Fifty-six years of withholding the truth

Makedonsko Delo 11.02.2000

Aleksandar Bonev

Kiril PrlichevKiril Grigorov Prlichev was born on 01.03.1875 in Ohrid. He was the son of Grigor Stavrev Prlichev and Anastasija Uzunova. Kiril Prlichev died in Ohrid on 09.02.1944. As pupils in the Yugoslav Socialist monasteries we were taught about the revivalist Grigor Prlichev, and for the Communist authorities it was most important to tell to the pupils that the mother of Grigor Prlichev was an underling in the rich houses in the town in order to rear her son. About Grigor Prlichev we learned that he was a son of very poor parents, that he lost his father at early age and that his mother and his old grand-father took care of him while his sister had to be become a servant-girl in order to support him. In the Communist sweetening of the truth we could learn that Grigor Prlichev married Anastasija Uzunova, but we shouldn't know that they had a son.

Was the son of Grigor Prlichev an anonymous and insignificant person who failed his father and who didn't deserve to be mentioned to the pupils, the students and the Macedonian society as a whole? Even the simple fact that our revivalist Grigor Prlichev had a son?

These days, in connection with the opening of the newly-built memorial house of Grigor Prlichev, the Macedonian society had the chance to hear that the opening was attended by descendants of Grigor Prlichev, his grandsons Kiril and Grigor.

Why in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia it was hidden from the Macedonian public that "the most distinguished Macedonian revivalist of the XIX-th century, crowned with a laurel wreath in Athens" Grigor Prlichev had a son? The answer to this question must be sought in the revolutionary, socio-political, teacher's and literary activity of Kiril Prlichev.

Revolutionary activity:
1894 - member of a secret pupil's revolutionary circle in Saloniki.
1895 - member of the band of dedo Stoju vojvoda.
1896 - delegate of the founding meeting of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO) and head of the Voden and Muglen districts.
1898 - because of the participation in the political killing of the Serboman Grdanov in Ohrid (executed by Metodi Patchev), Kiril Prlichev is imprisoned in the prisons of Ohrid and Bitolja.
1901 - member of the of the Central Committee of IMRO in Saloniki.
1902 - member of the town's committee in Prilep.
1902 - secretary of the emigrant representation of IMRO, headed by Goce Delchev and Gjorche Petrov.
1903 - participant in the Ilinden uprising as a vojvoda (military commander, V.K.) of the united bands under the general leadership of Hristo Chernopeev.
1903-1905 - secretary of the Emigrant representation of IMRO, headed by Hristo Matov and Hristo Tatarchev.
1915-1921 - secretary of the Emigrant representation of IMRO, headed by Todor Aleksandrov and Aleksandar Protogerov.
1921-1925 - emigrant representative of IMRO
1921-1931 - emigrant representative of IMRO, headed by Ivan Mihajlov.

Socio-political activity:
1894 - founder and secretary of the pupil's union in the Saloniki Bulgarian Male High School.
1903 - secretary of the "Benevolent society" in Sofia.
1908 - secretary of the "Union of the Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs" in the European Turkey, i.e. in Macedonia.
1911 - secretary of the "Administrative Committee of the Teacher's Union"
1923 - member and founder of the "Macedonian Scientific Institute" in Sofia. Member of the Bulgarian section of the Pan-european Union. Member of the Freemason's Lodge "Svetlina".
1935-1944 - head of the Bulgarian "Institute for Blind People".
1942 - as head of the Bulgarian "People's Museum" in Ohrid he opened the grave of Saint Kliment Ohridski. Member and founder of the foundation "Sveti Kliment" in Ohrid.

Teacher's activity:
Teacher in the towns of: Voden, Prilep, Caribrod, Saloniki, Sofia and Stara Zagora.
Teacher's inspector in the towns of: Voden and Saloniki.
Head of the boarding house for orphans in Sofia.

Literary activity:
1896 - Voden, editor of the newspaper "Borec" ("Fighter")
1913 - Saloniki, editor of the journal "Iskra" ("Spark")
1916 - Skopje, editor of the journal "Rodina" ("Motherland")
1922 - Sofia, editor of the journal "Makedonija"
1930-1931 - editor of the IMRO's newspaper "Svoboda ili smrt" ("Freedom or death")
An associate in almost all newspapers and journals of "makedonskite B'lgari" (the Macedonian Bulgarians) and an associate of many Sofia-based newspapers.

Author of:
"The Serbian regime and the revolutionary struggle in Macedonia 1912-1913", "The Serbian brutalities in Macedonia in 1912-1915", "The Macedonians in the cultural-political life of Bulgaria - 1918", "The truth about the crisis in IMRO - 1929", etc.

Poet: Some of his poems were published in the newspaper "Pravo" (1895).
Translator - proficient in French, German, Greek and Latin. Translated in Bulgarian works of: Voltaire, K. Marx, K. Kaucki, C. Mils, G. Brandes, G. Joulie, etc.

(the short description of the impressive activities of the son of Grigor Prlichev and Anastasija Uzunova was taken from the book "Thirty-six years in IMRO - memoirs of Kiril Prlichev", Sofia, 1999).

36 years in IMRO - memoirs of Kiril PrlichevKiril Prlichev, as well as his father, regarded themselves as Bulgarians from Macedonia. The whole impressive activity of Kiril Prlichev was devoted to the struggle and the freedom of "makedonskite B'lgari" (the Macedonian Bulgarians). Exactly because of that, as a morally and politically unsuitable for the Communists, the son of the "most distinguished Macedonian revivalist poet of the XIX-th c." Kiril Prlichev was concealed and treated as non-existent by the Yugo-Communist propaganda.

