IV. Macedonia in the Period Between the Two World Wars


An article entitled 'Let's Make It Quite Clear'
concerning the Bulgarian national awareness of the population of Syar (Seres)


... We are being accused of not feeling sufficiently Bulgarian, we are being vilified for hiding our national belongings and even of lacking any Bulgarian national awareness whatsoever. We are being slandered, there are intrigues and gossip against us, but this is not done in the open and with evidence, but by most devious ways and with the basest possible means ...

And so, what are we? Are we Bulgarians or are we not Bulgarians? For the moment we shall answer this question only with a few excerpts from publications and documents of members of the former Internal Revolutionary Organization which is properly considered as the only exponent of the strivings of Macedonia and of the Macedonian population.

1. In the mandate given to our representative in Paris our first demand is formulated as follows: The Bulgarian population in Macedonia together and unanimously with us, most ardently desires, deeply convinced that such would be the wish of all the other nationalities there, that this country should remain whole and indivisible as an autonomous and independent unit in the Balkans, etc.

Is this being declared by Bulgarians or not?
2. ...
3. ...

... Emphasizing these demands we, together with the entire Macedonian population, feel and declare that there is no other solution of the Balkan problem if there is a genuine wish completely to pacify the Balkans and to achieve the rapid and secure fraternization of the contending members of the Balkan family. We say this as Bulgarians with a high Bulgarian national awareness and we do not conceal, nor have we concealed it during the

revolutionary struggles before the wars, that the Macedonian problem in its en­tity is not a Bulgarian problem just as it is not a Greek or a Serbian problem, and that is why we consider that none of the Balkan governments can or has the right to express the interests and strivings of the Macedonian populations as a whole.

Have we concealed from the outside world that we are Bulgarians? And that we speak and express our wishes as Bulgarians?

4. ...

Is not this language Bulgarian, spoken by Bulgarians and for Bulgarians?

Bulletin1 of the Provisional Representation of the Former United Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, No. 1, 1919; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 Organ of the Provisional Representation of the former IMRO, founded on the eve of the 1919 Paris Conference by representatives of the left wing in the Macedonian liberation movement.
Dimo Hadjidimov on the autonomy of Macedonia as a purely Bulgarian idea


Such was Macedonia two decades ago. An arena of intestine struggles and of struggles for separation from Turkey which became increasingly in­capable of meeting the requirements of the new times. As far as the struggles against the Turkish regime and its domination in general are concerned, one must say that the Bulgarian element proved far more revolutionary and more irreconcilable than the Greek element and, later also, more impatient. This is due to their specific position as proprietors (landowners) and to the fact that they inhabited regions quite remote from the centres of international exchange. In this way, isolated from the feverish economic life of the Aegean coastal region, from the big industrial, trade and consumer centres which had become practically international (centres), maintaining comparatively loose economic relations with the dominant Turkish oligarchy, the Bulgarian element were subjected to arbitrary acts and injustice on the part of all sorts of Turkish administrative bodies, while such arbitrary acts and injustice were objectively impossible where there was an active trade, and modem economic and in­dustrial activity were extensive. The Greek nationality lived in exactly the op­posite conditions and that is why by their nature, the Greek struggles for political liberation could have neither the methods, nor the pace or the forms of the struggles of the Bulgarian population. What is more, the greater economic ad­vantages of the Greek element and their wide connections with the factors in power and with the foreigners in Macedonia were used, among other things in the struggle against the Bulgarian element, against its differentiation and con­solidation as a nation with specific national strivings and aspirations. Only thus can one explain the historical fact that the political institutions of the Greeks in Macedonia and all the other factors which acted in the name of their extreme national ideals did not engage even in an ordinary, let alone revolutionary ac­tivity in the struggle against the Turkish regime, as was the case with the Bulgarian element. This slow and gradual approach was objectively made necessary both by the economic privileges which the Greeks enjoyed under Turkish domination, and by the need to hinder and curtail the development of the tendencies towards differentiation among the Bulgarian population. By the way, this is the origin of the stupid idea of some of our superficial public figures and politicians that only actively expressed revolutionary energy and militant national power should be considered as a criterion of Macedonia's national af­filiation.

The truth is that among the oppressed nationalities in Macedonia, it was the Bulgarian and the Greek nationalities, each in its own sphere and with its own methods that played the greatest role and exerted the most decisive in­fluence. Their rivalry for predominance and their separate struggles against Turkish domination by legal, illegal and mixed means form the essence of the so-called Macedonian problem and are the determining elements of the Macedonian problem.

In the beginning these two nationalities, as we said, insofar as their strivings were expressed through their spiritual and political representatives in Macedonia itself, gave a special twist to their political struggle which had to maneuver skillfully and carefully in order to avoid the suspicions of the regime in power, on the one hand, and to avoid bringing disharmony into the traditions of the European diplomacy and traditions, imposed on it by the contradictions and rivalries in its own ranks, on the other. Broader freedom and less restricted self-government, weakening of the central government, foreign guarantees, foreign control and so on and so forth, always in the spirit of Article 23 of the Berlin Treaty, were the obvious slogans of the two nations: one of them — the Bulgarian, acted more boldly, more confidently and more selflessly, while the other - the Greek, acted with all the possible caution and tact, imposed by its specific position with regard to the Turkish regime and also with regard to its great rival - the Bulgarian nationality. However, the final goals of both nations or, rather, of their political representatives was separation from Turkey and the unification with their own countries.


The more conscious and intelligent Bulgarians in Macedonia, especially in the towns and villages in the interior, whose products found the easiest and most profitable outlets through the central ports of the Aegean (Sea) and who precisely through these gates used to supply themselves most easily and cheap­ly with everything they needed, began to realize, though vaguely, that their homes and their living in the future just as in the past will be indissolubly linked with these natural outlets and paths of economic relations and economic development, and that no matter what elements own and populate the thoroughfares and the ports, connections with them could not be severed without taking the risk of undermining their own living, their own economic future. This economic instinct, which was essentially correct, was deeply to in­fluence the ideas about the future organization of a free Macedonia, of a con­siderable part of the Bulgarian urban population and of the population in the larger villages with a higher economic culture. This logical change in the way of thinking, as far as it was an intellectual process, did not have to overcome serious opposition, because the propaganda of the official Bulgarian institutions in Macedonia was far from the achievements of Greek propaganda and its in­stitutions, which were both older and more influential and, mainly, richer, and had at their disposal as their instruments a large contingent of intelligent people - teachers, priests, traveling salesmen, etc., all of them equally skilled and in­spired to propagate with all possible means the great Hellenistic idea. And we see that, amidst the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, including their in­telligentsia, a new idea was born, the idea that Macedonia had to be preserved in it geographical boundaries whatever happened to the supremacy of the Turkish regime. This was precisely the idea about Macedonia's autonomy, about its self-government as an independent political unit even if certain con­nections with Turkey were formally preserved, as was once the case with Eastern Roumelia. This idea is Bulgarian. There is no sense in hiding the fact. Neither the Greeks or even less so, the Serbs, had ever thought about it and neither of them showed any interest in this idea; they were even less prepared to accept it as a principle in their struggle against Turkish despotism. There is no point in talking about the Serbs. But if the same causes produce the same effects, why didn't the Greek population in Macedonia follow this natural in­stinct which gave rise to the idea of autonomy among the Bulgarians? It is precisely in explaining this problem that we shall come across the reasons which discredited this idea even in the eyes of its natural bearers and which were the prelude to the terrible, deeply shocking and utterly disastrous events in the Balkans and around them, which made a wretched people, with all forces and with a still more powerful and ardent hope, cry to itself and to the whole
world: back to autonomy, back to the brotherhood among the Macedonian nations, back to Balkan unity and Balkan federation.


The idea of autonomous Macedonia in its original and popular form was a pure idea, devoid of any bias. As such it was an antidote to the cruel and deadly rivalries between Bulgarians and Greeks which immediately followed the spiritual struggles already under the banner of national unity and unifica­tion with free Bulgaria and Greece. The Bulgarians in Macedonia, the most oppressed and disenfranchised of all nationalities in Macedonia, had one more essential motive than the Greeks to give to their national differentiation a quick and practical expression under the form of a solution, of a fact. In the case of the Bulgarians the process of national differentiation reached a climax which was followed by a natural trend which was not in the spirit of the ideas and strivings of the official Bulgarian institutions and factors in Macedonia. United and strong, the Bulgarian population felt an immediate need to get rid of Turkish tyranny but as to the means of the struggle towards this end and then-own position under a future self-governed country, the objective reasons made it possible for them to digress somewhat from the official course; because they realized that Macedonia will be important for them only as an inseparable whole and that it cannot be and will never be such if the road of national separation was taken, nor could it ever enter integral within the boundaries of any Balkan country under the existing deep and irreconcilable Balkan and in­ternational rivalries. The instinct that Macedonia was an indivisible economic whole was propped up by the realization that no Balkan country was strong enough to conquer it and incorporate it as one whole in its realm. It was this in­stinct and this realization that gave birth to the idea of a real autonomy of Macedonia, and this idea called for new relations among the oppressed peoples in it and for the orientation of their joint efforts towards one common goal - the overthrow of Turkish absolutism and the proclamation of self-government of this region in its inviolate integrity.

This idea, however, remained only a Bulgarian idea until it finally dis­appeared even as a Bulgarian one. Neither the Greeks nor the Turks, nor any other nationality in Macedonia adopted this slogan. What is more: they declared themselves against it, against the idea of autonomy. Why? Why was it that the Greek population, represented by its institutions and leading factors, received this idea with hostility and opposed it? Because the Greek national movement in Macedonia was basically the result of an officially organized propaganda with long-range annexation aims and not a popular movement brought to life directly as a result of the specific nature of the Turkish regime. Because among the Bulgarians the idea of autonomy acquired a wider significance parallel with the creation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization which, being Bulgarian by its composition, was very determined and possessed an impressive militant power and force of resistance. The leadership of the Macedonian Greeks could not possibly range themselves under the banner of such an organization which could in no way become the instrument of Hellenism as a national ideal. And finally, because the free Greek Kingdom, a neighbour of Turkey, which directed the movement of the Macedonian Greeks through the powerful prestige of the Oecumenical Patriarchate, was neither large, nor powerful enough, especially after its defeat in Thessaly, to become the conqueror of and heir to the European part of Turkey. In Bulgaria the Greek Kingdom and its agents in Macedonia saw a stronger factor with a greater military prestige, and this required a negative at­titude towards the internal Bulgarian movement in general. The less educated Greek masses, especially the peasants, did not participate in the official Greek movement but under its influence they were at least indifferent towards the idea of an autonomous Macedonia adopted by the Bulgarians. Undoubtedly, since the Macedonian Greeks, the second largest nationality after the Bulgarian nationality, took this negative stand towards the idea of autonomy, the latter could not rely on any success and especially on any success in the near future, because its basic precondition, the united efforts and struggles, was lacking.

D. Hadjidimov, Back to Autonomy, 1919, pp. 21-6; the original is in Bulgarian.



In his article 'Our Problem' Dimo Hadjidimov dwells on the tragedy of the Macedonian Bulgarians


It does not date back to Bulgaria's military defeat, as many people here think and, as the enemies of the Bulgarian nation insist before European public opinion.

The historical Congress in Berlin, which rejected without great effort the Russian plan for a San Stefano Bulgaria and created instead a new territorial distribution and differentiation of part of the Turkish dominions in Europe, recorded by its vote on the Eastern Questions the formula that in the Balkans, this crossroad of world economic and political rivalry, only the existence of small states on a certain national basis could be conditionally accepted but by no means that of a large and powerful Mediterranean state, close to the walls of Constantinople.The Bulgarian nationality suffered most of all from this formula althoueh it had committed no sin before anyone. Its only sin was that it was located the middle of the Balkan roads to the south and to the east and the aftereffects of this fatal dismemberment and partition of this (same) nationality by at­taching certain parts of it to the territories of its neighbouring Balkan states ac­tually sanctified the elements of constant rivalry between them and Bulgaria the end of which cannot yet be seen. The nature of this rivalry was emphasized by the first armed clash between Bulgarians and Serbians in 1885 because of the Roumelian problem and with this fact the ideal I of uniting all Bulgarians received the first heavy blow. The blow did not come from Belgrade but from the formula of the Berlin Congress.

The Bulgarians, who remained under Turkish domination, felt from afar the pain from this blow, directed at the boat of Bulgaria at the dream for its restoration.

Since those first years after the memorable Congress, when the memory of the newly born and immediately stifled Bulgaria was still fresh, the Macedo­nian Bulgarians very naturally connected their striving for freedom with their dream to be placed under the trusteeship of a united Bulgaria. A naivete, un­derstandable for a nation which idealized its dreams, but which was later sobered up by the harsh language of the subsequent events in Turkey and around it. And it was not in the least necessary to come to a second and a third war in order to understand that what San Stefano Bulgaria had been to Berlin, Macedonia was to Athens, Belgrade and Bucharest and that by its geographical location and peculiarities Macedonia represents a totality of fears and dangers equal to ten Roumelias.

Unfortunately, the builders of the Bulgarian state policy failed to grasp to the end this sorry truth, this insuperable fatality which could be seen and realized well in the light of the harsh Macedonian reality. The results are well-known. Two disastrous defeats brought by the two political systems of Bulgarian statesmanship, led both Bulgaria and the Bulgarian part of Macedonia to the failure of their national strivings even as an idea, while it was only after these blows that Bulgarian diplomacy was able to realize the truth which sober Macedonian public opinion had long ago pointed out to Bulgaria. It was and is still a fact that ethnographical differentiations are neither possible nor admissible in Macedonia and that, although Macedonia is predominantly Bulgarian, it is not only Bulgarian and it is not Bulgarian precisely where it acquires its real value, i.e. its full economic and geographical boundaries, and that for this reason Bulgaria or any other Balkan country can conquer Macedonia only by stepping over the bodies of the other states and, moreover, only after receiving a mandate to impose itself through an armed protectorate over the entire Balkan Peninsula.

Where is this power to be received from? Where is the mandate to come from?

They were refused by Berlin when German arms were triumphant in their victory. They were refused both for Macedonia and for Dobroudja.

Would military cooperation with the Entente or with its Balkan allies have taken us to Syar (Seres), Kostour and Skopje, especially when we have in mind the famous treaty of 1912 for portioning the territory?

Yet Bulgarian state policy, or rather the policy of one or two Ministers of 'New Bulgaria' was not prepared to bear the consequences of the disasters. And it prepared its weapons for the struggle along the same old lines. The first of them was the brutal suppression of independent Macedonian thinking among the emigration and the refugees in Bulgaria. We shall, as a matter of duty, revert to this 'weapon' later and more often. As for the foreign weapons for the struggle with the outside world, we have been hearing them rattled for six months now, without frightening anybody. They are: the national principle, the historical documents and the right of the peoples to self-determination. If this is not enough - we also have the treaty of 1912. If only this is not enough - then we have the theory of the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the distance of the Macedonian towns from the old Bulgarian boundaries. Here we have an odd mixture of rights, principles, treaties and theories which are nothing but a well planned strategy for retreat through which Bulgarian state policy, in view of its insignificant prospects, will try not to lose everything.

Why should one then ask the Macedonian Bulgarians to link their fate with Bulgaria and to hold it near and dear? Especially when there is a way out of this tragedy, when there is a solution for which they had fought in the past (as well)!

At far more propitious moments they have resolutely risen even against the treaty of 1912, which with or without the application of the theory of the Prime Minister about the distance, subjected Bulgarian territories to foreign domination.

Today this treaty is the ideal of Bulgarian state policy. In order to make it real, at least in theory, this policy is prepared to sacrifice Kostour and Lerin and, by analogy, also Strouga and Ohrid, and other centres in Macedonia, in spite of the fact that they are undoubtedly Bulgarian, because they are too remote to enter within the boundaries of a 'united' Bulgaria ...

Is this the national principle and the right of the peoples to self-determination? Why should bankrupt state policy demand from a whole nation the heaviest sacrifice - to commit to national suicide through lack of will-power and silence?

Its best sons could not stand this shame. And in spite of all this they managed to break the wall and to lead the nation on its own road.

What are the prospects?

It is dark, it is very dark over the Macedonian land, sinking in blood. Sinister clouds hang over it. And if the fate of the coming hour envelops it with its latest cruelty and drives a dagger through its breast, what demons from the dark abysses of the universe could muffle with their shouts and howling the horrifying cries of a profaned national conscience, the conscience of the Macedonian Bulgarians, who in spite of their past, their history, their struggles and their heroism will have to yield to foreign domination due both to a historical fatality and to the incredible sins and errors of Bulgarian policy which has done everything to prevent them even at the last moment from showing themselves to the world in such a light, as to be understood by it?

Bulletin No. 1 of the Provisional Representation of the Former Internal Revolutionary Organization. Reprinted from the newspaper Makedonsko delo1 (Vienna), No. 6, of November 25,1925; the original is in Bulgarian.

Organ of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (United) founded on the basis of the ideas of the May 1924 Manifesto. The Constituent Conference of the Organization was held in October 1925.

From the memorandum of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in Great Britain
on the Bulgarian Peace Treaty and the question of Macedonia and her population


The declared policy of the Labour Party is no less fragrantly violated by the Peace terms presented to Bulgaria than it has been by the German and Austrian Treaties. The principle of self-determination has been completely aban­doned, and the only apparent principle underlying the terms is that of en­couraging the Imperialism of our Allies. These terms, unless revised, hold out no hope of permanent peace in the Balkans.

In Central and Southern Macedonia, the great majority of the population are Bulgarians. Under the Peace Treaty these people are again to be handed over, as they were by the Treaty of Bucharest, 1913, to the hated rule of the Serbian and Greek Governments, by whom they were relentlessly persecuted (in spite of the protests of the Serbian Socialists) during and after the Balkan wars; and Serbian territory is even to be increased by the annexation of the Strumnitza district, which admittedly contains no Serbian population whatever. If the Bulgarian character of Macedonia is contested, a plebiscite should be held under neutral auspices, and the inhabitants should be allowed to vote, if not for union with Bulgaria, at least for autonomy under the protection of the League of Nations, which the majority would probably prefer.

L. Buxton, The Black Sheep of the Balkans, London 1920, Appendix B, p. 185—186; the original is in English.


Final part of the memorandum to the President of the Paris Conference and the governments
 of the USA, Great Britain, Italy, France and Japan
from the Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods in Bulgaria

February 1919


From the numerous and irrefutable data adduced so far it is clear that Macedonia represents a geographical and ethnographical entity. On the North its boundaries are delineated by the great mountain chains which stretch almost unbroken from the West to the East, beginning with Shar Mountain, passing through Skopska Chema Gora, through the mountain which marks the watershed of the Vardar and Morava in the Preshovo area and further on through Ossogovo Mountain and Rila Mountain to Mount Moussala, where the easternmost boundary of Macedonia begins; from here on it follows the western slopes of the Rhodope Mountains to the south-east down to the river Mesta above the village of Bouk, and then it follows the bed of the river down to the Aegean (Sea). The southern boundary of Macedonia begins from the mouth of the Mesta and follows the coastline, embracing the Chalcidice Penin­sula way down to the mouth of the river Bistritsa from where it goes upstream up to the river's sources, after which it turns westwards through the watershed towards the source of the river Devol and reaches the Albanian mountains. There the western boundary of Macedonia turns northwards, passing through the mountains west of Lake Ohrid and of Debur, and reaching the southern slopes of the Shar mountain chain.

The overwhelming majority of the population of Macedonia is of Bulgarian nationality. The Greeks to the south, the Albanians to the west and the Turks, scattered like isolated oases throughout the country, form an infiltra­tion without changing the overall ethnographic nature of the region, as can be clearly seen from the enclosed ethnographic map.

If, in spite of our expectations, all the above-mentioned arguments prove insufficient to convince beyond any doubt the competent factors of the real national character of the long-suffering country, we beg you to make arrangements according to the principle of the self-determination of the nations, for a referendum to be held among the Macedonian population under the following indispensable conditions:

1. To eliminate all Serbian and Greek authorities from Macedonia, which should be occupied by an unbiased country with rights to all administrative functions. This is necessary so that the population may express its wishes in complete freedom and without fear.

2. The Macedonian émigrés driven to Bulgaria by the intolerable foreign regimes to be given the possibility of returning to their native places and take part in the eventual plebiscite.

3. To give to the numerous Macedonian émigrés in America an opportuni­ty to have their say regarding the future fate of their homeland to which they would most probably return under a free government.

4. The Greeks and Serbians, resettled in Macedonia after 1913 in order to dilute the Bulgarian element, to be deprived of the right to vote as foreigners in that country.

Mr. President,

The Macedonian population, which for a quarter of a century now have been waging a hard revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice in their native land, have declared on more than one occasion, and they are reiterating it now, that they prefer an independent Macedonia to a Macedonia divided among its neighbouring countries - a partition at which Serbia and Greece were striving with all their might.

