Politics


Midhat Pasha

Mishat pasha is one of the most controversial personalities from the new history of Bulgaria and, in particular, Rousse. An economic and administrative reformer, an influential representative of the Ottoman Empire before the world at a time when Bulgaria had been under Ottoman rule for more than 450 years, uncompromising in his political views, cruel in suppressing the discontent of his subordinate “raya” (slaves, as referred to Bulgarians at the time), he played an actual and very important role in the development of the then Ruschuk (Rousse) from a typical small town, subordinate to the Ottoman Turks, to an economic, judicial, and administrative center and in the city transformation into the largest Bulgarian town in the Principality of Bulgaria after the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878.

Decades before our Liberation from Ottoman rule, Midhat Pasha led Ruschuk on the road of innovation and renaissance. However, he is also one of three representatives of the Ottoman Empire who were commissioned to suppress the Bulgarian April Uprising of 1976 – which out of fear and surprise they did with such ferocity that the response went across Europe and the Great Powers convoked the Constantinople Conference. Midhat Pasha was also one of the people who disregarded the decisions of the Conference because of the recently launched by him and accepted by the Sultan First Ottoman Constitution. In this way, he indirectly provided Russia with grounds to declare war on Turkey.

And now, let me share with you the facts I have found about Midhat Pasha. As for history, let it talk for itself about its protagonists…

Early Years and Career

Midhat Pasha was born as Ahmed Sheffik Midhat Pasha in Constantinople in October 1822. His father was a kadia (judge) born in Rousse and a strong supporter of the reforms in the Ottoman Empire. Midhat Pasha spent his childhood in Constantinople, and the Bulgarian towns of Vidin and Lovech where he received good education and mastered several foreign languages.

In 1844 he became secretary of Faik Efendi and accompanied him to Syria for three years. He returned to Constantinople to serve in the central administration, traveled back to Syria, and then was appointed Second Secretary of the Sublime Porte (something like a parliament, was responsible for the state policy).

In 1854 his opponents managed to remove him from the post and as a result he was burdened with the then perceived as an impossible task to deal with the bandits and dissatisfaction in the Rumelian provinces (in general, by Rumelia the Ottomans refererred to the Balkan Peninsula territories). After six months in the region, however, Midhat pasha managed to capture 284 robbers and to pacify the districts of the towns of Shumen and Sliven.

In 1857 he was sent to the Bulgarian town of Veliko Tarnovo as a government representative to investigate the conflict between the Greek bishop Neophyte Byzantios and the local Bulgarian population (in short, Neophyte Byzantine was elected Veliko Tarnovo region bishop due to corruption and was at the time acting against the Bulgarian revival which was the cause of the conflict). As a result, Midhad Pasha ordered the release of the accused and arrested people and the Greek bishop was dismissed.

Because of these successfully accomplished tasks, his career prospects became even brighter and in 1860 Midhat pasha was appointed Vizier (similar to a minister having both military and administrative power) and Pasha (a governor, a high official). He was entrusted with the management of the Nisyan eyalet (an administrative district) and the reforms he applied there impressed Sultan Abdulazis who demanded him to implement the same reforms throughout the entire Ottoman Empire.

Danube Vilayet and Reforms in Ruschuk and the Region

In 1864 the Dobrudzha lands, which include the whole Danube plain, the Sofia and Samokov fields, were united in the so-called Danube vilayet (an administrative unit) with its center located in Rousse – or Ruschuk as it was called back then. Midhat Pasha reformed the administration and the judiciary systems by creating new and reorganizing existing institutions. For the first time an Ottoman province acquired a representative institution, the General Council of the Vilayet, in which representatives from the various religious and ethnic groups in the area, including Bulgarians from Rousse, Sofia, Tarnovo, Shumen and others, were appointed or elected. Midhat Pasha allowed Bulgarians to occupy senior judicial positions and initiated the creation of the Danube Weekly – the first official Ottoman media issued in the period 1865-1877 both in Turkish and in Bulgarian languages and where Bulgarians were also working.

He initiated the construction of a water supply system in Ruschuk as well as the Obraztsov chiflik farm. As a result, in 1879, on this farm the first Bulgarian agricultural school was founded which is preserved to this day as the Obraztsov Chiflik Agricultural Institute at the Bulgarian Agricultural Academy.

