Macedonia: Its Races and Their Future
H. Brailsford

V. The Bulgarian movement

2. The Treaty of San Stefano

The Treaty of San Stefano, which closed the Russo-Turkish war, brought a momentary and elusive hope of liberty to Macedonia. If we could but dismiss the habits of thought of twenty years, see the map of the Balkans without the artificial lines which diplomacy has traced upon it, and think away the political suggestions conveyed in such purely geographical terms as "Bulgaria" and "Macedonia," there is no reason in history or in the nature of things, why these two regions should have been subjected to such different fates. In both, the population is predominantly Slavonic, and in both there is a minority of Turks and Greeks. Both took up arms to co-operate with the liberating Russian invader. Both had revolted from the Greek form of Orthodoxy and freely joined the Bulgarian Exarchist Church. When the Berlin Congress, influenced by the dread which England entertained of creating a great Bulgaria that might have been a powerful ally of Russia, ordained that Bulgaria should be freed, while Macedonia should return to Turkish rule, a reckless despair seized the abandoned population which had just seen its liberties won by blood and ratified by treaty. Their first instinct was one of protest. Two districts of the Struma valley rose in arms, seized the passes, and for some days defied the Turkish troops. At Ochrida a more ambitious conspiracy was revealed to the authorities before it had ripened. Repressions followed, but Europe had given its decision; and for more than a decade the Slavs of Macedonia endured their fate with what sullen patience they could command, cherishing the hope that Russia might some day enforce in earnest the generous programme of San Stefano. It was a period of much suffering, in which progress was slow and painful. The Greeks were active and hostile, persecuting any teacher who dared to propagate the Bulgarian language, and opposing the extension of the "schismatic" Bulgarian Church with the familiar weapons of bribery and denunciation.

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