on July 5th this year I was leaving
He had chosen that moment on purpose, so that he could speak undisturbed and unnoticed, and begged me to keep our talk secret from everybody, with the exception, naturally, of my Government. Apart from himself, two other persons knew about this conversation.
my question as to why he had addressed himself to me and not to our
you know the situation not only in
speak on behalf of the Internal Organization, of all the Committees not
I shall quote the exact words of Mr. Karayovov, as follows:
During our conversation, which continued for about half an hour, I listened carefully to my interlocutor, interrupting him only with short questions to make certain that I had understood him correctly, or to receive some further explanations about particulars in the programme of the Organization. Karayovov told me the following:
the official committees were dissolved by the Bulgarian
and I were elected as leaders of the Central Committee. All the branch
You are well acquainted with the two tasks of the Bulgarian Macedonians - we have struggled till now and we will struggle in the future to ensure for them a life worthy of human beings, and freedom.
we hope for support from Europe, in the first place from
But we were deceived by them and we no longer have any such hope.
Our first great disappointment was the appointment of Mr. Phirmilian, and our last was the persecution of the Macedonian movement by the present Bulgarian Government.
Russian consuls in
The present situation is well known to you. We had armed a large number of detachments, most of which were destroyed by the Turks. Henceforward, we shall continue to fight and prepare for a general revolution. We have not succeeded so far because we have had no support from outside.
Count Lamsdorf told us that the Tsar was interested in our fate, and he advised us to be prudent and patient, but he did not give us any definite promises.
Already last year, at conferences, the leaders of the movement had discussed the situation and later decided to implore His Majesty the Tsar and Emperor Franz Joseph to defend the Macedonian Bulgarians, so that they would be placed under the protection of His Majesty.
The greatest merit for adopting this resolution belongs to the recently killed organizer of the active militant agitation - Delchev.
The aim of this conversation is to ask you to convey this petition to your Government.
have done everything to make the patronage of His Majesty possible: we
discussed the possibility of all Macedonian Bulgarians accepting
there were many difficulties in this, but we are ready to take the
responsibility for the achievement of a union with
This is the last step we shall take, before we rely only on our tenacity in the fight. We do not consider it expedient to stop the struggle now.
Some of these armed detachments, like those of Alexo Poroiski and Doncho, which are gangs of robbers rather than rebels, have slipped out of our control, and there are three or four others subordinated directly to General Tsonchev, who is in opposition to us.
The inadequate reforms, the implementation of which is still in doubt, the outrages of the Turkish soldiers, the despair of the population and the inevitable famine make the outbreak of a general revolution extremely probable.'
the course of our conversation, Karayovov confirmed the truth of the
information which I had earlier received in
'We were against the dynamite attempts in Soloun, which took place before we were able to stop them,' explained Mr. Karayovov, 'we shall try to make the Government pursue a national policy, too, but we are not planning any attempts against the life of the Prince.'
When Karayovov had finished, I answered that I was only a Government official and that, as such, I could do nothing except inform my Government of what I had been told.
probably knows that there is an agreement between the Government of
The petition which he submitted, and which was imbued with revolutionary ideas, even though it insisted only on patronage, was contrary to the agreement, and it could create great difficulties, which would arise with every similar intervention on the part of His Royal and Imperial Majesty.
After his last remark, I asked him whether the Committee would stop the struggle, if the reforms produced actual results and if the living conditions of the Macedonians were really improved.
'We don't believe this is possible, and we shall lay down our arms only when "the European control" guarantees us a constant improvement of the situation,' was the answer of Karayovov.
was born in
left me at Vakarel station in order to return to
From this exposition, which throws light on a particular moment in the development of the Macedonian movement, I am convinced that this movement is beginning to lack the necessary resources for struggle in Macedonia, and that is the reason why its leaders are looking for a way out of this difficult situation, through some intervention in their favour, even if only moral, and, if that fails, through involving Bulgaria in the conflict.
... Lately I have been able to
currents in the Macedonian circles in which I move. One of them, to
well-off and more educated elements belong is definitely for
we must not be deceived by this: the Austrian government is only to establish this autonomy. And
once it has been achieved, the Macedonian people will again
desire for unification with
this reason, the liberating role of
they do not aim at an immediate unification with
have the honour to notify you that, during the night of the 21st of
some 900 rebels entered the town of
Many Turkish farms and crops around Kroushevo and Prilep have been burnt, and considerable panic has seized the Turkish population in the vilayet, all the more so, because 4-5 armed persons from among the conspirators from every Bulgarian village have recently gone out and joined the rebel detachments.
Your Excellency, in my humble opinion, affairs here have begun to assume a very serious character as well as large proportions; the uprising and the raids by the rebel units will not be carried out simultaneously at many places in the vilayet. The armed detachments will attack one town or several, villages at a time, and others at another time, and this situation will continue till the winter, because, as I see it, this is precisely the aim of the Committee, i.e. to make the Turks exhaust their forces, and keep them in a state of continuous alarm and suspense.
It will be small wonder, unless fresh reinforcements arrive shortly, if the rebel units which are very enthusiastic and encouraged by their success in Kroushevo, manage to enter also the towns of Kostour, Prilep and Lerin, because they are most powerful in these regions.
The rebel units operating in the Bitolya vilayet number an estimated 4,500-5,000 men.
Asking to accept the assurances of my esteem, I remain,
(signature of Head of Agency)
Immediately after the outbreak of the Uprising, the Turkish government began to spread abroad false reports about atrocities committed by the rebels in the vilayet of Bitolya against the peaceful Moslem population in that region. Obviously this was done in order to justify as provoked those outrages of the bashibazouks which the world will witness after the pacification of the rebellious slaves. For this reason, the delegates of the Revolutionary Organization consider it necessary to inform misled public opinion that, at the General Congress of the Organization which took place on January 5th this year in Soloun, and at the district congresses which took place on April 22nd in the Bitolya region, on June 15th in the Pirin region, on June 28th in the Odrin region, and on July 5th in the Skopje region - resolutions were adopted in accordance with which the proclamation of the uprising addressed to the already fighting population of Macedonia and Odrin, says:'... We are taking up arms against tyranny and inhumanity; we are fighting in the name of freedom and humanity; therefore, our cause stands above all differences of nationality and clan. For this reason, we consider as our brothers all who suffer in the dark realm of the Sultan. The Wallachians, the Greeks, even the Turkish peasants are suffering, as we Bulgarians are suffering, and if today the Greeks and the Turks are not fighting in our ranks, we put this down solely to their ignorance, and we can neither treat them as enemies nor consider them as such. Our enemy is only the Turkish government and everyone who comes with arms or with false accusations against us, or takes revenge upon defenceless old people, women and children, instead of fighting against us. Against him we shall fight and on him we shall take our revenge.
For this reason we order all to act according to the resolutions of the Central Congress of IMARO and the regional congresses. Articles 4, 5 and 6 of these resolutions state:
“4) Attacks, according to the circumstances on every armed Turkish detachment - both military and bashibazouk.
5) Defence of the Christian population, including foreign subjects, from Turkish attacks.
6) It is forbidden to attack the peaceful Turkish population, or to molest Turkish women, children and old people."
