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> Possible Romanian-Bulgarian union in 1886
dragos03
Posted: August 29, 2006 10:38 pm
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I don't know if the subject of a possible Romanian-Bulgarian union in 1886-1887 under king Carol I was discussed before, but i think it's a very interesting subject. The union was motivated by the common fear of Russia and the goal was to create a stronger state, capable of containing the Russian influence in the region.

Here is a brief chronology:
- from 1885, Bulgarian prince Alexander of Battemberg starts to dismiss his Russian advisors, weakening the Russian influence in his country
- June 1886 - Alexander of Battemberg suggests to Carol I the creation of a Romanian-Bulgarian federation, with separate governments but a common leadership in case of war, the supreme commander would have been Carol I
- 9 August 1886 - pro-Russian officers stage a coup, forcing the Bulgarian prince to abdicate, he is sent to Reni (in Bessarabia)
- one week later, Bulgarian politician Stefan Stambulov stages another coup, removes the new pro-Russian government and recalls the prince
- 17 August 1886 - Alexander of Battemberg arrives in Bucharest, where he is given an ostentatious welcome
- 4 September 1886 - failed attempt to assasinate Romanian Prime Minister Ion C. Bratianu, probably ordered by Russia.
- 5 September 1886 - only Bratianu's personal intervention stops an angry mob from devastating the Russian embassy in Bucharest, the mob attacks instead the pro-Russian newspapers, devastating their headquarters and beating up the journalists.
- 7 September 1886 - Alexander of Battemberg is forced to abdicate, Stambulov becomes regent of Bulgaria.
- November 1886 - Russia cuts diplomatic relations with Bulgaria (to be re-established only ten years later)
- October 1886 - Stambulov starts negotiations with Carol I, for the union of the two countries under the Romanian king. The new state was to have a single government, in which the ministries of "force" (like Army, Justice, Internal Affairs) would have always been held by Romanians.
- March 1887 - Russian attempt to assasinate the prefect of Rusciuk, Mantov, who was the Bulgarian negotiator of the union. In the same month, Zamfir Arbore, a Bessarabian, gets the secret correspondence of the Russian ambassador in Romania, proving their involvment in the Mantov case and revealing other Russian espionage activities in the two countries as well as most of the Russian agents. The Great Powers demand an explanation from Russia, any kind of Russian influence in the region is on the verge of total collapse.
- 10 June 1887 - Russia threatens to cut diplomatic relations with Romania.
- 15 June 1887 - Carol I rejects the Bulgarian crown, after consultations with Germany and Austria, which warned him that Russia is ready to invade Romania if he accepts the union.
- 25 June 1887 - Ferdinand of Saxa-Coburg becomes the new prince of Bulgaria.
- 25 April 1888 - failed attempt to kill Carol I, some historians believed the assasination was ordered by Russia.

(most of the information comes from the book of Alex Mihai Stoenescu, "Istoria loviturilor de stat in Romania", vol. 2, Ed. RAO, 2006)

Does anybody have additional information about this subject? What consequences would such an union have on the history of South Eastern Europe?
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Iamandi
Posted: August 30, 2006 06:27 am
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"- 25 April 1888 - failed attempt to kill Carol I, some historians believed the assasination was ordered by Russia."

Anyone can provide more detalis on that?

Thank you,

Iama
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dragos03
Posted: August 30, 2006 01:09 pm
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I forgot to mention a significant event that happened in the meantime. In March 1888, there was a revolt of the peasants, in the villages surrounding Bucharest. The revolt was started by Russian agents and representatives of the Romanian opposition parties. The funny thing is that the opposition wanted to force the resignation of the Ion C. Bratianu government but Bratianu actually stepped out several days before. The opposition leaders formed the new government but it was too late to stop the planned revolt and they had to supress it themselves.

The revolt was started by Russian agents in villages that had a significant Slavic minority, especially gardeners of Bulgarian origin. It was crushed by army units.

As for the assasination attempt on April 25, a police sergeant named Preda Fantanaru tried to shoot Carol I through the windows of the royal palace (he fired 2 shots from a Lefaucheux rifle). The king was not even wounded. During the investigation, Fantanaru said he wanted to kill him because "the king makes the peasants suffer". The official conclusion of the investigation is that he was simply a madman. However, he was also suspected of being a Russian agent.

Also, as a result of all the tensions with Russia, Romania starts in 1888 to build powerful fortifications: the fortified line Focsani-Namoloasa-Galati and the Bucharest forts.
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Carol I
Posted: August 30, 2006 08:27 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ August 30, 2006 02:09 pm)
As for the assasination attempt on April 25, a police sergeant named Preda Fantanaru tried to shoot Carol I through the windows of the royal palace (he fired 2 shots from a Lefaucheux rifle). The king was not even wounded. During the investigation, Fantanaru said he wanted to kill him because "the king makes the peasants suffer". The official conclusion of the investigation is that he was simply a madman. However, he was also suspected of being a Russian agent.

There is an article about this in the July 2006 issue of Magazin istoric. It does not speculate on the Russian connection of Fântânaru (Fântânăreanu). It does however mention an incident 2 years earlier when Dimitrie Brătianu, the brother of the Prime Minister I. C. Brătianu, requested an audience with the king to demand the removal of I. C. Bratiănu from power in favour of his own party (the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party). When King Carol I refused to dismiss the Prime Minister in order to bring to power a party that "asks the help of a foreign power [Russia]", D. Brătianu threatened indirectly the king by mentioning a possible assassination attempt. Is it possible that he knew something about the plans of the Russians?

