Petur Stamboliiski

(b. 1879)

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(b. Slavovitsa near Radomir, 1 March 1879; d. near Slavovitsa, 15 June 1923)

Bulgarian; Prime Minister 1919–23 Stamboliiski was born into a wealthy peasant family, and studied agriculture in Germany. After returning to Bulgaria in 1897 he became an agrarian agitator. From 1906 he played a major part in the Bulgarian Agrarian Union. He was imprisoned in 1915 for opposing Bulgaria's entry into the First World War on Germany's side. In 1918 he led a march on Sofia which resulted in King Ferdinand's abdication. He was briefly President of a Bulgarian Republic before the army rallied to King Boris. Becoming Prime Minister on October 1919 he represented Bulgaria in the peace negotiations at Versailles. At home Stamboliisky had near dictatorial powers. His regime drastically reduced taxation of the peasantry at the expense of the middle classes and workers. His goal was to turn Bulgaria into a model agricultural society. He was fiercely anti-Communist. His foreign policy was marked by an acceptance of the status quo. This included the improvement of relations with Yugoslavia culminating in 1923 with the Treaty of Niš. As a result, Stamboliiski was unpopular with the Macedonian separatist group IMRO. When he tried to suppress IMRO he was overthrown in a right-wing coup in June 1923. He was shot dead at the end of a dramatic escape.

Subjects: Politics.

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