Baron Giesi, the Austrian Ambassador in Constantinople informs Baron Calice of the demands
of the Internal Organization, as expounded to him by Toma Karayovov1
July 7th, 1903

When on July 5th this year I was leaving Sofia, a man of about 35, whom I had not known till then, introduced himself to me as Mr. T. Karayovov, a lawyer from Sofia and a leader of the Internal Macedonian Organization. He begged me for a conversation.

He had chosen that moment on purpose, so that he could speak un­disturbed and unnoticed, and begged me to keep our talk secret from everybody, with the exception, naturally, of my Government. Apart from himself, two other persons knew about this conversation.

To my question as to why he had addressed himself to me and not to our representative in Sofia, and on whose behalf he was speaking, Mr. Karayovov answered:

'Because you know the situation not only in Bulgaria but also in Turkey, we consider you as a suitable mediator between us and your Embassy and Government.

I speak on behalf of the Internal Organization, of all the Committees not only in Bulgaria but also in Macedonia, and, if you like, on behalf of all the Bulgarian Macedonians.'

I shall quote the exact words of Mr. Karayovov, as follows:

During our conversation, which continued for about half an hour, I listened carefully to my interlocutor, interrupting him only with short questions to make certain that I had understood him correctly, or to receive some further explanations about particulars in the programme of the Organization. Karayovov told me the following:

'After the official committees were dissolved by the Bulgarian Govern­ment, Stanishev and I were elected as leaders of the Central Committee. All the branch committees in Bulgaria and Macedonia are subordinated to this Com­mittee, to which Boris Sarafov also belongs, and which is also called "Internal Organization."

You are well acquainted with the two tasks of the Bulgarian Macedonians - we have struggled till now and we will struggle in the future to ensure for them a life worthy of human beings, and freedom.

Naturally, we hope for support from Europe, in the first place from Russia, our kindred in blood, and for the active support of our people in Bulgaria.

But we were deceived by them and we no longer have any such hope.

Our first great disappointment was the appointment of Mr. Phirmilian, and our last was the persecution of the Macedonian movement by the present Bulgarian Government.

The Russian consuls in Macedonia are inamicably disposed towards us; our unification with Bulgaria seems impossible; and, for these reasons, we are working only for Macedonia and for its liberation from the Turkish yoke. But this cannot make us renounce our Bulgarian nationality.

The present situation is well known to you. We had armed a large number of detachments, most of which were destroyed by the Turks. Henceforward, we shall continue to fight and prepare for a general revolution. We have not succeeded so far because we have had no support from outside.

Count Lamsdorf told us that the Tsar was interested in our fate, and he advised us to be prudent and patient, but he did not give us any definite promises.

Already last year, at conferences, the leaders of the movement had dis­cussed the situation and later decided to implore His Majesty the Tsar and Emperor Franz Joseph to defend the Macedonian Bulgarians, so that they would be placed under the protection of His Majesty.

The greatest merit for adopting this resolution belongs to the recently killed organizer of the active militant agitation - Delchev.

The aim of this conversation is to ask you to convey this petition to your Government.

We have done everything to make the patronage of His Majesty possible: we have discussed the possibility of all Macedonian Bulgarians accepting Catholicism; there were many difficulties in this, but we are ready to take the whole responsibility for the achievement of a union with Rome, or to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the Patriarch of Karlovac.

This is the last step we shall take, before we rely only on our tenacity in the fight. We do not consider it expedient to stop the struggle now.

Macedonia is divided into revolutionary regions, each of them having 1 -3 detachments 'as its personnel,' which, if necessary, can be reinforced from the local population. I shall not be telling you a lie if I assure you that the total of this 'personnel' only amounts to 3—4000 people.

Some of these armed detachments, like those of Alexo Poroiski and Doncho, which are gangs of robbers rather than rebels, have slipped out of our control, and there are three or four others subordinated directly to General Tsonchev, who is in opposition to us.

The inadequate reforms, the implementation of which is still in doubt, the outrages of the Turkish soldiers, the despair of the population and the inevitable famine make the outbreak of a general revolution extremely probable.'

In the course of our conversation, Karayovov confirmed the truth of the information which I had earlier received in Sofia about the programme of the Internal Organization, sent on June 29th this year under No. 83 to the Royal and Imperial Chief of General Staff, apart from the threats of dynamite out­rages against the Government in Sofia.

'We were against the dynamite attempts in Soloun, which took place before we were able to stop them,' explained Mr. Karayovov, 'we shall try to make the Government pursue a national policy, too, but we are not planning any attempts against the life of the Prince.'

When Karayovov had finished, I answered that I was only a Government official and that, as such, I could do nothing except inform my Government of what I had been told.

He probably knows that there is an agreement between the Government of Austro-Hungary and Russia, whose two-fold aim is to preserve peace in general and peace in the Balkans, as well as to improve the life of the Macedonians in a legal way by means of introducing beneficial reforms.

The petition which he submitted, and which was imbued with revolutionary ideas, even though it insisted only on patronage, was contrary to the agreement, and it could create great difficulties, which would arise with every similar intervention on the part of His Royal and Imperial Majesty.

After his last remark, I asked him whether the Committee would stop the struggle, if the reforms produced actual results and if the living conditions of the Macedonians were really improved.

'We don't believe this is possible, and we shall lay down our arms only when "the European control" guarantees us a constant improvement of the situation,' was the answer of Karayovov.

'I was born in Skopje, I studied the Turkish language and took an examination at the Law Academy in Constantinople, in order to enter govern­ment service. I passed my examination, but my application for an appointment was rejected. Thus, from a loyal subject I gradually became a revolutionary.'

Karayovov left me at Vakarel station in order to return to Sofia.

From this exposition, which throws light on a particular moment in the development of the Macedonian movement, I am convinced that this movement is beginning to lack the necessary resources for struggle in Macedonia, and that is the reason why its leaders are looking for a way out of this difficult situation, through some intervention in their favour, even if only moral, and, if that fails, through involving Bulgaria in the conflict.

Т. Томоски, Документи од Виенската архива за Македониjа од  1879-1903 г., Скопjе, 1955, (T. Tomoski, Documents from the Vienna archive on Macedonia, 1879-1903), Skopje, 1955, pp. 125-128; the original is in German.

1 T. Karayovov, one of the figures of the Macedonian-Adrianople movement in Bulgaria and in Turkey, born in Skopje. After the Second Macedonian Congress in 1895, he was the secretary of the Supreme Macedonian Committee. Later he was secretary of the Bulgarian trade agency in Bitolya and in Odrin. He was close to the people of the Internal Organization. After the split during the Tenth Macedonian-Adrianople Congress, he was vice-chairman of the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Com­mittee headed by Hristo Stanishev. During the Hürriyet he helped to set up the Union of the Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs.
The Proclamation of the General Staff of the Bitolya Revolutionary District announcing the Ilinden Uprising
July 15th, 1903

At last the long-expected day of settling our accounts with our age-old enemy has come.
The blood of our innocent brothers who have fallen victim to Turkish tyranny cries aloud for vengeance! The violated honour of our mothers and sisters demands restitution!
Enough of misery, enough of shame:
It is a thousand times better to die than to live the shameful1 life of an animal!                                                                
The appointed day on which the people throughout Macedonia and the region of Odrin will face the enemy openly, with arms in hand - is July 20th.
Follow your leaders, brothers, on that day and rally under the flag of freedom!    
Persist in the struggle, brothers! Only persistence and a long struggle can save us.
May God bless our just cause and the day of the uprising!
Down with Turkey! Down with the tyrants! Death to the enemy!
Long live the people! Long live freedom! Hurrah!
We kiss you fraternally: the General Staff.
НБКМ - БИА, II. B-765; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 In the original the word is not clear

The Counselor at the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Mission in Sofia, Johann Forgach,
reports on different attitudes in the liberation movement in Macedonia over the question of autonomy

July 15th, 1903

... Lately I have been able to distinguish two currents in the Macedonian circles in which I move. One of them, to which the well-off and more educated elements belong is definitely for unification with Bulgaria, for which the way is to be prepared through autonomy, as in Eastern Roumelia. For these circles, eventual armed intervention by Austria is not desirable, because they are afraid of a lengthy occupation of Soloun in such an event. On the other hand, the broad masses of the Macedonian population build their hopes for a better future solely on armed Austrian intervention and they cite as an example the impartial, liberal and just administration in Bosnia.

But we must not be deceived by this: the Austrian government is only to establish this autonomy. And once it has been achieved, the Macedonian peo­ple will again declare their desire for unification with Bulgaria.

For this reason, the liberating role of Austria will be very thankless.

If they do not aim at an immediate unification with Bulgaria the reason is that they consider that this would lead to a division of Macedonia and the different regions claimed by Serbia, Greece and Montenegro would be split off. Under autonomy Macedonia would remain whole, and the people are con­vinced that, during the period of autonomy they would be able to silence the non-Bulgarian element and, in due course, ensure that the whole of Macedonia will opt for such a unification.

Д. Зографски, Извештаи од 1903—1904 година на австриските представници во Македониjа, (D. Zografski, Information of Austrian representatives in Macedonia 1903-1904, Skopje, 1955, pp. 40-42; the original is in German.

The Inspector-General of the vilayets in Roumelia1 informs the Grand Vizirate in a telegram
that the Bulgarian peasants of Bitolya are joining the rebel detachments in great numbers
July 22nd, 1903
According to the dispatches received from Bitolya and dated July 21st and July 22nd, 1903, the situation there has become more complicated. The Bulgarian peasants are leaving their cattle and wives in the villages, while they themselves are joining the rebel detachments in large groups. The number of the people in each detachment amounts to 200-300. In the central districts six Moslem villages are threatened by the detachments, but they cannot get any help, because there are no spare troops available. For this reason, they ask for immediate relief to be sent to them through Veles. Information from Prilep, Ohrid and Kichevo is constantly arriving. The regular troops are already on their way to the area and the rediffs are being urgently called up.

Документи за българската история, т. IV. Документи из турските държавни архиви (1863-1909), (Documents about the Bulgarian history, vol. IV. Documents from the State Archives of Turkey-1863-1909),  Sofia, 1942, p. 217; the original is in Turkish.
1 Hilmi Pasha

A letter from the Head of the Bulgarian Agency in Bitolya to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria
concerning the seizure of the town of Kroushevo by the rebels and the beginning of the uprising in the Bitolya region
Bitolya, July 23rd /old style/, 1903

I have the honour to notify you that, during the night of the 21st of this month, some 900 rebels entered the town of Kroushevo, Bitolya district, where they killed about 50 Turkish soldiers stationed in the town, after which they set fire to the government buildings housing the mayor's office, the telegraph of­fice and the law courts. This done, they took up positions at the highest point which commands the best view of the town, and where now flutters a red flag with a lion and an inscription Freedom or Death on one side, and on the other, God Is With Us, Dare, 0, People! Yesterday, July 22, about 500 troops left Bitolya for Kroushevo, but they have so far failed to dislodge the rebels from their positions and to enter the town, because these positions are said to be so good that in order to capture them, the Turks have to send in at least 5,000 troops. According to the information I have, however, right now these troops cannot be sent there, and are being kept in Bitolya, until more troops arrive, because the governor is afraid lest an uprising should break out here, too, or lest the armed detachments should try to enter Bitolya if enough troops are not left here.

Many Turkish farms and crops around Kroushevo and Prilep have been burnt, and considerable panic has seized the Turkish population in the vilayet, all the more so, because 4-5 armed persons from among the conspirators from every Bulgarian village have recently gone out and joined the rebel detachments.

Your Excellency, in my humble opinion, affairs here have begun to assume a very serious character as well as large proportions; the uprising and the raids by the rebel units will not be carried out simultaneously at many places in the vilayet. The armed detachments will attack one town or several, villages at a time, and others at another time, and this situation will continue till the winter, because, as I see it, this is precisely the aim of the Committee, i.e. to make the Turks exhaust their forces, and keep them in a state of continuous alarm and suspense.

It will be small wonder, unless fresh reinforcements arrive shortly, if the rebel units which are very enthusiastic and encouraged by their success in Kroushevo, manage to enter also the towns of Kostour, Prilep and Lerin, because they are most powerful in these regions.

The rebel units operating in the Bitolya vilayet number an estimated 4,500-5,000 men.

Asking to accept the assurances of my esteem, I remain,

Respectfully yours,

(signature of Head of Agency)

ЦДИА, ф. 176, оп. 1, a.e. 1881а, л.л. 284, 285; the original is in Bulgarian.
Newspaper reports to Novoye Vremya about the Ilinden Uprising
July 27th, 1903
Today there is no definite information about what is going on in Macedonia ... Complete anarchy reigns there: the rebels are beating the Turks, and the Turks - the Bulgarians ...
About the Macedonian uprising. The Bulgarian-Macedonian rebels, as the telegraph has already reported, have warned the management of the Eastern Railways that the attacks against railway trains are being renewed.
Travelling in Macedonia... The head of the railways belonging to Com­pany 'Chemins de fer Orientaux,' a German and an old inhabitant of Skopje, told me about his disagreement with the Turkish authorities on this question:
'The Turks wanted me to dismiss all the Bulgarian workers under my authority, and replace them with supporters of the Patriarchate. Well, I gave my Bulgarians friendly advice to pretend to support the Patriarchate.'

