The Macedoine

(pp. 307-328 in  of "The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics"
by Ivo Banac, Cornell University Press, 1984)

 [The Slavo-Bulgars], descendants of Illyrus, Koleda,
the Mighty Stefan [Dushan] Nemanjic and of others.
                                Dimitr Miladinov, 1852
Oko Strume i Vardara
divan cveta cvet,
a cvet taj je srpskog cara:
Car-Dushanov svet.
Oko Strume i Vardara
cveta cvece srpskog cara.

Round the Struma and the Vardar
a lovely flower blooms,
it is the flower of the Serbian tsar:
the holy blossom of Tsar Dusan.
Round the Struma and the Vardar
bloom the flowers of the Serbian tsar.
                                     Stevan Kacanski, 1885

Your tsars and kings ruled over our land with blood and infamy, and to this
extent, too, your title deed to the Macedonian land is bloody and infamous.
                                 Kocho Racin, 1939


Macedonia had not yet been turned into the worms' kitchen for the short-lived Balkan fellowship that marked the beginning of Ottoman decline, when some domestic officer of French cookery christened a medley of fruits or vegetables by the name of the most unhappy province of European Turkey. By extension, this land "of stones and wild apples" (K. Misirkov) was no more than the Macedoine of five nations, which, according to Sami Bej Frasheri's account from the early 1890s, "in each case compactly inhabit[ed] a definite area, though no place [was] populated by a single nationality." [1]

If Macedonia was a Yugoslavia in miniature, it had an epic sadness all its own. Its country people were noted for warmth and a meek sense of delight that defied their circumstances. Among the poor shepherds and tobacco farmers, more recently itinerant traders and migrating handymen, a great capacity for uncomplaining suffering was mixed with muted sensuality, indeed with the subdued glow that marked Kocho Racin's poetry: "If only I had a store in Struga so as to perch on its shutters; to see, only to see, and on a shutter to die." [2] Racin, a Communist more lyrical than any sensualist, was rephrasing a folk song that had a happier, though no less fleeting conclusion – the would-be storekeeper's quiet joy in watching a beauty pass by his emporium – but his version retold the refrain of an older sigh. More than three-quarters of a century before Racin, Konstantin Miladinov (1830 – 1862), one of the two brothers who began to awaken Macedonians, wrote from cold Moscow about his longing for the south. He prayed for eagle's wings to fly over Stamboul, Kukush (Kilkis), Ohrid, and Struga: "There I shall play the pipe after sunset; the sun will set and I shall die." [3]

The story of Macedonia abounds in numerous broad parallels with the larger story of "southern regions." Belgrade coveted "Southern Serbia" (Macedonia) as much as it did the more accessible Old Serbia, and for many of the same historical reasons. Macedonians were themselves often uncertain about their allegiances and, rather like Montenegrins, did not initially deny any of their affiliations. The Macedonian awakener Dimitor Miladinov, whose early correspondence was in Greek, claimed Serbian Stefan Dushan among the ancestors of Slavo-Bulgars, and called their language strictly Bulgarian. The ninteenth-century arguments over Macedonia were often similar to those in Kosovo, at least in terms of pseudoscholarly propaganda and ultimate outcome. Serbian policies of Macedonia were similar to those practiced in Kosovo (prohibition of Bulgarian schools and language, agrarian reform at the expense of local population, Serb colonizing), and Macedonia also had a strong emigration, which, just like the Kosovar emigration, came to play a decisive role in a neighboring state – Bulgaria, which most Macedonians considered their matrix state. The policies of Sofia resembled those of the interwar Tirana governments, just as the tactics of Macedonian revolutionists resembled those of the Montenegrin Greens and Albanian kachaks. In all three cases Italy played its anti-Belgrade hand, as did the Croat oppositionists. And finally, as in all instances of hard opposition, a flavor of condite communism could be detected in the Macedoine.

Just like Kosovo, Macedonia loomed large in the national memory of the Serbs. It was in Skopje, on the Orthodox Easter of 1346, that Stefan Dusan had himself crowned as "Christ God's well-believing tsar of Serbs and Greeks." [4] Prilep was the city of Prince Marko, the legendary hero of Serb heroic epic. And in his memorial church of Saint Demetrius at Sushica (popularly Marko's monastery, near Skopje) fresco painters protrayed Marko in royal purple, holding the horn of a myrrh-anointed "New David" [5]. But whereas in Kosovo the decisive Albanian presence and attachments dated after the collapse of medieval Serbia, in Macedonia the Serbian phase was relatively brief (a mere 113 years from Milutin's conquest of northern Macedonia in 1282 to the death of Prince Marko and Lord Konstantin Dragash in 1395). Both the Greeks and the Bulgars could claim far deeper roots than the Serbs, pointing to Macedonia's place in Byzantine and medieval Bulgarian empires long before Serbian conquest (the Bulgar periods were roughly from Presian to Samuil's successors, 836 – 1018, and again in intervals during the Second Bulgarian empire, about 1197 – 1246, 1257 – 1277). Owing to this checkered history of state traditions, Macedonia's internal divisions were far more complicated than the bipolarity of Montenegrin national allegiances. Moreover, a precarious, but logical, tendency toward the overcoming of Greek, Bulgar, and Serb forms within a new, native, and syncretic blend was never far from the surface. The frescoes of Marko's monastery were marked in Serbian and Bulgarian recensions of Church Slavonic (the latter with the characteristic  (big jus, the thirty-seventh letter of paleo-Cyrillic), and in Greek. There were no frescoes of Serbian saints. [6]

Notwithstanding these ambiguities, there never was any serious doubt that the Slavic population of Macedonia belonged to the same linguistic, historical, and cultural zone as the Bulgarians. Moreover, the Bulgaro-Macedonian bipolarism ceases being an oddity when viewed in the context of Bulgarian history, which was noted for its continuous seesawing between southwest and northeast, between the Macedonian Ohrid of Saint Kliment and the northeastern Preslav of Saint Naum, two great centers of Cyrillo-Methodian literary activity in the ninth century. Since these early times, political troubles and foreign invasions had kept the Bulgar timber balanced up and down the bipolar corridor: the flight of the Preslav scholars to the west in the late tenth century; the rise of the School of Trnovgrad in the northeast during the Second Empire (twelfth to fourteenth centuries); the custodial duty of the west during the Ottoman period (the monasteries of Rila, Zograf, and Hilandar, and the Catholic school centered on Chiprovec); the decisive role of the northeast in the nineteenth-century Bulgarian Awakening and the adoption of the Eastern Bulgarian dialect as the basis of Bulgarian literary language; Macedonia being excluded from the Bulgarian state by decision of powers at the Congress of Berlin (June – July 1878) some four months after its inclusion in the Great Bulgaria of the Treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878). But despite this alternate movement, no Serb observer before the late 1860s really tried to cut a piece of timber for Serbia. Stjepan Verkovic, a Serbianized Croat and a former Franciscan friar who adopted Orthodoxy and entered the Serbian service in Ottoman Macedonia, entitled his collection of Macedonian folk songs (1860) The Folk Songs of Macedonian Bulgars, and noted in the introduction that the title was chosen because "should somebody today ask a Macedonian Slav, 'What are you?' he would immediately get the answer, 'I am a Bulgar and my language is Bulgarian.' " [7]

In the I870s, as the result of several international developments, Serbia began at last to pay attention to its southern neighbor. The Bulgarians, though still stateless, had begun using their emporial power within the Ottoman state to persuade the Porte that an autocephalous Bulgarian church would be a useful counterweight to the expanding influence of cultural and political Hellenism that radiated from the Phanariot-dominated churches within the jurisdiction of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. In 1870, Sultan Abdulaziz promulgated the Bulgarian Exarchate, which initially included only one Orthodox eparchy (metropolitan bishopric) in Macedonia (Veles; in the course of the same year the Macedonian eparchies of Bitola, Ohrid, and Skopje also accrued to the Exarchate) but included the eparchies of Nis and Pirot, which, though still under the Ottomans, were predominantly Serbian in population. Eight years later the Treaty of San Stefano, which Russia dictated to the Turks after the liberation of Bulgaria, established an enormous Bulgar state that contained not only the whole of Macedonia (except for Salonika and the Khalkidhiki peninsula) but also parts of east central Albania (with Korche) and southeastern Serbia (Vranje, Pirot). Though the powers nullified this agreement at the Congress of Berlin, Serbia had reason to suspect that the revival of San Stefano would remain a lasting Bulgar goal. When the Congress of Berlin then decided to sanction the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Hercegovina, long a target of Serbian expansion, Serbia turned its eyes to the south, to Macedonia, hoping to realize its ambitions there. In the famous secret treaty with Milan Obrenovic (1881), Vienna promised Serbia diplomatic support for this strategy.

