|17th Prime Minister of Sierra|
December 16, 1969 – March 20, 1974
|Monarch||Lewis III (GR 25 [二十五]–GR 30 [三十])|
|Preceded by||Alfred von Schliefen|
|Succeeded by||Walter Zhou|
|37th K.S. Minister of Defense|
January 3, 1963 – November 18, 1969
|Preceded by||Franklin Ramos|
|Succeeded by||James Plumer|
|16th President of the Board of Regents of the University of Sierra|
July 7, 1957 – December 16, 1962
|Preceded by||Henry Ronald Emerson|
|Succeeded by||John Genba|
|Born|| Elieser Stojanović Kovrov|
June 6, 1916
|Died|| July 11, 2007 (age 91)|
|Resting place||Sawtelle National Cemetery|
|Political party|| Social Democrats (1949–1955)|
Royalist (1955–1974; 1999–2007)
|Spouse(s)||Sara Elejalde Stoyanovich|
|Alma mater|| University of Antioquia (B.A.) ·|
Mulholland University (Ph.D.)
|Profession||Civil servant · Anthropologist · Educator · politician|
|Service/branch||His Majesty's Royal Army|
|Years of service||1941–1943|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Medal|
White Rose Medal
Stoyanovich was born in Medellín, Colombia to a first-generation Slavic-Jewish immigrant family, and was a graduate from Antioquia University. He and his family immigrated to Salsipuedes, Pacífico Norte as refugees in 1934 to escape Colombia's politically terse environment. In 1941, he enlisted into the Royal Army, and served in the Pacific Theater as an officer. After Stoyanovich was wounded in battle, he was honorably discharged and awarded the Distinguished Service and White Rose medals for his service. He resumed his studies at Mulholland University, and graduated with a Ph.D. in anthropology. Stoyanovich taught cultural anthropology and military science at the University of Gold Coast, Porciúncula from 1950 to 1957, until he was appointed by the University of Sierra to serve as president of the Board of Regents. During his tenure as an educator, he served as an adviser on several military intelligence and foreign relations committee, and founded the World Link Initiative, a special program educating Sierrans and international students interested in foreign service. He also served as the University of Sierra's official liaison to the Conference of American States, and was a key figure in Sierra's decision to join and transition into the Conference of American States as a full member.
In 1963, he was nominated by Prime Minister Alfred von Schlieffen to become Minister of Defense, replacing outgoing Franklin Ramos. The Senate confirmed Stoyanovich unanimously, and he assumed office on January 3, 1963. As Minister of Defense, he rigorously supported escalation of the conflict in Vietnam, and adopted a hardline approach against communism. He accomplished various political achievements during his tenure, which included formulating the long-term goal of achieving Vietnamization, updating the structure of the Royal Armed Forces, formulating the establishment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and improved the standing of the Royal Intelligence Agency with Parliament.
In 1968, he openly expressed interest in running for Prime Minister in the upcoming election, to replace Prime Minister Schlieffen, who would not seek a third term. He narrowly secured the Royalist nomination from Sen. Nathaniel Griffon (R-PL). In the general election, he ran against Democratic-Republican challenger Gov. Hugh Richardson. He defeated Richardson by a 0.7% margin, winning by 62,918 votes, the narrowest in Sierran prime ministerial electoral history. After a contentious battle over recount, Stoyanovich was confirmed the 17th Prime Minister of Sierra.
Stoyanovich successfully deescalated Anglo-American involvement in Vietnam, and ended the controversial military draft. Under his ministry, domestically, he increased funding towards education and defense, and imposed banking and air quality regulations. He also helped resolved the Salt Lake question, and forced the Deseret government to comply with anti-discrimination laws in regards to Canaanites, and oversaw the creation of the Executive Council to improve cooperation between the federal government and the provinces. On foreign policy, he backed the South Vietnamese government with over $25 billion in military and financial aid, negotiated the eventual independence of the Sierran territories, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (which finalized after his impeachment), and maintained continued support for the Republic of China.