"Новое время" No. 9839, (Newspaper Novoye Vremya), No. 9839, 27. VII. (9.1903); the original is in Russian.
The representatives of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) abroad
deny the slanders of the Turkish government about atrocities committed by the rebels
July 29th, 1903

Immediately after the outbreak of the Uprising, the Turkish government began to spread abroad false reports about atrocities committed by the rebels in the vilayet of Bitolya against the peaceful Moslem population in that region. Ob­viously this was done in order to justify as provoked those outrages of the bashibazouks which the world will witness after the pacification of the rebellious slaves. For this reason, the delegates of the Revolutionary Organiza­tion consider it necessary to inform misled public opinion that, at the General Congress of the Organization which took place on January 5th this year in Soloun, and at the district congresses which took place on April 22nd in the Bitolya region, on June 15th in the Pirin region, on June 28th in the Odrin region, and on July 5th in the Skopje region - resolutions were adopted in ac­cordance with which the proclamation of the uprising addressed to the already fighting population of Macedonia and  Odrin,   says:'... We are taking up arms against tyranny and inhumanity; we are fighting in the name of freedom and humanity; therefore, our cause stands above all differences of nationality and clan. For this reason, we consider as our brothers all who suffer in the dark realm of the Sultan. The Wallachians, the Greeks, even the Turkish peasants are suffering, as we Bulgarians are suffering, and if today the Greeks and the Turks are not fighting in our ranks, we put this down solely to their ignorance, and we can neither treat them as enemies nor consider them as such. Our enemy is only the Turkish government and everyone who comes with arms or with false accusations against us, or takes revenge upon defenceless old people, women and children, instead of fighting against us. Against him we shall fight and on him we shall take our revenge.

For this reason we order all to act according to the resolutions of the Cen­tral Congress of IMARO and the regional congresses. Articles 4, 5 and 6 of these resolutions state:

“4) Attacks, according to the circumstances on every armed Turkish detachment - both military and bashibazouk.

5) Defence of the Christian population, including foreign subjects, from Turkish attacks.

6) It is forbidden to attack the peaceful Turkish population, or to molest Turkish women, children and old people."

The population taking part in the uprising understood its leaders well. And the delegates of the Revolutionary Organization reject with indignation the slanders of the Turkish authorities and declare firmly and categorically that up till now the rebels have not hurt a hair of an innocent Turk, or anybody else of non-Bulgarian nationality.

Бюлетин на в.„Автономия"(Задграничен лист на Вътрешната   македоно-одринска    организация), (Bulletin of the newspaper Autonomy, organ of IMARO published abroad), Sofia, July 29th, 1903; the original is in Bulgarian.
The Austro-Hungarian Consul in Bitolya, August Kral, informs the Minister of Foreign Affairs
about the beginning of the Ilinden Uprising
August 4th, 1903

What was becoming more and more probable each day has at last happened: the Bulgarian uprising has begun. It is now clear how wrong were those who considered that the threat of an uprising in Macedonia was over, that the reforms had pacified the population, etc., whereas in actual fact the revolutionary preparations never stopped and achieved considerable success.

The reasons which led to the outbreak of the uprising so early, even be­fore the harvest was gathered in, i.e. 14 days earlier than the appointed day, seem to have been of an economic and climatic nature. Probably the recent in­creased torture and the searches in the villages caused heavy material losses to the local committees, and they were apparently afraid of further losses.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the messengers of the armed detachments announced in the villages that the uprising would be proclaimed on Sunday evening, August 2nd, and everywhere this was received enthusiastically and was greeted like some kind of salvation. At the appointed time, fires on all sides gave the signal for the rebels to emerge.

In Bitolya, two gun shots gave the signal for the lighting of two fires, prepared on the outskirts of the town, and intended both to serve as a signal for the district and to facilitate the escape of the rebels in the chaos which would inevitably follow. Since then, the noise and the fires have been awakening the population every night, although the fires (hay-lofts, water-mills, granaries) have not caused any great damage so far. In many Bulgarian villages there have appeared armed detachments, or parts of them, who take away with them all men able to bear arms. This usually happens outside the villages and in places situated near the principal town of the vilayet, as for example in Hristophor, Pozdezh, Zabyani, Orizari, Koukourechani, Tsrnobouki, Srptse, etc. For this reason, the fighting forces of the rebels amount to thousands, and it is not yet clear what action the movement will undertake.

All the telegraph wires converging on Bitolya were destroyed,and wires in other places were destroyed for many kilometres. The local administration was able to communicate with Prilep and Maryovo only by means of a heliostat. Along the railway line, 600 metres of double wire are missing near Kravari, south of Bitolya, and about 1000 metres between Banitsa and Tserovo, together with the posts and the insulators. They were repaired temporarily on the following day, but, during the night between August the 3rd and the 4th, 600 metres of wire were again destroyed near Ekshi-sou.

At the 174.4th kilometer (near the last-mentioned station) a railway police station was set on fire. All this throws wonderful light on the so-called excellent protection of the railway.

The entrance points at the same station which had been destroyed by a dynamite explosion, were repaired on Monday, and so was a bridge outside Sorovich, which had also been blown up. The trains are moving with great delays. Two soldiers were killed by grenades on the railway road near Ekshi-sou, while the grenades thrown at two aqueducts did not explode.

The burning down of the property of the Turkish landlords (as, for exam­ple, in Zaburdeni, Kroushograd - in the county of Lerin; Koukourechani, Smirnovo, Ramna, Tsrunevets, and Resen near Bitolya, etc.) was done simultaneoulsy with the armed attacks on the Moslem villages and the military patrols. Battles were fought to the west of Bitolya, near Ramna, Lera, Dolentsi and, later, near Lake Prespa, with the Moslems, who defended themselves.

In Kazhani, a Moslem Albanian village, 3 hours' walk to the west of Bitolya, the population, armed to the teeth, stood on guard day and night, awaiting the expected attack.

Resen was attacked from six directions and the firing went on all night. Nevertheless, the Bulgarians were not able to enter the village, and the number of casualties is not great.

The objectives of the attack were the three more important military posts, near Resen: Kroushe (on the way to Ohrid), then Shour and Stene; the attack on the latter did not succeed. At Kroushe-han, the soldiers died from poison.1 Shour-Khan was burned to ashes and the soldiers managed to save themselves by throwing down their arms and running away.

Immediately after that, it was apparent from the barricades and the trenches that, on Sunday evening, an ambush had been laid for the post carriage traveling between Bitolya and Korcha. But the post-carriage, which was accompanied by 15 men on horseback, returned after Prevalets (south of Tsapari), threatened from all sides by gun shots and fire.

The road leading to Stene-Khan was destroyed, as were all the bridges between Resen and Ohrid.

Two villages (Kroushe and Leoreka) near Resen were in flames last Sun­day.

There is no news from Ohrid.

In the district of Lerin, the number of rebels reached 1,500 and in Gorno Neolani many Turks were killed.

The bloodiest violence occurred in Smilevo (north of Gopesh), where the rebels fired at the small local garrison during prayer time. There were people killed in Kroushevo, where the telephone office of the mudir and the small barracks were set on fire; the soldiers were defeated and flags were hoisted on the higher points in the town. The government officials and gendarmes there were killed, and the head of the telegraph office was hanged near the fountain. The road which leads up the mountain with many hairpin-bends, was destroyed and the rebels occupied the forest. It is considered that the number of the active rebels in Smilevo is about five hundred, and those near Kroushevo - about 800 people. Both villages are still in their hands. I have just received information from a reliable source that the troops sent from Bitolya to Prilep to help Kroushevo recaptured two settlements, and the number of casualties in Kroushevo was 170 - Turks, rebels, and local citizens.

Similar attacks took place, but less successfully, against Pribiltsi, Novo Selo and other Moslem settlements in Demir Hissar, where large groups of armed Bulgarians were moving around with flying banners. The Turkish land­owners there have asked for arms and ammunition.

Two hundred and fifty soldiers of the battalion of rediffs in Prishtina have departed for Prespa, and brutal outrages can be expected there.

In several villages exposed to the danger of attack because of the depar­ture of the armed men, the children and the women left in the general panic, for the mountains with the men as, for example, in the villages of Hristophor, Oblakovo, Resen, Srubche, where the bashibazouks fired at the people while they were climbing the heights. Many were mortally wounded.

From the Hutova farm (near Smilevo) and from Popolzhani (Lerin dis­trict) several flocks of sheep were carried away to the mountain to feed the rebels.

Among the people who have joined the rebel detachments there are members of notable families from Bitolya and other settlements, as well as citizens from Wallachian settlements, as is the case with Turnovo, Magarevo, Malovishte, Gopesh, etc.

The guard on Bitolya was considerably strengthened on the side of the mountains to protect the town against possible attacks by rebels - tents on all neighbouring hills and heights indicate the presence of reinforced military posts.

Massacres may be expected, when the Moslems, especially those who are being hard pressed at present, recover from the first shock and when, after the arrival of the expected reinforcements, they feel sure of their superiority. For this reason, the situation is very serious.

Д. Зографски, Извештаи од 1903—1904 година на австриските представници во Македониjа, (D. Zografski, Reports of the Austrian representatives in Macedonia 1903-1904), Skopje, 1955, pp. 64-67; the original is in German.

1  The peasants had put poison in the food of the soldiers.

A letter from Exarch Yossif to the Bulgarian government about the Turkish government's pressure on him
to send a circular letter to the rebels to lay down their arms, and his unwillingness to do so

, August 25th, 1903

Your Excellency,

For a month now the imperial government has been pressing us with a most insistent demand. On July 22 we were summoned to the Palace where His Excellency the Grand Vizir and His Excellency the Minister for External Af­fairs, after notifying us that the anticipated uprising had already broken out in the Bitola vilayet, and that the government was taking all the necessary military measures for its quick suppression, demanded on behalf of the Highest Name that we issue a circular letter to our flock with the purpose of pacifying them. On July 31 we were called to the Palace again. Tahsin Pasha, the First Secretary, repeated the demand for a circular letter, pointing out that it was our duty to the State to help restore public order, and that it was a duty which the Greek and Armenian patriarchs would have immediately fulfilled. On August 7 the Ministry of Justice and Religious Denominations, on an order from the Vizir, notified us with a formal document that the Chief Inspector Hilmi Pasha had been instructed to issue and circulate notices to the Christian population everywhere asking it not to allow itself to be misled and deceived by the troublemaking committees, but to calm down and return to their homes, and asked us to advise the population to do the same. On August 18, at 10 o'clock at night, a special envoy of the Chief Military Prosecutor, Reshad Pasha, arrived at the Exarchate and asked us, in connection with the rumours about some bombing incidents in Constantinople in August, to help prevent such in­cidents through advice to the population, or else the government would act severely in case of any violation of the peace. The government's insistence to this effect reached its peak on August 19 when, according to custom, we went to the Palace to offer our congratulations on the occasion of the holiday of the Royal ascension to the throne. Before being received by His Imperial Majesty, together with the other religious leaders, we had to have two interviews with Tahsin Pasha. His Excellency urged us to assist energetically in the pacification of the rebels, to condemn, publicly excommunicate them and to prove our allegiance not only with words but also with deeds, making it clear that we, too, would be held responsible for any further consequences. His Majesty, the Sultan, he said, had been much aggrieved by the ingratitude of the Bulgarians to whom he was particularly benevolent and to whom he had granted so many benefits, while they had failed to appreciate even his present merciful attitude to the rebels, and that he now intended to deal with the latter in a most severe manner. The First Secretary even wanted to make our reception by the Sultan conditional upon our promise that nothing untoward would happen in the capital that day, as if that depended upon us. In conclusion, he said that His Majesty should be everything to us, and that we were left no other choice but either to heed his advice and secure the well-being of Church and people, or to reject it, and thereby endanger the Exarchate itself.

Whenever the circular letter in question was demanded, we kept requesting that His Majesty relieve us of this task which would be of no use to the government, and which was putting us in a very difficult position, because, first and foremost, circular letters and excommunications cannot possibly pacify a population which has resorted to arms to save itself from its wretched plight, while the government does nothing to understand, and if possible, satisfy its demands, and offer a remedy for its suffering. Secondly, we issued such cir­cular letters on two occasions last autumn when the uprising in Syar sandjak and the Kostour area broke out and, at the request of the Court, we promised the population reforms, while the result was that whole villages were burnt, ruined or plundered, and many people killed. We, as a pastor, do not want to have such victims on our conscience. Thirdly, the rebel population wants us, as its religious leader, to raise our voice in defense of its human rights, or, at least, to stay neutral. In the fourth place, many of the organs of the Exarchate in the province such as bishop's representatives, chairmen of communes, priests and teachers have been arrested, interned or forced to flee, and there is nobody to whom we can send a circular letter. In the fifth place, the government itself has undermined the authority and prestige of the Exarchate by adopting the prac­tice of not complying even with its smallest requests, of subjecting its flock to harassment and suffering, and of patronizing, in every possible way, Greek and Serbian propaganda in its efforts to disunite and obliterate the Bulgarian nationality in the vilayets. But the government would not enter into any discus­sion or listen to reason. It firmly insists on the execution of the will of His Majesty, and on its duty to the State.

We are, thus, faced with the dilemma of either refusing to satisfy the government's demand and put at stake everything achieved so far, including the very existence of the Exarchate, or comply with it, and even though against our will, bear the moral responsibility to our flock and to our conscience, while the population falls victim, like last autumn, to new, and even more cruel decep­tions, because nobody offers any guarantees either to us or to them.

