Today, the 19th of September, 1908, in the afternoon, the citizens of Veles - Bulgarians - gathered at a meeting and considered:
1. The question of
to the commission of the association 'Unity and Progress' an equal
members - Turks and Bulgarians from the
2. The question of handing the church keys to the peasants from Starigrad, about which the Government has done nothing.
3. The question concerning the Serbian detachments' delay in laying down arms; Sava voivoda - the 'Boss' of the Serbian revolutionary organization, has not surrendered; the authorities have been misled and, instead of the voivoda, the rebel Traiko has been presented to the Turks, while Sava is still working underground, intimidating and molesting the Bulgarian people in the villages of Nezhilovo, Papradishta, Oreshe, Mokreni and elsewhere, and the whole of the 'Azot’.
4. The question about the threats addressed by the Serbian priest from Teovo to the peasants of Novo Selo; the answer of Enver Bey to this question: 'that the Serbians shall be forbidden to go to the Bulgarian villages and, if they disobey, they shall be prosecuted'.
5. The question about
church warden of the church in the
6. The question of sending a joint commission of Turks and Bulgarians for the inquiry. Nothing has been done yet.
7. Indirect threat by
(a Serbian voivoda) through Resa Effendi not to allow the Metropolitan
to go to the
8. The key to the church in the Teovo village is still being kept by the Serbian rebels.
9. A policeman from the
Chashkar police station demanded that a peasant in the Kriva
give him brandy without payment and as the peasant refused, the
flogged him, tied him up and dragged him to the
Proceeding from the above items of the first meeting, 1 on which no action was taken, and the newly perpetrated insults and abuses, the people decided:
1. To protest against the Serbian voivodas and rebels molesting the Bulgarian village population.
2. To protest against the local policy of the government of protecting and encouraging the Serbian propaganda.
3. To appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs, to the press, to the Buro of the Union of the Constitutional Clubs and to the Young Turk Committees in the town and in Soloun.
this attitude were not peculiar and different in comparison with their
towards the other nationalities in the Empire, we would undoubtedly not
mention the name of the Bulgarian nationality to which we belong. Our
principle is to struggle for the rights and liberties of all
without exception, and we strive for the complete equality of all the
It is of primary importance for us that the existing political system in the Empire should guarantee full political, economic and cultural equality to all nationalities, because only such a political situation can harmonize their feelings and their interests. Every deviation from this principle leads to lack of unity, national discord, and lack of harmony in the common ideals and aspirations of the people. To put a certain nationality in a priviledged position means nothing less than to support a system of political inequality - a system which creates only animosity among the different national forces, and this animosity and discord will in the end destroy the most valuable contributions which these forces are capable of making to their common homeland through their peaceful and mutual development and progress.
have had more than one occasion to stress this idea, which is the basis
political activity. We are against both privileges for and
to lack of justice) against any nationality. Privileges only corrupt
which enjoys them and discrimination only embitters. As a result, such
provokes only passions and strife which can compromise the common
regime and the country supporting it. Since we profess these political
principles, we are convinced that no one will dare to accuse us either
chauvinism or of political separatism, when we are compelled to speak
peculiar situation in which the Bulgarian nationality is at present
This can be observed everywhere daily. That the subject nationalities
Empire have always been considered by the ruling circles to be inferior
dominating nationality is a fact the truth of which we have never
this case, however, matters are rather different. Towards the Bulgarian
nationality the official authorities and all their agents have assumed
attitude very different from the one they have towards the other
the new rulers and statesmen might say, 'in principle, we have nothing
the equality of the nationalities and against an equal approach to them
part of the authorities, but, as far as the Bulgarian nationality is
matters are quite different. It is a power which is very dangerous for
because it is in collusion with and inspired by
do not doubt that such were the general 'political' reasons of the
circles, even in the first days after the constitutional coup d'etat,
received a particularly active practical expression a little later,
after the proclamation of the Bulgarian Independence and the breaking
all treaty relations with
It was then that the deviation of the government from 'the principle of equality' was felt, an equality against which the authorities have no objection in principle ... It is worthwhile arguing about this deviation, and not because the Turkish statesmen have any real reason to bear distrust and contempt towards the Bulgarian nationality, but because their 'political reasonings' are in this case based on a perverse evaluation of the situation, on a false and extremely wrong assessment of the conditions created by the new developments, and, because of the extraordinary regime under which the Bulgarian nationality has been placed by virtue of the above-mentioned reasonings, it is the worst possible choice of means for removing the existing, or temporary danger of future actions on the part of this nationality.
This we shall prove and support with facts next time.
so, the worst suspicion which the government and the state have about
Ottoman Bulgarians is that this nationality has close links with
Bulgaria, thus presenting a constant danger to the Empire, the
which do not coincide with the ultimate aims of the Bulgarian state. We
last time as well, that these considerations of the present Turkish
have acquired a particularly great significance and weight since the
Turnovo with which the ruling circles in
the first place, the links with
is, however, no justification for the strange attitude of the
towards the Bulgarian nationality. What is more, this attitude will do
Today, Jan. 15th, the citizens of Prilep gathered at a meeting, and taking into account:
1) The numerous and systematic abuses of power in connection with the electoral law with the aim of infringing the rights of the Bulgarian population.
2) Harassment by the Greek armed detachments in the region of Morihovo and their feverish activities to incite the Bulgarian patriarchists to fresh disturbances.
3) The action of the Serbian armed detachments in the North-East and North-Western parts of the district, designed to provoke fear in the Bulgarian villages which they conquered by terror during the former regime.
4) The open resistance of the Serbian supporters who, incited by the Serbian detachments, do not allow the Bulgarian church commune to take actual possession of the monasteries of Zurze and Slepche, which were awarded to it by a court decision.
5) The illegal coversion of the convent of the Hilendar Monastery into a Serbian chapel.
6) That the Bulgarian majority in the village of Vrubyani are not allowed their turn to hold services in the village church, which is in the possession of the Serbianized minority.
The occupation of the Bulgarian school in the
8) The complete indifference of the local authorities towards the various arbitrary proceedings and infringements of the law committed by its agents, in spite of repeated complaints on the part of the population, and their partiality in the new controversies over national problems aimed at creating an atmosphere of mutual animosity.
1) To protest strongly to Parliament against the various arbitrary proceedings and infringements of the law.
2) To demand of Parliament: a) the adoption of speedy and effective measures to paralyze the activities of the Serbian and Greek robber bands; b) a just solution of the church and school question; c) an end to the present policy of fanning national animosities.
3) The meeting authorized the bureau to telegraph this resolution to the Chairman of the Ottoman Parliament and to send copies to Mr. P. Dorev and Abdulah Azmi Efendi, M.P. for Kutahya, and to publish it in the press.
From the Bureau of the Meeting
The Bulgarian citizens of the district of Bitolya gathered at a meeting, of more than 8,000, after listening to the speeches of the speakers and taking into account:
1) That the Constitution has established equality and fraternity among Ottoman citizens.
2) That on July 11th freedom of conscience and religion was proclaimed.
3) That in the villages on Dihovo, Klabouchishta, Novatsi and Sredno Egri, where the majority of the population is Bulgarian, the latter declared its desire to join the Exarchate 5 months ago and has led a legal struggle for its sacred right to religious freedom ever since.
4) That in spite of this declaration and struggle, the churches and the schools in Klabouchishta, Novatsi and Sredno Egri remain closed and in Dihovo, the Bulgarian Patriarchists comprising 15 households as against 50 Exarchist households are using the church and the school for themselves, while the great majority, with two houses and a school at the disposal of the commune, are compelled to educate their children in a private house and have no admission to their graveyard.
5) That the prosperity and progress of the country require peace, justice and truth,
To beseech the Parliament in Constantinople most earnestly to take up and inquire carefully into the particulars of the church question and to satisfy the desire of our people as soon as possible, by settling this question in the spirit of the Constitution - equality and fraternity, by giving the people the right to be the masters of the churches which they themselves have built and maintained.
From the Bureau of the Meeting
The Church of St Constantine and St Hellen, which for 25 years had been in the hands of the Bulgarians of the village of Embore, with 200 households of Bulgarian Exarchists and 20 Patriarchist households, was forcedly seized from the Bulgarians by the Greek bishop of Lerin and the governor of Lerin 8 years ago and was handed over to the 20 Graecomane households.
The village of Paleor has about 80 Exarchist households and 30 Graecomane households; the latter have the right to conduct their services 3 times a month in the only village church, while the Exarchists are allowed to do so only twice a month. This is a gross injustice towards the Bulgarians.
The population of the villages of Doroutovo and Asankyoy, being Bulgarians, wanted to hear their own Bulgarian language in the churches and schools, but the governor of Kailyare would not allow them to.
Chairman of the Commune: Papa Georgi
We beg you, on behalf of 18 families of Bulgarian Exarchists, to allow us to obtain that part of the village school which is due to us, and to permit us to conduct services in the church, in turn with the 17 families of Patriarchists, to whom the government has given sole use of the church, built with the money of the whole population of the village.
behalf of the Bulgarian population of the
On behalf of 10 families of Bulgarian Exarchists, we beg to be given that part of the village school which is due to us, and to be permitted to conduct services in turn in the village church, which was built with the money of the whole population of the village, and which the government has handed over entirely to 13 Patriarchist families.
behalf of the Bulgarians of the
Mayor: Dime Georgi
We beg you, on behalf of 15 families of Bulgarian Exarchists, to allow us to obtain that part of the village school due to us, and to permit us to conduct services in turn in the church which was built with the money of all the villagers, and which was handed over, under the old regime, to 19 families of Patriarchists.
On behalf of the Bulgarians in Chohalari Alexo Traikov
The church of St. Peter and the Holy Trinity, built during the time of Ahmed Pasha — vali of Bitolya, with the efforts and the donations of the Exarchist population of Kroushovo and its neighbourhood, and for the building of which the Bulgarians themselves obtained the necessary permission, granted on the name of the Bulgarian church warden, has been closed for the last 15 years after being used for a very short period, owing to the instigations and slanders of the Greeks, and is in danger of collapse.
That the above-mentioned church belongs to the Bulgarians can be very easily ascertained by any inquiry commission. For this reason, we beg you on behalf of the whole population, to open the church and to hand it over to us, as its lawful owners.The Deputy of the Metropolitan in Kroushovo
Government, ignoring our rights, as the majority, to the disputed
From the Bulgarian Constitutional Club
Our village, consisting of 156 Bulgarian and 152 Graecomane houses, has only one church. The Graecomanes, taking advantage of the arbitrary proceedings of the old regime, misappropriated the church and today still consider it to be their property. As the time of robberies has now passed, we beg you to take the most just measures for settlement of this question, thus contributing to the prosperity of our state.
Our village has 80 Bulgarian houses and 60 Graecomane houses; also two churches and one school. The Graecomanes, taking advantage of the arbitrary proceedings of the old regime, usurped the church and the school and still have possession of them. As the time of arbitrary actions has now passed, we beg you to investigate this question and to take the most just decision as becomes a constitutional administration.
Mayor: Atanas Member: Atanas Member: Krusto
Our village consisting of 105 Bulgarian and 55 Graecomane houses has only one school and one church. The Graecomanes, enjoying the favour of the officials under the despotic regime, infringed the law and appropriated the church and the school, which even now they consider their property. As the time of the arbitrary actions has now passed, we beg you to take measures for the settlement of this question, as becomes a constitutional government.
Sealed with the village seal
Our village consisting of 150 Bulgarian and 45 Graecomane houses has only one school and one church. The Graecomanes, enjoying the favour of the officials under the despotic regime, broke the law and appropriated the school and the church. As the time of robbery has now passed, we beg you to take the most just measures for the settlement of this question, as becomes a constitutional government.
Sealed with 6 village seals
In Strumitsa, there are two churches which, although built with the help of the whole local Christian population, are now in the hands of the Greeks. Under the despotic regime, when there was a complete absence of rights we made several attempts to have at least one of these returned to us and, in spite of the Decree of the Ministry of Justice and Religions of December 12th, 1324 (1908), sent to the Exarchate, which ordered the handing over to the Bulgarians of the site near the ruins of the old Metropolitan building, which had been bought by them for 350 Turkish liras for the purpose of building a church there ~ this decree was never put into action. Thus, while the Greeks have three churches, the Bulgarians are totally deprived of a house of prayer. Is this right?
We appeal to the feelings of justice of all the members of Parliament that they satisfy the lawful demands of the Bulgarians, who are deprived of a house of prayer.
On behalf of the Bulgarian population in Strumitsa
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the
years ago, with the necessary permission and help of the Holy
Bulgarian school was built in the
On behalf of the Bulgarian population of Lounovo:
There are two churches in our village - one of them is worth 1000 and the other - 100 Turkish liras. The government, apart from giving orders for the large church to be given exclusively to the Serbs, also gave orders for the Serbs to hold their services in the small church as well, for two weeks in succession, and the Bulgarians - only one. Because this is a gross injustice towards the Bulgarian population, we beg you to send the necessary orders and have one of the two churches given to us for the observance of our religious rites.
behalf of the Bulgarian population of the
Twenty-one years ago the church, the school, and the garden, with all their outbuildings, etc., belonging to the whole Christian population of the town of Doiran, were handed over, without any special permission, to the Greek church commune, representing only 150 Graecomane households. And the unfortunate Bulgarian population, numbering more than 400 households, is compelled to conduct its religious rites in a dilapidated house serving as a chapel. After the declaration and the guarantee of human rights: equality, fraternity and justice for all, and relying on the stipulations of the Constitution, we beg the respected Parliament to order the return of that part of the above-mentioned usurped property which is due to us according to the law.
On behalf of the Bulgarian population in Doiran:
The despotic government ordered the church and the school in our village, built by our forefathers, to be handed over to the Graecomanes, while the Bulgarian population, consisting of more than 50 households, was deprived of the right to conduct its religious rites. Because, with the proclamation of the Constitution, we were granted liberty and justice, we beg the respected government to restore our rights over the said church and school.
On behalf of the population:
Of the 198 houses in our little town 190 are Bulgarian, 7 are Serbian and only one is Graecomane. Apart from these, there are about 21 families of Wallachian settlers. The government of the former despotic regime seized our church by force and gave it to the Patriarchists, although it was built by us Bulgarians, and was also used by the population of the neighbouring villages of Rashtane, Serbyani and Osoi, which have about 120 houses altogether. With the taking of the church, 310 families were deprived of the possibility of praying to God. The despotic government paid no attention to any of our complaints against this gross injustice. But now with the proclamation of the Constitution which is the sole guarantee of the prosperity of all the nationalities bearing the name of Ottomans, and with the opening of Parliament which intends to put an end to the intolerable situation of all the oppressed people, the eyes of everyone are turned to that holy institution, the Parliament, which will legalize justice, thus opening the way to the prosperity of this country which has suffered so much.
On behalf of the population of the Varosh quarter (Kichevo): Mayors: G. Yakimov and P. Apostolov
can be proved with historical data that the Monastery of St Nahum,
the Northern shore of the
behalf of the whole Bulgarian population in the town of
Having had no freedom of religion and education during the despotic regime, on the proclamation of the Constitution and the triumph of freedom, the Bulgarian element broke away from the Patriarchate, and there awoke within it a feeling of religious independence. We beg that the church and the school which were bequeathed to us by our grandparents and great-grandparents be returned to us, because we are the majority. Explanations by post.
behalf of 127 Bulgarian households in the
Although there are 350 households of Bulgarian Exarchists and only 300 Graecomane households in our town, the town church and school are in the hands of the Graecomanes who seized them 30 years ago, and the Bulgarians are excluded from the town church and school. Although we, the tormented Bulgarian population, have made many representations to the proper authorities, and, the last time (4 months ago), we even wrote to the Great Vizir himself, none of our requests have been granted. As it is the purpose of Parliament to guarantee the rights of the citizens, we expect a speedy and just settlement of the question.Mayor of Gorna Mahala: Gone
In spite of the fact that there are 50 households of Bulgarian Exarchists and only 20 Graecomane households, the village church and school have been in the hands of the Graecomanes for 30 years, and we, the Bulgarians, have been deprived of a house of prayer and a school. Although we, the tormented Bulgarian population, have made many representations to the proper authorities, our requests have not been granted. As it is the purpose of Parliament to guarantee the rights of the citizens, we expect a speedy and just settlement of this question.
