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


The above mentioned processes has just passed, when the authorities discover another big organisation of IMRO. It is created in April 1947 by the former teacher Angel Mishev of Skatchentsi, Veles region. He restores the activity of IMRO in the regions of Veles, Scopije, Kroushevo and Bitolya. In the Broushanska Mountain in the region of Tikveshko, A. Mishev

forms an underground headquarters of IMRO and connects all groups of the organisation in these regions by a couriers network.

Using flying leaflets, the organisation calls on the population to show resistance to the serbocommunist authorities, who persecute and suffocate even the most basic rights of the bulgarians. This is the reason for the leadership of the organisation to carry out armament of some of the groups and formation of military units (tchetas) of IMRO. Angel Mishev contacts the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation (MPO) in USA, from where he receives the newspaper "Macedonian Tribune" and other printed materials. Through them, the organisation persuades the population, that an active resistance to the serbocommunist authorities will lead to the creation of an independent Macedonia, protected by England and America.

In the beginning of 1947, the organisation is broken up. Hundreds of its members are arrested and after cruel investigations and inqiusitions are sentenced to long terms of hard labour. According to the newspaper "Politica" of May 14th, 1948, the trial against the leadership of the organisation has lasted three days ­ from May 11th to 14th. They were accused of treason, terrorism, attempt of separating Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia. For these accusations, the Scopije Regional Court issues the following sentences : Angel Mishev ­ death penalty, Stefko Gelev of Broushani, Tikveshko region ­ death, Zjivko Iliev of Manastirets, Tikvesko- death, Pando Atanassov of Skatchantsi, Veles ­ 20 years imprisonment, Ferdo Jovkov of Kavadartsi ­ 20 years, Temelko Neshkov of Belo pole, Prilep ­ 12 years, Dontcho Popandov of Vatosh, Tikvesh ­ 15 years and others.

The cruel sentences and the public executions and the murders without sentences of eminent bulgarians do not result in fear and resignation, on the contrary ­ they lead to even bigger hatred toward the serbocommunists.

Parralel with Angel Mishev's IMRO, in Bitolya acts IMRO headed by Metodi Kolarov. It is formed in the end of 1945, and is discovered in January 1947. There is a two day trial held in Bitolya ( 29-30th April) against the leadership of IMRO in the Bitolya region. Its members, all from the town, are accused of the creation of a terrorist organisation, fighting for the separation of Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia, and formation of an independent Macedonia headed by Ivan Michailov. The Court accuses them of insult of the "macedonian honour", as the accused stated that the macedonians were bulgarians.

For these accusations the Regional Court in Bitolya pronounces the heaviest sentences:

1. Metodi Nikolov Kolarov, as creator of IMRO in BItolya and principal ideologue is sentenced to death and confiscation of his property. 2. Slave Todorov Petrov ­ 12 years hard labour. 3. Blagoi Velev Natchevski ­ 15 years hard labour. 4. Jontche Mishkov Kouzmanov ­ 20 years hard labour. 5. Vangel Spassov Georgiev ­ 6 years hard labour. 6. Lazar Atanassov Bozhilov ­ 8 years hard labour. 7. Novitsa Georgiev Milakov ­ 7 years hard labour.

8. Alexander Toshkov Lozanov ­ 11 years hard labour. 9. Nikola Metodiev Kolarov ­ 15 years hard labour. 10. Petar Paritchev Dinev ­ 11 years hard labour. 11. Atanas Michailov ­ 10 years hard labour.

The sentenced leaders of IMRO in Bitolya and the region, almost all of them intellectuals, deny the accusation that they were terrorists, as for the three years of the organisation's existance, not a single terrorist act has been done. They defend their opinion, that Vardar Macedonia is forcefully and with treachery united again to Yugoslavia, something the people of Macedonia will never accept, as it has not forgotten the serbian slavery, are the words of Metodi Kolarov in answer to the indictment act. As far as the accusation of insult to the "macedonian honour" is concerned, since the accused think of themselves as bulgarians, it is yet another absurd, as the population of Macedonia is bulgarian by nationality.

Legal processes of this type and accusations as insult to the "macedonian honour", independent Macedonia and etc. in this period ( 1947-1950) are held in all towns of Vardar Macedonia.

