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Monument to the winners

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The monument, inaugurated in January 2008 during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Bulgaria, commemorated the 130th anniversary of the conclusion of the Russian-Turkish War. This monument notably portrays Count Ignatiev signing the San Stefano Preliminary Peace Treaty.

Russia’s engagement in the Balkans surged from the 18th century, marking it as a prominent adversary of the Ottoman Empire. As Russia’s conviction in its liberating role strengthened, so did its influence among the Balkan Christians. Over time, Russia engaged in 13 wars with the Ottoman Empire over Balkan territories. The tensions escalated in 1876 with uprisings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Bulgarian lands, leading to the Eastern Crisis. Russian diplomacy initiated efforts for a peaceful resolution, culminating in the Constantinople Ambassadorial Conference and the signing of the London Protocol. However, the Ottoman government vehemently rejected the Protocol’s provisions.

Faced with the peril of losing authority among the Balkan Christians, Russia found itself at a critical juncture. After fervent debates in the crown council, Milyutin’s rationale was embraced on April 12, 1877. This decision marked the commencement of the war. Within eight months, Russian forces not only occupied all of Bulgaria but also advanced toward Constantinople. On March 3, 1878, a momentous day for Bulgarians, the preliminary peace treaty was signed in the small village of San Stefano, located 12 km from Istanbul. The treaty involved Russia and its allies, including Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, with the Ottoman Empire.

The creator of this significant monument is Ivan Todorov, serving as a tangible reminder of this historic moment in Russo-Bulgarian relations.

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