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the
Mayor Ivan Kamchev
In spite of the fact that there are in the village 79 households of Bulgarian Exarchists and only 39 households of Graecomane-Patriarchists, the village church and school, although village property, have been seized by the Graecomanes and we are forbidden to use them. Although we, the tormented Bulgarian population, have made many representations to the proper authorities, our requests have not been granted. We expect a speedy and just settlement of the question by Parliament, whose task it is to guarantee the rights of the citizens.
behalf of the whole Bulgarian population in the
Mayor Risto Georgiev
Our village church, built by our grandparents and great-grandparents and intended to serve as a house of prayer for the whole village, as well as our village school, have for the last 32 years been appropriated by 13 households of Graecomane-Patriarchists, and we, the Bulgarians, although we are 137 households, or 685 people, are deprived of a house of prayer and of school premises where we can educate our children. Although we have made many representations nothing has come of any of them. We, the Bulgarians, who have been always underprivileged, rely on Parliament, which is authorized to protect the liberty and the rights of the people, and we are humbly expecting a just settlement of the question.
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the
Our village consists of 50 Bulgarian houses. We have used the church turn and turn about with the Graecomanes ever since the time of the despotic regime, but the school is entirely in the hands of the Graecomanes, although the Patriarchate did not give a brass farthing for the building of the church and the school; they were built with the money from the population and the vakif property. We beg, on behalf of the entire Bulgarian population, and in the name of justice and equality, that taking into consideration the ratio between the populations, the use of the village church should be according to that ratio, and that the school should be given entirely into the hands of the Bulgarians.
Mayor: Koli Markov
There are 18 Bulgarian and 12 Graecomane houses in our village. The church and the school are entirely in the hands of the Graecomanes. Because they were built jointly by the whole population of the village, we beg you to hand over to us those parts of them which are due to us.
On behalf of the Bulgarian population in the farm of Davidovo:
Mayor: Georgi Petrev
The village school, and the church, used as a house of prayer by our grandparents and great-grandparents, were seized 32 years ago by the Graecomanes, who have only 130 houses out of the total of 350 houses in the village, and we are forbidden to listen to the service in the church or to educate our children at the school. After making several requests which have not been granted, the wronged population is relying on Parliament which is authorized to defend the laws and the rights of citizens, and is humbly expecting its just orders.
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the
years ago, some of the Bulgarians, hoping to save themselves from the
of the Greek bishop and relying on the consuls of the Great Powers for
protection, became Papists, but then, perceiving that they would have
benefit from this, they again acknowledged the supremacy of the
Catholic bishop managed, through bribes, to draw 20 families over to
These families seized our church and vakifs, which had been bequeathed
to us by
our fathers and grandfathers. In the hope that we would be able to get
church back, we made representations to the local governor and the
authorities for six years, but unfortunately, our requests were not
despairing population broke into
We are eagerly expecting justice from the representatives of the people.
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the town of
whole Christian population of our village is of Bulgarian nationality
spoken Bulgarian from time immemorial. In spite of this, however, until
of the Constitution it was compelled to use the services of Greek
teachers in its church and school. After the Constitution was
whole population, inspired by a desire to preserve its native language,
deeply convinced that it should pray and study in Bulgarian, decided
unanimously to acknowledge the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bulgarian
Exarchate and, for this purpose, asked the chairman of the Bulgarian
commune in Syar to send us a priest and a teacher of Bulgarian
this was officially announced to the myutesarif of Syar. The church
Syar sent us a Bulgarian teacher and a priest, who were welcomed with
rapture by the entire population. But, on December 18th last year, the
bishop of Syar, without being invited, came to our village, and having
and won over five peasants, opened the church by force and
conducted a service
there in the presence of only those five peasants. Then he took the
keys of the
church and the school, gave them to the five Graecomanes, and went to
In this way our church and school, built with the money of our forefathers, were delivered into the hands of only five Graecomanes, while 50 Bulgarian households are without a house of prayer and their children -without education. The whole village had been united and used the church and the school together, but the arrival of the bishop caused discord and now 50 families have been deprived of their church and school. Under the old regime such a thing was easy to understand, but now that the Constitution guarantees full freedom of conscience, such a thing is unjust and illegal. An inquiry can easily prove the truth of our words. For this reason, we beg you to inquire into the case, and to give us the right to use our native Bulgarian language in our church and school, and to forbid the Greek bishop to come and cause discord by his arbitrary actions.Jan. 12th, 1909
On behalf of the whole population of the village of Mekesh (district of Syar)
the village seal Member: Stoil
Apostolov Member: Tasho Popov
whole population of our village is of Bulgarian origin and, until
Bulgarian language was used in both our school and church. But
outside provoked discord and destroyed the peace in the village. There
houses in our village, 30 of which were lured by the Greeks and joined
Patriarchate. The keys of our village church were taken by force from
majority and given to the Graecomanes, who alone are using both the
the school. Although these village properties were built with our own
117 of our households have now been deprived of them. In view of this
injustice, we implore Parliament to settle this question justly and to
to use our church and school as we used to do.
On behalf of the Bulgarian Commune in Elshani:
Mayor: the village seal Members: D. Stoyanov and K. Georgiev
The whole Christian population of our village is of Bulgarian nationality and has spoken Bulgarian from time immemorial. In spite of this, it is compelled to use Greek priests and teachers, because various slanders on the pan of the Greek bishops have prevented us from introducing the Bulgarian language. After the proclamation of the Constitution, the whole population, inspired by a desire to preserve its native language, and deeply convinced that it should pray and study in Bulgarian, unanimously acknowledged the supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate, and begged the Bulgarian church commune in Syar to send us a priest and a teacher of Bulgarian origin. At the same time the myutesarif of Syar was officially informed. The Bulgarian commune in Syar sent us a priest and a teacher, who were heartily welcomed by the whole population. But then, the hateful Greek bishop of Syar came to our village without being invited, and managed to deceive and win over some ignorant peasants, and gave them the keys of our church and school. Resolving not to deprive our children of education and ourselves of a house of prayer, we hired a private house for use as a temporary chapel and school, but even this appeared too much to our enemies and the house was closed on the order of the authorities.
besides ourselves, 270 households in the villages of Agomahala,
In this way, our church and school, built with the money of our forefathers, have been delivered into the hands of five Graecomanes, while five Bulgarian villages have been deprived of their church and school. Under the old regime, this injustice could be easily explained, but now that the Constitution guarantees full freedom of conscience, this situation must no longer be tolerated.
For this reason, we beg you to investigate our case and give us the right to pray in our church and study at our school in our native language and to forbid the Greek bishop to come to our village and cause discord among the Christian population.
January 12th, 1909On behalf of the population of the village of Kamila (district of Syar) Mayor: Seal
The church and the school of our village have been handed over by the government to 40 households, subordinated to the Patriarchate, and, we who are 80 households, have no place for religious rites and for the education of our children. We earnestly beg you to settle this question in a satisfactory way.
behalf of the Bulgarian population in the
There are 21 Bulgarian houses and only 10 Graecomane houses in our village. Until 25 days ago we conducted our religious rites in the village church, but two weeks ago the government took the church from us and gave it to the Graecomanes, although they are a minority, and, after they had used the church for about 15 days, it was closed and it is still closed. We beg you to take the necessary steps for the opening of the church.
On behalf of the whole Bulgarian population:
Mayor: Milcho Member: Andon
Although the whole population of our village is of Bulgarian origin our church and school have been closed for the last 4 years. We don't know the reason for this. We beg you to give the necessary orders for them to be reopened.
On behalf of the population:
Mayor: Ivan Member: Gono
There are 240 houses in our village, of which 10 are Patriarchist and 230 are Exarchist. Our village church and school were built under the old regime, with the help of the poor population, but today, under the Constitutional regime, they are closed, although we, the Bulgarians, being Exarchists, have paid our taxes regularly for the last 10 years. The other ten houses belong to people of Bulgarian origin, who call themselves Graecomanes, only because they are under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate, and, although they did not help in the least over the building of the church, they continue to use the church and the school, where only 5-6 of their children study, while we, the Bulgarians, 230 households, appeal first to God and secondly to the members of Parliament, as true patriots, to inquire into this case and put an end to such injustices, which may drive us to despair.
On behalf of the population of the
Mayor: Kolyo Mitre
Owing to slanders made by 7 Graecomane Patriarchist households, our village church and school are closed, although we, the Bulgarian Exarchists, number 150 households. We beg you to give orders for the opening of our church and school, so that we shall not be without a house of prayer and so that we shall save our children from loitering about in the streets.
behalf of the Bulgarian population:
Mayor: Tano Member: Petre
Edinstvo and Constitoutsionna Zarya had only provisional tasks, the most important of which was to help the Bulgarians in the Empire to orientate their social and political thought amidst the sudden changes in the internal life of the country; to propagate the new ways of thought and new forms of struggle made necessary by the changes, to point out the need to organize Ottoman democratic parties and to raise their common slogans. This aim has been achieved. In the ranks of the Bulgarian element the organization of democratic forces is already taking place. On the one hand, we observe the speedy growth of the Bulgarian People's Federal Party (BPFP) and, on the other, the first beginnings of the Workers' Party.
The need for the further concentration of the forces around the two party groupings, the need for purely party newspapers, led to the appearance of Narodna Volya as a Party organ of the BPFP which is already in formation, and the newspaper Rabotnik, which will soon begin to appear as the theoretical organ of the Workers' Party (WP).
To disseminate the ideas of our party and to defend our positions - this will be our daily task. In this article, however, we want to set forth the general outlines of these positions and ideas.
As an organ of the BPFP, Narodna Volya defends and expresses the interests mainly of that part of the Bulgarian population, which comprises its predominant majority, and which is the most important element in that party -the petty owners deprived of all state protection, the landless or poor farmers, petty shopkeepers, craftsmen and merchants. These are the social strata whose interests today are the interests of the Bulgarian nationality in the Empire.
We consider that these interests require, in the first place, the strengthening of the constitutional regime, the expansion of liberties and the extension of reforms in the administrative and economic system. Only in this way can we create conditions for the raising of the standard of living and the prosperity of the Bulgarians in the Empire.
But the expansion of liberties and reforms can be guaranteed and realized only by organizing of those strata of society which are most concerned - not only among the Bulgarian population, but among all the nationalities in the Empire, the interests of which are identical - in joint Ottoman democratic parties on federal basis. Only parties which rely on the above-mentioned strata, and, above all, on the revolutionary ones, can be sufficiently strong to impose their interests upon the external and the internal policy of the state: interests which coincide with the general cultural development of the country.
The power of reaction and the greatest obstacle to progress in the country today, as under the old regime, lies in the animosities among the nationalities and the divisions among the democratic forces. Since we regard the organizing of these forces as of paramount importance even to purely national Bulgarian interests, we consider as equally reactionary both the actions and the encroachment of the conservative internal factors which obviously seek to stop the progress of reform as well as all actions - from whatever direction - which create animosity and suspicion among the nations. We also consider as reactionary all those actions which, as their primary object, seek to compromise the present regime in the eyes of the national minorities - the Bulgarian, for example - and, on the basis of discontent and distrust of this regime seek to preserve their false hopes in external factors, thus making these minorities tools of the external propaganda conducted by the court camarillas in Athens, Sofia and Belgrade. These actions are reactionary, not only because they create discord and animosity among the nations in the Empire, but also because they drive the Moslem populations to the side of the conservative forces, and encourage the minorities to remain passive as regards internal politics. Narodna Volya will fight against conservative forces and reaction from within, and against reaction from without - propaganda from all sources.
Convinced that the prosperity of every nation within the Empire lies in the prosperity of the entire Ottoman people, which prosperity can be achieved only by coordinating the separate efforts of the democratic elements of all the nations, we put forward these general demands in support of which the great majority of the Bulgarian people in the Empire will soon rally to form a party, which, in turn, will later become an integral part of the General Federal People's Party.
The most important economic demands which we raise are: to supply the landless and the poor farmers with land; to raise the people's standard of living by creating a credit system accessible to all; to build suitable and inexpensive communications, to provide technical and economic education.
Our general political demands are: to introduce widely the principle of sovereignty of the people by universal, direct, secret and proportionate suffrage; to ensure freedom of the press, of organization, of assembly and of protest.
The national question is for us a question of democracy and it has to be solved by the internal social forces. That is why, in connection with this question too, we are raising demands which will unite rather than split the democratic forces of the different nationalities. As the most urgent demand we are insisting on an expansion of the self-government by the communes, the districts and the vilayets. Concerning education, our demands are that it should be conducted in the native language of the pupils; it should be under the general control of the state and should be governed by central bodies, elevated by each nation; every national department in the general Ministry of Education should have at its disposal the taxes collected for educational purposes from their respective nations; the existing spiritual institutions which are based on purely monarchic principles and are entirely in the service of various kinds of national propaganda, should deal with spiritual matters only, and education should be Put under the direct control of the people.
We see the unification of the Bulgarian nationality and its cultural development not in the annexation of parts of the Empire to Bulgaria, nor in the ruin of any of its neighbouring states, nor of any of the nationalities within the Empire, but, on the contrary, we see it only in their common prosperity and fraternity, which can be achieved through the implementation of the idea of an Eastern Federation.
Proceeding from these premises, Narodna Volya will fight against every policy, - whatever its origin - which brings discord and creates gulfs between the small states in the Balkans and the Empire.
Up till now the Macedonian revolutionary movement has not been able to rely on its own forces in the struggle against absolutism for reasons that are well-known. That is why it relied mainly on so-called 'foreign' intervention. To provoke this 'foreign' intervention - this was the main task of the movement.
What this foreign
brought us is well known to all Ottoman Bulgarians, as well as to the
interested world. But, however small the advantages of the foreign
might have been, still the Macedonian population could not reject
it could see no better way out of the desperate situation. The national
character of Turkish absolutism, the inevitable and, in most cases,
artificially fanned national discord, the endeavours of the Ottoman
to unite their nation - these and many other reasons created before the
the Macedonian movement an impenetrable wall which did not allow it to
the realities of life. The idea of autonomy for
The proclamation of the Constitution could not put an end to this lack of unity. A large part of the Bulgarian population has still its old disbelief in the development of its own homeland. This can be explained partly by the force of tradition, and partly by the inadequate improvements. In this respect no small part was played by the false propaganda of the Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs. When they first came into being these clubs declared that they based themselves on the Constitution, and that their main task would be to contribute to their strengthening and expansion.
But this was just a formal position. In fact, the Constitutional Clubs, at the bottom of their hearts, still keep their old distrust of constitutional reforms. For this reason, they could not become a really significant force for the development of democracy, which alone provides conditions under which the Bulgarian element as well would, together with the other nationalities, be able to feel free and equal. They probably said to themselves: 'We shall wait and see what the "Young Turk" Revolution will bring us.' And they waited at a time when it was necessary to work with all their strength for the organization of those forces which alone could make the Constitution a reality. To see what the others will give us! This could be said only by a man, who relies on what the others will give him, instead of winning his rights through his own efforts and struggles. And such are the people around the Constitutional Clubs. Being for the most part foreign agents, they have neither the desire, nor the interest, to show the Bulgarian people in the Empire that the Bulgarians there should not rely on others, as they have done until now, but that they too, like the other nations eager to achieve equality and justice, should take the responsibility for what has been won and what remains to be won. But they are not doing it because they know that if they say 'A' they will have to say 'B' as well, i.e. if they teach the people to rely on their own strength, they will not be able to avoid a confederation of all freedom-loving forces in the Empire. And this is contrary to the interests of the Bulgarian pseudo-patriots. It is much more in their interests to prove that only the Bulgarians are unjustly treated. To say that out of 38 million Ottoman citizens only one million Bulgarian-Exarchists are unjustly treated! And this agitation of theirs obviously aims at keeping the Bulgarian population in an isolated state in order to enable some dirty hands to use them.
