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The substantial evidence of a direct Bulgarian involvement in the attempt on the Pope's life unearthed by the Italian investigative organs has given rise to speculations of tacit Soviet approval, if not outright complicity. The implications of such Soviet involvement, if substantiated, are so profound and disturbing that many in the West have questioned presumed Soviet motivations. This paper presents a detailed examination of the impact of John Paul II's election and policies on the Soviet Bloc and why the Pope may have come to be perceived as a major threat to the Soviet Union. Issues detailed by the author include the challenge of Karol Wojtyla's election, the Pope's influence on the events in Poland and other Eastern European countries, and how the Church has become more and more activist in the Soviet Bloc. From the moment of his election to the Papacy, Moscow's reaction toward John Paul II has been unremittingly hostile and increasingly confrontational. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is growing suspicion of the Soviet's involvement in the assassination attempt on the Pope.

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