is published once in two months (6 journals a year)
224 pages, Format 16/70/100
History under Communism
Fakel was founded as a literary journal for Soviet literature in translation in 1981. Although intended as one of several publications which flooded the country with official works approved by the Soviet authorities, from the very beginning the idea of the editors was to turn it unobtrusively into a journal for anti-Soviet literature.
The journal became quite unexpectedly very popular for it started publishing authors like Bulgakov, Zamyatin, Platonov, Nabokov, Pasternak, Grossman, V. Shalamov, Venedikt Erofeev, A. Ribakov, V. Voinovich, as well as poems and essays by Khlebnikov, Mandelstamm, Zvetaeva, Akhmatova, Brodsky and Vissotzky.
Part of the impact of those publications was due to the fact that the works of all these prominent victims of the Soviet regime had not been published in the Soviet Union. This made the journal very popular among the Russian intelligensia as well and Soviet authors, who could not find for political reasons a publisher in their country, contacted the editors and started sending them their works.
Another pioneer accomplishment of the journal was that it introduced for the first time to the Bulgarian readership the works of the above enumerated autors and many others in exellent Bulgarian translation.
As a result of all this, the print run of the journal went up to 25 000 copies and was expected to become, due to the publication of Solzhenizin's "The Archipelago Gulag" in 1989, 60 000 copies. It was then that the censure intervened and under the explicit order of Todor Zhivkov the journal was threatened with closure. By that time the perestroika was in full swing in the Soviet Union and under the pressure of the Bulgarian fans of FAKEL among whom some of the most prominent Bulgarien intellectuals, the journal was not closed but only reduced to 2000 copies for library distribution. All previous printing facilities and the support of the Union of Bulgarian Writes, the Union of Translators and the Ministry of Culture were withdrawn.
This was a turning point in the fate of the journal and marked its beginnings as an independent and free publication.
With the fall of communism in Bulgaria Fakel, due to its previous notoriety, served as a natural intellectual catalyst in what is widely described as the "transition period" in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
It defined post communist thought in general and the myths of totalitarism as its main field of interest. As a result it aimed at introducing to its readership all new intellectual developmemts that were highlighting the changes in the political and social lanscape. By the publication of literary, sociological, political and philosophical works of outstanding writers from all over the world, dedicated to the problems of totalitarian thought in each of its possible manifestations Fakel tried quite successfully to provoke an intellectual discussion.
The Journal published along the works of A. Platonov, N. Berdyaev, S. Bulgakov, D. Harms, A. Avtorhanov, U. Aleshkovski, A. Amalrik, T. Tolstaya, D. Prigov, E. Uspenski, E. Limonov, A. Genis, V. Sosnora, V. Bukovski etc., works by authors like Marquis de Custine, G. K. Chesterton, G. Orwell, K. G. Jung, J. Hashek, Z. Herbert, Cz. Milosh, A. Miller, H. Pinter, V. Havel, G. Grass, R. Conquest, S. Golovatzky, M. Dinesku, M. Kundera, M. Pavich, D. Kish etc., related in many different ways to the origins and the disintegration of totalitarian societies.
The Fakel Journal has undoubtedly acquired its renown because of the high artistic qualities of the works it publishes. However, its growing popularity is also due to its quite unique spirit of discussion. Centered around a theme, each issue offers possibilities for different and often controversial opinions which highlighten the complexity of problems and arguments. Remaining thus above particular political interests and intellectual trends the Journal imposes itself as a truly national publication. Professionalism in the choice of texts and high translation standards contribute to its unquestioned authority.
The column "Points of Reference" presents texts by philosophers, sociologists and politologists from all over the world on problems of totalitarianism and totalitarian thought in modern societies in the West and East, and of their various manifestations in the conditions of globalisation and the boom of new technologies. It voices concerns characteristic of the transition period and the traps that pave the way to to civil society in countries of the former communist bloc.
The column " The West About Russia" aims at presenting to the Bulgarian readership unkown documents, arguments and observations of famous Western politicians, scientists and writers treating the past and future of Russia, this most unpredictable of all countries without whose participation every attempt at establishing a new world order seems unconceivable.
The disintergration of Yougoslavia, the wars in Kosovo and Chechenia which have an impact on the overall development of Bulgaria are the reason for which the Journal opens its pages more and more to authors from the Balkan region.
FAKEL will persevere in its ambition to be a Bulgarian journal for literature, aspiring to have a more and more important social impact and trying to bring closer the Bulgarian reader to the moral values and trends of modern civilization