As you see, Sir, the Exarchate does not want to interfere in the affairs between the government and the committees to which effect you spoke in your telegram No. 434, but the government is drawing it into these affairs against its will.

Since in 3-4 days’ time they will come for our final reply, I consider it as our duty to ask in advance the opinion of the Prince's Government on this matter, one of crucial import under the present trying circumstances. We firmly believe that the government, aware of all the urgency of the question, and of the consequences its solution may have one way or another, will promptly let us know of its position.

We shall pray for God's blessings upon you, and remain in His name, your sincere supplicant in Christ,

Yossif, Exarch of Bulgaria

ЦДИА, ф 176, оп. 1, a.e. 1873, лл. 112-113; the original is in Bulgarian.



The Austro-Hungarian Consul in Bitolya, August Kral, reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
on the events in the vilayet of Bitolya and the sympathy of the local Bulgarians for the revolution
August 27th, 1903

The impression which the public has of events here is very often quite erroneous. There is much talk of 'a second renewal of the uprising in Macedonia,' 'a repetition of the revolt in spring,' whereas no uprising has ever taken place before.

The only earlier attempt at a revolt which can be taken into account was the one undertaken in a state of complete blindness last autumn by the com­mittee of Tsonchev in the region of Razlog, near the Bulgarian frontier, but which, however, was limited to only a few villages and, for this reason, ended in disaster.

Things are quite different, however, here, in the vilayet of Bitolya. Here they are really working for a revolt, the first in Macedonia, since the beginning of the Bulgarian movement, which must be indeed regarded quite seriously as a very dangerous uprising.

This is not just the work of individual agitators and criminals as many newspapers assert, but an outburst of discontent on the part of a whole people. It is not happening because of a desire for adventure on the part of some un­employed people - it is a call for help from a heavily oppressed population struggling for its freedom and well-being.

Here the uprising is almost general, it embraces almost the whole Slav part of the vilayet, i.e. the sandjak of Bitolya with its five districts (Kichevo, Ohrid, Bitolya, Prilep, Lerin), part of the district of Kostour in the sandjak of Korcha, and some villages in the district of Kailyari in the sandjak of Selfidje. In this region, the Bulgarian population totals more than 250,000 people, the majority of whom sympathize with the revolution and support it openly or secretly.

It is now the task of the other consuls to consider whether this movement will spread with the same force to the neighbouring vilayets, or whether there are obstacles in the way, as, for example, the fact that some regions are subor­dinated to the organization of the Supreme Committee and not to the Internal Organization, the successful confiscation of arms on the part of the Turks, un­favourable geographical and ethnical conditions, and so on. If there is no com­parable further spread of the conflagration outside the vilayet, the Turks will be able to suppress the uprising here with fire and blood, but even they do not dare to hope at present that they will extinguish the conflagration. It will continue to smoulder under the snows of winter, and, at the first opportunity, will burst in flames again, perhaps even stronger, because the despair of the thousands of people without shelter and maintenance, victims of the present uprising, knows no limit, and there will be sufficient time to bring the other vilayets in as well.

Many false rumours are spreading all over the world about the uprising in the vilayet of Bitolya. My love of truth, and not my partiality towards the Christians, or towards any other nationality (I have often demonstrated my particular sympathy for the Moslems) compels me to state - contrary to the view which the press maintains with such obvious signs of satisfaction - that the behaviour of the rebels was human and loyal, while the behaviour of the Turks was barbarian, cruel and Asiatic. That the rebels did not use kid-gloves in their dealings with their enemies - that is quite natural in a revolution. The same refers to the destroying of communications, railways and telegraphs in order to prevent the enemy from concentrating many troops and the system of communications from functioning normally. In order to weaken the enemy materially, the rebels burnt farm houses, the so-called 'bulwarks,' of the Turkish oppressors. That is, they never did any indiscriminate harm to the Turks, nor to the villages and houses of the innocent, nor to those who did not take part in the actions against them.

The Turks, on the contrary, are very weak and unable to fight with the rebels in the mountains, but they are sometimes enraged because of their failures. Then they rush into the villages and, after plundering the houses, they kill most of the population, rape the women and girls, and burn down their houses.

I shall not fail to insert in my report all the evidence confirming my asser­tions, together with the details.

Those killed are alleged to have fallen in battle, and, furthermore, as it is said, any violation is to be explained away by ambushes or bombings.

In fact, ever since the village of Smurdesh was destroyed, the rebels, following their orders, avoid confrontations with troops in settlements, obviously with the aim of sparing them and of avoiding the eventual loss to themselves of such bases for provisions.

The so-called 'atrocities' of the rebels, about which so much commotion has been raised, are pure legends at present, and ever since military operations started not a single murder for revenge has been committed here.

The assertion that the suppression of the uprising has not yet begun because of the Turks' humanitarian intention of avoiding unnecessary bloodshed is quite ridiculous. The sole reason for this is the chaos in the Turkish camp, their lack of preparedness and their indecision, as well as the strength of the Bulgarian positions. Also, there is no negotiation with the rebels; this would probably be only a waste of time, due to the violent searches for weapons, by beating the heels of the people who are being interrogated. There is not a single case of rebels returning to their villages while still armed; on the contrary, those who have returned are usually unarmed persons who had run away, driven by fear, and have now returned to their villages. This is only to the advantage of the rebels, since they are having difficulties over food supplies.

Д. Зографски, Извештаи од 1903—1904 година на австриските представници во Македониjа, (D. Zografski, Information of the Austrian representatives in Macedonia 1903-1904), Skopje, 1955, pp. 86-89; the original is in German.


A report of the leaders of the Ilinden Uprising in the Kostour region sent to all foreign consulates in Bitolya,
and containing information about the rebel operations, 23 Bulgarian villages burnt,
and old people,women and children killed or captured by Turkish troops and bashibazouks

Kostour, August 30th (old style), 1903

Until July 20 there were between 100 and 150 troops permanently stationed in the villages of Zagorichani, Visheni, Konomladi, Pozdivishta, Gabresh, Roulya, Dumbeni, Kossinets, Ketram and Kondorabi to hunt down the hitherto small rebel units supporting the Revolutionary Committee. The troops in Visheni were attacked by the leaders V. Chekelarov and Klyashev, together with the village leaders. There were 350 rebels under the leadership of the above-mentioned leaders and commanders. The attack was carried out from all sides, and after a 3-hour battle the troops left the village and took to flight, the darkness of the night saving them from complete extermination. The rebels captured a rifle, cartridges and some food. Five soldiers were killed, while there were no rebel losses. Forty agas from the Turkish village of Zherveni, among whom was a Turkish woman with several children, were captured during the at­tack against the troops in Visheni. 20 of the worst were killed, while the good ones and the woman with the children were set free. The soldiers who had fled from Visheni spread panic in the town of Kostour with their stories about the red flags, the thunderous cheering, the loud battle songs, and the number of the rebels which they multiplied a hundredfold. The Turks who had hitherto been used to hunt down individuals and small detachments of up to 5-10 men and not big ones of several hundred men each, were startled and frightened. The attack against the troops in Visheni took place about 9.30 p.m., and on the following day all soldiers from the above-mentioned villages fled to the towns; this was the reason why the rebels did not find a single Turk when they en­circled the village of Prekopana in order to defeat the troops stationed there. The rebels from Koreshtata (the western part of the Kostour region) did not manage to attack any troops either, because the latter had fled from these places before the rebels had rallied to the banner. Just a few volleys fired at a distance were enough to confuse and drive the soldiers out of the village of Konomladi.

On July 23 the rebels attacked and captured the small town of Vlaho-Klissoura in the following manner: at 5 o'clock the centre leader Ivan Popov with 80 rebels attacked a force of 150 soldiers coming along the road from the village of Sourovichovo to Klissoura. The soldiers under attack took to flight, leaving 4 cartloads of food and uniforms behind, which were captured by the rebels. They also seized three horses loaded with tents which the rebels burnt. The rebel leaders Chekelarov, Klyashev and Rodov with 300 men, after scattering the 50 soldiers who had held a defensive position at Klissoura, cap­tured it and attacked the troops who were fighting against Popov from the rear. The soldiers, attacked on all sides and frightened by the loud cheering and the singing, beat a disorderly retreat, accompanied by the mayor. So the small town of Klissoura and the mayor's office which was guarded by some 350 soldiers were captured by the rebels. All the government papers in the mayor's office were burnt, and the mayor's own horse was taken. On July 23 the Klissoura pass (Daoula) was closed to the Turks and to postal communications until it was recaptured by the Turks on August 15 which will be described later. In seizing Klissoura the rebels suffered no casualties; on the previous day (July 22) the centre leader Nikola Andreev had lost five men in an attack on the same town. More than 10 Turks had been killed there and the rebels had captured a Mauser rifle with cartridges as well.

On July 24 Lazo P. Traikov (a leader) with 400 rebels from the Dumbeni and Smurdesh centres, attacked the Mohammedan Turkish village of Zherveni. Its location among many Bulgarian villages was inconvenient because its in­habitants informed the Turkish authorities about the movement of rebel detachments and operations. They also joined the bazhibazouks in their plunder in the Shesteovo and Visheni affairs on February 12, 1902, and on August 3, 1902, respectively. After little resistance the village was set on fire and burnt down. Before that the Zherverii villagers had been asked to surrender peacefully their own weapons and those given them by the authorities, and to leave the village. The Turks did not surrender their weapons, but turned them against the rebels, and that was why fire was opened, and the village was burnt. Only one rebel fell in that operation. After Zherveni had been burnt, Lazo gathered all the rebels from all the centres in the Koreshtata, a total of over 800 men, and toured the villages and mountains without running into a single Turk.

On July 26 a 700-strong Turkish force left Kostour, set the village of Shesteovo on fire, and on Shesteovo peak encountered a small peasant detach­ment of 30 men led by Nikola Kouzinchev. The two sides engaged in fighting which lasted an hour, after which the detachment retreated without any losses. The losses on the Turkish side are not known. On the following day the same troops set fire to two or three houses while passing through the village of Chernovishti. On July 28 Lazo, Vassil and Pando, together with four centre leaders (I. Popov, Mitre Pandjarov, Steryo Steryovski and Vassil Nikolov) and many village leaders, more than 800 rebels in all, attacked the purely Turkish small town of Bilishta, the centre of the Albanians in Dyavolta. The southwestern part of the Kostour region borders on villages inhabited by Moslem Albanians and called Dyavoltsi after the river Dyavol*. When the village of Smurdesh was burnt on May 9 of this year, they distinguished themselves by the most brutal plundering and violence; that is why it was necessary to strike Bilishta so as to make them feel the strength ofthe rebels and teach them not to seek easy prey. As the rebel forces were being concentrated at the village of Smurdesh, it oc­curred to the Albanians to reinforce Bilishta with troops and bashibazouks, and to await the attack from strong positions. The attack was carried out simultaneously on Bilishta and Kapeshtitsa (the native village of the notorious cut-throat Kasam Aga who had been killed by the Committee). The attack started at 9 o'clock, and after a 4-hour battle, the rebels withdrew without cap­turing Bilishta. The Turks lost 10 dead (soldiers and bashibazouks), while the rebels suffered one death at Kapeshtitsa, and one wounded at Bilishta who died soon afterwards. The attack on Bilishta struck horror in the Albanians who no longer dared go on looting raids. On the same day, July 29, a Turkish force of 800 soldiers set the village of Dumbeni on fire, but when a 40-strong unit of village rebels opened fire on them, the troops set out in the direction of Lokvata, a place up in the mountains. They were met by 500 rebels, and fierce fighting broke out. After a 6-hour battle the soldiers withdrew, and beat a hasty and dis­orderly retreat to the village of Dumbeni, while the rebels chased them for 2 hours until they disappeared from sight when night fell. The Turks lost many dead, and a bugler was captured alive by the rebels together with his bugle. A rebel was killed. This bugler was the first captive soldier in the hands of the rebels. This battle showed the Turks that they could not attack us in the moun­tains with less than a thousand troops.

On August 4, 300 rebels, together with the Lerin unit of Georgi P. Hristov, decided to attack the tower near the village of Psoderi where there were 50 soldiers in addition to the troops stationed in Psoderi (100 men). But at dawn, when the rebels were taking the heights overlooking Psoderi, they ran into Turkish advance patrols. Fire was suddenly opened, and the rebels realized that they would have to deal with many soldiers who had just arrived at the tower'7 from Lerin. A fierce battle broke out which lasted from morning till almost nightfall. The soldiers numbered more than 1,500, while those from Psoderi and the reinforcements were up to 2,000 men. It took the Turks enormous efforts to capture a single rebel position, and in so doing, they suffered more than 100 dead and some 50 were wounded. The Turks attacked with both mountain and field artillery, while the rebels used bombs before abandoning the above-mentioned position. The position was being held by the centre leader Mitre Pandjourov with an insufficient number of rebels, mostly inexperienced ones, and after he was wounded, the position was abandoned, the rebels leaving behind 6 dead and 3 wounded. All the other positions held out heroically under a shower of bullets and frequent grenade explosions. The Turks made a last big effort to capture the other peaks, sparing no cartridges, but they did not succeed in advancing a step further. The defeat of the Turks was stunning and their losses enormous, and that is why on their way back to Lerin, the troops took their revenge on the innocent village of Armensko. The bulk of the Turkish force fell back as early as 8 o'clock, but the Turks kept firing from the tower and the bushes till the evening so as to prevent the rebels from advancing and from chasing the soldiers towards Lerin, as they had done at Dumbeni. Since the Turks' cannons and Mauser rifles could do nothing to the rebels at Psoderi, they were turned on the innocent village of Armensko.