Serbian aspirations soon gave rise to an elaborated system of theories about Serbia's right to Macedonia. The first theories along this line were utterly primitive, as in the works of Milos Milojevic, who talked about Serbian settlement of the Balkans in the pre-Roman period; [8] but gradually the claims became more sophisticated. Dr. Jovan Hadzi-Vasiljevic, an ethnographer from Vranje who crisscrossed Macedonia in the 1890s, part of the time as Serbian consular official, legitimated Serbian claims not so much by insisting on the purely Serb character of Macedonia as by providing arguments against its Bulgar assignation. Writing about the Kumanovo area in 1909, he noted that the "population of this district never had any developed national consciousness. They do not know about any Slavic nationality, much less about Bulgar or Macedonian nationality. These appellations were unknown to them. The masses of people do not know them to this day. But the population knew and increasingly knows about its community with the Serbs, with Serbia. This realization effected a feeling that they were one and the same with the Serb people and Serbia, except that all of this is still at the level of feeling." [9]

This approach, especially after the beginning of the twentieth century, marked the writings that were apologetic of Serbian interests in Macedonia, notably the works of Jovan Cvijic and Aleksandar Belic, two of Serbia's most distinguished scholars. In his studies of South Slavic ethnography, expounded since the turn of the century but synthesized during his wartime exile in France (1918), Cvijic devised a "Central Type", dissimilar at the same time to the "Dinaric Type" (the principal "Serb" ethnographic variant representative of the South Slavs south of the Isonzo-Krka-Sava-Danube line and west of the more or less straight line that could be drawn from the mouth of the Timok to the mouth of the Drin) and the "East Balkan Type" (representing the subdanubian Balkans from the influx of the Iskr into the Danube to the mouth of the Mesta on the Aegean Sea, that is, eastern Bulgaria, Dobrudza, and Thrace, excluding not just Macedonia but even the region of Sofia, Bulgaria's capital). The true Bulgars belonged only to the "East Balkan Type," especially to the ethnovariant of the Lower Danubian basin, between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains. They were a mixture of Slavs, three "Turanian" groups (Bulgars, Patzinaks-Cumans, and Ottoman Turks), ancient Thracians, and Vlachs, and, as such, were "different from the other South Slavs in their ethnic composition." [10] More important, their national character was decidedly un-Slavic. Bulgars were industrious and coarse. Their demeanor was grave, cheerless, and sullen and their life purely materialistic: "Where the western South Slavs are more or less cheerful at meanest work and in the worst circumstances, and where their magnanimity and even warmth of manner characterize their relationships, the Bulgars have none of that and consider such things as 'Serb business.' On the contrary, their cold egoism, their restless and constant thirst for profit and acquisition of material goods, niggardliness, and total absence of magnanimity are termed the 'Bulgar way' by the Serbs." [11]

The caricature of Bulgars permitted their clear differentiation from the "Central Type," within which Cvijic included Macedonians, western Bulgars (Shops), and Serbs of the Prizren-Timok (Torlak) dialects, a type that was eminently Slavic and therefore non-Bulgar. Dr. Tihomil Djordjevic, a leading Serbian folklorist, strengthened Cvijic's descriptions by stressing the typically Slavic tribalism of Macedonians, divided as they were among modern ethnic groups (Brsjaci, Mrvaci, Shopovi/Shops, Polivaci, Babuni, Keckari, Mijaci). [12] By constrast, Djordjevic's Bulgars were a grim horde who respected only force: "The spirit of insatiable plunder that the Bulgars brought to the Balkan peninsula is maintained among their Slavicized descendents with the only difference that, where the Turanian Bulgars constituted an intrepid warrior horde, the Slavicized Bulgars do not appear greedy and insatiable for plunder, except in the case when the gain of plunder can be realized at the minimum of risks." [13] They were a people without imagination and therefore necessarily without art and culture. In Cvijic's words, it followed that in Macedonia, "which the Bulgars and Serbs ruled alternately, there are no monuments or monasteries save of Serbian or Byzantine provenance." [14]

Spiritual sluggishness neutralized the acquisitive character of the Bulgars in any free match with the Serbs. Aleksandar Belic, a leading Serbian linguist, tried to demonstrate that the similarities evident in the Torlak dialects of Serbian and the Macedonian dialects were due to Serbian colonization. Belic readily admitted that the ancient language of Slavic Macedonians, which Cyril and Methodius standardized in Old Church Slavonic, "rendered, together with the language of eastern Bulgaria, a single Bulgarian protolanguage," but he believed that the medieval Serbian acquisition of Macedonia and extensive Serbian colonization changed the linguistic map of the land: "The result of this colonization was the Serbianization of Macedonia. Had the Ottoman conquest never occurred, this process would have been completed. As it stands, it was only partly completed." [15]

It makes little difference that Belic exaggerated the Serbian elements in Macedonian dialects (the preponderance of sounds c’ [k’] and dj [g’] instead of sht and zhd, the change of the reflex  into e, the change of  to u, and so on, much of which is not typical of southern and eastern Macedonian idioms) and neglected the importance of Bulgarian structures (for example, the postpositive article). [16] Nor is it particularly important that Cvijic seriously claimed that the Bulgar appellation in Macedonia conveyed not so much a nationale as lower social class: "The word 'Bulgar,' having lost its original ethnographic significance, became in Turkish times a synonym for population of any nationality that was enserfed, mean, and given to harsh agricultural life." [17] These were details, the purpose of which was not to show that Macedonia was Serbian but that it was not Bulgarian, that the "right of Serbs to [Macedonia] was no less real, no less justified, than the right of Bulgars." [18] In the opinion of one historian, Cvijic established that amorphous Macedonians will assimilate with the nationality of the state that gets hold of them, be it Serbian or Bulgarian. [19] It followed that where rights and prospects were matched, only force would decide.

After the Congress of Berlin and especially after the Serbo-Bulgarian war (1885) the extent of Serbia's aims in Macedonia were put on full display. The Society of Saint Sava was founded in Belgrade in 1886 with the stated purpose of fighting Exarchist "Bulgarism." The society's publications and educational institutions were powerful agencies of Serbian national propaganda; some 20,000 students from the "southern regions" passed through its schools in Belgrade in 1887 – 1912. Serbia plainly took advantage of the solemn imprecation that the eastern patriarchs in union with Constantinople invoked in 1872 against Bulgar ethnophiletism, that is, the precept of dividing the church within a single state along the national lines. As a result, the Exarchate was considered a schismatic church, permitting the elevation of rival bishops in the sees with Exarchal ordinaries. Since the patriarch of Constantinople and his Greek clergy viewed the Serbs as a lesser evil, some of the sees emptied by schism went to Serbian bishops (Skopje in 1897; Veles and Debar in 1910), the rest going to the Greeks. With the sees went the church schools, where instruction was offered in the national language of the patron church. And with education went the spread of national ideologies – hence the ominous divisions between the Exarchists and Patriarchists, the former Bulgarophile, the latter either Serbian or "Graecomane" in orientation. It was not uncommon for one family to have a member in each camp, for an individual to pass through several phases of religio-national orientation, for a village to switch sides at random, and, in an increasingly alarming change of venue to violent methods of redress, for these changes in loyalty to be coerced. Moreover, however enfeebled, the Turks still ruled Macedonia, and no solution was possible without armed challenges to their power.

