Akademic Ivan Evstratiev Geshov is another famous Bulgarian politician born in Plovdiv. He is a very debatable figure in our history- some even call „The Bulgarian Faust“. He was one of the most educated men of his time ( akademik in Bulgarian university system is a higher rank than professor). His first political action was in 1877, during the bloody suppressing of the uprising of bulgarians by the Ottoman empire.
He used his connections in Britain and „Times“ posted 7 of his materials about the violence of the turkish soldiers. As a result of many factors (mostly the public opinion in the Great powers- we have to mention not only Geshov contributed for this, but after all, his articles had huge impact over the renome of the Ottoman empire) Russia declare war against the turks and the won liberating Bulgaria in 1878 . As soon as he was out of the turkish prison for his articles, he became vital part of our political picture by this time. He was 3 times minister in 3 different Bulgarian governments, he continued his work as a journalist ( he was the creator of the biggest and most popular even now newspaper for Plovdiv- „Maritca“), he created Bulgarian Red Cross organization and Bulgarian academy of science! In 1897 Geshov took 25 % of the bequest of one of the biggest philantropists in our history- Evlogi Georgiev, making him… the new richest man in Bulgaria. He used many of this money to continue the work of Georgiev, helping talanted people, Bulgarian Red Cross, building schools and so on. The reason why he is knows as „the Bulgarian Faust“ is because of his actions when he became everything a politician can possibly want- he was educated, smart man, incredibly respected by Bulgarians, the wealthiest man in Bulgaria, possibly in top 5 of Balkan Peninsula and as a result in 1911 he became a Prime minister. By this time everybody in the world knew there will be a war in our region soon.
So he decided to become alliy with Greece and Serbia with really bad agreement clauses- Bulgaria should fight alone against 70 % of the turkish armies alone and also Macedonia ( the small country that liberated itself from Yugoslavia in the 90`s) was supposed to be shared by the allies which was against Stefan Stambolov`s (former Prime minister) idea of waiting for the Great war and joining the forses of Britain and France (100 years from now we know for sure that that was a great idea).
He thought Great war will not come soon and the Bulgarians in Macedonia will be under turkish slavery many more years. So in 1912 he declared war against the Ottoman empire and he won, but here comes why he is known as „Bulgarian Faust“- after the war most of the Bulgarians that were under turkish slavery, became under greek and serbian ones- far more worse, because they started ethnic cleaning of the region as soon as they took their part of the deal. So he decided to declare second war against his allies and of course turks declare war against Bulgaria just to gain back some of the territories they have lost just months ago. Facing an enemy with 3.4-4 times bigger armies,attacking us from all sides, Geshov surrenders, losing most of the teritorries, he had won and making the situation for Bulgarians outside of Bulgaria even worse. During the two wars Bulgarians lost over 120 000 people, which is huge number for our 4 million population by this time. By the end of his life he donates millions of his money ( probably 30-45 million euro in todays money) to Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, Red Cross organization for actions in Macedonia and the other nonBulgarian parts of Bulgaria. He dies by the age of 75 as one of the biggest philantropists in our history, successful minister, father of Bulgarian science and… such a faillure as a Prime minister that most of the good things he had done are not remembered .
Plovdiv Tours thanks Y.Ovcharov for the inspiring blog entry!