Vasilii Zlatarskii embodies a political-archeological nexus that pits an acceptable nationalism against imperialism when the empire under assailment is the Ottoman. Son of a Bulgarian activist, Nikola Zlartarcheto, Vasilii was sent to Petersburg for his education, and then to Berlin to train in archeology. He returned to Sophia where he helped to turn the higher school into the university in 1904, and establishing a Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1911. An historian, he used archeology to establish a Bulgarian identity independent of the Ottoman Muslims, returning it, as it were, to its Slavic and Byzantine heritage. During the Great War, when Bulgaria allied with the Central Powers, he joined the troops in Macedonia for purposes of excavating. Widely published and respected, he was a member of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople, the Moscow Archaeological Society, the Finno-Ugric Commonwealth in Helsingfors, a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, the School of Slavonic Studies at the University of London, and the Seminarium Kondakovianum in Prague. He also received an honorary degree in Slavic Philology from Kharkov University in 1907.
Best known as one of the founders of the Kadet Party in post-1905 Russia, and very briefly the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Provisional Government after Nicholas II’s abdication, Miliukov became an archeologist for a few years by happenstance. Twice exiled from Moscow in the 1890s because of his participation in political protests at the university, where he had studied and then taught history, Miliukov went to Riazan for two years, where he worked on the local Archival Commission, and then later as a history professor at the University of Sophia. In both places he joined with locals and participated in excavations, and presented his findings at three archeological congresses. He attended as a representative of the Riazan Archival Commission and a history professor from Sophia.