In 1865 Midhat pasha ordered the making of the Arabakonak Pass which connected Sofia with Northern Bulgaria passing on the way to Pleven and Rousse. On October 26, 1866 the first Bulgarian railway line from Rousse to Varna was officially opened. Altogether, Midhat pasha’s rule led to the building of 553 kilometers of new and the repairment of 255 kilometers existing roads, 237 new bridges while, as expected, these activities seriously burdened the local population with taxes and many of the people worked on these new infrastructure without being paid.

At Midhat pasha’s initiative, the famous Bridge by Kolyu Ficheto over the Yantra near the town of Byala was also built.
In July 1868 Midhat pasha took over the management of the Danube vilayet again because of the entrance of Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadja’s detachments in Bulgaria. He organized the persecution of the rebels, conducted a quick trial for the captured and imposed public executions. He also endorsed the mobilization of the bashbizouk (Ottoman military troops) of Circassians and Turks in spite of the fact that he admitted they could commit “extreme actions”.

Suppression of the April Uprising and Convocation of the Constantinople Conference

The April Uprising is a milestone in the history of Bulgaria. It is an entirely Bulgarian initiative and its preparation and outburst were not supported by any external country. It had to be organized in a very short period of about 60 days and broke out months earlier than planned due to unfavorable circumstances. The Turkish authorities were on their guard because of other related events at the time – they prepared themselves for a possible rebellion after Stara Zagora’s rebellion attempt and after the Bosnian-Herzegovina uprising. These added up to the causes which led to the practical failure of the April Uprising of 1876. However, the Uprising played a decisive role in the Liberation of Bulgaria for the strong international response it received because of the cruelty and ferocity with which it was severely suppressed.

The start of the April Uprising surprised and provoked panic among the Ottoman rulers. In order to suppress it, the High Porte created a council of three commanders, including Midhat Pasha who proved to be a major factor in decision-making. The council mobilized a large part of the available Ottoman troops attracting soldiers from Asia Minor and Africa. They also mobilized the stock, transfered thousands of troops by train and water so that tens of thousands of armed Ottoman soldiers often faced a few hundred April Uprising rebels. The Council issued a warrant for killing the civil population, forfeiting their property and setting fire to their homes. The Batak slaughter in which more than 3,000 people are slaughtered or burned alive is one of the most cruel appearances on the Ottoman side. At the bottom line, against the full momentous power of the Ottomans, the Bulgarian armed forces that were able to rebel without any real preparation amounted to 10,000 men and 95 Bulgarian villages and towns.

The result of the Uprising was the convening of the Constantinople Ambassadorial Conference which took place between December 23, 1876 and January 20, 1877 and in which the ambassadors of the Great Powers who were accredited by the High Porte took part.
The reasons for holding the Conference were several: the uprising of 1875 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the April Uprising of 1876 in Bulgaria, the subsequent war between Serbia and Montenegro, on the one hand, and the Ottoman Empire on the other, and the preparation of Russia for war with the Ottoman Empire on the Balkans.

The purpose of the Conference was to suggest territorial changes and provide for autonomy in the Western Balkans, and to achieve peace between the subordinate countries in the region, including Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. In particular, at the Conference it was suggested that Bulgaria split into two autonomous regions and the Ottoman and Bulgarian countries adopted mutual governance rules. By the time the suggestion was finally drawn up, Midhat Pasha had again been appointed a great Vizier. As a result, two days after the ambassadors’ suggestion at the Constantinople Conference, the Ottoman Empire adopted its first constitution, which the Ottoman Empire regarded as a sufficient reform in favour of the subordinate Balkan states. Because of this stance and decision on the part of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans rejected the recommendations from the Constantinople Conference to create autonomous regions on the Balkans.
Thus, indirectly, Midhat Pasha and his followers strongly contributed both to the failure of the Constantinople Conference and to the announcement of the subsequent Russo-Turkish war.

Murder of the Sultan and Death

After the withdrawal of Midhat Pasha as the leader of the Danube Vilayet, two radical points of view faced each other in the Ottoman Empire – the viewpoint of the status quo and the reforms supporters. Midhat pasha allied with the great Vizier and the Military Minister in 1876, and in May they brought down the Sultan who was killed the following month.

