(pseudonym of V. Ivanov). Born July 6, 1837, in the city of Karlovo; died Feb. 6, 1873, in Sofia. Bulgarian revolutionary democrat; leading figure in the national liberation movement. Son of an artisan.
In the spring of 1862 and at a time when the national liberation movement was on the rise, Levski joined the 1st Bulgarian Legion in Serbia. From 1864 to 1866 he worked as a teacher in Bulgaria. In 1867 he went to Rumania, where he joined a Bulgarian military unit and took part in the anti-Turkish military operations of the unit on Bulgarian soil. In 1867 and 1868 he was a member of the 2nd Bulgarian Legion.
Levski was the first of the Bulgarian revolutionists to formulate and implement the idea of building a revolutionary organization. From December 1868 to February 1869 and in May and June of 1869 he made trips through Bulgaria, as a result of which a wide network of underground committees was formed. The center of this underground movement became the Lovech committee headed by Levski. In 1870 and 1871, Levski drafted the charter of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (BRCC), which included a number of programmatic propositions. He sought to unite the forces of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement both among emigres and within the country. A gathering of Bulgarian revolutionists held in Bucharest in April and May 1872, on Levski’s initiative, approved the creation of a single center for the Bulgarian revolutionary movement—the Bucharest BRCC. Upon his return to Bulgaria, he was captured by the Turkish authorities in December 1872 and was subsequently hanged.
WORKSPisma, statii, pesni: Pǔlno sǔbranie. Sofia, 1941.
Sviata i chista republika: Pisma i dokumenti, compiled by Iv. Undzhiev and N. Kondarev. Sofia, 1971.
REFERENCESStrashimirov, D. T. Vasil Levski: Zhivot, dela, izvori, vol. 1: “Izvori.” Sofia, 1929.
Undzhiev, Iv. Vasil Levski: Biografiia. Sofia, 1967.
Vasil Levski i negovite spodvizhnitsi pred turski sǔd. Sofia, 1972.
MacDermot, Mercia. The Apostle of Freedom: A Portrait of Vasil Levsky. London, 1967.