That same day, August 4, the Turks set fire to the villages of Kossinets, Lobanitsa, Zhoupanitsa and Orman where they killed many old people and women and took girls, married women and children into captivity. While all these events were taking place in the western part, in the eastern one the rebels burnt down several Turkish farms around Vrabchinsko lake, and attacked the Circassian village of Sveti-Todori where they killed 3 Turks, while one of the rebels was wounded. For a long time the soldiers did not dare attack the rebels who moved about freely and controlled the whole region of Kostour with the exception of the towns of Kostour and Hroupishta. The rebels from the Kostour region, together with those from the Lerin area, launched an attack on the small town of Neveska in the latter region, where soldiers had been stationed permanently in big and solid barracks for many years. On August 12 the leaders V. Chekelarov, P. Klyashev, M. Rozov and M. Nikolov, together with the centre leaders I. Popov, V. Kotev, Marko Kochovski, S. Steryovski, N. Andreev and P. Kakalev and several village leaders, a total of 400 rebels, at­tacked the Neveska garrison which numbered 205 men. The rebels encircled Neveska unnoticed under the cover of the bushes, and carried out a surprise at­tack on the troops from three sides; some of the soldiers were camped in tents by the fortifications around the town, the rest were in the barracks. As soon as fire was opened, the Turks lost their wits, abandoned their rifles as they had been in stacked up, and fled unarmed. All these rifles fell into the hands of the rebels. After an insignificant amount of fighting outside the town, the rebels entered it, and surrounded the barracks. After several bombs were thrown into the barracks and shots fired through the windows, the Turks abandoned the building, and many of them escaped under cover of the night. Thus, the barracks, ignominiously abandoned by the troops, fell completely into the hands of the rebels. The mayor managed to escape, and the government office was also seized by the rebels who captured 7 soldiers alive and found three killed there. A total of 31 Mauser rifles, 5 Greek ones, 1 Martin rifle and 6,000 car­tridges were taken from the killed, captured and escaped soldiers. About dawn on August 14, a large force of over 6,000 soldiers from Kostour clashed with several village detachments numbering 150 men, and fighting broke out at Kainak, near the village of Chereshnitsa. The rebel units retreated in an orderly fashion before this big force, and when I. Popov and V. Kotev arrived to help them, a fierce battle broke out in the folds of the Vich mountain, above the village of Prekopana. Thanks to this help, the retreating units escaped a total defeat. The fighting lasted till the evening. The same Turkish force was on its way to attack Vurbitsa peak north of Klissoura, where another 400 rebels had taken up positions. The rebels retreated without fighting. In this way the Turks captured Vurbitsa and Klissoura on the following day. During the battle at Kainak, the Turks burnt down Chereshnitsa and whatever houses were left in Prekopana. In that battle the rebels lost 27 dead, while the soldiers lost at least 250 dead and many wounded. On the following day, August 15, the Turks burnt the big and rich village of Zagorichani, Bobishta, Kotori, Bomboki and Kondorabi, as well as several houses in the village of Olishta. A few days later the Turks burnt also the village of Mokreni, after the rebels around N. An-dreev's house had engaged them in several clashes. There are heavy losses in the village, but definite reports are still lacking. Having realized that they could not hold out against the rebels with a 7,000-8,000-strong force, the Turks called in as many for the Kostour region. In this way the Turks, with a big force of more then 15,000 men, blocked the Kostour region and took their will with the women, while they slaughtered the old people, but did not find the thousands of rebels. The troops did not leave a single mountain or valley uncombed, and after setting almost all the remaining villages (Blatsa, Visheni, Gorno and Doino Drenoveni, Chernovishta, Pozdivishta and Vumbel) on fire, they withdrew to the towns and to the fortified heights. During the raid on the Kostour region by this big force, which lasted 10 days, the Turks inflicted very great damage on the villages and on the property of the population. They slaughtered many innocent people, mostly old men and women who could not escape. Almost all the cattle and small livestock have been taken away, everything hidden in the ground has been dug out, and most brutal acts of violence and dishonour have been committed by the soldiers and bashibazouks against the poor women and girls. The beautiful girls and young wives have been captured, and now fill the Turkish harems. Everything that the Turks have done makes the rebels become desperate fighters, and eternally implacable enemies of the Turkish authorities. The rebels from the Kostour region have lost everything: the villages have been utterly devastated, the property stolen, the crops burnt and the families robbed and scattered to wander about without food or clothes. The honour of their mothers and sisters had been trampled upon and violated by the Turks, and they seek retribution by continuing the un­equal struggle, and by taking revenge on the Turkish brutes. The rebels' guns which disturbed the ease of the Turks and which sought freedom for the slave, and the screaming and suffering of the helpless women and children, are enough to stir human hearts in the free states and to move them to come to their rescue. The Turkish government and the commanding pashas already think that after the big search in the mountains and the burning of the villages, the rebels have scattered afar, and will lay down their arms. During the search on August 26 the soldiers ran into a 60-man detachment in the Dumbeni moun­tain, without the rebels losing a single man, and into another one in the Vumbel mountain. During the search of the Vumbel mountain 18 rebels from the Vumbel village detachment remained trapped in the caves because they had no chance of escaping through the thick cordons of troops, and of joining the rebel units, and were killed to a man. The rebels, after a skilful retreat before the big force, did not suffer many casualties, and now that the Turks believe that they have cleared the Kostour region of rebels, the latter have returned to their bases more experienced, more thirsty for revenge, and more ready to die for the freedom of their land.



1. Village of Shesteovo: 27 houses burnt out of 180.
Yanaki Iliev
Ilia Novachkov
Nastovitsa Vulkoska
Nikolitsa Gavalova
Nakovitsa Surbinova
Soulta Atanassova 
age 110
shot dead
died of fright
2. Village of Chernovishta: 5 houses left out of 50
Dyamo Markov
Lamoro Tsilev
Mara Derondovska
age 45
shot dead
3. Village of Dumbeni: 3 houses left out of 250
Mitre Terziovski
Turpen Angelkov
Yoshe Radkov
Dimko Goulev
Traiko Angelkov
Savro Kenkov
Kolo Sternov (idiot)
Lazovitsa Karadjova
Dimkovitsa Soulmezova
Mitreitsa Hadjiovska
P. Traikovitsa
Stoyanitsa Karadjova
Traikovitsa Brichenka
age 95
shot dead
stabbed to death
cut to pieces
shot dead
4.  Village of Lobanitsa: all 80 houses burnt
The priest's wife
Tolo Goulov
Stoyan Dimov
Naké Gologachev
Nakovitsa Gologacheva
Mitre Kolomanchev
Nake Donev
Lazovitsa Kamidanka
Ilovitsa Markovichina
Naoum Mungov
Dono Midjov
Kolovitsa Bogdanoska
Gelovitsa Dimitrova
age 70
shot dead
bayonetted  to death
cut to pieces
shot dead
wounded with a dagger
5. Village of Vrubnik: all 60 houses burnt
  The exact number of those killed unknown.
6. Village of Prekopana: all 150 houses burnt.
  Five unidentified persons were killed when the village was set on fire on July 29, while the number of those killed during the fire on August 14 is not known.
7. Village of Zhoupanitsa: all 120 houses burnt.
Priest Kostadin
Turpo Melov
Kirpako Atanassov
Dine Nakov
Naoum Kiriazov
Vassil Shopov
Kolo Nolovski
Sider Andreev
Panaet Yanev
Nasso Delov
Niko Apostolov
age  70
killed in Kostour
shot dead
shot dead
stabbed to death
8. Village of Kossinets: 8 houses left out of 200.
Vassil Kisselinchev
Tsveta V. Kisselincheva
Trendo Matsanov
Manousha T. Matsanova
Despa T. Otseva
Elena S. Gershanova
Mara Penova
Kiro Glavkovski
Mara H. Toumbarova
Iliya A. Petkov
Gergo Roukov
Mitrovitsa Pelicharka
Kolo Petkov
Stoyan Matsanov
Pene Poulyachev

age 86
shot dead
stabbed to death
shot dead
9. Village of Orman: all 20 houses burnt.
  The exact number of those killed unknown.
10. Village of Kondorabi: all 30 houses burnt.
  The exact number of those killed unknown.
11. Village of Chereshnica: all 80 houses burnt.
Damyan Soulov
Peter Popov
Damyan Bozhkov
Hristo Bozhkov
Sido P. Yarmov
Filo Rozov
Dine Glavchev
Mitre Babchorliata
Sia Babchoreva
Rissa Fyanova
shot dead
stabbed to death
shot dead
cut to pieces
12. Village of Bomboki: all 80 houses burnt

The exact number of those killed unknown.

13. Village of Zagorichani:
all 680 houses burnt.
About 150 old people, women and children killed, but exact number unknown.

14. Village of Bobishta:
all 150 houses burnt.

The exact number of those killed unknown.

15. Farmstead of Kotori:
all 16 houses burnt.
16. Village of Olishta: 90 houses, 3 of them burnt.

The exact number of those killed unknown.

17. Village of Visheni:
13 houses left out of 200.
Dine Ishkov
Sido Bakrachev
Kolé Leika
Dino Kalkov
shot dead

18. Village of Blatsa: 18 houses left out of 100.

Trifouna Gyoveva     
Ivan Chekandonov
Ilia Stoumbov
Vangel Chamnov
Teodossi Tishmirov
Pando Pishmirov
Pando Golichev
Mihail Boshev
Peter Tsalov
Nounta Tomeva
Nasso Kiriev
Spasse Koliga
Steryo Nakev
Pandovitsa Pishmirova
Dimiter Pishmirov
Dosta P. Pishmirova

age 49
shot dead
cut to pieces
shot dead
cut to pieces
wounded with a bayonet

19.  Village of Gorno Dryanoveni: 10 houses left out of 65.

Naki G. Korolov
Priest Yani
Gligor Petreski
Gelé Meanchevi
Lazo Sotirov
Kursto Kolchov
Lazo Perela
Stasso Petreski
age 73  
shot dead
cut to pieces
20. Village of Doino Dryanoveni: 4 houses left out of 30
Noumo Gouvelov     age 55         cut to pieces

21. Village of Pozdivishta:
120 houses, 27 of them burnt.
Ristovitsa Kintna      age 55         cut to pieces
Lazovitsa Shotova     age 55        burnt alive

22. Village of Vumbel:
all 120 houses burnt

The exact number of those killed unknown.

23. Village of Mokreni:
all 200 houses burnt.

Some 300 people killed; exact data lacking.

24. Village of Armensko:
burnt down; it is in the Lerin region.

These are people captured by the soldiers and bashibauzuks from almost all
villages, burnt or not.

Milo Dimitrovski
Stavrovitsa Zdrolova
Dochka S. Zdrolova
Dinovitsa Surbova
Noumovitsa Surbova
Noumovitsa Surbova
Rista Surbova
Labro Surbov
Surbo Surbov
N. Poryagova
Mara H. Stancheva
Sotiritsa Lyachka
Tsveta P. Lyachka
Tsvetkovitsa Ninova
Turpo T. Ninov
Nasso Mimchev
Ivan Orlinov
Ivanitsa Gouleva
Hristina Gouleva
Ivan Hristov
age 60

village of Lobanitsa

Tolovitsa Pandoska and her mother, three male children and a girl, all from the village of Zhoupanitsa, captured. Thirty married and unmarried women from the village of Zagorichani have been captured, as well as from other villages, but their exact number is unknown.

Killed in the village of Babchor on August 22:

Iliya T. Postolov
Kosta Y. Peov
Todor Stavreski
N. Zhaikov
Georgi Y. Stoichev
Gile T. Gilev
Tanas P. Stoichev
Georgi I. Ognenev
Tanas M. Gechov
Ivan T. Markovski
Dine I. Markovski
Yané M. Dimov
M. Dimov
F. Milentsev
M. Kochov
Ivan M. Koulavsov
age 30     

shot dead
cut to pieces
stabbed to death
shot dead
shot dead
cut to pieces
shot dead
cut to pieces

August 30, 1903 (old style). To confirm the above we, leaders of the Kostour region, sign with our own hands:
Lazar P. Traikov, Vassil Chekelarov, Pango Klyashov, Manol Rozov and Mihail Nikolov.

Note: Please find enclosed a map of the Kostour region.

ЦДИА, ф. 176, оп. 1, а.е.. 1872, лл.. 198-208; Original

* The word 'dyavol' means 'devil' in Bulgarian.



Letter No. 534 from the General Staff of the Second Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Region
to the Bulgarian Government on the position of the insurgent population, requestioning assistance from Bulgaria

September 9th, 1903*

To the Esteemed Government of the Principality of Bulgaria

In view of the critical and terrible situation of the Bulgarian population of the Bitolya vilayet following the devastations and cruelties perpetrated by the Turkish troops and bashibazouks, in view of the fact that these devastations and cruelties continue systematically, and that one cannot foresee how far they will reach; in view, furthermore, of the fact that here everything Bulgarian is running the risk of perishing and being obliterated without a trace by violence, hunger and by approaching poverty, the General Staff considers it its duty to draw the attention of the Esteemed Bulgarian Government to the fatal con­sequences for the Bulgarian nation, if it fails to discharge its duty to its own brothers here in an impressive and energetic manner, made imperative by force of circumstances and by the danger threatening the common Bulgarian homeland at the present moment.