It is true that not everything has been given to the people, to the entire Ottoman people, and hence to the Bulgarian element. It is also true that the legal struggle must not stop for a long time ahead. But between the real struggle for equality and liberty, on the one hand, and the 'waiting' of the Constitutional Clubs, on the other hand, there is a wide gap. This 'waiting' is the complete negation of struggle of every kind. It can serve only to create a certain mood, as those clubmen are doing. Their final conclusion is that we have been given nothing.
What then should be done, gentlemen of the Clubs? To this question you can give no answer because, as your 'struggle' has no beginning, it can have no end. Then we answer thus: the Ottoman Bulgarians united with all the democratic forces will continue their struggle collectively and they will not stop it until the complete sovereignty of our country is achieved, until serious guarantees are won for the full equality of all the nationalities and the common development and prosperity of the entire Ottoman people. And in this unceasing struggle of the Ottoman Bulgarians, together with the progressive and democratic elements of all the nationalities in the Empire, they will become an active political power, which will be able to defend with dignity both its specific interests and the interests of the common cultural development of the country.
... Before starting my speech, I
to convey my sincere congratulations to my honoured friend, Mr.
Habib, who, in
his speech, clearly described the true situation in the country. The
impediment on the road to complete success is the fact that we are more
concerned with memories from the past than with the future. A German
said: 'We have to forget the past if we want to go forward.' As far as
But I should like to
some of the questions posed by the speakers before me. Mr. Bousho said
Now let us turn to the
of the revolutionary organization in
Propaganda was also
Propaganda means: something nonexistent that has to be created.
While we, the
Ottoman Bulgarians, had representatives from Bitolya,
Let us turn to the church question. The churches belong neither to the Exarchate nor to the Patriarchate, but to the peasants with whose means and labour they were built. In the event, the Patriarchate and the Exarchate were a kind of proxy for the issuing of the necessary firmans. As my deceased tutor in Law, Ali Haidar Efendi, used to say, the source of the power of the proxy (vekillik) is in the authorizer. If the authorizer changes his mind, the authorized loses his prerogatives. Up till now the churches have been headed by a body elected by the peasants. I should like to ask a question: are the people made for the churches or are the churches made for the people? Is it possible for God's creatures to belong to inanimate objects? The latest achievements of culture stem from the fact that the soul, the mind, and all spiritual forces in general have power over natural forces. But let us leave these logical conclusions and come to the policy of the government from the 'sixties onward; it acknowledges the ownership of the peasants in these matters. What is more, the Bulgarian villages in the districts of Odrin and Soloun which became Catholic kept their churches and schools. Besides, this question is not a purely religious one, because if it were, that pillar of Christianity, the Patriarchate, instead of closing down the existing churches, would build four or five more in every village. This shows that the question is purely social and political. The government has proved incapable of coping with this question and tricked the people by saying that Parliament will settle this question. If Parliament does not settle it, the population will become still more restive. I completely agree with the deputy Kozmidis, who demands first of all, justice from the government and for those that are not satisfied with this justice - compulsion. I subscribe to this totally. But this justice will not be as he desires and wants it to be medieval in character, but the way our honourable friend, Risa Tefik Bey (the deputy from Odrin) wants it, worthy of a modern constitutional state.
I am not an extremist. I am against all, be they Bulgarians or Greeks, who want to exploit this question and create disorder. I want it to be solved with justice and legally, so that we be able to consolidate the agreement and solidarity we have so long desired. At this moment, when the country needs peace, we must all show moderation and make sacrifices for the welfare of the country. And he who is not satisfied with a just and modern settlement of this question, has voluntarily rejected the Ottoman cause, which is based on liberty, equality, law and solidarity. You will agree that such stubborn and extremist elements are not true sons of this country (Applause), The private interests of the Patriarchate and the Exarchate should give way to common Ottoman interests and the interests of the population (Loud applause). We should not be looking at every problem through alien telescopes, but through Ottoman spectacles (Applause). I find the Minister's declaration satisfactory and the proposal for creating a commission for inquiring into and settling this question once and for all timely (Loud and long applause).
... Better, more gifted, more active and, in general, better and more systematically organized than we after the proclamation of this favourable Constitution, they managed to import arms and to complete the arming of the population. After that they sent to every Bulgarian-speaking village, without exception, innumerable agents and preachers of the Bulgarian idea. The former leaders and members of their revolutionary organizations proved excellent in this respect. They have made and are making use of everything. I cannot disguise my surprise at the fact that, after the changes, they proved themselves to be well prepared for the new way of activity in which they excel. By threats, by tempting promises, by persuasion and by every kind of means they have succeeded in forming strong Bulgarian parties in the majority of Bulgarian-speaking villages where never before had there been any schism. And in spite of the fact that three villages came over to our side from the northern regions, we suffered losses after July 11th, especially in the plain of Syar. Reserving the right to send you a special report on this problem, by the first post, I shall now confine myself to stating merely that Bulgarian activity in my region takes the following forms: arming, military drilling and, in general, preparations for a forthcoming uprising in the northern, i.e., purely Bulgarian regions. At the same time, there is vigorous, constant, quiet, terrifying work for final predominance in the south i.e. on the plain of Syar. It could even be said that the entire attention of the Bulgarian cause is, at this moment, directed towards the south, so that after gaining final victory on the plain, it may surround, as in an iron ring, the city of Syar together with the five Greek-speaking villages around it, similarly with the town of Djoumaya, so that later the Bulgarians can come down freely to the sea.
terrible work, directed and led from above (Sofia, Soloun and Bitolya)
according to the evidence which we have, i.e., letters giving orders to
leaders and the archpriests for actions which they have to carry out in
villages and which give rise to the petitions of the Bulgarophon
the government on different questions (military duty, military levies,
churches, etc.) - all this colossal work now is being done quietly and
noiselessly. Almost no killing, no assaults, apart from some
incidents limited to squibbles between different parties in the
villages and to
the seizure or attempts at seizing schools and churches, something
more or less supported by the authorities. The leaders and the
make the rounds of the villages and some of them are appointed as
constant collection of taxes from the peasants still continues,
those that do
not submit are punished, the Organization is supported, military drill
and everything else as well, just as before the Constitution, and this
knowledge and forbearance of the Turks and the government, who are
persecute Bulgarians, nor do they even dare offend them. In actual
fact, in the
south there are no detachments except for the old revolutionaries, who,
and untroubled, visit the villages and freely come on their lofty
peace-loving work , while with us it is just the opposite. In the north
are two or three detachments maintained by Sandanski to strengthen his
influence, to collect levies, drill the peasants, etc. The leader of
detachment at Melnik is a man named Tosho, who has fled from justice.
the detachments there are seven Bulgarian officers, disguised as
visit the villages and drill the peasants. In a fortified valley in the
The Greek-speaking villages, as well as those from the unmixed Greek zone, and the city of Syar itself, are swarming with Bulgarians, who, up till July 11th, did not dare enter them, to their great regret, since they could not sell their goods nor work there, but now they fill the city without any restrictions, not due to any need, but with a fixed aim. The proclamation of Bulgaria as a kingdom, its military preparations, the war threats and, in general, the attraction of Bulgarian bayonets have roused the spirit, of the Bulgarian population and have incited it to such an extent, that, when Bulgarian peasants come with a petition to the myutesarif on any problem, they threaten him (it is incredible but true) that if their requests are not granted, they will not come to the government again, but will go elsewhere, meaning Bulgaria. And this happens at a full meeting of the government's council at which, when our archpriest and deputy director (a Greek) remarked on the seriousness of the problem, the myutesarif replied that the peasants were simple people and did not know how to express themselves.
A few days
ago, the schism appeared in the Bulgarophone
The appearance of a schism in Prosenik filled us with sorrow, because in this way all villages in this part of the plain, Eleshen, Kiipru, Koumli and now Prosenik, have become mixed since the Constitution except, of course, the farms in the plain which are ours only in form and are really Bulgarian, and have become very fanatical after July 11th. Against these losses, we have in the plain only 25 families in the village of Ernikyoi (near Djoumaya), who fled to us together with their priest, six families in the village of Spatovo and two or three families in some other villages. As I have said many times, the reason for these losses after July 11th are the generous promises about the distribution of the lands belonging to the beys, as well as promises of posts, titles and other public offices, on the part of the Bulgarian government,, which allegedly for this purpose, has placed its army on alert, etc.
Assurances about an uprising, about an impending war and the coming of the liberating Bulgarian army, as well as other lies on the part of the agents of Bulgarian propaganda, have electrified the population and have persuaded the poor elements to proclaim a schism, with the conviction that this will improve their lot. It should be repeated that the Bulgarian propaganda is full of Socialist ideas and, in the struggle against capital, private ownership and the upper classes (archbishops, notables, etc.) and easily wins over the broad masses of the population by linking the natural striving of the human being for personal interest with social and political strivings. It is another matter, whether it is possible to do serious work based on false promises. But it is a fact that important forces are being taken away from us, and we are falling into a difficult situation, the continuance of which is tantamount to the failure of our task in this part of the country.
Measures for preventing this danger will be submitted in a special report to the King's Ministry.
... We shall not now discuss the
which are represented in Parliament. We would like now to say a few
about the Bulgarian parties which have been formed in
there are two main parties in
shall consider these two parties only in general lines, and another
necessary, we shall discuss them in detail. In essence, the two parties
the strivings of two different classes - the Bulgarian
Constitutional Party represents the interests of the merchants and
of the factory owners, and rich craftsmen who tomorrow will turn into
industrialists and wholesale merchants, of the contractors, the rich
and pawnbrokers, in brief, of the class which is called the urban or
class. As a party of a class, which is nationalistic, which wants to
with its 'brothers' in
contrast, the Bulgarian Federal Party is the representative of the
merchants, artisans and peasants, of the grocers and innkeepers, in
what is called the petty bourgeoisie. Thus, if the first is a bourgeois
the second is a petty bourgeois party. The fact that the latter sides
farm workers and with the poor peasants in general and stresses as a
point on its programme a demand for social reform, in the sense that
government should give land to these peasants - this fact does not in
make it any better than a petty bourgeois party, which it is in
Because, first of all, it regards the problem of the social reform as a
of creating more petty owners, i.e. a more numerous petty bourgeois
class, as a
solution to what is today called a 'social problem'; secondly, 'this
social reform is the aim of the Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople
Party, except that for this party, the reform has a different, a purely
meaning. On the other hand, the Bulgarian Federal Party is also as
nationalistic as the first party. The difference lies in the fact that
first party wants the Bulgarians to be united with
... There is little to add to my
letter No. 65
of this year. In the north, the military preparations are still going
on for an
eventual uprising. As I have already informed you, different leaders
formed their own detachments but they are not as yet active, either
the winter, or because they are expecting a signal. I was informed
that, besides the detachment of Stoyu Hadjiev, who fled from justice,
Sandanski's aides, who has been roaming freely in the region of
(Demir Hissar) has turned up near Yakovo and Bogoroditsa (Petrich), and
Mircho, with a detachment of six teen. Other smaller groups keep
parts to boost Sandanski's influence. In the south, and especially
plain of Syar, efforts most energetic, varied and more consistent than
before are being made to ensure the final predominance of the
cannot but express my fears as to the final victory of the Bulgarians.
circumstances are in their favour while very few - in ours. On top of
it would be added that the authorities tacitly support them, because in
stupid shortsightedness they imagine that by supporting Sandanski's
will weaken the Supremists who, according to the thoughtless
Turks, are the
only danger! Thus we are witnessing the pitiful sight of Bulgarian
their aides and all sorts of other agents freely visiting the villages
farms on the plain with the approval of the Turks and are using all
means of severing the ingenuous peasants from the Orthodox Church and
them join Sandanski's party which is friendly to the Turks! - in spite
fact that these neophites are later sent to the Bulgarian agent here or
archpriests, these official organs of the Supremists, to help their
this way, with promises or threats, they persuade the peasants to hand
petitions asking for Bulgarian schools and churches, etc. Thus, a few
the chief official in the
As I informed you a second time by telegram, there is no freedom of conscience, the terror goes on and the daily petitions from the Bulgarian-speaking population for separation from the Patriarchate are the result of violence and fraud. The generous promises and monstrous lies for liberation in the near future, and, above all, the promise to distribute the farm lands of the beys, and the collection of taxes allegedly for this purpose, are well known to the Turks and all the activity for turning the population into Bulgarians is being done under their protection. At the same time, any of our people who dare, even by word, to act against the Bulgarians, are arrested and severely punished by the authorities. It is strange that the government is blind to the extent that it takes no notice of the voices of despair, the protests of the archbishops, nor ours, nor does it realize that, once the plain becomes Bulgarian, the Bulgarian masses, compact and united, will roll down like an avalanche towards the sea, while the Greek minorities are disappearing completely and the Turkish population itself is becoming an insignificant minority.
Indeed, the Bulgarian lies are inexhaustible and they are amazingly inventive as to new attractive promises, such as liberation in the near future, a speedy declaration of war, the crossing of the boundaries by Bulgarian military forces, complete exemption from taxes, the giving back of schools and churches, the founding of agrarian banks, the building of railways and communication means, free schools, etc., and finally the distribution of farm land. In this way, the poor population, under the constant influence of the prospect of happiness in the near future, is in a state of excitement and apart from the taxes which it is obliged to pay, it is ready to act against those who stand in the way of its well-being! And when the manipulators of this policy of fraud and lies get the wind that their influence is declining and that the truth is coming to light, they immediately resort to new tactics. Thus, recently, when the peasants began to cool towards them because none of the promises had been kept, they began to organize rallies. Mass rallies were organized in Melnik, Nevrokop, Demir Hissar, and only the meeting in Djoumaya did not take place, owing to the opposition of our people. In view of the fact that the population in these centres is Greek, the peasants from the neighbouring villages were invited to attend the rallies. There were fiery speeches in Bulgarian and Turkish, expressing the people's indignation over the non-fulfilment of the promises of the Constitution and the fact that no railways, no schools, no agrarian banks, no hospitals, no roads, no post offices, no military service for the Christians in the district, no interest-free loans, no distribution of farm land, nor anything else promised had materialized. Moreover, identical resolutions prepared in advance were adopted and sent to the government and the National Assembly. On the other hand, the Bulgarian Clubs in Soloun, in a long circular letter distributed in thousands of copies throughout villages and farms, ask for information on the problem of the distribution of the farm land which is to be carried out either by a decision of the National Assembly or by a court, by proving that the present farm hands had once been the real owners of the lands which were later seized by the beys and turned into their own private farms. By this means, Sandanski's men revive their influence and, at the same time, instill hatred towards the Turks in the hearts of the peasants, while the Turks patiently put up with everything that is going on. Indeed, great excitement has lately been visible, and this is not only to the detriment of our interests, but we are being fatally pushed towards the agrarian problem, the consequences of which will be fatal for the Turks both politically and economically. This is actually the aim of the Bulgarians, who are working with great skill.
As far as particulars
should be noted that the struggle between the Supremists and
Sandanski's men is
still in progress and in many places skirmishes are taking place.
