Georgi Dimitrov (June 18, 1882 – July 2, 1949) was a Bulgarian politician and a leader of the international communist movement. He began his career as a union organizer in Sofia; after 1917 he became a steadfast Leninist and was instrumental of transforming the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) into a Bolshevik organization. In September 1923 Dimitrov was one of the organizers of a communist armed rebellion in Bulgaria; after its defeat he fled to Western Europe. In 1933, while in Berlin, Dimitrov was arrested by the Nazis and charged with complicity in the Reichstag fire. During the trial that ensued, Dimitrov defended himself with courage and eloquence and was eventually acquitted.
Granted Soviet citizenship by Stalin, he moved to Moscow and was appointed a General Secretary of the Comintern (a post he occupied until the disbandment of this organization in 1943). In that capacity Dimitrov coordinated the purges that targeted foreign-born communists in the Soviet Union and resulted in the deaths of thousands. After the communist coup in Bulgaria (September 9, 1944), while still in Moscow, he directed the BCP’s efforts to physically eliminate its political rivals and ensure its hegemonic position. In 1945 Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria, and a year later, after rigged elections, became Prime Minister. He presided over the destruction of the democratic opposition and the consolidation of a one-party Stalinist dictatorship. His government also designed and carried out a series of measures that led to the establishment of a Soviet-type economic system. Dimitrov died in July 1949 in Moscow.