Even though Midhat pasha, as we mentioned, was once again a great Vizier and initiated the preparation and adoption of the first Ottoman Empire constitution, in the beginning of 1877 he was expelled and sent to exile, and in 1879 he faced a charge of involvement in the murder of Sultan Abdulaziz and was sentenced to death. However, after the British government intervened, the death sentence was renounced, his life spared, and the last three years of his life Midhat Pasha spent in prison in the city of Taif, near Mecca, where in 1883 he was allegedly murdered.

Sources

  1. Midhat Pasha on Wikipedia
  2. Midhat Pasha on Wikiwand
  3. Press TV
  4. Sega Newspaper
  5. Encyclopedia Britannica
  6. April Uprising of 1876
  7. Constantinople Conference
  8. Camera Ottomana
  9. Sublime Porte
  10. Great Powers
  11. Rumelia
  12. Sultan Abdulaziz
  13. Neofit Vizantios
  14. Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878)

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Kiril Startzev

One of the most prominent public figures in the new history of Rousse after the Liberation, Engineer Kiril Startzev, played an important role in the development of the city in the years after the Bulgarian coup d’état of 1934 until the beginning of the Communist regime in 1944 during which time he was as mayor of Rousse.

Early Years

Kiril Vasilev Startzev was born in the town of Belogradchik on January 2, 1895. At that time his father, Captain Vasil Startzev, served as a Bulgarian Army Officer in the town. In 1902 he was promoted to a Major and was summoned to serve in the Fifth Infantry Regiment of Dunav located in the city of Rousse.

Kiril Startzev graduated from the Tsar Boris High School for Boys of Rousse with flying colours and continued the family tradition going for a training in the Military School in 1916. At the end of the First World War, he was promoted to a Lieutenant and became a member of the Union of Army Reserve Officers in Rousse. In the autumn of 1918 he enrolled as a student in civil engineering at the Polytechnic University of Lausanne, Switzerland, from where he graduated in 1922 fluently speaking German and French. He returned to Rousse and began work as a constructor of railway lines and bridges, and later became regional water engineer at the Rousse District Permanent Commission. He was elected Vice-Chairman of the Union of Reserve and Non-Commissioned Officers in the city from 1931 to 1933 and was extremely active as a member of the army reserve. Because of his high professionalism at work, at the beginning of 1934 he was appointed Chief of Water Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and State Property.

Mayoral Term

On December 24, 1934 Kiril Startzev was appointed Mayor of Rousse and in from the first years of his mayoral term he managed to transform and modernize the whole city:

  • The building for the Court of Justice was erected, the area around it was renovated, and the appearance of the City Garden was changed.
  • The Covered Market Place with the area around it turned into a second city centre.
  • Asphalt was added to the river boulevard, the sidewalks and the railings were added too, the so-called Bridge of Sighs was built and the chestnuts trees were planted.
  • The construction of modern public baths began.
  • The power plant was expanded and, in general, a lot was invested in building the city infrastructure – water supply, sewerage, and electricity systems. Temporary pavements and the water system reached as far as the furthest city districts.
  • In 1935 the Bulgarian Danube Shipping (BRP) was established. The largest import of goods for 1936 in the country was made through the port of Rousse.
  • The construction of the Angel Kanchev and Stefan Karadzha schools was completed and major repair works were held for the rest.
  • A lot of funds were allocated to the development of the theatrical art in the city.
  • The Municipality provided funds for a jubilee book collection for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the High School for Boys in the city and a decision to publish the history of Rousse was taken.

As a result of his initiative personality, leadership skills, and rich European culture, he was elected President of the Union of Bulgarian Cities, and the central government assigned two important missions to him:

  • He was seconded as a “borrowed” mayor for the town of Dobrich to create a model of management of the new Bulgarian government in the region after the accession of the South Dobrudzha region.
  • After a great flood in 1942 he was seconded as a “borrowed” mayor in Vidin to help restore the town.

After the establishment of the first Rotary club in Sofia in 1933, a Preliminary Rotary Club was established in Rousse. Together with famous at that time public figures and entrepreneurs, Eng. Kiril Startzev is among its founders. The club was established on August 2, 1936 and was chartered on December 4 of that year. In 1941, under the National Protection Act which was in force at the time and together with many international organizations in Bulgaria, the Club was closed. It was again chartered decades later – on May 31, 1994 and ever since it’s been active.