1st, Hristo Haliani, the leader of the Supremists in Kroushevo, was
For them (the Greeks)
situation has remained unchanged for the last month. All those who were
up to a short time ago and the andarts have either left, or are
themselves to peaceful activities. They are constantly under
are often troubled without cause by the authorities. In general, our
due to the natural character of the nation which is inclined towards a
and quiet life, and is, at the same time, aware of the more general
preserving absolute calm, are displaying impeccable and loyal
Greek element is engaged in peaceful life and progress, but is
large dose of cosmopolitism, which our organization, weakened for
reasons, is not in a position to fight. Indeed, our people realize the
situation and are well aware of the avalanche coming from the north,
not in a position to do anything on their own initiative, without being
or made to act. The armed struggle during the last four or five years
been sufficient to cure them of the aftereffects of the long and fatal
oppression and to mould characters standing above factions and
interests, and capable of carrying the struggle by peaceful means. They
the unjust attitude and hatred of the Turks fatalistically and, in
they point to the same policy of official
In spite of the severe economic crisis affecting the country, I have to admit with sorrow that the patriotism of our compatriots has not reached the point at which they would sacrifice part of their material interests for the national cause. That is why those who came from the north constitute such a danger, whether they come through the natural evolution of things, or, following a certain political programme, to work or to settle in the rich Greek zone, and, since they are numerous, industrious, content with little, thrifty, they compete successfully with our people.
And, in spite of the fact that the economic conditions of our people are also deteriorating because of the economic war declared by the Turks, unfortunately since the Constitution was proclaimed, nothing has been done on the initiative of the local authorities, nor on our own initiative, to increase the resources of our people, or to extend the scope of their labour activities, or to find new horizons for enrichment by exploiting the numerous natural resources of the country.
This is the situation, and one can look to the future only with apprehension as far as the problems of our people are concerned in this part of the country.
Йордан поп Георгиев и Ст. Н. Шишков, Българите в Серското поле, II изд., Пловдив, 1918, (Yordan pop Georgiev and S. N. Shishkov, The Bulgarians in the Valley of Syar), II ed.,
In my letter No. 1351 drew your attention to the increasing seriousness of the agrarian question.
Since I consider that this question is more important than the Church question and since it will have a more profound influence on the Macedonian task and finally on our struggle, I have the honour again to appeal to the Royal Cabinet for co-operation.
The Bulgarians, true to
principle that the Macedonian struggle has to be waged with material
Before the Constitution,
agrarian question was one of the most important plans of the
but since July 11th this question has become the basic concern of
propaganda. Indeed, if some other event, be it war or radical agreement
the European Powers, does not solve the Macedonian question, there is,
opinion, no doubt that the solution of the agrarian question will
final solution of the Macedonian question. Earlier on, the Bulgarians
that the distribution of the farm land would start immediately after
Probably the Turkish government, after being informed about the real reasons of the agrarian question, will defer as long as possible the fulfillment of this unwise political promise of the Young Turk Committee. But is it possible to defer things ad infinitum in the face of the constant threat of rebellion on the part of the farm hands? Would it not find itself in a dilemma?
From the Greek point of
the results will be no less detrimental because the Bulgarian-speaking
hands and the poor peasants, lured by prospects of a happy future, are
the other side. And when the distribution of land, no matter under
circumstances becomes a fact, they will finally declare themselves to
Bulgarians and this will lead to all the consequences mentioned
above. It is
not possible that the Royal Ministry does not know, from word of mouth
the written reports of all consuls in
I am aware of the many difficulties in the way of such an attempt. But I feel obliged to express my opinion on the real situation and to repeat once more that the zone under dispute, i.e., the Macedonian question, will be a lost cause for us unless we do decide to change our ways of action without, however, increasing the budget. Otherwise, everything now being spent will be in vain.
In the history of the peoples, there are crucial moments when all the forces of a nation must be mobilized, when all its national might must be directed towards a single goal. There are fateful moments of strenuous struggle, moments, in which fate tests the peoples and their viability, placing in their paths obstacles that are difficult to surmount. At such moments of struggle, of organization and stress the nation as a whole demonstrates its physical and spiritual forces, at such moments it shows and develops its highest qualities and civic virtues. Such moments of upsurge and stress are moments of idealism, of civic courage, and of self-sacrifice. These are moments in which individual and public thought matures rapidly, in which strong characters and personalities are created and forged.
Such moments in the history of the peoples are transient like everything else in life. They remain alive, however, in the memories of succeeding generations. In them, these generations contemplate the beauty and nobility woven on the loom of their national history. Towards these moments veiled in the darkness of the past, posterity turns its eyes to admire and to draw wisdom and courage from them. These historical moments continue to live in the memory of the nations, and they live in the names of a handful of representatives, a handful of heroes of these moments, in the names of the personalities who expressed most clearly the nation's power, who headed the movement, who were its soul and in whom, as in a focus, were concentrated the nation's strivings and wishes.
Bulgarian population in
And among them the man who best expressed the people's strivings, whose personal qualities, whose selfless loyalty to the cause, whose energy, sharp mind and organizational talent made him the soul of the movement - this man was Gotse Delchev. He it was whose wishes and aspirations were more ardent than anybody else's, who saw further than anybody else, and who was ahead of everybody else. And is it strange that he was among the first to give his life at the beginning of the decisive struggle?
He died one of the first, and, let us admit it, his death was timely. He did not see the ruin of the cause to which he had dedicated his life. He did not see the crisis of defeat, of the inevitable decline and degeneration of the movement. How many of his comrades who are still living, remembering his death, would not say that he was 'a fortunate man.'
Yes, indeed, he was fortunate, because, while alive, he had the rare happiness of being at the head of the fighters for a great human cause. He was fortunate, because the coming generations venerated in him a whole epoch of tenacious and bloody struggle, an epoch of upsurge and idealism. In his person posterity venerates the memory of thousands of simple fighters for freedom, they venerate the most noble personal and civic virtues of a revolutionary period. And the more this period recedes into the past, the more clearly his image stands out in an aura of heroism and nobility.
After July 10th, so festively celebrated throughout the Empire, here comes July 20th. In two days' time it will be Ilinden. There will be no bonfires; there will be no parades and no receptions; no flags will wave, no music will be heard in the streets and on the squares. But a natural, internal fire will warm the hearts of the Ottoman Bulgarians when they remember the terrible bloody parade commanded from the unassailable Macedonian heights six years ago; in their thoughts they will pass under the flags waving all over the forests and plains, and bringing death with them, so that afterwards freedom might be resurrected, they will listen to the recent past and hear the elegiac harmony of the gun shot and the dying cry: freedom or death.
Ilinden! A single word, a single name which expresses a whole great epic, the glory of a nation - fighter and slave.
July 10 was the epilogue of Ilinden; Ilinden, that was the most solemn act of the great Macedonian revolutionary drama. Without Ilinden there would have been no July 10. The latter date is common to all Ottomans, Ilinden is ours, it is Bulgarian. This name alone is sufficient to bear witness to our unequalled share in the struggle for freedom; Ilinden was the price which we paid to taste the abundant advantages of a free life.
How fortunate we are that we can celebrate one glorious date, before memories of the other have faded away!
How proud we are to see in the dawn of freedom the rays which form a shining halo for so many heroes who have perished!
Is it possible to contain within the narrow columns of a small newspaper what is great and boundless? Dare we underestimate the significance of this glorious day in our attempt to describe it here when it is drawn with deep furrows in the hearts of all Ottoman Bulgarians, living witnesses of the great cause? Read the history of Ilinden throughout the vast plains of Macedonia: there it is written with the bones of the dead fighters; read it in the derelict huts in the villages: there it is carved with the suffering of the people; read it in the raised scars from chains on the wrists, necks, ankles of so many prisoners and emigrants, who were freed by July 10th: there you will find-traits of the greatness of the Bulgarian soul which in suffering becomes still more noble; listen to the sad weeping of orphans and widows; listen to the heartrending tales around the fire told by homeless old people; listen to the folk-songs telling of incredible heroes with unknown graves in forests, groves and valleys! Everywhere Ilinden has written its story. Look around and read with reverence what you cannot fmd here since it is unencompassable. Ilinden is before us! On your knees in memory of the heroes of Ilinden! On your knees!
Late last night, when the Congress of the Federalists were discussing Article 32 of the Party programme on the question of education, a delegate spoke against the Exarchate, saying that it had not fulfilled its duties properly and that it was an impediment to education in Macedonia. There was general excitement.
At this moment,
was chairing the Congress, stood up and in a shaking voice forcefully
'Don't touch the Exarchate! The situation in
This made a deep impression on those present. Afterwards, nobody mentioned the Exarchate in the discussions.
1 A daily newspaper, which, during the summer
of 1909, sent a special
correspondent to Soloun in connection with the congresses of the
'The comrades from
Strumitsa and Syar had gone too far in their adherence to Ottoman
had overt Ottoman centralist sentiments, obviously influenced by the '
'Not only I, but many Macedonians from the left wing were against the standpoint of Chernopeev and his associates. The opinions of those who opposed this stand point, completely coincided with mine. It was also shared by Yane Sandanski, Dimo Hadjidimov*, Gyorche Petrov, Pere Toshev and many more. In the very beginning, after the coup, two trends took shape in the Macedonian left-wing and this was obvious from their press. The differences between the two trends were not only on matters of the Exarchate, but also on other political questions and this was clearly discernible from the writings in their newspapers and from their contents; for instance, on the one hand, the newspaper Narodna Volya (Popular Will) and, on the other, the newspaper Konstitoutsionna Zarya (Constitutional Dawn). These differences stood out still more clearly at the first Congress of the left wing in 1909, when the foundations of the federal party were laid. At that Congress, when the question of the Exarchate was put on the agenda and Chernopeev and his other associates upheld their stand on the matter, Yane Sandanski sharply stated that no encroachments should be made upon this national institution and that, if one day, the Exarchate were threatened, he was ready to take up arms again and go in the Pirin Mountains to fight in its defence.'
* Dimo Hadjidimov (1878
1924), an activist in the Macedonian-Adrianople revolutionary movement,
On the third of August,
On behalf of the local Party organization, he said, I greet you. I see in you the fighters who successfully fought against the old regime. This is the guarantee that in the future too our Party will fight energetically against every kind of reaction, no matter where it comes from.'
Fifteen organizations were represented at the Congress: there were also several sympathizers, who had been in contact with the central group in Soloun. Here are the names of the 38 delegates to the Congress:
H. Yankov, D. Vlahov1
(Soloun), H. Mednikarov and T. Klifov (G. Poroy), St. Hadjiev and I.
Hissar), Yane Sandanski and Kazepov (Melnik), St. Pashkoulev and Al.
(Nevrokop), D. Koshtanov and G. Zahariev (G. Djoumaya), G. Ognyanov
(Maleshevo), K. Samardjiev and H. Chernopeev (Strumitsa), Pando P.
(Petrich), M. P. Gyoshev and D. Miraschiev (Veles), D. Daskalov and D.
(Tikvesh), Iv. Ikilyulev and N. Pettov (Koukoush), Iv. Manolev
Shourkov and F. Bayraktarov (
Six commissions were elected for working out the following:
a) The standing orders of the Congress
b) Party programme
c) Party Rules
d) The declaration of the Constituent Congress
e) A resolution on the school question and on teachers who are soldiers
f) A resolution on the agrarian and refugee questions. The secretary of the local organization in Soloun, which prior to the election of a permanent central leading body, was provisionally charged with the functions of a central party group, delivered a report on the state of the Party since January 16th, when Hristo Chernopeev and Hr. Katrandjiev as representatives of the revolutionary district of Strumitsa, Yane Sandanski, as the representative of the revolutionary district of Syar and the board of the people's organization in Soloun, had signed documents stating that they would work for the establishing of a legal organization in their respective districts, similar to the ones in Soloun and Koukoush. They had also worked out directives for the newspaper Narodna Volya, which became the organ of the Bulgarian People's Federal Party. In his report, Hristo Yankov stated the reasons why the report was not exhaustive. He declared that the central group from Soloun was not in a position to present a report on the state of the party, since it had been ignored almost by everybody, especially in places, where it thought that there existed disciplined and well organized revolutionary organizations. After hearing the report of the secretary of the people's organization in Soloun, the Congress, in order to have a better idea of the state of the party in the country, decided to invite all the delegates to report on the state of the party in their respective districts, on the forces it had at its disposal and also about the difficulties the Party and its sympathizers were experiencing in their activity. The floor was taken by Mednikarov, Koshtanov, Tomov, Sandanski, Shourkov, Daskalov, Manolev, Zahariev and Bizhov. All that the above-mentioned comrades said can be summarized as follows:
The population is under pressure from members of the nationalistic Constitutional Clubs and is being terrorized by remnants of the former revolutionary organization: the government of the country is still in the hands of people belonging to the former regime and the authorities do not trust the population; moreover, our people have no material means to go and do agitation work among the population. Because of all this, the Party cannot boast of great achievements.
The editor of the Party
Volya explained the principles followed by the newspaper. What he
be summarized as follows: The task of the People's Federal Party is to
all revolutionary forces in the country and to complete the revolution
has been started. The newspaper Narodna Volya was taking this
to language and other problems, we cannot, for the time being, work
nationalities: we are now organizing mainly the Bulgarian revolutionary
All parties here are based on a national separatist basis, the only
is the People's Federal Party, whose aim is to organize all
dissatisfied with the economy of the country. We have to win over the
small-holders. But the economically oppressed population is, at this
mainly occupied with the churches and not with its economic interests.
means that propaganda has got the upper hand. We have to organize this
population in the name of its own interests and in this way we
shall sever it
from the influence of propaganda. The attitude of the People's Federal
towards the '
During the discussion on the party programme, the Congress, disgusted at the lies and intrigues of the agent of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, which by its reports and telegrams aims at disorganizing the Party and provoking controversies in its ranks, expressed its contempt for the agent, who did not miss a chance of slandering a delegate and praising others. All the delegates unanimously condemned the correspondent of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. In one of his dispatches, he had written that things were developing according to what Chernopeev wanted, i.e. the Bulgarian schools in Strumitsa were to be subsidized by the government and that Sandanski was the boss of the People's Federal Party. In connection with this the Congress declared that the People's Federal Party was democratic in its aims and membership, that it had no boss, or bosses; that there were only equal members in the Party. For his part, Yane Sandanski declared that, for him as a democrat, it was degrading to be the boss and not the comrade of the members of the Party.
During the discussions on the programme, the Rules, and the declaration, as well as on the resolutions of the Congress, there were no differences of principle. The basic principles of all the decisions of the Congress were the principles of democracy and people's rule. The well-being of the mass of the people - this was what all delegates to the Congress always had in mind.
Finally the Congress elected, according to the Rules of the party, by secret ballot, a bureau of three, and six counsellors. As members of the central bureau the following were elected: A. Matliev, D. Vlahov and H. Yankov (Soloun). For counsellors: A. Buynov (Razlog) D. Daskalov (Tikvesh), D. Koshtanov (G. Djoumaya), Yane Sandanski (Melnik), H. Chernopeev (Strumitsa) and Yordan Shourkov (Skopje).
The Congress ended on August 10th late at night, with a speech by D. Koshtanov, who was presiding and who wished the party comrades success in their future work.
When the Young Turks declared the Hürriyet (freedom), the Bulgarian population fighting for liberation in Macedonia and in the Odrin region rejoiced and became peaceful, believing it had been indeed granted all its rights, written into the Constitution proclaimed by the Ottoman Empire (Articles 8-26 and 108).
