A memorable evening in honor of Dimitar Gichev

от: 2018-11-18 12:00    до: 2018-11-19 12:00

A memorable evening on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Dimitar Lyubomirov Gichev will be held on November 18, 2018 at 1 pm in Danovo School - Perushtitsa.

Little-known newly received materials related to the life and work of the worthy son of Perushtitsa will be presented, kindly presented to the Historical Museum of Perushtitsa by his family.

Dimitar Gichev is one of the prominent statesmen of Bulgaria, a democrat and activist of the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union. He was born on November 18, 1893 in Perushtitsa in the awake Revival family of Raina and Lyubomir Gichevi. As a child he grew up among the surviving generation of black wedding guests, remembering the bloody April days of 1876. He completed his education at the Sofia Theological Seminary, and in 1911. is already a member of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union.


Dimitar was a participant during the First World War, but not as a regular soldier, but as a paramedic - the reason for this probably lies in his spiritual education, which determines a pacifist view of life. It was from the war period that his acquaintance with Alexander Stamboliiski dates back, which later opened the way for his political career, initially as a district organizer of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union in Plovdiv, and later as a district governor of the district, but from the time of the independent management of the agricultural government (1920-1923).


With the assistance of Gichev and his active intervention in Perushtitsa, a number of problems of the town were solved, such as: opening of a rural veterinary station, functioning of a meteorological bureau, a farm support station, procurement of materials for electrification of the town from Vacha power plant. of a rural municipal court, as well as the opening of a real high school.

Gichev held the position of District Governor of Plovdiv until the elections of April 22, 1923, in which farmers won 569,139 votes, which is 52.7% of the total number of voters, providing 86.5% of seats in the National Assembly. In these elections, Dimitar was elected Member of Parliament, but only for a few months, because on June 9, 1923, Stamboliiski's government was forcibly overthrown by the People's Alliance and the Military Union. By order of the then Interior Minister Gen. Ivan Rusev began mass personnel changes. In the period June 9-12, the dismissal of all heads of the district administration, appointed by the agricultural authorities. In general, the Tsankov government (1923-1926) pursued a purposeful and consistent policy of defeating the AUA. Hundreds have been affected by the repression of the June 9 government, and AUA members have been persecuted, tried and imprisoned in various local prisons. As a Member of Parliament, Dimitar Gichev was interned in Plovdiv Prison.


Only during the government of Andrei Lyapchev (1926-1931) was there a gradual normalization of political life in the country and the restoration of normal political activity of farmers. In February 1926. Lyapchev's cabinet voted for an amnesty, and although it was partial, it was clearly selective. Despite its limitations, the amnesty released about 7,000 people, of whom 1,157 were political prisoners (ministers, MPs and senior officials in Alexander Stamboliiski's government). However, the released were banned from committing political crimes for 3 years, otherwise they would serve not only the new sentence, but also the old one.


The government's refusal to use the brutal methods of the previous regime is reflected in the lifting of the political "quarantine" imposed on the Agrarian Union. This makes it possible to highlight important characteristics of the agricultural movement. It is massive and vital, and political persecutions have not dulled the taste of the peasantry for public activity. However, the movement was not uniform and the result by the end of 1926. is natural, namely - its ideological and organizational fragmentation. The differences among the individual AAUs are mainly on the question of whether to act independently or not, and if we move to the option of cooperation, the question is who should be the other political forces.

The most massive current turned out to be the Vrabcha 1 AUA, in which, however, two wings were also observed, fighting for supremacy. One wing, represented by Georgi Markov's group, declared cooperation with the bourgeois-democratic forces. The other - represented by the group of Dimitar Gichev and Georgi Yordanov, defends the independent actions. Despite the division, the Vrabcha 1 AAU performed well in the elections for the XXII ONSheld on May 29, 1927, at which farmers received 42 seats. Gradually, the two wings of the Agrarian Union "Sparrow 1" realized the need for formal unification, which officially took place at the Congress of Farmers held between 21 and 23 November 1929, but after that both wings continued the hidden struggle with the tendency to impose the influence of Dimitar Gichev and the people around him.

In the early 1930s, the leadership of the Vrabcha 1 Agrarian Union gradually and with reservations renounced the principle of independent political action and took a course towards rapprochement with the bourgeois opposition parties. As a basis for joint action, Gichev insisted on a common platform, which would include the abolition of exclusive laws, political amnesty and a qualitative change in the system of government, and not just a change of personalities. At the same time, the agricultural leadership makes it clear that the union is coming out of its professional closure and that it is not a threat to the existence of public order.

On December 14, 1930. Zemedelsko Zname newspaper writes that the fears of the other Agrarian Party parties are unfounded because "the union is" neither for capitalism nor for communism and anarchism. " Such reassuring declarations are necessary because both the tsar and the bourgeois parties have long maintained their suspicions that if he returns to power, the Agrarian Union will renew the policy of Stamboliiski's time. It is for a "constitutional parliamentary regime with a royal institute."