The population taking part in the uprising understood its leaders well. And the delegates of the Revolutionary Organization reject with indignation the slanders of the Turkish authorities and declare firmly and categorically that up till now the rebels have not hurt a hair of an innocent Turk, or anybody else of non-Bulgarian nationality.
was becoming more and more probable each day has at last happened: the
Bulgarian uprising has begun. It is now clear how wrong were those who
considered that the threat of an uprising in
The reasons which led to the outbreak of the uprising so early, even before the harvest was gathered in, i.e. 14 days earlier than the appointed day, seem to have been of an economic and climatic nature. Probably the recent increased torture and the searches in the villages caused heavy material losses to the local committees, and they were apparently afraid of further losses.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the messengers of the armed detachments announced in the villages that the uprising would be proclaimed on Sunday evening, August 2nd, and everywhere this was received enthusiastically and was greeted like some kind of salvation. At the appointed time, fires on all sides gave the signal for the rebels to emerge.
In Bitolya, two gun shots gave the signal for the lighting of two fires, prepared on the outskirts of the town, and intended both to serve as a signal for the district and to facilitate the escape of the rebels in the chaos which would inevitably follow. Since then, the noise and the fires have been awakening the population every night, although the fires (hay-lofts, water-mills, granaries) have not caused any great damage so far. In many Bulgarian villages there have appeared armed detachments, or parts of them, who take away with them all men able to bear arms. This usually happens outside the villages and in places situated near the principal town of the vilayet, as for example in Hristophor, Pozdezh, Zabyani, Orizari, Koukourechani, Tsrnobouki, Srptse, etc. For this reason, the fighting forces of the rebels amount to thousands, and it is not yet clear what action the movement will undertake.
All the telegraph wires converging on Bitolya were destroyed,and wires in other places were destroyed for many kilometres. The local administration was able to communicate with Prilep and Maryovo only by means of a heliostat. Along the railway line, 600 metres of double wire are missing near Kravari, south of Bitolya, and about 1000 metres between Banitsa and Tserovo, together with the posts and the insulators. They were repaired temporarily on the following day, but, during the night between August the 3rd and the 4th, 600 metres of wire were again destroyed near Ekshi-sou.
At the 174.4th kilometer (near the last-mentioned station) a railway police station was set on fire. All this throws wonderful light on the so-called excellent protection of the railway.
The entrance points at the same station which had been destroyed by a dynamite explosion, were repaired on Monday, and so was a bridge outside Sorovich, which had also been blown up. The trains are moving with great delays. Two soldiers were killed by grenades on the railway road near Ekshi-sou, while the grenades thrown at two aqueducts did not explode.
burning down of the property of the Turkish landlords (as, for
Zaburdeni, Kroushograd - in the
In Kazhani, a Moslem Albanian village, 3 hours' walk to the west of Bitolya, the population, armed to the teeth, stood on guard day and night, awaiting the expected attack.
Resen was attacked from six directions and the firing went on all night. Nevertheless, the Bulgarians were not able to enter the village, and the number of casualties is not great.
The objectives of the attack were the three more important military posts, near Resen: Kroushe (on the way to Ohrid), then Shour and Stene; the attack on the latter did not succeed. At Kroushe-han, the soldiers died from poison.1 Shour-Khan was burned to ashes and the soldiers managed to save themselves by throwing down their arms and running away.
Immediately after that, it was apparent from the barricades and the trenches that, on Sunday evening, an ambush had been laid for the post carriage traveling between Bitolya and Korcha. But the post-carriage, which was accompanied by 15 men on horseback, returned after Prevalets (south of Tsapari), threatened from all sides by gun shots and fire.
The road leading to Stene-Khan was destroyed, as were all the bridges between Resen and Ohrid.
Two villages (Kroushe and Leoreka) near Resen were in flames last Sunday.
There is no news from Ohrid.
In the district of Lerin, the number of rebels reached 1,500 and in Gorno Neolani many Turks were killed.
The bloodiest violence occurred in Smilevo (north of Gopesh), where the rebels fired at the small local garrison during prayer time. There were people killed in Kroushevo, where the telephone office of the mudir and the small barracks were set on fire; the soldiers were defeated and flags were hoisted on the higher points in the town. The government officials and gendarmes there were killed, and the head of the telegraph office was hanged near the fountain. The road which leads up the mountain with many hairpin-bends, was destroyed and the rebels occupied the forest. It is considered that the number of the active rebels in Smilevo is about five hundred, and those near Kroushevo - about 800 people. Both villages are still in their hands. I have just received information from a reliable source that the troops sent from Bitolya to Prilep to help Kroushevo recaptured two settlements, and the number of casualties in Kroushevo was 170 - Turks, rebels, and local citizens.
Similar attacks took place, but less successfully, against Pribiltsi, Novo Selo and other Moslem settlements in Demir Hissar, where large groups of armed Bulgarians were moving around with flying banners. The Turkish landowners there have asked for arms and ammunition.
Two hundred and fifty soldiers of the battalion of rediffs in Prishtina have departed for Prespa, and brutal outrages can be expected there.
In several villages exposed to the danger of attack because of the departure of the armed men, the children and the women left in the general panic, for the mountains with the men as, for example, in the villages of Hristophor, Oblakovo, Resen, Srubche, where the bashibazouks fired at the people while they were climbing the heights. Many were mortally wounded.
From the Hutova farm (near Smilevo) and from Popolzhani (Lerin district) several flocks of sheep were carried away to the mountain to feed the rebels.
Among the people who have joined the rebel detachments there are members of notable families from Bitolya and other settlements, as well as citizens from Wallachian settlements, as is the case with Turnovo, Magarevo, Malovishte, Gopesh, etc.
The guard on Bitolya was considerably strengthened on the side of the mountains to protect the town against possible attacks by rebels - tents on all neighbouring hills and heights indicate the presence of reinforced military posts.
Massacres may be expected, when the Moslems, especially those who are being hard pressed at present, recover from the first shock and when, after the arrival of the expected reinforcements, they feel sure of their superiority. For this reason, the situation is very serious.
