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The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Bulgaria

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This page contains a list of the greatest Bulgarian Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 116 of which were born in Bulgaria. This makes Bulgaria the birth place of the 30th most number of Politicians behind Finland and Israel.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Bulgarian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Bulgarian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Bulgarian Politicians.

Photo of Ahmed III

1. Ahmed III (1673 - 1736)

With an HPI of 76.26, Ahmed III is the most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 63 different languages on wikipedia.

Ahmed III (Ottoman Turkish: احمد ثالث, Aḥmed-i sālis; 30 December 1673 – 1 July 1736) was sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a son of sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687). His mother was Gülnuş Sultan, originally named Evmania Voria, who was an ethnic Greek. He was born at Hacıoğlu Pazarcık, in Dobruja. He succeeded to the throne in 1703 on the abdication of his brother Mustafa II (1695–1703). Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha and the Sultan's daughter, Fatma Sultan (wife of the former) directed the government from 1718 to 1730, a period referred to as the Tulip Era. During the initial days of Ahmed III's reign, significant efforts were made to appease the janissaries. However, Ahmed's effectiveness in dealing with the janissaries who had elevated him to the sultanate was limited. Grand Vizier Çorlulu Ali Pasha, whom Ahmed appointed, provided valuable assistance in administrative affairs and implemented new measures for the treasury. He supported Ahmed in his struggles against rival factions and provided stability to the government. Ahmed was an avid reader, skilled in calligraphy and knowledgeable on history and poetry.

Photo of Galerius

2. Galerius (250 - 311)

With an HPI of 72.69, Galerius is the 2nd most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Galerius Valerius Maximianus (; Greek: Γαλέριος; c. 258 – May 311) was Roman emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sasanian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300. Although he was a staunch opponent of Christianity, Galerius ended the Diocletianic Persecution when he issued the Edict of Toleration in Serdica (Sofia) in 311.

Photo of Georgi Dimitrov

3. Georgi Dimitrov (1882 - 1949)

With an HPI of 71.73, Georgi Dimitrov is the 3rd most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Georgi Dimitrov Mihaylov (; Bulgarian: Гео̀рги Димитро̀в Миха̀йлов) also known as Georgiy Mihaylovich Dimitrov (Russian: Гео́ргий Миха́йлович Дими́тров; 18 June 1882 – 2 July 1949), was a Bulgarian communist politician who served as General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party from 1946 to 1949. From 1935 to 1943, he was the General Secretary of the Communist International. Born in western Bulgaria, Dimitrov worked as a printer and trade unionist during his youth. He was elected to the Bulgarian parliament as a socialist during the First World War and campaigned against the country's involvement, which led to his brief imprisonment for sedition. In 1919, he helped found the Bulgarian Communist Party, and two years later he moved to the Soviet Union and was elected to the executive committee of Profintern. In 1923, Dimitrov led a failed communist uprising against the government of Aleksandar Tsankov and was subsequently forced into exile. He lived in the Soviet Union until 1929, when he relocated to Germany and became head of the Comintern operations in central Europe. Dimitrov rose to international prominence in the aftermath of the Reichstag fire trial. Accused of plotting the arson, he refused counsel and mounted an eloquent defence against his Nazi accusers, in particular Hermann Göring, ultimately winning acquittal. After the trial he relocated to Moscow and was elected head of Comintern. In 1946, Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria after 22 years in exile and was elected prime minister of the newly founded People's Republic of Bulgaria. He negotiated with Josip Broz Tito to create a federation of Southern Slavs, which led to the 1947 Bled accord. The plan ultimately fell apart over differences regarding the future of the join country as well as the Macedonian question, and was completely abandoned following the fallout between Stalin and Tito. Dimitrov died after a short illness in 1949 in Barvikha near Moscow. His embalmed body was housed in the Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum in Sofia until its removal in 1990; the mausoleum was demolished in 1999.

Photo of Maximinus Thrax

4. Maximinus Thrax (173 - 238)

With an HPI of 71.36, Maximinus Thrax is the 4th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.

Maximinus Thrax (Latin: Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus "Thrax"; c. 173 – 238) was a Roman emperor from 235 to 238. Born of Thracian origin – giving the nickname "Thrax" ("the Thracian"), he rose up through the military ranks, ultimately holding high command in the army of the Rhine under Emperor Severus Alexander. After Severus was murdered in 235, he was proclaimed emperor by the army, beginning the Crisis of the Third Century. His father was an accountant in the governor's office and sprang from ancestors who were Carpi (a Dacian tribe), a people whom Diocletian would eventually drive from their ancient abode (in Dacia) and transfer to Pannonia. Maximinus was the commander of the Legio IV Italica when Severus Alexander was assassinated by his own troops in 235. The Pannonian army then elected Maximinus emperor.In 238 (which came to be known as the Year of the Six Emperors), a senatorial revolt broke out, leading to the successive proclamation of Gordian I, Gordian II, Pupienus, Balbinus and Gordian III as emperors in opposition to Maximinus. Maximinus advanced on Rome to put down the revolt, but was halted at Aquileia, where he was assassinated by disaffected elements of the Legio II Parthica. Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History. He was a so-called barracks emperor of the 3rd century; his rule is often considered to mark the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century. Maximinus was the first emperor who hailed neither from the senatorial class nor from the equestrian class.

