Popov, Stefan (1925-2017)

Latka and Stefan

A short biography of the Bulgarian anarchist communist Stefan Popov.

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 3, 2024

Stefan Popov was born in the village of Konush in Bulgaria on June 10th, 1925. He studied at a construction technical school in Xanthi, then part of Bulgaria after the Nazis passed it to their ally after the invasion of Bulgaria, and then returned to Greece in 1944.

After the Communist coup in September, 1944, Popov moved to Sofia. He went to various political rallies and became a sympathiser of the Workers Youth League, Rabotnicheski Mladezhki Sayuz (RMS), the youth wing of the Communist Party . On September 12th, he heard the great anarchist orator Manol Vasev speak at a rally in Haskovo. In autumn, 1945, he accidentally came across a copy of Rabotnicheska Missal, Workers’ Thought, the newspaper of the Bulgarian Anarchist Communist Federation (FAKB). There he read about real communism, -anarchist communism. He and his friends were drawn to these ideas and met up with Vasev, joining the anarchist movement.

Whilst serving in the Army, Stefan Popov was arrested for reading The Conquest of Bread by Kropotkin. He was put on trial, accused of speaking against the regime. When the judge asked if he was an anarchist he replied, "I aspire to be an anarchist, but to what extent I am such will be said by those who know anarchism better." As a result, he received a sentence of 16 months. Some of this was served in the Bogdanov Dol concentration camp, with its appalling conditions and harsh treatment, some in Haskovo prison and some in the central prison at Sofia. There he was with other anarchists like Vasev, Vasil Naroda, Zhelyazko Petkov, Trendafil Marulevski, Stoyan Tsolov, Stoyan Dokolyankov, and Dr. Ivan Balev. He was a prisoner from June 27, 1949 to March 1, 1950.

He married Latka Velkova, also a native of Konush and also an anarchist. For some time they worked in Haskovo, she as an accountant and he as a construction technician. After awhile they moved to Plovdiv, where they had a daughter, Marijana.

In Plovdiv, they kept in contact with other anarchists. After the fall of the regime, their flat served as an anarchist club. Stefan became the main organiser of meetings, assemblies, and conferences of the Bulgarian Anarchist Federation (FAB) , the successor to the FAKB., which were held in Plovdiv.

Latka died on 12th June 2015, and Stefan on 10th August 2017.
(Above) Photo of Latka and Stefan.

Nick Heath