136 The Russo-Turkish War, Part 3

It's already clear who's going to win the war. What remains to be seen is who will win the peace. As Russian and Bulgarian troops rapidly advance, the Ottomans, Balkan states, and Great Powers alike are all jockeying for position. As the Treaty of San Stefano is being penned, it's already clear that Bulgaria's fate is out of its hands.



Major Characters in this Episode

Sultan Abdulhamid II

Tsar Alexander II

Prince Carol of Romania

Prime Minister Disraeli

Count Ignateiv

General Gurko

Otto Von Bismarck

Panayot Hito

Zhelyo Voivoda

Timeline for this Episode

  • 1877, Ivan Vazov publishes The Sorrows of Bulgaria, a book of poetry.

  • 1st January 1878, Sultan Abdulhamid II sends a telegram to Alexander II expressing a desire for peace.

  • 2nd January 1878, Suleiman Pasha withdraws Ottoman troops from Pazardzhik. Cherpan and Dupnitsa are liberated. Bulgarian squads lead fighting to liberate Kyustendil.

  • 3rd January 1878, The British government receives its requested guarantees from Russia. The cabinet of Disraeli decides not to send the British navy. In the evening, a small Russian squad enters Plovdiv and the Ottomans retreat to Asenovgrad.

  • 4th January 1878, Sliven and Harmanli are liberated. General Gurko enters Plovdiv. Russian troops begin fighting the Ottomans around Dermendere.

  • 5th January 1878, Yambol is liberated. Ottoman armies retreat from Adrianople. Emperor Alexander II sends letters to the Emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary announcing that the peace treaty will be preliminary and that the final peace will be agreed based on consultation with the Great Powers.

  • 6th January 1878, Svilengrad and Asenovgrad are liberated. The lower Danube squad begins moving into Southern Dobrudja.

  • 7th January 1878, Authorized representatives of the Otoman government arrive at the Russian HQ. The Troyan squad is ordered to Adrianople. Haskovo is liberated.

  • 8th January 1878, The first meeting between the Russian high commander and Ottoman representatives. Parts of one Russian squad enter Adrianople.

  • 9th January 1878, Negotiations in Kazanluk are stopped by the Ottomans.

  • 10th January 1878, Russian troops concentrate in Adrianople. Svishtov, Tarnovo, and Gabrovo sees the establishment of the first Bulgarian post offices.

  • 11th January 1878, Russian and Bulgarian troops enter Kyustendil. The government of Disraeli publishes an order for the British navy to enter the Bosphorus.

  • 12th January 1878, Alexander II approves the proposal of its high commander to march on Constantinople. They hold an assembly to discuss a proposal by Ignatiev for a preliminary peace treaty. Afterwards, Ignatiev begins moving from St. Petersburg to the front. Late in the evening, Russian troops defeat the Ottomans at Luluburgas.

  • 13th January 1878, Russian troops liberate Lozengrad.

  • 14th January 1878, The lower Danube squad fights near Dobrich. The Ottomans concentrate their forces around Ruse and Razgrad.

  • 15th January 1878, Romanian troops begin bombarding Vidin. Dobrich and Omurtag are liberated.

  • 16th January 1878, Razgrad is liberated.

  • 17th January 1878, Portions of the western squad liberate Smolyan while the eastern squad liberates Turgovishte. A parade is held in Adrianople. Kyustendil is finally fully liberated.

  • 18th January 1878, Around noon, representatives of the Ottoman government tell Russian high command that they will accept the preliminary terms unconditionally. Bulgarian troops free Kotel.

  • 19th January 1878, The Russian and Ottoman representatives sign a peace treaty in Adrianople. According to the preliminary agreement, the Bulgarian state will cover the territory of the two autonomous regions decided at the Constantinople Conference. All Russian and Bulgarian troops are ordered to cease offensive operations. Serbian soldiers enter Vranya. Ignatiev arrives in Bucharest and introduces Carol I to the proposal for Russia to take southern Bessarabia in return for Romania obtaining Northern Dobrudja.

  • 20th January 1878, The Cheti of Panayot Hito and Zhelyo Voivoda fight near the village of Sadovo near Sliven with Ottoman irregulars.

  • 22nd January 1878, Part of the lower Danube squad liberate Balchik and Provadiya. Admiral Hornby receives order from Disraeli to go to Constantinople with 6 ships to guarantee the safety of British subjects there.

  • 23rd January 1878, Aytos is liberated. Citizens of Tarnovo give Ignatiev their gratitude. The Austro-Hungarian government proposes the Great Powers organize an international conference in Vienna to decide on a final peace.

  • 25th January 1878, Rusian troops free Burgas.

  • 26th January 1878, The citizens of Gorno Dzamaya give the Russian military governor in Sofia a plea to liberate their city. Russian troops liberate Pomorie. The Romanian parliament decides to keep southern Bessarabia. The Austro-Hungarian government proposes holding an international conference in Berlin instead.

  • 27th January 1878, Ignatiev arrives in Adrianople to lead the Russian negotiations. Russian troops liberate Nessebur.

  • 29th January 1878, Alexander II sends a telegram to the High Commander ordering the Russian army to enter Constantinople in case British soldiers disembark in the city.

  • 30th January 1878, The Russian high commander is granted freedom of action in case of a British disembarkation.

  • 31st January 1878, Ottoman representatives arrive in Adrianople. The British navy enters the Bosphorus.

  • 1st February 1878, Peace negotiations between Russia and the Ottomans begin.

  • 3rd February 1878, A Russian commander send a telegram to Ignatiev demanding a peace treaty be agreed to faster.

  • 4th February 1878, Ignatiev sets the 12th of February as the deadline for signing the peace treaty.

  • 5th February 1878, The assembly called by the Russian commander in chief accepts Ignatiev’s proposal to take San Stefano but not advance to Constantinople.

  • 6th February 1878, Representatives of the population of Macedonia give Ignatiev a plea not to be separated from the liberated portions of Bulgaria.

  • 7th February 1878, Otto Von Bismarck gives a speech to the Reichstag announcing his desire to be a mediator of the upcoming congress.

  • 8th February 1878, Safet Pasha retracts his agreement to the Russian peace terms. Representatives of the populations of Thrace and Macedonia give Ignatiev a plea to be included in a new Bulgarian state.

  • 9th February 1878, the commander in chief of the Russian army sends an ultimatum to the Ottoman government be invited into San Stefano. The Ottoman government disbands their parliament.

  • 10th February 1878, elements of the lower Danube squad enter Silistra. The Porte agrees to allow the Russians to occupy San Stefano.

  • 11th February 1878, The Russian commander left Adrianople on his way to San Stefano.

  • 12th February 1878, A Russian detachment liberates Gorna Djamiya while Romian troops enter Vidin and Belogradchik.

  • 16th February 1878, Ottoman representatives end negotiations in San Stefano. The Russian government gives its consent to the Berlin Congress.

  • 17th February 1878, The Russians make a show of force to pressure the Ottomans to resume negotiations resume in San Stefano.

  • 18th February 1878, An agreement is reached between Russia and the Austro-Hungarians regarding the final peace.

  • 19th February 1878, Representatives of Russia and the Ottomans sign the preliminary treaty in San Stefano. The Russian general in charge of administering Bulgaria dies.

The operational movements of the war
The operational movements of the war

The signing of the Treaty of San Stefano
The signing of the Treaty of San Stefano

The house in which the Treaty of San Stefano was signed
The house in which the Treaty of San Stefano was signed


A map of the proposed boundaries following the Treaty of San Stefano
A map of the proposed boundaries following the Treaty of San Stefano

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