But today, when all territorial problems will be solved on the basis of the national principle, so solemnly proclaimed by you, and also in the interest of supreme justice and of lasting peace in the Balkans, the Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods on behalf of the 200,000-strong emigration in Bulgaria and of the Macedonian population which cannot freely express their will now, we most politely beg you, Mr. President, to intercede before the supreme areopagus of the freedom-loving Great Powers which will decide the destinies of the nations and will establish the frontiers of their states, and to contribute to Macedonia's unification, whole and indivisible, with the common motherland - mother Bulgaria. We believe that today, when states erased from the maps centuries ago, are being restored, your enlightened mind and your sense of justice will not permit a heroic martyr-nation, which has given proof at the cost of innumerable lives of its high national awareness, you will not permit such a vital nation to be divided among its greedy neighbours and to continue to bemoan its fate under foreign domination.

With the strong hope that the Macedonian problem will finally be solved correctly, according to the wish of the Macedonian population expressed on many occasions, and that the population will thereby be spared new struggles and sufferings, and we, the exiled sons of Macedonia, will be able to go back to our dear homes and join our relatives and friends, where the sacred dust of our ancestors lies in peace, we beg you, Mr. President, to accept the expression of our deep respect.

Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods

(The signatures follow)

Memorandum to the President of the Peace Conference and to the Governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, Italy, France and Japan from the Executive Committee of the Macedo­nian Brotherhoods   in Bulgaria, Sofia,   1919 pp. 58-60; the original is in Bulgarian.
Memorandum of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization signed by the representatives of the Organization Abroad,
A. Protogerov
1 and T. Alexandrov2 to the Paris Conference for allowing representatives
of the Macedonian Bulgarians to attend the Conference and present their demands

March 1st, 1919

Mr. President,

The horrible aftereffects of the World War will obviously be atoned for by a future order which will place certain nations under much better conditions than the ones in which they were before the war. The foundation of this order will be mainly based on an important principle specifically emphasized in the famous speech made before the Congress by the present head of the great American democracy on February 12, 1918, i.e., the Fourth of the principles which have to be implemented in the new world order, if this order is to be lasting.

It was precisely the disparaging attitude to this important basic principle in the new history of Europe on the part of the competent political factors that was largely the cause for the outbreak of the World War as Mr. Wilson aptly pointed out in his above-mentioned speech: 'This war had its roots in the non-observance of the rights of the small nations and races which lacked the unity and strength to establish their demands, their own state affiliation and their own pattern of political life.' (Retranslation from the Bulgarian - Ed. Note). One of the main reasons for this war was the fatal solution of the Bulgarian question by European diplomacy at the Berlin Congress in 1878. There, in complete dis regard of the will of the Bulgarian people, expressed in their joint efforts for their liberation, the unity of the nation was disrupted and an important part of it once more remained under Turkish domination. This solution of the problem created the situation which gave rise to the constant unrest in Macedonia which, in a string of events, led to Bulgaria's war against Turkey, and later, to the fatal strife among the Balkan allies, to the unfortunate Bucharest Peace and from there on, in an obvious causal relation - to the World War.

The joint efforts of the entire Bulgarian nation during the period of its spiritual Revival until the first half of the 19th century resulted in its liberation from the Greek church hierarchy and in the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church - the Exarchate, while, from the political point of view, the unity of the Bulgarian people was recognized within its ethnographic boun­daries, first, by decision of the Constantinople Conference (1877) and later in the Treaty of San Stefano, which gave an even fuller recognition of these fron­tiers. Unfortunately, the Berlin Treaty destroyed this unity because of con­siderations which the history of the Balkan Peninsula over the past forty years and the recent European War have proved to be basically wrong.

The Bulgarian Constituent Assembly in Turnovo at which delegates from Macedonia were also present, expressed its protest, and the Macedonian pop­ulation voiced its indignation at the injustice committed in Berlin by organizing a few isolated, though poorly prepared uprisings, i.e. in October of the same year in the valley of Strouma and in Razlog, and, two years later — in Prilep and Ohrid. English and Russian documents from that period testify that these uprisings were spontaneous manifestations of the population itself.

Thus the Macedonian question appeared on the scene immediately after the Berlin Congress and later it began seriously to threaten peace in the Balkans.

The Berlin Congress is also to blame for the unfortunate fact that the Serbs were diverted from their natural expansion towards the Serbian lands and their strivings were directed southwards, towards Bulgarian Macedonia. The first result of this new orientation of Serbian policy was Serbia's war against' Bulgaria in connection with the latter's unification with Eastern Roumelia in 1885. The Macedonians, who took part in this war, forming special volunteer detachments convinced themselves that Serbia was going to be the most ruthless enemy of the unification of the Bulgarian people.

 Meanwhile Turkish rule, especially after Bulgaria became stronger, had resumed its old methods of oppressing the Bulgarians in Macedonia. On the other hand, the already-mentioned striving of Serbia, coupled with similar aspirations for conquest on the part of Greece, made the Macedonian popula­tion think seriously about its national future. This brought to life the idea of an organized struggle with the aim of saving Macedonia from dismemberment and of guaranteeing a better life at least within the provisions of Article 23 of the Berlin Treaty, which envisaged a certain amount of self-government under the sovereignty of the Sultan. It was with this purpose in mind that the original foundations of the revolutionary organization were laid, an organization which took its final shape in 1893-94, under the leadership of the Central Revolutionary Committee, headed by its founders Damyan Grouev and Gotse Delchev. As a reflection of the same reasons there almost simultaneously emerged among the numerous emigrants in Bulgaria a similar revolutionary organization, headed by a 'Supreme Revolutionary Committee' pursuing the same aims.

Within a few years the Organization managed to become a real force, backed by the entire nation, in a wonderful cohesion and confidence which can appear only in nations which have consciously embraced a lofty national ideal, the more so that conditions in Turkey required heavy sacrifices from the peaceful population as well. We shall not describe the latter's loyalty to the Organization; it has been adequately emphasized by unbiased foreign witnesses. Let us quote here the honoured H. N. Brailsord (Macedonia, Its Races and Their Future, London, 1906);

'The more one learned to know of the Bulgarians of Macedonia, the more one came to respect their patriotism and courage ... And yet these men, when the occasion came to throw their lives away for any definite purpose, were capable of an utterly reckless heroism. The Committee never found a difficulty in obtaining volunteers for such work as mining, bridge-wrecking or bomb-throwing, which involved almost certain death.' (pp. 167-68).

'The Organization was democratic in form but revolutionary in its means. The Committee heading the Organization knew how to inspire the masses and specially the young people for heroic deeds and self-sacrifice. Gradually it won over the more prudent peasants, well-to-do tradesmen and intelligentsia as well as the young reckless ones. Discipline and organization were the main tasks during long years of work when the plan had to mature and patience remained its typical positive feature among all sorts of tempting hopes and persecution. It was full of enthusiasm like every revolutionary movement, but still more signifi­cant was the striving towards the methodical implementation of the plan in detail. Here again the natural bent of the Bulgarian people towards labour was expressed.' (pp. 116-8).

Relying on the boundless confidence of the population, the Organization also succeeded in influencing to a great extent the social life of the people by imposing its own secret courts for the settlement of cases of a civil and criminal character; it carried out a series of measures with the aim of improving the economic condition of the working population, etc. With this activity the Organization personified the strivings of the people for freedom and self-determination.

After preparing and educating the population for a continuous armed struggle against a powerful and tenacious military state like Turkey, the Organization proceeded to the Uprisings of 1902 and 1903, provoked by the well-known brutal measures taken by the Turkish government in order to crush the revolutionary movement. The first uprising which broke out in the border areas of Macedonia, in Djoumaya district, led by the Bulgarian General Tsonchev and Colonels Yankov and Nikolov, was followed by such atrocities on the part of the Turkish troops that the peaceful population of these areas had to flee for their lives en masse across the frontiers into Bulgaria. The measures, taken by the Turkish government to prevent the spreading of the movement to other regions, made it necessary for the Organization to speed up the nation-wide uprising which was planned to begin later. It was declared in the summer of 1903, on Elijah's Day, August 2nd, practically throughout Macedonia and in parts of Eastern Thrace, and was led mainly by Damyan Grouev and Boris Saratov. The centre of the uprising was in South-East Macedonia, around Bitolya and Kroushevo. The insurgents were the complete masters of the situation for several weeks. But finally they had to retreat before the huge Turkish military forces. Apart from the great losses, suffered by the insurgents, the peaceful population severely suffered from the cruelties of the Turkish troops which, on top of everything, destroyed and burned down as many as 130 Bulgarian villages.

In the Blue, Yellow and Green books about the 1903 uprising there are many documents proving both the strength and the Bulgarian character of the movement.

What was the guiding idea of the people who rose in arms?

Naturally, the innermost national feelings made the people strive for state unification with Bulgaria, but bitter experience and the great risks connected with the realization of this dream of the people had convinced the population that it should set itself an easier task. The leaders of the Organization, representing the common sense of the Bulgarian, were looking for a practical solution of this complex problem in order to avoid All-Balkan conflicts and es­pecially an eventual partition of Macedonia, which was the only aim of the policy of Serbia and Greece. Due to these considerations, they, with a wise resignation, were sincerely trying to achieve the following aim through the up­rising: to provoke the intervention of the European Powers so that Turkey would be compelled to grant autonomous rights to Macedonia and to the Odrin area.

Here we must point out that the Bulgarians living in Turkish Thrace, guided by the same considerations, had found the idea of autonomy as the only salutary idea for themselves, as well, and that is why they joined the cause of the Organization; as a result of this, it was named 'Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization.'

Acting in accordance with its already mentioned political programme, the Organization was also making diplomatic representations to the Great Powers informing them of its aims in written statements or publications and by special delegations sent to the governments of the Powers. Both in 1903 and in 1912, on the eve of the Balkan Wars, such delegations were sent only to the governments of the liberal Western Powers and Russia. In 1903 the delegation, consisting of the Macedonian professors Miletich and Georgov, had the honour of being favourably heard and encouraged by the most honoured President of the Peace Conference, M. Clemenceau. In the written demands of the delega­tion stress has always been laid on the need to place all Macedonia under a regime of self-government supervised by the Great Powers.

A direct political result of this activity of the Organization were the reforms which the Powers imposed on Turkey under the programme adopted in Miirzsteg at the meeting of the Emperors on September 30, 1903. As is well-known, a most essential demand was missing from this programme - a demand which was the only guarantee that the reforms would be implemented, i.e., the appointment of a Christian Governor General who was not directly dependent on Constantinople. Because of this and in spite of the good will of the civilian agents and of the European gendarmerie officers, these reforms did not produce palpable results, helping to pacify the country.

For its part, the Organization tried to enlarge the intervention of the Great Powers by pointing out the inadequacy of the reforms and the need to extend them. The logical end of this activity would have inevitably been the factual separation of Macedonia from the direct rule of the Porte. The Turks realized this and counteracted with the tested means of their centuries-old policy.

They skillfully used the reaction of the Serbian and Greek propaganda - a fact which is amply illustrated in the reports of the consuls and the gendarmerie officers.

The fear of an extension of the reforms, especially after the meeting in Reval, brought about the coup of the Young Turks in 1908. The Organization had no illusions as to the aftereffects of the coup, but, in order to give proof of its conciliatory spirit, it discontinued its activities, while preserving its cadres.

For its part, the Macedonian Bulgarian population, believing in the possibility of the advent of a peaceful era with a more liberal political regime under which the most elementary rights of the citizens could be guaranteed, made haste to organize politically, and founded throughout the country the so-called Constitutional Clubs which adopted district self-government as their aim.

The regime of the Young Turks did not live up to the expectations of the population but, on the contrary, the situation deteriorated because of the policy of Ottomanization pursued by the Young Turks, under which the authorities began to deprive the nationalities of their former church and school rights and to carry out an artificial colonization at the expense of the Bulgarian working population, to disarm this population, accompanying this campaign by inquisition and atrocities, to exterminate the known participants in the revolutionary movement, etc. This made the population rally again around the Organization and try to find with its methods a way out of the difficult situation, rendered even more difficult by the fact that the Great Powers had called back their con­trol organs from the country and had given their full support to the Young Turks' regime. The subsequent events are much too recent to need a detailed description. The massacres in Shtip, Kochani, etc., in 1911 and 1912 have shown to all how the Young Turks intended to solve the Macedonian question.

Finally, in 1912, the Balkan nations, equally threatened by the Turkish policy of Ottomanization, joined in an alliance.

During the Balkan War, the Organization put all its forces at the disposal of the allies. We do not have in mind only the 20,000 Macedonians who formed the Macedonian volunteer corps, or the scores of thousands of Macedonian of­ficers and men in the Bulgarian regular army. Very soon, however, when the Serbs and the Greeks settled in Macedonia, disillusionment set in. The Macedo­nian population saw that Bulgaria's allies wanted to remain there as con­querors. When the conflict between the Balkan allies became acute, the Organization did not fail to warn that if the Macedonian question was not solved fairly according to the wishes of the population, it reserved the right to resume its activities.

During the Inter-Allied (2nd Balkan) War, the Macedonian population watched with an aching heart the retreat of Bulgaria's liberating armies, but it did not lose hope in the triumph of its cause.

For this long-suffering militant population the Treaty of Bucharest was a harder blow than that dealt in Berlin. But the very enormity of the injustice up­held its hope for a better future.

And immediately after the signing of this fatal treaty, the population -again through its lawful representative, the Organization - sent a special delegation to the governments of the Entente in order to protest against the partition of Macedonia and its subordination to foreign domination in spite of the will of the population, and to declare that this treaty bore only the seeds of new conflicts in the Balkan Peninsula, which is what has actually happened.

In spite of the large-scale massacres, committed by Serbians and Greeks during the Inter-Allied War and later established by the Carnegie enquiry, and in spite of the horrible regime, introduced by them in Macedonia, which, accor­ding to the testimony of a Russian correspondent, had established dead silence in Macedonia, and, according to an expression in the Carnegie enquiry, had turned the country from a cemetery into a hell (p. XXIII), the Bulgarian pop­ulation in Macedonia remained adamant in its loyalty to the national ideal and grew to hate the uninvited impostors even more. As a French officer of the Eastern Army testifies, the Serbian officials felt like foreign in Macedonia, as the Germans did in Alsace and Lorraine (Jean Saison, D'Lasace a la Cema, Paris, Plon., 1918).

The draconian measures in Macedonia did not prevent the population even under these circumstances from pursuing the revolutionary struggle which it had discontinued. As in Turkish times, revolutionary armed detachments appeared, defending the population from arbitrary acts and helped to safety the persecuted more enlightened elements. Besides, the detachments also engaged in sporadic daring actions. The majority of the newly enlisted Macedonians fled to the woods or to Bulgaria to avoid serving the odious foreign rule, while those who were not able to escape and were taken to Kraguevac, refused at risk of their lives to take the oath to King Peter and many of them paid with their lives for this.

Such was the situation in Macedonia when the great European War broke out. The Macedonian population still believed that this world conflict, which began in the Balkans, could not possibly fail to affect its fate as well. This fate was also the only concern of Bulgarian policy, Bulgaria, which had already waged two wars for the liberation of Macedonia and had suffered heavy casualties which further strengthened the centuries-old links among the Bulgarian lands, had to take advantage of the new situation in order to find a correct solution to the Macedonian question.

Unfortunately, the irreconcilability of the Serbs foiled the good intentions of the forces which saw in Macedonia's return to Bulgaria an act of justice and a way out of the difficult situation. Finally Bulgaria confronted its neighbours and its armies entered Macedonia, welcomed from Shar to Ohrid with excep­tional enthusiasm. Everywhere the population afforded the greatest possible cooperation to the advancing fraternal armies and spared no sacrifices in order to facilitate their task.

Mr President,

The Macedonian question lies at the roots of the Balkan conflicts. It is one of the causes for the misfortunes, suffered by all civilized nations in Europe. All authoritative voices up till now have been unanimous in their view that there will be no peace in the Balkans until the Macedonian question is correctly solved. And this correct solution could be achieved if the principles of President Wilson were fully applied in the Balkans as well.

The World War also offered a special opportunity to prove the Bulgarian character of the Macedonian population as well as its political strivings: all belligerent nations were able to see this population in its own country, in the most unfavourable conditions.

In solving this problem the victorious Powers should not confuse their assessment of Bulgaria's conduct with the right of the Macedonian population to have its will respected. Because no other country, whose destinies are deter­mined by the Peace Conference/has such a right to their feeling of justice (titre a leur justice) as Macedonia. And in this case nobody knows better this right than the Powers which victory has entrusted today with such a great historic mission.

The Macedonian population wishes Macedonia to remain indivisible and under no circumstances to be left under the domination of Serbia and Greece.

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, expecting from the great areopagus of world conscience a just solution of the Macedonian ques­tion, has folded its banners, but relying on its past, full of strenuous struggles for the self-determination of Macedonia, in the name of its dead and in the name of the principles proclaimed by the victorious Powers, begs the honourable Peace Conference to allow its delegation to present the demands and aspirations of the Macedonian Bulgarian population.

If other nations, which have not fought so much for their liberty and have suffered fewer casualties than the Macedonian Bulgarians, have been admitted to the Peace Conference and have been able through special delegations to express their national aspirations, we think that it is all the more justified to give the Macedonians the opportunity to defend their national cause themselves. Now it is not possible for the entire Macedonian population freely and directly to express its national wishes, since more than two thirds of it are under foreign, and in this case hostile and biased rule. On the other hand, the Internal Macedonian Organization, whose leading bodies have been elected at a General Congress by representatives of the great majority of the population, which always in similar cases has expressed the wishes of this population and whose old and close connections with this population have not been severed, considers itself the most authorized body which, by a special delegation to the Peace Conference, could competently represent the entire Bulgarian population in Macedonia.

On the basis of what has been stated above, the Macedonian Organization ventures to ask, Mr. President, for your valuable assistance so that for the above-mentioned purpose, a delegation of the Organization be allowed to appear before the Peace Conference in Paris.

Allow us, Mr. President, to express our thanks in advance and to assure you of our highest consideration.

Memoran­dum of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization to the Representatives of the Great Powers at the Conference, Sofia, 1919, pp. 3-8; the original is in Bulgarian.

One of the leaders of the nationalistic IMRO. Bom in 1867 in the town of Ohrid. Member of the Central Committee of the IMRO. Assassinated in 1928 by the faction of Mihailov.
2  One of the leaders of the nationalistic IMRO. Born in 1881 in the town of Shtip. Member of the Central Committee of the IMRO. Assassinated in 1924 by opposition members of the Organization with the help of the government of Alexander Tsankov.
Statement 1 of the Provisional Representation of the former United Internal Revolutionary Organization
to the members of the Bulgarian government on the fate of Macedonia at the signing of the Peace Treaty

May 30th, 1919

The hour, the terrible hour of destiny is approaching. The Bulgarians on this side of the border are awaiting it with excitement and anxiety, the Bulgarians on the other side are awaiting it with fear and terror. The ghost of disaster and death hovers above a whole nation. A whole nation is facing the unparalleled tragedy of its lot, of its future.

The victim is Macedonia. It has bowed its head to force, to the Fist, but nobody can deprive it of its sacred right to raise a voice for itself, a voice for its fate, a voice for its destinies. And it is raising it.

This voice, raised before the enemies, raised, before the victors, raised before international conscience and before the awakening feeling of human solidarity, this voice we are raising at the eleventh hour before the Bulgarian government, too, and before the representatives of the political movements in Bulgaria, before the entire Bulgarian population.

The question is: is it possible, is it necessary to save the Bulgarian nation from foreign political domination?

The Macedonian Bulgarians reply in the affirmative to this question and think that the only way out is to create an independent Macedonia within its natural geographic boundaries, with equality among all populations, irrespec­tive of their numerical size and with its neutrality placed under the protection of the League of Nations.


We, the representatives of the former United Internal Revolutionary Organization, have done everything we could to raise and substantiate the above demand, backed up by all Macedonia, before the world and before the Peace Conference in Paris itself. Expressing the will of all Macedonian Bulgarians who have remained in their native place and of its sons who have been driven away from their homes, we have a whole series of arguments which cannot be refuted, unless in Paris an end is put to every idea and humaneness, unless crude force prevails there and the policy of forcible conquests takes the upper hand, regardless of the confusion into which this policy will throw the conscience of mankind.

Our demands rise above victory and defeat, we stand above victors and vanquished and we are raising a banner which rallies populations from both camps and which is being raised by eminent humanists and philanthropists from the nations which dictate peace. The right of the victor, the right of force are already shaken from their moral foundations as far as the future of Macedonia is concerned. The idea of its independence is gaining ground, because it is an independent idea and because even now it shows the only way to lay the foundations — here, in the Balkans which are constantly aflame - of the dream close to the heart of every man: understanding and peace among nations.

But in the difficult struggle for the triumph of the Macedonian ideal, the Macedonian Bulgarians there, here and everywhere, are especially worried by the fact that there is no unanimity between the two halves of the Bulgarian na­tion, that Bulgaria, represented by its government and its policy, has taken a different road which clearly and definitely leads to the obliteration of the name of Macedonia as a historical notion, to the destruction of its political integrity and its future existence.

