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The Strandzha Commune

 

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The Strandzha Commune or Strandzha Republic was a short-lived Bulgarian political entity, proclaimed during the Preobrazhenie Uprising in 1903 by Internal Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Organization rebels in Strandzha, in the Adrianople Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

By 1903, the anarchist Mihail Gerdzhikov became a guerrilla commander in the Internal Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Organisation’s armed wing in Thrace, the 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 insurrection supported by militia operations allowed a large part of Eastern Thrace to be taken by the rebels. In the region the population celebrated for about three weeks. A new communitarian system was set up and all questions were resolved in a spirit of mutual agreement between Bulgarians and Greeks receded. 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.

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