Another interesting detail on the Russian connection, a few weeks afterwards, Nicolae Kretzulescu, formerly the Romanian Minister in Russia, asked for an audience with the King in order to demand again the removal of the Prime Minister on behalf of the Liberal Democratic Party.
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horia
Posted: August 30, 2006 08:34 pm
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more about this subject you can find in Istoria loviturilor de stat din Romania vol 2 by Alex.Mihai Stoenescu
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dragos03
Posted: August 30, 2006 09:05 pm
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According to Stoenescu, some of the politicians connected with Russia (they were also involved in the organisation of the revolt of 1888) were: Nicolae Fleva, A. C. Catargiu, Alexandru Em. Lahovari, C. G. Costaforu, Pache Protopopescu and Nicolae Filipescu.
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Carol I
Posted: August 31, 2006 02:31 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ August 29, 2006 11:38 pm)
I don't know if the subject of a possible Romanian-Bulgarian union in 1886-1887 under king Carol I was discussed before, but i think it's a very interesting subject. ... Does anybody have additional information about this subject?

Maybe our Bulgarian colleagues (Sturmpionier for example) have some information on this.
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Sturmpionier
Posted: August 31, 2006 09:13 pm
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QUOTE (Carol I @ August 31, 2006 04:31 pm)

Maybe our Bulgarian colleagues (Sturmpionier for example) have some information on this.

Well, this is interesting topic, indeed.
I think that one Bulgarian-Romanian Union is possible, but the consequences could be disastrous. In 1886 The Russian Impire is still the "Big Brother" for Bulgaria. After the "abdication" of Alexander Batenberg the situation in Bulgaria was is very insecure. The countrie is dividet into two groups: Pro-Russian military and politicians and anti-Russian mlitary and politicians. There is also a danger of new Serbian invasion, because of of the chaos in Bulgaria. One union with Romania will remove this danger but it could be also precondition of a civil war in Bulgaria. Why ? Because this union would have the status of a serious anti-Russian alliance. Therefore the pro-Russian people in Bulgaria could see in this definitely break with the Russian Impire. The most of the nation would not endorse this, because however Bulgaria is liberated with the help of the Russian army in 1877-1878. But at the other side are the anti-Russian officers, ready to lead their men.....
Yes, I know that it is complicated :roll:

Stambolov did not want to break the relations with Russia. His only objective was to start pro-West (not East) development in Bulgaria and made one modern and industrial country.

This post has been edited by Sturmpionier on August 31, 2006 09:15 pm
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Carol I
Posted: September 01, 2006 08:30 am
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QUOTE (Sturmpionier @ August 31, 2006 10:13 pm)
Well, this is interesting topic, indeed.
I think that one Bulgarian-Romanian Union is possible, but the consequences could be disastrous. ...

Is the episode mentioned in Bulgarian historiography? How is it regarded? I presume that Russia's influence in Bulgaria after the episode made it seem a bad idea. Do you however have any information about the spirit and opinions of the Bulgarian politicians at 1886?
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Sturmpionier
Posted: September 01, 2006 05:36 pm
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QUOTE (Carol I @ September 01, 2006 10:30 am)
Is the episode mentioned in Bulgarian historiography? How is it regarded? I presume that Russia's influence in Bulgaria after the episode made it seem a bad idea. Do you however have any information about the spirit and opinions of the Bulgarian politicians at 1886?

No, this episode is not mentioned in the Bulgarian history. Maybe the idea of one Bilgarian-Romanian union was not popular. And there is also another thing: The Bulgarian-Romanian diplomatic relations after 1878 were very good but however many Bulgarians could see in the rule under the Romanian king lost of the national sovereignty. Yes I know that in 1887 Bulgaria was vassal of the Ottoman empire but there was not any Ottoman influence in the country.

This post has been edited by Sturmpionier on September 01, 2006 05:37 pm
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dragos03
Posted: November 27, 2006 09:46 pm
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I have found another mention of this possible union in the memoirs of a Romanian diplomat, Ion Balaceanu. Balaceanu was the Romanian ambassador at Istambul during the negotiations and was informed about them by the Bulgarian ambassador in the Turkish capital. The main Bulgarian negotiator was "Grecof", a minister who was raised in Romania before the Bulgarian independence.

Balaceanu later met Grecof, who confirmed the story. According to Grecof, when he was announced that Carol I has rejected the Bulgarian crown, Stambulov said: "Oh, the ungrateful, what I had really offered him was the crown of Byzantium."
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Imperialist
Posted: December 05, 2006 12:15 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ August 29, 2006 10:38 pm)

Does anybody have additional information about this subject? What consequences would such an union have on the history of South Eastern Europe?

All I can add to what you already posted is that in the Battenberg proposal the main foreign policy goal of the new body would have been the conquest of Macedonia.

Also, another proposal to offer the throne of Bulgaria to Carol I came from the Russians at the time of the War of Independence.

take care
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Florin
Posted: March 22, 2007 01:28 am
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I did not know about this union project before learning about it here, so you can imagine my surprise.

The biggest cathedral in Sofia was built in those days with money funded by the Russian Empire.
The Bulgarians found pride in those days in their Slavic ancestry, close relatives of the Russians, while the Romanians found pride (and they still find today) in their Latin ancestry.

This union was something proposed from the top, from the leaders of the 2 countries. It could not work, or so I think.
If somebody may recall Belgium, I say that the differences between Romanians and Bulgarians are bigger than the differences between Flemish and Wallons.
And how well functioned Yugoslavia, you could see for yourself.
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alexms
Posted: July 22, 2008 12:47 am
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Thank you for your interest. Alex M Stoenescu
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MMM
Posted: March 17, 2009 01:50 pm
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Not only Yugoslavia, but also Czechoslovakia didn't survive on the long run. So far, only the Belgians have the last confederate state "viable", so to say... and they're tormenting as well! Are there any other succesful confederate states? (except Russia, of course)
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