Stefan Stambolov lead Bulgaria through some of it’s most turbulent times. After the ousting of the country’s first Prince, Stambolov restores him to the throne, only for him to promptly abdicate. Stambolov then steps in to the void and leads the country with an authoritarian hand and stabilises the economy and brings security at the detriment of the people’s freedom due to his increasingly authoritarian style of governing.
Through his efforts to create and maintain independence after centuries of Ottoman rule, a successor to the throne was evetually found in Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who was crowned in 1887 and Stambolov retired as regent and became Prime minister.
Knyaz Ferdinand had differing opinions on the autonomy of Bulgaria and this caused Stambolov much stress. He resigned in 1894 after many events, including a failed assassination attempt.
On July the 3rd 1895, he was travelling home in a carriage when a single assassin stopped them and fired a revolver startling the horses. Stambolov ran from the scene, but was confronted by 3 more assassins, one of which he shot, who stabbed at his face with knives because of the armoured vest he wore. A long fight ensued where Stambolov’s body guard finally chased off the attackers, not before one of them had fractured his skull with an axe. He died hours later at home, his last words being: “Bulgaria’s people will forgive me everything. But they will not forgive that it was I who brought Ferdinand here.”
His death was met with both joy and sorrow as his reign, whilst oppressive, had progressed Bulgaria forward into the modern world. This statue signifies his death more than his life with the prominent slit in his skull representing the axe that finally killed him.