|Conventional short name:|
|Others:||Greek, Turkish, Serbian, Sanjaki, Albanian|
|Other:||Plovdiv, Varna, Skopie|
|Population:||14 million Bulgarian|
Parliamentary one-party state.
Bulgaria gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in January of 1893. In September of 1918, shortly after Turkey enters GW1 on the side of the Austrians, Bulgaria declares war on Turkey and Austria at the behest of the Triple Entente (Muntenia, Dalmatian Hercegovina and the Two Sicilies). The Turko-Bulgarian frontline, after an initial Turkish incursion of about 50km - which was subsequently repulsed - quickly becomes stable, the soldiers just shooting at each other from trenches that almost exactly followed the pre-war border. Bulgaria and Turkey sign a ceasefire on 29 November 1917, with the reestablishment of pre-war borders. With Turkey still a threat in the south and the proposition of a confederation based on the principle of equality of nations appealing, Bulgaria joins the Slavonic Union in January of 1919, which on 27 March 1919, after Dalmatia joins, is renamed the Danubian Confederation.
The civil war that erupted in Danubia in 1944 spread into Bulgaria as well, monarchists against communists. In 1947, when the Communists won the civil war, the Confederation of Soviet Danubian States was formed, with Bulgaria becoming the Bulgarian Soviet Republic. After Josip Broz's death in 1981, the presidency passed to a committee, with one member from each Soviet Republic; the Committee Chairman rotating by nationality every three years. The 1984 transition from Zlatan Isovic (the Sanjaki council representative who was named Chairman in 1981) to Franjo Tudjman went smoothly. However, by 1987, when it was time for Vidak Yasenov to receive the chairmanship, Tudjman had consolidated his power and refused to transfer the position, instead abolishing the council by decree and naming himself president. The majority of the top brass of the Danubian People's Army at this time were Croats, who supported Tudjman.
Shortly thereafter, scheduled republican elections were held in Bulgaria and the other republics, in which in reaction to Tudjman, nationalistic leaders were elected. In Bulgaria, it was Yasen Yotov who was elected Republic President. Yotov began making many speeches, and quickly stirred up secessionist feelings in Bulgaria. In October of 1987, agents of the CSDS secret intelligence service (commonly called Directorate One) botched an attempt to assassinate Yotov; he was shot, but the wound was not fatal. In hospital, he authorised the vice-president (Vidak Yasenov - he had resigned from the CSDS Presidential Council to support Yotov) to fulfill the presidential duties, and on 2 January 1988, Yasenov declared Bulgaria's independence from the CSDS.
By this time, Yasenov had been covertly in contact with the SNOR government in Russia, requesting their support in his quest for Bulgarian independence. SNOR welcomed this (the Bulgarians being fellow Orthodox Slavs) and recommended going ahead with the declaration of independence. On 3 January 1988, Russia recognised Bulgaria's independence, and on 5 January the two countries signed a mutual cooperation treaty, under the terms of which 200 T-72 tanks and Lavochkin LaGG-23 fighters - top-of-the-line equipment - were transferred from Russian units stationed in Muntenia to Bulgaria's newly-established army.
Tudjman at this point was in a difficult situation. On the one side, he didn't want to let Bulgaria leave, but on the other side there was the new treaty between Bulgaria and Russia to worry about. Would Russia intervene on behalf of the Bulgarians? The question wasn't as worrisome from a military standpoint, since the CSDS army was very well equipped and trained; the difficulty lay in the potential for war to spread elsewhere and possible international condemnation of the CSDS.
The CSDS responded with two simultaneous answers. Firstly, Tudjman ordered the withdrawal of the DPA from Bulgarian territory - this was publicised in the CSDS media, and was met with rejoicing in Bulgaria. What was not publicised was the order to the withdrawing troops to destroy as much as they could as they pulled out. This order was made known only to the ethnic Croats stationed with DPA units in Bulgaria; the others not being trusted not to reveal it to the Bulgarians. Several firefights occured on airbases and in army cantonments and armouries between the DPA and the Bulgarian Army when the Bulgarians realised the withdrawal was on a scorched-earth basis. The withdrawal lasted nine days, and neither side suffered many casualties; Bulgarian losses were officially put at 19, DPA losses estimated to be around 20. The second, secret, response was the instigation by Directorate One agents of anti-SNOR riots in Muntenia, Oltenia and Hungary.
Thus, Bulgaria received a SNORist government at a time when SNOR was already weakening. After the fall of SNOR, the same government remained in power, leaving the odd situation of a pro-SNOR government remaining in power after SNOR was defeated in Russia.
The policy of the Bulgarian government after independence was strict neutrality. However, this neutrality was not the sort where one doesn't involve oneself with any side, rather the opposite. Bulgaria officially has no designs on any territories outside her borders, but these borders are very porous. Bulgaria was the conduit for both arms and men to reach Sanjak from the Middle East during the Dalmato-Sanjak war. Corruption in the government is rife, and the standard of living not especially high - slightly lower than it was in the early 1980s, but the police are firmly in control of the government and brook no disagreement.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY'S GEOGRAPHY
- State religion: Bulgarian Orthodoxy
- Other religions: Islam