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145 The Bomb and the Coup

As a far-off assassination rocks Bulgaria, Prince Alexander finally sees an opening to achieve his aims to govern as he wishes. However, things won't be as easy or simple as he thinks.

Major Characters in this Episode

Tsar Alexander II

Tsar Alexander III

Prince Alexander

Kazimir Ernrot

Petko Karavelov

Exarch Joseph I

Metropolitan Antim I Vidinski

Timeline for this Episode

  • 31st December 1880, The first official census of the population in Bulgaria is conducted.

  • 1880, The Ohrid conspiracy of Konstantin Robev, the brothers Sprostranovi, and others is discovered by the Ottoman authorities.

  • 1880, The Romanian parliament accepts a law for the governing of northern Dobrudja. The region goes under martial law and elections are cancelled (and are not held again until 1909). They also forbade social organizations of any kind.

  • 1880, The monument of Vasil Levski is unveiled in Sofia as well as the war monument in the Doctor’s Garden.

  • 1880, The first dedicated theater building in Bulgarian lands is completed in Plovdiv.

  • 1881 Jan 16th - Contract with the Austrian steamer boats association for the transportation of Bulgarian mail along the Danube.

  • 1881 Jan 25th - A national printer is opened in Sofia and a regional printer is opened in Plovdiv.

  • 1881 Jan 27th - The Bulgarian government sends a note to the Great Powers for the improvement of the situation of Bulgarians in the European vilayets of the Ottoman Empire and for the enforcing of articles 23 and 62 of the Treaty of Berlin.

  • 1881 Feb 17th - Conference of Bulgaria, Austro-Hungary, Serbia and the Ottoman Empire in Vienna for the completion of the international railway connecting Vienna with Tsarigrad.

  • 1881 Feb 20th - The metropolitans Grigorii Dorostolo-Chervenski, Simeon Varnensko-Preslavski, Panaret Plovdiski and Serafim Slivenski are elected for members of the first Holy Synod post the freeing of Bulgaria.

  • 1881 Feb - By the initiative of Joachim Gruev, the Scientific scholarly society is formed in Plovdiv with Ivan Vazov serving as chair and the magazine Наука (Science) as its organ.

  • March 13th 1881, Tsar Alexander II of Russia is assassinated

  • 1881 April 27th - Knyaz Aleksander I dismisses the second National Assembly, fires the government of Petko Karavelov and appoints a new caretaker government headed by the Russian general Kazimir Ernrot. P. Karavelov sees this as a coup and Dragan Tsankov believes the knyaz has made a mistake with this decision but hasn’t broken the laws of the constitution. Aleksander I gives himself plenary powers that last until Sept 7th 1883.

  • 1881 May 1st - Bulgaria is segregated into 5 military regions (6 regions from July 11th onwards), governed by commissionaires of the kingdom, who are Russian officers (until the 2nd of September)

  • 1881 May 18th - July 1st - Exarch Joseph I visits Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria attempting to reconcile the liberals and conservatives in favour of a rewriting of the Tarnovo constitution, but opposed the unconstitutional regime of plenary powers.

  • 1881 May - Elections for half of Eastern Rumelia’s District Assembly’s members. Georgi Gruev is chairman (October 13th 1881 - December 11th 1882)

  • 1881 June 14th and 21st - Elections are held for the second Supreme National Assembly, won by the conservatives. Only 4 liberal members of parliament are elected and they are not admitted to the meetings. On the 18th of June marshal law is instated in the Pleven municipality and Oryahovo region and elections are not held there.

  • 1881 June 29th - Founding of the Bulgarian-Macedonian charitable society for the assistance of Bulgarian students from the European parts of Turkey (Sofia). Vasil Diamandev is chairman.

  • 1881 July 1st - In a one-hour meeting under the chairmanship of metropolitan Antim I Vidinski, the Supreme National Assembly revokes the constitution for a period of 7 years and gives Aleksander I extraordinary powers. Petko Karavelov and Petko R. Slaveikov emigrate to Plovdiv. A new caretaker government is formed, headed by Aleksander I, in effect led by the leader of the Secret Political Ministry - Constantine Stoilov.

  • 1881 July 8th - By princely decree the police forces are disbanded and a gandermerie with a luitanent colonel Longvenov (with dual subjection to the Internal and Military ministries) as the head of it is formed in its stead.

  • 1881 July 21st - The border between the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria is approved.

  • 1881 Aug 30th - The first political pardon for crimes in the period of 27th of April - 1st of July 1881 is given.

  • 1881 Sept 5th - First meeting of the Bulgarian Scholarly Society in Sofia, with Marin Drinov as chairman.

  • 1881 Sept 14th - The State Council (based on project authored by prof Marin Drinov) is formed by order of a princely manifesto. It consists of 4 advisors appointed by the knyaz and 8 elected by the citizens with a 2-step election process, with a high educational and property qualifications needing to be met in order to vote.Ministers and bishops participate with an advisory vote.

  • 1881 Sept - The first Regulations of the Council of Ministers is accepted. It also includes the head of the Secret Political Ministry of the knyaz and the chairman of the State Council.

  • 1881 Nov 1st - Elections for State Council, won by the conservatives.

  • 1881 Nov 17th - Dec 17th - First session of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian exarchate under the chairmanship of exarch Joseph I in Sofia. Projects for a new exarchate statute and for 13 statutes for church government are accepted.

  • 1881 Dec 8th - With the issuing of a Muharram decree European financial control is established over the Porte.

  • 1881 Dec 25th - Establishing of the medal “St Aleksander” for military and civil merits towards the country, for bravery and with the personal benevolence of the knyaz. The medal has a sword over the middle for war times and sword over the bottom part of it for peaceful times, and it’s without swords for civilians. The issuing of this medal causes a diplomatic conflict with The Porte in 1883 and is seen as a manifestation of the strive towards Bulgarian government sovereignty.

  • 1881 Dec 31st - Todor Ikonomov is appointed chairman of the State Council and Dimitar Gregor is elected as vice-chairman.

The original design for Sofia's monument to Vasil Levski
The original design for Sofia's monument to Vasil Levski

The Vasil Levski monument today
The Vasil Levski monument today

The assassination of Tsar Alexander II
The assassination of Tsar Alexander II

Tsar Alexander II lying in state after his death
Tsar Alexander II lying in state after his death

The young reactionary Tsar Alexander III
The young reactionary Tsar Alexander III

The Russo-Finnish general Kasimir Ernrot who will soon become a major figure in Bulgarian politics
The Russo-Finnish general Kasimir Ernrot who will soon become a major figure in Bulgarian politics

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