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The Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
(Bulgarian: бесарабски българи, besarabski bǎlgari, Romanian: bulgari basarabeni) are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine
Ukraine
( Odessa
Odessa
Oblast) and Moldova.

Contents

1 Location and number

1.1 Modern Ukraine 1.2 Modern Moldova

2 History 3 Notable Bessarabian Bulgarians 4 References

Location and number[edit]

Bulgarian-inhabited areas in Budjak
Budjak
(purple)

Bulgarian-inhabited areas in Moldova
Moldova
(brown)

Modern Ukraine[edit] In Ukraine, the number of Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
is estimated at over 129,000 in Budjak
Budjak
(in the Odessa Oblast
Odessa Oblast
in the southern part of the country), and 75,000 elsewhere (mostly in other parts of Southern Ukraine), according to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, which counted a total of 204,600 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Ukraine. Bulgarians
Bulgarians
are a majority in Bolhrad
Bolhrad
District (45,600 of its 75,000 inhabitants), but they also inhabit other districts of Budjak: Arciz - 20,200 of the 51,700, Tarutino - 17,000 of the 45,200, Izmail
Izmail
- 14,100 of the 54,700, and Sarata - 10,000 of the 49,900. There are also 8,600 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in the city of Izmayil
Izmayil
(85,100 total population). Outside Budjak, Odessa
Odessa
has many Bulgarians
Bulgarians
that have moved there in recent years. The city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky
Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky
is about 4% Bulgarian, making them the third-largest ethnicity there. Modern Moldova[edit] The results of the census held in October 2004, there are 65,072 Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
(1.95% of the population) in Moldova
Moldova
(excluding the region of Transnistria), concentrated mostly in the southern parts — chiefly in Taraclia
Taraclia
district. In the census held in November 2004 in Transnistria, 3,164 (3.16%) Bulgarians
Bulgarians
have been counted in Tighina
Tighina
and surroundings and further 10,515 (2.39%) on the Eastern bank of the river Dnestr. 29,447 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
live in the cities (and represent 2.26% of the urban dwellers), and 36,215 live in the countryside (1.74% of the rural inhabitants). 90.60% of ethnic Bulgarians
Bulgarians
were born in Moldova
Moldova
(the national average is 94.6%), 5,968 (9.09%) in other countries that were once in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(the national average is 5.16%), and 199 (0.30%) were born elsewhere. In Moldova
Moldova
(and likely Ukraine
Ukraine
too, although statistics are not available here), the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
tend to use their native Bulgarian in rural areas, and Russian (instead of the majority language Romanian) in cities and towns. 53,178 or 80.99% of ethnic Bulgarians
Bulgarians
declared Bulgarian language
Bulgarian language
as native (69.23% in urban areas, and 90.55% in rural ones), 2,766 or 4.21% of them declared Romanian language
Romanian language
as native (4.91% in urban areas, and 3.64% in rural ones), 9,134 or 13.91% of them declared Russian language
Russian language
as native (25.08% in urban areas, and 4.83% in rural ones), and 584 or 0.89% of them declared another language as native (0.78% in urban areas, and 0.98% in rural ones). 35,808 or 54.53% of ethnic Bulgarians
Bulgarians
declared Bulgarian language
Bulgarian language
as first language in daily use (36.81% in urban areas, and 68.95% in rural ones), 5,698 or 8.68% of them declared Moldovan language/ Romanian language
Romanian language
as first (7.93% in urban areas, and 9.29% in rural ones), 23,259 or 35.42% of them declared Russian language
Russian language
as first (54.45% in urban areas, and 19.95% in rural ones), and 897 or 1.37% of them declared another first language (0.81% in urban areas, and 1.81% in rural ones). Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
represent 28,293, or 65.56% of the population of the Taraclia
Taraclia
district. There are also Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Chişinău (8,868, or 1.2%), Găgăuzia
Găgăuzia
(8,013, or 5.1%), Cahul district
Cahul district
(5,816, or 4.9%), Leova district
Leova district
(3,804, or 7.4%), and Cantemir district (3,736, or 6.2%). The share of ethnic Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Transnistria
Transnistria
is 10,515 (2.39%), of which 2,450 (1.55%) in Tiraspol, and 7,323 (8.44%) in Slobozia sub-district
Slobozia sub-district
(which contains the village of Parcani). There are also 3,001 (3.09%) Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in the city of Tighina, and 342 in 3 suburbs. In total, there are 79,520 (2.02%) Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Moldova, including Transnistria. Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
represent a majority in one city of Moldova, Taraclia
Taraclia
(10,732 Bulgarians, or 78%) and in 8 communes in the country:

Tvardiţa
Tvardiţa
(Tvarditsa, Tvarditca), Taraclia district
Taraclia district
(5,396 of 5,882 inhabitants, 91.7%) Corten, Taraclia district
Taraclia district
(3,036 of 3,407 inhabitants, 87.5%) Colibabovca, Leova district
Leova district
(934 of 1,142 inhabitants, 81.8%) Cairaclia, Taraclia district
Taraclia district
(1,733 of 2,124 inhabitants, 81.6%) Stoianovca, Cantemir district
Cantemir district
(1,055 of 1,372 inhabitants, 76.9%) Valea Perjei, Taraclia district
Taraclia district
(3,792 of 4,986 inhabitants, 76%) Vozneseni, Leova district
Leova district
(985 of 1,396 inhabitants, 70.5%) Parcani, Transnistria
Transnistria
territorial unit, cca. 60%, exact data unknown

History[edit]

The welcome sign of Tvardiţa, Moldova, written mostly in Bulgarian

The modern population of Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
settled in the region of southern Bessarabia
Bessarabia
at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, at the time of feudal sedition in the Ottoman Empire, and after the Russo-Turkish Wars
Russo-Turkish Wars
of the period. Particularly strong waves of emigration emerged after the Russo-Turkish Wars
Russo-Turkish Wars
of 1806–1812 and 1828-1829. The settlers came primarily from what is now eastern Bulgaria, but many were also descendants from the western areas of the Bulgarian homelands (as far west as modern-day Albania) but had moved east in and before the 18th century. Alongside the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
who immigrated to Bessarabia
Bessarabia
were also a handful of Albanians
Albanians
who also had settled in eastern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
some time before. When Russian Armies were reaching and crossing Danube
Danube
during the Russian-Ottoman Wars, some local Bulgarians
Bulgarians
supported them. These people were compromised in the eyes of the Ottomans and therefore had a better chance moving to the Russian Empire. The Russian Propaganda also worked to convince Bulgarians
Bulgarians
to settle in areas recently conquered by them, from which Tatars were removed. Bulgarians
Bulgarians
settled not only in Bessarabia, but also in the Kherson region.[1] For the first time, Bulgarian and Gagauzian refugees in Bessarabia
Bessarabia
are mentioned in 1769. The 1817 census found Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in 12 Bessarabian villages in the valleys of the Ialpug (ro) and Lunga Rivers (Creeks): 482 Bulgarian and Gagauzian families and 38 Romanian families in these 12 villages. The leader of the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
and Gagauzians
Gagauzians
was a man referred to as Copceac. Seven of the 12 villages were Gagauzian (Baurci, Beşalma, Ceadîr-Lunga, Chessău, Dezghingea, Gaidar, and Tomai), and 5 were Bulgarian.[1] After arriving in Bessarabia, Bulgarians
Bulgarians
and Gagauzians
Gagauzians
founded their own towns, such as Bolhrad
Bolhrad
(1819) and Comrat, and around 64 (according to some sources[citation needed]) or 43 (according to other sources[2]) villages. In 1856, after the Treaty of Paris, two counties of southern Bessarabia, Cahul County
Cahul County
and Ismail County, reverted to the Principality of Moldavia
Principality of Moldavia
(since 1861 — Kingdom of Romania). These included the cities of Bolgrad, Ismail and Chilia. Gaguzian settlements centred on Comrat, however, remained in the Russian Empire. A Bulgarian high school (gymnasium), the Bolhrad
Bolhrad
High School, was founded in Bolgrad
Bolgrad
(Bolhrad) on June 28, 1858 by the Moldavian authorities of Alexandru Ioan Cuza,[2] which had a positive effect on the development of Bulgarian education and culture, and is in fact the first modern Bulgarian gymnasium. In 1861, 20,000 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
from the Romanian part of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
moved to Russia, where they were given land in Taurida Governorate
Taurida Governorate
to replace the Nogais
Nogais
who had left what was formerly territory of the Crimean Khanate. Those settlers founded another Bulgarian community — the Tauridan Bulgarians. After the whole region of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
was re-incorporated again by the Russia
Russia
Empire in 1878, the process of Russification
Russification
grew stronger, as many Bulgarian intellectuals returned to newly established Principality of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
to help set up the Bulgarian state. The Bulgarian minority was deprived of the rights earned during the Romanian control. The whole of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
united with Romania in April 1918, after the Russian Revolution and the collapse of the Russian Empire. In contrast with the previous period of Romanian control, most cultural and educational rights of the Bulgarian minority were not returned, as many Bulgarians
Bulgarians
underwent Romanianization
Romanianization
policies. During the Tatarbunar Uprising
Tatarbunar Uprising
of 1924, when Soviets unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the Romanian administration in southern Bessarabia, many Bulgarians
Bulgarians
(alongside local Moldovans (Romanians), and Bessarabian Germans) sided with Romanian authorities, as pointed out by Gheorghe Tătărescu
Gheorghe Tătărescu
in the report given on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior to the Romanian Parliament in 1925.[3] The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
of 1939 led to a Soviet ultimatum in June 1940, the invasion of Soviet forces into Bessarabia, and its inclusion into the Soviet Union. Although being an officially accepted minority under Soviet rule, the Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
lost some features of their cultural identity in the period. A movement of national revival originated in the 1980s, with Bulgarian newspapers being published, cultural and educational associations being established, and Bulgarian being introduced into the local schools especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union: first only as an optional, but later as a compulsory subject. The Association of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Ukraine
Ukraine
was founded in 1993, and Taraclia State University, co-funded by the Bulgarian state, was established in the largely Bulgarian-populated Moldovan town of Taraclia
Taraclia
in 2004. The languages of education at the university are Bulgarian and Romanian. Notable Bessarabian Bulgarians[edit]

