Then Cuban leader Fiden Castro with Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov in Sofia in the 1970s. Photo: Wikipedia
Our ranking of the nine most important events and developments (plus bonus events) in the history of Bulgaria which happened on the date of March 8 throughout the years:
#1. March 8, 1993 – Bulgaria signs an Association Agreement with the European Community (which becomes the European Union following the entering into force of the Maastricht Treaty on November 1, 1993) – essentially the first step towards Bulgaria’s EU membership.
Bulgaria joins the EU on January 1, 2007, becoming its 26th and 27th member states together with Romania.
#2. March 8, 1988 – One of the first independent dissident organizations in communist Bulgaria (1944/48 – 1989) is established in Sofia, “Public Committee for Environmental Protection of Ruse".
The organization is chaired by writer Georgi Mishev. It springs up spontaneously in response to the constant pollution of the Bulgarian Danube city of Ruse by a chemical plant in Giurgiu, Romania, on the opposite bank of the Danube River.
The founders of the committee are summoned by the communist authorities three days later to give explanations since they have not asked for the permission of the then ruling Bulgarian Communist Party to set up an organization.
#3. March 8, 2001 – Bulgaria ratifies urgently an agreement for military technical cooperation with the Republic of Macedonia.
With it, Bulgaria provides Macedonia free of charge with ammunition, engineering equipment, and reserve supplies during the brief civil war (February – November 2011) an insurgency by ethnic Albanian separatists in Northern Macedonia somewhat similar to the uprising of the Kosovo Liberation Army in Serbia’s then former Kosovo province in 1998-1999.
The 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia is ultimately stopped after Western pressure and major concessions on part of the Macedonian authorities.
#4. March 8, 1907 – Bulgaria’s first ever Stock Exchange Act enters into force (in the then Tsardom of Bulgaria, 1878/1908 – 1944/46).
#5. March 8, 1912 – The Tsardom of Bulgaria adopts an Administrative Justice Act establishing a Supreme Administrative Court. Since then, the court’s status has been modified a number of times but an institution with the same name is one of the top judicial bodies in modern-day Bulgaria.
#6. March 8, 1922 – University students in Sofia support their professors with a petition to the Parliament in a higher education crisis unfolding after in February 1922 the then Education Minister breaks university autonomy by ordering the President of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski" to fire 8 lecturers who are members of opposition political parties.
#7. March 8, 1864 – Bulgarian revolutionary leader Georgi Rakovski, a major figure in in the fight for Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman Empire (achieved in 1878) publishes in Bucharest, Romania, the first issue of the Budushtnost (“Futureness") newspaper promoting the Bulgarian cause but also closeness between Bulgarians and Romanians. He manages to publish only 10 issues for lack of funding.
#8. March 8, 1891 – In the then Principality (later Tsardom) of Bulgaria, Defense Minister Mihail Savov issues an order banning military officers from interfering in any way with the work of the independent military courts.
#10. March 8, 1944 – In the then Soviet Union, Stalin starts deporting the Balkars – deemed by some scholars to be distant descendants of the Ancient Bulgars – from their lands in the Northern Caucasus.