We realize very well that today Macedonia's fate does not depend on Bulgaria's will no matter how irrefutable the latter's moral right may be to take part in a controversy in which history is on its side. And if tomorrow Macedonia is subjected to the domination of a foreign power, it will not be Bulgaria that will be held responsible for this. Today a whole array of enemies are brandishing their swords above Bulgaria and inside it and they have yet to have their say about its future fate. They have already said it, they are repeating it every day and every hour and are earnestly working to make it prevail in Paris, in order to get its supreme sanction.

The governments of Greece and Serbia have only one serious argument which artificially mars the struggle for Macedonian independence in order to compromise it and to handicap its drive to destroy it. This argument is that they have won victory over Bulgaria in alliance with the forces of the Entente and that the allied undertakings and the casualties they have suffered in the war give them at least the right to annex the territories, which have not been always under Bulgarian domination and which were left by Bulgaria after its military defeat.

We have had our say on this argument long ago. We, the representatives of the Macedonian population, here, as well as representatives of other Macedonian nationalities from other places, have made our objections which were necessary and which had the moral power to shatter the official positions of the two Balkan countries which want to own lands irrespective of their ethnic composition.

But we and everyone like us, could, with our modest efforts, only in­fluence the conscience and morality of the circles which are in touch with those sitting at the Peace Conference in Paris, we can only take a moral stand at the conference itself, and consequently, we can rely on any success only insofar as at least a particle of justice may triumph, apart from force, at this conference of victors.

Are there any other and stronger ways to save Macedonia, to save the Bulgarian nation, to save everything that can be saved?

We dare answer this question in the affirmative. This way is the attitude of the Bulgarian government, when it is faced with the solution of the problems affecting Macedonia.


Now that the most tragic moment for a nation, like the Bulgarian one, is approaching, now that the hour when half of this nation will either be free like the other half, or will have to scatter all over the world, cursing its fate, is perhaps only a few weeks away, we, modest sons of Macedonia, insignificant before the greatness of its history and of its struggle for freedom and peace, take the liberty, on behalf of all our compatriots and on behalf of a land drowned in tears and blood, sinking in ruins and horror - the sepulcher of a great deceased, symbolized by a sea of unparalleled idealism and complete national self-sacrifice - of addressing to the Bulgarian government, to all political parties in Bulgaria and to all Bulgarian citizens the following desperate appeal of the Macedonian Bulgarians - an appeal which if it is not heard, if it is not understood, if it is not appraised, if it is rejected, no matter how - whether in silence, with contempt, with indignation or with brutality and violence - there will be no force on earth which could heal the deep wounds in the soul of a nation, which was born for life, which has lived in constant struggles for life and which has ended its glorious history in slavery and shame, because it has been abandoned at the last moment by its own brothers ...

This appeal is not being addressed for the first time now. It has been voiced for a long time. It was launched through us and through our activity as long as six months ago, and, if we were reluctant to raise it directly before the Bulgarian government, this was due to two reasons: first, because we live and act on the territory of Bulgaria, in whose internal affairs and foreign policy we did not want and could not interfere in our capacity of representatives of a na­tion outside its boundaries; second, because we still had hopes in the inevitable and imminent renovation of Bulgaria and in the orientation of its policy along new ways opposite to those which led it to devastation and disaster, while our own homeland was completely ruined and literally destroyed.

But every passing day puts us under the steadily growing pressure of the hundreds and thousands of refugees from Macedonia who have found shelter here, who are urging us to take their appeal not indirectly but directly to the face of the Bulgarian government, a government so close to us. We feel impelled to do what is required of us, what Macedonia wants us to do, what half of the Bulgarian nation wants us to do.

We are prepared to bear all the responsibilities which a historical delusion might require of us, accusing us of betraying the 'national idea,' of undermining the ideal of the 'national unification' of the Bulgarian nation. We are even prepared to bear the lot of 'apostates' and 'traitors' if today these notions have the same connotation as in the past; we are prepared for everything that will appease and sufficiently avenge the 'patriotism' of an epoch that has gone bankrupt, and with this readiness, guided by our duty and our conscience, we have decided to approach the Bulgarian government directly and to declare on behalf of the Macedonian Bulgarians, who will immediately support our action because it is their action, that it has a duty to fulfill towards them, towards itself and towards Bulgaria - a duty which, in our view, is neither understood, nor pursued, but, on the contrary, is shunned and avoided with a peculiar tenacity, in spite of the fact that the fatal hour is approaching.

The overwhelming majority of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, which was driven away from its motherland and has found shelter in fraternal Bulgaria, is overtly, and in certain cycles tacitly, but deeply and genuinely worried at the position of the Bulgarian government on the national question, which excludes the idea of a self-governed and independent Macedonia. The Macedonian Bulgarians cannot fathom how it is possible for a Bulgarian government which is so close to them, to take a negative stand on this idea, which has already been embraced by foreigners as well, and in so doing, to come to the aid of Serbia and Greece whose cherished dream is to consolidate their supremacy over a foreign territory and a foreign people.

If today official Bulgaria invests the concept of Bulgarian nationalism with its real national content, which can be above all and mainly the rescuing of the Bulgarian element from foreign political domination, why does the Bulgarian government adopt a negative stand towards the idea of an autonomous Macedonia when it can and must accept it wholeheartedly and without any reservations in its pure form and with a chance of success?

We, together with all our compatriots both there and here, do not under­stand why we should have to pose such a question at all to a government con­sisting of Bulgarians.

The Macedonian Bulgarians feel their hearts poisoned at the prospect of having tomorrow, at the decisive moment, the Serbian and Greek government sweep away the idea of a separate Macedonia - an idea for the realization of which we have the support of men of world renown from the civilized nations and among the best friends of the Bulgarians, with the argument that Bulgaria is also opposed to this idea and that it also does not want the foundation of the new member of the Balkan family of nations.

This argument could be utterly crushed, if the Bulgarian government -without retreating one step from its historical documents to which we are len­ding our staunch support by refusing to recognize the Serbian and Greek domination in Macedonia, thereby providing the most irrefutable proof of their authenticity - were to declare openly and solemnly to the Peace Conference and to the whole world that Bulgaria's national aspirations would be fully and most adequately satisfied by the creation of a separate political unit in the Balkans, internationally protected against any territorial aspirations from the outside, while also solemnly emphasizing in this declaration that Bulgaria is a Bulgaria of the new times, a Bulgaria of peace, of concord, of friendship and brotherhood with the Balkan peoples, with whom it has nothing more to share in the future but the happiness of a Balkan family which has found reconcilia­tion and has forever forgotten all misunderstandings and strife.

Why doesn't the Bulgarian government; do that when this is its duty to the Bulgarian nation, a duty to the Bulgarian race?

The Macedonian Bulgarians, fully realizing that the idea of an indepen­dent Macedonia is not accidental or new, but is based on solid foundations, among which the fact of Bulgaria's defeat is of the least importance, and that for this reason it also becomes an idea of circles and factors outside Bulgaria and outside the Macedonian population itself, they cannot understand, they are powerless to understand why the Bulgarian government should persist in con­sidering the Macedonian question only in the light of the 'national unification,' which in actual fact does not lead to any unification but only undermines the moral advantages of the idea of an independent Macedonia - an idea which is about to triumph especially with the precious assistance of foreigners over the purely predatory aspirations of Serbia and Greece, which are already shaken in their assurance that they will be able to impose themselves at all costs.

Should Bulgaria, represented by its government, contribute even slightly to the realization of the plans for the conquerors?

On behalf of all our compatriots and on behalf of Macedonia we loudly and clearly declare: No, it should not!

The Macedonian Bulgarians, who love their name and their land, who also love all their free brothers the way one loves freedom and justice when one does not enjoy them, fully realize that even after the rout the policy of the Bulgarian government follows the same lines, which were mapped out in the past and which, with or without treaties, both in victory and defeat, led towards Macedonia's partitioning. And today this same policy leads to something else and far more terrifying: not to a dismemberment by agreement, not to partition on the basis of certain principles, but to pure and simple enslavement by the force of arms, by the force of afait-accompli, irrespective of the will of the peo­ple whose land is being seized. A Bulgarian policy could not possibly follow such a path.

Anything may happen tomorrow. The Bulgarian government may take any conceivable stand when it goes to the Peace Conference. Here, in Bulgaria, all its acts may find an apparent approval, an outward satisfaction. We cannot prevent this.

But the Macedonian Bulgarians, the entire Bulgarian population in Macedonia and all the refugees here and abroad, before they bow their heads to destiny, before they start forging new weapons for struggle, new weapons for freedom and independence, before they scatter in foreign lands, before they start looking for support elsewhere, will sigh deeply and will utter a final shout from the bottom of their hearts:

We cannot expect mercy from our enemies, we shall keep dear memories of our foreign friends for their readiness to help us without having the duty to do it because of any national feelings or bonds of kinship, but, give us the strength to smother that incomparable feeling of sorrow and distress which rends our hearts at the horrible fact that the government of 'nationalism,' of 'unification,' of 'freedom and independence' of the Bulgarian nation has helped to plunge us into slavery and shame only in order to get two inches of Macedo­nian land, or not even a single inch, that it has opposed Macedonia's indepen­dent existence only in order to exchange it for acquisitions, the value and size of which nobody will know until the last moment.

We raise this voice of the Macedonian Bulgarians which is, at the same time, an appeal to the Bulgarian government to fulfill its duty to the nation and we address it to it, testifying that this is the voice, this is the appeal of Macedonia and of everything that bears a Bulgarian name and has a Bulgarian consciousness.

Will this appeal be heard at this last moment?

Will the voice of common sense be heard, especially when Bulgaria has nothing to lose but, on the contrary, its positions and its chances of getting compensation elsewhere not only will not weaken but will become stronger after it solemnly joins the new life, the new future, the basis of which will not and cannot be anything but an integral, independent Macedonia?

If, in this difficult and terrible contest of forces and interests in Paris, there is even a slight possibility for Bulgaria to contribute to the solution of the Macedonian question in such an ideal way and the government of this country fails to do it, it will assume a heavy responsibility to the whole Bulgarian nation, to its future and its history.

This is what Macedonia thinks, this is what the Macedonian Bulgarians think.

They consider it inadmissible for Bulgaria, as a fraternal country, to take with its hand a morsel of Macedonia's lacerated body, even if it were thrown to it despite its will!

Will the Bulgarian government permit this? If it does, the Macedonian brothers will be horrified by the shame of using them and their homes as a bargaining counter, in a way that is undeserved and unworthy of their history and their past, with the participation of the Bulgarian government in the auc­tion - a government which would be allegedly expressing the policy of 'national unification' of the Bulgarian people, of its 'complete' political libera­tion ...

Finally, the Macedonian Bulgarians, residing in Bulgaria, are following with particular interest the evolution of public thinking on the national question, no matter how much its freedom in this field may be limited by the strict cen­sorship imposed by the government. Never have our compatriots been dis­turbed or worried by the fact that only in rare cases has this thinking been directed to the most beneficial and salutary road both for Macedonia and for Bulgaria. Yet may we dare here to express to the Bulgarian government the justified indignation felt by our compatriots lately, when speakers from different political parties have started their election campaign by reverting to the old method of explaining the naiveté of the electorate by raising, especially before the Macedonian refugees and emigrants, the attractive slogan of Macedonia's autonomy, this same autonomy in the defense of which the political bodies have not said a single word so far.

This is the new and latest mockery of a nation when nothing has been done for its future fate and everything has been done to make this fate hopeless and horrible.

We declare to the Bulgarian government and to the political parties in Bulgaria that, for the conscious and honest emigrant circles in Bulgaria, the question of the elections does not arise. There is only one question which ab­sorbs their whole attention and moves their souls: what will the members of the Bulgarian government do, what will the political parties that form this govern­ment do before the elections for peace and before peace itself.

The fate of the Macedonian Bulgarians does not depend on the elections in Bulgaria but on the stand of the Bulgarian government before the Peace Conference has formulated its decision on the Macedonian question. And the Bulgarian government can take this stand at this very moment, provided it is imbued with the national ideal of the two parts of the Bulgarian nation,

The Bulgarians from Macedonia still hope to get the Bulgarian government's backing for their efforts, but, if it has decided to follow its own path to pursue its former policy, which we have neither the force nor the desire to oppose, except along the path of our ideological struggle, we take the liberty of declaring, fully aware that we are expressing the common wish of our com­patriots here which they will not fail to express before long in support of our step, that every effort to send to the Peace Conference representatives of in­stitutions like 'the Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods' or other representative bodies, with the view of expressing the will of the Macedo­nian population, will be followed by a formal protest on behalf of the United Internal Revolutionary Organization which already has its representative in Paris, authorized to act for the realization of the old ideal of the Organization - the creation of a united and indivisible independent Macedonia - an ideal around which, with few exceptions, all Macedonian Bulgarians are already rallied.


Appealing to the Bulgarian government and to the political parties in Bulgaria to take notice of this statement which we back up with documents about some of our activities in this country and abroad and about the goals we pursue, inspired as always by the confidence that we are working both for our homeland and for Bulgaria's happiness, we most respectfully beg you to accept the expression of our high consideration.

Sofia, May 30, 1919

Provisional Representation of the former United Internal Revolutionary Organization: Tasko Spasov Serski, M. Gerdjikov, P. Atsev, G. Petrov, D. Hadjidimov and P. Hristov.

CPA, ф. 151, оп.1, а.е.397; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 The Statement was handed in on June 2, 1919

Letter of A. Stamboliiski, Prime Minister of Bulgaria,
to N. Pashich, Chairman of the Serbian delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris

September 22nd, 1919

I believe that no one in Serbia would object to my sincere desire for a close rapprochement between the two Slav peoples - the Serbian and the Bulgarian. My whole past as a politician has been an uninterrupted series of ac­tivities, aimed at the materialization of this idea. I have fought against this fatal war in the National Assembly, in the press and among the people and I have always preached not only rapprochement but also alliance between our two nations.

Today, standing at the head of the Bulgarian government, I am deeply convinced that I would be betraying my past and my country unless I tried to do my best for the realization of this ideal. I am deeply convinced that this idea is not alien, either to the Serbian people or to its political leaders. It is only necessary to work for its materialization. The time for this has come.

I shall not deny that the mad fratricidal wars, started in 1885 by a criminal king and ended in 1918 by another criminal tsar have accumulated a lot of hatred and have created a deep abyss between our peoples. But are these obstacles insurmountable? Are the same follies to be repeated today, after the bitter lessons from the terrible past, full of casualties and destruction? Is it possible that even now that the two criminal kings Milan and Ferdinand, have disappeared from the political scene, kicked out by the Serbian and Bulgarian peoples and followed by their maledictions, now that their instigator, Austria, has ceased to play its sinister role, is it possible that even today no basis for agreement could be found to ensure the lasting peaceful co-existence of our two countries?

I know that victories intoxicate, but I deeply believe that they should not blind the politicians and destroy in them the ideal of the real victory and pre­vent them from working for the triumph of a lasting and beneficial peace.

Today you are the victors and for this reason you are annexing lands which have always been Bulgarian, thereby digging another abyss between our two fraternal peoples. I do not know the reasons that have made you do this, but I am confident that history, morality and the proper understanding of the duties of a man of politics will always condemn you.

My devotion to the idea of a rapprochement between the Bulgarian and the Serbian peoples is unshakable. Today, when I am at the head of Bulgaria, I consider it my duty to launch this appeal to you and ask you to do your best so that the deep abyss separating the two peoples does not grow even deeper. I hope that the Serbian people nourishes the same feelings. Today, in your coun­try there also live Slovenes, liberated from Austrian domination; around it there live other Slavs who have also just been liberated from foreign rule. It is their duty to work for this rapprochement, because they, too, like the Serbs, will only benefit from friendly co-operation with Bulgaria.

Give us your hand. I shall do my best in my country to achieve this ideal and forever to put an end to the bloody struggles between our fraternal peoples. Give me your precious co-operation.

Nothing is impossible! As long as there is good will, a basis for a lasting agreement will be found. Therein lies the salvation of the Balkan peoples.

Official reports and the proceedings of the 18th Ordinary National Assembly, First Regular Session, 22nd Sitting, December 26, 1919, PP. 516-517; the original is in Bulgarian.


Excerpts from A. Stamboliiski's speech before the parliamentary group of the Agrarian Party
after the return of the Bulgarian delegation from the Peace Conference in Paris
September 30th, 1919

We are bringing back a corpse. That was my answer to those who asked me what were we bringing back from Paris, as I came off the train at Sofia sta­tion. And true enough, at the Conference in Paris we were handed a veritable corpse, which threw the entire Bulgarian nation in mourning. The draft Peace Treaty is one of the worst. We expected to be judged and we knew that a sentence was going to be passed on us, Bulgarians, but we never imagined that this sentence was going to be so unjust and cruel. We hoped that since the prin­ciples, proclaimed by Wilson, were partly observed in the Peace Treaties with Germany and Austria, that these same principles would be applied in their major part with regard to small and trampled Bulgaria which - nobody can deny this - has always fought for the unification of its nation. But what happened in reality. Exactly the opposite: Bulgaria is so far the only country with regard to which not the principles of Wilson, but the principles of bar­barism are applied. Bulgaria is the only country whose nationality was dis­regarded and even parts of its living body were cut off. The modern and Chris­tian world wrests from us our brothers in blood, language and mentality, who, for 40 years now, have been breathing together with us the air of independent political life!

I shall not speak here of all the financial, economic and legal clauses of the Treaty which make it even more oppressive for the lacerated, shattered, dis­illusioned and dishonoured Bulgaria. Our comrade, Mr. Stamo Poulev, member of the delegation to Paris, will tell you about them. I am pointing out to you only the territorial injustice in this treaty. They are cutting off parts from Bulgaria from the districts of Tsaribrod, Strumitsa, all of Macedonia, all of Southern Thrace and all of Dobroudja. We are being put into a worse situation than the one we were in forty years ago. And they are doing this after we have wasted all our wealth for our national unity, after we have shed the blood of 500,000 members of the most vital section of the population and after we have experienced a moment of full confidence that the civilized world, having proclaimed through the mouth of such a great statesman as the President of the United States such bright and humane principles, that this civilized world had really reached the stage at which it could understand the supreme wails and strivings of a small but heroic people, forgive it its intentional or unintentional errors and satisfy with readiness its demands, thereby consolidating forever peace in the Balkans.

But alas! The civilized world still keeps its old tattered garb beneath which crackles the hell-fire of a bestial and barbaric spirit, as Carleno would put it.

Whether this sentence will be mitigated I cannot say for certain. We shall make our objections, we shall appeal against it. Our protest and our appeal must be taken by our delegation on the 9th of this month at the latest, so that it can be there on time and deliver them. It is a pity that they will be handed to and examined by the same supreme court which has dealt us such an out­rageous blow. But we shall persist with our protests and appeals, even after the verdict is made final, if the most painful parts of it are not removed. We shall not lose courage and at this tragic moment we shall bear the cruelty done to us with the patience of a real hero.

Newspaper Zemedelsko Zname1, Sofia, No. 19, October 2,1919; the original is in Bulgarian.

Organ of the Bulgarian Agrarian Party


A protest of the cultural societies in Kazanluk
against the denationalization of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia
 under Greek and Serbian rule
September 30th, 1919

The cultural societies in the town of Kazanluk - the Iskra Society of Lear­ning, the District Teachers' Society, the Society of Junior High and High School Teachers, the Free Children's Canteens Society and the Society of State and Municipal Office Workers - are raising a voice of protest against the draft peace treaty proposed to Bulgaria. The authors of the treaty have ignored all right and justice, and have given free rein to hatred, violence and cruelty. This treaty brings not the lasting peace so passionately desired by the broad people's masses of the civilized nations, but explosives for new troubles. The principles of freedom and humanity so highly proclaimed by the President of the Great North American Republic, are being denied to our small country! How has Bulgaria deserved this terrible lot which the Conference at Versailles has assigned to it? The Bulgarian people has given sufficient proof that it wants to live in peace and tranquility with all peoples near and far. We do not think that anybody can consider it sinful if the Bulgarian people should endeavour to un­ite with its brothers of the same blood in Macedonia, Dobroudja and Thrace from whom merciless destiny (the Berlin Congress) has separated it, or that anybody can see an element of unrest in its aspiration - as nobody has con­demned and suspected the noble French people of creating unrest because of its desire to unite with its kin in Alsace and Lorraine.

Our people has never wanted to take what belongs to others - it has only wanted to be the master of its own! And the areopagus of Versailles is punishing it for this rightful demand! The latter is not only denying our people the right to unite with its kin, but in order to satisfy the greedy appetites of the imperialists in its small allied countries, it is dismembering the living body of Bulgaria, and giving it away. Tsaribrod, Bossilegrad and Strumitsa and their vicinities have been given to Serbia! Regions, whose population is purely Bulgarian, are being condemned to slavery! Thrace, the majority of whose population is Bulgarian, and which is of vital economic importance to Bulgaria, is being taken away from her! And this is being done without asking the pop­ulation whether they want the fate assigned to them! The draft treaty says nothing about Dobroudja and Macedonia which the whole world knows to be Bulgarian.

