As heir to the Ruschuk Vilayet (former Ruse district), after the Liberation Ruse became one of the most important centers of the young Bulgarian state. It was here that for the first time the pro-active and business-like merchants, industrialists and entrepreneurs of the city founded a Chamber of Commerce – a novel association for our lands, which set itself the task of uniting the intellect and enterprise of the trading and manufacturing layers of the population, of protecting their interests and serving as the government’s advisory body on the matters of the country’s economic development.
In the first few years after the newly liberated Principality of Bulgaria, Ruse is its largest city and business center. The importance of the city is determined by its rapid industrial development and the traditional trade relations it maintains with the Danube countries. The international business contacts enable an important part of Ruse’s trade and craft industry in the pre-liberation period to realize an initial accumulation of capital. Thus, as early as the 1880s and the beginning of the 1890s, Ruse’s citizens start shaking off their previous understanding of the use of free capital.
They created the first joint-stock companies in the country: “Girdap” (1881), the First Bulgarian Insurance Company “Bulgaria” (1890), “Bulgarian Commercial Bank” (1895) and others. By 1890, Ruse had 14 large factories in the metalworking, chemical, food, ceramic, leather and other industries. Trade was one of areas in which Ruse achieved significant growth as well: during the period of 1885 and 1903 there were already 135 registered commercial companies in the city.
In 1889-1890, in the light of these conditions, at Ohhanes Enkarnian's cafe on “Knyazheskaya Street”, a trade organization – the First Bulgarian Private Chamber of Commerce, with monthly contributions of its members began to be conceived. In the spring of 1890, for the first time in Bulgaria, the newly established Chamber of Commerce began operating. This first of its kind chamber association in Bulgaria, emerged as a private trade organization without the protection of the central state administration, copying the structure of the English free chambers.
Thanks to some personal voluntary donations, the members of the first chamber association hire Enkarnian’s cafe as their meeting hall and headquarters. They also buy the furnishing for it in the same way. The newspaper „Slavyani” comes out with a big article, which welcomes the „good internal structure” of the Chamber of Commerce and points out that „those who have undertaken its creation deserve honor.”
At the beginning of its existence, the Chamber of Commerce in Ruse occupies its place in the public and economic life of the city.
On July 19th, 1890, the Chamber gave a banquet in honor of Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov’s visit to Ruse. The initial activity of the first chamber of commerce, however, is not just about representative events. At the end of 1890, the members of the Chamber became the initiators and established in Ruse the First Bulgarian insurance joint-stock company “Bulgaria”. Panayot A. Popov was elected as a chairman of the Chamber.
The economic development of the country since the mid-1890s has increasingly impeded the legislative regulation of the modernization of Bulgarian production and trade by European standards. In this connection, the Minister of Trade and Agriculture Ivan Geshov introduced the bill for the establishment of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) to the National Assembly on 19th-20th December 1894. He points out that „chambers of commerce have improved trade and industry for those countries which have had the opportunity to set them up before we did, and they must be very greatful for that„. He is convinced that „establishing” chambers in Bulgaria „will not delay in bringing invaluable services for our local trade and industry„.
The rules of the Chambers Law, published by Decree No 61 of April 17, 1895, distinguish the areas of operation of the initially established four chambers - Sofia, Plovdiv, Ruse and Varna. The Chambers are granted the status of relatively autonomous institutions with administrative functions, subsidized by the state according to the model of the French CCIs.
The Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry has the honor and pleasure of being in partnership with the following organizations:
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