In the belief that the Esteemed Government is sufficiently well informed about the utter devastation of the vilayet, we consider it superfluous to repeat the facts in all their details here, and will confine ourselves to summing up the situation and the foreseeable consequences threatening our people in several points:

1. Both in the villages that have been burnt down or abandoned, and in the remaining Bulgarian villages, with very few exceptions, that part of the crop which was not burnt remains unharvested because any woman or man who appeared before the eyes of the patrolling troops and bashibazouks would be murdered; the crops are being gathered in by the Turkish population under the protection of the Turkish authorities. A large part of them, as well as of the plundered farm animals, are being used as provisions for the troops.

2. All equipment, implements and cattle used to till the land were destroyed by fire in the villages that were burnt down, while in the remaining villages, they were plundered by the troops and bashibazouks.

3. Almost all the small farm animals, which provide the means of livelihood for the greater part of the mountain population, were either destroyed or taken away, on orders from the authorities.

4. All burnt-down villages were pillaged before they were set on fire; the same fate befell literally all villages that have not yet been burnt; their houses were stripped to the walls, and their inhabitants - men, women and children, were forced to flee with only the clothes which they had on their backs.

5. In the burnt-down villages, religious rites were abandoned and the churches reduced to ashes, and in those villages which have escaped burning, the churches have been sacked, damaged and desecrated. In many places, the Turks used them as stables or latrines during their stay in the villages, e.g. in the villages of Tat-Mourounishta, Smilevo, Kriveni, Kroushe and others.

6. Not a single Bulgarian school is now open, or is likely to open, for the following reasons: a) the population has been scattered in consequence of the Turkish terror; b) almost all the teachers, as well as the priests, have joined the detachments, and will consequently not be considered eligible by the Turkish authorities for the posts they used to hold; c) no one gives a thought to learning when he is outlawed in the country where he lives, simply because he calls himself Bulgarian and fights against hunger.

7. At many places the Turkish authorities have announced to the popula­tion which had not fled, that, if it wishes to be spared, it should accept the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate. There were cases of this kind in the regions of Ohrid, Bitolya, Lerin and Kostour, where the troops, accompanied by the Greek bishop, forced the population to surrender their arms and to recognize the Patriarchate.

8. After our first offensive, we were forced to adopt a passive course of ac­tion, because, whenever we engaged in encounters with the mobilized Turkish battalions, either in skirmishes or from positions previously taken, depending on our tactics, the Turks after the end of fighting, would attack the unarmed men in the locality, and the women and children, killing all they could lay hands on, violating women and girls, setting fire to the villages that had not yet been burnt and to the woods around them, and taking away the farm animals that had been spared in earlier raids. There were cases of this kind in the villages of Armensko (Lerin district), where 114 old people, women and children were-massacred, Kroushe, Leoreka, Kriveni, Zlatari, Boino, Podmochani, Elha and others (Resen district), Plake, Rechitsa, Siroulya, Kouratitsa and others (Ohrid district); Smilevo, Dyavato (Bitolya district), etc., etc.

In view of the above, we call the attention of the Esteemed Bulgarian Government to the state of distress and helplessness to which our people have been reduced and to the sad and cruel fate threatening them in the immediate future, both as regards their property and health, and as regards their churches and schools. Being witnesses of this desperate plight, we venture to outline to you, in positive terms, the dark prospects of the future, as follows:

1. As a result of hunger, poverty and the approaching winter, one-third of our people is doomed to certain death.

2. As the farm animals and agricultural implements have fallen prey to fire or the Turks, the population, even if it is left in peace, having no means with which to till the land, will be compelled to give it up to the Turks and the fanatic supporters of the Greeks, and will thus entirely be reduced to the position of share-croppers or hired labourers.

3. The remaining part of the population, spiritually deprived and lacking the bare necessities of life, will be unable to resist the desire of the Turkish authorities and the tempting or threatening agitation of the unbridled Greek bishops and their organs, and is certain to accept the authority of the Greek Patriarchate, thereby being lost forever to the Bulgarian church and nation.

4. A further circumstance that we should not omit to mention is the following: For some time, now Catholic and Protestant missionaries have been approaching the Bulgarian population with secret proposals to accept the authority of their churches, if they wish to be protected from Turkish outrages. It will not be surprising if that part of the population that did not succumb to the Greek enticements might be prevailed upon to adopt Roman Catholicism or Protestantism.

In view of all this we are astonished that the Esteemed Government, which has the destinies of the Bulgarian people in its hands, can continue to look with such composure upon the systematic extermination of the Bulgarian population and the decline of our Bulgarian fame and honour before the world.

Placed at the head of the people's movement here, we appeal to you on behalf of the enslaved Bulgarians, to come to their assistance in the most effec­tive way, i.e. by declaring war. We are confident that this call will be echoed by the people in Free Bulgaria.

Awaiting your patriotic intervention, we are pleased to inform you that we are keeping in readiness those of our armed forces which we have so far spared.

From the General Staff

ЦДНА, ф.176, оп 1, а.е. 1872, (л.л.. 243-244); the original is in Bulgarian.
*Sent with a letter dated September 17, 1903 to Dr. Kozhouharov, in charge of the agency in Bitolya, to be forwarded to the government in Sofia.



From the Announcement of the Turkish government to the Bulgarians in Bitolya and the Bitolya district,
ordering them to lay down arms during the Ilinden Uprising
and threatening them with a brutal retribution should they fail to obey

September 10th, 1319 /1903/

... 1But some ill-intentioned people who do not wish to let people take ad­vantage of these improvements, caring only for their personal interests are telling lies to the simple people and are committing disgusting crimes. There is no justification in the lies and assurances with which the Bulgarians are being tempted. All civilized nations in Europe and the other countries look upon their actions with disgust! and the suppression of these enemies of order and quiet is awaited everywhere with great impatience. The Royal Government watches with regret how a great many people are still robbing and plundering, though due to its great mercy it treats the disturbers of the peace very leniently. Since, however, the government cannot look on in cold blood while order in the coun­try is being violated, and the population is being subjected to killings and in­juries, it has given categorical order to the commands of the troops which have been sent everywhere, to disperse and to beat most cruelly these disturbers of the peace and their followers, who still continue to plunder and rob.

For this reason, all those Bulgarians who have been misled and have left their firesides and their trade are, for the last time, urged to go back to their homes and their villages; those who fail to return and take advantage of the mercy offered by the government will be punished and killed most mercilessly.

ЦДИА, ф. 176, оп. 1, а.е. 1872, (л.л. 254-255) Letter by the head of the Bulgarian trade agency, accom­panied by the Announcement; the original is in Bulgarian and Turkish.
1 The text omitted refers to the 'pains' taken by the Sultan's Government for 'the welfare of all its subjects.' In this connection, the British Vice-consul in Bitolya said the following to the head of the Bulgarian Agency, Dr D. Kozhouharov: 'Nothing of what is written here has been done. On the contrary, villages have been destroyed, churches pulled down, schools closed and, on top of all this, the authorities intend to kill most mercilessly!'


From the Announcement of the Turkish authorities to the Bulgarians in the Soloun vilayet,
to lay down arms during the Ilinden Uprising and to refrain from following the propaganda of the Organization's detachments

September 14th, 1319 /1903/

... 1It is being announced with due seriousness that those Bulgarians who have been deceived by the false agitations of the bandits and who have aban­doned their families and their household obligations and have joined the ban­dits' detachments, should from now on refrain from being tempted by their deceitful agitations and promises and should go back to their villages and their homes. They should also take advantage of the imperial royal mercy and accept the pardon granted by the government.

It is being announced for the last time that those who refuse to submit to the above counsel, who do not refrain from bandit actions, and who do not return to their homes and accept the government pardon will be hunted down and destroyed.

ЦДИА, ф. 176, оп. 1, а.е.1872, л.л. 259-264; Letter by the Bulgarian trade agent A. Shopov with the ac­companying text of the Announcement; the original is in Turkish and in Bulgarian.

1 The text omitted is about the 'pains' taken by the Sultan Government for improving the life of its subjects: analogous with the text of the Announcement in Bitolya.


A declaration by refugees from the region of Razlog sent to the governor of the district of Samokov
in reply to an appeal to them to return to their native places

September 28th, 1903

Mr. Governor,

We send you our answer to the appeal to us to return to our native places.

We all desire to return to our native places, but not as slaves, as we have been till now, but as free citizens, having the same rights as the Turks.

The population of the villages set on fire by the Turks, such as Belitsa with 500 Bulgarian houses, Obidim with 300 Bulgarian houses, Kremen with 200 Bulgarian houses, Mehomia and Bachevo with 150 Bulgarian houses each - has nowhere to live and nowhere to spend the winter. And we would return voluntarily to our homes if we were accompanied by Bulgarian, Russian or Austrian officials providing they do not abandon us to the arbitrary power of the Sultan's authorities, and after peace has been restored in the country, ac­cording to the reforms promised by the Berlin Congress.

Accept, Mr Governor, our assurances of our sincere respect: (signed):

Priest Ivan P. Nenov, Alexo S. Balev, Iliya Vassilev Popov, G. I. Kovachev, T. Nikolov, Sava Georgiev, Lazar Georgiev Koutin, Sofroni Iliev, Sofroni Georgiev, Stoyan Pavlev, N. Lazarov and N. G. Kifev.

Bulletin de 1'Autonomie, Journal de 1'Organisation Interieure Macedono-Adrianopolitaine, Sofia, Ie 24 Octobre, 1903, p. 1; the original is in Bulgarian. (This document is from the  French version.)


A letter from Sir Arthur J. Evans (1), Britain, to The Times, entitled 'Who the Macedonians Are,'
in which he states his views about Macedonia and her population

September 30th, 1903


As one who had the exceptional opportunities for studying the Macedo­nian problem from the inside, I may perhaps be permitted to point out some of the most essential conditions of the present situation. / have traversed Macedonia at different times in almost every direction - from the Aegean side, from Albania, from the Kossovo vilayet, from Servia and from the Bulgarian Principality. I have spent months there engaged in archaeological researches in the most out of the way districts, and though my main objects were scientific and not political, I had perhaps all the better opportunity for forming an un­biased judgement on the condition of the country. Nor, perhaps, do these im­pressions lose in value from the fact that they were formed before the beginning of the actual insurrectionary movement.

Let me begin by correcting an almost universal fallacy. There are no Macedonians. There are Bulgars. There are Roumans - the relics of the Latin-speaking provincials of Rome's Illyrian provinces, who still hold their own in the Pindus range and in the neighbouring towns. There are Greeks, including more or less superficially Hellenized Roumans. There are ‘Turks,’ including Mohammedan Bulgarians, and some true Turkish villages in the Vardar valley representing a settlement earlier than the Ottoman conquest. There is an infu­sion of Skipetars or Albanians on the western and northern fringe. Finally, there is the large Spanish Jew population in Soloun But there are no 'Macedonians.'

It is an unpleasant duty to have to tell one's friend home truths, but the Greek claim to Macedonia, at least as regards the greater part of the interior of the country, is a dream. In some of the towns there is a fair Greek population, but even in that case, as in Monastir, for example, the statistics rest on an ar­tificial basis. The truth is that a large number of those described as Greeks are really Roumans.

One of the most comic results of this competitive ethnography was a map published some years ago under Athenian auspices and circulated in this coun­try. According to this Macedonia was, for practical purposes, divided into two elements - the Greek and the 'Bulgarophone Greeks' - as if some Celtic enthusiast should divide Britain between the Welsh and the 'Anglophone Welsh'! Macedonia, indeed, is full of artificial distinctions, the true lines of ethnic demarcation being continually crossed by classifications founded on religious adherence (for the time being) to the Greek Patriarch or to the Bulgarian Exarch. A Bulgar village may, for political purposes, be bribed or coerced into accepting allegiance to orthodox Greek ecclesiastical superiors. Its inhabitants are then complacently described by those who effected their spiritual transfer (which 'spiritually' means nothing) as the Hope of Hellas. But these artificial annexations do not go very far. The language of the villagers remains Bulgar, and the deep underlying instincts of race are only held in tem­porary suspense. The friends of Greece can only regret that she should be mis­led by such artificial pretensions; that she should grasp the shadow and lose the substance which might have been found in an understanding on a reasonable basis of give and take, with her Slavonic neighbours. The late M. Tricoupi, to my personal knowledge, saw things much more clearly. He was well aware that, except a narrow fringe to the south and some sporadic centres of no great magnitude in the interior of the province, the Greek element had no real hold on Macedonia. His chief anxiety, for which he had solid grounds, came, indeed from that direction, but not from the Bulgarian quarter. That cool political observer would certainly have refrained from qualifying, as did the present Greek Premier, an exceptionally industrious and peaceful population who, for fifteen centuries, have been tillers of the Macedonian soil, and only now owing to indescribable oppression have been goaded into revolt, as 'Bulgarian wolves,' apparently recent intruders into a Greek fold! The brigands of Pindus and Olympus have been rarely recruited from the Bulgar element. I myself was once dogged for nearly ten days by a brigand band along the Pindus border, but they were not Bulgars.