For a month now the imperial government has been pressing us with a most insistent demand. On July 22 we were summoned to the Palace where His Excellency the Grand Vizir and His Excellency the Minister for External Affairs, after notifying us that the anticipated uprising had already broken out in the Bitola vilayet, and that the government was taking all the necessary military measures for its quick suppression, demanded on behalf of the Highest Name that we issue a circular letter to our flock with the purpose of pacifying them. On July 31 we were called to the Palace again. Tahsin Pasha, the First Secretary, repeated the demand for a circular letter, pointing out that it was our duty to the State to help restore public order, and that it was a duty which the Greek and Armenian patriarchs would have immediately fulfilled. On August 7 the Ministry of Justice and Religious Denominations, on an order from the Vizir, notified us with a formal document that the Chief Inspector Hilmi Pasha had been instructed to issue and circulate notices to the Christian population everywhere asking it not to allow itself to be misled and deceived by the troublemaking committees, but to calm down and return to their homes, and asked us to advise the population to do the same. On August 18, at 10 o'clock at night, a special envoy of the Chief Military Prosecutor, Reshad Pasha, arrived at the Exarchate and asked us, in connection with the rumours about some bombing incidents in Constantinople in August, to help prevent such incidents through advice to the population, or else the government would act severely in case of any violation of the peace. The government's insistence to this effect reached its peak on August 19 when, according to custom, we went to the Palace to offer our congratulations on the occasion of the holiday of the Royal ascension to the throne. Before being received by His Imperial Majesty, together with the other religious leaders, we had to have two interviews with Tahsin Pasha. His Excellency urged us to assist energetically in the pacification of the rebels, to condemn, publicly excommunicate them and to prove our allegiance not only with words but also with deeds, making it clear that we, too, would be held responsible for any further consequences. His Majesty, the Sultan, he said, had been much aggrieved by the ingratitude of the Bulgarians to whom he was particularly benevolent and to whom he had granted so many benefits, while they had failed to appreciate even his present merciful attitude to the rebels, and that he now intended to deal with the latter in a most severe manner. The First Secretary even wanted to make our reception by the Sultan conditional upon our promise that nothing untoward would happen in the capital that day, as if that depended upon us. In conclusion, he said that His Majesty should be everything to us, and that we were left no other choice but either to heed his advice and secure the well-being of Church and people, or to reject it, and thereby endanger the Exarchate itself.
Whenever the circular letter in question was demanded, we kept requesting that His Majesty relieve us of this task which would be of no use to the government, and which was putting us in a very difficult position, because, first and foremost, circular letters and excommunications cannot possibly pacify a population which has resorted to arms to save itself from its wretched plight, while the government does nothing to understand, and if possible, satisfy its demands, and offer a remedy for its suffering. Secondly, we issued such circular letters on two occasions last autumn when the uprising in Syar sandjak and the Kostour area broke out and, at the request of the Court, we promised the population reforms, while the result was that whole villages were burnt, ruined or plundered, and many people killed. We, as a pastor, do not want to have such victims on our conscience. Thirdly, the rebel population wants us, as its religious leader, to raise our voice in defense of its human rights, or, at least, to stay neutral. In the fourth place, many of the organs of the Exarchate in the province such as bishop's representatives, chairmen of communes, priests and teachers have been arrested, interned or forced to flee, and there is nobody to whom we can send a circular letter. In the fifth place, the government itself has undermined the authority and prestige of the Exarchate by adopting the practice of not complying even with its smallest requests, of subjecting its flock to harassment and suffering, and of patronizing, in every possible way, Greek and Serbian propaganda in its efforts to disunite and obliterate the Bulgarian nationality in the vilayets. But the government would not enter into any discussion or listen to reason. It firmly insists on the execution of the will of His Majesty, and on its duty to the State.
We are, thus, faced with the dilemma of either refusing to satisfy the government's demand and put at stake everything achieved so far, including the very existence of the Exarchate, or comply with it, and even though against our will, bear the moral responsibility to our flock and to our conscience, while the population falls victim, like last autumn, to new, and even more cruel deceptions, because nobody offers any guarantees either to us or to them.
As you see, Sir, the Exarchate does not want to interfere in the affairs between the government and the committees to which effect you spoke in your telegram No. 434, but the government is drawing it into these affairs against its will.
Since in 3-4 days’ time they will come for our final reply, I consider it as our duty to ask in advance the opinion of the Prince's Government on this matter, one of crucial import under the present trying circumstances. We firmly believe that the government, aware of all the urgency of the question, and of the consequences its solution may have one way or another, will promptly let us know of its position.
We shall pray for God's blessings upon you, and remain in His name, your sincere supplicant in Christ,
Yossif, Exarch of
impression which the public has of events here is very often quite
There is much talk of 'a second renewal of the uprising in
The only earlier attempt at a revolt which can be taken into account was the one undertaken in a state of complete blindness last autumn by the committee of Tsonchev in the region of Razlog, near the Bulgarian frontier, but which, however, was limited to only a few villages and, for this reason, ended in disaster.
are quite different, however, here, in the vilayet of Bitolya. Here
really working for a revolt, the first in
This is not just the work of individual agitators and criminals as many newspapers assert, but an outburst of discontent on the part of a whole people. It is not happening because of a desire for adventure on the part of some unemployed people - it is a call for help from a heavily oppressed population struggling for its freedom and well-being.
Here the uprising is almost general, it embraces almost the whole Slav part of the vilayet, i.e. the sandjak of Bitolya with its five districts (Kichevo, Ohrid, Bitolya, Prilep, Lerin), part of the district of Kostour in the sandjak of Korcha, and some villages in the district of Kailyari in the sandjak of Selfidje. In this region, the Bulgarian population totals more than 250,000 people, the majority of whom sympathize with the revolution and support it openly or secretly.
It is now the task of the other consuls to consider whether this movement will spread with the same force to the neighbouring vilayets, or whether there are obstacles in the way, as, for example, the fact that some regions are subordinated to the organization of the Supreme Committee and not to the Internal Organization, the successful confiscation of arms on the part of the Turks, unfavourable geographical and ethnical conditions, and so on. If there is no comparable further spread of the conflagration outside the vilayet, the Turks will be able to suppress the uprising here with fire and blood, but even they do not dare to hope at present that they will extinguish the conflagration. It will continue to smoulder under the snows of winter, and, at the first opportunity, will burst in flames again, perhaps even stronger, because the despair of the thousands of people without shelter and maintenance, victims of the present uprising, knows no limit, and there will be sufficient time to bring the other vilayets in as well.
Many false rumours are spreading all over the world about the uprising in the vilayet of Bitolya. My love of truth, and not my partiality towards the Christians, or towards any other nationality (I have often demonstrated my particular sympathy for the Moslems) compels me to state - contrary to the view which the press maintains with such obvious signs of satisfaction - that the behaviour of the rebels was human and loyal, while the behaviour of the Turks was barbarian, cruel and Asiatic. That the rebels did not use kid-gloves in their dealings with their enemies - that is quite natural in a revolution. The same refers to the destroying of communications, railways and telegraphs in order to prevent the enemy from concentrating many troops and the system of communications from functioning normally. In order to weaken the enemy materially, the rebels burnt farm houses, the so-called 'bulwarks,' of the Turkish oppressors. That is, they never did any indiscriminate harm to the Turks, nor to the villages and houses of the innocent, nor to those who did not take part in the actions against them.
The Turks, on the contrary, are very weak and unable to fight with the rebels in the mountains, but they are sometimes enraged because of their failures. Then they rush into the villages and, after plundering the houses, they kill most of the population, rape the women and girls, and burn down their houses.
I shall not fail to insert in my report all the evidence confirming my assertions, together with the details.
Those killed are alleged to have fallen in battle, and, furthermore, as it is said, any violation is to be explained away by ambushes or bombings.
fact, ever since the
The so-called 'atrocities' of the rebels, about which so much commotion has been raised, are pure legends at present, and ever since military operations started not a single murder for revenge has been committed here.