The economic and financial clauses of the treaty are so harsh that their fulfillment would ruin Bulgaria!

The Bulgarian people which in the past has made great sacrifices to the material and spiritual culture of mankind, does not deserve such a cruel fate. It cannot and should not be punished for the military adventures of Ferdinand and his clique! Bulgarian democracy has always voiced its disagreement with the war-like policy of this clique, and has always tried to achieve the unification of the Bulgarian people peacefully and through agreements. The idea of agree­ment and alliance of the Balkan peoples is the fruit of Bulgarian democracy.

And for all this our small homeland is being offered a draft peace treaty unparalleled for its injustice in the history of the world!

Isn't the conscience of all honest people in the countries whose represen­tatives prepared this draft treaty in Versailles disturbed by its murderous cruelty? Isn't the sober-minded intelligentsia in these countries going to raise a voice of protest against this unprecedented assault on our small homeland? Is the democratic public in these countries going to allow its statesmen to pronounce a death sentence on our small and vital people, which wants only one thing - to be free in its homeland, in order to devote its efforts to peaceful and fruitful work? No, we do not believe this! We are convinced that they are shocked by the murderous cruelty of this draft peace treaty, and will not allow this scandal to mankind to conclude the bloody pages of the history of the last few years.

ЦПА, ф. 226, ап. 1, а.е. 86, с. 15-16. The original is in Bulgarian.

Declaration of the Bulgarian Communist Party (left-wing socialists)
against the Neuilly Peace Treaty,
read by Dimiter Blagoev in the National Assembly
November 9th, 1919

After all this I shall read the following protest from the Communist group: On behalf of all working classes in Bulgaria the Bulgarian Communist Party protests against the Paris imposed peace treaty which dismembers the Bulgarian people and is subjecting large portions of it to national slavery, and its treasures and lands to constant plunder, which is killing its economic and cultural development, infringing its state independence and creating conditions for its ultimate economic and political enslavement; at the same time the Com­munist Party condemns the hypocrisy of the Allied imperialists who, in the name of the political freedom of the peoples, drew the whole world into a general carnage, and today in Paris are cynically practicing the doctrine of in­ternational banditry by cutting living peoples into parts and plundering their lands, frustrating their future, and subjecting them to the terrible domination of international capital.

Serving a nationalist aggressive policy, the entire Bulgarian bourgeoisie, represented by all bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties, twice committed violence against the people by hurling it into wars against its will, it exposed it twice to mass killing and to untold disasters, defeats and catastrophes, acting as an accomplice of the triumphant Allied imperialism in this horrible crime against the Bulgarian people. The bourgeoisie gave its full backing to the warlike policy of the government in the 1912-1913 and 1915-1918 periods, and unanimously voted all military credits and, therefore, together with the governments and the monarchy, it bears the heavy responsibility of being a killer of our people; its present whine is hypocritical and its present protest against the deeds of the Paris butchers has no meaning.

The Bulgarian Communist Party, which has always and everywhere fought against the warlike policy of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie and monarchism, against militarism and nationalism, which has decisively and categorically rejected all war credits and military undertakings, and which worked energetically during the wars for the immediate conclusion of a peace treaty by opposing any conquest and any annexation and war indemnity, and by actively protesting against the crimes committed by the authorities against the popula­tion of the occupied territories, today considers itself morally justified and obliged, on behalf of the working classes in Bulgaria, to accuse the Bulgarian bourgeoisie and monarchy and all their tools and servants of betraying their own people. This betrayal continues today when Bulgaria, suffering and bleeding, is being led to execution. The Bulgarian bourgeoisie, through its right and 'left' wing parties, is supporting the butchers of the Bulgarian people in their aggression, by sword and famine, against the great free Russian people by giving the Russian counter-revolutionaries assistance and sending them arms and ammunition. We protest against these new treacherous deeds which aim at extinguishing the flames of the liberation and renaissance of all oppressed and suffering peoples and classes, and at crushing the Russian revolution. It is not from the suppression, but from the victory of the Russian revolution, which first proclaimed and realized the rights of the people, that the Bulgarian people can expect its liberation from the chains of imperialist bondage. The revolutionary wave is surging in the countries both of the victors and the vanquished, and will soon engulf the whole capitalist world in order to break the chains of capitalism and imperialism and to put an end to all forms of slavery and oppression. The enslaved peoples can find their salvation only in the triumph of the workers' revolution. Its victory in the Balkans is a guarantee for the liberation of Macedonia, Thrace and Dobroudja.

Sending fraternal greetings to the Russian workers and peasants who have been for two years selflessly resisting the attacks of the international counter- revolution in the name both of their own supreme rights and freedoms and of those of the enslaved and exploited people of the whole world; earnestly appealing to the proletariat and the oppressed people in all countries and calling on all revolutionary forces to rally and rise against the domination of the bankrupt international capitalism and imperialism which has been morally dis­graced, the Bulgarian Communist Party, at the same time, reminds the Bulgarian working classes in town and countryside of their revolutionary duty.

Long live the Bulgarian Soviet Socialist Republic!

Long live the Balkan Federal Soviet Socialist Republic with free Macedonia, Thrace and Dobroudja!

Long live the international social revolution!

Verbatim Reports, 18th Ordinary National Assembly, Chapter I, p. 2,3. November, 1919, p. 16; Rabotnicheski Vestnik No. 110, November 17, 1919; the original is in Bulgarian.


Excerpts from the Manifesto of the Balkan Communist Federation 1
to the working classes in the Balkan and Danubian countries


Proletarians of the Balkan and Danubian countries!

It was hoped that the World War would liberate and unite the oppressed and disunited nations. In the name of this tempting unification the Balkan nations were also dragged into the war. Today it is clear to everybody that the war, far from solving this problem, resulted in a new dismemberment and enslavement of many nations. The Bulgarian nation has been mercilessly dis­membered. Compact parts of it in Macedonia, Thrace and Dobroudja are un­der foreign domination. Under the oppression of Greater Romania of the big landowners, large national minorities of Bulgarians and Turks in Dobroudja, of Russians in Bessarabia, of Hungarians and Germans in Transylvania, of Slavs in Banat, etc., live a miserable life. Monarchy and capitalism in Yugoslavia have brutally extended their rule over Macedonia and parts of Albania, over the Hungarians and Germans in Voivodina and the groups of Italians in Dalmatia. The Greek oligarchy, utterly intoxicated by the ideal of the Byzantine Empire, grabbed in its clutches huge masses of Bulgarians, Turks and Albanians, and, in Asia Minor, it goes on seizing large foreign territories. The Italian im­perialists are stifling the Albanian people in their claws and are making colossal efforts to enslave them once and for all.

Resolutions and Decisions of the 1st and 2nd Congresses – 1919 and 1920, The Party Council and the Conference of the Balkan Communist Federation, Sofia, 1920, p. 107; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 Founded in 1910 under the name of Balkan Social Democratic Federation (BSDF). At its Third Conference in 1920 it was renamed Balkan Communist Federation (BCF). Its aim was to co-ordinate the activities of the Balkan Communist parties and to contribute to their Leninization. Section of Comintern.



Brochure of the Executive Committee of the Union of Macedonian Brotherhoods in Bulgaria -
'The Macedonian Emigration and the Graeco-Bulgarian Convention on Emigration'
Sofia, 1920


What stand should the Macedonian Bulgarian population take on the con­vention, and what practical instructions should the Executive Committee give to the emigrants in order to paralyze the nefarious aims pursued by the spon­sors of the Convention to the greatest possible extent?

Above all, the Committee considers it necessary to point out that the Macedonian Bulgarian population cannot be the object of a convention to which it is not a party and that, not having been consulted and its will having been disregarded, it has the right not only to protest most vigorously, but also to regard the convention as nonexistent.

A cursory look at the contents of the convention makes it possible to perceive its tenor, and, first of all, to grasp the two political aims pursued by its authors and sponsors: 1) Through this convention the Greek government is try­ing artificially to change the ethnic character of Southern Macedonia in a short period of time by expelling the Bulgarian inhabitants and replacing them with Greeks. 2) As a direct consequence and immediate result of the depopulation of this part of Macedonia of Bulgarians, the aim is, in fact, to frustrate the applica­tion of the well-known clause on the protection of minorities. We cannot speak of the rights of the Bulgarian population, and of Bulgarian communes in places where they do not in fact exist. Consequently, once the Bulgarian element is exiled, the clause itself becomes illusory and its application - impossible and pointless, because of the absence of an object to which it can be applied.

Analyzed from a purely juridical point of view, the Convention contains provisions which contradict the existing international legal norms. In the first place one should mention that, adopting the principle of 'voluntary nature' of emigration, the authors of the Convention intended to lend it a certain semblance of legality, as in the final analysis the term 'voluntary emigration' is nothing but an implicit option. However, being aware of all the immoral and oppressive measures which the Greek government will resort to in order to bring about this emigration, the real worth of terms like the above-mentioned can be judged. Moreover, the right of option as sanctioned by all international treaties of modern times, is known to concern only the inhabitants of a territory which was under the sovereignty of one state, and has then passed under the rule of another state by virtue of a certain international act. In this case, the very treaty, under which the territory is ceded, also contains the clause on the right of option. Southern Macedonia was known to have been under Greek rule also before the World War, and international law does not provide examples of the right of option of people inhabiting a territory which has not passed from one state to another.

A closer and more detailed examination of the different provisions of the Convention cannot but bring to light all flagrant deviations from the principles of international law accepted by the whole world. These deviations not only reveal the tenor of this Convention, but also give it the character of an op­pressive, and, thus, anti-juridical act. Article 1 of the Convention refers to the emigration of ethnic minorities according to religion or language.' International law recognizes only nationality and citizenship as legal norms for the people in­habiting a certain territory. The above-cited new term, which cannot be includ­ed in any juridical category, clearly manifests the spirit of the Convention. Evidently what is meant here is to expel the Bulgarian population which is un­wanted by the Greek state. Article 2, paragraph 1, outlines this secret aim even more clearly by obliging Greece to annul its own laws and regulations restric­ting emigration. The anti-Bulgarian character of the Convention is manifested still more clearly in Article 3, under which Greece renounces one of its sovereign rights: to bring to court and punish criminals for crimes committed in its territory and by its subjects, if the latter are Bulgarians and want to emigrate from Macedonia. The Greeks are more eager to drive the Bulgarians out of Macedonia than to apply their own laws.

Article 5 contains a stipulation which is entirely new and so far unknown in international law. As is known, emigrants from one country into another can take the latter's citizenship after a certain period of residence in the territory of that state. The period of residence varies in accordance with the laws of the various countries, but such a period exists everywhere. Article 5 introduces an innovation by obliging the contracting parties to grant citizenship to im­migrants at the moment they set foot in the territory of the state.

And finally, under Article 10, the Convention deprives the emigrants of their indisputable and natural right to dispose of their own property. It compels them to dispose of their real estate exclusively to the government of the state which they are leaving.

In addition to these violations of international law, the Convention, with its stipulations and the result they will entail, also contradicts the most elemen­tary rules of humanity and justice: by force and in the most coercive manner it severs all ties connecting the population with the land with which they have been bound materially and morally for centuries; it tears them away from the land which has fed them and which they have watered with their own sweat for generations on end; it separates them from the things they hold most sacred — their hearth and home, and the dust of their ancestors; it condemns them to wandering, privation and poverty; its foremost aim is to uproot the more prosperous and more intelligent part of the Bulgarian population which em­bodies the people's conscience and sense of national identity. And finally, con­trary to all justice, it forces the population to exercise its right of emigration within only two years if it is not to lose even those few advantages and guarantees which the Convention deigns to provide. As is known, the first few years following any war are a period of uncertainty and instability: the popula­tion is still affected by the horrors of the war. The economic situation resulting from the war is one of confusion; trade is at a standstill; real estate is devalued, and its profitability reduced to the minimum. In this case the two-year term en­visaged by Article 4 of the Convention aims at enabling the Greek government to benefit from the psychological element, fear among the population, and from the unsettled economic situation. So, on the one hand, moral pressure is to be exerted to encourage emigration and, on the other - the economic interests of the emigrants are to be damaged as their property is to be sold at minimum prices to the state.

Articles 8 and 9 refer to the composition of the Mixed Commission invited to apply the Convention, and also the mandate of the Commission. Under Article 8, the Commission shall be composed of 4 members - one from each contrac­ting country concerned, and two members of different nationality, to be ap­pointed by the Council of the League of Nations. The Mixed Commission enjoys extensive and sometimes even unrestricted rights as defined by Article 9 of the Convention. Moreover, when one considers the fact that the Chairman of the Commission shall be elected from among the two members of a nationality other than Greek or Bulgarian, it becomes clear what importance the appoint­ment of the two foreign members acquires. The Convention does not explicitly state what will be the nationality of these two members, it does not even men­tion whether the two foreigners will be from among the subjects of the warring or neutral countries. Article 8 gives the only indication about the appointment of these members of the Commission by stating that they will be designated by the Council of the League of Nations.

Paragraph 2 of Article 6 deals with the property of the communes in­cluding churches, monasteries, schools, hospitals and foundations of all kinds. It states that when the right of emigration is exercised by the members of these communes, which shall thus have to be dissolved, the mixed Commission shall determine whether and under what conditions these members shall have the right to take with them or move the movable property belonging to these com­munes. As can be seen from the above-cited paragraph, the reference here is only to the movable property of the communes; the question of their real estate is settled by Article 7, by force of which such property will be liquidated by the Commission. It should be stressed that the Convention recognizes the existence of communes of 'ethnic minorities' with their own churches, monasteries and schools. This recognition is of great significance for us. The fact that since 1913 no Bulgarian church communes with their churches, monasteries, schools, hospitals and other real estate have existed in Southern Macedonia, far from denying their legal existence, manifests the predatory policy of the Greek government, which immediately after the Balkan War destroyed the Bulgarian communes, and took possession of their churches, schools and property.

The question of the preservation of the Bulgarian communes, the Bulgarian churches, schools and monasteries is of immense importance in the light of the stipulations of the treaty on the protection of minorities. It is evident that only the presence of these churches, schools, monasteries and other monuments of the past will make it possible for the Bulgarians in Macedonia to live, prosper and develop. Besides its purely material value, this property is also a great moral capital, which has been patiently collected in the course of cen­turies by the devout and patriotic Bulgarian population.

The importance of the question of the property of the communes has not escaped the attention of the Greeks when the property of Greek communes in Bulgaria is concerned. In the Memorandum of the Executive Committee of the so-called enslaved Greeks, which has recently been submitted to the Greek government, we read: 'We draw the attention of the government to the very important question of the property of the Greek communes which the Bulgarian government broke up after the anti-Greek movements of 1906, seiz­ing schools, churches, monasteries and all movable and immovable property, worth tens of millions of drachmas. As we learn, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has already demanded the restoration of these communes and the return of their plundered property. Though it can be argued that the restoration of these communes would to a certain extent check the emigration, yet taking into account that whatever properties this emigration might take, some Greek popula­tion is certain to remain in Bulgaria, especially in the coastal towns, it will not be just to deprive this Greek population of Greek schools and churches with the help of which it can preserve its nationality, if only for a few years. That is why we venture to recommend to the government to demand that these communes be granted the right freely to use or dispose of their property so as to be able, when their continued existence becomes impossible, to transfer its value. These sums would enable them to maintain their communes in their new settlements in Greece.'

Article 13 contains one of the most important provisions of the Conven­tion which has a direct bearing on the interests of the greater part of the Macedonian emigrants.

Under this article the Macedonian Bulgarians, who left Macedonia before the Convention was enforced, and who have already settled in the territory of the Kingdom of Bulgaria will have the right to receive the price of the property they left behind in Macedonia, which will be received from the liquidation to be carried out by the Mixed Commission.

The first question to be solved by the Mixed Commission is to determine the meaning of the term 'settled.' Which of the Macedonian emigrants can be considered settled in Bulgaria and which not. Are those Macedonian Bulgarians who have been forced by various circumstances beyond their control, and at different periods, to leave the land of their birth and have come here, and have started a craft or business or taken a state job to earn their living, to be regard­ed as finally settled in the Kingdom?

In order to answer these questions, first of all, it is necessary to define the legal meaning of the term 'settled.' The criterion of determining whether an in­dividual can be considered entirely settled is his personal wish, expressed by external, clear manifestations, to sever all contacts with the land which he has left. In other words, it is necessary to establish for each individual: 1) whether he has come here with the thought of going back or not; 2) whether this thought of going back has continued to exist since the moment he came, or not. In our opinion, this is the basis which must determine whether an individual can be considered settled or not.

The presumption of temporary settlement in the Kingdom, and the thought of returning to the native land, is most clearly manifested by some peo­ple, while for others it is conditioned by the actions they undertake as regards their property in Macedonia. From this point of view, the Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria can be grouped in five categories:

1) Persons who left the country en masse after the Balkan War and the First World War, and who constitute the group of 'refugees.'

2) Persons who have been coming to the Kingdom periodically for a number of years to make their living temporarily: milkmen, boza vendors, khalva sellers, market gardeners, masons, etc.

3) All revolutionaries of the past who have been forced to leave the coun­try;

4) All peaceful, law-abiding townfolk and villagers driven into exile from Macedonia by the intolerable regimes of the Turks before the Balkan War and of the Greeks and Serbs after it;

5) Finally, all persons who immigrated here years ago, but who have preserved their property in their land, look after it, and have not lost contacts with their birthplace.

Evidently, it cannot be said about the first three categories that they are staying in the Kingdom without any thought of going back, i.e., that they are settled here. The act that many of them have started a craft, have opened a shop, or have become teachers or office workers to earn their living, cannot be considered a sign of their wish to settle forever in the territory of the Kingdom.

As far as the persons from the fourth category are concerned, it is clear that given the elimination of the reasons which have caused their emigration, given the advent or order, given the introduction of a legal system which would guarantee their inviolability and freedom and would not do violence to their national feelings, they would return to their birthplaces. This is also supported by the fact that though the majority of them are persons of meager means, they have not started to liquidate their property, in spite of the hardship and priva­tion which they have had to endure. And finally, it should be noted about the persons of the last category who left their land many years ago and practice an occupation or craft in the Kingdom that the care they devote to the property which they left behind in Macedonia, speaks of their wish to return to their homeland one day. In fact, only the formally expressed wish of an individual to sever all contacts with the land of his origin, and to be considered permanently settled in the Kingdom, can serve as a reason to assign him to the category of persons described in Article 12, and to apply to him the stipulation of the same article concerning the liquidation of his property. It should also be observed that the liquidation of the property of these persons should take place under Paragraph 1 of Article 10, i.e., after the interested parties have been given a bearing or been summoned for a hearing. This presupposes the ensurance of their unobstructed return to the places in which they have left their property, and the possibility of staying there until it is completely liquidated, or if they so wish, to appoint representatives to defend their interests before the Commis­sion.

The paper presented outlines the character and tenor of the Convention, points out the stand that should be taken on it, and charts the instructions which should be given to the emigrants. Naturally, the stand cannot be other than negative, i.e., no opportunity should be missed of raising a voice of protest against it. However, this negative attitude towards the Convention should exclude those clauses which could to a certain extent, paralyze the harmful con­sequences for the Bulgarian population. The supreme interests of the Bulgarians in Macedonia require it that the Bulgarian population be kept in Macedonia, and that the refugees be enabled to return to the places of their birth.

