In the wake of the severe quelling of the Uprising on Saint Elijah's Day and Transfiguration in Macedonia and the region of Edirne in 1903, the burning and ruination of hundreds of Bulgarian villages as well as the carnage of thousands of Bulgarians, the Great Powers imposed on the Ottoman Empire the so-called Murzteg Reforms Programme, slated to improve the administration and exert international control, so as to ease the plight of the Bulgarian population and defend the people from the ongoing reprisals and violence.
The countries believed to be most interested in the Balkan issues, i.e. Austro-Hungary and Russia, undertook to draw up the reforms. The two countries agreed upon maintaining the status quo in the region as early as 1897. Under the Murzteg Reforms Programme, devised by the foreign ministers of Austro-Hungary and Russia, Count Coluchowski and Count Lamsdorf respectively, two civil agents, an Austrian and a Russian, were designated to be accredited to the Inspector-General of the three Macedonian vilayets Hussein Hilmi Pasha, appointed by the Sultan. Those three, along with their aides, were supposed to take care of abolishing violence and abuses, establishing law and order and implementing the stipulated measures for assisting the violence-stricken population, protecting it from further atrocities. On September 24, 1903 the Sultan, after protesting on more than one occasion, acceded to the Reforms Programme submitted by Austro-Hungary and Russia; in the spring of 1904 the reforms in Macedonia started being put into effect.