In the (Macedonian) textbook for the second degree of the intermediate schools "A overview of the literature with examples", published in Skopje in 1971, Blazhe Koneski says on page 370 in connection with the national self-identification of the "the most distinguished Macedonian revivalist of the XIX-th century, holder of a laurel wreath" Grigor Prlichev:

"That he [Prlichev], freeing himself from the Greek influence, embraced the Bulgarian idea - this doesn't make him any less close to us, he doesn't oppose us, neither is he to be judged by the consciousness of our time, nowadays, when the Macedonian nation is already formed, but he will answer before the needs of his age, when our liberation movement was still to be formed and when it had to find its directions. At that time, under the conditions in which he lived, in the face of the problems before him - Prlichev showed himself as a worthy son of the people".

Here we are brought before one paradoxical situation in the Communist interpretation of the historical figures of the Macedonian past. Ignoring the fact that both the father and the son struggled with the same passion for the Bulgarian idea, still the father Grigor Prlichev was accepted by the Communist propaganda and was celebrated as a "deserving son" of the Macedonian people, while the son Kiril Prlichev was treated in the Communist interpretation of the truth as an unworthy even as a son of his father.

Similar was the Communist treatment of the two sons of the legendary Pitu Guli (leader of the Ilinden uprising in Krushevo in 1903, V.K.) who laid down their lives as bodyguards of Todor Aleksandrov (leader of IMRO after WWI, V.K.). The third son of the Krushevo vojvoda Pitu Guli - Steriu Guli, lived to meet and to regard the "fascist Bulgarian occupation" (of 1941, V.K.) as a liberation and to become the leader of a counter-band ("counter-bands" - local Macedonian bands, frequently connected to IMRO, who between 1941 and 1944 opposed the Yugo-partisans and hunted down the Serb collaborationists of the previous, 1918-1941, period, V.K.). When the partisans entered Krushevo Steriu Guli killed himself in one kafana, saying: "how can it be that we will be trampled by the Serbian jack-boot again!" ("Glas", issue 7, page 47).

In the aforementioned interpretation of Blazhe Koneski what mattered was not the very fact of the support of the Bulgarian idea by Grigor Prlichev. Most important was the time at which it was done.

The father Grigor Prlichev embraced  the Bulgarian idea prior to the Commintern's decision that there was a Macedonian nation, while the son Kiril Prlichev not only that didn't join the "Yugoslav national-liberation struggle" but still stuck to the Bulgarian idea even after the proclamation of the Tito's Yugoslavia.

Kiril Prlichev died on 09.02.1944, at the age of 69 in Ohrid, six months before the First meeting of ASNOM (ASNOM - the "Anti-fascist meeting of the national-liberation" forces in Vardar Macedonia which constituted it as a separate republic, V.K.). Having in mind his 36 years of work in IMRO, Kiril Prlichev would have probably opposed the "Decisions of the Second meeting of AVNOJ" (the "Anti-fascist meeting of ... the peoples of Yugoslavia" which created the post-war Yugoslavia, V.K.) in the same way as was done by Hristo Tatarchev, the founder and first secretary of the Central Committee of the Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organisation (SMARO, the predecessor of IMRO, V.K.) or by the member of the Central staff of the Ilinden Uprising Atanas Lozanchev. (The first secretary of SMARO, Dr. Hristo Tatarchev died on 05.01.1952 in Rome, never supporting the lie that "in Tito's Yugoslavia the legacy of Goce Delchev and Jane Sandanski had been realised". The member of the Central staff of the Ilinden uprising Atanas Lozanchev did not accept the ASNOM's Macedonia and publicly worked against the creation of AVNOJ's Yugoslavia. A. Lozanchev died in October 1944 in Sofia).

Had Kiril Prlichev lived to see Tito's Yugoslavia, he would have probably had the fate of Gjorgi Karev, the brother of the leader of the Krushevo Republic in 1903 Nikola Karev. (Gjorgi Karev was sentenced to five years in prison as a "collaborator of the Bulgarian fascist occupiers" and after serving the sentence was killed in Tito's Idrizovo prison). Or Kiril would have had the fate of the "Saloniki assassin" Pavel Shatev (who died from starvation under "house arrest" [in the new Macedonian republic, V.K.]) or of the Ilinden activist Panko Brashnarov (killed in the Goli Otok concentration camp regardless of the fact that he opened the First meeting of the ASNOM).

The truth about the son of the "most distinguished Macedonian revivalist of the XIX-th century, holder of a laurel wreath Grigor Prlichev" nowadays shocks us, makes us silent. The truth wouldn't have had the same power if it wasn't hidden and buried in the bloodied foundation of the Communist imaginary reality as a basis for the realisation of the Tito's idea for one "better and happier future". Unfortunately even a decade after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, when we are already a long-ago formed nation, we feel and react strongly when we are brought before the uncovered Communist secrets.

The formation of a mature and integral personality requires it to be able to bear and withstand the unpleasant, provoking content and truth about itself. Hence, the behaviour of those who oppose the uncovering of the Communist secrets and who simultaneously portray themselves as the only defenders of the pride and the face of the Macedonian nation is unacceptable. Collectively, this kind of Communist historical puritanism is a barrier before the real national maturing and integration of our otherwise already politically established people.