ЦПА, ф. 151, ап. 1, а.е.. 359, л.. 1-8, original, printed


Catechism of the Macedonian Bulgarians

the beginning of the '20s of the 20th century
1. What are You?              
I am a Bulgarian from Macedonia
2. How do you feel after what you have experienced so far?
I do not feel at ease or satisfied.
3. Why?
Because my homeland and my relatives are under foreign domination.
4. In what can you take pride as a Macedonian Bulgarian?
I take pride in the heroic struggle of the Macedonian Bulgarians for their freedom, and that Macedonia has given birth to the pioneers of Slav culture and of the Bulgarian National Revival.
5. Why did Macedonia remain in bondage after so many sacrifices were made and struggles waged for its freedom?
Because both the Macedonian Bulgarians and the free ones were not well organized and educated in the name of the people's well-being in order to resist our numerous enemies.
6. What is the first duty of the Macedonian Bulgarian?
To preserve himself as a Bulgarian, and to promote the same feelings and aspirations in all his com­patriots.
7. What feelings should move the Macedonian Bulgarian?
An infinite love for their homeland and everything Macedonian.
8. What should be the aspirations of the Macedonian Bulgarians?
All Macedonian Bulgarians should be honest, in­dustrious, good parents and patriots to the point of fanaticism.
9. How can that be achieved?
In order to achieve this, all Macedonian Bulgarians should be organized in societies for Macedonian education, Macedonian well-being and mutual assistance.
10. What should the Macedonian education include?
Each Macedonian Bulgarian is obliged:
1. Never and nowhere to conceal his origin.
2. To preserve his Macedonian-Bulgarian language among his relatives and fellow-townsmen and fellow-villagers.
3. To preserve all customs and rituals of his fathers and forefathers;
4. To preserve his Macedonian costume. Where this is impossible, to try to do so in certain cases - for women and children, or finally, as a decoration at home;
5. To maintain and respect all kinship ties, and also those of his neighbours;
6. To marry Macedonian Bulgarians, and when this is impossible, to assume the obligation at the betrothal to give the children a Macedonian education;
7. To study Bulgarian history, and in particular detail, the history of the Macedonian Bulgarians from the Revival onwards.
8. To fulfill any task assigned by the society and per­mitted by the laws of the country in which he lives, and to contribute to Macedonian welfare.
11. What should be the mutual assistance between the Macedonian Bulgarians?
All Macedonian Bulgarians, no matter where they are, should consider themselves brothers, and should assist each other morally and, when necessary, financially as well.
12. What is the organization of the Macedonian societies?
The organization of the Macedonian Bulgarians' societies is secret. Ten people, who are most closely linked by relationship, friendship or mutual understan­ding form a MACEDONIAN SOCIETY. They elect a teacher with two assistants from among themselves.
13. How are the societies formed?
The members of each society take care of increasing their number. They elect the best, most honest and patriotic Macedonian Bulgarians on the recommenda­tion of one member, and after an inspection by two other members. The election of a new member of the society takes place in the presence of all members after the candidate has sworn that he will work for Macedonian welfare, and will observe this catechism.
14. Why is the Macedonian society secret?
So as to be able to elect members of the organization from among the best and most honest Macedonian Bulgarians - those who will sincerely and conscien­tiously work for Macedonian welfare.
15. What are the obligations of each member of the Macedonian society?
Each member is bound by an oath:
1. To keep the existence of the society secret;
2. To fulfill all instructions of the Macedonian institutions of higher rank than the society;
3. To assist all members of the society materially and morally;
4. To keep his teacher advised about everything he learns to be done by anybody against Macedonian welfare;
5. To receive the printed organs of the Macedonian society;
6. To participate according to his abilities in all economic undertakings of the society.
16. What benefits does each member of the society enjoy?
Wherever he is, he will enjoy the full support of all members and institutions of the societies in promoting his well-being.
17. Are any restrictions imposed on the members of the society?
None but those written down in this catechism. They are free to take up any employment — state, municipal or in private enterprises; to join any association of party - political, cultural, charity, religious and others, which are not aimed at denationalizing the Macedonian population, or directly obstructing Macedonian welfare.
18. What means does the society use to achieve Macedonian welfare?
Macedonian welfare shall be achieved by the following means:
1. The societies help their members in finding jobs in different offices and private enterprises, and at the same time, oblige them to use their influence and posi­tion to promote the well-being of the Macedonians and of their homeland;
2. The societies set up their own economic enterprises to create opportunities for a better life of their members and for providing enough means to promote the cultural and national improvement of the Macedo­nian population;
3. All members of the societies everywhere should see to it that the necessary measures are duly taken against everybody and everything aiming at denationalization of the Macedonians and against their well-being.
19. How should those Macedonians be treated, who work against Macedonian welfare?
The members of the societies, and the institutions in particular, endeavour by all means to obstruct their activity so that they can feel both morally and materially that a strong and powerful organization exists which will not allow anybody to engage with im­punity in actions to harm his people.
20. How shall the Macedonian Bulgarians identify each other as members of the society?
By secret signs, with which only they shall be familiar.
21. What means shall the Macedo­nian societies employ to achieve the immediate and more distant aims of Macedonian well-being?
1. Speech and the teacher's sermons. The societies shall function as schools in the full sense of the word and the members should meet at least twice a month
2. Special newspaper and magazine;
3. Economic enterprises, guaranteed by the laws of the country.
ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the original is in Bulgarian.


From an address of the Executive Committee of the Communist International to the Balkan proletariat
on the necessity of strengthening and increasing the membership of the communist parties

May 1920
... The war ended in complete victory for the Entente. Romania, Serbia and Greece have achieved an enormous territorial expansion. They have in­creased their pre-war territories two or three-fold. Bulgaria has been, in fact, divided among its predatory neighbours ... As a result of the piratic policy of their governments, the Balkan peoples are faced with still worse prospects. The new national grouping effected after the disintegration of Austro-Hungary and the complete defeat of Bulgaria and Turkey, have made the national question in the Balkan Peninsula even more complicated than it was before the war. Many foreign national elements have fallen under the rule of the victorious states, while the policy of national oppression and militarism has led to the natural aspiration for national liberation among the oppressed, which, far from diminishing, is assuming still greater proportions. Macedonian Bulgarians, Albanians and Croats, Montenegrins and Slovenians alike are rebelling against the oppression of the Serbian bureaucratic capitalist oligarchy in its drive to im­pose its hegemony in the state. Not only the Bulgarian and Turkish peasants of Old and New Dobroudja, whose property is being plundered by the Romanian land-owners, but also the Hungarians and Germans in Erdel, the Russians and Ukrainians in Bukovina, are fighting against the Romanian oligarchy. The Albanians in Epirus as well as the Turkish and Bulgarian peasants in Thrace are waging a struggle against the Greek speculators and rural bourgeoisie.

Radnicke Novine, No. 124, of May 22, 1920. Printed. The original is in Serbian.


An Article in the newspaper Osvobozhdenie about the terror and violence against
the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Serbian and Greek rule

May 15th, 1920

From the information we have received about the situation in Serbian Macedonia, confirmed by comrades of ours who have been expelled from that territory, we are in a position to give the following picture of the situation there:

1. The Bulgarian population is being subjected to the continuous efforts of the authorities to denationalize it. Radicals, democrats, republicans and all the other parties of the Serbian bourgeoisie are in full agreement in this respect. They differ only as to the methods. As far as Macedonia is concerned none of the rulers is worried by the existence of a clause concerning the minorities. But all of them are equally worried at the fact that the Bulgarian element there, as well as all other nationalities, find a full and unreserved protection of their national rights and liberties on the part of the Serbian Communist Party. It is the only political party in Serbia and Yugoslavia which openly defends and fights for Macedonia's right to self-government, without any foreign political domination. Due to this, the Macedonian population finds in the Communist party its only champion and a powerful guarantee for its forthcoming happy future. With the exception of those Bulgarian circles in the towns and villages, which by their social status form part of the bourgeoisie, and join the parties which represent it, everybody else is rallying around the Communist party, shaking off the delusions of the nationalist movements and getting ready to fight in the name of Communism.

The old komitadji methods of struggle against the authorities and against national oppression have been fully and finally abandoned. In the vocabulary of the Macedonian Bulgarians these obsolete methods of fruitless struggle no longer exist and woe be to those who, from the inside or the outside, would dare to try to 'liberate' them with the aid of voivodas.

2. The friction between Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on the problem of a Serbian hegemony of a Yugoslav federation in the new Serbo-Croatian-Slovenian state do not affect Macedonia because this is not a question of a real federation of free and equal nations, but of the unwillingness of the Croatian and Slovenian bourgeoisie to tolerate the privileges of the Serbian bourgeoisie and the Serbian monarchy, trying to usurp the central political power. Nobody but the Communists in Croatia and Slovenia take into consideration the rights of Macedonia in the federation.

The jingoists in Bulgaria and the ruling nationalistic bourgeoisie are deliberately deceiving the public and especially the Macedonian emigrants with the fable that the struggles for a federal government and even for a republic in Yugoslavia also predetermine the status of Macedonia as a separate member of this federation. The truth is that both in Serbia and in Croatia and Slovenia the political struggles are being fought under the banner of Communism, which is growing in strength every day, crosses the boundaries of racial combinations, and, instead of Yugoslav, or North Slavic federations, which can bring nothing good to the nations, it is striving for the triumph of a Balkan Federative Soviet Republic.

Macedonia - Greek and Serbian - will find its salvation only in Com­munism, and that is why it has taken this path together with the Communist parties of Yugoslavia and Greece.

* * *

The situation in Southern Macedonia is slightly different. The regime to which the Bulgarians there are subjected is more rigid and more cruel. But there, too, the conditions for a mass Communist movement are rapidly matur­ing, because, in spite of the fact that Greece suffered little from the destruction of war and in spite of the fact that the Greek bourgeoisie is exploiting the in­toxication from the great victories and territorial acquisitions, the country is in complete financial bankruptcy and, in the near future, the capitalist tutorship of the imperialists of the Entente will be very tangibly felt by the masses. In Athens, Soloun. and in many other towns in Greece and Macedonia Com­munist banners are already being raised. In Xanthi several hundred workers -Turks, Greeks and Bulgarians - have joined hands to fight capitalist exploita­tion. The foundations for the fraternization of the suffering Balkan peoples both in Greece and in Serbia have already been laid. Nationalism and chauvinism as social phenomena are on the way to complete bankruptcy, just as the bourgeoisie on the Balkans has already gone bankrupt. Very soon we shall hear their death knell and, after that, the liberated and conciliated nations will con­gratulate each other upon the advent of a new era of peaceful labour, hap­piness and well-being for them and for the whole world.

Article "From Macedonia," Newspaper  Osvobozhdenie1, Sofia, No. 2, May 15, 1920; the original is in Bulgarian.

1Organ of the Emigrant Communist Union, founded in 1920, affiliated to the Bulgarian Communist Party. The union existed until August 1923.


Minutes of the Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
on resuming the work of the Organization after the First World War

June 11th, 1920

At its meeting of June 11, 1920, the Central Committee of the IMRO, taking into consideration the newly created conditions in Macedonia which has remained under the domination of Yugoslavia and Greece, and the difficult political, economic and internal situation of Bulgaria, drew up the following directive for its work in Macedonia:

I. The AIM of the Organization remains, as hitherto, the achievement of the freedom - in the form of autonomy or independence - of Macedonia within its ethnic and economic boundaries.

A. In MACEDONIA UNDER SERBIAN DOMINATION the Organization sets itself the following immediate task: Because of internal political and tactical considerations, the Internal Macedonian Organization will, for the present moment, render assistance to all those who fight in a legal way according to the laws of the country, and in cooperation with other enslav­ed nationalities in Macedonia and other regions in Yugoslavia, for a federal government in Yugoslavia with Macedonia as an equal member of the federa­tion.

So as to fulfil the above-mentioned task or successfully to wage the legal struggle, the Internal Macedonian Organization will contribute as far as con­ditions allow, to the formation of a legal organization under the name of 'Macedonian Federal Union' on  the analogy of the Union of Constitutional Clubs (Bulgarian) in Turkey (1908-1910) to wage a legal struggle by es­tablishing contacts and arrangements for joint action with the organizations and parties in the other regions of Yugoslavia, which also pursue the above-mentioned aim.

The basic principles on which the Macedonian Federal Union may be founded are the following:

1. Each region should have full self-government, with its own national assembly, a form of internal government in accordance with the will of the pop­ulation, and official languages - those of the majority of the population;

2. A common national assembly, in which all regions should be propor­tionately represented, common ministers of: the Interior, the Finances, and of War, and common official languages;

3. Name of the state: Federation of Serbians, Croatians, Slovenians, Bulgarians, etc.


In order to organize the people inside the country, to preserve their nationality and to achieve the freedom of Macedonia, and also to wage a legal struggle, it is necessary to send 3 or 4 legal and underground agitators to each 2 or 3 districts. The underground workers should act very cautiously so as not to expose the population to persecution by the Serbian authorities.


B. In MACEDONIA UNDER GREEK DOMINATION, where the con­ditions are very different and more difficult than those in Yugoslavia, the Organization shall have the following main and immediate task: to preserve the national consciousness and name of the Bulgarian population there, and to devise ways of stopping its emigration - not to apply the treaty for 'voluntary' emigration which has been concluded between the Greek and Bulgarian governments, as the Bulgarian element there has been considerably diluted since 1913.

As far as conditions allow, the Organization should cooperate with the other nationalities - Turks, Jews and even Macedonian Greeks who disapprove of the conduct and rule of the Greeks of the Kingdom, for winning certain rights of local self-government, freedom of language, education, religion, etc.

Contacts with Greek Macedonia shall be maintained through the local representatives in Petrich and Nevrokop, and through Bitolya and Ohrid for the more distant regions, like those of Voden and Kostour, if favourable conditions are created.

The following decisions were also taken at the same meeting:

II. An 'Information Office at the Representation of the Organization' in Sofia is to be set up in accordance with Articles 131 and 132 of the Regulations in order to receive information on events in Yugoslavia, Greece, etc., and to acquaint public opinion in Bulgaria and abroad with the difficult situation of our compatriots who have remained in bondage. It is necessary for this purpose to allot sums for buying books, newspapers and magazines from Yugoslavia, Greece and other countries which treat the Macedonian question.

If it is possible, to set up a similar information office in the guise of a library club in some Macedonian town under Serbian domination, where the conditions are more favourable.

III. In the absence of Todor Alexandrov from Bulgaria, the other member of the Central Committee - Peter Chaoulev, should fill his place on the Representation of the Organization. Mr. Georgi Bazhdarev, who has taken an active part in the revolutionary movement of the Syar revolutionary region and during the Ilinden Uprising was a member of a detachment, and Mr. Kiril Purlichev, who has been the chief of the Voden revolutionary district for many years, should also be invited as advisers of the Representation Abroad of the Organization, in addition to its present advisers Prof. Dr. I. Georgiev, Prof. Dr. L. Miletich and Prof. Dr. N. Milev.

IV. To use this summer in order to strengthen the organization from the inside, to close its ranks, to establish contacts with the whole of Macedonia, to set up channels, postal communications, etc., and take care to do this very cautiously so as not to harm the Bulgarian population in the country, or to expose Bulgaria.     

V. To buy 100 copies of P. Durvingov's book History of the Macedonian-Odrin Volunteer Corps.


T. Alexandrov
P. Chaoulev

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the original is in Bulgarian.


A letter from T. Alexandrov to the banker I. Kovachev from Sofia asking him
to donate funds in the name of the liberation movement of the Bulgarians in Macedonia
November 1920

The Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, in order to raise the necessary funds for continuing the struggle of the organized enslaved Macedonian Bulgarians for preserving the national name and culture and achieving freedom, has decided to request financial assistance from its well-to-do compatriots both in Macedonia and abroad.

Having faith in your patriotism and believing that you will readily respond to its invitation to assign an insignificant part of your wealth to help the libera­tion cause of your enslaved brothers, the Central Committee of the Organiza­tion asks you to be kind enough to make a contribution to its treasury of at least one hundred thousand leva (100,000). (You will be given an official receipt for the sum.)

Your patriotism and generosity are well-known to the Bulgarian public. You have on many occasions granted large sums for patriotic causes benefiting the people. We are confident that you, who have made the impressive donation of one million leva for building a secondary school in your native town of Rouse, one hundred thousand leva to the Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods, and many other sums to various charities, will not hesitate to support such a highly humane cause as the liberation movement of the Macedonian Bulgarians. In this case you would fulfill your duty towards your enslaved compatriots.

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the original is in Bulgarian.


An article entitled 'The Denationalization of Macedonia' reveals the lawless regime
under which the Bulgarian population is living in the parts of Macedonia left under Serbian and Greek domination
May 10th, 1921

Both Serbs and Greeks have one and the same evil intention towards Macedonia: to deprive it of its individuality, to make it completely incapable of independent life, to obliterate its whole history of gigantic struggles for freedom. In order to accomplish this monstrous design they go to any lengths: all means are permissible for them and they do not have any scruples that such rule is in complete contradiction with the idea of civilization whose champions they con­stantly and shamelessly claim to be. Serbian and Greek chauvinism is well-known to the whole world for its morbidity and there is none like it anywhere in the world. It can be compared only to the ancient Jewish fanaticism, which, likewise, could not tolerate any other nationality within its state. The Serbs and the Greeks do not recognize any other nationality in their states but their own. They particularly show this lack of national tolerance in the enslaved foreign lands like Macedonia. Ethnically this region does not belong either to Greece or to Serbia. Everybody knows that there is not a single local Serbian there and that pure Greek population can be found only along the Aegean coast. Macedonia, which is not connected ethnically, culturally, historically, or economically with Serbia and Greece, naturally stubbornly tries to break free from the hands of the greedy and cruel oppressors and to become an indepen­dent state so that its gifted population - Bulgarian, Turkish, Wallachian, Alba­nian and Jewish - may freely create cultural values for itself and for the neighbouring countries. The Serbs and Greeks realize perfectly well this natural striving of our heroic homeland towards independence, as well as the injustice of their domination over it. But instead of being disgusted with the criminal character of their rule, the oppressors forget in their hatred morality and Justice, the laws of God and man, and are possessed by a mad passion to change the nature of things - to denationalize the enslaved Bulgarians, Turks, Wallachians, Albanians, etc., i.e. to achieve in a few years what centuries of foreign rule could not do to these nationalities in Macedonia. Above all, they have subjected the whole population of Macedonia to a special regime, unheard of in history since the days of the Assyrian despots. Terror reigns throughout the country. The prisons are full of enlightened local people. Terrorist gangs rampage through the villages and strike fear and horror into the peasants who have to welcome them, wine and dine them like the former kurdjali tyrants. No schools, no books or newspapers in the language of the local population are allowed. Whatever literature in this language is found in the public institutions is burnt. Children are forced to speak the language of the conquerors and old people are forbidden to speak their own language in public. But the people of Bulgarian nationality and the Bulgarian language throughout Macedonia are especially fiercely persecuted, because the Bulgarian population forms an im­pressive majority and, as the initiator of the Macedonian liberation movement, it is the most advanced and the most freedom-loving national element, most capable of establishing a real and original Macedonian administration. Depriv­ed of its schools, churches and priests, the Bulgarian population is compelled to put up with foreign priests who do not have the aim of teaching or leading it spiritually, but of denationalizing it under the veil of faith. In such wide-awake Bulgarian towns like Ohrid, Bitolya, Shtip and Skopje the Serbian government has already imposed Serbian bishops. At the same time the bishops, legally elected by this population, such as the Bishop of Skopje, Neophyte, the Bishop of Ohrid — Boris, and the Bishop of Veles — Meleti, are doomed to exile, though their congregations are inconsolable because they were the symbol of the populations's spiritual liberty, while the bishops for their part, are pining for their intelligent, patriotic and God-fearing members of their flocks.

Is not the whole policy of denationalization, carried out by the Serbs and the Greeks in Macedonia, a sarcastic jibe at the oppressed nations which expected the relief promised by the Powers of the Entente, through the so-called clause on the minorities? Was not this treaty a cruel irony on the part of Europe with the fate of the small wronged nations? The victors constantly emit threatening cries for the exact implementation of the treaties on the part of the vanquished countries, the neighbouring countries are threatening Bulgaria with sanctions for non-existent designs on its part, while they themselves have never seriously thought of fulfilling the undertakings which they voluntarily assumed at the Conferences towards their new citizens. This behaviour is no credit to nations which want to be considered civilized and constantly holler to the whole world about law, justice and morality. But there is nothing strange in this, since sophistry which turns black into white and considers that might is right, is the second nature to contemporary politics. And sophistry can be defeated not so much by appeals to the conscience of the oppressor, as by a serious, systematic and well organized joint struggle of all nationalities, oppressed by the Serbs and Greeks in the parliaments and outside them, under the slogan 'autonomy to every self-determined region.' The entire population of Macedonia, united un­der this slogan, will speedily and painlessly make headway, step by step towards its old ideal of an 'autonomous Macedonia.'

Newspaper Avtonomna Makedonia1, Sofia, No. 22, May 10, 1921; the original is in Bulgarian.

1 Organ of the Macedonian Federal Organization in Bulgaria. It was published until its merger with the Macedonian Emigrant Organization of the Brotherhoods.


An article entitled 'The Cheta Movement,' in which V. Kovachev1 one of the leaders of the Federal Organization,
declares that the lawless regime in the parts of Macedonia, occupied by Serbia and Greece,
has given rise to cheta fighting

June 13th, 1921

We had the opportunity of expressing our view on this problem in one of the recent copies of the newspaper. And if today we are reverting to this sub­ject, it is because the Serbian and the Greek press have been raising of late an unnecessary noise about the cheta movement, while the responsible factors in Serbia and Greece were not ashamed to deliberately distort before the world the truth about the formation and inspiration of the cheta movement in Macedonia and they threw the whole responsibility for this exclusively on the Bulgarian government and on the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria. That is why the problem of the cheta movement, which until recently was of strictly local im­portance, began to acquire an international significance. Therefore, as exponents of the wishes and aspirations of the conscious part of the Macedo­nian emigration in Bulgaria, which genuinely fights for the creation of an in­dependent Macedonia, we consider it our moral duty to stress once again our unreserved stand on this topical problem. We want to do this not so much out of desire to refute the inconsistent accusations of our enemies that we were collaborating or sympathizing with the cheta movement, as to show to un­biased public opinion in this country and abroad the real and only culprits for the cultivation of the cheta movement in enslaved Macedonia.

