|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2009)|
The Ratniks (Ратник), or Warriors for the Advancement of the Bulgarian National Spirit, were members of a far-right Bulgarian nationalist organization founded in 1936. Its ideas were close to those of Germany's National Socialists, including antisemitism and paramilitarism, but also loyalty to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Ratniks (ratnitsi) wore red uniforms in outright competition with the communists for the hearts and minds of the Bulgarian youth, and also badges bearing the Bogar.
Famous Ratniks were Emanuil Popdimitrov, a Bulgarian writer and nationalist from the Western Outlands, Dimitar Talev, a Bulgarian writer and nationalist from Macedonia, Fani Popova-Mutafova, a famous Bulgarian writer, and the professor and translator of German National Socialist works Ljubomir Vladikin. One of the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Petur Gabrovski, was the founder of the Ratniks along with four other Bulgarian Nationalists. Another very famous Ratnik was Alexander Belev, Bulgarian Commissar for Jewish Affairs.
The extremely nationalistic Ratniks were banned even before 1944 by the government, although the Ratniks claimed to be loyal to the Monarchy and King Boris III of Bulgaria. The most famous activism done by the Ratniks was the so-called "Bulgarian Kristallnacht". It happened on September 20, 1939. The Ratniks were marching in Sofia and throwing stones at the Jewish shops. The police did nothing to stop them, so many Jewish stores were damaged and property destroyed.
With the coming of the Red Army and the Bolsheviks into Bulgaria on September 9, 1944, Ratniks disappeared from the Bulgarian scene. Many of the leaders became members of the Bulgarian national government abroad, some of the young Ratniks become volunteers in the Wehrmacht, while others chose to stay in Bulgaria and fight against the Communists.