Bulgarian-born writer Julia Kristeva denies was communist-era agent

SOFIA/PARIS (Reuters) - Renowned Bulgarian psychoanalyst and philosopher Julia Kristeva, who has lived in France since 1965, worked as an agent for the Balkan country’s secret service in the communist era, a state commission said, but she denied the accusation.

FILE PHOTO: French literary theorist and linguist Julia Kristeva speaks at Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica in Assisi October 27, 2011. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

Kristeva, who is the author of more than 30 books and worked alongside other leading French intellectuals such as Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes, said the claim constituted “an attack on my honour and reputation”.

The Bulgarian commission which identifies people who worked for the communist-era secret services said Kristeva had worked, under the code name “Sabina”, as a collaborator for the first department of the State Security agency. The department oversaw intelligence in the area of the arts and mass media.

It said she began working for the State Security organisation on June 19, 1971. She had moved to Paris in 1965 on a French government scholarship.

The document did not say how long she worked for State Security or whether she received any payment. The commission said it based its conclusions on two volumes of declassified files.

“The report that I may have been a member of the Bulgarian secret services under the name of Sabina is not only untrue and grotesque. It damages my honour and reputation and is damaging for my work as well,” the Paris-based Kristeva told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Kristeva, now 76, said she had instructed her lawyer to take action against publications that spread the allegation.


In separate comments to French online weekly L’Obs, Kristeva said: “Someone wants to harm me. We don’t know what is in our files.”

She told L’Obs that the file came out because she had wanted to work for a Bulgarian newspaper and under some rules of the archives, they must publish information on the background of all journalists.

In its heyday Bulgaria’s State Security, working closely with the Soviet KGB, operated a network of some 100,000 agents and informers. It was dissolved in 1989 following the collapse of the communist regime.

The issue of access to, and publication of, its files has continued to raise powerful emotions in Bulgaria during its difficult transition to democracy.

Foreign Policy magazine has ranked Kristeva as one of the 100 greatest thinkers of the 20th century. As well as books on psychoanalysis and philosophy, she has written extensively on cultural and feminist issues and is also a novelist.

She is an emeritus professor at the University Paris Diderot and a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov and Alissa De Carbonnel in Sofia and Brian Love in Paris; Editing by Gareth Jones