Less than a year after reelection in 1973, Stoyanovich was implicated in the Blue Bridges scandal, and the Democratic-Republican-controlled House of Commons voted to impeach the prime minister. He was accused of using his position as Minister of Defense to illegally solicit and use funds from his organization, the World Link Initiative, and other sources to help fund his own campaign and the Royalist Party National Convention. He was also accused of obstructing justice when he attempted to cover up evidence of his complicity. After three months of a formal investigation conducted by the Senate, he was found culpable in 5 of the 11 charges made against him, and was impeached. After he was impeached, he was stripped of nearly all of his honorary achievements and titles, with the exception of his awards in military service. He was tried as a civilian under the criminal legal system, and pleaded guilty to several counts including extortion, embezzlement, perjury, and malfeasance. Under mandatory sentencing laws at the time, he was originally supposed to serve 75 years in prison, but through plea bargaining, he was able to serve only 11 years in prison. He was released on parole in 1986. He spent the years immediately after his release seeking to restore his image and to attain atonement through published books, televised interviews, and speeches.
In his later years, Stoyanovich devoted his time supporting humanitarian projects in Latin America, South Asia, and Africa, and co-founded the Foundation for Academic Empowerment, which promotes affordable, quality education in developing countries around the world. He traveled extensively as an informal spokesperson for Sierra, and presided over peace negotiations, national elections, and campaigns to improve human rights and quality-of-life. Although most of the honors Stoyanovich gained prior to his impeachment were never restored, he was named Person of the Year by the Sierran Secular and Humanist Society in 2005 for his efforts, and one of the 20 League of Nations Peace Heralds in 2006. He died in 2007 at the age of 91, and was buried at the Sawtelle National Cemetery.
In retrospect, contemporary historians have consistently ranked Stoyanovich in the upper second quartile, or lower first quartile in prime ministerial success rankings. During his prime ministry, Stoyanovich had a 56% approval rating, which plummeted to just 8% during his impeachment trial. During his imprisonment, he was named the worst prime minister in Sierran history, and failed to exceed 15% in popularity polls. After he returned into civilian life from prison, favorability of the former politician steadily rose, until his death, when 77% of Sierrans viewed his favorably. Reasons for the relapsed favorability were attributed to Stoyanovich's achievements during his prime ministry and prior as Minister of Defense, and as an academic leader, as well as his humanitarian-centered career in his later years. In 2017, nearly 10 years after his death, Prime Minister Daniel McComb proposed posthumously restoring Stoyanovich's political honors and titles he had held prior to impeachment.
Early life, education, marriage, and military career
Elieser Stojanović Kovrov was born June 6, 1916, in an apartment of a four-story condominium in Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, the eldest child of five children. His father was Stojan Georgiev Kovrov, a Bulgarian Jewish immigrant, who worked as a kosher butcher. In Bulgaria, Stojan hailed from a family of Ashkenazi Jews who originated from Russia, and moved to Bulgaria during the 17th century. Stojan was raised in the port city of Varna and worked as a factory worker. Stojan left his homeland during the offset of the Balkan Wars, and traveled to Colombia as a stowaway on a cargo ship en route to San Francisco City, his original point of destination. When his ship passed the newly completed Panama Canal, it made a brief excursion to the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia. Stojan mistakenly took the place for Sierra, and disembarked the ship. Speaking nothing but his native tongue, Bulgarian, as well grade-level Russian, and some Yiddish, Stoyanovich's father happened upon a guild of merchants who could speak Russian. The guild offered him work, and gave him an apartment lot in the city of Medellín. Stojan quickly learned Spanish, and met Stoyanovich's mother, Diana Sokolov, a Russian student who was studying abroad at the University of Antioquia. The two fell in love and married, and had Stoyanovich as their first child.