Photo of Boris III of Bulgaria

5. Boris III of Bulgaria (1894 - 1943)

With an HPI of 71.03, Boris III of Bulgaria is the 5th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Boris III (Bulgarian: Борѝс III ; Boris Treti; 30 January [O.S. 18 January] 1894 – 28 August 1943), originally Boris Klemens Robert Maria Pius Ludwig Stanislaus Xaver (Boris Clement Robert Mary Pius Louis Stanislaus Xavier), was the Tsar of the Kingdom of Bulgaria from 1918 until his death in 1943. The eldest son of Ferdinand I, Boris assumed the throne upon the abdication of his father in the wake of Bulgaria's defeat in World War I. Under the 1919 Treaty of Neuilly, Bulgaria was forced to, amongst other things, cede various territories, pay crippling war reparations, and greatly reduce the size of its military. That same year, Aleksandar Stamboliyski of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union became prime minister. After Stamboliyski was overthrown in a coup in 1923, Boris recognized the new government of Aleksandar Tsankov, who harshly suppressed the Bulgarian Communist Party and led the nation through a brief border war with Greece. Tsankov was removed from power in 1926, and a series of prime ministers followed until 1934, when the corporatist Zveno (Bulgarian: Звено) movement staged a coup and outlawed all political parties. Boris opposed the Zveno government and overthrew them in 1935, eventually installing Georgi Kyoseivanov as prime minister. For the remainder of his reign, Boris would rule as a de facto absolute monarch, with his prime ministers largely submitting to his will. Following the outbreak of World War II, Bulgaria initially remained neutral. In 1940, Bogdan Filov replaced Kyoseivanov as prime minister, becoming the last prime minister to serve under Boris. In September 1940, with the support of Nazi Germany, Bulgaria received the region of Southern Dobrudja from Romania as part of the Treaty of Craiova. In January 1941, Boris approved the anti-Semitic Law for Protection of the Nation, which denied citizenship to Bulgarian Jews and placed numerous restrictions upon them. In March 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis and allowed German troops to use Bulgaria as a base from which to invade Yugoslavia and Greece. Bulgaria then received large portions of Yugoslav Macedonia, Pirot County in eastern Serbia and Greek Thrace, which were key targets of Bulgarian irredentism. Bulgaria was allowed to opt out of participation in the German invasion of the Soviet Union, as allowed by the provisions of the Axis alliance. As part of the Holocaust, Bulgarian authorities deported most Jews from occupied Greek and Yugoslav territories, that population was then transported and murdered by the Germans in Treblinka. Under public pressure Boris cancelled the deportation of Bulgarian Jews while expelling almost 20,000 Jews to the Bulgarian countryside to be deployed in forced-labor camps. In 1942, Zveno, the Agrarian National Union, the Bulgarian Communist Party, and various other far-left groups united to form a resistance movement known as the Fatherland Front, which would later go on to overthrow the government in 1944. In August 1943, shortly after returning from a visit to Germany, Boris died at the age of 49. His six-year-old son, Simeon II, succeeded him as tsar.

Photo of Todor Zhivkov

6. Todor Zhivkov (1911 - 1998)

With an HPI of 70.41, Todor Zhivkov is the 6th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Todor Hristov Zhivkov (Bulgarian: Тодор Христов Живков [ˈtɔdor ˈxristof ˈʒifkof]; 7 September 1911 – 5 August 1998) was a Bulgarian communist statesman who served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from 1954 until 1989 as General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party. He was the second longest-serving leader in the Eastern Bloc, the longest-serving leader within the Warsaw Pact and the longest-serving non-royal ruler in Bulgarian history.During World War II, Zhivkov participated in Bulgaria's resistance movement in the People's Liberation Insurgent Army. In 1943, he was involved in organising the Chavdar partisan detachment in and around his place of birth, becoming deputy commander of the Sofia operations area in the summer of 1944. Under his rule, many fellow former combatants with Chavdar were to rise to positions of prominence in Bulgarian affairs. He is said to have coordinated partisan movements with those of pro-Soviet army units during the 9 September 1944 uprising. He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) in 1954 (General Secretary from April 1981), served as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1971 and from 1971 onwards as Chairman of the State Council, concurrently with his post as First Secretary. He remained in these positions for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any European Eastern Bloc nation after World War II, and one of the longest ruling non-royal leaders in modern history. His rule marked a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, marked both by complete submission of Bulgaria to the Soviet Union and a desire to expand ties with the West. His rule remained unchallenged until the deterioration of East–West relations in the 1980s, when a stagnating economic situation, a worsening international image and growing careerism and corruption in the BCP weakened his position. He resigned on 10 November 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognise problems and deal with public protests. Within a month of Zhivkov's ousting, communist rule in Bulgaria had effectively ended, and within a year the People's Republic of Bulgaria had formally ceased to exist.