The assertion that the suppression of the uprising has not yet begun because of the Turks' humanitarian intention of avoiding unnecessary bloodshed is quite ridiculous. The sole reason for this is the chaos in the Turkish camp, their lack of preparedness and their indecision, as well as the strength of the Bulgarian positions. Also, there is no negotiation with the rebels; this would probably be only a waste of time, due to the violent searches for weapons, by beating the heels of the people who are being interrogated. There is not a single case of rebels returning to their villages while still armed; on the contrary, those who have returned are usually unarmed persons who had run away, driven by fear, and have now returned to their villages. This is only to the advantage of the rebels, since they are having difficulties over food supplies.
July 20 there were between 100 and 150 troops permanently stationed in
villages of Zagorichani, Visheni, Konomladi, Pozdivishta, Gabresh,
Dumbeni, Kossinets, Ketram and Kondorabi to hunt down the hitherto
units supporting the Revolutionary Committee. The troops in Visheni
attacked by the leaders V. Chekelarov and Klyashev, together with the
leaders. There were 350 rebels under the leadership of the
leaders and commanders. The attack was carried out from all sides, and
3-hour battle the troops left the village and took to flight, the
the night saving them from complete extermination. The rebels captured a rifle, cartridges and some food.
Five soldiers were killed, while there were no rebel losses. Forty agas
July 23 the rebels attacked and captured the small town of
July 24 Lazo P. Traikov (a leader) with 400 rebels from the Dumbeni and
Smurdesh centres, attacked the Mohammedan Turkish
On July 26 a 700-strong
Turkish force left
Kostour, set the
On August 4, 300 rebels,
together with the
Lerin unit of Georgi P. Hristov, decided to attack the tower near the
of Psoderi where there were 50 soldiers in addition to the troops
Psoderi (100 men). But at dawn, when the rebels were taking the heights
Psoderi, they ran into Turkish advance patrols. Fire was suddenly
the rebels realized that they would have to deal with many soldiers who
just arrived at the tower'7 from Lerin. A fierce battle
which lasted from morning till almost nightfall. The soldiers numbered
than 1,500, while those from Psoderi and the reinforcements were up to
men. It took the Turks enormous efforts to capture a single rebel
in so doing, they suffered more than 100 dead and some 50 were wounded.
Turks attacked with both mountain and field artillery, while the rebels
bombs before abandoning the above-mentioned position. The position was
held by the centre leader Mitre Pandjourov with an insufficient number
mostly inexperienced ones, and after he was wounded, the position was
abandoned, the rebels leaving behind 6 dead and 3 wounded. All the
positions held out heroically under a shower of bullets and frequent
explosions. The Turks made a last big effort to capture the other
sparing no cartridges, but they did not succeed in advancing a step
The defeat of the Turks was stunning and their losses enormous, and
that is why
on their way back to Lerin, the troops took their revenge on the
same day, August 4, the Turks set fire to the villages of Kossinets,
Zhoupanitsa and Orman where they killed many old people and women and
girls, married women and children into captivity. While all these
taking place in the western part, in the eastern one the rebels burnt
several Turkish farms around Vrabchinsko lake, and attacked the
died of fright
Kolo Sternov (idiot)
stabbed to death
cut to pieces
|The priest's wife
bayonetted to death
cut to pieces
wounded with a dagger
|killed in Kostour
stabbed to death
Tsveta V. Kisselincheva
Manousha T. Matsanova
Despa T. Otseva
Elena S. Gershanova
Mara H. Toumbarova
Iliya A. Petkov
stabbed to death
Sido P. Yarmov
stabbed to death
cut to pieces
Dosta P. Pishmirova
| age 49
cut to pieces
cut to pieces
wounded with a bayonet
|Naki G. Korolov
cut to pieces
Dochka S. Zdrolova
Rista N. Poryagova
Mara H. Stancheva
Tsveta P. Lyachka
Turpo T. Ninov
|village of Lobanitsa
|Iliya T. Postolov
Kosta Y. Peov
Kiriyako N. Zhaikov
Georgi Y. Stoichev
Gile T. Gilev
Tanas P. Stoichev
Georgi I. Ognenev
Tanas M. Gechov
Ivan T. Markovski
Dine I. Markovski
Yané M. Dimov
Leko M. Dimov
Vassil F. Milentsev
Filo M. Kochov
Ivan M. Koulavsov
| age 30
cut to pieces
stabbed to death
cut to pieces
cut to pieces
the Esteemed Government of the Principality of
In view of the critical and terrible situation of the Bulgarian population of the Bitolya vilayet following the devastations and cruelties perpetrated by the Turkish troops and bashibazouks, in view of the fact that these devastations and cruelties continue systematically, and that one cannot foresee how far they will reach; in view, furthermore, of the fact that here everything Bulgarian is running the risk of perishing and being obliterated without a trace by violence, hunger and by approaching poverty, the General Staff considers it its duty to draw the attention of the Esteemed Bulgarian Government to the fatal consequences for the Bulgarian nation, if it fails to discharge its duty to its own brothers here in an impressive and energetic manner, made imperative by force of circumstances and by the danger threatening the common Bulgarian homeland at the present moment.
In the belief that the Esteemed Government is sufficiently well informed about the utter devastation of the vilayet, we consider it superfluous to repeat the facts in all their details here, and will confine ourselves to summing up the situation and the foreseeable consequences threatening our people in several points:
1. Both in the villages that have been burnt down or abandoned, and in the remaining Bulgarian villages, with very few exceptions, that part of the crop which was not burnt remains unharvested because any woman or man who appeared before the eyes of the patrolling troops and bashibazouks would be murdered; the crops are being gathered in by the Turkish population under the protection of the Turkish authorities. A large part of them, as well as of the plundered farm animals, are being used as provisions for the troops.
2. All equipment, implements and cattle used to till the land were destroyed by fire in the villages that were burnt down, while in the remaining villages, they were plundered by the troops and bashibazouks.
3. Almost all the small farm animals, which provide the means of livelihood for the greater part of the mountain population, were either destroyed or taken away, on orders from the authorities.
4. All burnt-down villages were pillaged before they were set on fire; the same fate befell literally all villages that have not yet been burnt; their houses were stripped to the walls, and their inhabitants - men, women and children, were forced to flee with only the clothes which they had on their backs.
5. In the burnt-down villages, religious rites were abandoned and the churches reduced to ashes, and in those villages which have escaped burning, the churches have been sacked, damaged and desecrated. In many places, the Turks used them as stables or latrines during their stay in the villages, e.g. in the villages of Tat-Mourounishta, Smilevo, Kriveni, Kroushe and others.
6. Not a single Bulgarian school is now open, or is likely to open, for the following reasons: a) the population has been scattered in consequence of the Turkish terror; b) almost all the teachers, as well as the priests, have joined the detachments, and will consequently not be considered eligible by the Turkish authorities for the posts they used to hold; c) no one gives a thought to learning when he is outlawed in the country where he lives, simply because he calls himself Bulgarian and fights against hunger.
7. At many places the Turkish authorities have announced to the population which had not fled, that, if it wishes to be spared, it should accept the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate. There were cases of this kind in the regions of Ohrid, Bitolya, Lerin and Kostour, where the troops, accompanied by the Greek bishop, forced the population to surrender their arms and to recognize the Patriarchate.