Together with the organisations of IMRO, headed by influential intellectuals and open minded bulgarians, participants in the struggle for the liberation of Macedonia from serbian slavery in 1941 and first in line of resistance against the pan- serbian macedonism after 1944, of extreme importance is the new struggle of the studying youth in Vardar Macedonia.

Accordind to the newspaper "Borba", since Audust 21 st 1946 in the High School in Shtip, headed by Pantcho Hadjismilev, a students organisation of IMRO is formed. The leaders of the youth organisation have as aim to fight in defence of the bulgarian nationaliy, submitted to rejection and persecution, and for the creation of independent Macedonia. They spread their network among the students of Veles and Stroumitsa. In talks and by distribution of printed materials, they explain their aims. In the beginning of March 1946, the serbomanian authorities reveal the organisation and arrest 12 students from Shtip's High School. At the trial, hald on June 12th till 19th in Shtip, the students are accused that they have created a youth michailovist terrorist organisation, carrying out intensive oral and written propaganda against "peoples power", "Macedonian honour" and "the brotherhood and unity" of the Yugoslavian peoples, as well as for the separation of Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia, intending to proclaim it for independent under the protection of America.The students do not deny the indictment, declaring that their fight is continiuation of IMRO's fight for liberation of Macedonia from serbian slavery. Inspite of their minority, the court pronounces heavy sentences. Pantcho Hadjismilev is sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment, Naum Koizekliev ­ to 7 years, Boris Davkov ­ to 6 years, Dimitar Iliev ­ to 5 years, Vassil Evtimov ­ to 4 years of strict imprisonment regime and hard labour.

In May 1946, the authorities discover another students organisation of IMRO in the High School of Stroumitsa, arresting 25 people, headed by Metodi Kalkashliev. After several months of investigations in Shtip's prison, on August 31st 1946, they are brought to court.

In the indictment act, according to "Politica" of September 2nd, 1946, it is said that in its overall activity, the organisation has worked against the new order in Macedonia. In the printed leaflets and in other materials it has denyed the macedonian nation, and its members, even during the investigations, have declared that the population in Macedonia is bulgarian by nationality. Futhermore, the organisation was built on the principles of Vantche Michailov's IMRO of "threes" and "fives" and has intended to use armed terror. For this aim, it has armed its members. For these accusations 22 students, aged between 16 and 19 years, have been sentenced from 1 to 10 years of strict regime imprisonment. Amongst them are : Metodi Kalkashliev, Kosta Hadjimishev, Liuben Toptchev, Mirtcho Petsev, Borislav Belev, Nikola Apostolov, Ivan Andonov and others.

An IMRO students organisation similar to the one in Stroumitsa, is discovered by the authorities in the High School of Veles. In April 1947, the Court in Veles sententences on accusation for activity against the imposed from outside serbocommunist slavery in Vardar Macedonia, the creators of the organisation Blagoi Djaikov, Kroum Tchoushkov, Todor Loukarov, Pantcho Velev, Miltcho Angelov and Kiril Simeonov to strict imprisonment for a term from 3 to 7 years.

In June 1947, in the High School in Ohrid, an IMRO organisation is discovered. On August 27 and 28 th, its leadership is brought to trial. According to "Politica" of August 30th 1947, in the indictment act it is said that the accused have acted from totally pan-bulgarian and michailovists' positions against "new Yugoslavia". In response, the accused students declare in front of the jury, that they have formed IMRO, with the aim ­ fighting against the return of the serbs and the serbization of Macedonia. The Court pronounces the following sentences: Savo Kotsarev ­ 8 years imprisonment, Klime Evrov ­ 8 years, Tashko Stoyanov ­ 10 years, Kiril Mayov ­ 8 years, Kroum Miladinov ­ 5 years, Petar Mostrov ­ 5 years, Nikola

Georgiev ­ 6 years. More than 20 pupils receive suspended sentences and are freed.