In 1940, during the mayoral term of Eng. Kiril Startzev, the South Dobrudja region was returned to Bulgaria under the Treaty of Craiova. As a result, Rousse became a regional center and its population at that time grew to over 51,000.

Family

In 1927 Eng. Kiril Startzev got married. His son Veselin was born in 1928 and his daughter Tatiana was born in 1938.

Last Years and Death

As of the end of 1943 and in 1944 Eng. Kiril Startzev was on leave because of a serious illness. On September 14, 1944 after the Bulgarian coup d’état of 1944, the newly-established Communist government made him leave hit office as a mayor. After he recovered, he was appointed Head of the Rusenski Lom Water Union and was later taking care of the water supply in the Ludogorie region. In 1956, the Communist regime ordered his arrest and he was sent to the Belene concentration camp. In 1959, he joined an engineering organization but retired because of illness. On December 12, 1962 Kiril Startzev died in Rousse.

Sources
1. Bulgarian coup d’état of 1934
2. Bulgarian coup d’état of 1944
3. Kiril Startzev on Wikipedia (in Bulgarian only)
4. Treaty of Craiova
5. Open Your Eyes (in Bulgarian only)
6. The Greatest Bulgarian Mayors (in Bulgarian only)
7. History of the Union of Officers and Sergeants of the Army Reserve (in Bulgarian only)
8. Rotary Club in Rousse Celebrates 80 Years (in Bulgarian only)
9. The Decay of Rousse after the Bulgarian coup d’état of 1944 (in Bulgarian only)

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

Mihail Arnaudov

“When you love what you do and are aware of what can honour Bulgaria in the eyes of the world in any way, you are so enthused that neither time, nor efforts matter.”

Mihail Petrov Arnaudov is one of the brightest, most active and productive guardians and champions of the Bulgarian culture over the centuries, who devoted his life to Bulgaria and to the Bulgarian science. A scientist and a public figure, he spent decades on preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the nation by studying and describing the lives of a number of prominent Bulgarians; researching, collecting and publishing materials that keep alive the Bulgarian folklore; exploring and presenting traditions of ethnic Bulgarian societies. Mihail Arnaudov is a folklorist, literary historian and critic and ethnographer, who became a regular member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, the Petyofi Hungarian Literary Academy and a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Universities of Heidelberg and Munster.

Early Years

Mihail Arnaudov was born in Rousse on October 5, 1878. His father was a Macedonian from Tetovo, who moved to Ruse and worked as a grain trader. He got married to his partner’s daughter, who died when Mihail was eight years old. His younger brother is the composer and operatic conductor and director Ilia Arnaudov. Mihail often accompanied his father in his trade tours in Northern Bulgaria and in this way got closely acquainted with the mindset of he village people who are the creators of folk poetry.

In 1895 he graduated the prestigious Kniaz Boris High School for boys in Rousse, where Nikola Bobchev was his teacher in Bulgarian language and literature. He awakened in Mihail the passion for literary studies, folklore and scientific research. In 1895 Mihail enrolled for the Slavonic philology specialty at the College of Sofia, where he attended classes lead by Ivan Shishmanov, Alexander Teodorov-Balan, Lyubomir Miletich and others. Ivan Shishmanov offered Mihail a scientific job and suggested to him to continue his studies at Leipzig University in Germany. Mihail spent 1898-1899 at Leipzig University, where he specialized in national psychology, Sanskrit and Lithuanian languages. In 1899 he enrolled at the University of Berlin. Until 1900 he attended classes in Indian literature, Indo-German comparative linguistics, Russian and Polish literature, and then returned to Rousse for a short period of time.

Professional Development and Scientific Research

In 1901 Mihail became a high school teacher in Sofia. He published articles in the Misal (Thought) magazine and came across the elite of Bulgarian writers who were extremely active and had established the Misal Literary Circle. In 1903, he went to Prague to take a doctoral exam on Slavic philology, philosophy and Indian philology and defended his dissertation based on his book Bulgarian Folk Tales.

He returned to Bulgaria and became a high school teacher, then a Deputy Director of the National Library and an Associate Professor at Sofia University. In 1910 he went to Paris to continue his scientific research and, there, he met and later became friends with one of the most acclaimed Bulgarian poets of all times, Peyo Yavorov. That same year he went to London for three months to study English. On the following year he returned to Bulgaria and held lectures at Sofia University. Shortly after that, he met his future wife, Stefanka, then got married to her in 1915 and later they had their three children.