The fact is that even in this country - largely owing to interested efforts to disguise the true situation - the great preponderance of the Bulgar element in Macedonia is only imperfectly realized. I can only say, as my personal experience after exploring almost the whole interior of the province, that out­side the fringe already referred to, and some small urban centres, practically the whole mass of the population is Slavonic, speaking characteristically Bulgarian dialects. The Bulgarian shibboleths, such as the placing of the article after the word, extend even to the Uskub region, sometimes claimed by the Serbs, whose real speech only begins north of the Shar range. Where, as in certain small towns as Kastoria, the Greek element was in a majority, it was far outweighed by the populous Bulgar villages around. This great preponderance of the Bulgar element is a fundamental factor in the present situation, which has been much obscured by statistics drawn from Greek sources. It is liable to be very imperfectly realized by foreigners and even by Consuls whose experience with Macedonia has been mainly confined to towns like Soloun or Monastir.

The Times, 1st October, 1903; also published in the book Extermination in Macedonia, published by the Balkan Committee, London, 1903, pp. 1-4; the original is in English.
(1) Sir Arthur J. Evans, a distinguished English archaeologist and ethnographer, and a well-known authority on the Balkans. As a member of the British Relief Mission charged with the task of rendering help to the suffering population after the Ilinden Uprising, he went to Macedonia and personally took part in the distribution of the aid.


Letter from the Head of the Bulgarian Agency in Syar to the Principality's Diplomatic Agent in Constantinople,
describing the situation of the Bulgarian refugees who have returned to the village of Belitsa, Razlog district,
and of those in the villages of Baldevo and Obidim, Nevrokop district

Syar, June 17th, 1904

Mr. Agent,

I have the honour to inform you of the following example, concerning the situation of the refugees who have returned from the burnt villages in Razlog district.

Before the misfortune, Belitsa had 400 Bulgarian and 100 Turkish houses. Only 14 of the Bulgarian houses were spared, and 42 of the Turkish were burnt down.There were in the village about 2,000 Bulgarians - men, women and children. As many as 1,060 had returned by the 6th of this month, therefore half of the population is missing. Of those who are missing, some have been killed, others are still in Bulgaria (most probably those who even before had carts for hire) and a great many have taken their families with them and have permanently settled in Romania where they had for years on end earned their living as makers of candy and boza /non-alcoholic millet drink/.

The commission in charge of receiving the refugees has given each person three rusks (about one oka, equal to 1,225 g) on the frontier, and has supplied them with draught animals for the transportation of their luggage from the frontier to Yakorouda. The refugees had to take care of themselves from Yakorouda to the village. The families who arrived first went hungry for two days. After that a commission, consisting of one police officer and two local Turks, distributed to each of the refugees, on arrival, 40 oki of maize (about 26 oki of grain) and 150 drams of beans to last them for two months, and half a Turkish lira to each family for the purchase of farm implements. The maize and the beans were a tithe collected from the produce of the Bulgarians who had fled. However, no mention was made of returning the food of the refugees from whom the tithe had been collected.

Apart from this aid, on the 3rd of this month, Mrs. King Louis (an English woman, one of those who were sent to distribute the British aid to the people who had been affected by the uprising) gave one Turkish lira to each Bulgarian family, and on the 6th the Right Reverend Holy Metropolitan of Nevrokop gave 10 grosh to each.

The Turks whose houses have been burnt have so far received from the government 6 Turkish liras each and one lira each from Mrs King Louis.

The district governor (kaimakam) is helping the refugees to find and retrive their personal belongings which had been plundered. Whatever cattle or household property they recognize, is returned to them, on payment of something to those who have kept and fed the cattle, if they had not made use of them.

After the people had fled, some of their animals were taken away by the authorities and sold by auction. The money received by the authorities is now being returned to the owners of the cattle.

The land-bank has granted each family 300-500 grosh for a term of ten years at an ordinary interest and under mutual guarantee. It is assumed, however, that the bank has borrowed the entire sum from the State, so that the credit of the farmers had not been reduced.

Seeds for sowing have not been distributed.

The Turks have ploughed and sowed the best fields of the refugees; most of the fields they have left fallow. The authorities have ordered that the produce from these fields be divided equally between the owner of the field and the one who has cultivated it. The authorities have allowed here an injustice, which it was probably difficult to avoid: according to the local custom, the produce is divided in two only when all the work had been done by the lessee and all the seeds belong to him, while in this case the Turks have only sown after one ploughing, while the refugees had ploughed 3 and 4 times before preparing the fallow.

The houses are being built very slowly because there are no draught animals, nor implements and building materials. All are still homeless. So far, only one house has been built, by someone who did not flee and started building it in March. It is feared, and some do not doubt that most will spend the coming winter without a roof over their heads. The authorities have promised financial aid for the construction of the houses, but, so far, they have not provided any. Moreover, the authorities have put the people of Yakorouda under the obliga­tion to transport the necessary beams free, but so far they have transported only 70, and these, too, have been taken by the Turks.

The village has good pasture lands which provided the commune with an annual income of 100-120 Turkish liras. Three quarters of this income went to the Bulgarian commune and one fourth to the Turkish one. For 5-6 years now, however, the state has laid its hands on these pastures. The district governor has now managed to order the return of the pastures to the village and part was sold to Karakachans for 85 liras. The Turkish village elder, however, wanted to pocket all the 85 liras, so as to use them for the construction of the blockhouse at Semkovo, on the road to Samokov, which the rebels had burnt down last year. The Bulgarians complained to the governor, and he told them that they will get their share.

As you may well see, Mr. Agent, one would strain one's conscience if one were to reproach the authorities in Razlog. And according to everybody, the credit goes to the district governor.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the Nevrokop district. We do not yet have complete and detailed information about that region, but from what is so far known, the situation differs from that in Razlog. In Baldevo, for instance, the tax collector arrived immediately after Mrs. King Louis had left and collected the aid given by her for the cattle tax. On the day after Mrs. King Louis's departure from Obidim, the tax collector arrived there to collect the same tax, but the villagers refused to pay. And those who went to the district governor to complain, or ask for his advice and help, were sent back to their masters, who had allegedly incited them to rise.

Mr. Veran, whom I had informed about the collection of tax in Obidim and Baldevo, went to ask the governor of his vilayet about the affair. He told him that no such orders had been given and that only those people or villages which were explicitly mentioned in the order which he had received, were exempt from taxes.

The burnt-down villages are most affected by the lack of small im­plements, such as hoes, spades, adzes and hand saws. If it is possible to send a few hundred, this will be of much greater help than the distribution of financial aid.

Accept, etc.

Head of the Agency (signed) G. Stoev

ЦДИА, ф. 176, оп. 1, а.е.1943, л.л. 53-55a; the original is in Bulgarian.

A report by Hilmi Pasha, Inspector General of the Roumelian vilayets, to the Sublime Porte.
Measures are recommended to prevent the Bulgarian supporters of the Patriarchate from joining the Exarchate

July 6th, 1904

I received the permit from Your Highness on May 20th this year, under No. 243, together with the attached petition from the Greek Patriarch, in which he complains of the violence used by the Bulgarians against the Greek popula­tion in order to compel it to join the Bulgarian Exarchate, and the conduct of the foreign gendarme officers, who have shown favouritism to the Bulgarians.

The violence described in the petition of the Greek Patriarch is partially true. Like the rebel detachments, both the Bulgarian teachers and clergy are persuading and threatening the supporters of the Patriarchate who speak the Slav language in order to make them accept the spiritual jurisdiction of the Exarchate. These endeavours of the Bulgarians are due to the rumour that, ac­cording to the Murzsteg Reforms, the administrative division of the country will be based on the number of the population. Petitions are constantly arriving with requests to joining the Exarchate, but since force was used, and owing to other considerations of state, it is not in the interests of the state to increase the number of the Bulgarians. For this reason, such requests are not complied with, and, at the same time, confidential advice is given to the Greek metropolitans as to how they should proceed in such cases.

To the foreign officers, who side with the Bulgarians, it is explained that requests of such a kind will be complied with only when the Bulgarian rebel detachments cease to exist.

From the inquiries made, it appears that the complaints of the Greek bishops and leaders, that during their inspection tour in the district of Soloun the Russian gendarme officers resided in Bulgarian houses, and that they favoured the Bulgarians, are greatly exaggerated.

Because it is the duty of foreign gendarme officers to see to the organiza­tion of the gendarmerie and not to favour some to the detriment of others, I have made the necessary representation to De Giorgis Pasha, and I believe that he will forbid the officers to interfere in matters outside their competency.

The most appropriate way of preserving the Greek population from the violence of the Bulgarian rebel detachments is to intensify the pursuit of the latter, and to put gendarme posts in all threatened Greek villages.

Because it has not so far been found possible to destroy the Bulgarian rebel detachments or even to curb their violence, this gives the Patriarchate cause to complain and creates despondency among the Greek population.

To prevent the patriarchists from going over to the Exarchate, the churches and the schools in such villages should not be given to the Bulgarians and they should not even be allowed to go to church. I recommended this measure in my report of May 30th, 1902. Thanks to imperial justice, this measure is being applied.

Документи за българската история, т. IV. Документи из турските държавни архиви (1863-1909), (Documents on Bulgarian history, vol. IV. Documents from the Turkish State Archives, 1863-1909) ,Sofia, 1942, pp. 239-240; the original is in Turkish.


A petition from the villagers of Vardarovtsi, Koukoush district, to the Inspector General of the vilayets of Roumelia in Bitolya,
asking him to intervene and help them to have their church opened so that they can pray in their native Bulgarian language
August 24th, 1904

The undersigned: I, the mayor, and the notables of the village of Var­darovtsi, in the district of Koukoush, have the honour of bringing the following to the attention of your Excellency:

1) Already on May 20th this year, in a petition to the governor of Koukoush and to the Holy Exarchate, signed by all the people of the village, we declared that, henceforward, we shall say our prayers and teach our children in our mother tongue - the Bulgarian language, and that we acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate. We are doing this by the general agreement of all the peasants and without any outside influence.

2) Immediately after we had sent a petition to this effect, a gendarme cap­tain and some police officers with three armed horsemen came to our village. They interrogated each of the peasants separately, asking whether they had signed the petition renouncing the Patriarchate. All the peasants categorically declared to the officers that they had renounced the foreign Patriarchate volun­tarily and consciously and that henceforward they wanted to pray to God in their churches and to educate their children in their mother Bulgarian tongue, which they understood.

3) Five or six days after that strict inquiry, the military officer Belialaa with his clerk Osman Efendi, accompanied by 40 soldiers, came to our village. To our great surprise, these officers of the government called all the peasants together and told us that they had orders to lock our church. The said Belialaa sealed the church and took the key away with him.

4) Soon afterwards, when we went to the governor of Koukoush and asked him on what grounds our church had been closed, thus depriving us of the possibility of praying to God, he answered that the closing of the church had been ordered by the vilayet authorities.

Three whole months have passed since the closing of our church: during this time, we have been unable to conduct any Christian rituals. We have no place in which to baptize our new-born babies, and if someone dies, we have no place to hold a funeral service. We have been living through a period of pure paganism: the fast before St Peter's Day passed and not a single Christian was able to receive the Blessed Sacrament on St Peter's Day; the fast before Virgin Mary's Day also passed and no holy service was conducted on the greatest Christian holiday - the Virgin Mary's Day. Our church is still locked and sealed.

Nobody among us can understand the reasons for the closing of our church. If we had had any disagreements in our village, we would suppose that this had been done to preserve order and peace in the village. And now when we, all the tax-payers of the village, have agreed and all of us desire what the law allows us, now when we are looking for the right which H.I.M. the Sultan has given us, now when we want to pray to God and educate our children in our mother Bulgarian tongue, that is, now, when we want to enjoy the liberty of the proclaimed religious freedom, our churches are closed and we are forbidden to pray to God.

Your Excellency,

Please come to our aid, and be so kind as to give the necessary orders as soon as possible to help our most wretched village to have its church opened, thus enabling us to pray to God in our mother Bulgarian tongue and to praise our father - the Sultan, in this understandable language.

Convinced that our request will be taken into your kind consideration,

Yours respectfully for all the villagers

Mayor: Traiko Mitre

Notables: Atanas Traikov, Gono Deliyov, Atanas Popov, Vassil Mitrev, Peno Mitre, Lazar Konstantinov

Архив при Института за история при БАН, (Archives of the Institute for History of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), inv. No. 368; the original is in Bulgarian.


A report by the Austro-Hungarian Vice-consul in Bitolya, 0. Prochaska, to the Foreign Ministry
on the situation in Macedonia after the Ilinden Uprising
November 26th, 1904

With the unexpected arrival of winter, the rebel movement in the vilayets has again faded into the background. It is true that there are still some Bulgarian, as well as Greek and Serbian, detachments, but they have come down from the snow-covered mountains to the villages where they are going to spend the winter undisturbed.

Now the authorities have the best chance of capturing the rebels who are so difficult to find during the good seasons of the year and whose haunts are, by the way, well-known to the authorities. As a result of what happened in the middle of October, after the affair in Brod, and the appearance of the Greek rebel detachments in the vicinity of Lerin, several patrols were sent, but not to defeat the rebels; the lack of activity on the part of the authorities is largely due to Ramazan.

The general opinion here is that this weakness could have some very dangerous consequences in the spring, because it is said here that the Com­mittee is preparing for a new struggle in which dynamite will again be very widely used. The rumours spread by the Bulgarians are reaching more and more people and are intended to incite and frighten the population.

But in spite of the Greek counter-actions, the Bulgarians have achieved considerable success this year. The numerous murders of Slav supporters of the patriarchate and the cases of arson have made a deep impression on the pop­ulation here, and, in the future, many people may go over to the Exarchate and increase the number of the revolutionary Bulgarians. Thus, this season too the elders of the villages supporting the Patriarchate are asking themselves whether, in view of the threat from the rebel detachments, it would not be better for them to join the Exarchate.