The Bulgarian population believed that it would have equal rights; there would be no longer any difference between it and the Turkish population as far as the authorities of the Empire were concerned; that the life, health, property and honour of everyone would be protected and respected, that homes would be considered inviolable; that there would be prompt and strict justice for all without discrimination; that there would be free communications, trade, criticism, a free press, freedom of education, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly and associations; that the newly gained rights would not be taken away; that work would be organized and ensured, that the position of farmers would be relieved, and that every one in the Empire would be able to live and develop freely and peacefully.
The Bulgarian population, however, has received nothing from the new regime. On the contrary, it has realized that it has been fooled, and it is disgusted by Turkish perfidy.
The Young Turk regime
steps to improve the means of livelihood of the population in
1. First, the new
regime merged the budgets of the three vilayets with that of the whole
in spite of the autonomous rights granted to
2. Instead of leaving the settlement of church disputes to local legal authorities according to the country's laws of settling routine civilian disputes, the new Turkish government persists in its most hazardous political course concerning the church issue, so as to engage in intrigue and fan internal strife among the Ottoman Christians.
3. The Young Turk regime attempted to close the schools of the Bulgarians. It took a number of steps, seeking to replace them by state-run schools in spite of Article 15 of the Constitution, which recognizes the right to the existence of private schools, and in spite of our rights acquired under the old regime.
4. It issued a law against idlers, and introduced flogging as a punitive measure in spite of Article 26 of the Constitution, which prohibits flogging and torture as punitive measures on the part of the authorities and their organs. This law was especially directed against former members of rebel detachments.
5. It passed a law restricting the press.
6. It curtailed the freedom of assembly and associations.
7. It set up Turkish bands to terrorize the Bulgarian population, and gradually to exterminate all former voivodes and rebels.
8. It deprived the Christian villages of the right to have their own field-watchmen, and appointed field-watchmen from among the most desperate Turkish bandits, instead of granting Christian villages the right to communal self-government, and the right to organize their own field-guards in order to protect their property.
9. It took care to
the Turkish population by settling refugees, giving them the best land.
the Young Turks clearly show that they have not become Ottomans,
do nothing to improve the lot of the Christian farmers, citizens of the
10. The new regime invented a draconian law against the rebel detachments which did not exist. Introducing its evil measures aimed at suppressing and weakening the Christians, it provoked the latter, and then applied this law even before it had been discussed and passed by Parliament.
11. Under this evil law it set up secret courts-martial which tried a number of Bulgarian suspects and sentenced them to exile and death without any legal defence, sending also their parents, wives and children into exile. Whereas the murderers of Vassil Adjalarski and of a number of other good Bulgarians, are not being prosecuted, or, in the event of their being caught, they are never punished, because they are members of the organized Turkish bands of the authorities themselves.
12. Finally, the organs
Young Turk government banned the word Hürriyet, 'freedom' in a
number of places
The Turks did not assess the situation soberly, and failed to use it for the common benefit of everybody in the country.
They were merely content
having fooled and paralyzed the revolutionary struggle and interference
without, so that they could prolong the days of their severe rule over
subordinate peoples and the lands which they have seized. So much the
them! They have proved yet again that they are in the throes of death.
speed up this process, and throw off the burden of the dying corpse,
today called the
It is incumbent upon us,
Bulgarians, being the majority in
The Central Macedonian Committee calls upon all sincere patriots to resume their work, and appeals to all free and enlightened nations and states to take a just stand on the situation, and lend their moral and material support to gaining Macedonia's autonomy - and to restore the political, economic and educational freedom of all people in that land.
The lofty goal in the name of which Slav congresses have been held for several years now, namely to attain a closer unity culturally and economically among the various Slav peoples, so that they can easily preserve their particular position and original way of life in the general competition of nations through mutual cultural cooperation, so as to be able, in a spirit of unity, to take a more impressive part in the cultural development of mankind, and to introduce their original outlook into world culture under better circumstances, all this has inspired us, Macedonian Bulgarians, living in Sofia, to address the honourable Slav Congress with a few sincere words about the particular state of affairs in Macedonia, where conditions run counter to the mutual understanding of the Slav nations.
It is known that half of
The disastrous Treaty of Berlin was a turning point in the attitude of the Serbs: by entrusting the government of the Turkish districts of Bosnia and Herzegovina inhabited by Serbo-Croats to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the Treaty frustrated the hope of the Serbs to see those territories, or the bulk of them, incorporated into their own state, and thus preserved for their own national culture. From that ill-fated moment on, no doubt at the suggestion of certain spheres hostile to Slav unity, the Serbs of the Kingdom were seized with the ambition to expand into the Slav people different from themselves, and to seek, by all means, to divert it from its age-old national aspirations, and to impose upon it a culture repugnant to it. They unleashed propaganda unprecedented in scale, aimed at implanting a Serbian spirit in the population of Macedonia, which has been Bulgarian from time immemorial and which was the first to raise the banner of the liberation of the Bulgarian people from the heavy Phanariot yoke; which, in the glorious times of our national Revival in the first half of the last century, produced a number of illustrious men such as the monk Joakim of Kichevo, the archimandrite Anatoli and bishop Parteni of Debur, the metropolitan bishop Nathanail of the village of Kouchevitsa (Skopje district), Father Neofit Rilski from Bansko, the father of Bulgarian book printing Hadji Teodosi Sinaitski from Doiran, Kiril Peichinovich from the Tetovo district, the Miladinov brothers from Strouga, Grigor Purlichev and Kouzman Shapkarev from Ohrid, Yordan Konstantinov Djinot, Angeiko Palashev and Raiko Zhinzifov from Veles, Nako Stanishev from Koukoush, Emanuil Vaskidovich from Melnik and others - and which population has always, in all the vicissitudes in the history of the Bulgarian people, thought itself one with its brothers on this side of the Rila and the Rhodopes.
The first deplorable effect of this course of Serbian cultural and political propaganda was that disastrous fratricidal war which offered mankind a disgraceful spectacle of Slav discord and lack of understanding. Despite the historical lesson, however, this policy of encroachment upon the indisputable rights of one Slav people upon another, was not interrupted, on the contrary, it was carried on with even greater vehemence, and conscious of its impotence to achieve any tangible results without resorting to drastic means, began to employ most unsavoury means in order to ensure even the smallest degree of success for its unjust cause. As the Bulgarian population did not easily succumb to the 'cultural' blandishments of this propaganda, the latter entered into collusion with the century-old enemy of Slav culture on the Balkan Peninsula with the Oecumenical Patriarchate; besides, in amost unpardonable way it used the corrupt Turkish administration, in order to demoralize the Bulgarian population, and to disunite it; at last, when none of this proved to be of any use in breaking down the population's resistance, Serbian propaganda resorted to terror, and in order to carry on its infamous policy more easily, it entered into collusion with the very authorities, seeking to sow discord among the sturdy Bulgarian population, and thus, to weaken it. As an actual result of that violent attack of Serbian propaganda on the Bulgarian population, today we see intrigues and discord among the Slav population in that land, which in no way forwards the noble task of the Slav Congress. Those intrigues, maintained thanks to the strong support of the propaganda of the Serbian kingdom, which nevertheless would not have found fertile ground had it not been for the use of most ignoble means, constitute a lasting source of hostility between the two neighbouring Slav peoples, whose relations could easily be used by enemies of Slav unity, or if not, might lead to fatal conflicts instead of understanding and friendship.
Unless the circles
this propaganda, harmful to Southern Slav solidarity, come to their
if this violent and treacherous propaganda continues in a land where it
business, then the lasting hostile attitude of the Bulgarian population
Macedonia toward everything Serbian, of which it can see around it only
shameful manifestation, this policy is sure to act further toward the
alienation of the two neighbouring peoples, which, in the long run,
two openly hostile camps. Because the state of affairs in
Today, the Bulgarian people look with lively sympathy upon the attempts of the leading representatives of the Slav cause to place Slav cultural unity on a strong basis, and, therefore, they warmly greet the Slav Congress in its young capital. Yet, nobody knows whether, under the pressure of public opinion which is now silent, lest it should harm the great cause, the Bulgarian champions of Slav unity will not soon find it impossible to take part in other congresses where fine words will be spoken of fraternity and understanding, while, in spite of those phrases, a kindred Slav people participating in those congresses, will in the meantime treacherously stab in the back a population, which for centuries, has firmly guarded its national identity and would not give it up now, in spite of the unheard-of sufferings.
Inspired by a deep love for common Slav unity, we, Macedonian Bulgarians in the capital of Bulgaria, take the liberty of voicing to the Slav Congress our firm conviction that all noble efforts of the champions of cultural unity between the Slavs will be in vain, as long as that propaganda, harmful to the interests of the Southern Slavs, is maintained, which shall be a lasting source of hatred between the two most outstanding branches of southern Slavdom.
Macedonian brotherhoods:1) President of the
In the meantime, the
26, the officers enlisting volunteers in
decided to form six battalions only from the volunteers in
After the officers were thus elected, Headquarters, together with the battalion commanders, undertook the formation of the battalions themselves, as follows:
The Debur Battalion is to consist of citizens of Debur only, by reason of their costumes.
The Solom Battalion - of the Shtip, Syar, Drama, Salonica and Koukoush Brotherhoods, entirely on the basis of the territorial principle.
The Bitolya Battalion - of the Bitolya, Prilep and Tetovo Brotherhoods along the same system.
The Ohrid Battalion — 1st company of the Kroushovo Brotherhood, 2nd company of the Kostour Brotherhood, 3rd company of the Ohrid and Resen Brotherhoods, and 4th company of the Ohrid and Kichevo Brotherhoods i.e. on the basis of the regional system.
Technical Unit - with 12 heliographers from the telegraph company and 6 heliograph stations, supplied by the inspector of the engineering corps, and with volunteer high-school and university students, technicians, engineers, etc. is gradually to organize the following platoons: engineering (bridge and field), signals, heliograph, telephone, bicycle, mortar, mine-laying subversion and chemical-warfare, electrical-repairing, mechanical workshop and transport platoon.
Company - with
medical orderlies, who will initially run the volunteers' infirmary in
formation of the six battalions began on September 26 and was almost
by the 30th. On October 1, the Debur,
An excerpt from the book by
Durvingov History of the
Macedonian-Adrianople Volunteer Corps about the formation of the
volunteer corps as a military unit meant to assist the Bulgarian army
Balkan War I (op. cit. Vol. 1, Sofia, 1919, pp.
The 1789 Revolution in France, and the one in 1848 in Germany and the other countries, were bourgeois revolutions, because the liberation of the countries from absolutism, and from the privileges of big landowners and of feudal lords, in actual fact, provided freedom for the development of capital. Yet it is self-evident that such a revolution was most insistently demanded by the interests of the working class, and even workers of 1789 and 1848, of those who were 'non-party,' unorganized as a class, were front-ranking fighters in the French and German revolutions.
The Macedonian landowners (the so-called spahis) are Turks and Moslems, and the peasants are Slavs and Christians. Therefore, the class contradiction is sharpened by the religious and national ones.
In this way the victories of the Serbs and Bulgarians mean that the domination of feudalism has been undermined in Macedonia, it means that a more or less free class of landowning farmers has been created, it means that the overall social development of the Balkan countries has been ensured, which had been held back by absolutism and by the relations of serfdom.
The bourgeois newspapers, beginning with Novoe Vremya and ending with Rech, are writing about the national liberation in the Balkans, ignoring the economic liberation. But actually it is the latter that matters most.
The national liberation and complete freedom of the peoples to self-determination would inevitably result in their complete liberation from landowners and absolutism. And conversely, if the oppression of landowners and ;the Balkan monarchies remain over the peoples, national oppression will also 'definitely remain to one degree or another.
the liberation of
One may well ask what historical reason has caused the question to be settled through war and not through revolution. The main historical reason for this lies in the weakness, disunity, underdevelopment and ignorance of the peasant masses in all the Balkan countries, as well as in the small number of workers who were well aware of the state of affairs, and demanded a Balkan federal (allied) republic.
Hence the evident fundamental difference between the attitude of the European bourgeoisie and the European workers towards the Balkan issue. The bourgeoisie, even the liberal one, of the type of our own cadets, is shouting about the 'national' liberation of the 'Slavs.' This clearly distorts the meaning and the historic significance of the events which are currently taking place in the Balkans, this hampers the cause of the true liberation of the Balkan peoples. This has to a lesser or greater extent preserved the privileges of landowners, the lack of political rights and national oppression.
And conversely, the workers' democracy is the only one which is defending the real and complete liberation of the Balkan peoples. It is only the economic and political liberation of the peasants of all the Balkan nationalities carried through to its conclusion, that can destroy all possibilities for national oppression of any kind.
centuries-long sufferings, we were happy to see the day when Your
visited the chief city of
Convinced that, in these fateful days. Your Majesty is as anxious as we are to preserve the vital interests of our Bulgarian nation, we dare express, together with our deep gratitude for everything so far done by Your Majesty, the great sadness which is growing in us at the horrible thought that the liberation struggle now underway could be checked by the partial political division of our dear Macedonian homeland.
Your Majesty knows, the revolution in Macedonia was first initiated
the unfortunate Berlin Treaty, because it was then that the
realized that the distant goal of one of the Powers, most responsible
destruction of the San Stefano Treaty, was to prevent the unification
of the whole
Bulgarian people by separating from Bulgaria that part of Macedonia
most substantial and most valuable for us. The Internal Revolutionary
Organization, fully aware of the fact that the more time passes, the
would be to get back what was lost through the Berlin Treaty, fought
with the modest help of the enslaved people and gave the Turkish Empire
peace until it was finally shattered. In spite of the great
the Internal Organization had to face here and outside, it
pursued one and the same sacred goal - to save Bulgarian Macedonia for
Bulgarian people - undivided and integral. In view of the obvious
intentions of the neighbouring states and the difficulties involved in
liberation of all
For this reason, stating the above, the Internal Organization, true to its dear behest to work for the freedom of the whole of Macedonia, dares to extend to you, on behalf of the harassed people, a request, asking Your Majesty to intervene, with all possible means to the end, so that any partition may be avoided. Your Majesty may rest assured that in this matter he can rely on the help of the Macedonian Bulgarian, to the very last drop of his blood.
From the Central Committee of the IMARO (seal)
general mobilization of the Bulgarian army against the Turks was
carried out on
September 30th, 1912. All Bulgarians from
Volunteer Corps, consisting of 14,670 men, had 12 battalions: with
No sooner had they been organized than the volunteers engaged in operations.
According to their place of birth, the volunteers are classified as follows: from the district of Bitolya - 457, from the district of Veles - 449, from the district of Voden - 79, from the district of Gevgeli - 246, from the district of Gorna Djoumaya - 162, from the district of Gostivar - 104, from the district of Debur - 1,Oil, from the district of Demir Hissar - 234, from the district of Doiran - 73, from the district of Drama - 124, from the district of Enidje-Vardar - 104, from the district of Zuhna - 4, from the district of Kaylare - 36, from the district of Kichevo - 350, from the district of Kochani -203, from the district of Kostour - 409, from the district of Korcha - 6, from the district of Kratovo - 330, from the district of Egri-Palanka - 431, from the district of Kroushevo - 250, from the district of Koukoush - 512, from the district of Koumanovo - 202, from the district of Lerin - 158, from the district of Maleshevo - 77, from the district of Melnik - 240, from the district of Nevrokop - 715, from the district of Negotin - 12, from the district of Ohrid -542, from the district of Petrich - 129, from the district of Pehchevo - 16, from the district of Prilep - 501, from the district of Razlog - 359, from the district of Radovish - 89, from the district of Resen - 47, from the district of Skopje -207, from the district of Soloun - 194, from the district of Strumitsa - 143, from the district of Strouga - 40, from the district of Syar - 197, from the district of Tetovo - 171, from the district of Tikvesh 108 and from the district of Shtip - 440.
