Todor Zhivkov was the communist head of state of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989.
He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1954 and remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation, and one of the longest ruling non-royal leaders in history. His rule marked a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, marked both by complete submission of Bulgaria to Soviet rule and a desire for expanding ties with the West. His rule remained unchallenged until the deterioration of East-West relations in the 1980s, when a stagnating economic situation, a worsening international image and growing careerism and corruption in the BCP weakened his positions. He resigned on November 10, 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognize problems and deal with public protests. Only two months later, in January 1990, the People's Republic of Bulgaria and its Communist system ceased to exist.