A little later in the elections scheduled for June 21, 1931. The farmers from Vrabcha 1 and the Stara Zagora Agrarian Union, together with the Democratic Party, the National Liberal Party and the Radical Party, formed a coalition under the name of the People's Bloc, which, as it turned out, won the elections convincingly. Thus, for the first and last time in the period 1919-1944, a Bulgarian government was overthrown by a vote of the voters. The results are as follows: 625,553 (NB), which is 47.6% of the total number of voters.

At that time, one of the wings of the Agrarian Union of Bulgaria advised Dimitar Gichev not to accept the idea of participating in the government, but only to support it in parliament. The arguments are that in time Gichev will be nominated as Malinov's deputy and will become prime minister of a new type of cabinet, which will conduct the AUA platform entirely. However, Gichev renounced the waiting position and was not afraid to take over the political custody of the Democrats.

His hope is that by participating in the administration, farmers will be able to prove in practice that they have given up the extremes of the Stamboliiski-era agricultural regime and that in the indefinite but near future they will be able to regain independent power and to exercise it within and in accordance with the provisions of the Tarnovo Constitution. This position of Gichev shows the evolution of the Agrarian Union, which is moving in the direction of introducing more pragmatism, of compliance not only with the interests of the village.


In the end, 3 farmers took part in the formed government of the National Bank with Prime Minister Alexander Malinov and later Nikola Mushanov (from October 12, 1931). These are: Dimitar Gichev - Minister of Agriculture and State Property, Georgi Yordanov - Minister of Public Buildings, Roads and Public Works and Konstantin Muraviev - Minister of Public Education. The government took over in a difficult situation for the country, caused by the global economic crisis. This necessitates timely action in order to overcome the consequences for the economy.


Legislative changes initiated by farmers with an emphasis on the problems of the village in the crisis

1. Law for amendment and supplement of the law for purchase and export of cereals. These changes concern the state-owned company Hranoiznos, accepting Gichev's idea of monopolizing the country's grain trade.

2. After a critical report by D. Gichev, the National Assembly gave him a mandate to change the administration of the Bulgarian Agricultural Bank. The report shows that the bank did not have the interests of the farmer in the foreground. On the contrary, it cooperated in such a way that the peasant debtor fell under 'full economic enslavement'. The change of administration restores the bank's policy to a large extent in line with its actual purpose as a creditor to the farmer.

3. Law for protection of the farmer-owner. This law was adopted only after Gichev's categorical position that if it is not voted, the minister will resign. The problem turns out to be the indebtedness of the Bulgarian peasant, whose debts amount to BGN 9.8 billion. The loans were taken in the conditions of a more favorable economic situation, but their servicing became difficult and even impossible in the conditions of the economic crisis and the catastrophic devaluation of agricultural production.

The law enshrines the principle of guaranteeing the land and property of the peasants as a condition for their solvency and for repayment of debts to state institutions within 3.5 to 10 years. The scope of the law includes debts of up to BGN 200,000, made by farmers owning up to 250 decares of land. In addition, a minimum amount of 50 decares of agricultural property is determined, which should not be seized or announced for public sale.

4. Issuance of legislative acts for promotion of beet production, rice production, rose production, sericulture, etc. Tariffs on imported cotton and wool are being raised. Bulgarian industrialists are obliged to buy domestic raw materials at higher than normal prices.

5. The Budget Act of 1932-1933 introduced tax reliefs, which in practice exempted the peasants from land tax.

6. Law for amendment and supplement for the labor agricultural holdings, which provides facilitations for the land of low-income and landless peasants.

In the management there are tendencies in the legislation, aiming at changes in the structure of agriculture. The incumbent of the Ministry of Agriculture Dimitar Gichev tends to the predominant development of cattle breeding. The government is aware that the transformation of the agricultural sector requires above all time and resources, and the results would be available later. But they are also convinced that the idea of reconstruction is promising, as evidenced by the fact that subsequent governments after May 19, 1934. Efforts to modernize the agricultural sector continue.

During the rule of Nikola Mushanov in the policy of the Agrarian Union "Sparrow 1" is impressive the method with which farmers pursue their line to increase their positions in power, but without manifestations of maximalism. An application for this was made by the leadership of the union during the party congress in 1932. as the set goals are achieved with political finesse in a few well-measured steps.


First it was decided to replace the Minister of Public Buildings, Roads and Public Works Georgi Yordanov, and his place to be taken by the younger and energetic political secretary of the union Vergil Dimov. The change took place on September 8, 1932.

The next step was taken at the end of the same year, when farmers asked their coalition partners to provide them with one of the ministries of economic importance. On the pages of the newspaper "Agricultural Flag" Dimitar Gichev argues with the desire for intensified reform activities, especially in the field of financial and economic life of the country. On December 28th, the three agriculture ministers resigned following the reluctance of the other parties in the coalition to comply with their demands. This tactic proved successful and achieved its goal. Thus, the Agrarian Union of Bulgaria received the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor, and this department was headed by Dimitar Gichev until May 19, 1934.

