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230 KARAVELOVA, Ekaterina (1860–1947) Bulgarian teacher, translator, publicist and public figure; Vice-Chairwoman of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (BZhS, Bulgarian Women’s Union) (1915–1925); Chairwoman (from 1925) of the Bulgarian branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Ekaterina Karavelova (nee Peneva) was born on 21 October 1860 into a lower middle-class family in Rouschuk (now Rousse), then one of the biggest towns in the European part of the Ottoman Empire and the center of Tuna vilaet, an administrative unit. She was the youngest of the four children of Stoyanka and Veliko Penev, who had three girls (Anastasiya, Mariola and Ekaterina) and one boy (Athanas). Her father died very young. In June 1870, Ekaterina left for Russia with her aunt, Kiryaki Nikolaki Minkova (her father’s sister and mother of Todor Minkov, founder of a Southern Slav boarding house attached to the High School in Nikolaev). In January 1871, Todor Minkov took Ekaterina to Moscow to the family of the retired General Vsevolod Nikolaevitch Lermontov, his wife Elisaveta Andreevna and their daughters Sofia and Julia (the first woman chemist in Russia). There she met the famous mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaja. Ekaterina lived with Lermontov’s family for several years during the course of her education in Moscow. In August 1878, after graduating (with a gold medal) from the Fourth Girls’ High School in Moscow, Ekaterina Peneva returned to the newly established Bulgarian State and by autumn had begun teaching in Rousse (1878–1880). In 1880, instead of following plans to study medicine and join the “learned women” of St Petersburg (Bowden 2004, 10), Ekaterina Peneva married Petko Stoichev Karavelov (1843–1903), a Bulgarian politician, lawyer by training, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, President of the First Bulgarian National Assembly, several times Prime Minister of Bulgaria and brother of Lyuben Karavelov. After the marriage, she followed her husband to Sofia. They had three daughters: Rada (1880–1883), Viola (1884–1934) and Lora (1886–1913). Thanks to the good education and upbringing she had received from the aristocratic Russian Lermontov family and her husband’s position, Ekaterina Karavelova soon became part of the political elite of the young Bulgarian State. The first part of 231 her life was closely related to her husband’s political activity, through which she came to support the democratic struggles of her husband’s Liberal Party (against the Bulgarian Conservatives). After the Bulgarian Prince Alexander von Battenberg had suspended the Constitution in 1881, the Karavelov family had to leave Bulgaria and went to Plovdiv, the capital of the semi-autonomous province Eastern Rumelia, then still part of the Ottoman Empire. Both Ekaterina and Petko Karavelov worked as teachers in Plovdiv (1881–1882). In 1884, they managed to return to Sofia, where she continued to teach at the Girls’ High School. As wife of the Prime Minister however, she did not receive a salary. She traveled around the country with her husband, kept his correspondence and supported his decisions in critical moments during the days of the Unification of the Kingdom of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia in September 1885 and during the subsequent Serbian–Bulgarian war. She coordinated medical aid in Sofia during the war and, while some of the Bulgarian statesmen lost their nerve under the Serbian threat, Karavelova managed to preserve a sense of security, impressing many people with her efficient approach to the crisis. Her life continued to be related to political events in Bulgaria: the abdication of Alexander von Battenberg; the nomination of Petko Karavelov as one of the three regents; Petko Karavelov’s resignation and the subsequent dictatorship (1887–1895) of Stefan Stambolov (1854–1895). During Stam-bolov’s rule, Karavelova’s family suffered persecution: her husband was arrested (1887, 1892), put to jail and tortured, while she was tried for publishing political pamphlets against the regime. She was accused of telling lies about the Government to foreign diplomats (though found innocent) and when she tried to find a job as a teacher, people were afraid to hire her—with the exception of the Catholic School in Rousse, where she worked from 1892 to 1894 and which paid her a very low salary. After the change of the government, Karavelova managed to obtain a reasonably paid teaching position at the Girls’ High School in Rousse (1894–1896). Upon the release of Petko Karavelov, she returned to Sofia and taught at the Girls’ High School there until the death of her husband (1896–1903). In 1899, Ekaterina...


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