The initial success of Serbian propaganda provoked Bulgar resistance. Macedonian students in Salonika and Sofia were determined to "make the liberation of Macedonia the order of the day, before Serbian propaganda succeed[ed] in growing powerful and pulverizing the people." [20] In January 1894 a group of these young men formed the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, which, after intense agitation and propaganda that swelled its clandestine ranks, renamed itself the Bolgarski makedono-odrinski revoljucionni komiteti (BMORK, Bulgar Macedono-Adrianopolitan Revolutionary Committee) in 1896, and demanded "full political autonomy of Macedonia and the district of Adrianople [Ottoman Thrace]." [21] Meanwhile, in 1895, Macedonian emigres in Sofia organized the Macedonian Committee, which, under its established name of Vrhovnija makedonski komitet (VMK, Supreme Macedonian Committee), started infiltrating its armed bands of komitas (literally, committeemen) into Macedonia, where they fought not only Turks but also terrorized Serbian and Greek clergy, teachers, and native adherents. The Macedonian movement thus acquired two wings, one (the vrhovisti, Supremists) external, rooted in Bulgaria, made up of followers of the Supreme Committee, and the other (the Internal Organization) working clandestinely under Turkish rule.

The differences between the two groups were not just tactical. Terrorist methods of the VMK, which the Internal Organization condemned, were an aspect of its strategic course that envisioned the liberation of Macedonia as the work not of Macedonians but of Bulgarian intervention, backed by Russia. The leaders of the VMK were Bulgarian officers, Macedonian-born or descended, who were close to Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand of Coburg (ruled 1887 – 1918) and the willing tools of his self-exalting adventures. Though they repeatedly urged a speedy uprising, they had little faith in the strength of the internal movement, nor were they sensitive to the danger of Macedonia's partition, a threat that caused the BMORK to fight for Macedonia's autonomy within the Turkish state in the first place, rather than for her incorporation within Bulgaria.

Since the term autonomy traced the Macedonian maze, it is essential to note its sense and reason. Its inspiration certainly belonged to the curious nineteenth-century Balkan practice whereby the powers maintained the fiction of Ottoman control over effectively independent states under the guise of autonomous status within the Ottoman state (Serbia, 1829 – 1878; Danubian principalities [Romania], 1829 – 1878; Bulgaria, 1878 – 1908). Autonomy, in other words, was as good as independence. Moreover, from the Macedonian perspective, the goal of independence by autonomy had another advantage. Goce Delchev (1872 – 1903) and the other leaders of the BMORK were aware of Serbian and Greek ambitions in Macedonia. More important, they were aware that neither Belgrade nor Athens could expect to obtain the whole of Macedonia and, unlike Bulgaria, looked forward to and urged partition pf gpss land. Autonomy, then, was the best prophylactic against partition – a prophylactic that would preserve the Bulgar character of Macedonia's Christian population despite the separation from Bulgaria proper. In the words of an editorial in Pravo (Right), a Sofia newspaper close to the BMORK, the idea of Macedonian autonomy (or separatism) was strictly political and did not imply a secession from Bulgar nationhood. Inasmuch as the ideal of San Stefano was unworkable, the autonomous idea was the only alternative to the partition of Macedonia by the Balkan states and the assimilation of its severed parts by Serbs, Greeks, and even Romanians (who claimed the areas of Vlach minority):

The Bulgars of the principality [of Bulgaria] – if there be still some who dream of the Bulgaria of San Stefano, have no reason to object to the separatism of the Macedonian population. Irrespective of the harm that the dream of the Bulgaria of San Stefano might bring both now and in the future, irrespective of all the opportunities that political separatism can bring, there is one essential and important consequence of this doctrine, that is, the preservation of the Bulgar tribe – whole, undivided, and bound by their spiritual culture, though separated politically. Without this politically separatism, the spiritual integrity of the Bulgar tribe seems impossible. It is in the interest of the Bulgarian principality not only to support this idea but to continue to work for its realization.

As far as the other small Balkan states of Romania, Serbia, and Greece are concerned, we think that, should their policy be free of egotistical incentives but instead based on the broad mission of Balkan confederation, and should they sincerely believe that the majority of the Macedonian population is of the same nationality as they, nothing would be more urgent for them than to support autonomy and political separatism. [22]

Goce Delchev, the tolerant, wise, and forgiving theoretician of the Internal Organization, himself a former Bulgarian military cadet, was so firmly committed to the idea of an autonomous Macedonia that (in 1902) he took the step of changing the statute and rules of the BMORK and, in a departure from its Bulgarocentric character, renamed it the Tajna makedono-odrinska revoljucionna organizacija (TMORO, Secret Macedono-Adrianopolitan Revolutionary Organization). The TMORO was to be an insurgent organization, open to all Macedonians regardless of nationality, who wished to participate in the movement for Macedonian autonomy. Delchev called for the "elimination of chauvinist propaganda and nationalist dissentions that divide and weaken the population of Macedonia and the Adrianople area in its struggle against the common [Ottoman] foe." [23] The TMORO guerrilla units (chetas) started recruiting "Graecomanes," Vlachs, and others.

Delcev's initiative was overtaken by the raids of the vrhovisti and the opposition of some of his own men. Moreover, the rivalry between the two revolutionary centers hastened the advance of premature insurrection. The vrhovisti provoked a bloody series of clashes in Gorna Dzumaja in late October 1902. But the cost attending the ill-timed call to arms became apparent only with the uprisings of August 1903, which commenced in southwestern Macedonia (the vilayet of Bitola) and the region of Strandza (Thrace) on the feast days of Prophet Elijah (Ilinden, August 2, N.S.) and the Lord's Transfiguration (August 19, N.S.) respectively. Contrary to the expectations of the revolutionary leaders, the European powers failed to intervene on behalf of Christian insurgents. Both uprisings were drowned in blood, the Turkish soldiers and Albanian irregulars having burned some 150 villages round Bitola.

The failure of the Ilinden uprising effectively quelled the Macedonian insurrectionist organization for a long period, during which Bulgar initiatives in general gave way to the rise of Serbian and Greek insurgency. Beginning in the spring of 1904, Serbian guerrillas (Chetniks), started making raids into Macedonia. Unlike the Bulgar movement, which on the whole relied on native Macedonian peasantry with a smattering of educated men, mainly officers and students, these Serbian guerrillas were a motley lot that included simple adventurers from Serbia proper and the Serb communities of Austria-Hungary and Macedonians who were either itinerant workers domesticated in Serbia or men who had been for one reason or other expelled from Bulgar insurgent organizations. Of the five leading Serbian guerrilla chiefs, two were officers formerly in Bulgarian service (Djordje Skopljanche, native of Pech, and Cene Markovic), one was a schoolteacher (Jovan Babunski), one had no profession (Petko Ilic), and one, Vasilije Trbic of Dalj (Slavonia), was a former monk who fled Mount Athos in 1902 after being charged with the murder of some Greek monks. (Trbic's career was crowned in 1924 when he was elected a deputy to the national assembly on the NRS ticket.) The Chetnik attacks on both Turks and Bulgars initiated a period of fearful Macedonian bellum omnium in omnes, which undid nearly every hope of autonomy. [24] The revived Internal Organization was increasingly under the influence of the VMK, though a left wing, associated with the Serres guerrilla group of Jane Sandanski, kept alive the autonomist tradition of Dewey, who had fallen to a Turkish ambush in 1903.

