents, especially anarchists, were carried out by the Communist regime. At the time Boris was working in a mine as a mechanic and preparing to study as an agronomist. He himself was arrested on July 20th, 1949, along with his friends from school years, Lyuben Pavlov and Dimitar Bozhilov, and taken to the town of Pernik. There the 21-year old was interrogated and beaten during the course of a week. He was then sent to the State Security HQ in Sofia, where he was beaten and horrendously tortured over the length of eighty four days. In his State Security file it is noted that he is modest, well-mannered, that he is respected, that he is hardworking, that he does not drink or smoke, that he does not engage in anti-social behaviour.

He then, without a trial, spent 23 months in the concentration camp of Belene, carrying out arduous slave labour, with little food and in dreadful living conditions.

When he was released, on 12th June, 1951, he was not allowed to attend university. He enrolled on a three month course in electrical engineering in Sofia. After an internship, he was involved in bringing electrification to the Razmetanitsa area, whereas before there had only been electricity supplies in Dupnitsa itself. The people of Razmetanitsa greeted him with gratitude as a result of this.

After the political changes of 1989-1990, Boris worked to restore anarchist organisation in Dupnitsa. He was disappointed that the old Communist rulers were not brought to account or take responsibility and that some of them remained in positions of power. “For a long time after November 10, 1989, the authorities did not recognize my detention in State Security as repression. It came to that point - to file a lawsuit in the Administrative Court in the city of Kyustendil and in 2008 to prove what I experienced in two court hearings. The court issued a decision recognizing the repression and for the 2 months and 20 days spent in the DS (State Security: N.H.) in terrible torture, I received a modest compensation”.

Boris maintained his anarchist convictions to the end, dying in Dupnitsa in 2018 at the age of ninety. His daughter Emilia published some of his recollections in a book Do Not Stop! Keep Going : the life of Boris Markov, published in 2017. Later she published her own book about her father, Life with Clipped Wings, in 2022.

Nick Heath