From 1914 he was a visiting Professor and since 1919 a regular Professor at Sofia University. In 1921-1922 he was the Dean of the Faculty of History and Philology and in 1935-1936 he was a Rector of the University. In 1922 he was elected president of the Writers’ Union. In 1925, the publication of Bulgarian Misal magazine began, and in 1923 he became one of the main initiators for the establishment of the Macedonian Research Institute. In 1926 he became the Director of the National Theater. From 1918 he was a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and in 1929 he became a regular academician. He was elected a member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, of the Petyofi Hungarian Literary Academy and was awarded the Honorary Doctor title at the Universities in Heidelberg (1936) and Münster (1943).

His favorite field of study was folk art. In 1905 he published Collection of Bulgarian Folk Tales and in 1913 the study Folklore from Elena (a Bulgarian town in the mountains). He consistently published works, studies, researches, and various other materials. He traveled by himself and became directly acquainted with folklore. In 1916 he visited Macedonia, his father’s home land for yet another folklore research.

He published more than 50 monographs about Neofit Bozveli, Vasil Aprilov, Miladinovi brothers, Georgi Rakovski, Lyuben Karavelov, Paisii Hilendarski and other Bulgarian Revival enlighteners. He also helped publish some works by Revival writers such as Georgi Rakovski, Neofit Bozveli and Grigor Parlichev, and published research papers on the lives of Peyo Yavorov, Kiril Hristov, Yordan Yovkov, Ivan Vazov, Ivan Shishmanov.

He is a member of the Svetlina (light) Masonic Lodge in 1928-1929. In 1929, Mihail Arnaudov joined the intellectuals who appealed for stopping the killings during the Macedonian internal disagreements within the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO). He was an editor of the Zarya magazine and Narodnost newspaper, where he was an open supporter of the idea that the population in the Vardar region was Bulgarian. From November 1932 he was a guarantor of friendship with the Great Masonic Lodge of the then Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia).

Public and Political Activity

In May 1944 Ivan Bagryanov invited Mihail Arnaudov to take part in his government with the words “Come to save Bulgaria”. Bagryanov‘s government lasted only 93 days, but made the decisions which helped stop the bombing of Sofia. As the Minister of Enlightenment (now Ministry of Education), Mihail Arnaudov made enormous efforts to restore the lessons in the schools which were cancelled due to the bombings. After the Ninth of September Coup lead by the communists in the same year, he was removed from all his academic positions, was then arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment by the so called People’s Court.

While he was behind bars, his book Psychology of the Literary Genius was translated into Russian and published in the Soviet Union. The book represents a unique scientific work which was highly regarded and recognized throughout Europe even since the time of its publication. At the end of 1945 a fellow Russian academician who specialized in Bulgarian literature and culture, Nikolai Derzhavin, arrived in Bulgaria. Upon realizing that the author of this psychological study was in prison, he contacted the Communist authorities, blamed them for ruining such a genius and, in the end, with his cooperation and after having spent two and a half years in prison, Mihail Arnaudov was released. While in custody, he continued to work – he translated French classics and prepared yet another edition of Ivan Vazov‘s essays.

After the amnesty, at the age of 68, Mihail Arnaudov found himself in the dire situation of having been deprived of his home by the Communists, with no job, deprived of income and with all his academic and scientific awards withdrawn by the totalitarian regime. Yet, he didn’t stop exploring and publishing scientific materials for the rest of his life, backed in the last 20 years by his daughter-in-law and personal assistant, Iskra Arnaudova.

Mihail Arnaudov died on February 18, 1978 in Sofia at the age of 99 years and 5 months.

