The new national-liberation struggle in Vardar Macedonia, 1944-1991, Dimitar G. Gotsev


Its founders and first leaders are Kosta Hrissimov- Smilets, school teacher in the village of Starchishte, Seres region, Dr. Iliya Tchoulev of Kavadartsi and Dr. Naum Zlatarov of Ohrid. The Democratic Front establishes its organisations in Scopije, Bitolya, Veles, Ohrid and Kavadartsi.

In the spirit of the programmes of the national liberation movements in Macedonia till 1941, the organisation accepts as its aim to defend with all means the bulgarian name, language and history, rejected and persecued by the new macedono-serbomanian authorities. Second, in secret statements to inform the international public opinion of the new barbarism, done to the bulgarians in Vardar and Aegian Macedonia, is said in the status document of the organisation.

In September 1945, the leadership of the Democratic Front "Ilinden 1903", sends an extensive statement to the governments of USSR, USA, England and France. It states that, after the Second World War, having taken the lives of millions but bringing liberty to many people, the question of Macedonia has not received its long expected and just resolution. The bulgarians in Macedonia, as in the time of the turkish regime and later under the sebian and greek domination, are again submitted to persecutions, assimilaton and destruction.The prisons, continiues the statement, are full of bulgarians. There is not a place where murder has not been done, while in Veles, Koumanovo and many other places, mass murders in the most beastly manner happen."The tortures in the prisons are medieval".

The statement is an appeal to the governments of the Great Powers to support the right of the population in Macedonia for self-identification under international control. Thus, it will be given the chance to decide its own its fate. "Without free Macedonia, ends the statement, there can be no peace on the Balkans". The statement is signed by Kosta Hrisimov, Dr. Iliya Thcoulev, Dr. Dimitar Zlatarev, eng. Stefan Kouzmanov and Kosta Dinev- lawyer.

In October 1945, the authorities find and arrest the activists having signed the statement. In some of them, a list of unknown members of the organistion is found, who are also arrested. Inspite of the incredible violence and cruelties inflicted on the arrested, the authorities never find out any further details on the network and the activities of the organisation. According to "Politica" of March 30-th 1946, 11 leaders of the Democratic Front "Ilinden 1903" are brought in front of the Supreme Court in Scopije. They are accused under the law for "insult" of the "macedonian honour", that in an illegal way have sent a statement to the Great Powers, in which the yugoslavian authorities are mispresented. Finally, the prosecutor, Nikola Vrazhelski accuses them, that they have aspired for the creation of a terroristic organisation in Vardar Macedonia, as a copy of IMRO.. Inspite of the dignified defence of the leaders of the organisation, who stress that they are not terrorist, but are fighting with legal and educational means for the defence of bulgarian nationality and independent Macedonia, the Supreme Court sentences all of them to long-term, strict regime imprisonment for a period of 5 till 20 years. Among the convicted are: Kosta Hrisimov, Dr. Dimitar Zlatarski, Dr. Iliya Tchoulev, Kosta Dinev, Stefan Kousmanov, Petar Toushanov, Kiril Petsakov, Serafim Lazarov, Atanas Anev, Luka Soukelev and Metodi Svetiev. In Bitolya, Veles, Kavadartsi, Gevgeli, Stroumitsa and other places of Vardar Macedonia are arrested, tried and sentenced several hundred people, members of the Democratic Front "Ilinden 1903". After the legal processes, the organisation unites with the local structures of IMRO and in the following years they act together.

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