Macedonia and the Comintern
From: (Vassil Karloukovski)
Subject: Re: Samuel's Early Medieval State
Date: 3/17/2000 12:04 PM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id: <8atoiq$tpm$>
In article <8asm7q$vmv$>, Vasko Makedonski says...

>> Sa vika taka na politika i na vremeto shto beshe oppression.
>> Trebish de priznavash zoshto sa vika tako.
>> Le le zhalosh na tvojte luge.

>They, the Slavonic speaking peoples of Macedonia, Moesia and Thrace,
>were called Bulgars/Bulgarians by others (and then called themselves
>Bulgars/Bulgarians) because they spoke similar Slavonic dialects
>indistinguishable to the foreign ear and most importantly because they
>were ruled by the Bulgars. I acknowledge this. A year ago on the
>Nicholov forum I even denied outright that the Bulgars migrated to
>Macedonia. I have had an evolution of thought as a consequence of
>reading facts. It is beyond question that our people used to call
>themselves Bulgars/Bulgarians 87 years ago.

Now, why do you think that that moment 87 years ago was a defining point of some kind, and that your people used to call themselves this and this until then and something else after that? Even the RoM's historiography already acknowledges that the Macedonian revolutionaries thought of themselves as of Bulgarians for many decades after your date. Have a look at the recent interview in the Macedonian journal "Forum" with Dr. Vlado Popovski - a historian and also a former minister of defence and a former minister of justice on RoM. He recently published a two-volume book "Makedonskoto prashanje v dokumentite na Kominternata", after a long study in the archives of the Commintern in Moscow.

The text of his interview is available on-line at

Below is an excerpt of it translated by me.


Dr. Vlado Popovski ("Forum")

FORUM: Should the image of Todor Aleksandrov in our history be reconsidered?
POPOVSKI: To a certain degree, yes. We cannot deny that Todor Aleksandrov belonged to the Macedonian revolutionary movement and to the struggle for a Macedonian state. He had a clearly defined political platform for creation of an independent and united Macedonia on the Balkans. ... But when we speak about his view on the ethnico-cultural identity of the Macedonians, he regarded the Macedonians as being a part of the Bulgarian tribe or of the Bulgarian nation, although he thought they had different state interests and had to form an independent state. ...

 FORUM: The [Macedonian] historians have been telling us for many years that the left wing of the VMRO, in contrast to the right wing [i.e. Todor Aleksandrov], supported the idea that the Macedonians were ethnically different from the Bulgarians. How true this statement is?
POPOVSKI: Our historiography, we must admit, was burdened by the editing of the facts. The question whether the Macedonians were something different from the Bulgarians or not, was raised by the people of the generation of Aleksandrov or even of Vancho Mihajlov during the 1930s. A discussion began whether the Macedonians are ethno-culturally somewhat different. Classical examples of the left [wing are] not so much Dimitar Vlahov, but Dimo Hadzhi Dimov, after that also Gjorche Petrov (although he is not a typical leftist, he is more to the right).

That is, this generation, together with Arseni Jovkov (the "other emobodiment" of Aleksandrov), who later, after getting closer to the communists, was accused in treason by Vancho Mihajlov and executed, all these people thought of themselves as of Bulgarians. It was in the face of Arseni Jovkov and the Ilinden Organization, in its Memomrandum to Cankov [a Bulgarian prime-minister], that the first idea of a patriotic nationalism, of a state nationalism appeared.

He [Jovkov] regarded himself as a nationalist in terms of a statehood [for Macedonia]. But ethno-culturally he stuck to the thesis that "we are greater Bulgarians than the Bulgarians [of Bulgaria], but we don't want to have anything in common with those Bulgarians".

In the same Memorandum, from March 1924, they point that the aims of the participant in Ilinden and of the Macedonian emmigration were different from those of the Bulgarian govenment and that they didn't have anything in common with Bulgaria as a state. "Our road leads not to Sofia, but to Solun" is said in the Memorandum.

In the ranks of the federalists was one man, Slavcho Kovachev, who was later killed following the orders of Protogerov. At the time of the Ilinden uprising Slavcho Kovachev studied law in Paris, followed by a doctorate in Brussels. Slavcho Kovachev participated in the liberation struggle and fought for a federative Macedonia, based on a canton system for Macedonians, Turks, Greeks, Jews and Albanians. He went one step further and said: "The Macedonian population consists of Macedonobulgarians, Turks and Albanians, because they are bound by common interest - statehood, political and economical, and they represent the Macedonian nation." That is, he reached the idea of a state nation, which is typical for the Western states - France, Germany...

Slavcho Kovachev was closest to ethnically definining the Macedonians, but he didn't cross the Rubicon. He, as well as Goce Delchev, Dimo Hadzhi Dimov and Gjorche Petrov, felt that Macedonian needed a separate statehood.

Even if look at the ideas of Dimo Hadzhi Dimov expressed in his article "Back to the authonomy" [I think an English translation of this article was posted several year ago in], we will see that accordign to him if an independent Macedonian state was created, than Macedonia, from being the apple of discord, would become the joining element of the brotherly Balkan peoples. Being a socialist and communist himself, he lamented for the Balkan federation [i.e. that such was not formed] and added that if/when it was formed, the Macedonian question would dissappear.

He had this opinion because he regarded this population [of Macedonia] as being Bulgarian, Greek and Serbian. During the 30's the question was explicitely asked: "Are we a Bulgarian Macedonian population, regardless of how we formulate it - Macedonobulgarians or Bulgarian Macedonians, or are we something else?"

This was the generation which saw its national revival and the crystallization of its ethno-cultural identity. Many studies and discussions have been published about this question by Vassil Ivanovski, Angel Dinev, Dimitar Vlahov, Ilija Zafirovski, etc. This was the defining moment in cutting off of the Bulgarianism by this generation. But it led to even greater differentiations among the Macedonian emigration. Vancho Mihajlov stuck to his opinion that we are Bulgarians, Macedonian Bulgarians.