Stoyanovich had two younger brothers and two younger sisters (Aleks, Nikolai, Oksana, and Nadya respectively). In school, Stoyanovich was timid and quiet, and had few friends. His thick accent and surname was the subject of much ridicule. His father was a non-practicing Ashkenazi Jew, while his mother was a practicing Russian Orthodox. Despite growing up with an ambivalent religious background, he was sent to San Jose de Nazareth, a local Catholic parochial school, at the age of 12, who wanted him to grow up "disciplined and honorable". His experience there was negative, and he complained to his parents about the establishment's rigidity and strictness. His time here helped influence his attitudes towards religion in his adult life as an atheist. After only 3 years at San Jose de Nazareth, he transferred to Fidel Cano Gutiérrez High School, a public school closer to Stoyanovich's home. He excelled academically and graduated there in 1934, and was accepted into the University of Antioquia, where his mother worked as a lecturer.
While Stoyanovich and his siblings were still attending school, their father became heavily involved in local politics. His father was a member of the Colombian Liberal Party, and worked part-time as a party recruiter and event organizer. Stoyanovich recalled nights when his father returned home bruised and battered, due to fistfights with political opponents, and rivals within the Party. After receiving several death threats from Conservative sympathizers and fellow Liberals, Stoyanovich's parents made the decision to leave Colombia, and emigrate to Sierra. Allured by the booming job market there, Stoyanovich's father sold all their property, and used the money to purchase a boat trip to the Sierran territory of Pacífico Norte in 1936.
After arriving in the city of Salsipuedes, Stoyanovich and his family surrendered themselves to immigrations and customs officials to be processed. His father formally applied themselves as political refugees, and they were subsequently granted permanent residency status. During the process, Stoyanovich, who was now an adult, was able to choose his legal name. He switched the order of his patronymic name (Stojanović) with his surname (Kovrov), and his surname with his first name (Elieser), and altered the spelling of Stojanović to Stoyanovich, legally changing his name to Kovrov Elieser Stoyanovich. Despite the objection of his parents, his name was formally approved by a notary public. When Stoyanovich delivered his inaugural address as Prime Minister in 1969, he mused:
|“||I changed up my name when I came to Sierra because I wanted to assert myself as an independent-minded thinker. I felt emancipated. A new country and a new world. I couldn't resist. It wasn't so much animosity towards my parents more than it was my own pride. I set off to create my own path, and when the moment came when I knew I could pick my name, I did so.||”|
Stoyanovich spent two years at Salsipuedes Junior College, where he pursued anthropology and language. He spent his time there learning English and French, and aspired to attend a university in mainland Sierra. After graduating the junior college, he was admitted to Mulholland University in the Gold Coast in 1938. He attended the university for free, and lived in the student village nearby. He met his future wife, Sara Elejalde Navarro, and dated her before putting a hold on their relationship as he pursued a military career.
In 1941, Stoyanovich voluntarily enlisted the Sierran Royal Army, and joined the Overseas Military Students program. He was recruited as private first class and was deployed in Hawaii, and later commissioned as a uniformed officer, upon graduating the Royal Army Officer Training Academy in Honolulu in 1942. He served in the 16th Armored Division in Hani during World War II. In September 1942, he was injured by a mortar shrapnel, receiving a deep wound near his right shoulder. After spending two months in recovery, he was formally discharged, and he returned to Mulholland University to continue his studies with advanced credits. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (for his service) and the White Rose Medal (for his injury in battle).
Returning home, he reconnected with his girlfriend, Sara, and got engaged within a year. They married in 1944. In addition, he finished his doctorate in anthropology whilst choosing to double major in military science. As a military veteran with distinguished marks, he was enrolled in a special program at Mulholland University linking students with top military advisers in the country. Thanks to access to this program, he had an intimate connection to Sierran military and foreign policy, and learned from a broad interdisciplinary matrix that transcended the immediate scope of his majors.
