Dimitar Blagoev Nikolov (Bulgarian: Димитър Благоев Николов); (14 June 1856 – 7 May 1924) was a Bulgarian political leader, the founder of Bulgarian socialism and of the first social democratic party in the Balkans. Blagoev was also a prominent proponent of ideas for the establishment of a Balkan Federation. He is usually regarded and self-identified as a Bulgarian occasionally as a Macedonian Slav.
Early years and education
Blagoev was born in the village of Zagorichani in the region of Macedonia (today Vasiliada in Agioi Anargyroi, Kastoria, Greece), at that time part of the Ottoman Empire. In his youth he was influenced by the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival. In his memoirs written in 1922, Blagoev mentions that he was born in a pure Bulgarian village, receiving his national idea by Bulgarian agitators and as a result he was educated in nationalist spirit. He learned consequently in Bulgarian Exarchate's schools in Istanbul (1873–1874), Adrianople (1874–1875), Gabrovo (1875–1876) and Stara Zagora (1876–1877). As a student in Gabrovo he supported the cause of the April uprising, and participated on its preparation. During the Russo-Turkish War, he supported the activity of the opalchentsi and the Russian Army. Later he studied at the Odessa Realschule from 1878 to 1880. He became involved in public activities in the early 1880s, while a student at Saint Petersburg University in Russia. In the Russian capital he matured with Marx and while still under the influence of populist ideas and those of Proudhon and Lassale. Blagoev created the first social democratic group in Russia, called a party, with its press organ, the "Rabochii" (Worker) newspaper.
Return to Bulgaria
Extradited in 1885 by the Russian government, Blagoev returned to Bulgaria, settled in Sofia and began to propagate socialist ideas. In July 1891 on the initiative of Blagoev, the social democratic circles of Tyrnovo, Gabrovo, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Kazanlyk and other cities united to form the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP). The marxist nucleus of the BSDP was opposed by a group, who were essentially opposed to making the social democratic movement into a party. In 1893 this group, led by Yanko Sakazov, founded a reformist organization, the Bulgarian Social Democratic Union. In 1894, Blagoev’s supporters agreed to unite with the Unionists in the interests of working class unity and took the name Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party. He was a founder and became the leader of its left wing, which split from the BSDWP in 1903 to found the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Narrow Socialists). Blagoev was also activist of the Plovdiv Macedonian-Adrianople Committee, and its chairman from 1897. In 1898 Gotse Delchev made attempt to convince him to lead the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee, but he refused. Under his guidance the foundations of the class trade-union movement was laid in 1904. From 1897 to 1923 Blagoev directed the publication of the party’s theoretical organ, the journal "Novo vreme", which published more than 500 of his articles. Meanwhile, he worked as teacher in different cities in Bulgaria. In 1905, Blagoev translated into Bulgarian the first volume of Das Kapital and a number of other works by Marx. Blagoev’s book "From the History of Socialism in Bulgaria" was published in 1906 and it book initiated Bulgarian Marxist historiography. He led the delegations of narrow socialists at the Balkan socialist conferences in Belgrade (1910) and Bucharest (1915).
Wartime activities and stance
He was against foreign intervention by the Great Powers in Southeast Europe, believed in a Balkan Federative Republic and opposed Bulgaria's military engagements in the Second Balkan War and First World War. A deputy to the National Assembly of Bulgaria, Blagoev voted in October 1914, along with the rest of the faction of narrow socialists, against war credits. During World War I as deputy Blagoev exposed "the war’s imperialist nature and the traitorous role of the Second International". Blagoev hailed the Russian October Socialist Revolution and propagandized for the ideas of the Bolsheviks. Under his leadership the Narrow Socialist party broke with the Second International. In a speech before the Bulgarian National Assembly in 1917, Blagoev called himself a "Macedonian Slav". In a Declaration against the Treaty of Neuilly, read by Dimiter Blagoev in the Bulgarian National Assembly in 1919 he protested against the partition of the Bulgarian land and nation and promoted the ideas of the Bulgarian Soviet Socialist Republic, as a part of a Balkan Federal Soviet Socialist Republic, as the only political solution able to assure freedom of Macedonia, Thrace and Dobroudja and as a counterweight of Bulgarian nationalism.
Later years and death
Blagoev led the Narrow Socialists into the Communist International in 1919, and the party changed its name to the Bulgarian Communist Party. However, during this period Blagoev and the party as a whole did not completely adopt Bolshevik's positions on the basic questions. This determined the party’s policies during the Vladaya Soldiers’ Rebellion of 1918 and the military coup of 9 June 1923 when the party adopted a position of neutrality. He was also an opponent of the failed September Uprising and thought that there were no ripe conditions for a revolution in Bulgaria yet.
Blagoev was also author of a number of research essays on questions of Marxist philosophy, political economy, history, esthetics, and Bulgarian literature. He died in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- The city of Gorna Dzhumaya in today's Blagoevgrad Province in Bulgaria was renamed after him, Blagoevgrad.
- The village of Blahoyeve in Odessa Oblast was renamed in 1923 after him (formerly Velikiy Buyalyk).
- The settlement of Blagoyevo in the Komi Republic of Russia also bears Dimitar Blagoev's name.
- The Buzludzha Monument on the peak of Buzludzha was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the 1891 founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. It was opened in 1981.
- The Dissemination of Economic Ideas, Heinz D. Kurz, Keith Tribe, Tamotsu Nishizawa, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011, ISBN 0857935577, pp. 178-179.
- Historical destiny of the Macedonian Bulgarians. Evidence for the Bulgarian Revival in Macedonia. Dimitar Raykov, Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofia, 1997 - "Bulgarian, born in Macedonia".
- The formation of labour movements, 1870-1914: an international perspective, Jürgen Rojahn, ISBN 90-04-09276-5, BRILL, 1990, p. 403.
- Religion and power in Europe: conflict and convergence, Joaquim Carvalho, Edizioni Plus, 2007, ISBN 88-8492-464-2, p. 263.
- An introduction to post-communist Bulgaria: political, economic, and social transformations, Emil Giatzidis, Manchester University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7190-6095-8, p. 18.
- Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810855658, p. 28.
- Biographical dictionary of European labor leaders, A. T. Lane, ISBN 0-313-26456-2, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995, ISBN 0-313-29899-8, pp. 98-99.
- Dimitar Blagoev, Short notes from my life, 1926, p.1
- Entangled Paths Towards Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans, Augusta Dimou, Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 9639776386p. 45.
- София Василева, © Електронно списание LiterNet, 10.10.2006, № 10 (83) Историческите стенописи в старозагорската църква "Св. Димитър".
- History of the Balkans: Twentieth century, Joint Committee on Eastern Europe publication series, Barbara Jelavich, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-27459-1, p. 138.
- Орде Иваноски. „Искажување на Димитар Благоев за народността на Македонците пред Бугарскиот парламент во 1917“ (Современост, Скопје), Јануари 1967
- Библ. Николова В., Куманов М., Кратък исторически справочник, т. III, София 1983.
- Declaration of the Bulgarian Communist Party against the Neuilly Peace Treaty, read by Dimiter Blagoev in the National Assembly.
- John D. Bell (1986), The Bulgarian Communist Party from Blagoev to Zhivkov, Hoover Institution Press, p22
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