Historical story

Putin unfolds the methods of the tsars. The green men were already 130 years ago!

When Bulgaria did not want to listen to Russia, the tsarist agents entered the action. The emperor's green men have kidnapped the reluctant ruler. A prince coming - of course - from Poland.

In 1878, during a congress in Berlin, the great powers allowed the establishment of the Duchy of Bulgaria. It was only necessary to find a suitable ruler. Only 22-year-old Alexander Battenberg won in this political casting. Although he was the son of the Duke of Hesse, he had strong ties with Russia. He had just served in the tsarist army in the war against Turkey.

Aleksander was also partly Polish. His mother is Julia Hauke ​​- daughter of the Polish count, General Jan Maurycy Hauke. This general, although he fought in the Kościuszko Uprising and then alongside Napoleon, did not support the November Uprising in 1830. Irritated insurgents chopped him up with bullets and later the Russian authorities made the unfortunate hero their hero. The generous Tsar even looked after his daughter Julia. So the Russians trusted Aleksander Battenberg, considering him "their" man. For a puppet. They miscalculated a lot.

General Maurycy Hauke ​​- a Polish count who was the grandfather of the Duke of Bulgaria (source:public domain).

A coup in the middle of the night

It turned out that the boy took the nomination seriously and wanted to make his own decisions - without consulting the tsar! Of course, he had to maneuver between Russia, Turkey and smaller countries. He tried to strengthen Bulgaria, even at the expense of conflicts with its neighbors and protectors. It was a somewhat careless attitude and it must have led to a war.

In the fall of 1885, Bulgaria was attacked by Serbia, Russia's client, by the way. Then Alexander (who knows, maybe his grandfather's blood spoke in him?) Without looking back at the Tsar and not waiting for his help, he stood up against the aggressors himself. The victory strengthened the position of the prince. Before, he seemed like a complete stranger, a "paratrooper" from the West. The triumph has made him a true hero of the Bulgarians.

Battenberg strengthened, but was not strong enough for the Russians. There were a lot of "allied" tsarist servicemen in his country, and there were also Russophiles in the army. On this basis, the fifth column against the prince was created, the 19th century "green men". It was because of them that, shortly after his success in 1885, Alexander Battenberg was to experience great humiliation. Here in the summer of 1886, Russian agents… kidnapped the ruler!

Tsar of Russia, Alexander III. Although he was privately a cousin of the Prince of Bulgaria, Alexander Battenberg, he did not hesitate to send "green men" on him (a fragment of a portrait by Ivan Kramski, public domain).

“Ruling Bulgaria for eight years, to the general satisfaction of not only his subjects but also Europe, the heroic victor in the war with Serbia, was suddenly kidnapped in the night (August 20, 1886) from his palace and since then all traces of him have disappeared. The only one found led through the park to the banks of the Danube - it was all over here. The hand of Russia was suspected in this, wrote Marian Rosco Bogdanowicz, a chronicler of scandals of that era. He continued:

"Suspicions towards Russia were met with disbelief, however. It did not seem permissible for Russian policy to resort to such drastic measures in the full 19th century ; In order that Alexander III [Romanow] wanted to remind Europe of the methods of Catherine II, applied to Polish patriots at the Grodno Seym. Meanwhile, a week has passed since the kidnapping of the Bulgarian prince and there was no news! ”.

Suddenly the news came. But not from Russia, but ... from Lviv!

A hero in a dressing gown and slippers

The Austrian authorities there received from the border of Podwoloczyska one hundred and seventy kilometers away "a telegram from Prince Alexander informing that the Muscovites had dropped him on the border, wearing a bathrobe and slippers, without clothes, penniless, and that he was asking for help." When the Austrians went there, they found the proud Bulgarian ruler in the above-mentioned attire, "fed on credit in the train station cafeteria".

Portrait of Prince Alexander Battenberg drawn around 1880 by Dimitar Karastoyanov (source:public domain).

It was a real humiliation. Battenberg's resonance returned only after his arrival in Lviv itself. At every turn he heard shouts of "Long live Bulgaria!" and ... "Long live Poland!". Thousands of people cheered. "As the news of his arrival in Podwoloczyska spread rapidly around Lviv, crowds waited at St. Mary's Square, where he was given such an ovation that the prince had to go out to the balcony several times in such incomplete attire ”- wrote Marian Rosco Bogdanowicz. - “And so Lviv has become the center of European interest for two weeks! Telegrams spread the message all over the world, the press of which wired for details and sent special reporters to Lviv. "

The prince's stories about what had happened to him were also spread. They showed that on the night of August 20, "green men" bribed or frightened the guards, and then fell into the ruler's bedroom. The impostors were raving about their revenge for holding promotions. But they abdicated the rulers! They ordered Battenberg to sign the paper - under the bayonets, with revolvers pointed at the head. "God save Bulgaria! Alexander, ”wrote the prince.

Then the kidnappers dragged him out of the palace. First by carriage, and then by ship, they transported the prince to the Russian port of Renia. From there they were taken to the border with Austria and left at their fate in Podwoloczyska ...

Battenberg Mausoleum in Sofia, Bulgaria (photo:Plamen Agov, license CC ASA 3.0).

Alexander and Alexander III

A Bulgarian delegation came to Lviv for the prince. Everyone knew, however, that returning to Sofia could mean further trouble for Battenberg and for Bulgaria itself. Hiding his wounded pride, the prince sent a telegram to Tsar Alexander III Romanov. He asked if his emperor would sometimes mind his return. Having received no answer, he left for the country.

His allies in Bulgaria, meanwhile, did not give up to Russophiles and their sponsors. There were fights with the tsarist agents. The organizers of the conspiracy on the life of the prince were discovered. Some were imprisoned, others were murdered. Bulgaria did not want to be just a humble petitioner of Russia.

Aleksander with his family - his wife Johanna and son Asen - two years before his death (source:public domain).

The prince was greeted with ovations, but the joy was definitely premature. During the days, the tsar finally contacted Battenberg. “I cannot agree to your return to Bulgaria. Your Majesty knows well what he should do ” - he said. The prince did not have strong enough allies, and the country - living in the shadow of the still dangerous Turkey - could not yet afford a sharp conflict with Russia. Like it or not, the Duke finally abdicated on September 6, 1886.

He started serving in the Austrian army. He also became involved with the opera singer Johanna Loisinger. Misalliance? After his recent experiences, Battenberg did not care at all what people would say. However, family happiness was not meant for him. Already in 1893, he died of peritonitis. Within a year, Tsar Alexander III also died of nephritis. The first Russian ruler who shook European politics with the help of "green men". The first, but not the last.