Stoyanovich graduated as a member of the Sigma Theta Alpha from Mulholland University with a doctor of philosophy in anthropology and a master's in military science (through an accelerated education plan) in 1946 as an egregia cum laude.
Academic and administrative career
Stoyanovich began his career in the academic sphere of life within months of graduating. He was hired as an assistant professor in anthropology at the University of Gold Coast, Porciúncula, a relatively recent campus established by the University of Sierra (US) public education system for the academic year of 1946-47. He was promoted to associate professor in the summer of 1948, and then a full professor in 1952. He was named chair of the university's social sciences and humanities department in 1954. During his tenure as a professor, Stoyanovich helped advance research in the cross-sectional fields of anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and military science. He contributed scholarly journals on cultural differences in Latin America and East Asia, and joined an Anglo-American association of higher education teachers following the mission creed, "Educating thinkers for a democratic tomorrow". From 1955 to 1957, he also served as the official liaison for the University of Sierra in the Conference of American States. At the time, Sierra had not yet joined the Conference as a full member, but nonetheless cooperated heavily with the Conference's member states across all fields including education.
In 1957, Stoyanovich was elected onto the Board of Regents as its president. He moved to Bernheim, San Joaquin in order to fulfill his duties, and spent time lobbying for more funding from the federal government, and expanding students' rights across the system. During his tenure, he oversaw the opening of two new US campuses: University of Honolulu, Diamond Head (1958) and University of Laguna, San Diego (1960). As a World War II veteran, he ensured military veterans were able to attend the University affordably, and supported the establishment of the Student Veterans Alliance (SVA), a student-led organization of attending veterans with chapters in all the US campuses.
Stoyanovich was a prolific figure in Sierran politics, and formed close ties with members of the Sierran ruling elite, including Prime Minister Alfred von Schlieffen. Stoyanovich's expertise and dedication impressed the prime minister, and was frequently invited to provide counsel and advice to Schlieffen, and even the King in the Privy Council. While Stoyanovich continued his role as board president, he expanded his outreach to national defense and foreign policy think tanks. He became an editor and occasional contributor to the Regal Inspector, a premiere magazine focused on world news. By 1960, Schlieffen had begun considering appointing Stoyanovich to a Cabinet position, and Stoyanovich privately desired to become Minister of Defense himself. After Stoyanovich opined his interest, Schlieffen selected Stoyanovich to shadow then-Minister of Defense Franklin Ramos, who was a Weiren-era politician nearing retirement age.
Minister of Defense
On December 16, 1962, Ramos declared his intention to resign, providing Stoyanovich the opportunity to become Minister of Defense. Immediately after Ramos' resignation, Schlieffen formally named Stoyanovich as Ramos' successor before the Senate. The Senate conducted a formal hearing on Stoyanovich's credentials and history on December 21. After Parliament held its annual Christmas recess, Parliament reconvened on New Year's 1993, and confirmed Stoyanovich on January 2. Stoyanovich was sworn into office the following day on January 3, and moved to Porciúncula from Bernheim.
At the time of his appointment, Stoyanovich had already gained national recognition and popularity among his fellow colleagues. He had many strong friendships across the aisle in all branches of government, and was therefore able to gain more legislative support for his budget proposals. He sought first and foremost to end the highly unpopular Vietnam War as soon as possible whilst ensuring that South Vietnam would not collapse should Sierra opt to withdraw fully. Under his administration, he drastically drove down costs pertaining to defense by replacing conventional warfare with newer state-of-the-art technology, dismantling archaic bureaucratic offices, and decentralizing the structure to allow more freedom and flexibility in decision-making.
