There wasn’t much future in being a democrat when the communists were about to seize power, as Nikola Petkov was to discover. He was the last significant opposition leader to the communist takeover in Bulgaria, and for that alone he was hanged in Sofia on Tuesday, September 23rd, 1947, after a rigged trial.

The son of a former Bulgarian prime minister and the brother of a murdered revolutionary, Petkov had been active in the underground resistance to Soviet occupation. He became a minister of the first post-war democratic government in Bulgaria while the Allies were still taking an interest in the future of the country. But as the increasingly dominant Bulgarian communist party began to take over and Allied interest waned, he was a marked man.

The Soviets executed about 3,000 people who they described as “war criminals” in Bulgaria. The country remained a communist dictatorship until 1989.