Not unexpectedly, internecine guerrilla war was followed by partition. Bulgaria's ambitions were ascendant after the proclamation of her independence in Igo8, at which time Ferdinand assumed the grand title of tsar. Four years later Sofia concluded alliances with Belgrade and Athens and the Balkan states joined together to drive the Turk out of Europe. Though Sofia and Belgrade agreed that Macedonia should be autonomous, Serbia recognized Bulgaria's claim to Macedonia south of a meandering line extending from slightly north of Kriva Palanka to slightly north of the town of Ohrid. The disposition of northern Macedonia (with Struga, Debar, Kicevo, Gostivar, Tetovo, Skopje, and Kumanovo) was to be arbitrated by the Russian tsar. Bulgaria and Greece, however, agreed to no particular territorial arrangements. The decisive victory of the allies in the First Balkan War was followed by a scramble over Macedonia, with Serbia and Greece allied against Bulgaria, which, though isolated, slowly edged toward hostilities that started in June 1913. The allies, joined by Romania and Turkey, quickly defeated Bulgaria. Anything but autonomous, Macedonia was partitioned by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), whereby over half of the land went to Greece (Aegean Macedonia) and most of the remainder to Serbia (Vardar Macedonia), leaving slightly more than one-tenth to Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia). Bulgaria also lost southern Dobrudza to Romania, but it was allowed to keep a part of Thrace, providing access to the Aegean.

The immediate effect of the partition was the anti-Bulgar campaign in areas under Serbian and Greek rule. The Serbians expelled Exarchist churchmen and teachers and closed Bulgar schools and churches (affecting the standing of as many as 641 schools and 761 churches). Thousands of Macedonians left for Bulgaria, joining a still larger stream from devastated Aegean Macedonia, where the Greeks burned Kukush, the center of Bulgar politics and culture, as well as much of Serres and Drama. Bulgarian (including the Macedonian dialects) was prohibited, and its surreptitious use, whenever detected, was ridiculed or punished. [25]

In 1915 the pendulum of intimidation swung back, as Bulgaria went to war on the side of Central Powers largely on account of Macedonia. Before that, under pressure from Russia, Serbia was obliged to consider territorial concessions to Bulgaria in order to win Sofia to the side of the Allies. That having failed, Serbia had reason to play up the Bulgarian "stab in the back" after the beginning of Mackensen's offensive in late 1915. Dislodged and in exile, the Serbian government, maintaining that the Macedonian question did not exist, demanded the restoration of pre-1914 borders, even though Macedonians in Serbian service were engaged by Serbian propagandists to declare their hope that the Corfu Declaration would be amended "by including within it the whole of Macedonia and all Macedonians." [26]

Wartime Bulgarian policies did, however, invite Serbian revanchism. Though the Bulgarian occupational administration in most of Vardar and in part of Aegean Macedonia (east of the Struma) was popular enough, except with the dislodged Serbian and Greek clergy and officials, the "Graecomane" and "Serbomane" Macedonians were doubtlessly persecuted; but their fate was nothing in comparison with the harsh regime that Bulgaria imposed in the parts of Kosovo and Serbia proper that were also within her occupational zone. The bloody suppression of a Serbian uprising in the Toplica basin (spring I9I7) was entrusted to the same Supremist komitas, under the command of General Aleksandr Protogerov, who had made Surdulica, in southeastern Serbia, an infamous place of execution since December 1915." [27]

As in Kosovo, the restoration of Serbian rule in 1918, to which the Strumica district and several other Bulgarian frontier salients accrued in 1919 (Bulgaria also having lost all its Aegean coastline to Greece), marked the replay of the first occupation (1913 – 1915). [28] Once again, the Exarchist clergy and Bulgar teachers were expelled, all Bulgarian-language signs and books removed, and all Bulgar clubs, societies, and organizations dissolved, The Serbianization of family surnames proceeded as before the war, with Stankovs becoming Stankovices and Atanasovs entered in the books ay Atanackovices. Though there were fewer killings of "Bulgarists" (a pro-Bulgarian source claimed 342 such instances and 47 additional disappearances in 1918 – 1924), the conventional forms of repression (jailings, internments) were applied more systematically and with greater effect than before (the same source lists 2,900 political arrests in the same period). [29]

The question of Macedonia presented a special problem for Belgrade. Yugoslavia, certain of its territorial claims to the Adriatic coast and the Banat, insisted on plebiscites in territorial demarcations with Italy and Romania. But Pashic thought better of accepting offers of plebiscite in Macedonia. He feared that eventuality so much that he wrote to Protic from the Paris Peace Conference in April 1919 urging that immediate precautionary measures be taken, sparing neither treasure nor effort, to make sure that, if the unwanted plebiscite did come about, it would not turn out badly for Yugoslavia. He noted that the Muslim beys could prove helpful:

[They] can give orders to all Muslims and Arnauts to vote for Serbia, for Yugoslavia. Use our firmest Bosnian Muslims to help us win the Muslims of Macedonia. Also, do not forget the Jews, who, in my opinion, will rather vote for Yugoslavia than for Bulgaria. Send the best teachers and civil servants to all Macedonian counties. The Red Cross and all humanitarian organizations must be sent to Macedonia at once to help the poor. Do not spare any expense to save Old Serbia and Macedonia. Be considerate but quick. Not a word about this in the press or in public. Should there be no plebiscite, [this effort] will still not be a loss. [30]

Pashic's fear and that of Protic's cabinet, which instructed him to refuse any offers of a plebiscite from the Allies, were exaggerated. Still, Pashic did not wish to sign the peace treaty with Austria in September 1919 for fear that the clause on the rights of minorities (including the right to an education in native language) might later be applied to Macedonia. [31] He was sufficiently realistic about Western (especially Italian) reactions to Belgrade's policies in Macedonia to be weary of Pribicevic's unitaristic sophisms, the ideologue of the DS having reduced the whole problem to a simple equation: "Even according to the [minorities'] convention, the Bulgars would have no right to open schools in Macedonia, because there is no Bulgarian language there; nor do they have a right to their own church, since the Bulgars, too, are Orthodox, though schismatics in Bulgaria. [32] The fiction of a "Southern Serbia," however, was too costly for Croat and Slovene politicians, who had to worry about the South Slavic minorities in Italy and Austria. Still, any sort of minority status for the Macedonians would have undercut the whole rationale of expansion. Time had to be bought to carry out a slow Serbianization of Macedonia. To that end, Serbian army and gendarmerie, some 50,000 strong in Macedonia, used several methods. Serbian chetas, such as the notorious band of Jovan Babunski, who terrorized the Bregalnica and Tikvesh districts from September 1919, were under military orders to kill the local leaders, whose work prepared the actions of Bulgar komitas. [33] The population was systematically channeled into forced labor for the army and subjected to intense propaganda.