Photo of Phocas

7. Phocas (547 - 610)

With an HPI of 69.51, Phocas is the 7th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Phocas (Latin: Focas; Greek: Φωκάς, translit. Phōkás; 547 – 5 October 610) was Byzantine emperor from 602 to 610. Initially, a middle-ranking officer in the Eastern Roman army, Phocas rose to prominence as a spokesman for dissatisfied soldiers in their disputes with the court of the Emperor Maurice. When the army revolted in 602, Phocas emerged as the natural leader of the mutiny. The revolt proved to be successful and led to the capture of Constantinople and the overthrow of Maurice on 23 November 602 with Phocas declaring himself emperor on the same day. Phocas deeply mistrusted the uncooperative elite of Constantinople to whom he was a usurper and a provincial boor. He, therefore, attempted to base his regime on relatives whom he installed in high military and administrative positions. He immediately faced multiple challenges in domestic and foreign affairs to which he responded with little success. He dealt with domestic opposition with increasing ruthlessness which alienated even wider circles, including some members of his own household. At the same time, the Empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Avars and Slavs renewed their destructive raids of the Balkans, and the Sassanid Empire launched a massive invasion of the eastern provinces. Finally, the Exarch of Africa, Heraclius the Elder, rebelled against Phocas and gained wide support throughout the empire. Phocas attempted to use border troops to crush the rebellion, which however only resulted in allowing the foreign invaders to break into the heartlands of the Empire. Heraclius the Elder's son, Heraclius, succeeded in taking Constantinople on 5 October 610, and executed Phocas on the same day, before declaring himself the emperor. Surviving sources are universally extremely hostile to Phocas. He is described as an incompetent tyrant and usurper who brutally purged any real or perceived opposition and left the Empire wide open to foreign aggression. The veracity of these sources is difficult to ascertain since emperors of the Heraclian dynasty who succeeded Phocas had a vested interest in tarnishing his reputation.

Photo of Simeon I of Bulgaria

8. Simeon I of Bulgaria (864 - 927)

With an HPI of 68.50, Simeon I of Bulgaria is the 8th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Tsar Simeon (also Symeon) I the Great (Church Slavonic: цѣсар҄ь Сѷмеѡ́нъ А҃ Вели́къ, romanized: cěsarĭ Sỳmeonŭ prĭvŭ Velikŭ Bulgarian: цар Симеон I Велики, romanized: Simeon I Veliki [simɛˈɔn ˈpɤrvi vɛˈliki] Greek: Συμεών Αʹ ὁ Μέγας, romanized: Sumeṓn prôtos ho Mégas) ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern and Southeast Europe. His reign was also a period of unmatched cultural prosperity and enlightenment later deemed the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture.During Simeon's rule, Bulgaria spread over a territory between the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea. The newly independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church became the first new patriarchate besides the Pentarchy, and Bulgarian Glagolitic and Cyrillic translations of Christian texts spread all over the Slavic world of the time. It was at the Preslav Literary School in the 890s that the Cyrillic alphabet was developed. Halfway through his reign, Simeon assumed the title of Emperor (Tsar), having prior to that been styled Prince (Knyaz).