The next step was taken a few days after this change. In January 1933. on the pages of the newspaper "Agricultural Flag" it was announced that the reconstruction of the cabinet does not fully satisfy the farmers. It is pointed out that out of 75 out of 275 MPs, the union holds only 3 out of 10 ministerial posts. But in this case, there is no rush. The intentions are only stated. The leadership of the Agrarian Union "Sparrow 1" does not take active action to cause this change at any cost and thus bear the political responsibility for bringing disharmony to the coalition. It is waiting for the development of events to provide him with a case for pressure to expand positions in government. Only on May 11, 1934, days before the coup, at a meeting of the parliamentary group of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union with the participation of the three ministers, a decision was made to request at least one more ministerial post. But there is no time, because the political circle "Unit" and the Military Union successfully carried out the coup on the night of May 18-19.

One of the first steps of the new government with Prime Minister Kimon Georgiev is the issuance of an ordinance-law, which disbands all party-political organizations and their divisions and prohibits any further political activity. In fact, in this situation, the Tarnovo Constitution, without being officially repealed, is practically not observed in its most important parts.


The coup plotters do not rule out the possibility of involving some of the political figures of the parties in cooperation with the new government. However, when contacts between politicians take on an anti-government orientation, they are severed, severely warned, interned or closed.

The former rulers welcomed the coup with disapproval and advised their members to remain calm. On the pages of the newspaper "Zemedelsko Zname" from May 27 it was announced that "the real national heroes will be all those who keep their cool and calm in these difficult days."

Under Andrei Toshev's government, although constantly placed under police surveillance, political parties and their publications were given some leeway. And, of course, they do not fail to use it. At that time, the Vrabcha 1 Agrarian Union remained one of the most significant political forces, and even Dimitar Gichev claimed that a new government of farmers, democrats and Tsankovists was possible. In general, the management of farmers has been in intensive activity since the beginning of 1936. On January 14, Dimitar Gichev sent a district letter entitled "There is no time to lose," which calls for "the immediate restoration of the freedoms and rights of the people and their involvement in the governance of the state and municipalities," by universal and secret ballot. The Tarnovo constitution, which has not been formally repealed, is said to need to be effectively restored. This turned out to be a turning point in his life, because after its publication Dimitar Gichev was convicted and imprisoned for several months in the Klisura Monastery and released in the same year. However, this does not stop him from continuing the work of consolidating the opposition. In this process Agrarian Union "Sparrow 1" is a leading factor.

During the summer, Gichev's farmers formed one opposition center, which grew into the so-called Petorka (Agrarian Union "Vrabcha 1", BRSDP, the Democratic Alliance, the Radical Party and the National Liberal Party. This forced Boris III to hold a series of audiences with the leaders of the opposition parties in a government headed by Kyoseivanov. In this formula, however, the hidden premise is evident that in this way the Tsankovists and the Gitchists will weaken each other, something that Gichev himself foresees. Naturally, this plan was not implemented on July 4, 1936. Kyoseivanov's second government was formed, but without the participation of the farmers. One of the primary goals of this cabinet is to hold parliamentary elections, which were held only in 1938. At that moment, Gichev, imprisoned for the second time in the 1930s in Zlatograd, was released to take his place as an MP in the 24th ONS, whose life turned out to be short.


As a member of this parliament, Gichev, along with two other colleagues, asked Prime Minister Georgi Kyoseivanov about Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia and demanded clarification on the government's foreign policy in the changing complex international environment. Farmers are in a position of neutrality for Bulgaria during the Second World War, and do not accept the country's participation in the Tripartite Pact.

In 1944 Dimitar Gichev participated as a minister without portfolio in the government of Konstantin Muraviev from 2 to 9 September. He himself humorously describes the situation with the words that Bulgaria does not know such a cabinet with three ministers without ministries.


For his participation in this government, Gichev was sentenced by the People's Court to 1 year in prison, and later pardoned and released on the eve of the elections in the fall of 1945, when he joined Nikola Petkov's opposition Agrarian Union. On December 31, 1947. was arrested again and convicted on April 16, 1948. to life imprisonment. All his property was confiscated.

On the 8th year of his sentence (1958), he was asked to sign a declaration declaring his support for communist rule and his willingness to cooperate with it. This happened after the overthrow of Valko Chervenkov and the time was right, because Gichev could be presented as a victim of Stalinism and attracting him to the side of the Communists would shake hundreds of thousands of farmers - enemies of the regime, many of whom were tortured in camps and close. In exchange for his signature, Gichev was promised amnesty and even a political position in the communist state, along with all the ensuing privileges. Gichev understands that if he accepts, he will finally break the agricultural movement in Bulgaria, and he refuses.

He was not released from prison until 1960. Sick and exhausted, the agricultural leader spent the last four years of his life in poverty. He died on April 26, 1964, with a "heart failure" as the cause of death.


 Author: Mario Jasim