Like Kosovo, Macedonia was slated for Serb settlements and internal colonization. The authoritics projected the settlement of 50,000 families in Macedonia, though only 4,200 families had been placed in 280 colonies by 1940. In addition, various speculators bought the land from emigrating Turkish feudatories. Milan Stojadinovic, a leader of the NRS, minister of finance for much of the period after 1922, head of the Belgrade stock exchange, and prime minister (1935 – 1939), bought 7,413 acres of land, including the whole village of Krushevica in the Tikvesh district, in partnership with a group of business associates, who then, having arranged for the tax-exempt status of the estate, proceeded to maintain the same tenurial relationship with their villagers as had existed under the Turks. At the same time, native Macedonians, under economic as well as political pressures, were emigrating to other areas of Yugoslavia (as many as 26,000 in 1938 alone) and abroad (10,244 left for Bulgaria between 1913 and 1920). The state systematically reduced the purchasing prices of agricultural products subject to state monopolies (opium, tobacco, silk cones). For example, though the purchase price of crude opium fell by 77 percent in 1927 – 1935, its export price during the same period fell by only 42 percent. [34]

The policy of national assimilation also meant that the government would not permit any autonomist or separatist parties in Macedonia, least of all of Bulgar extraction. Even so, in the districts of pre-1914 Serbia, with the exception of eastern Sandzhak and one county of Kosovo (Vranishte), during the 1920 parliamentary elections, the centralist parties made their worst showing in "Southern Serbia." The NRS did not even put up any lists in southeastern Macedonia (districts of Bregalnica and Tikvesh), and the DS, for all its lopsided electoral lists that were full of imported bureaucrats, teachers, and professors, did well only in western Macedonia, notably in predominantly Albanian districts (for example, Debar, 80.72 percent). The chief beneficiary of Macedonian discontent was the Communist party, which won 36.72 percent of all Macedonian votes, doing especially well in the districts of Kumanovo (44 percent), Skopje (44.11 percent) and Tikvesh (45.9 percent). But though the Communists certainly were regarded as a party of "motley malcontents," their program in 1920 was anything but autonomist. The party organization in Skopje was headed by Dushan Cekic, an old socialist, though a merchant, who moved to Macedonia from his native Leskovac (Serbia) after the Balkan wars. Serbian Marxists, like Cekic, believed in the autonomous status of Macedonia within the Balkan federation. But despite this asset, the hard opposition to Serbian supremacy in Macedonia had to come through the saplings of Gabriel hounds, the bugbearish Makedonstvujushchi (Macedonizers) of the Serbian press – the men of the Macedonian organization.

This time, however, the Bulgarian government was no ally. Tsar Ferdinand abdicated in October 1918, and after the parliamentary elections of August 1919 the government was entrusted to the Agrarian party of Aleksandr Stambolijski, an outspoken opponent of Bulgaria's wartime course. He was determined to pursue a policy of peace with Yugoslavia to the extent that Belgrade would accept his friendship. He arrested the leaders of the Macedonian organization in early November lyric, charged them with war crimes, and then proceeded to underwrite the Treaty of Neuilly (November 27), which set the peace terms and Bulgarian frontiers, without the tumult over Bulgaria's territorial losses. On November 13, 1919, after slightly more than a week of incarceration, the Macedonian leaders escaped from Stambolijski's jail. Protogerov was an old vrhovist, who achieved the rank of general in Bulgarian service. His younger fellow escapee, Todor Aleksandrov (1881 – 1924) of Shtip (Vardar Macedonia), soon eclipsed him in the revival of a single Macedonian guerrilla front, now definitively called the Vtreshna makedonska revoljucionna organizacija (VMRO, Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization).

Todor Aleksandrov was the last of his kind, a combination of hajduk (outlaw) warlord and politician. His cruelty was not anonymous and his tactics could not be sorted out in classes on guerrilla warfare that came to be taught in regular military academies. He was a schoolteacher by profession, but his work in the Exarchist schools was combined with service to the Internal Organization, whose central committee he joined in 1911. His ideology was rudimentary. He was a Bulgar Macedonian fighting for Macedonia's autonomy. That meant fighting not only against Serbs and Greeks but also against those Bulgars, like Stambolijski, who tried to extinguish the patriot game. Anybody who offered aid to the "cause" was welcome: when necessary, Aleksandrov worked with the Communists and took money from Mussolini. He spent his life on the run, in chase, or in the underground. He was not equally great in the cabinet as in the field. "He who does not have five pounds of lice," he said, "is no komita." Above all, he looked upon himself as an avenger, a protector of the people, and as one with them. His successor wrote, "He forbade anyone to call him 'Mister.' He could be called 'Uncle Todor' or 'Grandpa Todor' or just plain 'Todor.' Among ourselves [komitas], he was mainly the Stario [Old Man] and we addressed him as 'Uncle Todor.'... When a peasant addressed him as 'Mister Todor,' he would interrupt: 'I am no "Mister"! I do not want you to call me that again! I have a name. The "misters" are those who divided Macedonia on a green table.' " [35]

Aleksandrov's VMRO quickly grew into a formidable organization that not only prevented any fixity of rule in Vardar Macedonia but became an influential source of political power in Bulgaria itself. In fact, during much of the 1920s, the only real government in Pirin Macedonia was that of Aleksandrov's men. The VMRO had several clienteles. In Bulgaria, notably in Sofia, though deriving some of its influence from collaboration with the nationalist, militarist, and court circles that were hostile to Stambolijski, it worked through the powerful Macedonian emigre societies, with their orderly structure that included benevolent associations, clubs, press, and familiar and hometown networks. In Pirin Macedonia, where the VMRO had its principal bases for guerrilla warfare against Yugoslavia and Greece, its people's militias, consisting largely of peasants, became an army of 9,000 men in 1923, with the biggest bases in Gorna Dzumaja (now Blagoevgrad, 3,000 men), Petrich (2,100), and Nevrokop (now Goce Delchev, 1,800). Here, the VMRO collected taxes, patrolled the streets, administered justice, promulgated laws. In Vardar Macedonia, where the VMRO commanded 1,675 active komitas in 1923, its chief zones of operation were on the left bank of the Vardar. The central zone (bounded roughly by a triangle delineated by Tetovo, Kjustendil [Bulgaria], and Radovish) included Aleksandrov's frequent headquarters below Carev vrv (Tsar's Peak) in the Osogovo Mountains. [36] The southern zone, a wide strip from the Plain of Pelagonia (Bitola) to the length of the Pirin frontier, also oversaw the operations in Greece, leaving much of the right bank of the Vardar outside VMRO's regular military organization. [37]

The enormous military power of VMRO was based on the allegiance of peasant masses – the urban Exarchists on the whole favoring legal forms of struggle – and, no less important, on the vehemence of VMRO’s wrath. According to official Yugoslav sources, from 1919 to 1934, the authorities registered 467 attacks by the komitas, in which 185 Yugoslav officials were killed and 253 wounded. In addition, 268 civilians were killed or wounded by the komitas during the same period. [38] These same official sources state that Yugoslav authorities claimed to have killed 128 komitas in the 1919-1934 period, wounded 13, and captured 151. [39] (VMRO’s own sources give a figure of 86 of its men killed in battles with police and army in the years 1921-1924 alone.) [40] Among the more notorious of the VMRO actions was the massacre in January 1923 of some 30 Serb colonists in Kadrifakovo (Ovche Pole) by the cheta of Ivan Brl'o, an action that was designed to intimidate the settlers into leaving Macedonia. [41] In 1926, the VMRO killed Spasoje Hadzi Popovic, the director of a Serbian newspaper in Bitola. And in 1927 they killed General Mihailo Kovacevic in Shtip. [42]

The hegemony of VMRO within the Macedonian movement did not exist without difficulties. Perhaps the least dangerous enemies were the Serbian authorities in Vardar Macedonia. Their countermeasures, for example the launching of the Shtip-based Association against Bulgar Bandits in 1922 and the indiscriminate terror of its leaders (Kosta Pecanac, Ilija Trifunovic-Lune), only strengthened VMRO's hold. Every pogrom, such as the murder of all male villagers from Garvan (Radovish) on orders of Bregalnica district chief (March 1923), raised popular indignation and helped the VMRO. More serious were occasional challenges by local peasants, who in many cases grew tired of VMRO's highhanded methods, which in some instances bordered on extortion. But inasmuch as the authorities armed the local counter-chetas, as in the case of Ilija Kacarski of Bosilovo (Strumica), their effectiveness was forfeited in advance. [43]

