Pavlov, Slaveyko (1919-2014)

Slaveyko Pavlov

A short biography of Bulgarian anarchist communist Slaveyko Pavlov.

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 22, 2024

"Straight, human, heartfelt, he has the virtues of a pure idealist. He is an anarchist, but with a more Christian and more just soul than many official servants of the Christian faith." From memoirs of social democrat Dr. Atanas Moskov.

Slaveyko Ivanov Pavlov was born on September 1st, 1919 in the predominantly Bulgarian village of Kayajik (Kyriaki) in Thracian Greece. As a child, he worked in the tobacco fields of Bulgaria. At high school in Petrich, in 1936-1937, he made friends with other progressive youth like Krastyo Enchev, Ivan Bizhev, Velik Urukov and Nikola Yankulov, and was enthused by the ideas of anarchist communism, inspired by the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, the Makhnovist movement, the Spanish revolution and the ideas of notable anarchists like Hristo Botev, Gotse Delchev, and Mikhail Gerdzhikov.

He was expelled for a year from the high school in 1941, accused of distributing anarchist literature. Two years later, he was drafted into the army. As a soldier in the 14th Macedonian infantry regiment, he was arrested for organising the escape of some of Tito’s Yugoslav partisans., a trumped-up charge with no evidence. He was sent to the punitive Black Companies at Gigen, which then moved to Sveti Vrachko for the construction of a railway line. He escaped from the prison camp a week or two before the coming to power of the Communists on September 9th, 1944, and joined a partisan detachment in Pirin.

With the end of hostilities, he enrolled at Sofia University on a chemistry course.

He was again arrested for promoting anarchism in January 1947, this time by the Communists. In 1946, there had been opposition to the Higher Education Bill, which drastically restricted the rights of students, and Slaveyko was arrested for being amongst the most active protestors. He spent the next six and a half years in the concentration camps. In 1947-1948, in the Kutsian camp, he was isolated from his comrades in a squad of 50 Turks, of whom only 5-6 knew Bulgarian. He wrote: "The Turks are good-natured people at heart, ready to help you at any time, as long as they understand that you are not a bad person and that you are not working against them.” He became a member of the cooperative set up by imprisoned anarchists to share food parcels, and all of the medicines received from outside were given to the most seriously ill.

He died in Blagoevgrad, on June 9th, 2014, at the age of 94. His memoirs, Odyssey of an Anarchist, were published in Blagoevgrad in 2005.

(Above) Police photo of Slaveyko, taken in 1940.

Nick Heath