The Macedonian and Odrin volunteer forces consisted of three brigades and were organized as a division with its own services. General Genov was appointed commander of the volunteers, Colonel St. Nikolov from Prilep was appointed as commander of the first brigade. Colonel Pchelarov - of the second, and Colonel Protogerov - of the third.
In February the Volunteer Corps was joined by three new battalions - the Koukoush, Voden and Shtip battalions.
May 2nd the Volunteer Corps left the coast of the
June 30th the fifteen battalions of the Bulgarian volunteers from
the retreat the Macedonian Volunteers were very often in the
the cessation of hostilities, they fought against the Serbs with
fury. On the eve of the signing of the armistice, when they already
the war was lost, they counter attacked against the Serbs without any
hope, just for the glory of dying for
the Treaty of Bucharest was signed, it was the Macedonian Volunteer
had to hand over to the Serbians the piece of Macedonian land which
During the two Balkan wars the casualties of the Macedonian Volunteer Corps amounted to 3,631, including 177 dead, 318 killed, 2,261 wounded and 377 missing, i.e. 25 per cent of its strength.
Most honourable Mr. Prime Minister!
you are aware, the Bitolya district took the most active part in the
the Bitolya district, populated
by a compact Bulgarian mass, took a most active part in the long
struggle: no other Macedonian region has as many Bulgarians as the
region, especially if we add the Kostour district to it,
which the Turks cunningly
severed from its natural centre - Bitolya - placing it in the Korcha
sandjak. A strong revolutionary
organization was formed here which held at bay the Turkish authorities
other enemies of our political unification. The Ilinden Uprising of 1903 was organized and carried out
mainly by the Bulgarian population from the Bitolya vilayet. It was
that the Bulgarian villages from
Programme to its logical
conclusion, that is, the creation of an autonomous
regret, however, from this moment on, we were faced with grave trials
painful bewilderment. At the time, when the brave Bulgarian army was
the main Turkish forces on the eastern front of the war, securing the
the allied troops, the latter, easily and with insignificant losses,
the whole of western
The Serbian administrative authorities systematically make difficulties for Bulgarian merchants who want to travel from one place to another, refusing them passes under various pretexts, whereas whenever they issue passes, they attach Serbian suffixes to Bulgarian names. In addition, they hinder the opening of Bulgarian schools in towns and villages, they drive away teachers in a most brutal manner, declaring that they will not allow the existence of any Bulgarian schools in a Serbian land. In Ohrid they gave Serbian names to the streets; in Prilep, a town-crier announced that, apart from the Turks, everybody else should call himself Serbian. A newspaper began to be published in Bitolya, the articles of which allegedly show that there are no Bulgarians in that town. All this shows that the Serbs are systematically trying to impart a Serbian character to the areas which they have occupied. In their attitude to the allegedly free Bulgarian population, the Greek military and civilian authorities are no better than the Serbs. And if the Greek military and administrative authorities in the Kostour and Lerin districts are behaving a little more leniently, it is because they themselves feel weaker. All this, taken together, greatly disturbs us.
present war, which was undertaken,
according to the Royal Manifesto of His Majesty, the Tsar of the
with the aim of liberating the enslaved Bulgarians, has so far brought
slavery to the compact Bulgarian centres like ours. There are obvious
which indubitably show that the Serbs and the Greeks are planning to
rulers of our purely Bulgarian districts forever. Serbian and Greek
lower officials and administrative bodies openly declare that they will
withdraw from the Bulgarian lands which they have occupied. Whoever
express the hope that our districts will be united with
The aim of the church struggle, in which you yourself took part as a young man, was, as you know, to achieve the cultural unification of the Bulgarian people. The champions of the National Revival, consciously or instinctively, also paved the way for the resurrection of the old Bulgarian kingdom within its ethnic boundaries. And they were not deceived. Only five years after the establishment of the Bulgarian National Church, the Exarchate, Н. М. the Tsar Liberator Alexander II and our brothers, the Russian people, moved by the suffering of the Bulgarians who were not then strong enough to destroy domination by themselves, declared the memorable War of Liberation ended with the San Stefano Peace Treaty.
know, under this treaty, almost all
Bulgarian lands formed one political unit. But to our deep regret,
European powers, which either out of selfish interest or the inability
foresee the future, frustrated San Ste-fano
Prime Minister, all the peoples
surrounding us opposed our cultural and political unification. As
a result of
this policy, the suffering of that part of the Bulgarian people, which
yet liberated, became unbearable. The Macedonian Bulgarians, not able
against the violence within the bounds of the law, resorted to
activity, and laid the foundations of the revolutionary organization.
with its legitimate defence the latter aimed at achieving the direct or
indirect political unification of all Bulgarians by means of the
stage. Because, as you know, Mr. Prime Minister, the principle of
a way of saving the integrity of
But due to
the circumstances, the
unification of the Bulgarian people into one state will not pass
autonomous stage. After the meeting in Reval, clearly aware of the fact
sooner or later, an autonomous regime would be granted to
Be that as
it may, the jeopardized future
of the Balkan states and the difficult plight of their compatriots
All these regions, which are being oppressed by our allies today, have made and continue to make costly sacrifices for the unification of the Bulgarian people.
The present alarming situation in our regions occupied by the Greeks and Serbs has made us, Mr. Prime Minister, turn to you and beg you at these fateful times of responsibility, to continue supporting the unification of all Bulgarian outlying parts with the Bulgarian state by all the means at your disposal.
If this should fail, if purely Bulgarian lands should be left under Serbian and Greek domination, the population in them, forced to turn Greek of Serbian, with its national feelings hurt, will be compelled to resume its hard and unequal struggle for liberation. We have no doubt that the suffering of a part of the Bulgarian people will find a response, as it has hitherto, in new enlarged Bulgaria, and peace and tranquillity will not reign again in the kingdom, and consequently the heavy losses the entire Bulgarian people have suffered, especially in the present War of Liberation, will not have fully achieved their aim. Confident that you are well aware of the great responsibility, we hope that you will not, at any price, sacrifice parts of the Bulgarian national body. In turn, we assure, you, dear Mr. Prime Minister, that we are ready to add all possible sacrifices to those already made by Macedonia in the course of many years, in order to achieve these all-Bulgarian aspirations.
Esteemed Mr. Prime Minister,
We, the organized Bulgarians from the Skopje Revolutionary District, overwhelmed by that blessed feeling which the slave of five centuries experiences at the dawn of his freedom, greet through you our northern brethren for their unforgettable exploit - with their might they have resurrected the forgotten and abused justice in the Balkan Peninsula.
As sons of
the same motherland, we are
anxiously following the fateful events, and expect to see the cherished
of an all-Bulgarian homeland and state come true. We do not want to be
from that state, because the
this, Mr. Prime Minister, we
wish to remind the Bulgarian government - a reminder that is, probably,
unnecessary to educated
statesmen like yourself - that our region is an integral
part of the rest of Bulgarian
Macedonia and that, consequently, in the course of the present war,
the liberation of the Bulgarian lands under Turkish domination, our
should not be forgotten either, and should not be left under a new
domination. It is to our deep regret, however, that very sad rumours
reached us, and they are constantly tormenting us. It is said that our
has been sacrificed, or that it will be sacrificed to the Serbs for
participation in the present war. The Serbs' conduct comes to support
rumours, and our fears are growing stronger. The Serbian authorities
settling down here as if for ever, and seem to be making a second
capital out of
inform you, Mr. Prime Minister,
that the Bulgarians in the
The emergency of the current historical situation in our region, the thought of our future national existence which has been tormenting us for four months, has made us bring to your attention, through our representatives -mayors and counsellors, the following request:
in history, when the Bulgarian
people formed a separate state and settled in the lands determined by
will, our native land - the Lerin district, populated
by pure Bulgarians in origin and
language, was considered to be a Bulgarian region. As neighbours to our
district we have the glorious Ohrid and Prespa - holy places of Old Bulgaria,
and in the
days when the Bulgarian scepter stretched to this side of the
At the time of the church struggles and the upsurge of the Bulgarian national spirit after the five century-long double bondage, Lerin, just as the other Bulgarian regions, responded to the call of the movement for an independent national church and school. Lerin has given great Bulgarian patriots and generous donors as the long-lived Dr Mishaykov from the village of Putelé, priests of the Bulgarian church, such as the highly erudite Metropolitan Panaret, born in the same village; it has also given self-educated scholars, followers of Paissi 's school, such as Gerassim, the monk of Athos from the village of Tursie, who left his cell in the Athos monastery in 1894 and went to his native village, founded a Bulgarian school, and with his numerous students lighted the torch of the Bulgarian national consciousness in three neighbouring districts: Lerin, Kostour and Prespa.
central town of the district,
has been in the front ranks of the church struggles. Having passed as
early as 1875 under the
authority of the Holy
Exarchate, later, under unfavourable circumstances it suffered a
has recently made new efforts and sacrifices to bring its national
the fore. In the Lerin district there are villages, such as Ekshi-Su, Putelé and Zeleniché, which are a credit
Bulgarian national spirit in
population in our district most
clearly expressed its national spirit and Bulgarian consciousness in
memorable turbulent revolutionary years, when the name 'Bulgarian' had
defended at the risk of one's life, and to be inscribed in
martyr's blood in
the annals of Macedonia. Without sullying the banner of the Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization in the struggle against the five centuries
tyranny with the wild chauvinism inherent in the Greek and Serbian
organizations, the Bulgarian population of the Lerin district,
confident of its
power and the justice of its cause, openly waged an unequal battle
Turks and Greeks, who were united in their effort to erase the
from the bloody forehead of Bulgarian Macedonia. And when in the
of 1903 all Bulgarians in
land had to be wiped out with fire and sword, the Bulgarians in the
district, who produced a Marko, mourning over
their precious victims,
their houses burnt to ashes and their fields desolate, fully showed
national spirit to spite their two-headed enemy. Instead of engendering
passivity and wiping out the Bulgarian national traits from our region,
ill-fated revolution resulted in a new upsurge of the Bulgarian
spirit, and in a new triumph of the Bulgarian spirit in the Lerin
that insignificant Bulgarian minority with a non-Bulgarian
hurried among the ashes of the unsuccessful revolution to take shelter
the protection of their own
And at the present critical moment, just as in the past, when we are faced with new temptations menacing our people and language, when we are again being lured to put on foreign masks, we still feel an inseparable part of the Bulgarian body, we all, as if by inspiration, feel Bulgarian more than ever -children of the Bulgarian people.
The enclosed table shows that the overwhelming majority of the population of our regions has been and continues to be Bulgarian to the present moment. Out of a population of 60,027 we, the Bulgarian members of the Exarchate, number 32,140 people. The members of the Patriarchate numbering 12,075 people, are of various nationalities: 6,897 Bulgarians, 2,130 Wallachians, 3,020 Albanians, who, sooner or later, will acquire their natural character.
And this flourishing Bulgarian region, which has waged a heroic struggle for its national consciousness, which has produced Dr Mishaykov, Metropolitan Panaret, the Voyvoda Marko and others of the galaxy of fighters, today, when this region thought it was achieving its age-old sacred dream - unification with its free brother on the other side of the Rila - it sees itself in the hands of a government which, although allied to Bulgaria, is actually infected with hatred and venom for everything Bulgarian.
Although we are deeply convinced that this government is temporary, that the fraternal and great Bulgaria of today has embarked on the current War of Liberation in the name of the nation-wide Bulgarian ideal (San Stefano Bulgaria), and that for nothing in the world would it sacrifice flourishing and historical regions of the Bulgarian lands, such as those of Lerin, Kaylar, Kostour, Prespa, the very thought of it being suggested in the forthcoming talks on the partitioning of the Turkish inheritance that our district remain under another rule, a thought which is immensely tormenting our hearts, we considered it our patriotic duty to ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, the government of tsarist Bulgaria, not to allow even a hint of leaving our native region under Greek rule, for the sake of the galaxy of the heroes who, having laid down their lives for the all-Bulgarian ideal, for the sake of their orphans, widows, old people bent with age, who, like the righteous Simeon, are waiting to see one Bulgarian soldier before they die in peace, in the name of the all-Bulgarian ideal, in the name of which the current War of Liberation is being waged, not to allow new suffering for us, the Bulgarians of the Lerin district, in which case we would have no choice but to leave our native homes and go to great Bulgaria, or to devote ourselves once more to bloody struggles against the enforced rule, in order to convince the whole world and fraternal Bulgaria that we deserve a better fate.
that our just fraternal voice will be heard, and that soon we, too, the
residents of the Lerin district, will enjoy the happiness of joining
jubilation of our newly liberated brothers beyond the
last century, the
The Macedonian population found itself faced with a hard ordeal: it had either to efface its character and be on the safe side, or take up a strenuous struggle against the three united enemies and boldly bear the cruel blows of fate. Proud of its past, illumined by the bright, self-sacrificing personalities which it had born, the Macedonian population without hesitation took up the struggle and raised high its national flag so that the whole world could see and become convinced that it was, and would remain, Bulgarian in language, in consciousness, in feelings and in aspirations. And this struggle showed itself:
1) Against the organs of the Greek Patriarchate and those of the Greek Kingdom, in order to finish the process of the spiritual liberation and national independence, begun as far back as the first half of the past century, precisely in Western Macedonia.
2) Against Serbian propaganda, which, in spite of the support rendered it by the Turkish government so as to crush the Bulgarian might, could not achieve any results;
3) Against the State in order to improve the political situation of the country. The revolutionary organization, which shook the foundations of the Turkish Empire in Europe and called forth European intervention, reforms and finally the Balkan War of liberation, was Bulgarian: Bulgarians shed their blood for the liberation of Macedonia, because only they cared for it as for a native land, while Serbia and Greece, foreigners to it, supported the Turkish domination and sent detachments, which united with the Turkish forces to persecute the fighters for freedom.
clearly expressed national
consciousness of the overwhelming majority of the Christian population
l) by the
general opinion of foreigners
2) by the Turks, who live there, and who in Macedonia recognize only Bulgarians and Greeks (the few of the latter who lived there) and by the Turkish State, through the 1870 Sultan's Firman on the establishment of a Bulgarian Exarchate, by the Law on the Contested Churches voted by Parliament in 1910, and a number of other state acts;
3) by the Greeks who live there and who acknowledged only Vulgari, and by Greek propaganda, which did not acknowledge the Serbians in Macedonia, but did acknowledge the Bulgarians, though under the name of 'vulgarophoni';
4) by the fact that in everyday life the Bulgarian language has gained the upper hand among all foreign national minorities, including the Turks;
5) by the international Conference in Constantinople in 1876, which, having established that Macedonia was populated mainly by Bulgarians, included it in the proposed Bulgarian region;
6) by Russia, which, creating the Principality of Bulgaria under the Treaty of San Stefano of February 19, 1878, included in it the whole of Macedonia, as a Bulgarian land.
these obvious proofs of
the reason why the Macedonian
population welcomed with rapture the alliance of the Balkan states and
common war against the Turkish domination in the Balkans. Confidently
this war, the realization of their most cherished hopes for liberation
Ottoman bondage and for national unification, it rushed
the last bloody fight with the ancient enemy. Macedonia sent thousands
battle-tried men to join the allied army: part of them formed the
Corps, which performed miraculous exploits in the Thracian plains and
coast of the Sea of Marmara, another part formed numerous detachments,
courageously fought the enemy, shoulder to shoulder with the Greek,
Bulgarian armies on the Macedonian heights. The entire Bulgarian
Bulgarian population throughout
The war ended with a brilliant victory, but alas, the joy of the Macedonian population was short-lived.
military and civil authorities in
those parts of
deplorable state of affairs, so
clearly revealed and supported by facts in the foreign press and by
foreigners - unbiased observers
- corroborates the
same old stark
truth: the Greeks and Serbians themselves prove that
peoples are badly in need of a
lasting peace after so many cruel battles, uprisings and wars during
century. European diplomacy also wants peace in the Balkans, because
troubles are to the detriment of the cultural and economic interests of
Great Powers, and the spark of Balkan unrest is threatening to kindle a
Bulgarian Macedonian population, which
has proved by its valiant struggle for the preservation of its national
identity and the realization of its political ideal, that it is not an
mass, solemnly declares through its associated representatives from the
1) That it does not recognize any contested areas within Macedonia's boundaries, for it has, a long time ago, defined and sealed its national physiognomy with the blood of its sons;
2) That it considers as its 'heart' those parts of Macedonia, which by a bitter irony of fate were conquered by the foreign allied troops;
3) That, in its well-defined and stable national identity, it indignantly rejects the idea that part of it should be treated as a pawn in political machinations aimed at gratifying foreign claims that are absolutely unjustified.