In the years 1947 ­ 1950, in almost all high schools and towns of Vardar Macedonia an IMRO called "Pravda" (justice) is formed. It is created in December 1947 in Ressen by the students Zhivko Stavrev, Hristo Popov and Jontche Lazarov.Afterwards, it spreads to Scopije, infiltrating mainly the medical high school. At the lead of the organisation are Mirko Georgiev, Nikola Kazankov, Pande Peshev, Kotcho Nikov, Dimitar Dimitrov and others. In Shtip, the organisation is headed by Georgi Dotsev, Doushko Stamenov, Ilya Hristov and Atso Rountev. In Prilep by ­ Grigor Krastev, Kostadin Sotirov, Blagoi Rampov, Blagoi Mamrev, Koycho Smitchkov. In Bitolya by ­ Liuben Tchokrevski, Dane Popov, Ivan Proev, in Gevgeli ­ Kostadin Kolenkov, Josko Jossifov and so on.

The organisation has an aim, similar to MYSRO in the years before 1941, to attract as members the main mass of students in Vardar Macedonia, to fight against the return of the serbs and for independent Macedonia outside Yugoslavia. On March 27 th 1950, in the bulding of the railway station in Veles, a meeting of the representatives of the students' organisations of several towns is held. A status is accepted and a declaration was sent on bealf of IMRO "Pravda" to the UN, insisting Macedonia to be accepted as a separate state. The declaration falls in the hands of the authorities, with arrests following, first in Shtip and then in Scopije, Bitolya, Prilep, Ressen and other places. During the trials held in August 1950, tens of leaders and members of IMRO "Pravda" are sentenced to terms from 2 to 10 years strict impisonment, on the accusations that they have created an illegal terrorist organisation and by means of armed struggle were wanting to separate Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia and pronounce it independent and headed by Ivan Michailov.

A lot of the students are not discovered and continiue the activity of the organistion, spreading it to the university circles. In 1951, the authorities discover a students organisation of IMRO in the Medical and Philosophical Faculties in Scopije. According to its status, its aim is to fight with all means against the sebocommunists, for independent Macedonia separate from Yugoslavia, in the spirit of IMRO from before 1941. Instead of arrests and trial, on August 13th 1951, the authorities in Stroumitsa execute the leaders of the organistion, the university students ­ Mirtcho Petsev, Stefan Toptchev, Borislav Belev, Georgi Kostourkov, and Georgi Yaramov, announcing that they had wanted to escape to Greece.

In the years that followed, the authorities discover organisations of IMRO with the same bulgarian national ideology in : Ohrid -1953; Bitolya ­ 1956, 1973; Scopije ­ 1952, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1970 and 1985; Kroushevo -1959, 1964; Shtip- 1954, 1960, 1971; Veles ­ 1957, 1963, 1972, and others. The more important legal prcesses organized are against the poet Venko Markovski (1950), the students' trial in Scopije (1961), the process against Todor and Pliska Manasiev in 1970 in Shtip, the 1972 trial of the writer Pando Eftimov, against Dimitar Yaranov (1983), the 1985 trial in Scopije of Angel Mitrev- the Hero and Angel Krainitchanets ­ all of them ending with pronounced sentences for long term imprisonment.

The last anti-bulgarian legal process of the serbocommunist authorities of Vardar Macedonia was organised in 1991 in Veles, against Georgi Kalaouzarov, Kroum Tchoushkov, Gotse Tchoushkov and others. They were accused of setting fire to the yugoslavian flag, attempting an attack on the Officers House of the serbian army in Veles and warning the yugoslavian army to leave Macedonia.

The resistance of the whole population reaches its culmination in 1991, when it forces the serbocommunist authorities to hold the wanted for years referendum on the future of Vardar Macedonia.It is held on September 8th 1991. Its results are a complete coincidence and verification of the demands of the activists of IMRO and the youth organisations, of the thousands of persecuted, repressed and imprisoned intellectuals. More than 97% of the population support the immediate separation of Vardar Macedonia from the Yugoslav Federation and the creation of independent Republic of Macedonia. Thus, an important part of the programme of the national liberation movement of the bulgarians in Macedonia of the period since the world wars was fulfilled.

With its brave resistance to the serbian occupational authorities, in the period 1991-1992, the macedonian patriots did not permit, the mobilised in the serbian army youth to be transferred against the croatian army, at the time fighting for free and independent Croatia. Those who were sent by the serbian command to the croatian front, were sent back to Macedonia by a "secret committee" of heroic mothers.