With regards to the war itself, he embraced "Vietnamization", a plan where Sierra would expand, train, and equip South Vietnam's army, and give them a progressively larger role in defending themselves while the Sierran Crown Armed Forces would be reduced to a permanent but marginal defense force. He recognized early on the inability of the South Vietnamese to secure their independence should Sierra suddenly withdraw. In light of this, Stoyanovich proposed creating a task force of voluntarily enlisted soldiers committed to long-term service within South Vietnam. His proposal received initial skepticism at first as many wanted complete withdrawal. Critics feared such continued responsibility in South Vietnam would demand a possible resurgence in troop deployment should North Vietnam and the Viet Cong overwhelm the South Vietnamese-Sierran forces due to the reduced size. Realizing that the war was to end as a stalemate, Stoyanovich wanted to maintain enough public support to secure an opportunity for mutual ceasefire.
The Tet Offensive proved disastrous for the Viet Cong, and was a major tactical victory for the KS-South Vietnamese forces. Stoyanovich persuaded Parliament to suspend conscription, and called for immediate amnesty for draft dodgers. In addition, he controversially imposed a severe restriction against war journalism, denying access to most media outlets to continue coverage of the war. Stoyanovich met fierce resistance from the mass media and the public, and was accused of promoting censorship for such measures, and compromised by allowing limited access to certain bases.
In November 1968, Stoyanovich called for drastic reduction in bombing across Southeast Asia as he continued his approach from an aggressive war to a defensive war with overtures for ceasefire. He pressured General Oscar Finley, the war's principal war strategist, to take a more conciliatory approach towards the North Vietnamese, and started a task force to negotiate peace talks with North Vietnam. Stoyanovich struggled to persuade the South Vietnamese government to accept any form of agreement with the North Vietnamese, and fighting continued in South Vietnam as Sierran troops began withdrawing.
A favorite among Royalists, and seen as a pragmatic compromiser, he was the party's choice for prime minister in the upcoming 1969 election. He publicly declared interest in running for office, and received private endorsement from Von Schliefen who would not be seeking a third term.
1969 prime ministerial election
Stoyanovich challenged Nathaniel Griffon, a senator from Plumas, in a bid to receive the nomination by the Royalist Party as its candidate for prime minister. He modeled himself as the pragmatic but reliable conservative, and emphasized his expertise and deep involvement in defense, as well as foreign policy. His opponent, Griffon, was viewed as more conservative of the two, and appealed to evangelical and traditionalist voters, a base Stoyanovich struggled with as he himself was not religious (although he did not disclose his irreligion until much later in life).
As Prime Minister, Stoyanovich continued on the Vietnamization plan he had helped lead during his tenure as Minister of Defense. Stoyanovich helped the South Vietnamese government in implementing land reform, policies which were long sought for by agrarian farmers, thereby reducing the appeal of the Viet Cong and other communist elements in the country. After the South Vietnamese victory in Operation Lam Son 719 in 1971, two years after Stoyanvich's departure from the Ministry of Defense, the victory greatly boosted morale for both South Vietnam and Sierra, and accentuated the success of Stoyanovich's policies. The victory proved the success of Vietnamization, and showed that the Southeast Asian country was capable of defending itself in an invasion without outside help. Achieving a determined state which resisted collapse, Stoyanovich was able to persuade Parliament that "the war can be won".
Blue Bridges scandal
Impeachment and criminal prosecution
Later years and death
Personal life and family
Personality and public image
Honors, medals, and awards
Alfred von Schlieffen
|Prime Minister of Sierra|
December 16, 1969–March 20, 1974
| Succeeded by|
|Minister of Defense of Sierra|
January 3, 1963–November 18, 1969
| Succeeded by|
Henry Ronald Emerson
|President of the Board of Regents|
of the University of Sierra
July 7, 1957 – December 16, 1962
| Succeeded by|
|Liaison of the University of Sierra to|
the Conference of American States
|Non-profit organization positions|
|New title||Chairman of the|
World Link Initiative
| Succeeded by|
Tyler Dominguez Merodio
|Oldest living Prime Minister of Sierra|
| Succeeded by|