Russians in Bulgaria

Last updated
Russian in Bulgaria
Total population
31,679 (2019)
Regions with significant populations
Sofia: 3,127
Varna Province: 1,358
Plovdiv Province: 1,151
Burgas Province: 1,107
Bulgarian, Russian
Related ethnic groups
Russian diaspora

All figures from [1]
The Russian Church in Sofia, Bulgaria Russianchurchsofia.jpg
The Russian Church in Sofia, Bulgaria
The Muscovite-style Shipka Memorial Church Shipka-memorial-church-outside.JPG
The Muscovite-style Shipka Memorial Church

Russians (Bulgarian : руснаци, rusnatsi) form the fourth largest ethnic group in Bulgaria , numbering 31,679 in 2019, [2] and mostly living in the large urban centres, such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. Although the largest wave of Russian settlers (White Guards) arrived following the events surrounding the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War, compact groups of Russians had been living in Bulgaria for centuries before that.


Among the early Russian settlers were Old Believer Nekrasov Cossacks, some of which founded the village of Tataritsa in then-Ottoman-ruled Southern Dobruja (nowadays part of the village of Aydemir [3] in Silistra Province) in 1674, building a church in 1750. [4] Another Russian-inhabited village in the northeast of Bulgaria is Kazashko in Varna Province, where descendants of Kuban and Don Cossacks have been living since 1905. [5] The members of these Old Believer communities are locally known as Lipovans (липованци, lipovantsi) [5] and belong to a group also inhabiting Romania and Ukraine. Their main occupation is fishing, in the Danube for the Lipovans in Tataritsa and in Lake Varna for those in Kazashko. [6]

Following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, largely fought on what is today Bulgarian territory, and the Liberation of Bulgaria to which it led in 1878, a transitional Russian administration was established with Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Dondukov-Korsakov as its head. [7]

Following their defeat by the Red Guards in the Russian Civil War, many White Guards fled to Bulgaria (then a monarchy) seeking refuge. They initially numbered around 24 [8] 29,000, [9] but some 4,000 received amnesty and returned to the Soviet Union and many others were expelled under Aleksandar Stamboliyski. [8] With Bulgaria becoming part of the Eastern bloc following World War II, a number of Russians emigrated to the country. [9] Today, foreign (including Russian) businessmen living in Bulgaria are eligible for Bulgarian passport under specific conditions (such as investing over $250,000 or running a business, and having a clean slate). [9]

Nowadays, Russians in Bulgaria are represented by a number of organizations, such as Soyuz sootechestvenikov (Union of Compatriots), the Union of Russian Citizens and the Society of White Guardsmen. [9]

See also

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  1. "01.03.2001 TO POPULATION BY DISTRICT AND ETHNIC GROUP". Sofia: REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA. NATIONAL STATISTICAL INSTITUTE. 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-07.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. | Bulgaria - International immigrant stock - Immigrants in %1 according to country of origin (2019)
  3. "Липованците не пушат, но пият като смоци" (in Bulgarian). Стандарт. 2002-09-15. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  4. "Етническите руснаци от село Татарица честват Рождество Христово" (in Bulgarian). BG NewsRoom. 2007-01-07. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  5. 1 2 Болгарские липованцы (in Russian). Староверы в Самаре. 2005-06-16. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  6. "Село от непушачи стана туристическа атракция" (in Bulgarian). Стандарт. 2006-11-19. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  7. "България след Освобождението 1878 г. Хронологична таблица" (in Bulgarian). Министерство на външните работи на Република България. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  8. 1 2 "Чекисти плашат Стамболийски с преврат" (in Bulgarian). Standart News. 2002-05-12. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Европейски акценти. Малцинствата" (in Bulgarian). Radio France Internationale Sofia 103.6. 2006-05-30. Retrieved 2007-01-14.[ permanent dead link ]