At first glance, the serbian military and civil authorities leave Macedonia in 1992

" voluntarily and without victims". In fact the hundred-thousands serbian army forced to leave, pillages arms and other materials worth more than 10 billion dollars, which belong to the people of Macedonia.

Additionally the military and civil authorities, through their supporters in Scopije, take off from power in 1992, the democratically elected government of VMRO- DPMNE, headed by Prof. N. Klioussev, by putting its own people, supporters of Belgrade and UDB's activists, in leading positions in R. Macedonia. The murder of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yordan Mialkov, and that of tens of other intellectuals, supporters of VMRO-DPMNE, is their deed. According to local politicians and intellectuals, the serbian agents there, even today are the biggest obstacle for the democratisation of the society of R. Macedonia, as well as for the not too good relations between Scopije and Sofia.Besides, they do not permit the local scientists and patriots to say the truth on the past, the national roots, fights, language and consciousness to the population of Macedonia, as well as about the most notorious revival figures, revolutionaries, apostles and other eminent bulgarians, having fought and having given their lives for the freedom of Macedonia. Not one of them has been rehabilitated in civil or political way.

Without the resolution of these basic problems, there could not exist a really free and democratic Republic of Macedonia.

The reestablishment and activity of IMRO in 1945 and the additional number of national liberation organisations, acting against the new serbian occupation, the rejection and persecution of the bulgarian nationality, when the idea of "macedonian nation" is enforced with fire and sword, not only in Vardar Macedonia, but also by the Patriotic Front government in Bulgaria, is not only heroism, but also an exceptional feeling for historical and national responsability of the intelligentsia and the young people in Macedonia in front of the bulgarian tribe. The self-sacrifice shown, for the sake of preservation of the bulgarian nationality in Macedonia, the categorical demands in the memorandums of IMRO, the Democratic Front "Ilinden1903", the Prime- Minister Metodi Andonov- Tchento to the Paris Peace Conference, the multiple demands of the students' organisations of IMRO to the Great Powers and the UN for resolution of the macedonian question outside the borders of Yugoslavia, is a great historical deed of the macedonian bulgarians since 1944 till nowadays.

The period after 1944 is the third, the longest and most complicated stage of the development of the national liberation movement of the bulgarians in Macedonia.For the time since 1944 till 1980, acccording to Vassil Hadjikimov of Shtip, one of the principal activists of the resistance against the theory of the "macedonian nation", having spent 10 years in the prison of Idrizovo, more than 700 legal processes have been held in Vardar Macedonia against intellectuals, young people and open minded bulgarians, ending with hundreds of death sentences. During the same priod, there have been killed or are missing without trace 23 000 people and more than 120 000 have passed through the prisons and camps of Tito's Yugoslavia. More than 180 000 have been chased away to Bulgaria and throughout the world.

Just as the liberation struggle against the turks, the serbian and greek royal slavery between the two world wars, in same way the fight against the serbian communist oppression in Vardar Macedonia, has its apostles, ideologists, organizers and leaders. Amongs them, it is impossible not to mention the first ideologists, creators and activists of the new IMRO after 1945 ­ Dr. Vassil Ivanov, Dr. Konstantin Trentchev, Dr. Kosta Terziev, Angel Dimov, Metodi Andonov-Tchento, Dimitar Giuzelev, Spiro Kitintchev, Dimitar Tchkatrov, Venko Markovski, Pavel Shatev, Todor Manasiev, Georgi Gotsev, Traiko Popov, Kosta Hrissimov, Georgi Yaramov, Georgi Kostourkov, Stefan Toptchev, Branko Dimtchev, Pande Evtimov, Kiril Siveski, Savo Kotsarev, Dr. K. Robev, Dr. T. Gitchev, Dr. Tsipoushev, Yordan Mialkov and many other unmentioned activists and leaders of the new national-liberation struggle in Vardar Macedonia for the period 1941 ­ 1991.

With their self-sacrifice in the fight for preservation of the bulgarian nation and the liberation of Vardar Macedonia from the serbo-communist slavery, these people wrote the new history of the bulgarians in Macedonia and now give living example to the intellectuals and politicians in Sofia and Scopije, as well as to the international scientific and political thought how the question of Macedonia can be resolved in our days.

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