Georgi Todorov, military figure, general Dimitar Agura, historian Petar Draganov, philologist Dimitar Grekov, politician and public figure, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Ivan Kolev, general Kirill Kovaldzhi
Kirill Kovaldzhi
(on father's side), Russian poet and translator Iurie Leancă
Iurie Leancă
(on mother's side), diplomat, Moldovan politician, Prime Minister of Moldova Aleksandar Malinov, politician and public figure, three times Prime Minister of Bulgaria Ruslan Maynov, actor and musician Danail Nikolaev, military figure, known as "The Patriarch of the Bulgarian army" Olimpi Panov, military figure Ivan Shishman, painter Vasile Tarlev, economist, Moldovan politician, Prime Minister of Moldova Aleksandar Teodorov-Balan, linguist, first rector of Sofia University Arkadiy Tsopa, freestyle wrestler Nikolay Paslar, freestyle wrestler Yona Tukuser, painter, https://web.archive.org/web/20120111154515/http://tukuser.com/ Anastasiya Kisse, rhythmic gymnast

References[edit]

^ a b Ion Nistor, Istoria Basarabiei, Cernăuţi, 1923, reprinted Chişinău, Cartea Moldovenească, 1991, p. 200-201 ^ a b Ion Nistor ^ M. Adauge, A. Furtuna, Basarabia si basarabenii, Chişinău, 1991, p. 292-294

Grek, Ivan and Nikolay Chervenkov. Българите в Украйна и Молдова. Минало и настояще (Balgarite v Ukrayna i Moldova. Minalo i nastoyashte), Sofia, 1993 Navakov, Saveliy Z. Социально-экономическое развитие болгарских и гагаузких сел Южной Бесарабии (1857–1918) (Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoe razvitie bolgarskikh i gagauzkikh sel Yuzhnoy Besarabii (1857–1918)), Chişinău, 2004 Rodolyubets Almanach, volumes 1 — 6, (Sofia, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004)

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