In view of this, the Macedonian population firmly believes and hopes:
1) That Bulgaria, which summoned Serbia and Greece to an allied war against the Turks and which, with its help, enabled their armies to inscribe victories in their modern history, that Bulgaria, which bore the brunt of the war, which amazed the world with its army's heroism and which suffered the heaviest loss of human life, will not allow any amputation whatever to be performed on its national organism both in its own interests and in those of the coveted future peace among the Balkan states, and
2) That the other interested factors in the Balkans will not cooperate in raising artificial political boundaries between the Balkan states - boundaries, which could become the cause of future unrest and conflicts.
I have the honour to report that the commander of the military post in Lovcha informed me that in Lovcha the church services are being conducted in Bulgarian, since there is no priest who knows Greek, and the Greek church books, and he (the commander) issued an order forbidding church offices to be conducted in Bulgarian.
I recommended to the commander of the military post that he allow religious services for the inhabitants to continue as hitherto, until a new order is issued.
In view of all this, I beg you to assist in the settlement of this question.
I am well and wish you the same. On the day I left Singel, I started very early and I could not bid you good-bye, but since I am confident of your kindness, I am sure that you will not take this amiss. It seems that the priest in Lyahovo is making fun of religion without having respect for godly and saintly things. Since Your Grace gave orders for services to be held in Greek, he has gone on doing so in Bulgarian, pretending that he is ill, while, in actual fact, he is healthy.
What I have written to you, I have written out of friendship, since I had the honour of making your acquaintance. This priest must be replaced because he is a pure Bulgarian and he should feel your firm hand.
A new slavery began, this time under the Serbs and Greeks, more dreadful than the Turkish domination, but at the same time the Macedonian Bulgarians began a new, much more determined resistance.
came for drafting conscripts from
The first draft of Macedonian young men was made in March 1914 by the respective regimental districts, from whence the conscripts were sent to various towns within the old Serbian borders.
regimental district sent its
conscripts to the town of
We departed from Shtip for Veles on March 23, 1914. On the next day we arrived by train at Kraguevac. From the station, we were billeted in taverns, because the barracks had not yet been prepared, probably they were still being repaired. There we spent two days. During that time, our people showed whatever talent they had - they played, sang, danced, etc. - things conscripts usually do in order to kill time.
Two days later, we were taken to the barracks. There were four barracks in Kraguevac in those days, three of them big, new, modern buildings, and an old one, with long eaves, which dated back to the times of the Turks. Two of the new barracks were on the left bank of the Lepenitsa river, and the old barracks and the new engineering barracks were on the right bank. On the day after our arrival, we were issued new uniforms, and were divided into units. All the conscripts in Kraguevac, some 1,200 men, formed a regiment called the 23rd Bregalnitsa Pouk (Regiment). The majority of the young men assigned to it were mainly from Shtip and its district, St. Nikole-Ovchepolia, Veles and its district, and a small number were from Doiran, Gevgeli, etc. The four battalions, as the Serbs called them, that were formed within the same regiment, were stationed in each of the four barracks. The commanders of the army, and respectively of our regiment, battalion, company and platoon, were as follows:War Minister General Terzic;
We were immediately given the soldiers' oath of allegiance, on mimeographed sheets, and we were ordered to learn it by heart by the day on which we were to take the oath.
On the second day that we were in uniform, we were taken to an (improvised) theatre performance - a plot from their heroic times, and we marched through the main street of the town. The citizens were noticeably surprised by the fine ranks we made, by the regular beat, as we sang Bulgarian marching songs, such as 'The Quiet White Danube', 'He Is Alive, He Is Still Alive', etc. It was a sensation for them to see conscripts marching in step from the very first day.
During the lectures, we studied the oath of allegiance, since every soldier was supposed to know it. When examined, however, no one said he knew it, for they had no desire to learn it, let alone say it. This riled them, but we claimed that we did not understand Serbian.
April 10 ofthat same year (1914) was announced as
oath-taking day for the
first conscripts from 'South Serbia' (as the Serbs had begun to call
That same day, April 10, 1914, Sunday, which was clear and sunny, after church, the conscripts stood in a square on the parade ground for the 1st and 2nd battalion (on the left bank of the Lepenitsa river) and in the middle there was a lectern, around which stood the priests and the officers, all in full dress (in those days all officers from majors up wore epaullettes), top administration officials, and foreign representatives from Belgrade, invited for the occasion, and all the citizens.
The order was given to stand to attention! The band played the national anthem 'God's Justice...' and afterwards the hymn 'How Glorious...' According to the established regulations in the Serbian Army, the soldiers had to raise their right hands, with three fingers extended to make the sign of the cross, and to pronounce aloud the soldiers' oath of allegiance, word for word after the archimandrite (the bishop's representative): 'I, (followed by the name and surname) swear to the Almighty God that I shall truly serve King Peter the First...'
THE DECISIVE MOMENT HAD ARRIVED! IN AN INSTANT THE AIR WAS RENT BY A DEAFENING HURRAH! WE WILL NOT HAVE IT! WE ARE NOT SERBS! etc., etc. Despite the command 'Attention!', the soldiers' ranks were broken and confusion set in. There was indescribable chaos. All those present were taken aback and surprised. Enraged, the officers, their sabres drawn, swung about and hit at us, but to no avail - the confusion increased more and more. The townsfolk: men, women and children, panicked, looked furtively about and ran, stumbling over one another, falling, rising, thronging and screaming with horror, 'Yao kuku mené', etc., shouts they make to express horror, fear and despair.
It was a sight of a veritable mutiny, yet one rarely seen, for it was happening in public, before officials, before foreign representatives, and before all the citizens, in a ceremonial atmosphere, and in broad daylight.
In a short while, the townsfolk ran home, bruised and battered, by one another, and by the horror which had seized them: 'The eyes of fear are big'. Left on the 'battleground' were only the mutinous conscripts, an armed Serbian platoon (it should be noted that we, conscripts, were completely unarmed), the officers and officials.
The conscripts, pursued by the armed Serbian platoon and the officers with their sabres drawn, were scattered on the parade ground in disorder - they attacked us and beat us up, while we, with bare hands, shielding ourselves from the blows, were expanding th circle.
The chaos would have continued but for an order of the regiment commander for the officers to gather around the lectern, and for the armed Serbian platoon to withdraw. After the latter's withdrawal, evidently for fresh instructions, the commotion subsided - everyone stood right where he was.
The officers returned to us, but desisted from lashing out again, despite their anger, for fear of exacerbating the situation. They began to gather the soldiers, and make them form ranks. The only exception was the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Major Bozhidar Zagorcic, a huge man, who was hitting every soldier in his battalion, asking each one 'Do you accept?' and following each answer in the negative 'I do not!' with-a stunning blow that could even kill a man. He received an answer in the negative from 18 courageous young men, who were immediately taken aside, and marched to the garrison prison.
Our aim had been accomplished. What we wanted to show the Serbs and the foreign representatives - that we are not Serbs, as they presented us to the outside world, and that we did not want to pledge allegiance to the Serbian state, this we had demonstrated in this case, before their very eyes.
They made us fall into ranks again, and they stood in front of us. Once again they tried to give the 'ceremony' an official appearance. The band played the anthem and 'How Glorious' once again. The archimandrite on the lectern said the oath, all by himself, for we all remained silent. Then he made a speech, in which he expressed regret at our having succumbed to 'Bulgarian propaganda' and said that we had been misled, that we were true Serbs, and some other well-known 'arguments' of theirs.
After the end of the ceremony, we were marched back into the barracks. A real reign of terror began here. The officers from the whole battalion rushed into the barracks to beat us up with whips, and fists, and to shout in order to discover who the initiators of the mutiny had been. This is all they did till nightfall: they beat us up, threatened us, and interrogated the soldiers one by one. They became furious that all soldiers gave one and the same reply: 'I did not shout, and my comrades around me were silent, we did not know what was happening!' Some of the officers were further enraged by the same answers, and said 'Sons of bitches, there was a hell of a noise, and now you say you were quiet. Who made the noise then? Was it us?'
The great efforts of the Serbian officers did not lead them to the desired result - no one betrayed any one. This event was the greatest test for the Macedonian young men, which proved their maturity and endurance in defending their national honour.
This was followed by days of strict confinement and Ш treatment, abuse, denigration, irony, etc., which only went to show that they were as alien to us as we felt them to be. This made us even prouder and bolder, and our self-confidence became even higher.
The soldiers were drilled about a kilometer outside the barracks, in a place called Stanovlyansko Pole. Every day, they would take the 18 courageous young men who had enfuriated the 2nd Battalion Commander Bozhidar Zagorcic out of prison and bring them there to identify the initiators of the mutiny. We were being drilled in groups often. We were ordered to stand to attention. The Captain who led the prisoners, the so-called garrisoner, would point a finger at each of the soldiers standing at attention, and would ask: 'Was he the one?' The reply of the prisoners was, 'No it was not him!' In this manner, they went from person to person, but the result was always 'No, it was not him!' This harassment was repeated every day until the war with the Austro-Hungarian; Empire was declared in July 1914 (The First World War). These unfortunates (18 men) were subjected to terrible torture in prison. They were put into cells, and water was left to drip on their heads, together with other tortures that the satanic genius of the Serbs could devise, yet NO ONE BETRAYED ANYTHING.
How much we were intimidated by these tortures can be seen from the fact that at evening roll-call we continued to answer with the Bulgarian 'az' (I), instead of the Serbian 'ya'. The Serbian (Commanders) were enraged, but we went on doing it nevertheless. On marching out to drill from the barracks, towards Stanovlyansko Pole out of town, we always sang Bulgarian marching songs, including 'He Is Alive, He Is Still Alive' and 'The Quiet White Danube' without fail. The children in the streets, and on the balconies, would call their parents to hear 'the Bulgarians sing'.
They introduced the study of religion at the barracks, taught by priests; evidently, they were trying to influence us through the church.
The declaration of the First World War finally put an end to these trials.
REGIMENT WAS DISBANDED. Our rifles
were taken away, packed in their original crates, and sent somewhere by
We, the soldiers, were sent on, in battalions, GUARDED LIKE PRISONERS
OF WAR BY
ARMED SERBIAN TROOPS, to the following towns: our 2nd Battalion to the town of
On arriving in Krushevac, we were immediately marched to the barracks. In front of them, there were newly-mobilized Serbian reservists. They fell into ranks, and so did we. Two by two, we were taken out of our ranks, and were mixed with ten Serbs. Thus, we lost our comrades in various units. The Serbs did not trust us to leave us by ourselves. After we were mixed in this manner, we were issued rifles and bullets in the cartridge-belts, for the first time ever (while in Kraguevac, we were never issued bullets for the cartridge belts. During shooting practice, the corporals would give us a bullet at a time, and after shooting it, we would have to return the cartridge in order to receive another one).
From Krushevac, we left for the front lines, in the direction of Shabats. A new page was opened there, with new trials, which are the subject of another tale.
THE WAR DIVERTED PUBLIC ATTENTION FROM THE EVENT IN KRAGUEVAC, IT HID IT FOR THE TIME BEING, YET IT HAS REMAINED A HISTORICAL FACT.
The following conscripts from St Nikole took part in the mutiny: Stoyan Manev, Stoyko Aleksiev Zabuhchiiski, Hristofor Veselinov, Vlade Baba-Dostin, Yordan Yosifov, Iliya Ordev, Tasse Panev, Vane Boikovski, Gyoshe Chakurov, Pane H. Nemanichki, Tode Sarchievski and Konstantin G. Angelov (the author of these recollections).
above-mentioned conscripts, Iliya
Ordev died in the town of
of the treaty of San Stefano is
familiar. The principality of
14th of the same month, I was in
Kichevo and, in the evening when I returned to the
That same Sunday, early in the morning, the priest Theodor had been invited by a woman, a relative of his, to read prayers to her in church after the service. He went to the church of the Holy Virgin at the cemetery and read prayers to this woman, but inside the church there were many other women. Priest Ioakim heard about the prayers that priest Theodor had read and he reported him to the captain for reading in Bulgarian. The captain immediately sent soldiers, who brought the priest to his office and he beat him mercilessly; after that he called the women who had been in the church when he had read the prayers and questioned all of them as to whether he had read in Bulgarian or in Greek. All women said that he had read in Greek and not in Bulgarian. After the captain found out that it had all been the result of intrigue and hatred, he held the priest in custody for three hours and then let him go.
I inform you about it, Your Grace, and remain with deep respect towards Your Grace.
after I had come back from my
trip, towards the middle of August, Damyan Grouev came to my surgery.
recently come in Soloun during the summer as a substitute for Nikola
later the editor of the newspaper 'Pravo', and had become a proofreader
Semerdjiev's book shop. He had come to me for medical treatment as he
eczema on his left ear. On this occasion, we spoke about my patients,
of people visited me, and we passed on to the problems of the
to general questions. It transpired that we had many things in common.
week, Grouev again came to see me, using as a pretext his ailment,
already clearing up. And again he spoke about public questions. I was
definite, but he, on the contrary, was deliberately restrained; it was
that he was hiding something which could be deduced from his words, but
not mustered courage enough to speak openly about it. I must say that
first time I saw him I noticed the sly smile which accompanied his
to whether I had much work or not. In general, his tactics of cunningly
his way to his aim from afar, even when there was no need for this, as
case, did not impress me favourably and even made me cold towards him.
second meeting I told him that my decision to come to
we did not work out any formalities, such as taking an oath or anything
the sort, to make the members consider themselves personally
obliged to work
for the cause. But we parted convinced that a serious and difficult
facing us in the future. We decided to work jointly among our friends
of us tried to take advantage of the sojourn in Soloun of teachers,
priests and merchants coming from the provinces in order to propagate
among them. Thus we proceeded up till the end of 1893.At the beginning of 1894, during the holidays, the
above-mentioned six people met again before Epiphany in the room of
(opposite the house of brothers Damyanov, a former Bulgarian
order to lay the foundations of a revolutionary organization. We
aims of this organization at length and later we settled on the
Manifesto, in which the
Dutch-Scandinavian Committee submits to the world its formula for the
attainment of peace, deeply affects the destiny of the Bulgarians in
One of the
foundations of the afore-said
manifesto is the formula adopted from the Russian Revolution: peace
annexations, but with the right of the peoples to self-determination.
to our great regret and astonishment, the afore-said Committee has
solution to the Balkan conflicts which completely runs counter to the
foundations already laid. Thus it proposes the restoration of
century-long sufferings of our land in
the remote and recent past, its present, and the need to establish
conducive to a lasting peace - all this raises a loud voice of
protest against a solution which
is fraught with new trials and sacrifices for our people. The
has been, is, and should remain nationally and politically undivided
rest of the Bulgarian lands. It has this right by virtue of its past as
cradle of Bulgarian enlightenment in times of yore, and, in modern
virtue of its epic struggles for the establishment and maintenance of a
powerful Bulgarian state which would include all the lands inhabited by
Bulgarians within its borders. In former times,
In more recent times, it was again in Macedonia that the revival of the Bulgarian people began: it was here that the first spark was kindled to awaken the Bulgarians - Paissi's Bulgarian History (1762); it was here that the first Bulgarian books were written in a purely Bulgarian language by Hadji Yoakim Kurchovski of the town of Kichevo (1816) and by Kiril Peichinovich from Tetovets (1817).
