Victor Petrovという欧州大学院のポスドクの学生が、ブルガリアにおけるハイテクとSFの発展をテーマとしたaeon記事「Communist robot dreams」を書いている(H/T Mostly Economics)。同国で電機産業が発展した経緯を説明した箇所では、以下のように日本との関係について触れている。

Bulgaria was not such a strange place for these ideas to spawn lively debate. The Balkan state was, by the 1980s, the Eastern Bloc’s ‘Silicon Valley’, home to cutting-edge factories producing processors, hard discs, floppy drives and industrial robots. It was called ‘the Japan of the Balkans’, producing nearly half of all computing devices and peripherals in the Eastern Bloc. Kesarovski himself was a trained mathematician, who spent time working in the electronic industry. He was one of more than 200,000 people who produced electronics in a country of just over 8 million people, the second biggest group of industrial workers. The party trumpeted its achievements worldwide, proud of transforming a small agricultural and backward state to a vanguard of the information society in the space of a generation.
The Bulgarians surged ahead of their socialist allies through close contacts with Japanese firms and a massive industrial espionage effort. While Bulgarian engineers signed contracts with Fujitsu, state security agents criss-crossed the United States and Europe in search of the latest embargo electronics to buy, copy or steal. In 1977, a whole IBM factory for magnetic discs based in Portugal was bought by a cover firm and shipped off to Bulgaria; elsewhere, secrets were passed on to Bulgarians by their foreign colleagues through the simple exchange of catalogues and information at conferences and fairs. Scientists back in Bulgaria reverse-engineered, improved, tinkered; soon towns that once processed tobacco were supplying hundreds of millions of customers with computers.

ちなみにこの記事は、ブルガリアにおけるコンピュータネットワーク構築の試みを紹介する際に、ソ連における同様の試みを紹介した別のaeon記事「The Soviet InterNyet」(著者はタルサ大のBenjamin Peters)にリンクしている。ただし、上の記事がコンピュータやネットワーク技術がブルガリアのSFに与えた影響に焦点を当てている一方、こちらの記事では、米国のARPANETに対抗してソ連国内でOGAS(All-State Automated System)というネットワークを構築しようとした試みが1970年10月1日の政治局の会議で葬られたいきさつに焦点を当てている。従って記事同士の関連はあまりないが、これはこれで興味深い話なので、併せてその一部を紹介しておく*2

One man stood in Glushkov’s way: the minister of finance, Vasily Garbuzov. Garbuzov did not want any shiny, real-time optimised computer networks governing or informing the state economy. He called instead for simple computers that would flash lights and play music in hen houses to stimulate egg production, as he had seen during a recent visit to Minsk. His motivations were not born out of common-sense pragmatism, of course. He wanted the funding for his own ministry. In fact, rumour holds that he had approached the economic-reform-minded prime minister Alexei Kosygin in private before the 1 October gathering, threatening that if his competitor ministry, the Central Statistical Administration, retained control over the OGAS project, then Garbuzov and his Ministry of Finance would internally submarine any reform efforts it might bring about, just as he had done to Kosygin’s piecemeal liberalisation reforms five years earlier.
Glushkov needed allies to face down Garbuzov and keep the Soviet internet alive. But there were none at the meeting. The two seats left empty that day were the prime minister’s and the technocratic general secretary Leonid Brezhnev’s. These were the two most powerful men in the Soviet state – and likely supporters of OGAS. But, apparently, they chose to be absent rather than face down a ministry mutiny.
There is an irony to this. The first global computer networks took root in the US thanks to well-regulated state funding and collaborative research environments, while the contemporary (and notably independent) national network efforts in the USSR floundered due to unregulated competition and institutional infighting among Soviet administrators. The first global computer network emerged thanks to capitalists behaving like cooperative socialists, not socialists behaving like competitive capitalists.

*1:cf. Nikola Kesarovski - Wikipedia