8. After our first offensive, we were forced to adopt a passive course of action, because, whenever we engaged in encounters with the mobilized Turkish battalions, either in skirmishes or from positions previously taken, depending on our tactics, the Turks after the end of fighting, would attack the unarmed men in the locality, and the women and children, killing all they could lay hands on, violating women and girls, setting fire to the villages that had not yet been burnt and to the woods around them, and taking away the farm animals that had been spared in earlier raids. There were cases of this kind in the villages of Armensko (Lerin district), where 114 old people, women and children were-massacred, Kroushe, Leoreka, Kriveni, Zlatari, Boino, Podmochani, Elha and others (Resen district), Plake, Rechitsa, Siroulya, Kouratitsa and others (Ohrid district); Smilevo, Dyavato (Bitolya district), etc., etc.
In view of the above, we call the attention of the Esteemed Bulgarian Government to the state of distress and helplessness to which our people have been reduced and to the sad and cruel fate threatening them in the immediate future, both as regards their property and health, and as regards their churches and schools. Being witnesses of this desperate plight, we venture to outline to you, in positive terms, the dark prospects of the future, as follows:
1. As a result of hunger, poverty and the approaching winter, one-third of our people is doomed to certain death.
2. As the farm animals and agricultural implements have fallen prey to fire or the Turks, the population, even if it is left in peace, having no means with which to till the land, will be compelled to give it up to the Turks and the fanatic supporters of the Greeks, and will thus entirely be reduced to the position of share-croppers or hired labourers.
3. The remaining part of the population, spiritually deprived and lacking the bare necessities of life, will be unable to resist the desire of the Turkish authorities and the tempting or threatening agitation of the unbridled Greek bishops and their organs, and is certain to accept the authority of the Greek Patriarchate, thereby being lost forever to the Bulgarian church and nation.
4. A further circumstance that we should not omit to mention is the following: For some time, now Catholic and Protestant missionaries have been approaching the Bulgarian population with secret proposals to accept the authority of their churches, if they wish to be protected from Turkish outrages. It will not be surprising if that part of the population that did not succumb to the Greek enticements might be prevailed upon to adopt Roman Catholicism or Protestantism.
In view of all this we are astonished that the Esteemed Government, which has the destinies of the Bulgarian people in its hands, can continue to look with such composure upon the systematic extermination of the Bulgarian population and the decline of our Bulgarian fame and honour before the world.
Placed at the head of the people's movement here, we appeal to you on behalf of the enslaved Bulgarians, to come to their assistance in the most effective way, i.e. by declaring war. We are confident that this call will be echoed by the people in Free Bulgaria.
Awaiting your patriotic intervention, we are pleased to inform you that we are keeping in readiness those of our armed forces which we have so far spared.
From the General Staff
... 1But some ill-intentioned people who do not
wish to let
people take advantage of these improvements, caring only for their
interests are telling lies to the simple people and are committing
crimes. There is no justification in the lies and assurances with which
Bulgarians are being tempted. All civilized nations in
For this reason, all those Bulgarians who have been misled and have left their firesides and their trade are, for the last time, urged to go back to their homes and their villages; those who fail to return and take advantage of the mercy offered by the government will be punished and killed most mercilessly.
... 1It is being announced with due seriousness that those Bulgarians who have been deceived by the false agitations of the bandits and who have abandoned their families and their household obligations and have joined the bandits' detachments, should from now on refrain from being tempted by their deceitful agitations and promises and should go back to their villages and their homes. They should also take advantage of the imperial royal mercy and accept the pardon granted by the government.
It is being announced for the last time that those who refuse to submit to the above counsel, who do not refrain from bandit actions, and who do not return to their homes and accept the government pardon will be hunted down and destroyed.
We send you our answer to the appeal to us to return to our native places.
We all desire to return to our native places, but not as slaves, as we have been till now, but as free citizens, having the same rights as the Turks.
The population of the villages set on fire by the Turks, such as Belitsa with 500 Bulgarian houses, Obidim with 300 Bulgarian houses, Kremen with 200 Bulgarian houses, Mehomia and Bachevo with 150 Bulgarian houses each - has nowhere to live and nowhere to spend the winter. And we would return voluntarily to our homes if we were accompanied by Bulgarian, Russian or Austrian officials providing they do not abandon us to the arbitrary power of the Sultan's authorities, and after peace has been restored in the country, according to the reforms promised by the Berlin Congress.
Accept, Mr Governor, our assurances of our sincere respect: (signed):
Priest Ivan P. Nenov, Alexo S. Balev, Iliya Vassilev Popov, G. I. Kovachev, T. Nikolov, Sava Georgiev, Lazar Georgiev Koutin, Sofroni Iliev, Sofroni Georgiev, Stoyan Pavlev, N. Lazarov and N. G. Kifev.
one who had the exceptional opportunities for studying the
from the inside, I may perhaps be permitted to point out some of the
essential conditions of the present situation. / have traversed
me begin by correcting an almost universal fallacy. There are no Macedonians.
There are Bulgars. There are Roumans - the relics of the
is an unpleasant duty to have to tell one's friend home truths, but the
of the most comic results of this competitive ethnography was a map
some years ago under Athenian auspices and circulated in this
fact is that even in this country - largely owing to interested efforts
disguise the true situation - the great preponderance of the Bulgar
I have the honour to inform you of the following example, concerning the situation of the refugees who have returned from the burnt villages in Razlog district.
Before the misfortune, Belitsa had 400 Bulgarian and 100 Turkish houses. Only 14 of the Bulgarian houses were spared, and 42 of the Turkish were burnt down.There were in the village about 2,000 Bulgarians - men, women and children. As many as 1,060 had returned by the 6th of this month, therefore half of the population is missing. Of those who are missing, some have been killed, others are still in Bulgaria (most probably those who even before had carts for hire) and a great many have taken their families with them and have permanently settled in Romania where they had for years on end earned their living as makers of candy and boza /non-alcoholic millet drink/.
The commission in charge of receiving the refugees has given each person three rusks (about one oka, equal to 1,225 g) on the frontier, and has supplied them with draught animals for the transportation of their luggage from the frontier to Yakorouda. The refugees had to take care of themselves from Yakorouda to the village. The families who arrived first went hungry for two days. After that a commission, consisting of one police officer and two local Turks, distributed to each of the refugees, on arrival, 40 oki of maize (about 26 oki of grain) and 150 drams of beans to last them for two months, and half a Turkish lira to each family for the purchase of farm implements. The maize and the beans were a tithe collected from the produce of the Bulgarians who had fled. However, no mention was made of returning the food of the refugees from whom the tithe had been collected.
Apart from this aid, on the 3rd of this month, Mrs. King Louis (an English woman, one of those who were sent to distribute the British aid to the people who had been affected by the uprising) gave one Turkish lira to each Bulgarian family, and on the 6th the Right Reverend Holy Metropolitan of Nevrokop gave 10 grosh to each.
The Turks whose houses have been burnt have so far received from the government 6 Turkish liras each and one lira each from Mrs King Louis.
The district governor (kaimakam) is helping the refugees to find and retrive their personal belongings which had been plundered. Whatever cattle or household property they recognize, is returned to them, on payment of something to those who have kept and fed the cattle, if they had not made use of them.