The proposal of the Bulgarian government for an international inquiry into the incidents along the frontier and for a joint action to prevent all illegal traffic there, is an irrefutable proof of its loyal conduct towards the responsible factors in the neighbouring countries and of its desire to refute all suspicions that it was helping the cheta movement. Until now only the Serbian Prime Minister Mr. Pashich has declared, quite ostensibly at that, that he would respond favourably to this proposal, while the Greek government continues to attribute the failure of its adventurous policy in Anatolia to the cheta movement in Greek Macedonia, without having the moral courage at least formally to accept the inquiry, suggested by the Bulgarian government. Because actually we are deeply convinced that this inquiry will never take place, since neither Greece nor Serbia would want to commit political suicide - which cannot but be the natural aftereffect of such an inquiry. Because an inquiry will have every op­portunity to establish most competently and unbiasedly, the following two facts on the problem of the cheta movement:

1. That the members of the chetas are being recruited among all the dis­contented elements in enslaved Macedonia. Such elements are not only the Macedonian Bulgarians but also the other minorities - the Turks, the Albanians, and the Wallachians, who have recently been joined by the Jews as well. It is true that the Bulgarian element, being more conscious and more mili­tant, predominates in the composition of the local chetas. But it is also irrefutable that recently local chetas have appeared, recruited exclusively from Albanians and Turks. At any rate, it is rare to find a cheta today in which all these elements, equally dissatisfied with the unbearable tyranny of the Serbian and Greek regimes, are not happily mixed. Therefore, the very composition of the chetas clearly shows that they are not recruited within the Kingdom.

2. That the cheta movement is cultivated only in enslaved Macedonia. Because it can thrive only where there reigns a complete lack of rights and in­security for the individual. In Bulgarian Macedonia, where all citizens enjoy equal political and civil rights, where national and religious tolerance are proverbial, where the free expression of the intellectual abilities of every in­dividual is guaranteed, naturally there can be no question of any cheta move­ment. Because the elements dissatisfied with any arbitrary acts of the authorities have every possibility to plead for their violated civil and political rights before the lawfully established institutions, without having the least reason to worry about the feelings of the rulers which might be provoked by the exercise of these rights. However, the oppressed nations in Serbian and Greek Macedonia lack that freedom of action. Because these nationalities are outlaw­ed in their country; because they are denied there the most elementary human rights; because in those wretched regions the Serbian and Greek 'cultures' are being imposed on the minorities with the most refined means of the inquisition; because any expression of dissatisfaction with the arbitrary acts of the local tyrants is considered high treason by the powers that be; because, finally, in these two parts of our homeland no specific conditions for the free development of the individual member of the oppressed nationalities exist. Under these cir­cumstances, it was natural and understandable that a cheta movement should appear in Serbian and Greek Macedonia, and the responsibility for it falls above all, on the governments of these two countries. Because, if the latter are moved by a sincere desire to pacify these two regions they are duty-bound by their solemnly accepted international undertaking to apply the treaty stipulations about the minorities. Because, however insignificant the rights of the oppressed nationalities accruing from this treaty may be, nevertheless we must admit that in that case it would be possible to create a religious and national tolerance in Serbian and Greek Macedonia, which would contribute considerably to the quick and effective dissipation of any thought in the minds of the dissatisfied element of fighting for their civil and political rights through the cheta movement.

And since the treaty on the minorities is an international act, promulgated by the present-day leaders of world destinies in order to relieve their conscience, an act which allowed them, in spite of Wilson's 14 points, to sanction the dis­memberment of our homeland, so ruthlessly carried out by virtue of the Bucharest Treaty of 1913, they now have the duty to require from their protégés the implementation of this international act. Therefore, we Macedonians, have every reason to consider the leaders of world destinies as the chief culprits for the chaotic situation in enslaved Macedonia, a natural and logical result of which is the cheta movement. Because we are deeply con­vinced that the application of the treaty stipulations on the minorities and, respectively, the disappearance of the cheta movement in enslaved Macedonia, largely depend on their good will.

The League of Nations cannot be exempt either from this moral respon­sibility. Because in spite of its international duty closely to control the applica­tion of the treaty on the minorities, it has not paid any attention to this problem so far. Even the repeated interventions of the Provisional Commission of the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria for the application of this treaty as the only efficient means at this moment for pacifying Macedonia were not able to move the members of the League of Nations and draw their attention to the inhuman sufferings and moans of our compatriots in enslaved Macedonia or to the pains and tears of the exiled sons of Macedonia!

And it is in vain that the governments of Serbia and Greece are now try­ing by means of a transparent diversion to reject their own responsibility for the cheta movement in their parts of our homeland and to blame us, the Macedo­nian emigrants for it. Because they know very well that the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria expresses its political demands for the establishment of an independent Macedonia, equally advantageous to all Balkan countries, only through its legal struggle. And its charitable brotherhoods have not been and cannot be a subversive organization of the kind which any law-governed country could not tolerate.

On the other hand, we, Macedonian emigrants, cannot nourish the hope that the cheta movement as a means of struggle is capable of winning Macedonia's freedom by itself. What is more: now that major world problems which fully absorb the attention of world public opinion and of the leading fac­tors still remain unsolved, the Macedonian question is an insignificant atom of the world cataclysm and nobody will be moved in the least by the only result which the cheta movement can produce in enslaved Macedonia: the burning of some villages and towns, the ruin and extermination of the most intelligent and conscious compatriots of ours, the defiling of our mothers, wives and sisters and the endless lines of new martyrs - the wretched refugees. Therefore, to speak about the cheta movement under these circumstances and especially to inspire it from the outside, as the Serbian and Greek Governments claim, would be tantamount to digging the grave of Macedonia deliberately. No sensible Macedonian can ever commit such an incredible treason towards our homeland!

Newspaper Avtonomna Makedonia, Sofia, No. 27, June 13, 1921; the original is in Bulgarian


An article entitled 'Serbian Hypocrisy' published in the newspaper Avtonomna Makedonia and unmasking the attempts of the Serbian official authorities to carry out a policy of denationalization towards the Bulgarian population in Macedonia through the festive celebration
of the Day of St St Cyril and Methodius

June 12th, 1921

In Skopje the Day of the Soloun brothers St Cyril and St Methodius was celebrated with particular ceremony. On the eve of the Day the celebrations were announced by cannon shots. The buildings of the government offices were decorated with flags. In the morning new salutes were given in honour of the holiday. Archbishop Varnava conducted a solemn service and stressed, in a speech, the merits of the Soloun brothers to all Slavs. There was a military parade of the Skopje garrison.

We are not at all surprised at this report in the Serbian newspapers in spite of the fact that during the first occupation the Serbs ruthlessly suppressed this national holiday of the Macedonian Bulgarians. They have realized that they will not be able to make Macedonia Serbian by means of terror; they have realized that they are not facing an amorphous and unconscious Slav mass, as the Serbian professor Cvijic lies, but a nation which differs from the Serbs bv its own culture and is not susceptible to assimilation. That is why they are os­tensibly adapting themselves to the enslaved Bulgarians with the secret aim of persuading them that there is no ethnic difference between Serbs and Macedonians. But in vain: The bright memory of the greatest Macedonian Bulgarians, St Cyril and St Methodius, and their disciples. Clement and Nahum, will always be a fortress of the Bulgarian nationality in Macedonia, and Serbian cunning, comparable to that of the Danaians, will never be able to conquer it.

Newspaper Avtonomna Makedonia, Sofia, No. 27, June 13 1921, the original is in Bulgarian.
1 One of the leaders of the Federal Macedonian Organization in Bulgaria, in the past a functionary and voivoda of the IMRO. Assassinated on Sept. 13, 1924, in Sofia by the nationalistic trend in the organization.


Information about the organization of the emigrant Communist groups in Bulgaria reported to their Constituent Conference
June 22nd, 1921

Report of the Central Commission

After the greetings and messages of greetings the Secretary of the Com­mission read the annual report, warning the delegates that not everything in this report was as brilliant as the ceremonial part of the conference; that the language of the figures and of the harsh facts was not so smooth, but that, in spite of everything, though our satisfaction with reality at this initial moment could not be sufficiently great and warm, our hope in the future, in the near future, should always be great, because this hope, coupled with the joint and conscious efforts of all emigrant Communists, was going rapidly to bring us to the success which we had every right and every reason to expect and enjoy.

The delegates and the large audience listened with great attention to the report which described in a concise form all the aspects of the emigrant Com­munist movement and was at the same time an attempt correctly to map out the policies of the new union of emigrants, the organization of its future work, as well as its tasks within the overall Communist movement in Bulgaria and in the Balkans.

Here we give only short excerpts from this report, mainly the data about the composition of the organization.


The emigrant Communist movement started in May 1920. Only two or three groups have existed for a full year. During the year a total of 23 groups with a membership of 1800 were fourded. Three of them temporarily ceased their activities due to the large unemployment and emigration, while the remaining twenty groups have been active and form part of the emigrant union.

Sixteen groups are represented at the conference by 21 delegates: Bourgas, Haskovo, Yambol, Stara Zagora, Pazardjik, Nova Zagora, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Pleven, Gorna Djoumaya, Rouse, Doupnitsa, Sliven, Kyustendil, Vama and Sofia. The groups in Harmanii, Lom, Borisovgrad and the village of Dulboki are not represented. The latter is a branch of the Stara Zagora group. The reports of the emigrant groups show the following picture:

(1) From May last year until the beginning of the current year 14 groups were founded with a total membership of 1066, 150 of whom are party members, 308 are trade union members and 608 do not belong to the party or to trade unions. (2) By the end of April this year, the number of the groups had risen to 20 with a membership of 1757, 250 of whom were party members, 666 were trade union members and 841 belonged only to the groups. (3) By their place of birth these members were Macedonians - 1093, Thracians - 416, in­habitants of Dobroudja - 230, inhabitants of the Western regions under foreign domination - 18. (4) By their nationality the members were: Bulgarians - 1737 and from other nationalities - 20. (5) Only 16 groups have given precise infor­mation on the education, age, membership and sex of the members: illiterate -151, with primary education - 1107, with secondary and university education - 342; under 20 years of age - 139, between 20 and 50 - 1404, over 50 - 57; married - 532, single - 1068; male - 1566, female - 34. (6) By their social status in Bulgaria these members were (only data about 14 groups are available): propertied - 3, poor - 155; labourers - 1154. (7) By their social status in their native places the members were (only data about 15 groups were available): landless - 270, propertied and poor - 1174. (8) More than half (near­ly two thirds) have parents or relatives in their places of birth. (9). Only 94 members have emigrated before the wars. All the others have fled after them. (10) During the first year only 19 members were expelled for failing to pay their membership fees, due to lack of discipline or treason. (11) 426 members are on the electoral rolls (data for 15 groups). (12) In the localities of the groups there are 20 nationalist organizations (14 Macedonian, 3 Thracian and 3 from Dobroudja) with some 900 members. Half of them are in Sofia. (13) During the Red Company Week, according to information given by 17 groups, the membership rose by 262, and there were 297 new subscribers. (14) The Red Company Month has resulted for 9 groups in 258 new members and 230 new subscribers. (15) The Central Commission has distributed 8 leaflets in 40,000 copies. (16) According to information from 7 groups 2086 men and 50 worn emigrants participated in the May Day demonstration in separate columns witr1 their own banners and placards. (17) The groups have held altogether 286 meetings of their boards, 254 organizational and 56 public meetings. There have been 58 conferences with heads of sections and other lectures. (18) The newspaper Osvobozhdenie is being sent to 30 towns and 18 villages and its cir­culation towards the end of the year was over 3200. In the settlements in which the groups have their seats there are 1466 subscribers and 885 copies are sold by hand. The May Day issue was distributed in 6650 copies. (19). Rabotnicheski Vestnik is received by 325 members and Novo Vreme - by 120. (20) By May Day the income of 18 groups was 22,650 leva. 16,000 leva of this amount were membership fees and the remainder came from other sources. The average monthly membership fee is 2.10 leva.

During the year under review 22 members went back to their places of birth and 97 changed their residence due to the lack of steady work.

Almost one third of the party and trade union members, who belong to the union, have joined the trade unions and the party at the recommendation of the emigrant groups' boards.

Newspaper Osvobozhdenie. Sofia, No. 7, June 22, 1921; the original is in Bulgarian


From Lloyd George's1 memoirs in which the majority of the population in Macedonia under Yugoslav rule is described as Bulgarian

By many authorities the most tragic instance of minority oppression in violation of the 1919 Treaty is held to be that of the 600,000 Macedonians now resident within the borders of Yugoslavia. Of this community an overwhelming majority are of Bulgarian stock and language, in other words, Bulgaro-Macedonians. It was because of this fact, at the Peace Conference, the Italian, British and American members of the New States Committee, when drafting the Yugoslav Minority Treaty, endeavoured, first to secure a special local regime for this area, and when their efforts in this direction failed in the face of Franco-Yugoslav opposition, to ensure the appointment of a resident League Commissioner. But, once more, Franco-Yugoslav opposition defeated this proposal, which was raised again, and again, and finally defeated, owing to the same cause, in 1922. Ultimately the League Council would appear to have acquiesced in the Serbian contention that no minority problem really existed in Macedonia, as the Macedonians could be regarded as overwhelmingly Serb in race and language! If any disproof were needed, one could easily turn to the troubles in this area before 1914, when there was riveted on it for years the attention of the then Concert of the Great Powers of Europe.

David Lloyd George, Memoirs of the Peace Conference, Vol. II, pp. 899, 901-902; the original is in English.

British statesman and Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922


An article by Star Chinar1, entitled 'Our Cause' and published in the newspaper Ilinden,
dealing with the political situation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and substantiating the thesis of its autonomy

February 5th, 1922

This is a broad subject, and it is impossible to cover it thoroughly on the pages of this newspaper. That is why we shall only outline its most important points in brief without claiming to exhaust it.

First of all, we should state most emphatically that the Macedonian ques­tion continues to exist today, after several wars and all the decisions of the European conferences - after the artificial solution which was given to it by the interested Powers it still remains unsolved, and it is a dark, sinister spot on the Balkan horizon.

Is there any proof? Yes, there is plenty, and everybody free from the political hypnosis which dominates the minds of the majority of world politicians, can see it.

Despite the fact that Macedonia was dismembered and given to those who had long coveted her, its present rulers cannot rest content. We had many oc­casions to read in the Serbian newspapers the 'impressions' of various Serbian 'scholarly' travellers who toured 'liberated Macedonia', and despite their con­fidence that it has a purely Serbian character, they cannot conceal their unpleasant surprise at what they see. Everybody knows that in spite of all Treaty clauses which guarantee the freedom of the 'minorities' both in Serbian and in Greek Macedonia, the Bulgarian churches and schools there have long been closed. One of those friends of scholarship and truth had the ill luck to be pre­sent at a Protestant prayer meeting (most probably under the protection of the American religious mission), and to his horror he heard the people there read the Gospel, prey to God and sing in the accursed rebellious Bulgarian language, and enraged by this, he shouted the question whether there was in Serbia a power which would finally put an end to those rebellious anti-state activities.

Yes, it is true that the vast majority of the Christian population in Serbian and Greek Macedonia do speak a language most unpleasant to their rulers, but they speak it because this is the language their mothers taught them to speak, the language of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers - this is the terrible Bulgarian language which has given culture and education to almost all Slav peoples...

But what does this event, taken in isolation, demonstrate?

Above all, it shows the ethnic, national peculiarity of the Macedonian population with regard to the states into whose possession it was delivered as mere cattle, it shows, therefore, the injustice done to it through this ar­bitrary and monstrous act of the diplomacy of civilized and noble Europe, and finally - it shows just how real and serious are the guarantees of the freedoms of the 'minorities' provided by the international treaties about which so much noise was made at one time so that they would not remain only 'on paper.'

Considering the state into which the Bulgarian people have lately fallen, we, their members who come from the enslaved homeland, had no alternative but to embrace the idea of autonomy for Macedonia, as the only possible way out, the only possible form of rule, which offers real guarantees for the national, language, religious, traditional and other freedoms of all nationalities inhabiting this unhappy land, irrespective of their number.

Today this is the slogan of all enlightened Macedonian sons, whether they live in Macedonia or in exile. By the way, it is not an entirely new slogan. Years ago, when we were under Turkish domination, there existed a revolutionary organization, the ultimate goal of whose struggle was autonomous rule. However, there was another organization which had set itself a more extreme, and therefore, more complicated and more difficult task - the freedom and political unification of the Bulgarians. Was that imperialism? In our opinion it was not. That was the natural development of the historical process for national liberation which began with the National Revival struggle for freedom of the Church and education, a process which continued with the revolutionary struggles for political freedom and the liberation war in 1877 and which was arrested at the moment when it was to receive a satisfactory and just solution - arrested by an unjust international act, the Berlin Treaty, dictated by envy and malice of the small states, and political competition, mutual distrust and cau­tion among the Great Powers.

Nobody has so far thought of bringing charges of imperialism against Botev, Levski, Karavelov and other outstanding figures of our epic national struggle, because at that time the Bulgarian state did not exist, it was precisely for its creation that they fought and they did not fix its boundaries but worked wherever they were received with sympathy as brothers, and wherever the Bulgarian language was spoken.

Years later, when their unfinished cause was taken up by a new genera­tion, and a free, though strongly truncated Bulgarian state already existed, that pure and sacred longing for a general people's liberty was labeled 'Bulgarian state imperialism' by the interested neighbours, and what is sadder still, there are good Bulgarians even among us who have adopted this foreign view, and consider any aspiration for freedom and national unification a heresy.

The considerations of the former champions of the idea of autonomy were not correct, and did not sustain serious criticism. One of these, and may be the most important one, was that the Bulgarians in Macedonia do not con­stitute an absolute majority as compared with the other nationalities living there. When speaking of Macedonia others call for its autonomy and restora­tion in its 'historic and ethnic boundaries' as if the Macedonians constituted some separate nationality. Yet a third group, considering the contradictory in­terests of the different Balkan states, and of the nationalities inhabiting Macedonia, was of the opinion that the Bulgarians were not capable of solving the Macedonian question, even if the Bulgarian state itself took part in it. Taking into account the irreconcilable interests of Macedonia's neighbouring states, they point to autonomy as the most possible and feasible form which would not be opposed by the interested countries.

We shall try to refute all these considerations.

First of all, without denying the fact that the Bulgarians in Macedonia do not constitute an absolute majority as compared with the other nationalities, we maintain that the Bulgarian nationality there constitutes an overwhelming majority compared with each other nationality taken separately, and this is the opinion of all impartial observers who have travelled in Macedonia and have studied it closely. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that under Turkish domination the ethnic groups were deliberately divided to live in different ad­ministrative territorial districts, and that in the Macedonian districts Albanian regions inhabited by Albanians were included, also parts of old Serbia inhabited by Serbians, etc. That was done with the aim of breaking up the Christian pop­ulation as far as possible so that Macedonia might acquire a stronger Moslem character, and national antagonism arise among the Christian nationalities. Strictly speaking, the Bulgarian character is more strongly pronounced in Macedonia than in some other regions included in the territory of the Bulgarian state itself, for example, the Deliorman region.

As far as the 'historical and ethnic boundaries' are concerned, this is an absurd, untenable argument, despite its seemingly scholarly character, because historical geography does not know of any strictly defined boundaries of Macedonia and neither does it know of any special 'Macedonian' nationality. When speaking of the geographic boundaries of the Macedonian region, the an­cient Greek and Roman historians mention the river Strimon (Strouma) as its eastern border. However, the capital of the so-called Macedonian Kingdom which was set up by Perdikas and ended with Alexander the Great, is the town of Philippi, near the town of KavalaMacedonia. The Macedonians who founded the short-lived Macedonian state, whose 'historic boundaries' may be sought even as far as In­dia - those Macedonians were not a very big tribe among the numerous and warring Thracian tribes. Therefore, there can be no serious case for any 'historic and ethnic boundaries of Macedonia'. We consider it useless to speak of historic rights acquired by virtue of possession in earlier periods, and con­sider that it should be looked upon simply as a land inhabited by a population which in its majority speaks our language, shares our habits and customs and our Bulgarian national consciousness.

For the present moment the last consideration of the old champions of autonomy, however, contains a large measure of truth and validity. There was a time when by making certain compromises, territorial and other concessions to the interested neighbours, we could expect some success in achieving the desired national unification. However, that was a long time ago, many things have changed, and without here mentioning those who are to blame for it, we have to state the sad truth that this is now a vanished dream. At present, con­sidering this situation, we all regard the autonomy of Macedonia as the only possible solution of this question which is a matter of deep concern to us, and this is not because it is the most just solution, but because under the present conditions, it is the only one that appears feasible and attainable, and is a real guarantee for protecting the rights of the minorities, to be preferred to the vain unfeasible sanctions of the international treaties at which the present rulers of Macedonia are insolently mocking.