Photo of Marcian

9. Marcian (396 - 457)

With an HPI of 68.34, Marcian is the 9th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Marcian (; Latin: Marcianus; Greek: Μαρκιανός Markianos; c. 392 – 27 January 457) was Roman emperor from 450 to 457. Very little of his life before becoming emperor is known, other than that he was a domesticus (personal assistant) who served under the commanders Ardabur and his son Aspar for fifteen years. After the death of Emperor Theodosius II on 28 July 450, Marcian was made a candidate for the throne by Aspar, who held much influence because of his military power. After a month of negotiations Pulcheria, Theodosius' sister, agreed to marry Marcian. Zeno, a military leader whose influence was similar to Aspar's, may have been involved in these negotiations, as he was given the high-ranking court title of patrician upon Marcian's accession. Marcian was elected and inaugurated on 25 August 450. Marcian reversed many of the actions of Theodosius II in the Eastern Roman Empire's relationship with the Huns under Attila and in religious matters. Marcian almost immediately revoked all treaties with Attila, ending all subsidy payments to him. In 452, while Attila was raiding Roman Italy, then a part of the Western Roman Empire, Marcian launched expeditions across the Danube into the Great Hungarian Plain, defeating the Huns in their own heartland. This action, accompanied by the famine and plague that broke out in northern Italy, allowed the Western Roman Empire to bribe Attila into retreating from the Italian peninsula. After Attila's death in 453, Marcian took advantage of the resulting fragmentation of the Hunnic confederation by settling Germanic tribes within Roman lands as foederati ("federates" providing military service in exchange for benefits). Marcian also convened the Council of Chalcedon, which declared that Jesus had two "natures": divine and human. This led to the alienation of the population of the eastern provinces of Syria and Egypt, as many of them were miaphysites, rejecting the new official Christology. Marcian died on 27 January 457, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire with a treasury surplus of seven million solidi coins, an impressive achievement considering the economic ruin inflicted upon the Eastern Roman Empire by the Huns and Theodosius' tribute payments. After his death, Aspar passed over Marcian's son-in-law, Anthemius, and had a military commander, Leo I, elected as emperor.

Photo of Talaat Pasha

10. Talaat Pasha (1874 - 1921)

With an HPI of 66.28, Talaat Pasha is the 10th most famous Bulgarian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Mehmed Talaat (1 September 1874 – 15 March 1921), commonly known as Talaat Pasha or Talat Pasha, was an Ottoman politician and convicted war criminal who served as the de facto leader of the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1918. Talaat Pasha was chairman of the Union and Progress Party, which operated a one-party dictatorship in the Empire; during World War I he became Grand Vizier (Prime Minister). He was one of the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide and other ethnic cleansings during his time as Minister of Interior Affairs. Born in Kırcaali (Kardzhali), Adrianople (Edirne) Vilayet, Mehmed Talaat grew up to despise Sultan Abdul Hamid II's autocracy. He was an early member of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), a secret revolutionary Young Turk organization, and over time became its leader. After the CUP succeeded in restoring the constitution and parliament in the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, Talaat was elected as a deputy from Adrianople to the Chamber of Deputies and later became Minister of the Interior. He played an important role in the downfall of Abdul Hamid the next year during the 31 March Incident by organizing a counter government. Multiple crises in the Empire including the 31 March Incident, attacks on Rumelian Muslims in the Balkan Wars, and the power struggle with the Freedom and Accord Party made Talaat and the Unionists disillusioned with multicultural Ottomanism and political pluralism, turning them into hard-line authoritarian Turkish nationalists. After the 1913 coup and Mahmud Şevket Pasha's assassination, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Union and Progress in a one-party dictatorship, whose leaders were the triumvirate of Talaat, İsmail Enver, and Ahmed Cemal (known as the Three Pashas), of whom Talaat was its civilian leader. Talaat and Enver were influential bringing the Ottoman Empire into the First World War. During World War I, he ordered on 24 April 1915 the arrest and deportation of Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople (now Istanbul), most of them being ultimately murdered, and on 30 May 1915 requested the Temporary Law of Deportation; these events initiated the Armenian genocide. He is widely considered the main perpetrator of the genocide, and is thus held responsible for the death of around 1 million Armenians. In a move that established total Unionist control over the Ottoman government, Talaat Pasha became Grand Vizier in 1917, and introduced many social reforms. Talaat personally negotiated the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Bolsheviks, regaining parts of Eastern Anatolia which were occupied by Russia since 1878, and won the race to Baku on the Caucasus front. However breakthroughs by the Allies in the Macedonia and Palestine fronts meant defeat for the Ottomans and the downfall of the CUP. On the night of 2–3 November 1918, Talaat Pasha and other members of the CUP's central committee fled the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Special Military Tribunal convicted Talaat and sentenced him to death in absentia for subverting the constitution, profiteering from the war, and organizing massacres against Greeks and Armenians. Exiled in Berlin, he supported the Turkish Nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) in Turkey's War of Independence. He was assassinated in Berlin in 1921 by Soghomon Tehlirian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, as part of Operation Nemesis.

Pantheon has 116 people classified as politicians born between 470 BC and 1980. Of these 116, 33 (28.45%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Rumen Radev, and Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria. The most famous deceased politicians include Ahmed III, Galerius, and Georgi Dimitrov. As of April 2022, 11 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Princess Nadezhda of Bulgaria, Vladimir Stoychev, and Stefan Yanev.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2022)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.