In spite of the repeated efforts of the Russian consulate and of ours, the local authorities have as yet done nothing to provide protection for the threatened supporters of the Patriarchate and, unfortunately, together with the traditional Turkish carelessness, it appears that the old Turkish attitude of let­ting the Christians struggle among themselves has not disappeared. Thus, for example, the operation against the Greek rebel detachments was a complete failure. It is rumoured here that the troops' sole engagement with these detachments (near Syatista in the district of Kostour, where the Greek officer Pavlos Mellas was killed) took place only because the authorities in Kostour, led by the Bulgarian peasants, had expected to find the terrible rebel leader, Mitre Vlaha.

The Bulgarian rebel leader, Damyan Grouev, was detained by the Serbian rebel detachment of Mitsko for several weeks in the region of Porech, but he was later released, and returned to Bulgaria through Skopje.

The activities of the local authorities are paralyzed owing to financial dif­ficulties. After the collection of the tithes, the picture will become clearer and I shall take the liberty of sending a special report in this connection.

The treasuries are quite empty, and the officers and the clerks have not received any pay for 4 months now. The troops have had no meat for several weeks, and only the receipt of their pay, just before Ramazan, prevented serious disorders.

The treasurer comes to the town hall very rarely; he excuses himself by saying he is ill and he stays at home to save himself from the violence of those waiting in the building to receive their pay.

Д. Зографски, Извештаи од 1903—1904 година на австриските представници во Македониjа, (D.Zografski, Reports of the Austrian Representatives in Macedonia (1903-1904), Skopje, 1955, pp. 251-252; the original is in German.
Damyan Grouev on the creation of revolutionary organization in Macedonia

January 18th, 1905

It was after the assassination of Minister Belchev in Sofia that, for the first time, I became aware of my desire to work for the Macedonian cause. Three or four months before that, we, the Macedonian students at the University, had decided to organize ourselves for self-education and mutual influence. Our aim was that, after completing our education, we should all return to Macedonia, which stood in great need of intellectual forces. In this narrow, intimate circle of ours, the idea of creating a revolutionary organization in Macedonia was born. Serbian propaganda had already begun its activity and we were shocked by this and considered that we had to hasten and put the idea of the liberation of Macedonia on the agenda before Serbian propaganda gained momentum and managed to split the people. We had experienced the activities of this propaganda. It had agitators both in Soloun and Skopje. They promised us' scholarships and gave them to us. It was then that I and several other Macedonians went to Belgrade. There, we were able to perceive the intentions of the Serbs because of their great efforts to impress us with the Serbian idea and to impose the Serbian language upon us, which irritated us even more.

In Sofia, the chief members of our 'society' were Hristo Popkotsev,1 D.Mirchev, N.Deykov (secretary to a justice of peace, born in Prilep, at present a lawyer in Loukovit) and Poparsov. We intended to work mainly in the direction of demanding the implementation of the Berlin Treaty. We wanted to create an organization on the model of the revolutionary organization in Bulgaria before the Liberation, following the example of Botev, Levski, Benkovski, etc. We studied the experience and structure of that organization. We were influenced by the Notes of Zahari Stoyanov, and other Bulgarian revolutionary publications of that time. We had also studied the history of the Serbian move­ment.


I spent the following year in Salonica in the printing shop of Semerdjiev. There I met some old comrades: Poparsov, Andon Dimitrov2 (born in the village of Ayvatovo, near Soloun now a member of the District Court in Bitolya), Dr. Hristo Tatarchev, Hadji Nikolov (from Koukoush), Hristo Batandjiev (from Gumendie, secretary of the Soloun commune). We revived our old idea. We grouped together and jointly worked out a Statute. It was based on the same principles: a demand for the implementation of the Berlin Treaty. This Statute was worked out on the model of the Statute of the Bulgarian revolutionary organization before the Liberation. Our motto was 'Implementation of the provisions of the Berlin Treaty.' We established a 'Cen­tral Committee' with branches, membership fees, etc. An oath, etc. was also en­visaged. In the rules there was nothing about Serbian propaganda, but we in­tended to thwart it by enlightening the people. This was during the academic year of 1893-1894.

During the first year, we admitted into the new organization two or three graduates of the high school in Soloun: Alexander Panov - a teacher in Prilep, who afterwards pursued his studies in Paris, and then he returned to Soloun where he died, and two others. The year ended with this.

Материали за историята на македонското освободително движение, кн. V. Спомени на Дамян Груев, Борис Сарафов и Иван Гарванов (Materials about the History of the Macedonian Liberation Movement, Book V. Memoirs of Damyan Grouev, Boris Srafov and Ivan Garvanov),  Sofia,  1927, pp. 8-11; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 Hristo Popkotsev, born in Shtip, one of the leaders of the revolutionary organization and a founder of the Revolutionary Committee in Odrin in 1895.
2 Andon Dimitrov, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Committee in Soloun towards the end of 1893.

A letter from the CC of the IMARO to the Bulgarian trade agents in Macedonia and the Odrin region,
rejecting the charges made against the Revolutionary Organization, and indicating its importance
for the Bulgarian population in the regions under oppression

May, 1906

Highly esteemed Mr. Agent,

The task of the Bulgarian trade agents in Macedonia and the Odrin region is to link the enslaved Bulgarian people in Turkey with those in the free Bulgarian Principality, and to describe the hardships of the former under the Turkish regime most vividly, and to expose systematically and in detail all the killings, plunder and abuses which are being committed by the Turkish lawless and shameless authorities. Unfortunately, however, some of the trade agents, proceeding from their strictly defined instructions, enter spheres which prevent them from easily getting at the truth, and regardless of circumstances and time, obtain unreliable facts, which they rapidly convey to their governments, even drawing tendencious conclusions.

A reliable source has informed us that facts have been brought to Bulgaria about the activities of the revolutionary Macedonian-Adrianople Organization which aim at discrediting the latter, and arousing apathy and mistrust among the Bulgarian public in the Principality. We shall not deny the fact that in­dividual members of the Organization have been guilty of mistakes and abuses, but does this mean that the Organization is rotten from top to bottom - and that it is an evil for our country? Can anyone deny that even in the best regulated states there are people who abuse power once it is given to them, and even exploit national ideals? We often witness this in the Bulgarian Principality as well, but no one has reached the unpleasant conclusion that no law exists in Bulgaria, that its government is rotten, that it is an international evil, as people everywhere are saying and writing about our ruler Turkey! This absurd thought has not occurred to anybody, because we see that the judicial authorities are always on the alert, and they immediately indict the abuser of power and the exploiter of national ideals.

Allow us, Mr. Agent, to declare to you that the same is being done in the government of the Organization. The abusers, exploiters, and the violators of the regulations, and in general all who commit offenses to the cause of libera­tion, are being tried and punished as far as it is possible, according to the time and the circumstances. Some of the punishments appear very severe to out­siders judging about things as one judges in a free country, where the government, acts directly and openly, and has at its disposal the means of punishing a criminal according to his crime, or of rendering harmless a man who threatens law and order in the state. Can the Organization do the same when it has been placed in exceptional conditions and has been outlawed, because it is revolutionary? Certainly not. Therefore, would it not be natural for many of its actions to appear monstrous to people who are not familiar with the conditions in which you work?

Who complains most of the Organization? It is charlatans who do not wish to help the cause of liberation in any way, and part of the clergy, who, driven by extreme ambition, wish to interfere in every possible manner in the revolutionary activities, but do not wish to bear the responsibility for the con­sequences. Should, therefore, the groundless accusations of this kind of patriots be trusted? And it is precisely they who mislead you, and you, without checking the circumstances and motives, on which facts are based, hasten to communicate them to the government making peculiar commentaries, or simply doing nothing, so that your reports will be all the more sensational.

Let us clarify yet another vitally important issue. It has been reported to the Bulgarian government that the Organization has allegedly systematically persecuted the Bulgarian Exarchate, the employees of the Bulgarian trade agen­cies, and in general, has allegedly nursed mistrust and hatred of everything Bulgarian. We declare that all this is base slander which has shocked us to the bottom of our souls. If one persecutes a monk, even if he does wear a bishop's robe, for his wild and unrestrained conduct, does it mean that you are persecuting the Exarchate? If one voices distrust of an Agency employee, does it mean that one does not believe in Bulgaria? If you refuse aid because it is, offered with ulterior motives, does this mean that you will accept nothing from outside? Who could fabricate such mean and absurd slanders, who else but the enemy of the cause of liberation, or an extremely ambitious employee, or a man of the General Tsonchev camp - no one else, because facts speak of something completely different, and refute the allegations and slanders made against the Organization.

Mr. Agent,

Confine yourself to the sphere of your activities, check all the facts which are brought to you about the work of the Organization, compare them with the causes which provoke them, and with the circumstances which surround them, and you will see that the Organization is not an evil but an urgent necessity for the poor Bulgarian population in the villages of Macedonia and    the Odrin region. The villages left without armed detachments feel like orphans because only the detachments can protect them from the attacks of Greek, Turkish and Serbian bands. The towns, too, feel better when there is an Organization with an armed force of its own. We admit, however, that not everything is done in the ideal manner that we would all wish, but this is not the fault of the Organiza­tion. The unfavourable and extremely uncomfortable conditions are to blame. Perhaps you are alarmed by the errors which are made in its activities - all men make errors. As a diplomat, have you never made a mistake in your diplomatic career? Do consider also the crisis through which the Organization went after the uprising of 1903, which shook it to the foundations, consider the human lives it lost from among the intelligentsia and from among its other members, and you will understand the causes for some of the errors and oversights in its work. After the general congress at the end of 1905, however, a new impetus was given to the cause of liberation. It was placed on new and sound foun­dations which guarantee that in a short time the mistakes and violations will be reduced to a minimum. It is necessary with common efforts to raise the level of the consciousness and education of all people regarding the difficult tasks which it has to solve, and to explain the great goal it pursues. The false information which is brought to you, intentionally or unintentionally, by some evil-doers, will be considered as intended to harm the cause of liberation. Such evil-doers will be persecuted according to the regulations and decrees of the Organization.

Accept our assurances of our deepest respect.

Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization

ЦДИА, ф. 335, оп. 1, а.е.. 131, л. 104-105; the original is in Bulgarian.


A letter from the Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization to the Bulgarian Exarch Yossif I,
rejecting the accusations levelled against the Revolutionary Organization and asserting its Bulgarian character

May, 1906

Your Beatitude,

We have positive knowledge that some of the high-ranking spiritual leaders under the Holy Exarchate have informed the Bulgarian commercial agents in Macedonia and the Odrin district that the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization is allegedly persecuting the Exarchate and its activities, that it is allegedly interfering in its rights and prerogatives, and, in general, is opposed to the Bulgarian national spirit in the vilayets of European Turkey. We firmly declare that this is a tendentious calumny aimed at thwarting the revolutionary cause.

There is no denying that individual members of the Organization have taken liberties; however, this is an exception rather .than a rule, and the Organization itself persecutes such conduct.

However, there is no denying either that many leaders under the Holy Exarchate oppose the cause of liberation without any reasons, and out of sheer short-sightedness, whereas many of them, urged by ambition and arrogance, are willing to take part directly in those risky affairs, without taking the respon­sibility for their actions. Naturally, such people should be censured for their errors and crimes. Unfortunately, when this is done to a member of the church and school organization, for actions beyond his rights and competence, then he shouts in a loud voice: 'They are persecuting the Exarchate, they are persecuting the national cause!' It is not this that matters. Your Beatitude, for, to hold an isolated representative of the church and school cause responsible for his personal acts, is not to persecute the Holy Exarchate or the national cause.

Such people and many others of the same ilk, being dissatisfied with cer­tain actions or decisions of the organizational workers, seize upon some isolated case in the life of the revolutionary organization, send in biased infor­mation about it to the Bulgarian commercial agents, and give it publicity in an incomplete and distorted form with the aim of discrediting the cause of libera­tion.

From their point of view this may be right, but from an organizational point of view this is culpable. Therefore, we declare to you that they should either adhere to their own sphere of activity, following all instructions of the statutes and regulations of the Exarchate, or the organization shall treat them as it does anyone who hampers the revolutionary cause, or tries to slander it and discredit it purposefully.

The Exarchate has the least right to complain of the activities of the revolutionary organization, since the latter has many good deeds to its credit which fully coincide with the tasks of the former and is always ready to help it enhance the culture, education and national consciousness of our people.

Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization.

ЦДИА, ф.. 335, оп. 1, а.е.. 131, л. 103; the original is in Bulgarian.