This is our frank appraisal, and we should voice it openly for all the world to hear in order to be more convincing to all those who suspect us. It is erroneous to think that, in order to uproot the suspicions of Greeks and Serbs, we should pillory our national ideals as a dangerous heresy and should deny their dead and living bearers just as Saint Peter denied Christ. Both the Greeks and Serbs know the truth, and they are not likely to believe in our naivety. They would be very suspicious of any attempt of ours to show that we recognize our former demands as false, and agree with what our enemies proclaim, because they cannot believe that we are not aware of what they know, and hide behind this foolish artificial noise. Considering all insistent, even servile attempts on the part of Bulgaria to smooth over and forget what has happened up till now, the prominent Serbian statesman Pashich declared that at least 20 years have to pass before any agreement can be concluded with Bulgaria, and that during this period, the latter should constantly give proof of its good faith. This means that the Serbs need 20 years to stifle everything Bulgarian in Macedonia, and only after that, when Bulgaria is ruined and humiliated, unable to react, a Serbian-Bulgarian agreement can be considered.

That is why we should proclaim loud and clear both to the Serbs, and the Greeks, and the Powers which have contributed to our wretched lot, that we embrace the principle of the autonomy of Macedonia without any ulterior motive, and at the same time, without foresaking our sacred ideals, only obeying an imperative necessity. We do not know whether our voice will be heard, but we do know that by this act we are trying to save not only Macedonia, but also Bulgaria and even the rulers of our homeland from new and inevitable misfortunes. Maybe this suffering country will at last be assigned the enviable role of becoming a link for the unification of the disunited and warring fraternal peoples.

This is our opinion, and we shall be very happy if we have here been able to express a correct and common view, which can be shared by our brothers in exile.

Newspaper Ilinden, Sofia, No. 5, February 5, 1922.

Probably the pen name of Arseni Yovkov, editor of the newspaper Ilinden, member of the leadership of the Ilinden Organization. He was assassinated by members of the nationalist wing of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization on September 12, 1924 in Gorna Djoumaya (Blagoevgrad).


The formation of a secret youth organization in the secondary school in the town of Prilep,
directed against the policy of Serbianization of the Macedonian population

July 1922

The conspiracy was very strict and despotic. Its first targets were to set the Prilep secondary school on fire and to assassinate its headmaster. In the prologue to their struggle, however, the students sent a number of written war­nings to the teachers who had been imposed on them. And now with tears in their eyes, the readers of the newspaper Ilinden will read the following letter of the brave young fighters of Macedonia, which speaks for itself:

'Mr Headmaster,
'We have already sent you several anonymous letters about the intolerable, disgraceful behaviour of the teachers subordinated to you, during lessons, es­pecially history and geography. Both you and the teachers know perfectly well that we are Bulgarians, and despite this, in their language they desecrate everything which is sacred to us. We study in this school against our will, and we are not eager to learn your culture which follows the path of degradation and depravity. We can see the spirit of depravity in which your teachers are educating our sisters. In brief, the schools have become like brothels. This is, however, a dreadful plague for us and we, the children of Macedonia, declare that we shall fight against this plague even if our homeland is reduced to dust and ashes. We keep the behest of the Macedonian apostles, whose struggle you use most shamelessly in order to subject us to a new domination, even uglier than the Turkish one. The Turks, at least, spared our language, habits, traditions, customs, which you desecrate. That is why we, from the school in which Dame Grouev, Peter Arsov and Pere Toshev once taught, will not allow you to turn it into a brothel.
'It is better to reduce our homeland to dust and ashes than to let you profane it with your disgraceful culture.'
Today the 13 young Prilep idealists are in the Prilep prison because of this letter and because of their daring conspiracy. Prilep is in a turmoil as a result of this disclosure. The investigation continues — and this says a great, great deal.

Newspaper Ilinden, Sofia, Vol. 2, No. 28, July 16, 1922. The original is in Bulgarian.


An excerpt from the book World Crisis 1911-1918 by Winston Churchill1,
the writer explains how the Entente failed to win Bulgaria in the war,
because it could not guarantee her the 'uncontested zone' in Macedonia, recognized as Bulgarian

I was strongly of opinion during the month of July that we ought not to stake the whole Balkan policy solely on the result of a battle in Gallipoli2, but that, while doing everything in our power to secure a victory there, we should also strive to win Bulgaria. This could be done only by territorial concessions, forced upon Greece and Serbia, combined with the granting of loans and the expectation of success in the Dardanelles. The imminent peril in which Serbia stood, and the restricted conditions under which the Allies could afford her protection, made it indispensable that she should cede, and if necessary be made to surrender, the uncontested zone in Macedonia3 to the Bulgarians, to whom it belonged by race, by history, by treaty, and - until it was taken from them in the second Balkan War - by conquest. Serbia, even when at the last gasp during the first Austrian attack upon her in 1914, had found it necessary to keep large numbers of troops in the Bulgarian districts of Macedonia to hold down the native population. Right and reason, the claims of justice, and the most imperious calls of necessity, alike counseled the Serbians to surrender at least the uncontested zone. To the ordinary exhortations of diplomacy were added special appeals by the Sovereigns and the Rulers of the allied countries. The Prince Regent4 of Serbia was besought by the Tsar,5 by the President of the French Republic, and by King George V, to make a concession right in itself, necessary in the common cause, vital to the safety of Serbia. But to all these appeals the Serbian Government and Parliament proved obdurate. The allied diplomacy, moving ponderously forward - every telegram and measure having to be agreed to by all the other parties to the alliance - had just reached the point of refusing any further supplies of stores or money to Serbia unless she complied with their insistent demand, when the final invasion began.

The same sort of thing happened about Kavalla. M. Venizelos,6 with his almost unerring judgment of great issues, was prepared to imperil his whole per­sonal popularity in Greece and place himself at a deadly disadvantage in his controversies with the King by intimating his readiness to acquiesce in the ces­sion to Bulgaria of Kavalla in certain circumstances. Had the Allies been able to secure for Bulgaria the immediate cession of the uncontested zone in Macedonia and the port of Kavalla, it seems very probable that they might have been induced during the month of July to come to our aid and to march on Adrianople.

It seems certain that, even if this full result had not been obtained, the tangible cession of this territory to Bulgaria at the instance of the Allies would have made it impossible for King Ferdinand to carry his country into the hostile camp. Monsieur Radoslavov7 gave in brutally frank language a perfect­ly truthful account of the Bulgarian position in these months. No effective measures were, however, taken, and all was left to the hazard of the battle on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Winston Churchill, The World Crisis 1911-1918, repr. London, 1932, pp. 575-577.

1 Winston Churchill, eminent British statesman and political figure, one of the leaders of the Conservative Party, author of books on the First and Second World Wars.
2 The battle of Gallipoli (March-October 1915) was fought between the Anglo-French landing troops, whose aim it was 'to open the Dardanelles', and the Turkish army, which won the battle.
3 The uncontested zone in Macedonia was described in detail in Article 2 of the 'Secret Addendum to the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance between the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Serbia', from March 13, 1912, and it included the territory to the east and to the south of Mount Golem (to the north of Kriva Palanka) and to the south-west up to Gubovtsi Monastery on Ohrid Lake; 'Serbia is bound not to contest anything beyond this line.' See I. E. Geshov, "The Balkan Alliance, Memoirs and Documents', Sofia, 1915; "The Secret Affiance'... pp. 75-76.
4  Prince Alexander, later King of Serbia
5  i.e. Tsar Nicholas II
6 Elevterios Venizelos, born in Crete, eminent Greek statesman, leader of the Liberal Par­ty.
7 Dr. Vassil Radoslavov, Prime-Minister of Bulgaria (1914-1918), a pro-German liberal
In Short Notes on My Life Dimiter Blagoev gives information about his native village and school
April 13th, 1923

The date of my birth is not exactly known because my birth certificate shows the year 1859, but it was issued later in order to show that I was younger than I looked. This was requested by the Russian school authorities in order to admit me to the 4th form of the Russian high school. But I remember that when I went to Constantinople as a 14-15 years old boy, there was a lot of talk about the Franco-Prussian War. From this it is to be concluded that the date of my birth should be 1855 or 1856.

I was born in the well-known Macedonian village of Zagorichane, Kostour district. It is a large, clean Bulgarian village, situated at the foothills of the southern spurs of the large mountain massif of Vich and on the brink of a large valley, stretchnig to the south of the village.


A remarkable event in my life at that time was the arrival of the first Bulgarian teacher in the village. He was Georgi Konstantinov from Soloun, or, as we called him, Dinkata. He was engaged as teacher in the Greek school, the only one which existed at the time. But he was above all an agitator, an apostle and that is why the very first days he assembled us and asked us whether we wanted to learn the Bulgarian alphabet. There was no end to our happiness and the lessons in Bulgarian in the school began in secret. I remember very well our school room with a row of benches, strewn with sand on which we used to write. But our teacher Dinkata was not satisfied with teaching only the children of our village and he made the rounds of the villages as an agitator of the national idea.

In a neighbouring village he was beaten almost to death and he was brought back to our village wrapped in raw hides. But he persisted. Typical of the energy of this Bulgarian nationalist revolutionary was his act in 1870. After the Firman on the independence of the Bulgarian church was issued that same year, he went somewhere - whether to Constantinople or somewhere else, I don't know, but whatever he did, one day he appeared in the village with a copy of the Firman which he later read in the neighbouring villages. I wrote more about this teacher, a Bulgarian revolutionary in the newspaper Makedonski glas in 1885 in a special article headed 'Dinkata, the Teacher'.

I personally owe a great deal to him. He taught me to read and write very quickly. After one year of studies my friends and I used to take turns reading the Slav psalter in church. And, immitating his handwriting to this day, I write in a small handwirting, because at that time my ideal was to learn to write like my teacher. But he also gave me something more: he awakened an interest in knowledge in me...

Dimiter Blagoev, Works, vol. 19, Sofia, 1963, pp. 353-6; the original is in Bulgarian.


A Draft Agreement between the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and the Soviet Government,
signed by T. Alexandrov, Member of the Central Committee of the IMRO

December 30th, 1923

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, which represents the Macedonians fighting for national self-determination, political freedom, self-government and the greatest possible social justice, aims at:

The unification of Macedonia, divided between Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece in 1913 under the Bucharest Treaty, and in 1919 under the Neuilly Treaty, into one political entity which will subsequently become an equal member of a Balkan Federation or, at least, as a first stage, a South Slav Federation.

In order to achieve this goal, the IMRO relies:

a) on its own fighters;

b) on any state, irrespective of its system, whose interests coincide with the ideals of the IMRO, and

c) on all public organizations which champion national self-determination, human rights and freedoms, and a lasting peace in the world.

Proceeding from these principles, the IMRO, taking note of the official statements of the Russian Soviet Republic that it will contribute to the libera­tion of the oppressed peoples, makes the following agreement with the Russian Soviet Republic:

1. The IMRO undertakes to cooperate with the other revolutionary organizations in the Balkans for the federation of the Balkan states within their ethnic boundaries, the political and economic interests of which coincide with those of the Russian Soviet Republic.

2. The Russian Soviet Republic recognizes the IMRO as the only organization representing the sovereign will of Macedonia.

3. The IMRO and the Russian Soviet Republic maintain contacts through their regular authorized commissioners who shall have the status of diplomatic and military representatives.

4. Preserving their independence in their foreign and domestic policy, the two parties may undertake concrete joint actions by mutual agreement, depen­ding on the political circumstances.

5. The IMRO would gratefully accept the material, diplomatic and moral support of the Russian Soviet Republic.

Member of the Central Committee of the IMRO:

T. Alexandrov

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the original is in Bulgarian.


Declaration of D. Vlahov and P. Chaoulev on the Vienna talks on unification of the Macedonian movement

April 9th, 1924

The undersigned delegates of the IMRO, authorized by its Central Com­mittee to negotiate with the representatives of the USSR on joint work aimed at the liberation of Macedonia, in the spirit of the mandate given to us, deem it necessary to make the following declaration:

1. As a genuine revolutionary organization, the IMRO is fighting for the liberation and unification of the dismembered parts of Macedonia into a com­pletely independent political entity within its natural ethnic and geographical boundaries. It holds the view that the political existence of independent Macedonia can be guaranteed only by the self-determination and unification of the Balkan peoples in the form of a Balkan Federation which alone will be in a position to frustrate attempts at annexation by the existing Balkan states, to en­sure the correct settlement of all national disputes, and to guarantee the cultural development of all ethnic minorities.

2. In its struggle for the liberation of Macedonia and the formation of a Balkan Federation, the IMRO relies, first of all, on the united revolutionary forces of the whole Macedonian population, in cooperation with the revolutionary movements of the other Balkan peoples. And insofar as the im­plementation of this task depends on the international situation, it relies, above all, on the moral support of the revolutionary and progressive European movements, and mainly on the all-round moral, material and political support of the USSR, which is today the only state fighting for the liberation of all op­pressed peoples, for their genuine self-determination and federation, and which does not pursue any imperialist goals in its Balkan policy.

3. In order to prove the sincerity of the above-mentioned principled statements, the IMRO declares that it will most decisively intensify its struggle against the Serbian and Greek governments and against the Bulgarian govern­ment, which are the tools of their own or foreign imperialist designs on Macedonia. In this sense the organization will provide all possible proofs so as to eliminate even the slightest suspicion that it is cooperating with the present Sofia government, and to eliminate all doubts about its complete break with the government's policy and about its decisive struggle against it.

4. Valuing the enormous importance of a united revolutionary front in the Balkans to fight Balkan and European imperialism, the IMRO declares that it will give its wholehearted support to the formation of a united Balkan revolutionary front in the immediate future, it will establish close contacts and coordinate its struggle with the struggle of all genuine revolutionary movements in the other Balkan countries which accept as their goal and are fighting for genuine self-determination of their peoples, for the liberation and unifica­tion of Macedonia into an independent political entity, and for their unification into a Balkan Federation on the basis of equality.

5. The IMRO holds the view that the grouping of all revolutionary elements of the Macedonian movement into a united Macedonian revolutionary front is of essential significance for the formation of a united Balkan revolutionary front, and in order to achieve it, the Central Committee declares that it is ready to discontinue its persecution of the groups fighting against the organization on the condition of reciprocity, and to establish contacts with them to reach a final agreement.

6. In order to furnish proof of the sincerity of the above declaration, the Central Committee undertakes immediately to carry out the following preliminary actions and measures:

(1) To send a circular letter to all its subordinated committees and bodies in which it will outline the political and organizational directives arising from the present programme.

(2) To make a public statement on behalf of the Organization in the spirit of Articles 1-4 of this declaration.

(3) To form the Macedonian deputies in the Parliaments of the Balkan states into independent parliamentary groups, which will voice their solidarity with the present programme, and which will act in parliament and politically, in contact and agreement with the other parliamentary groups and political par­ties which accept this declaration in its entirety.

(4) To reorganize the administration of all printed organs defending the cause of the organization, and to exert influence so as to assign this task to per­ sons who will promote the implementation of the present programme.

(5) To organize the publication and editing of a special printed organ abroad, which within the framework of legal political propaganda, will fight against European and Balkan imperialism, defend the idea of self-determination for the Balkan peoples and the Balkan Federation, and will prepare the preliminary conditions for the formation of a united Balkan revolutionary front If possible, the publication and editing of this organ will be organized by mutual agreement among all parties concerned.

(6) To appoint its special delegate and to receive one from the other side to maintain contacts between the Central Committee of the Organization and the Government of the USSR.

D. Vlahov

Delegate of the Central Committee of the IMRO

P. Chaoulev

Delegate and Member of the Central Committee of the IMRO

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the original is in Bulgarian.
An article by A. Yovkov 'Bulgarians in Macedonia'

April 14th, 1924

Ever since the madness for conquests has been raging in the Balkan lands, it has become a common phenomenon for all statesmen in the Balkans, for the whole choir of politicians, journalists, scholars and public figures, to place ethnography at the service of their policy and geography - at the service of their economic tendencies. In this way the Balkan policy of conquest has created a peculiar specialty, that of the conqueror, by virtue of which, in the name of specific interests, the nationalities can undergo a metamorphosis in a wink, while the figures pertaining to the nationalities acquire the quality of miracles - from millions they turn into zero and from zero into millions. So much so that the European spectators, watching the Balkan tragicomedic stage can see, under the magic hands of the conjurers, Bulgarians in Novi Pazar and Drach, or Greeks from the Danube to the Aegean Sea, or Serbs from Belo-Serbia (pardon - Bessarabia) to Thessaly, and accordingly - the Vardar valley as a continuation of the Morava valley, Thrace as a continuation of spineless Greece, while the Strouma and Maritsa valleys become Bulgarian spears, meant to lacerate the invertebrate creature lying at the gates of Bulgaria.

And simultaneously with these phenomena, out of the top-hats of the Balkan conjurers there prop up now Bulgaro-Tartars, now Bulgaro-Slavs, now Proto-Serbians, now Bulgarian-speaking Slavs or Hellenized Slavs, now Serbianized Bulgarians or Bulgarianized Serbians, and a whole series of other specialities and we wouldn't be surprised if one day we see in the Balkans Chinamen as well, provided China could consider the Vardar valley as a con­tinuation of the Yang-Tse-Kiang.

Yes, indeed, when there is no morality in politics, when the present states consider the nationalities as an exchange commodity, it is not at all surprising that the government offices and their mouthpieces - the press and science - are con­jurers in top-hats. Oh, dear! The Balkans are a fun-fair. Turkey and Bulgaria had their show, now it is the turn of Serbia and Greece...

And don't you hear their desperate catch-penny shouts? Can't you see the pitiful state of science in Serbia, in the role of a clown? But can't you see the public, applauding without believing?

Indeed, the burden of robbery is heavy. Both Serbia and Greece, which have grabbed more Balkan loot than they can chew, are now compelled to pa­tent their inventions of scientific lies in order to conceal the robbery. This is the explanation of all the labour - pains, from which the Serbian press and its mouthpieces in the west now suffer in their attempts to justify the robbery.

But when present-day Serbia went to Neuilly to grab its share of the loot, didn't it really buy a pig in a poke, which, much to its regret, does not want to stay quiet, but shows its head at every road and crossroad? Didn't the Serbian state realize that no right could be created in the name of certain interests, that a nationality cannot emerge from greed, that the fact that there is a Bulgarian nationality in Macedonia cannot be concealed from the world with lies?

Of course, Serbia realizes all this. And the more it realizes the fact that no ethnic rights can ensue for it from the assimilation of the Bulgarian element, the greater the efforts its men of letters, journalists and statesmen make to convince the world that there are no Bulgarians in Macedonia. Even serious newspapers like Trgovinski glasnik which pleads the common cause of Yugoslav unity, has joined the chorus of those who claim that Macedonia had a Serbian culture and a Serbian historical character.

All these arguments, however, are as transparent as those of the people who may claim that the Macedonians are Kumans because there is a town named Koumanovo, or because one could find there traces and signs of the Roumanians.

But for real science, for real historical truth, the facts do not appear the way the Serbians present them,

Here they are:

1. With the very appearance of the Slav alphabet and Slav letters, at the time of St Clement of Ohrid, the Macedonian Slavs had the character of Bulgarians. I don't know whether at that time a Bulgarian Exarchate, or a com­mittee cheta did not make St Clement a Bulgarian, but all the Lives of St Cle­ment and all that was written about him by the archbishops of Ohrid, consider him a Bulgarian, shepherd of the Bulgarian population.

2. The Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, born a bursyak from Macedonia, did not call himself a Serbian king but a Bulgarian tsar, while Serbian King Dusan was indeed crowned in Skopje, but after going there only to conquer it. King Ferdi­nand might just as well have been crowned in Constantinople, if the golden chariot he ordered in 1912 had indeed reached the Golden Horn.

3. The Greeks themselves did not call King Basil 'Serboctonus' but 'Bulgaroctonus', because the 15 thousand blinded soldiers were Macedonian Slavs from Prilep and Prespa and precisely they are referred to in the name 'Bulgaroctonus.'

4. The archbishopric of Ohrid coexisted for a long time with the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec. Why did not the former become a component part of the latter if the population of Macedonia were the same as the one in Serbia?

5. Macedonia took a more active part in the Bulgarian National Revival than the Serbian Kossovo region took in the Serbian Revival. Even before the Exarchate existed, the Macedonian Slavs linked all their spiritual struggles with those of the Bulgarians from Moesia and Thrace, and chose Constantinople as the centre of their struggles, in spite of the fact that, at that time, there already existed a Serbian state at the gates of Macedonia.

6. Macedonia gave to the common Bulgarian culture eminent poets like the brothers Miladinov, Raiko Zhinzifov and Grigor Purlichev even before the Bulgarian Exarchate existed.

7. The West-Macedonian Slavs produced the first militants for Bulgarian spiritual independence, such as Kiril Peychinovich and Partenii Zografski, the former from Tetovo district and Abbot of the monastery of Leshok, where he lies in peace until now, the latter from Galichnik and a Bulgarian bishop in Pirot, where he lies in peace until now. Strange, isn't it? A Bulgarian archbishop from Macedonia and in Pirot at that! Why did the Bulgarian spirit invade Serbian preserves, while we don't see any Serbian spirit in Macedonia?

