Putsch of 1886

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Alexander I of Bulgaria

The coup of 9 August 1886 ( Bulgarian Превратът в България през 1886 ) in Bulgaria as a ninth-August Putsch (bulg. Деветоавгустовски преврат / Dewetoawgustowski prewrat) known, was a successful coup pro-Russian officers against Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria and forced these to abdicate. The coup was carried out on Russian instigation.


As a reaction to the decisions of the Berlin Congress , the "Edinstvo" ( Единство / unit) committees were founded. The First Committee was established in Veliko Tarnovo . The committees had set themselves the goal of revising these decisions and “re-establishing Bulgaria within its national borders as agreed in the Peace of San Stefano ”. One of their first acts was the preparation and implementation of the Kresna Raslog uprising (1878) in Macedonia .

In September 1885 , the Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia united with the Principality of Bulgaria after a military coup led by the Bulgarian secret revolutionary central committee . The unification of Bulgaria, however, was disapproved of by Austria-Hungary and Russia , while Great Britain supported the principality. Austria-Hungary signaled its backing to Serbia , allied with it , which openly opposed the Bulgarian approach. Then the Serbian-Bulgarian War broke out. The war ended with the defeat of Serbia and the Peace of Bucharest on March 3, 1886. Mutual territorial claims were excluded and the Ottoman Empire basically accepted the unification on the condition that Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria via Eastern Rumelia continues to be formally appointed by the Sultan Governor should rule.

However, Russia was dissatisfied and the Russian Tsar Alexander III. refused to recognize the Bulgarian prince Alexander I as ruler of the enlarged Bulgaria. At the beginning of May 1886 a conspiracy by the pro-Russian forces in Burgas under the leadership of the Russian Colonel Nikolaj Nabokow against Alexander I. The prince wanted to visit the port city in the run-up to the first all-Bulgarian parliamentary elections. The aim of the conspiracy was to attack Alexander I and drag him to Russia by ship. Everyone involved was captured, but released after Russia intervened.


The coup of August 9, 1886 was led by Colonel Radko Dimitriev . He was assisted by Colonel Georgi Wassow , Deputy Minister of War Atanas Benderew and the head of the Military Academy in Sofia Petar Gruew . At the beginning of July, most of the military units around Sofia were relocated to the Serbian border by order of Benderew. The goiter regiment, in turn, was relocated from Kyustendil near the Bulgarian capital to Pernik . The putschists were then able to win over the officers of the Struma regiment. In addition to the Russian ambassador , Petko Karavelov's government was also informed of the possible coup. This did not take any countermeasures, as they tried to convince the prince to abdicate.

August 9 coup

On the night of August 8th, Jul. / August 20, 1886 greg. on August 9th jul. / August 21, 1886 greg. If parts of the Struma regiment and junkers from the military academy moved into the Bulgarian capital, captured the units that remained there and were able to overcome the guards of the tsar's palace. Prince Alexander I was then captured and forced to sign an abdication decree . He was then abducted out of the country to Russia via the Danube .

After achieving their goal, the putschists tried to form a transitional government of national unity under the leadership of Karavelov. However, he refused and on the evening of August 9, Archbishop Kliment Tarnowski was appointed Prime Minister. Other members of the transitional government were Christo Stoyanov , Dragan Tsankov , Konstantin Welitschkow , Todor Burow , Vasil Radoslavov and Major Konstantin Nikiforov appointed.

On August 10th, Stefan Stambolow , the president of the Bulgarian parliament , who was in his hometown Veliko Tarnovo at the time , spoke out against the coup. Major Nikiforov also refused to join the government, the Pleven regiment in Lovech refused to recognize the coup and the new government, and in Sevlievo the liberals protested against the coup. In Varna , soldiers removed their officers who had spoken out in favor of the coup.


Counter coup

There was also resistance to the coup on August 10th. Thus leading officers spoke Plovdiv - Brigade and its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sava Mutkurov out against the coup. They were supported by several leading liberals in the city, such as Ivan Stojanowitsch and Dimitar Tonschew, and by the British consul there. After they were sure of political support, the officers contacted the units in Pazardzhik , Haskovo , Stara Sagora and Varna, which had also spoken out against the coup and the interim government, and began to concentrate troops in Plovdiv.

On August 11, Stefan Stambolow, as parliamentary president and in this situation the only state representative legitimately elected by the people, proclaimed the coup illegal and installed Sawa Mutkurov as commander in chief of the Bulgarian army . He also threatened the putschists with the death penalty and gave them the ultimatum to resign from their offices within 24 hours. In the days that followed, Mutkurov's and Nikiforov's troops moved together towards the Bulgarian capital and were able to restore order there under the leadership of Stambolov. For his part, Stambolov set up Karavelov as Prime Minister on August 12 and demanded the return of Prince Alexander I, who shortly thereafter returned to the throne of Bulgaria. On September 7, 1886, however, he finally renounced the rule because he no longer enjoyed the confidence of the Russian tsar.

More revolts

However, Russia initiated further military revolts. For example, on the night of October 22nd, when pro-Russian forces succeeded in placing the Burgas garrison under the command of Colonel Nabokov. The insurgents in Burgas created a provisional government and declared martial law . The central government sent the Aytos Company and Major Kosta Paniza with far-reaching powers against the insurgents . On October 24th, the government soldiers managed to restore order in the port city. Some of the rebels were captured, some were able to take refuge in the Russian consulate in Burgas and some were able to leave for Constantinople. On October 26, the Russian warship Sabjag (Russian: Забяг) anchored off Burgas and requested permission to station soldiers in the city to protect the Russian consulate. This permit was only granted to officers. Major Paniza headed the military tribunal , which tried the remaining insurgents the following day. This ended the uprising after four days.

On November 8, 1886, the Russian Empire finally broke off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. In 1887 Russia supported the officers' revolts in Russe (organized by Olimpij Panow and Atanas Usunow ) and in Silistra , which were also suppressed by government troops.


  • Ivan Karajotow , Stojan Rajtschewski, Mitko Ivanov: История на Бургас. От древността до средата на ХХ век (to German, for example, History of the City of Burgas. From Antiquity to the Middle of the 20th Century ), Tafprint OOD Publishing House, Plovdiv, 2011, ISBN 978-954-92689-1-1
  • Simeon Radew : The builders of modern Bulgaria (from the Bulgarian "Строителите на съвременна България) Volume 1: The deposition of Prince Alexander I , Verlag Захарий Стоянов, 2004. ISBN 833 .3954-739-5 , pp -904
  • Simeon Radew: The Builders of Modern Bulgaria (from the Bulgarian "Строителите на съвременна България) Volume 2: The counter-coup , Verlag Захарий Стоянов, 2004. ISBN 978-954-739-0

Individual evidence

  1. Simeon Radrew: The builders of modern Bulgaria (from the Bulgarian "Строителите на съвременна България) Volume 2.
  2. a b Karajotow / Rajtschewski / Iwanow: pp. 180-190
  3. Simeon Radew: The October Uprising in The Builders of Modern Bulgaria (from the Bulgarian "Строителите на съвременна България) Volume 2, Verlag Sahari Stoyanov, Sofia, 2004, pp. 480-484