After the people had fled, some of their animals were taken away by the authorities and sold by auction. The money received by the authorities is now being returned to the owners of the cattle.
The land-bank has granted each family 300-500 grosh for a term of ten years at an ordinary interest and under mutual guarantee. It is assumed, however, that the bank has borrowed the entire sum from the State, so that the credit of the farmers had not been reduced.
Seeds for sowing have not been distributed.
The Turks have ploughed and sowed the best fields of the refugees; most of the fields they have left fallow. The authorities have ordered that the produce from these fields be divided equally between the owner of the field and the one who has cultivated it. The authorities have allowed here an injustice, which it was probably difficult to avoid: according to the local custom, the produce is divided in two only when all the work had been done by the lessee and all the seeds belong to him, while in this case the Turks have only sown after one ploughing, while the refugees had ploughed 3 and 4 times before preparing the fallow.
The houses are being built very slowly because there are no draught animals, nor implements and building materials. All are still homeless. So far, only one house has been built, by someone who did not flee and started building it in March. It is feared, and some do not doubt that most will spend the coming winter without a roof over their heads. The authorities have promised financial aid for the construction of the houses, but, so far, they have not provided any. Moreover, the authorities have put the people of Yakorouda under the obligation to transport the necessary beams free, but so far they have transported only 70, and these, too, have been taken by the Turks.
The village has good pasture lands which provided the commune with an annual income of 100-120 Turkish liras. Three quarters of this income went to the Bulgarian commune and one fourth to the Turkish one. For 5-6 years now, however, the state has laid its hands on these pastures. The district governor has now managed to order the return of the pastures to the village and part was sold to Karakachans for 85 liras. The Turkish village elder, however, wanted to pocket all the 85 liras, so as to use them for the construction of the blockhouse at Semkovo, on the road to Samokov, which the rebels had burnt down last year. The Bulgarians complained to the governor, and he told them that they will get their share.
As you may well see, Mr. Agent, one would strain one's conscience if one were to reproach the authorities in Razlog. And according to everybody, the credit goes to the district governor.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the Nevrokop district. We do not yet have complete and detailed information about that region, but from what is so far known, the situation differs from that in Razlog. In Baldevo, for instance, the tax collector arrived immediately after Mrs. King Louis had left and collected the aid given by her for the cattle tax. On the day after Mrs. King Louis's departure from Obidim, the tax collector arrived there to collect the same tax, but the villagers refused to pay. And those who went to the district governor to complain, or ask for his advice and help, were sent back to their masters, who had allegedly incited them to rise.
Mr. Veran, whom I had informed about the collection of tax in Obidim and Baldevo, went to ask the governor of his vilayet about the affair. He told him that no such orders had been given and that only those people or villages which were explicitly mentioned in the order which he had received, were exempt from taxes.
The burnt-down villages are most affected by the lack of small implements, such as hoes, spades, adzes and hand saws. If it is possible to send a few hundred, this will be of much greater help than the distribution of financial aid.
Head of the Agency (signed) G. Stoev
I received the permit from Your Highness on May 20th this year, under No. 243, together with the attached petition from the Greek Patriarch, in which he complains of the violence used by the Bulgarians against the Greek population in order to compel it to join the Bulgarian Exarchate, and the conduct of the foreign gendarme officers, who have shown favouritism to the Bulgarians.
The violence described in the petition of the Greek Patriarch is partially true. Like the rebel detachments, both the Bulgarian teachers and clergy are persuading and threatening the supporters of the Patriarchate who speak the Slav language in order to make them accept the spiritual jurisdiction of the Exarchate. These endeavours of the Bulgarians are due to the rumour that, according to the Murzsteg Reforms, the administrative division of the country will be based on the number of the population. Petitions are constantly arriving with requests to joining the Exarchate, but since force was used, and owing to other considerations of state, it is not in the interests of the state to increase the number of the Bulgarians. For this reason, such requests are not complied with, and, at the same time, confidential advice is given to the Greek metropolitans as to how they should proceed in such cases.
To the foreign officers, who side with the Bulgarians, it is explained that requests of such a kind will be complied with only when the Bulgarian rebel detachments cease to exist.
From the inquiries made, it appears that the complaints of the Greek bishops and leaders, that during their inspection tour in the district of Soloun the Russian gendarme officers resided in Bulgarian houses, and that they favoured the Bulgarians, are greatly exaggerated.
Because it is the duty of foreign gendarme officers to see to the organization of the gendarmerie and not to favour some to the detriment of others, I have made the necessary representation to De Giorgis Pasha, and I believe that he will forbid the officers to interfere in matters outside their competency.
The most appropriate way of preserving the Greek population from the violence of the Bulgarian rebel detachments is to intensify the pursuit of the latter, and to put gendarme posts in all threatened Greek villages.
Because it has not so far been found possible to destroy the Bulgarian rebel detachments or even to curb their violence, this gives the Patriarchate cause to complain and creates despondency among the Greek population.
To prevent the patriarchists from going over to the Exarchate, the churches and the schools in such villages should not be given to the Bulgarians and they should not even be allowed to go to church. I recommended this measure in my report of May 30th, 1902. Thanks to imperial justice, this measure is being applied.
undersigned: I, the mayor, and the notables of the
1) Already on May 20th this year, in a petition to the governor of Koukoush and to the Holy Exarchate, signed by all the people of the village, we declared that, henceforward, we shall say our prayers and teach our children in our mother tongue - the Bulgarian language, and that we acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate. We are doing this by the general agreement of all the peasants and without any outside influence.
2) Immediately after we had sent a petition to this effect, a gendarme captain and some police officers with three armed horsemen came to our village. They interrogated each of the peasants separately, asking whether they had signed the petition renouncing the Patriarchate. All the peasants categorically declared to the officers that they had renounced the foreign Patriarchate voluntarily and consciously and that henceforward they wanted to pray to God in their churches and to educate their children in their mother Bulgarian tongue, which they understood.
3) Five or six days after that strict inquiry, the military officer Belialaa with his clerk Osman Efendi, accompanied by 40 soldiers, came to our village. To our great surprise, these officers of the government called all the peasants together and told us that they had orders to lock our church. The said Belialaa sealed the church and took the key away with him.
4) Soon afterwards, when we went to the governor of Koukoush and asked him on what grounds our church had been closed, thus depriving us of the possibility of praying to God, he answered that the closing of the church had been ordered by the vilayet authorities.
Three whole months have passed since the closing of our church: during this time, we have been unable to conduct any Christian rituals. We have no place in which to baptize our new-born babies, and if someone dies, we have no place to hold a funeral service. We have been living through a period of pure paganism: the fast before St Peter's Day passed and not a single Christian was able to receive the Blessed Sacrament on St Peter's Day; the fast before Virgin Mary's Day also passed and no holy service was conducted on the greatest Christian holiday - the Virgin Mary's Day. Our church is still locked and sealed.