8. Let the Serbians visit, if they like, the old church 'Sveti Spas' in Skopje: there under the iconostasis with artistic carvings from Debur they will read the following inscription, made by the engraver: 'First master Filipov of Gari and Makarii of Galichnik, Bulgarians of Malareka, 1824.' Let the Serbians remember - 1824, i.e., 100 years ago!

9. The Serbian Vuk Karadjic collected several songs in Macedonia and calls them 'Bulgarian folk songs'. The Serbian Stefan Verkovic of Bosnia published in 1860 in Belgrade a collection of Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians.10. Today the Serbians themselves do understand the language of the Macedonian Bulgarians and ask the local population not to 'prichat' in Bulgarian. Mr. Janic, Minister of Denominations in Veles, declared at a public meeting: 'The people, who spoke before me, spoke in Bulgarian, but...' The Macedonians say 'Skopje', while the Serbians call it 'Skoplje';the Macedonians pronounce 'Bitolya', the Serbians - 'Bitolja'. Didn't we have the same case when the Hungarians called the Croatian city 'Zagreb' - 'Agram' and the Slovenian city of 'Liubljana' - 'Lebach'?   

11. In 1868 the Serbian Ceda Mijatovic published in Belgrade an ethnographic map of the Balkan Peninsula on which the population of Macedonia is shown as Bulgarian. The map is an annex to the book Travels in the Slavonic Provinces of Turkey in Europe by Miss Muir MacKenzie and Irby. This map also shows the Turkish, Greek and Albanian nationalities, but there is no trace of any Serbians. How was it that at a time when there was no Bulgarian science Serbian science did not find any Serbians in Macedonia, and afterwards they have appeared all of a sudden, by a sleight-of-hand?

12. The following international treaties and political acts recognize the Slavonic population in Macedonia as being Bulgarian:

a) The Treaty of San Stefano of 1878.

b) The Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty of 1912.

c) The Sultan's firman of 1870 by which the Bulgarian Exarchate was es­tablished - at a time when no Bulgarian state existed, while there was a Serbian Kingdom next door to Macedonia. Anyway, do the treaties create the nationalities, or the nationalities make the treaties?

13. Macedonia has given to the Bulgarian nation and to the Bulgarian state scholars, professors, writers, journalists, statesmen, public figures, clergymen and all of them in countless numbers. It is true that Macedonia has received no political benefits because of them, only the common Bulgarian culture has profited, but how many men has Macedonia given to Serbian culture? How many local officials, how many local teachers, how many local archbishops does the Serbian state have in Macedonia in order to convince us that the local population is Serbian?

14. For 40 years now the Macedonian population has been emigrating: the Greek population - to Greece, the Romanian population - to Romania, the Turkish population - to Turkey, the Albanian population - to Albania, the Bulgarian population - to Bulgaria. Today in Greece there are about 100,000 Greek emigrants from Bulgarian and Serbian Macedonia, in Turkey - 200,000 Turkish emigrants and they will reach half a million, in Albania - about 60,000 Macedonian Albanians, in Bulgaria - 300,000 Macedonian Bulgarians, in Romania - 50,000 Romanians. Well, since the times of the Turkish domination how many Macedonian emigrants have gone to Serbia, how many Macedonians settle even today in Belgrade, Nish, Kragujevac, Valjevo, Sabac, while every town in Bulgaria, every village in Bulgaria each month welcomes ever new Macedonian emigrants.

15. During the Balkan War the Macedonian emigrants formed a volunteer corps, during the World War — a Macedonian division consisting exclusively of Macedonian privates, Macedonian NCOs, officers and general. And not only the Macedonians in Bulgaria, but also those, living in the USA, came to Bulgaria and enlisted in these units. Macedonian chetas guided the Bulgarian army along the river Strouma, the Serbian army along the river Vardar and the Greek army in the direction of the river Bistritsa. But when the war ended the members of these chetas found themselves in Serbian and Greek prisons, i.e. they were treated like aliens.

16. Macedonian Slavs have emigrated to South America. If here in Bulgaria there is something to compel them to call themselves Bulgarians, why is it that those who have never even seen Bulgaria and have been 'liberated' by Serbia, call themselves Bulgarians even in America, form brotherhoods for the liberation of Macedonia and expose to personal risks even their interests in Macedonia? Why is it that Macedonian students in Vienna, Graz, Berlin, Prague, Geneva where they freely study call themselves Bulgarians and form Macedonian societies? Could the Serbians show us similar examples?

17. The French officers at the Macedonian front, even general Sarai, have publicly declared in the press that the population there was Bulgarian. And a Professor from the Sorbonne, Mr. Mason, recently published a whole volume of Macedonian fairy tales and legends - Bulgarian folklore from Macedonia, whose population the author himself defines as Bulgarian.

18. And finally - since lies have short legs - in their desire to give Macedonia to the Serbians and Greeks, the victors in Paris and Neuilly could not avoid the short-leggedness of lie and admitted the existence of a Bulgarian element in Macedonia. Discussing the Treaty of Neuilly the “sly” Cretion Venizelos forgot that while pleading the Greek interests out of loyalty he should not have harmed Serbian interests, yet he not only harmed them, but, at Neuil­ly, he denied in treaty form that there were any Serbians in Macedonia. Thus he imposed on Bulgaria a convention for the exchange of population: Bulgaria was to admit the Bulgarians from Macedonia, while Greece was to admit the Greeks from Bulgaria. What does this mean? It means that the Slavs south of the 'Serbian' town of Gevgeli, etc., are Bulgarians. This means that beyond Bitolya, beyond 'Serbian' Bitolya the population in the districts of Lerin and Kostour is Bulgarian, while nearer to Bulgaria - in the districts of Prilep, Veles and Shtip - it is Serbian. Is this a professor's theory, political blackmail or a fatal contradiction between two robbers who have not come to terms among themselves as to the lie they were going to tell? And now the Bulgarians from Sekoulevo, Nevolyani and Vurbiani in the Lerin district will be sent to Bulgaria, while the pure 'Serbians' from Kurstofor and Bouhovo, who live at a distance of only 20 kilometres from the former, as well as those from Tsarevo selo, Maleshevo and Kochani will remain where they are as Serbians, because such was the political theory of Neuilly. In South Macedonia property is looted in the name of Bulgarophobia, while in Serbian Macedonia Serbian monuments are eagerly sought, and if someone finds a Serb together with two Kouman, three Roman, four Illyrian and ten Bulgarian monuments, the Serbian scholars would again proclaim Macedonia to be Serbian.

In the Serbian Skupshtina there are shouts of: 'There are no Bulgarians, there are no Macedonians', while in the Athens Parliament the former Prime Minister, Mr. Kaphandaris, replying to Bulgaria, shouted: 'The Bulgarian ele­ment in Macedonia lives under good conditions and that is why so far there have been no complaints to the mixed commission on the problem of emigration.'

  However, the above arguments and thousands of more similar arguments we can adduce, do not seem to exist for the Serbians. They consider that they have a right over Macedonia finally because they have shed their blood for it, because they had sent two divisions at Odrin. As if the Macedonians have not been shedding their blood and tears for 40 years now for their in­dependence, as if we were market commodities, so that people can trade with our hides...

  Good Lord, will there ever be an end to this slave market which is gladly served by states and politicians, merchants and academicians, interests and science? Won't a new Christ come with a whip in his hand and drive away all this scum which desecrates the temple of mankind and the altar of truth?

Newspaper 20th July, Macedonian-Adrianople Sheet1, Sofia, 1924, No. 1; the original is in Bulgarian.

Organ of the Ilinden Organization after the newspaper 'Pirin' was banned in 1924


Declaration of the Central Committee of the IMRO on the unification of the Macedonian movement of liberation
Vienna, April 29th, 1924

1. As a genuine revolutionary force, the IMRO is fighting for the libera­tion and unification of the dismembered parts of Macedonia into a completely independent political entity within its natural ethnic and geographical boundaries. It holds the view that the political existence of independent Macedonia can be guaranteed only by the union of the self-determined Balkan peoples in the form of a Balkan Federation, which alone will be in a position to frustrate the attempts at annexation by the existing Balkan states, to ensure correct settlement of all national disputes, and to guarantee the cultural development of all ethnic minorities.

2. In its struggle for the liberation of Macedonia and the formation of a Balkan Federation, the IMRO relies, above all, on the united revolutionary forces of the whole Macedonian population in cooperation with the revolutionary movements of the other Balkan peoples. And in so far as the final solution of this task depends on the international situation, it relies, above all, on the moral support of the revolutionary and progressive European movements, and mainly on the all-round moral, material and political support of the USSR, which is today the only state fighting for the liberation of all op­pressed peoples, for their real self-determination and federation, and which does not pursue any imperialist goals in its Balkan policy.

3. The IMRO will most decisively intensify its struggle against both the Serbian and Greek governments and against the Bulgarian government, which are or may become instruments of their own or foreign imperialist designs on Macedonia. In this sense the organization breaks all contacts with the governments in Sofia and will wage a struggle against their policy.

4. Valuing the enormous importance of a united revolutionary front in the Balkans to struggle against European and Balkan imperialism, the IMRO will make its wholehearted contribution to the formation of a united Balkan revolutionary front in the immediate future, it will establish close contacts and coordinate its struggle with the struggle of all genuinely revolutionary movements in the other Balkan states which accept as their goal and are fighting for genuine self-determination of their peoples, for the liberation and unification of Macedonia into an independent political entity, and for their un­ification into a Balkan Federation on the basis of equal rights; the organization will establish contacts with the Communist parties in the Balkan states.

5. The IMRO considers that the grouping of all revolutionary elements of the Macedonian movement into a united Macedonian revolutionary front is of essential significance for the formation of a united Balkan revolutionary front. In order to achieve the formation of a united Macedonian revolutionary front, the Central Committee will stop the persecution of the groups fighting against the organization, and will make efforts to unite the whole Macedonian move­ment.

6. In order to apply the above directives, the Central Committee intends to take the following measures and preliminary action:

a) To send a circular letter to all subordinated committees and bodies in which it will outline the political and organizational directive arising from the Present programme.

b) To make a public statement in the spirit of this declaration.

c) To form the Macedonian deputies in the parliaments of the Balkan states into independent parliamentary groups which will voice their solidarity with the other parliamentary groups and political parties which accept the pre­sent programme in its entirety.

d) To organize the administration of all printed organs defending the cause of the organization on which the latter may exert influence in such a way as to entrust it to persons who will promote the implementation of the present programme.

e) To organize the publishing and editing of a special printed organ

abroad, which in the form of legal political propaganda, will fight against Euro­pean and Balkan imperialism, defend the idea of self-determination for the Balkan peoples and the Balkan Federation, and will prepare the preliminary conditions for a united Balkan revolutionary front. If possible, the publishing and editing of this organ will be organized by mutual agreement of all parties concerned.

f) To appoint its special delegate and receive one from the other side to maintain contacts between the Central Committee of the Organization and the government of the USSR.

Central Committee of the IMRO
P. Chaoulev
A. Protogerov
T. Alexandrov

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров; the preserved copy is in Bulgarian.

From an article 'The Nationality of the Macedonians' by Krustyo Misirkov1
May 11th, 1924

Mr. Arseni Yovkov's article 'Bulgarians in Macedonia', published in No. 1 of 20th July, again raises the problem of the nationality of the Macedonians and solves it with irrefutable proof in favour of the Bulgarian nation. The author of the article in question, in another article published in the latest number of the newspaper Pirin, says that there will be a Macedonian question as long as there are Bulgarians and a Bulgarian national conscience in Macedonia, and that, in the interests of all the other nationalities in Macedonia, it was important and essential for there to be Bulgarians in Macedonia. In his latest article Mr. Yovkov even said that we, Macedonians, should be more Bulgarian than the Bulgarians themselves.

These two interesting articles by Mr. Yovkov give us an opportunity to dwell on the question of the nationality of the Macedonians and on the role this question has played and will play in the history of Macedonia.

At the beginning of the 19th century, there were Greek priests in Macedonia and a Bulgarian national awareness among the more enlightened Macedonians who, hand in hand with the Bulgarians in Bulgaria and Thrace, started a struggle for national education and a national Church. This spiritual and national unity of Moesians, Macedonians and Thracians preceded and followed the creation of the Bulgarian Exarchate and the liberation of Bulgaria.

The Serbs became envious of the Bulgarians and because of certain theoretical and practical considerations, they began to refute the European, Macedonian and Bulgarian contentions that the Macedonians were Bulgarians and in this way they were the first to set before the men of science the question of the nationality of the Macedonians.

It would not be wise to deny that the task which the Serbs set to themselves is not unimportant and that the successes they have achieved thanks to their exceptional stubbornness and strict system are colossal. The Serbs did not underestimate any of the means which contemporary science offered to them: general linguistics, comparative grammar of the Slav languages, history and archaeology, the spoken and written popular language, geography and diplomacy were not neglected by the Serbs in their efforts to refute the convic­tion about the Bulgarian character of Macedonia. As a result they seized the greater part of Macedonia which they were given as a land, populated by Serbs; they were given this land by the same people who up to the last moment un­animously recognized the Bulgarian national character of Macedonia.

But this did not exhaust the question of the nationality of the Macedonians. The Serbs achieved only half of their task: they managed to mis­lead the West Europeans and to take possession of Macedonia. But the Macedonians themselves, occupied by them, are not spiritually vanquished and they consider themselves a nation, different from the Serbs, and they want to preserve their national identity.

This is the weak spot of the Serbs, therein lies the strength of the Macedonians, therein lies the historical role which the question of the nationali­ty of the Macedonians will have yet to play.

The role of the Bulgarians and Serbs in the solution of this question is now completely different from what it was before the Balkan War and the World War: today theoretically this question is non-existent for the Serbs just as Macedonia does not exist within the boundaries of Yugoslavia; as far as Bulgaria is concerned, there is a Macedonia just as there is the question of the nationality of the Macedonians, a question which Bulgarian science could take up with greater success than the Serbs, popularize it and give it its proper meaning.

But the Bulgarian does not like philology and history, he does not like be­ing accused of chauvinism and he is ready to live in peace with his neighbours at all cost, even when the latter want to appropriate half of his house, or his courtyard.

As far as Macedonia goes, many 'enlightened' people couldn't care less. Anyway, they do not know it. To them it is a land of stones and wild apples... That is why the Bulgarian opposition is not a danger to Serbian domination in Macedonia. The Serbians had secured themselves from this direction by inter­national treaties, including treaties with Bulgaria.

But now cries from the Macedonians themselves can be heard: we are Bulgarians, we are more Bulgarians than the Bulgarians themselves... You may have vanquished Bulgaria, you may impose on it all sorts of treaties, but this cannot change our conviction, our consciousness that we are not Serbs, that until now we have called ourselves Bulgarians, and this is what we call ourselves today, this is what we want to call ourselves in the future.

Do you want any concessions from us? Do you want us to be less Bulgarians than the Bulgarians themselves? - Shall we yield? We refuse to be as indifferent to our national interests as some others are. We cannot and should not imitate the Moesians in everything, because their logic, their methods of acting lead to Serbo-Bulgarian treaties and agreements con­cerning Macedonia, they lead to treaties like the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty of 1912, like the Neuilly Treaty. We shall be more Macedonians than Bulgarians, but Macedonians with our own national consciousness, different from your Serbian consciousness, a national self-consciousness, with its own history, with its literary language, common with the Bulgarian, with its Macedonian-Bulgarian national school, with its own national Church, in which the national and religious feelings of the Macedonian will not be offended by the image and spirit of Serbian saints like 'St Sava'.

The Serbs now as before know very well the significance of the question of the nationality and the national feeling of the Macedonians and that is why they want to get rid of it as soon as possible through the assimilation of the Macedonians.

But all is in vain.

No matter whether we call ourselves Bulgarians or Macedonians, we shall always feel as a separate and united nationality with a Bulgarian national awareness, completely different from the Serbs, which will know how to impose its will in the struggle for the human rights of the Macedonian.

Newspaper 20th July, Sofia, No. 5, May 5, 1924; the original is in Bulgarian.

Follower of  'Macedonism' at the beginning of the 20th c. Afterwards he gave up his own thesis, advanced in his book About Macedonian Affairs, and passed over to megalo-Bulgarian positions.


A message from Petrich about the killing of Bulgarians and Turks in Macedonia under Greek rule

July 26th, 1924

On July 26 of this year at about 8 p.m. in the village of Turlis, Drama dis­trict, Greek Macedonia, a Greek commander of border guards staged in the centre of the village a provocative sham bomb assault with bombs brought from the frontier post in the village of Karakyoi. There are no victims or damage from this explosion, nor have any suspects been sought or caught.

The same evening arrests were started of Bulgarians from the villages of Turlis, Lovcha and Karakyoi, who were conducted to Karakyoi. There were about 70-80 people, including the 12-year-old child of Angel Stankov from Turlis. On the instruction of the same commander, on the 27th around noon a border officer, accompanied by 15 militiamen, immigrants from Asia Minor, selected 25 of the arrested men, and took them, tied two by two, to the village of Gorno Brodi allegedly for interrogation. On the way they were subjected to brutal torture and beating. When they had walked 5 kilometres, the officer ordered them to sit down to rest at a place called 'Cherna Gora', and im­mediately fired several shots at the unfortunate tied Macedonian Bulgarians. The majority of them died instantaneously, and only 6 or 7 who had been wounded or by a miracle escaped unhurt, managed to flee through the woods and cross the border into Bulgaria. Those who managed to save their lives say that the same evening more shots were heard, and they suppose that the remain­ing arrested people had been killed.

Every day we witness heart-rending scenes of refugees, our brothers and relatives, coming from Greece humiliated, beaten, robbed, with their ears cut off and brutally maltreated by the official Greek authorities and the immigrants from Asia Minor, to force them naked and bare-foot out of their own homes.

The Greek authorities and the wretched immigrants from Asia Minor in Macedonia are being encouraged and they explain their outrageous acts by the inhuman Paris treaties in driving Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks and others out of their homes, making them wander as outcasts in foreign countries, and con­demning them to certain death because of the new and alien unbearable climatic, economic and cultural conditions of life.

In connection with the above facts we, the citizens of the town of Petrich and the refugees from Greek Macedonia inhabiting the Petrich district, appeal to the representatives of the press in Europe and America to inform in detail public opinion in their countries and to demand or enforce the holding of an in­quiry into the outrages perpetrated upon Bulgarians and Turks in Greek Macedonia, into the application of the emigration regulations, and into the moral value of this treaty so monstrous in the history of mankind. We appeal for protection to be extended to the families of those killed, who have remained helpless, and are being subjected to mistreatment.

On behalf of all citizens, the citizens' committee:
signatures follow.
Saved from the Greek cruelties:
the names of several people who have managed to escape follow.

ЦПА, ф. Ал. Протогеров;  the original is in Bulgarian.

An appeal by the Macedonian students' societies in Vienna, Berlin, Graz and Leipzig to public opinion in Europe

August 1924

The desperate cry of the Macedonian population stifled by every possible means by the conquerors of our country, cannot penetrate through the frontiers of Macedonia. In view of this, the Macedonian academic youth in Vienna, Berlin, Graz and Leipzig, in the name of their homeland, most energetically protest against the terror of the Serbian and Greek authorities, which has assum­ed incredible proportions.

The Greek and Serbian imperialists, unsatisfied with the political and spiritual oppression of the Macedonian population - through the closing of their national schools, the banning of their mother tongue, the ban on the for­mation of their political party, through arrests, destruction, ill-treatment, systematical assassinations, etc. - are already starting the mass extermination of the population in order to do away forever with the nationalities which are alien to them in every respect.

On March 2, 1923 the prefect of Shtip, D. Matkovic, machine-gunned twenty-seven innocent Bulgarians of the village of Garvan, chained together. On July 27th, 1924 the Greek authorities, trying not to lag behind in their lead in this respect, shot with the help of Lieutenant Doksakis seventeen Macedonian Bulgarians of the village of Turlis. To add to this shame, the Greek government, faithful to the system long practiced in Athens and Belgrade, made another attempt through the telegraphic agency to lay the blame for this crime upon their own victims! The international commission which inquired into the case admitted in spite of this that 'the shooting of the arrested, done by an officer and his convoy, is an unjustified and unprovoked assassination.'

It is high time public opinion directed its attention to the unbearable situa­tion in Macedonia; because the Macedonian peoples, terrorized in their own country, driven away from their homes en masse by virtue of the convention on the so-called 'voluntary' emigration, killed by assassins from Belgrade and Athens, may find themselves compelled, as in 1903, when the Ilinden Uprising broke out — to prefer an end with horrors than horrors without end.

The Macedonian academic youth in Vienna, Berlin, Graz and Leipzig, in the name of their country, drowned in blood, appeal to the League of Nations and public opinion to insist on the holding of a plebiscite in Macedonia under international control, which will officially establish the repeatedly expressed will of the Macedonian for a free, autonomous and independent life.

A free and independent Macedonia will relieve a long-suffering population from terror, and humanity - from the shame of slavery.

Newspaper Balkanska Federatsia1, Vienna, No. 6, October 15, 1924; the original is in Bulgarian.
1 Organ of the Balkan Communist Federation, published in Vienna.

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