Sol Polansky, United States ambassador to Bulgaria from 1987 to 1990, has died at the age of 89 after a long illness.
Polansky, born on November 7 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley (B.A., 1950) and attended the Russian Institute, Columbia University, 1950 – 1952, and the National War College, Washington, DC, 1972-73.
Polansky joined the US Diplomatic Service in 1952. He served twice at the American Embassy in Moscow, Russia; and also in Poznan, Poland; and West Berlin, West Germany.
He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, East Berlin, East Germany 1976-79; Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Vienna, Austria 1979-83; State Department Representative on the US Delegation to the START negotiations 1983-85.
He was Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria from September 4 1987 to August 17 1990. Polansky is remembered for, among other achievements, hosting receptions attended by dissidents as the end of the communist regime in Bulgaria neared, and for the fact that he was recalled for some time by Washington in protest against the communist regime’s renaming campaign against Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity.
He was named Executive Director of the Citizens Democracy Corps in 1991, and retired from the Diplomatic Service in 1993.
Polansky was president of the Bulgarian-American Society, which assists disadvantaged people in Bulgaria, kindergartens and homes for the elderly. Polansky was founding chairman and member of the Board of Directors of AUBG 1991-2000. On May 12 2002, AUBG conferred on Polansky the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa). He was a trustee of Sofia American Schools, which operates and funds the American College of Sofia.