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235 KARIMA, Anna (born Anna Todorova Velkova) (1871–1949) Teacher, writer, translator, journalist and editor. Co-founder of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (Bulgarian Women’s Union) (1901–1944) and its first head (1901– 1906). Founder of the union Ravnopravie (Equal Rights) (1908–1921). ‘Anna Karima’ was the pseudonym of Anna Todorova Velkova (whose married name, from 1888 to 1903, was Janko Sakuzova ). Other pseudonyms were ‘Vega,’ ‘Mamin,’ and ‘Samurov.’ She was born in 1871 in Berdjansk (Russia), the daughter of Stepanida Mouzhichenko, a Ukrainian woman whose sensitivity to patriarchy and gender power relations Karima adopted, and Todor Velkov, a Bulgarian emigrant who settled in Izmail (Russia) to trade in wheat, after having participated as a volunteer in the Crimean War (1853–1856). Mouzichenko and Velkov had six children : three girls and three boys. After the establishment of the autonomous Bulgarian state in 1878, the family moved to Todor Velkov’s native town of Shumen, where he was appointed district prefect. Anna finished middle school and was sent to the girls’ high school in Sofia. Owing to the good school library there and the influence of some of her teachers (especially Ekaterina Karavelova, who later became one of the activists of the Bulgarian women’s movement), Karima developed certain intellectual tastes, particularly for Russian literature. After completing her secondary education, she returned to Shumen to begin her professional life as a teacher. In 1888, she married Janko Sakuzov (1860– 1941), a journalist and editor of socialist periodicals, a founder of the socialist movement in Bulgaria, one of the first socialist MPs in the country and an influential socialist politician. They had two daughters, Nadezhda and Evelyna, and a son, Ivan. Anna Karima highly valued her husband’s opinion and intellectual judgement but it seems that his praise was not forthcoming and that he paid little attention to her literary works, which came to be highly regarded by some of the most eminent Bulgarian men of letters. His political activities took him away from Shumen and Anna Karima remained at home with her mother-in-law, who, according to Karima’s memoirs, was one cause of her unhappy family life. Karima’s first short story, “Obiknovena istoria” (A common story), was published in 1891. From 1891 to 1892, Karima taught in Anna Karima (seated, in black, on the left) among participants at the founding congress of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz in Sofia, 10–14 July 1901. 236 Pleven, where she established a society for women’s education called Razvitie (Development). In 1894, the family moved to Sofia. Negative experiences of married life, as well as sensitivity to gender hierarchies within Bulgarian society more generally, spurred Anna Karima on to become one of the most active participants in the capital’s women’s movement. In 1897, she established a society for women’s education called Suznanie (Conscience), which added the acquisition of civil and political rights for women to the charitable and educational goals of women’s organizations of the time. She also led campaigns for the admission of women to Sofia University and began preparations for a national women’s organization. It was at this time that Karima’s literary career took off in earnest and she published several well-received short stories dealing with gender relations and other social questions. In 1898, due to family problems, Anna Karima left Sofia with her two small children and became a teacher in Edirne (today in Turkey). She returned to Sofia the following year and, together with Julia Malinova, edited the newspaper Zhenski glas (Women’s voice), which became the organ of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (Bulgarian Women’s Union) in 1901. In 1900, Karima went to Paris, where, with the support of Princess Vichnevskaja (the granddaughter of Victor Hugo), she held a meeting in support of ‘the Macedonian cause.’ Anna Karima was among the founders of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (Bulgarian Women’s Union) in 1901, the first national women’s organization in Bulgaria. In that same year, Karima became the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz’s first elected head. Over the course of time, two oppositional positions developed within the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz: that of the more traditional ‘bourgeois’ feminists (in this case the ‘broad’ socialists or Social Democrats) and that of the orthodox (‘narrow’) socialists. Anna Karima belonged to the ‘broad’ socialists, insisting that the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz transcend class and party, and she opposed attempts by ‘narrow’ socialists to change the organization ’s broad, feminist orientation towards women of all classes (the...


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