Nobody among us can understand the reasons for the closing of our church. If we had had any disagreements in our village, we would suppose that this had been done to preserve order and peace in the village. And now when we, all the tax-payers of the village, have agreed and all of us desire what the law allows us, now when we are looking for the right which H.I.M. the Sultan has given us, now when we want to pray to God and educate our children in our mother Bulgarian tongue, that is, now, when we want to enjoy the liberty of the proclaimed religious freedom, our churches are closed and we are forbidden to pray to God.
Please come to our aid, and be so kind as to give the necessary orders as soon as possible to help our most wretched village to have its church opened, thus enabling us to pray to God in our mother Bulgarian tongue and to praise our father - the Sultan, in this understandable language.
Convinced that our request will be taken into your kind consideration,
Yours respectfully for all the villagers
Mayor: Traiko Mitre
Notables: Atanas Traikov, Gono Deliyov, Atanas Popov, Vassil Mitrev, Peno Mitre, Lazar Konstantinov
With the unexpected arrival of winter, the rebel movement in the vilayets has again faded into the background. It is true that there are still some Bulgarian, as well as Greek and Serbian, detachments, but they have come down from the snow-covered mountains to the villages where they are going to spend the winter undisturbed.
Now the authorities have the best chance of capturing the rebels who are so difficult to find during the good seasons of the year and whose haunts are, by the way, well-known to the authorities. As a result of what happened in the middle of October, after the affair in Brod, and the appearance of the Greek rebel detachments in the vicinity of Lerin, several patrols were sent, but not to defeat the rebels; the lack of activity on the part of the authorities is largely due to Ramazan.
The general opinion here is that this weakness could have some very dangerous consequences in the spring, because it is said here that the Committee is preparing for a new struggle in which dynamite will again be very widely used. The rumours spread by the Bulgarians are reaching more and more people and are intended to incite and frighten the population.
But in spite of the Greek counter-actions, the Bulgarians have achieved considerable success this year. The numerous murders of Slav supporters of the patriarchate and the cases of arson have made a deep impression on the population here, and, in the future, many people may go over to the Exarchate and increase the number of the revolutionary Bulgarians. Thus, this season too the elders of the villages supporting the Patriarchate are asking themselves whether, in view of the threat from the rebel detachments, it would not be better for them to join the Exarchate.
In spite of the repeated efforts of the Russian consulate and of ours, the local authorities have as yet done nothing to provide protection for the threatened supporters of the Patriarchate and, unfortunately, together with the traditional Turkish carelessness, it appears that the old Turkish attitude of letting the Christians struggle among themselves has not disappeared. Thus, for example, the operation against the Greek rebel detachments was a complete failure. It is rumoured here that the troops' sole engagement with these detachments (near Syatista in the district of Kostour, where the Greek officer Pavlos Mellas was killed) took place only because the authorities in Kostour, led by the Bulgarian peasants, had expected to find the terrible rebel leader, Mitre Vlaha.
Bulgarian rebel leader, Damyan Grouev, was detained by the Serbian
of Mitsko for several weeks in the region of Porech, but he was later
and returned to
The activities of the local authorities are paralyzed owing to financial difficulties. After the collection of the tithes, the picture will become clearer and I shall take the liberty of sending a special report in this connection.
The treasuries are quite empty, and the officers and the clerks have not received any pay for 4 months now. The troops have had no meat for several weeks, and only the receipt of their pay, just before Ramazan, prevented serious disorders.
The treasurer comes to the town hall very rarely; he excuses himself by saying he is ill and he stays at home to save himself from the violence of those waiting in the building to receive their pay.
was after the assassination of Minister Belchev in
spent the following year in Salonica in the printing shop of
I met some old comrades: Poparsov, Andon Dimitrov2 (born in
the first year, we admitted into the new organization two or three
the high school in Soloun: Alexander Panov - a teacher in Prilep, who
afterwards pursued his studies in
Highly esteemed Mr. Agent,
The task of the Bulgarian trade agents in Macedonia and the Odrin region is to link the enslaved Bulgarian people in Turkey with those in the free Bulgarian Principality, and to describe the hardships of the former under the Turkish regime most vividly, and to expose systematically and in detail all the killings, plunder and abuses which are being committed by the Turkish lawless and shameless authorities. Unfortunately, however, some of the trade agents, proceeding from their strictly defined instructions, enter spheres which prevent them from easily getting at the truth, and regardless of circumstances and time, obtain unreliable facts, which they rapidly convey to their governments, even drawing tendencious conclusions.
A reliable source has
us that facts have been brought to
Allow us, Mr. Agent, to declare to you that the same is being done in the government of the Organization. The abusers, exploiters, and the violators of the regulations, and in general all who commit offenses to the cause of liberation, are being tried and punished as far as it is possible, according to the time and the circumstances. Some of the punishments appear very severe to outsiders judging about things as one judges in a free country, where the government, acts directly and openly, and has at its disposal the means of punishing a criminal according to his crime, or of rendering harmless a man who threatens law and order in the state. Can the Organization do the same when it has been placed in exceptional conditions and has been outlawed, because it is revolutionary? Certainly not. Therefore, would it not be natural for many of its actions to appear monstrous to people who are not familiar with the conditions in which you work?
Who complains most of the Organization? It is charlatans who do not wish to help the cause of liberation in any way, and part of the clergy, who, driven by extreme ambition, wish to interfere in every possible manner in the revolutionary activities, but do not wish to bear the responsibility for the consequences. Should, therefore, the groundless accusations of this kind of patriots be trusted? And it is precisely they who mislead you, and you, without checking the circumstances and motives, on which facts are based, hasten to communicate them to the government making peculiar commentaries, or simply doing nothing, so that your reports will be all the more sensational.
Let us clarify yet
vitally important issue. It has been reported to the Bulgarian
the Organization has allegedly systematically persecuted the Bulgarian
Exarchate, the employees of the Bulgarian trade agencies, and in
allegedly nursed mistrust and hatred of everything Bulgarian. We
all this is base slander which has shocked us to the bottom of our
one persecutes a monk, even if he does wear a bishop's robe, for his
unrestrained conduct, does it mean that you are persecuting the
one voices distrust of an Agency employee, does it mean that one does
Confine yourself to the sphere of your activities, check all the facts which are brought to you about the work of the Organization, compare them with the causes which provoke them, and with the circumstances which surround them, and you will see that the Organization is not an evil but an urgent necessity for the poor Bulgarian population in the villages of Macedonia and the Odrin region. The villages left without armed detachments feel like orphans because only the detachments can protect them from the attacks of Greek, Turkish and Serbian bands. The towns, too, feel better when there is an Organization with an armed force of its own. We admit, however, that not everything is done in the ideal manner that we would all wish, but this is not the fault of the Organization. The unfavourable and extremely uncomfortable conditions are to blame. Perhaps you are alarmed by the errors which are made in its activities - all men make errors. As a diplomat, have you never made a mistake in your diplomatic career? Do consider also the crisis through which the Organization went after the uprising of 1903, which shook it to the foundations, consider the human lives it lost from among the intelligentsia and from among its other members, and you will understand the causes for some of the errors and oversights in its work. After the general congress at the end of 1905, however, a new impetus was given to the cause of liberation. It was placed on new and sound foundations which guarantee that in a short time the mistakes and violations will be reduced to a minimum. It is necessary with common efforts to raise the level of the consciousness and education of all people regarding the difficult tasks which it has to solve, and to explain the great goal it pursues. The false information which is brought to you, intentionally or unintentionally, by some evil-doers, will be considered as intended to harm the cause of liberation. Such evil-doers will be persecuted according to the regulations and decrees of the Organization.