The dissident sections of the Macedonian movement presented a far greater challenge. The movement embraced many political tendencies, mainly from the left. It had its social democrats, members of the Bulgarian Communist party (Dimo Hadzi Dimov), independent communists, anarchists (Pavel Shatev), and so on. The left was suspicious of Aleksandrov and questioned the sincerity of his autonomism, seeing him as an effective exponent of Bulgarian annexationism. The remnants of the Serres group of the late Jane Sandanski (led by Todor Panica and others) also tended toward the Communist left and favored a form of Balkan and Macedonian federalism, which Dimo Hadzi Dimov outlined in his pamphlet "Back to Autonomy" (1919). [44] In 1920, the Bulgarian Communist party, dismissing the whole question as a bourgeois problem, withdrew from the Macedonian movement. But some of the other leftists pressed on with the idea of federalism, leading to a split at the Second Congress of Macedonian Fraternities (late 1920). The federalist program, however, with its quixotic idea of a federal Macedonia organized as a vertical union of national communities, led by a council that had to convene abroad (in western Europe or even in America), and united by a neutral language ("Official language of the Federal Republic of Macedonia is Esperanto"), would have been lost in obscurity, if Stambolijski had not been in need of allies against the VMRO. [45] Aleksandr Dimitrov, Stambolijski's minister of defense, started a campaign against the VMRO after his visit to Belgrade (May 1921). During this period, several VMRO leaders were killed by the Bulgarian police. In retaliation, Aleksandrov ordered the liquidation of Gjorce Petrov; a noted Macedonian emigre leader who favored cooperation with Stambolijski. At this point Dimitrov decided upon an anti-VMRO Macedonian guerrilla, entrusting the job to Panica and other federalists. In October 1921, Dimitrov was assassinated by the VMRO.

In the bloody business that followed, Panica's federalists, aided by the Bulgarian government, set out to destroy the VMRO, and Aleksandrov, quick to meet the challenge, scattered the federalist chetas and launched an attack on the Stambolijski government. Some of the fleeing federalists (Grigor Ciklev, Stojan Mishev) placed themselves in Serbian service, henceforth pursuing the VMRO on the left bank of the Vardar alongside the Yugoslav army. [46] Still others collaborated with the Greeks. [47] In 1922, the VMRO's militias dislodged the federalists and government troops from Kjustendil (September 4) and Nevrokop (October 7), from which Panica had to flee. He went into emigration in Vienna, where the federalist leadership was reassembled and began seeking foreign contacts – among other targets, Soviet diplomats. The VMRO's successes helped harden Stambolijski's policy, and in March 1923, in consequence of the Yugoslav-Bulgarian agreement reached in Nish, he undertook the obligation of cooperating with Yugoslavia against the VMRO. [48] In June 1923, the VMRO aided the rightist officers in overthrowing Stambolijski's government. The premier was hunted down by Aleksandrov's men, cruelly tortured, and hacked to pieces in his native village. Before they killed him, they cut off his right hand, shouting, "With this hand he signed the Agreement of Nish." [49]

The fall of Stambolijski was a great boon to the power of the VMRQ. Though the idol of Bulgarian peasants, the hapless premier was no friend of the VMRO's real or potential allies. The court and the political right plotted his overthrow, and the Communist left did nothing to prevent or reverse it; the Communists rose against the new rightist regime of Aleksandor Cankov in September 1923 only after Moscow found the party's passivity a violation of the then current united front line. But though Aleksandrov profited from the new government's cool attitude toward Yugoslavia, he did not mind signing an agreement with the Communists before the September uprising, promising to stay neutral as long as the uprising was not undertaken in Pirin Macedonia. When the Communists violated this agreement in Razlog, some VMRO troops suppressed them and others protected their leaders. [50] The organization vacillated between ideologically disinterested nationalism and political commitment. Aleksandrov personally contemplated an agreement with the Soviet government: an early draft of such an agreement (December 1923) with the clause on how the VMRO "would gratefully accept the material, diplomatic, and moral support of the [USSR]" was found among his papers. Moreover, together with Protogerov and Peter Chaulev, the other members of the VMRO Central Committee, he even signed a declaration disavowing any ties with the Cankov regime and affirming the VMRO's fight for an independent Macedonia in alliance with the Communists (Vienna, April 29, 1924). Under Cankov's pressure, however, he disowned the agreement with the Communists, which was proclaimed from Vienna in the form of a public manifesto on May 6, 1923. [51]

The repudiation of the May Manifesto split the VMRO. Aleksandrov himself was killed on August 31, 1924, perhaps, as the official VMRO communique stated, by the men of Aleko Vasilev-Pasha, a VMRO leader of pro-Communist tendencies. [52] Leftist accounts have always blamed the court for the "Old Man's" predictable end. In October 1925, ostensibly in continuation of the May Manifesto, the Communists started their own VMRO – the so-called VMRO (obedinena, or United), which exercised significant influence over Macedonian leftist intelligentsia through its Vienna headquarters – the center of a sizable publishing effort. Nevertheless, the VMRO (ob.) was no match for the official VMRO, which was increasingly moving toward the right under the leadership of Protogerov (assassinated in 1928) and Ivan (Vanco) Mihajlov. The VMRO's absolute hold over Pirin Macedonia was broken by the dictatorship of the Zveno (Link) group (1934), a bloc of reform-minded officers, who, though sympathetic to the Macedonian cause, found irredentism too costly for Bulgaria. But though their measures chimed at the dirge of the official VMRO, the Zvenoists could not prevent the Macedonians' most spectacular assassination. Acting with the backup of Italy and Pavelic's Ustasas (Pavelic having found his allies in the VMRO after the beginning of his emigration in 1929), VMRO's gunman Vlado Cernozemski shot King Aleksandar in Marseilles on October 9, 1934. But the end of its greatest enemy was also the end of the VMRO.

The VMRO was part of a generic resistance that helped to tear the fabric of Great Serbianism in the "southern regions." The similarities between the Albanian kachaks and the Macedonian komitas are real – and indeed, the Albanian and Macedonian oppositionists cooperated with each other, and in November 1920 Protogerov and Hasan Bej Prishtina signed an agreement committing the Albanians to the "liberation of Macedonia in her ethnographic and geographical frontiers," with only Debar being the subject of a projected plebiscite. [53] Both groups had further dealings with Italy, the Montenegrins, and various Croat organizations, first Radic's party and the Frankists, later on the Ustashas. [54] Still, where Azem Bejta is celebrated in socialist Albania and recognized in Kosovo, there are no streets named for Todor Aleksandrov in either Bulgaria or Yugoslavia. Historians in Yugoslav Macedonia admit that the "broad masses of peasants accepted Todor Aleksandrov throughout Macedonia – in Pirin Macedonia, the eastern part of Vardar Macedonia, and to some extent in Aegean Macedonia," but then go to great lengths to show that this was a result of VMRO's factious demagoguery: the VMRO preached Macedonian autonomy, but was in fact a Bulgarian irredentist organization. [55]

This charge is overweighted with parachronistic perceptions. The men of the VMRO certainly considered themselves Macedonians, not by nationality, but as part of a larger multinational region to which the VMRO appealed in its attempts to draw members of all nationalities into the organization. [56] As for the nationality of the Macedonian Slavs, they did not question its Bulgar character. Nor, for that matter, did the members of the VMRO (ob.), whose emigre organs regularly assumed the Bulgar identity of Macedonian Slave until 1934. The VMRO's negative – and by no means unique – stand on Macedonian nationhood, however, should not be confused with Bulgarian irredentism.