Some Prominent Publications

  • Bulgarian Folklore Holidays (1918)
  • Krali Marco in the Folk Poetry (1918)
  • Studies on Bulgarian Orders and Legends (1920-1924)
  • Introduction to Literary Science. Tasks. History. Contemporary State. (1920)
  • Psychology of the Literary Genius (1931)
  • Excerpts on the Bulgarian Folklore (1934)
  • Artists of the Bulgarian Revival (1940)
  • The Life and Poetry of Ivan Vazov (1958)
  • Yavorov. Personality, Creativity, Destiny. (1961)
  • Poets and Heroes of the Bulgarian Revival (1965)
  • Verkovic and Veda Slovena (1968)

Sources

  1. United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria
  2. Fakel
  3. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
  4. Sofia University
  5. LiterNet
  6. Programata
  7. Bookpoint

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

First Civil Protests

In collaboration with Jennifer Atanassova

In 1981 the Romanian chemical plant in Giugiu, Verachim, starts to operate. Poor installation and excessive load causes the systematic release of chlorine compounds in the atmosphere in amounts that are up to twelve times over the permissible norms. The management of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) takes no actions and leads no negotiations with Romania – for fear not to spoil the good neighborly relations. During this time, however, for the residents of Rousse everyday life becomes a struggle for survival. protest1

Analyses show 72 days of intense gassing per year. The number of respiratory diseases registered over seven years has doubled. The number of children born with disabilities has significantly increased. Infant mortality in the city has become 2 times higher than the average for Bulgaria. Nearly 20,000 people have left Rousse. All signals of the ecological threat to Rousse during 1984-1986 have been classified. The Communist government in Romania denies that there is a problem. protest4

On September 23, 1987 the BCP in Ruse makes hundreds of students at the age of ten come to the square in the city center for admission to the pioneering organization. The air is blue haze. Ambulances accompany the procession of the children to the front. Medical teams provide first aid to fainting children. However, nobody cancels the event.

This nightmare becomes the trigger for Tsonka Bukurova, Viara Georgieva, Dora Bobeva, Stefka Monova, Eugenia Jeleva and Albena Velikova – six women working as Technical Leaders and Assistants at the state-owned company for landscape architecture to plan and organize the first environmental protest in the country during the Communist regime. An interesting fact is that due to fear of reprisals, they swear before Bible that they will stick together in the endeavor and it helps them keep their courage. protest-organizatorki

On September 28, 1987 500 people gather outside the Party House to hold a peaceful protest while the District Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party is having a meeting in the building. A representative of the Party faces the protesters and assured them that they have already taken measures to stop gassing – which however happens only four years later.

The silence engulfing these protests is broken, though only in a local newspaper. An article related to the effects of chlorine attacks and the demonstrations is published. The issue becomes known on a national scale after the publication of materials in “Literaturen Front” and “Starshel” published materials for the air pollution in the city. From December 9, 1987 to January 22, 1988 Rousse artists organize an exhibition called “Ecology – Rousse 1987”, which is written about in all major newspapers in the capital. As a result, BCP persecutes the initiators of the exhibition and starts the propaganda for their exposure among the city residents. Due to the lack of any actions on behalf of the government, as much as the six ladies try to keep the protest civil, it takes on a political tone when an unknown perpetrator wrote on the building of the Dunavska Pravda newspaper “Down with the BCP”. protest2

On February 10, 1988 the weather is clear and no gassing has happened up to the moment. Nearly one hundred mothers with their babies in prams gather outside the Municipal Council of the Communist Party. More and more mothers join the demonstration and their number becomes over 2,000. This is also the day when the Member of the State Council and former Prime Minister – Grisha Filipov, is taking part in the Party meeting. He steps outside and talks to the mothers, assuring them that there is no more gassing. Right after the demonstration, however, a thick blue mist again descends over the city. The angry mothers refuse to disperse and to believe the propaganda any more. This civil and environmental protest becomes known ever since as the Protest of the Mothers with Prams. protest3

The filmmaker Yuri Zhirov of the Ekran studio team at the Bulgarian Television shoots the movie Breathe, which played a big role in the subsequent events. After the movie is broadcasted, there followed a mass enrollment in the newly established Public Committee for Environmental Protection of Rousse, which is the first dissident organization in the country. In reality, the Committee, however, fails to perform any activity. The Court refuses to incorporate it, the State Security interrogates many of the protesters, puts pressure on its members and forces its founders to give up any related activity.

In 1991 Verachim is closed down. protest5

Resources:
1. Breathe Documentary
2. New Old Stories – The Gassing of Rousse in the Eighties
3. How Jivkov Let Chaushesku Poison Rousse
4. Anatomy of a Civil Protest in Bulgaria towards the End of the Socialism: the Rousse Case

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