the first Bulgarian printing shop was opened in 1838 by the archimandrite Hadji
Doiran), first in the village of Vatosha, Tikvesh district, and later
Soloun; it was the birthplace of the first Bulgarian pedagogue, Neofit
of Bansko, and of the first collection of folk songs, by the Miladinov
of Strouga. The Macedonian Bulgarians were also the first to raise the
ecclesiastic issue of the restoration of the old independent
and that, precisely in
The militant spirit of the Macedonian Bulgarians has also found expression in a series of dangerous struggles of a political nature, in which they, with their suffering and blood, brilliantly cemented their unity with the Bulgarian people from the other parts of the common Bulgarian homeland. During the two conquests - under Byzantine and under Turkish rule - the Bulgarians in these parts, no less than the rest of their brethren, put up both passive and armed resistance to the foreign political power up to the attainment of freedom and unification. Thus, in the 11th century, the Macedonian Bulgarians, headed by Tsar Samuil’s grandson, Peter Delyan, and centered in Skopje, rose up in arms, defeated and drove out the Byzantine forces and re-established their own rule. In the 19th and the 20th centuries, the revolutionary movements of the Macedonian Bulgarians wrote a great blood-soaked page in the history of Europe and have become well-known to European diplomacy and European public opinion: the Kresna Uprising broke out in 1878; the Ohrid and Prilep Conspiracies were discovered in 1881 and 1882, respectively, and from 1895, up to the outbreak of the Balkan War, Macedonia was the theatre of constant and systematically organized revolutionary movements which produced innumerable selfless heroes in every village and town, like Delchev of Koukoush, Grouevof Smilevo village (Bitolya district), Boris Sarafov of Nevrokop, Chekalarov of Kostour district, Apostol Voivoda of Enidje district, Ivan Karasoulski of Gevgeli district, Ouzounov of Ohrid, Sougarev of Bitolya, P. Toshev of Prilep, Razvigorov of Shtip, Popyordanov of Veles, Vassil Adja-larski of Skopje and thousands upon thousands of fighters, both dead, and living.
prominent among these rebel movements
was that of 1903, which
embraced all Macedonia, and which was most powerful in Macedonia's
parts - in the districts
Ohrid, Resen, Lerin, Kostour, Prilep, Kroushevo
and Kichevo - precisely the
places which the
Dutch-Scandinavian Committee is condemning to the Serbs' alien, and
cruel, regime. The long and persistent revolutionary struggles in which
Macedonian Bulgarians' revolutionary
struggle for freedom continued even during the three-year rule of
the Serbs in
such efforts and struggles by
the Bulgarian people, its rights and ethnic borders have come to be
by the international authorities of the whole of
Among these acts, suffice it to mention the following:
1. The Turkish government's Firman (decree) on the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate of 1872.
2. The Constantinople
European Conference of 1876, which included
3. The San Stefano
Treaty of 1878, under which the
4. The Murzsteg Programme on reforms in the lands where the great uprising of 1903 occurred.
Among the admissions on the part of our enemies, the Serbs, we shall mention:
1. All Serbian
2. The Serbian people's and the Serbian government's acquiescence in the setting up of the Bulgarian Exarchate and the new Western Bulgarian region, as proposed by the Constantinople European Conference, with that region covering all of Macedonia as well;
3. The 1867 Protocol, approved by the
Serbian government and by the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee of that
under which protocol
4. The Serbian
Socialist Party's latest
memorandum to the Dutch-Scandinavian Committee, which unequivocally
the fact that the nucleus of the Serbian people lies between the
From what has been said hitherto, it is evident that the Dutch-Scandinavian Committee is cutting off parts of the living body of the Bulgarian people, and is thus running counter not only to the natural and traditional ideals and struggles of the Bulgarian people for freedom and unification, but also to the unbiased acts of state by official Europe, official Turkey, and even official Serbia; thus the Committee has abandoned its sound status of a moral international organization and has assumed the role of a corps diplomatique which divides the peoples regardless of their right to self-determination.
the Dutch-Scandinavian Committee
confine itself only to this error: in its desire to please
on both sides of the Vardar, and
sensible and real use of the
undersigned, inspired by these ideas,
on behalf of the Bulgarian population in
Dime Nikolov of Skopje, an old man of 86; studied under the teacher Ignatii of Veles at the Bulgarian school in the town of Skopje in 1845; the leading master of the tanners' guild in Skopje for many years and a most active participant in the struggle for the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church.
Traiche Chaicharov of Skopje, an old man of 76, studied at the Bulgarian school in Skopje between 1853 and 1860 under the teachers Ignatii of Veles, Hadji Yordan Konstantinov Djino of Veles and the teacher Stoyanche Rostov of Vranya; a co-founder of the Bulgarian library club Razvitie (Progress) in Skopje in 1873, and Chairman of the same for three years.
Petroush Shagmanov of Skopje, an old man of 66; member of the Bulgarian Church Commune in Skopje in 1873, a relative of Metropolitan Nathanail, the eminent Bulgarian participant in the church struggle, a writer and the first Bulgarian Metropolitan of Ohrid, immediately following the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1872).
Spiro G. Gaidardjiev of Skopje, 22, a member of the Skopje Local Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee; sentenced and jailed six times for his revolutionary activities.
Kralyo Hadji Markov of Skopje, an old man of 78, studied in 1848-50 at the Bulgarian school in Skopje under the teachers Ignatii of Veles and Stefan Shosholchev of Skopje; for many years a member of the Bulgarian Church Commune and the school's board of trustees; a participant in the struggles for th establishment of an independent Bulgarian church.
Lazo Velkov of Divlya village, Skopje district, a Bulgarian public figure in Skopje for many years; the voivoda of a Bulgarian revolutionary armed detachment in the Skopje area during the Serbian regime in Macedonia (1913-15), whose detachment fought against the Serbian forces on several occasions.
Hadji Zafir Tasev of Koumanovo, an old man of 70; attended a Bulgarian school in Koumanovo in 1860 under the Bulgarian teacher Simeon Momchedjikov; active in church affairs in Koumanovo over many years.
Mihail S. Bailovski of Koumanovo, an old man of 77; studied at the Bulgarian school in Koumanovo in 1856-58 under the teacher Father Stefan Bailovski, for many years active over the Bulgarian church question and school affairs.
Krusto Lazarov of Koumanovo, a Bulgarian revolutionary voivoda in Koumanovo for many years; a participant in the great Bitolya Uprising in 1903; a Bulgarian armed revolutionary and during the Serbian regime (1913-15) the voivoda of a detachment which fought several battles with Serbian troops in the Koumanovo area.
The priest Dimiter Davidov of Krivorechna Palanka, an old man of 70; attended the Bulgarian school in Krivorechna Palanka in 1855 under teacher H. P. Andonov; himself a teacher in Krivorechna Palanka in 1864; member for many years of the Bulgarian Church Commune in that town and a participant in the struggles over the Bulgarian Church question.
Vesselin Popgeorgiev (Ikonomov) of Krivorechna Palanka, participant in the Bulgarian revolutionary struggle in Macedonia; son of priest Georgi Ikonomov, who was a delegate from the Skopje diocese to the first Bulgarian All-People's Constituent Assembly in Constantinople (1872) for the setting up of the Exarchate - the independent Bulgarian church.
Argir Manasiev of Gevgeli, a Bulgarian revolutionary voivoda of a rebel detachment in the Gevgeli district; a participant in the great Macedonian Uprising (1903).
Doncho Angelov of Kratovo, a Bulgarian revolutionary district voivoda of a rebel detachment in the Kratovo area; a participant in many battles.
Arso Lazarov of Stip, an old man of 70; attended a Bulgarian school in Shtip in 1854; formerly active in church and school affairs in Shtip; active in revolutionary affairs in Macedonia and brother of Todor Lazarov, the late eminent Bulgarian revolutionary in Macedonia.
Efrem Chouchkov of Shtip, one of the first leaders of the local Bulgarian revolutionary organization; a voivoda of many years standing in the Shtip, Maleshevtsi, and Kochen areas; a participant in the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903.
Arsenii Kostentsev of Shtip, an old man of 75, a Bulgarian travelling bookseller in Shtip and the surrounding towns in 1866, a Bulgarian people's teacher in various towns of Macedonia since 1862.
Hadji Ivan Vessov of Veles, an old man of 74; merchant, a leading local participant in the struggle for an independent Bulgarian church.
Ivan Korabarov of Veles, an old man of 70; active in the struggles over the Bulgarian church question and school affairs in Veles.
Gochev of Veles, a long-standing member of the
governing body of the local revolutionary organization; formerly exiled
Dimko Krepiev of Veles, a long-standing member and leader of the Bulgarian revolutionary cause in Veles; grandson of the late eminent participant in the church question Gyosho Krepiev.
M. K. Tsepenkov of Prilep, an old man of 88, a Bulgarian book-seller in Prilep in 1862, actively involved in the church struggles, and known in Bulgarian literature as a student of folklore - a collector of Bulgarian folk songs, tales, proverbs, etc., from Prilep and the district.
Peter Atsev of Prilep, a Bulgarian revolutionary, voivoda in the Prilep area for many years, a participant as a voivoda in the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903 and member of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee in Bitolya in 1908
K. N. Nebrekliev of Prilep, an old man of 66; active on behalf of the people in the church struggle; revitalizer of the Bulgarian library club, Nadezhda (Hope), in Prilep, founded back in 1868, and its treasurer in 1874.
A. H. Yanov of Prilep, an old man of 62, one of the revitalizers of the Bulgarian library club Nadezhda (1874) and its secretary already in 1874.
Dimiter G. Velianov of Kroushevo, founder of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee in Kroushevo in 1894; a prisoner in Turkish jails for his participation in revolutionary affairs.
Grigor D. Bozhinov of Kroushevo, a long-standing member of the governing body of the local Bulgarian revolutionary organization; member of the Provisional Bulgarian Revolutionary Administration in Kroushevo during the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903, while the town was held by the rebels.
Mihail I. Stanoev of Kroushevo, a long-standing member of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee in Kroushevo and participant in the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903 as a member of an armed detachment.
Andrea D. Tatarchev of Resen, an old man of-88; a meinber of the Bulgarian Church and School Commune in Resen for many years, ever since 1864 - long before the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate; active in the struggle for an independent Bulgarian church - Exarchate;
Evtim T. Lyapchev of Resen, an old man of 65; studied in the Bulgarian school in Resen in 1873 under the teacher Zahari Chintoulov; brother of the former Bulgarian minister, Adrea Lyapchev, and of the Bulgarian revolutionary, Nikola Lyapchev, murdered in prison during the great Bitolya Uprising (1903).
Traikov of Krushe village, Resen
Bulgarian revolutionary voivoda in the Resen area for many years;
in the great Bitolya Uprising of 1903, and afterwards, during the
Hadji Seraflm Apostolov of Teartsi village, Tetovo district, a birthplace of Kiril Peichinovich, the eminent Bulgarian public figure, enlightener and writer at the beginning of the 19th century; an old man of 70, who attended a Bulgarian school in the neighbouring village of Leshok in 1855; a former longstanding member of the Church and School board of trustees in Teartsi.
Nasto Iliev of Tetovo, an old man of 80, who attended a Bulgarian school in Tetovo in 1849 under the teachers Nahum Ivanov of Tetovo and Gyore Stoev of Zhilche village, Tetovo district; a long-standing trustee of the Bulgarian church in Tetovo.
Hadji Grigor Hadji Seraflmov of Tetovo, an old man of 72; attended the Bulgarian school in Tetovo in 1858; a church and school trustee in the same town for many years; son of Hadji Serafim Hadji Nahumov, a prominent participant in the church struggles in Tetovo.
Mladen Talyov of Tetovo, an old man of 70; grandson of one of the sons of the priest Yakov Suzdanov, who was a Bulgarian priest and teacher in Tetovo back in 1836-38; himself a school and church trustee for many years, while his son, Mihail Mladenov, died in Rhodes in 1904, where he was exiled for his participation in Bulgarian revolutionary affairs.
Mladen Mishev of Tetovo, member of the governing body of the local Bulgarian revolutionary committee for the past 11 years.
Stolev of Vrapchishta village
Gostivar district, an old man of 70; participant in the church
struggles for the establishment of an
independent Bulgarian church in
Nestor Trayanov of Galichnik, an old man of 76; icon painter for 55 years, during which time he decorated many Bulgarian churches in Macedonia; son of another famous icon painter, Trayan Negriev of Galichnik.
Hadjievski of Galichnik, nephew of Hadji Parteni of
Zograf, the famous Bulgarian writer and first Bulgarian Metropolitan of
Pirot — immediately
establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate in
Trupko I. Ginovski of Galichnik, an old man of 68, nephew of the teacher Kruste Petrov Ginovski, who back in 1840 was a Bulgarian teacher in Galichnik; Trupko Ginovski's son, Ivan, was killed as a participant in the Bulgarian revolutionary struggle for liberation.
A. Hristov of Galichnik, an icon painter; a descendant of the Furtov family of famous painters, who for more than 200 years have decorated Bulgarian churches in Macedonia, Moesia and Thrace with mural paintings, wood-carving and sculpture; the same was the chief leader of the local revolutionary committee during the great uprising of 1903.
Ikon T. Simonovski of Debur, an old man of 65, a Bulgarian priest in this town ever since 1875; studied under the Bulgarian teacher Hadji Teofil in Debur in 1867; an eminent participant in public and church affairs in Debur.
Dimiter T. Kounovski of Debur, an old man of 81, who studied in Debur under the Bulgarian teacher Yosif Gyurov Kounovski; a former church and school trustee in Debur for many years; worker in Constantinople at the time of the establishment of the independent Bulgarian church.
H. Atanasov, born in Pasenki village, Debur district, district leader of the Debur Revolutionary Committee for four years, as well as during the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903.
Angel Sprostranov of Ohrid, an old man of 90; a participant in the Ohrid Bulgarian revolutionary liberation conspiracy of 1881, for which he spent five years in jail.
Stanislav G. Chakurov of Strouga, member of the local Bulgarian revolutionary committee and son of Georgi Chakurov, an eminent Bulgarian public figure in Strouga, an associate of the Bulgarian public figures and writers, the Miladinov brothers of Strouga, and a Bulgarian deputy to Mithad Pasha's Ottoman Parliament in Constantinople in 1876.
Anastas N. Kalaidjiev, an old man of 80, a pupil of Dimiter Miladinov; a Bulgarian teacher in Strouga as early as 1868, and a singer in the Bulgarian church in Strouga ever since that year.
The Archpriest H. Malenkov of Ohrid, an old man of 76, a Bulgarian priest in Ohrid ever since 1866; ex-chairman of the Bulgarian church Commune, from 1870 to 1890; a former participant in the struggle for the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church - the Exarchate.
Anastas Lozanchev of Bitolya, Chairman of the Bitolya revolutionary district, member of the General Staff of the great Uprising of 1903.
Georgi Grouev of Smilevo village, Bitolya district, a participant in the great Macedonian Uprising and brother of Damyan Grouev, Chief of the rebel General Staff in that uprising and one of the founders of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Organization in Macedonia.
Nake Yanev of Lahchani village, Kichevo district, a voivoda in the Kichevo area for many years and a participant in the great Macedonian Uprising of 1903 as a voivoda of the rebels in the Kichevo district.1