The idea of a separate (Slavic) Macedonian nationhood most certainly had its antecedents before the 1930s – nor is that surprising, considering the political history of the area. Krsto Misirkov (1874 – 1926), the "first creator of a clear and rounded representation, of argued and systematic conception about the national essence of Macedonian people," [57] brought arguments in favor of Macedonian "national separatism" in his Za makedonckite raboti (About Macedonian Affairs, published in Sofia in 1903 in Bulgarian), but still considered the Macedonian question a part of a larger Bulgar complex, if for no other reason than linguistic. The pattern of Misirkov's national behavior would become rather common among the Macedonian intellectuals of the 1930s. They were Bulgars in struggles against Serbian and Greek hegemonism, but within the Bulgar world they were increasingly becoming exclusive Macedonians: "On the one hand, there was [Misirkov's] pan-Bulgar patriotism, which was based largely on the kinship of language, and his pan-Bulgar positions, which he used, moreover frontally, against the Serbs (and before them the Greeks). On the other, when it concerned the national and cultural differentiation within the framework of the Bulgarophone unit, understood more in a philological than an ethnic way, there were his Macedonian patriotism and his Macedonian positions." [58]

During the 1930s, Macedonians were increasingly accepting the reality of Yugoslavia. Younger generations were moving away from clandestine forms of struggle, affirming Macedonian culture and language, and arguing for a federal status within Yugoslavia. According to a Serbian official, in a report to Prime Minister Stojadinovic in May 1938, the "liquidation of the Bulgar revolutionary committee [VMRO], our good relations with Bulgaria, and, finally, our relations with Italy and Austria (ending their aid to Croat separatism) – all of that contributed to a certain reorientation of Macedonians, who are manifesting [preferences for] a certain reformed autonomy without conspiracies, or rather Macedonia for Macedonians.... [Their] slogan is: come to the parliament in the greatest possible numbers regardless of the party, and fight there for separatism within the frontiers of Yugoslavia." [59] But despite the intellectual stirrings in Vardar Macedonia, only the Communist movement, long respected in the region for its doctrine that a "nation is not merely a historical category but a historical category belonging to a definite epoch, the epoch of rising capitalism" (Stalin), could provide the theoretical underpinnings for separate Macedonian nationhood. According to Dimitar Vlahov, one of the chiefs of VMRO (ob.), that was precisely what happened in Moscow in 1934:

I mentioned earlier that the Comintern itself wanted the Macedonian question to be considered at one of the consultations of its executive committee. One day I was informed that the consultation would be held. And so it was. Before the convening of the consultation, the inner leadership of the committee had already reached its stand, including the question of Macedonian nation, and charged the Balkan secretariat with the drafting of corresponding resolution.... In the resolution, which we published in the Makedonsko delo [Macedonian Cause, an organ of VMRO (ob.)] in 1934, it was concluded that the Macedonian nation exists.[60]

A monastic chronicle from Ioannina refers to the depredations of a certain Vonko, who, in 1400, seized Arta. The Greek authors referred to him as a ; (Serb-Albanian-Bulgaro-Vlach). A Solomon's wise judgment of simpler times or a Solomon-gundy unacceptable to modern monism?

[ The Communists ]

[Back to Index]

1. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Makedonija: Sbornik ot dokumenti i materiali, ed. Dimitr
Kosev et al. (Sofia, 1978), p. 410.

2. Kocho Racin, Beli mugri i drugi tvorbi, ed. Aleksandar Spasov (Skopje, 1974), p. 68.

3. Konstantin Miladinov, "Tga za jug," in Dimity and Konstantin Miladinov, Schinenija
(Sofia, 1965), p. 123.

4. Before his crowning, Stefan Dushan raised the autocephalous Serbian archbishopric to the rank of a patriarchate and assembled the state council to Skopje to confirm his decisions. The crowning was also approved by the autocephalous Patriarchate of Bulgaria and Archbishopric of Ohrid, the latter in Greek hands. Dushan Blagojevic, "Ideja i stvarnost Dushanovog carevanja," in Sima Cirkovic, ed., Od najstarijih vremena do marichke bitke (1371), vol. I of Istorija srpskog naroda (Belgrade, 1981), pp. 527 – 528.

5. Gordana Babic-Djordjevic and Vojislav J. Djuric, "Polet umetnosti," in Jovanka Kali', ed.
Doba borbi za ochuvanje i obnovu drzave (1371 – 1537), vol. 2 of ibid. (Belgrade, 1982), p. 146.

6. Ibid., pp. 1 48- 149.

7. Stefan I. Verkovic, ed., Narodne pesme makedonski Bugara (Belgrade, 1860), p. xiii.

8. Ljubisha Doklestik, Srpsko-makedonskite odnosi vo XIX-ot vek do 1897 godina (Skopje, 1973),
pp. 119 – 120.

9. Jovan Hadzhi-Vasiljevic, Kumanovska oblast, vol. 2 of Juzna stara Srbija: Istorijska, etnografska i politicka istrazivanja (Belgrade, 1909), pp. 280 – 282.

10. Jovan Cvijic, Balkansko poluostrvo i juzhnoslovenske zemlje: Osnovi antropogeografije, 2d ed. (Belgrade, 1966), pp. 523 – 524.

11. Ibid., p. 531.

12. T.-R. Georgevitc, La Macedoine (Paris, 1919), p. 23.

13. Ibid., pp. 21 – 22.

14. Cvijic, Balkansko poluostrvo, p. 537.

15. Aleksandar Belic, Srbi i Bugari u balkanskom savezu i u medjusobnom ratu (Belgrade, 1913), pp. 39, 40.

16. Ibid., pp. 39, 65 – 67. For a detailed discussion of Macedonian dialects and their characteristics see Bozho Vidoeski, "Osnovni dijalektni grupi vo Makedonija," Makedonski jazik, vols. 11 – 12 (1960-1961), nos. 1-2, pp. 13 – 31.

17. Jovan Cvijic, Govori i chlanci, vol. 3 (Belgrade, 1923), p. 42.

18. Belic, Srbi i Bugari, p. 41.

19. Vasilj Popovic, "Makedonsko pitanje," Narodna enciklopedija srpsko-hrvatsko-slovechka. 1929, vol. 2, p. 751.

20. Cited in Konstantin Pandev, Nacionalno-osvoboditelnoto dvizenie v Makedonija i Odrinsko
1878 – 1903 (Sofia, 1979), p. 68.

21. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Makedonija. p. 390.

22. Ibid., pp. 424 – 425. The article appeared on June 7, 1902 (O.S.).

23. Cited in Mercia MacDermott, Freedom or Death: The Life of Gotse Delchev (London, 1978), p 307.

24. The scale of these battles in their early phase (1905 – 1906) can be gauged from Serbian sources which claim the loss of 101 guerrillas, 93 to the Turks, 8 to the Bulgar units. "Borba srpskih junaka – ustasha u Staroj Srbiji i Macedoniji i izginuli junaci," Vardar: Kalendar za redovnu godinu 1907 (Belgrade, 1906), pp. 78 – 82. According to Georgevitch, La Macedoine, pp. 248 – 269, Bulgar units killed 466 Serbs in Macedonia between 1881 and 1909. By my calculation, 89.53 percent of these people were killed in 1903 – 1908 alone, the worst year being 1904 (more than 120 killings). Since the principal aim of Serbian chetas was the struggle against "Bulgarism," the clashes with the Turks were incidental to that higher aim, and there is indeed ample evidence that the chetas collaborated with the Turks against the interal and external wings of the Macedonian revolutionary organization. See Gligor Todorovski, "Srpskata chetnichka organizacija i nejzinata aktivnost vo Makedonija," Institut za nacionalna istorija: Glasnik, vol. 12 (1968), no. I, pp. 191 – 194.