From Gyorche Petrov's memoirs on the movement against the centralistic policy of the Exarchate

May 29th, 1908
... About 1890, without any apparent reason, the mood of the young people in all active Bulgarian centres began to turn against the bishops, the com­munes, the Exarchist teachers and officials and against the attempts of the Exarchate to control church and school affairs throughout the country. The guildsmen, who are a very powerful class in the Macedonian towns, very soon joined the young people in this struggle. The discontent was quite spontaneous and had no definite demands: it was simply dissatisfaction with the structure of the Exarchate institutions. The only definite thing which the young people wanted was for the communes to pass from the hands of elderly men into the hands of young people. The headmasters appointed by the Exarchate were required to subordinate themselves to the local school-boards. The young people wanted young people to be admitted to the communes and for the latter to become real communes instead of the chairmen doing everything on their own responsibility, as they did under Statute of the Exarchate, with the members being just assistants of the chairmen. The young people and the guildsmen began a struggle against all those bishops, chairmen of communes, and teachers appointed by the Exarchate who were against their demands. There was not a single bishop or a more prominent teacher who was not subjected to insults and persecutions on the part of the population. This movement coincided with the appearance of the so-called 'Macedonian separationism' - expressed by the Loza magazine, led by Arsov, Balaschev, Hadji Nikolov, etc. The Loza circle claims even today that this movement in Macedonia was the result of their agitation there. In Salonica the same 'separationist' movement had started among the teachers at the high-schools. I consider this movement as a reaction against the continuous efforts of the Exarchate to concentrate the management of public life in its own hands and, furthermore, I consider it as the first step towards the self-government of the country. Thus, it cannot be maintained that the Loza circle provoked the discontent. It grew imperceptibly into a revolutionary movement. At the beginning, the main role in this revolutionary movement was played by the same people who led the struggle against the Exarchate.

Материали за историята на македонското освободително движение, кн. VIII. Спомени на Гьорче Петров, (Materials on the History of the Macedonian Liberation Movement, Book VIII. Memoirs of Gyorche Petrov), Sofia, 1927, pp. 10-12; the original is in Bulgarian.



From Gyorche Petrov's memoirs: on the positive attitude of the Bulgarian population towards the Exarchate

June 2nd, 1908
I shall tell you a story about the Exarchate. I told Lazarov not to pay too much attention to the event, because it was just an indication of the mood of the students. At that time the question of transferring the Exarchate was raised, by Russia, if I remember rightly. Even in the Exarchate they felt the need for support from the population, in the form of various expressions of opinion, declarations, etc. The agents of the Exarchate were somewhat worried because they doubted whether they would be able to get the necessary declarations from all parishes - with signatures and seals - expressing confidence in the Exarchate and requesting the government to preserve the Exarchate and not to leave the population without the Exarchate. What the problem was that had so much frightened the Exarch, we did not know, but we proved that we were no strangers to this problem, either. Tanev, the secretary of the School Dept., who was considered to be closer to Lazarov and me (Kunchev was regarded as our opponent), appealed to the Central Committee to support this wish of the Exarch. We accepted the proposal without any opposition, appealed to our comrades in the provinces, and soon the Exarchate was flooded with petitions. Some of these petitions were very original and cordial. We gladly undertook this work, because we were convinced that the Exarchate, as an institution, had to exist in Constantinople and, if we ever had any differences with them, they were connected with their attitude towards our idea.

Материали за историята на македонското освободително движение, кн. VIII. Спомени на Гьорче Петров, (Materials on the History of the Macedonian Liberation Movement, Book VIII. Memoirs of Gyorche Petrov), Sofia, 1927, pp. 32, 33; the original is in Bulgarian.


From Gyorehe Petrov's memoirs about the collaboration with the Supreme Committee, headed by Boris Sarafov

June 10th, 1908

We had arranged Sarafov's Committee - it was our creation. Under these circumstances, we decided to control the Committee through our supporters on ft, while we kept aloof, and it would still be the Supreme Committee (S.C.). We wanted to reorganize the local societies so that they accept the revolutionary cause. We agreed with the new members of the Committee beforehand that we would take no responsibility for the actions of the S.C. but everything would be done with our knowledge and approval. We, for our part, promised to support the Committee and to strengthen it with more energetic and devoted people from the interior, who would re-activate the Committee, especially in the provinces. It happened just as we wanted. Thus the prestige of the current leaders of Macedonian affairs was undermined.

It was my idea to find among those taking part in Macedonian affairs a person of authority and influence, who was, at the same time, closer to our ideas, and to get him elected as chairman of the Committee. We did not yet dare put the S.C. entirely in the hands of the army officers. Tsonchev had not yet decided to resign his commission and become chairman of the Committee: we would have accepted him at that time. In order to find a suitable person and to prepare the ground for the new Committee, I undertook an extensive tour of Southern and Northern Bulgaria. I recruited new forces: wherever there was a Macedonian, I desired to be introduced to him, so as to ask him about reliable people.

I could not find a single person who shared my views and who would agree to devote himself wholly to the cause of the revolution. All approved of what I said but did not want to be involved. Their attitude was that the Organization was very weak here and that they did not believe that this Organization could be revived to the extent necessary for what I was en­visaging. In general, they considered the revolutionary cause to be a sheer Utopia. Dame and Rizov did not believe the activity of the committee could be increased, or that the public would be sufficiently interested in our cause to make us a loan of 50,000 levs. Rizov used to say that he would be the first to applaud us in public if we managed to collect 50,000 levs. General disbelief. I called on all eminent Macedonians in the provinces who were directly or in­directly involved in the Macedonian cause, and it was a complete fiasco. Everyone who had any self-respect was unwilling to get involved and make himself ridiculous. In Shoumen and Varna, I talked at great length to Lieute­nant colonel Stefan Nikolov and to Yankov, in order to see if they would be able to fill the post of chairman. Nikolov appeared to me serious, but weak in intellect, while Yankov seemed too frivolous. In Razgrad I invited Slavcheto Babadjanov to become chairman of the Committee. He was older and more experienced than Boris and Bozoukov, who were candidates for the post. In the beginning I did not want them. I did not want to entrust them with the chairmanship; I was looking for a man with some status in society and carrying some weight. I invited Paounchev, who was a teacher in Varna, but he im­mediately refused. I invited Panov (Koushev) from Vidin, a lawyer born in Veles. I invited Dimiter Blagoev, the Socialist (the leader of the Socialists) fairly persistently. I was not interested in his convictions, but was looking for an honest man. I invited Ivanov (Ivan Ivanovich - 'The Deal Board'), a lawyer, but he refused. They all refused because of lack of faith; the enterprise seemed too risky to them. Obviously this sort of work was not to the taste of this kind of person.

We had to content ourselves with the officers of 1895.1 thought it would be better if we brought only a few of them onto the committee, in order to use them more directly in the work. The officers were pressing for us to unite and for me to take the post of chairman. I would not agree to this. We preferred Boris to Bozoukov because he was more constant. Many comrades went into the provinces to ensure support for our programme and our list for the forthcoming Congress. Our list was very carefully prepared. At the Congress itself we did some canvassing, and our list was accepted without opposition thanks to the imprudence of the other members of the Committee, of which you too were one. Srafov became the leader. The eyes of all were fixed on us; they were not much interested in who was on the Committee, but they were com­forted by the fact that henceforward the S.C. would work in agreement with the Central Committee.

At the beginning, our collaboration was complete. We began the work on a purely friendly basis, on the understanding that they would figure in Bulgaria, but that we should be the stronghold. At the beginning the officers did not un­dertake anything without our knowledge and approval. Boris himself used to say: 'We are the signboard, and Gyorche is the Committee.'

We began serious work, completely confident that we would be able to ac­tivate Bulgaria. It was a time of complete standstill in Macedonian affairs. The people outside did not believe that the organization here could be revived and thus become viable and active. With energy and a strong belief that we would be able to achieve what the others considered impossible, we immediately set to work for the achievement of this goal: we began to expand the network of the organization by recruiting more members to the local societies and by raising the loan. In the beginning, we relied on the local societies, and thought that we would be able to get from membership fees alone several hundred thousand levs. We expected to get from the newspaper alone about 50-100,000. We were sure we would distribute it even to the last hut. With this belief and energy we threw ourselves into work. In order to show signs of life, we wanted quick results. Our cooperation was good: their young energy combined with my experience and tact. If only we had been able to continue in this friendly way, the results would have been very good.

First, we divided Bulgaria into sectors, where we were to go personally and work mainly for the raising of the loan and for the reorganization of the local societies. Everywhere the membership had to be changed and strengthened by bringing in young and more energetic people. The results from the reorganization were not very great - those from the loan were better.

Soon we had created in Bulgaria an entirely different atmosphere in favour of the Macedonian cause. Everywhere people joyously hailed our cooperation with the S.C. and this was the basis of the new strength felt by the Committee here. At the beginning there was no special resolution concerning the use of terrorist actions but this came of itself, as a result of the zeal of some ardent members and, later, as a means of action on the part of our agents. The government of Radoslavov did not pay any serious attention to it at the begin ning and, later, after the first enthusiasm of our better agents had subsided, it turned into a system, degenerated and began to weigh heavily upon the public. It was the duty of the S.C. either to abandon it or to put it within certain limits. For about a year, we worked publicly in this way, achieving good results, both material and moral. At the first Congress, a year later, we presented a budget of 450,000 levs. Also, in the ranks of the supporters of the Committee, there were people, who by their social position, could successfully rival the members of the former S.C. Boris began to read the report which I had prepared, but he could not read it, and I took over. For the first time, Delchev, and I were present at the Congress. All were pleased with us and they received us with applause. An income of 450,000 levs! Who could dispute it? Lyapchev was also there, but he was mostly silent, although he was still trying to introduce national and political elements into the resolution, but he did not succeed because the current was flowing in our favour - turbulent and decisive. That was the turning point, away from the old positions of the S.C. to our demands that the emigrants here, too, adopt the road of revolution; the revolutionary and diplomatic methods of the former organization here were declared abandoned. I was in the Seventh Heaven: what I had desired and preached I now saw realized. Then the Congress adopted the Statute and the Rules of the organization here which I had altered in the spirit of the new idea that the organization should adopt the revolutionary way and give precedence to the Internal Organization. That was a great success for the Macedonian cause: the revolutionary line had already been adopted by the local emigrants as well. This was what I had been preaching during years of persistent struggle with the S.C., which had wanted only to conduct diplomatic activity and to play the leading role. I thought that since this had been adopted here in Bulgaria, it would give a strong impetus to the cause in Macedonia itself, and, that it would forward the revolutionary cause by helping it materially. This was, in fact, achieved, only due to too much pushing, the movement even went to the other extreme, so that the uprising broke out prematurely. If the S.C. had not been strengthened at the time of Boris Sarafov, there would not have been this new pressure, but it is certain that, even in the interior, our organization would have worked very sluggishly. It could not be said that we would have been able to come out of the phase of preaching and enter that of real revolution without the support, both moral and material, which we received from Bulgaria. Even if the emigrants had not created the organization with the S.C. at its head - we would have created it.

We could not have managed without Bulgaria. I wanted to canalize the forces here in order to merge them with ours, but some conflicts arose because, on the one hand, some of our people were pedantic and insisted that the local people here adopt the view and methods of the internal workers entirely, while, on the other, these here began to put forward their own views which were those of the Bulgarian state.

There was short-sightedness on both sides. We wanted to benefit by receiving materials and people from Bulgaria, and, at the same time, we wanted to subordinate them completely to our discipline. I knew this -1 knew that this could not be easily achieved, but I did my best to make the maximum use of the emigrants for our cause.

Материали за историята на македонското освободително движение, кн. VIII. Спомени на Гьорче Петров, (Materials on the History of the Macedonian Liberation Movement, Book VIII, Memoirs of Gyorche Petrov), Sofia, 1927, pp. 92-97; the original is in Bulgarian.



A resolution of the first meeting of the citizens from Shtip, held on September 13th, 1908,
protesting against malpractices during the elections to the Ottoman Parliament
September 13th, 1908

Today, September 13, 1908 the citizens of Shtip, numbering some 3,000, gathered in the schoolyard for a meeting in protest against the illegal practices and the violence perpetrated during the parliamentary elections in the town and the district, and after hearing the speakers, we considered:

1. That articles 5, 6 and 30 of the Electoral Law have been violated due to insufficient explanatory work;

2. That the sections in the district have been disproportionally distributed, for instance, the Pishitsa section includes 21 Bulgarian villages against just one Turkish, whereas Kyoseler includes only 5 Bulgarian villages against 11 Turkish; in the Starvoulevo section there are 3 Bulgarian villages against 18 Turkish.

3. That only Turkish villages have been chosen for centres of all sections, and, moreover, these are the remotest villages possible, notorious for past atrocities, like Pishitsa, for instance;

4. That many Bulgarian citizens have been disenfranchised;

5. That Turks disenfranchised by law have been granted the right to vote;

6. That the government has abused its power during the elections.

We decided:

1. To protest against the violation of the electoral law and against all il­legal practices and violence perpetrated during the elections;

2. We consider the elections held so far illegal and void and we have dis­continued the polls;

3. We insist that the Young Turk association 'Unity and Progress,' on whose assurance we discontinued our revolutionary activities, should institute an inquiry to punish those responsible for the illegally held elections and to hold them again in accordance with the electoral law, after preliminary local elections.

A commission was elected for this purpose, including: Messrs Arso Lazarov, Sando Penoshliski, Pane Kolchev, Panche Nakushov, Hristo Ikonomov and Andon H. Kotsov, which was entrusted with the task:

1. Of informing by telegraph the Soloun association about the meeting.

2. Of asking the local association for support in our lawful struggle.

3. Of giving a copy of the present resolution to the local association and of forwarding it to the Soloun association, as well as to some newspapers.

4. Of signing all telegrams, protests and the like, which might be ad­dressed to it on behalf of the people.

On behalf of circa 3,000 citizens the resolution was signed by

The buro of the meeting (Arso Lazarov, Panche Nakushov, Hristo Ikonomov)

ЦДИА, ф. 335, оп. 1, а.е. 107, л. 85-86; the original is in Bulgarian.


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