Accept our assurances of our deepest respect.
Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization
We have positive knowledge that some of the high-ranking spiritual leaders under the Holy Exarchate have informed the Bulgarian commercial agents in Macedonia and the Odrin district that the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization is allegedly persecuting the Exarchate and its activities, that it is allegedly interfering in its rights and prerogatives, and, in general, is opposed to the Bulgarian national spirit in the vilayets of European Turkey. We firmly declare that this is a tendentious calumny aimed at thwarting the revolutionary cause.
There is no denying that individual members of the Organization have taken liberties; however, this is an exception rather .than a rule, and the Organization itself persecutes such conduct.
However, there is no denying either that many leaders under the Holy Exarchate oppose the cause of liberation without any reasons, and out of sheer short-sightedness, whereas many of them, urged by ambition and arrogance, are willing to take part directly in those risky affairs, without taking the responsibility for their actions. Naturally, such people should be censured for their errors and crimes. Unfortunately, when this is done to a member of the church and school organization, for actions beyond his rights and competence, then he shouts in a loud voice: 'They are persecuting the Exarchate, they are persecuting the national cause!' It is not this that matters. Your Beatitude, for, to hold an isolated representative of the church and school cause responsible for his personal acts, is not to persecute the Holy Exarchate or the national cause.
Such people and many others of the same ilk, being dissatisfied with certain actions or decisions of the organizational workers, seize upon some isolated case in the life of the revolutionary organization, send in biased information about it to the Bulgarian commercial agents, and give it publicity in an incomplete and distorted form with the aim of discrediting the cause of liberation.
From their point of view this may be right, but from an organizational point of view this is culpable. Therefore, we declare to you that they should either adhere to their own sphere of activity, following all instructions of the statutes and regulations of the Exarchate, or the organization shall treat them as it does anyone who hampers the revolutionary cause, or tries to slander it and discredit it purposefully.
The Exarchate has the least right to complain of the activities of the revolutionary organization, since the latter has many good deeds to its credit which fully coincide with the tasks of the former and is always ready to help it enhance the culture, education and national consciousness of our people.
Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization.
We had arranged Sarafov's Committee - it was our creation. Under these circumstances, we decided to control the Committee through our supporters on ft, while we kept aloof, and it would still be the Supreme Committee (S.C.). We wanted to reorganize the local societies so that they accept the revolutionary cause. We agreed with the new members of the Committee beforehand that we would take no responsibility for the actions of the S.C. but everything would be done with our knowledge and approval. We, for our part, promised to support the Committee and to strengthen it with more energetic and devoted people from the interior, who would re-activate the Committee, especially in the provinces. It happened just as we wanted. Thus the prestige of the current leaders of Macedonian affairs was undermined.
was my idea to find among those taking part in Macedonian affairs a
authority and influence, who was, at the same time, closer to our
ideas, and to
get him elected as chairman of the Committee. We did not yet dare put
entirely in the hands of the army officers. Tsonchev had not yet
resign his commission and become chairman of the Committee: we would
accepted him at that time. In order to find a suitable person and to
the ground for the new Committee, I undertook an extensive tour of
could not find a single person who shared my views and who would agree
devote himself wholly to the cause of the revolution. All approved of
said but did not want to be involved. Their attitude was that the
was very weak here and that they did not believe that this Organization
be revived to the extent necessary for what I was envisaging. In
considered the revolutionary cause to be a sheer Utopia. Dame and Rizov
believe the activity of the committee could be increased, or that the
would be sufficiently interested in our cause to make us a loan of
Rizov used to say that he would be the first to applaud us in public if
managed to collect 50,000 levs. General disbelief. I called on all
Macedonians in the provinces who were directly or indirectly
involved in the
Macedonian cause, and it was a complete fiasco. Everyone who had any
self-respect was unwilling to get involved and make himself ridiculous.
We had to content ourselves with the officers of 1895.1 thought it would be better if we brought only a few of them onto the committee, in order to use them more directly in the work. The officers were pressing for us to unite and for me to take the post of chairman. I would not agree to this. We preferred Boris to Bozoukov because he was more constant. Many comrades went into the provinces to ensure support for our programme and our list for the forthcoming Congress. Our list was very carefully prepared. At the Congress itself we did some canvassing, and our list was accepted without opposition thanks to the imprudence of the other members of the Committee, of which you too were one. Srafov became the leader. The eyes of all were fixed on us; they were not much interested in who was on the Committee, but they were comforted by the fact that henceforward the S.C. would work in agreement with the Central Committee.
the beginning, our collaboration was complete. We
began the work on a purely friendly basis, on the understanding
that they would figure in
began serious work, completely confident that we would be able to
we had created in
could not have managed without
was short-sightedness on both sides. We wanted to benefit by receiving
materials and people from
Today, September 13, 1908 the citizens of Shtip, numbering some 3,000, gathered in the schoolyard for a meeting in protest against the illegal practices and the violence perpetrated during the parliamentary elections in the town and the district, and after hearing the speakers, we considered:
1. That articles 5, 6 and 30 of the Electoral Law have been violated due to insufficient explanatory work;
2. That the sections in the district have been disproportionally distributed, for instance, the Pishitsa section includes 21 Bulgarian villages against just one Turkish, whereas Kyoseler includes only 5 Bulgarian villages against 11 Turkish; in the Starvoulevo section there are 3 Bulgarian villages against 18 Turkish.
3. That only Turkish villages have been chosen for centres of all sections, and, moreover, these are the remotest villages possible, notorious for past atrocities, like Pishitsa, for instance;
4. That many Bulgarian citizens have been disenfranchised;
5. That Turks disenfranchised by law have been granted the right to vote;
6. That the government has abused its power during the elections.
1. To protest against the violation of the electoral law and against all illegal practices and violence perpetrated during the elections;
2. We consider the elections held so far illegal and void and we have discontinued the polls;
3. We insist that the Young Turk association 'Unity and Progress,' on whose assurance we discontinued our revolutionary activities, should institute an inquiry to punish those responsible for the illegally held elections and to hold them again in accordance with the electoral law, after preliminary local elections.
A commission was elected for this purpose, including: Messrs Arso Lazarov, Sando Penoshliski, Pane Kolchev, Panche Nakushov, Hristo Ikonomov and Andon H. Kotsov, which was entrusted with the task:
1. Of informing by telegraph the Soloun association about the meeting.
2. Of asking the local association for support in our lawful struggle.
3. Of giving a copy of the present resolution to the local association and of forwarding it to the Soloun association, as well as to some newspapers.
4. Of signing all telegrams, protests and the like, which might be addressed to it on behalf of the people.
On behalf of circa 3,000 citizens the resolution was signed by
The buro of the meeting (Arso Lazarov, Panche Nakushov, Hristo Ikonomov)