25. For a detailed report on Serbian expulsion of six Exarchist bishops, mistreatment of Bulgar schoolteschers, and attempts to pressure Macedonians to renounce "Bulgarism" and take oaths of Serb nationality, as well as on the atrocities of Greek Boulgarophagoi (Bulgar-eaters) in Aegean Macedonia, see Carnegie Endowment, Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars (Washington, 1914), pp. 162 – 207. According to a Bulgar source from the leadership of the interwar neosupremist Internal Organization, Serbian terror in Macedonia in 1912 – 1915 claimed the lives of 1,854 people, while 285 "disappeared." In addition, 20 women were raped and 1,221 houses were burned. Ivan Mihajlov, Spomeni, vol. 2, Osvoboditelna borba, 1919 – 1924 g. (Brussels, 1965), pp. 383 – 524. My analysis of Mihajlov's list yields the following results: among identified victims of Serbian terror, 554 of those killed were Muslims, most of them Albanians. Since the casualties from the heavily Albanian Tetovo district (482 in number) are not identified by name, it is likely that Muslim victims of Serbian terror numbered about half of the total. The most severe repression was in the Albanian areas of western Macedonia, followed by the eastern districts of Vardar Macedonia (from Kochani and Shtip to the Bulgarian border), and the districts on the western bank of the Vardar from Prilep to Negotino. Serbians killed 23 Exarchist priests. In the district of Kichevo they crucified Hieromonach Teofan and 2 villagers. Ibid., p. 409.

26. Dragoslav Jankovic and Bogdan Krizman, eds., Gradja o stvaranju jugoslovenske drzhave, vol. I (Belgrade, 1964), p. 238.

27. "General Protogerov u Toplici," Politika, July 10, 1928, p. I.

28. For a synthetic presentation of political and socioeconomic developments in Vardar Macedonia in the 1918 – 1929 period see Mihailo Apostolski and Dancho Zografski, eds., Istorija makedonskog naroda, vol. 3, Period izmedju dva svetska rata i narodna revolucija (1918 – 1945) (Belgrade, 1970), pp. 9 – 55. On the wartime and immediate post-1918 period see Aleksandar Apostolov, "Vardarska Makedonija od Prvata svetska vojna do izborite za Konstituantata – 28 noemvri 1920 godina," Godishen zbornik na Filozofskiot fakultet na Univerzitetot vo Skopje: Istorisko-filoloshki oddel, 1962, no. 13, pp. 27 – 90. See also Aleksandar Apostolov, "Revolucionarne prilike u Makedoniji u godinama 1918, 1919. i 1920.," Nauchni skup "Oktobarska revolucija i narodi Jugoslavije," vol. 2 (Belgrade, 1967), pp. 1-44.

29. Mihajlov, Osvoboditelna borba, p. 680. In the Kratovo area alone, there were 62 killings, 6 disappearances, and 1,107 arrests. It is important to note that during the same period (1918 – 1924), the repression in Aegean Macedonia was far less intense. In Greece, Mihajlov recorded 33 killings, 3 disappearances, and 724 arrests. Ibid., p. 692.

30. Cited in Desanka Todorovic, Jugoslavija i balkanske drzhave, 1918 – 1923 (Belgrade, 1979), p. 41.

31. Bogumil Hrabak, ed., "Zapisnici sednica Davidoviceve dve vlade od avgusta 1919. do februara 1920," Arhivski vjesnik, vol. 13, p. 28.

32. Ibid., p. 37.

33. Desanka Todorovic, " 'Okupacijata na Strumica 1919 godina,' " Institut za nacionalna istorija: Glasnik, vol. 10 (1966), no. I, 50 – 51.

34. Aleksandar Apostolov, "Specifichnata polozhba na makedonskiot narod vo kralstvoto Jugoslavija," Institut za nacionalna istorija: Glasnik, vol. 16 (1972), no. I, pp. 46 – 54.

35. Mihajlov, Osvoboditelna borba, p. 110.

36. Ivan Katardzhiev, Vreme na zreenje: Makedonskoto nacionalno prashanje megu dvete svetski vojni (1919 – 1930), vol. I (Skopje, 1977), pp. 176 – 177, 203.

37. The VMRO, however, had contacts and bases in Albania, from whose territory it staged raids into the western areas of Vardar Macedonia. Gligor Todorovski, "Nekolku podatoci za aktivnosta na vrhovistickata VMRO vo Albanija i Bugarija pomegu dvete svetski vojni," Institut za nacionalna istorija: Glasnik, vol. 15 (1971), no. I, pp. 137 – 156.

38. Apostolov, "Specifichnata polozhba," p. 55.

39. Ibid., p. 56.

40. Mihajlov, Osvoboditelna borba, pp. 703 – 708.

41. Ibid., p. 141.

42. Apostolov, "Specificnata polozhba," p. 56.

43. Manol Pandevski and Gorgi Stoev-Trnkata, Strumica i Strumichko niz istorijata (Strumica, 1969), p. 328.

44. The key excerpt, calling for a Macedonian republic modeled on the Swiss federal state and within the wider Balkan federation, is cited in Ljubisha Doklestic, ed., Kroz historiju Makedonije: Izabrani izvori (Zagreb, 1964), pp. 214 – 215. A further point of the pamphlet was the restatement of the reasons that autonomy was and remained only a Bulgar idea, rejected by the Turks and Greeks. That section is cited in Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Makedonija, pp. 612 – 615.

45. On the history of the federalist split and the likelihood that Stambolijski had his hand in the affair, see Katardzhiev, Vreme na zreenje, vol. I, pp. 152 – 159.

46. Ibid., p. 167.

47. Mihajlov, Osvoboditelna borba, p. 261.

48. Todorovic, Jugoslavija i balkanske drzhave, pp. 200 – 202.

49. Kosta Todorov, Stamboliski (Belgrade, 1937), p. 152.

50. Katardzhiev, Vreme na zreenje, vol. I, pp. 180 – 181.

51. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Makedonija, pp. 676 – 679, 684 – 685.

52. "Le chef legendaire du mouvement de liberation de la Macedoine Todor Alexandroff assassine," Nouvelles Macedoniennes, Sept. 15, 1924, p. 1.

53. Mihajlov, Osvoboditelna borba, p. 159.

54. Radic had a meeting with Protogerov in 1923 during his tour of Europe, something that alarmed the Yugoslav authorities. Todorovic, Jugoslavija i balkanske drzhave, p. 203. In 1924, the public prosecutor in Zagreb brought charges of treason against Radic on account of an interview that Radid gave to a VMRO journal. Arhiv Instituta za historiju radnickog pokreta (AIHRPH), ZB-S-9/40: Kraljevski sudbeni stol, I 1702 – 1924.

55. Katardzhiev, Vreme na zreenje, vol. I, pp. 171 – 175.

56. It is difficult to understand how the VMRO's attempts to draw the village poor into the movement's leadership and to treat Turkish members the same as others constitutes demagoguery. Ibid., p. 175.

57. Dancho Zografski, "Krste Misirkov za nacionalnosta na Makedoncite," in Hristo Andonov-Poljanski et al., eds., Krste Misirkov: Nauchen sobir posveten na 40-godisninata od smrtta (Skopje, 1966), p. 22.

58. Josip Hamm, "Moj osvrt na K. P. Misirkova," in Trajko Stamatoski, ed., Krste P. Misirkov i nacionalno-kulturniot razvoj na makedonskiot narod do osloboduvanjeto (Skopje, 1976), p. 202.

59. Cited in Aleksandar Apostolov, "Manifestacije makedonske nacionalne individualnosti u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji," Jugoslovenski istorijski chasopis, 1970, nos. 3 – 4, p. 84.

60. Dimitar Vlahov, Memoari (Skopje, 1970), p. 357. Vlahov, an old VMRO-ist from Kukush (Aegean Macedonia) who was in the Bulgarian service during the First World War and then became a Communist, noted that the drafting of the resolution was entrusted to a Pole who had no knowledge of the Macedonian question. As a result, Vlahov "acquainted [the Pole] with the [problem] and helped him carry out his task." The Bulgarian Communists had reservations about this procedure and feared that many Macedonian militants would defect to the "Macedonian fascists" (that is, VMRO). Some, such as Vasil Hadzi Kimov, did just that – in Kimov's case after the turning of names of all Communist activists to the Bulgarian government. Ibid.