Strandzha Commune

The Strandzha Commune or Strandzha Republic[1] was a short-lived anarchist commune in Bulgaria. proclaimed during the Preobrazhenie Uprising in 1903 by Internal Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Organization rebels in Strandzha, in the Adrianople Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

Strandzha Commune

Странджанска комуна
Странджанска република
Малкотърновска република
StatusIndependent Republic
CapitalCentered around Malko Tarnovo
Historical eraIlinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising
18 August 1903
8 September 1903
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Today part of Bulgaria


By 1903, the anarchist Mihail Gerdzhikov was elected as a commander of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation's armed guerrilla wing in Thrace, the so-called Mortal Combat Body which helped stage a revolt against the Ottomans in Adrianople Vilayet. In the Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising Gerdzhikov's forces about 2,000 strong, facing a Turkish garrison of 10,000 well-armed troops, managed to establish a liberated zone in the Strandzha Mountains, centered in Vasiliko. This successful mass uprising, supported by militia, allowed the rebels to capture most of East Thrace, settling in Malko Tarnovo. The population of the region celebrated victory for three weeks. In the region, under the influence of the anarcho-communist views of Gerdzhikov and the leadership of the Odrinsk revolutionary district, a new communal management system was established where all issues were resolved by mutual agreements between the Bulgarians and Greeks.

The economy of the Strandzha Commune was based on anarcho-communist principles. Most of the labor force was composed of women, who worked in the farms as men became guerilla fighters. The Turkish government was surprised by the uprising, taking extraordinary military measures to suppress it. The Ottomans managed to destroy the Strandzha Republic, committing atrocities against the rebel forces and the local population. As a result of the suppression, about 30,000 refugees took refuge in Bulgaria.

See also



  • Khadzhiev, Georgi (1992). "The Transfiguration Uprising and the 'Strandzha Commune': The First Libertarian Commune in Bulgaria". Nat︠s︡ionalnoto osvobozhdenie i bezvlastnii︠a︡t federalizŭm [National Liberation and Libertarian Federalism] (in Bulgarian). Translated by Firth, Will. Sofia: Artizdat-5. pp. 99–148. OCLC 27030696.

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