Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The "Macedonian Question"

by Maria Nystazopoulou - Pelekidou
Translated by Ilias Kyzirakos


The "Macedonian Question" is a major and many-faceted issue presenting manifold political, national and historical problems. In recent decades it has been rekindled and nowadays has acquired perilous dimensions. This problem, however, is not only a concern of our times: it dates back to the 19th c., right after the Greek War of Independence of 1821.

This issue was initially raised by the Bulgarians; mainly by those Bulgarians of the diaspora who, in attempting to achieve national rehabilitaion, made territorial claims on Macedonia. These Bulgarian nationalistic feelings were considerably reinforced by the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870)1, and in particular by the Treaty of San Stefano (March 1878), according to which northern and central Macedonia was annexed to Bulgaria. Of course, the Treaty of Berlin (June/July 1878) reinstated Ottoman domination in the region2, but the temporary ceding of Macedonian areas to the Bulgarians encouraged these claims, while the establishment of the Bulgarian Principality (1878) and the annexation of Eastern Rumelia to Bulgaria (1885) created new centres of propaganda. By the end of the century there had led to the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization(IMRO, 1893) and the Central Committee (1985) which adopted systems of violence and armed intervention often tolerated by the Ottoman authorities.

Serbia's claims to a free passage to the Aegean sea and its attempts to win over thje Slav-speaking population of NW Macedonia by infiltrating the Church and Education, as well as Roumanian claims on the Vlach-speaking Greeks, date back to the end of the 19th c., while the claims of the Albanians at the end of the 19th c. included the vilayets of Monastir and Thessaloniki in their autonomistic programme3. It must noted however that these situations never supported the existence of a seperate Macedonian nationality. The crisis deepened at the beginning of the 20th c. and led to the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908) and to the two Balkan Wars (1912-13) which resulted in the liberation of Macedonia from the Turksih yoke nad the recognition of the predominance of Hellenism in the area through the annexation of the largest part of Macedonia to Greece. Bulgarian aspirations were pursued in other forms both during the inter-war period and after World War II. Then a new, radically revised Yugoslavian policy was formulated with an integrated programme aimed at putting forward the existence of a seperate MAcedonian Nation. Today, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the problem has become more acute since the once autonomous Republic of Skopje now demands to be recognized by the international community as an independent state with the spurious name of Macedonia.

The present study cannot fully examine all the issues that have been mentioned. Howver, there is a comprehensive bibliography4 in spite of the fact that there has not yet been a systematic and objective exploitation of all the records and other sources. This study is an attempt to be as informative as possible and to provide an enlightening historical review of the problem as it appears from World War II until today 5.

I. An expose' of the question and the position of Skopje

After the end of World War I, in 1918, the Yugoslav peoples were united into a single state named "Kingdom of Serbs, Croates and Slovenes" and in 1931 this name was changed to "Kingdom of Yugoslavia." It should be noted that the creation of this state, which had no ethnic honogeneity, and its later support was mainly the work of France and French foreign policy: France, by supporting the establishment of a powerful allied state that would uphold its policy in this sensitive area, initially intended to create a barrier against the expansion of Austria and later to ward off German influence and penetration6.

At the end of World War II, whithin the framework of the reoganization of the state of Yugoslavia into a Federal People's Republic, six people's republics were established (Jan. 31, 1946), renamed later to socialist republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia7.

In actual fact this division caused substantial damage to Serbia: while Slovenia and Croatia retained their unity, Serbia was devided into three socialist republics and in this way was considerably diminished8. It is most probable that this was Croatia's response to the leading position which Serbia had held in the past9, especially during the inter-war period10 - a position based on historical tradition and on the struggles of the Serbian people.

With the establishment of the autonomous republic of Macedonia, which covers 10.5 % of the total area of Yugoslavia and has a population of 2,000,000 today, the Yugoslav government had two objectives:
a) The reinforcement of Southern Yugoslavia, to succeed in effectively removing any Bulgarian influence or aspiration for this region - because undoubtedly the Bulgarian presence in that area was quite strong and pro-Bulgarian tendencies were powerful11.
b) The making of Macedonia as a whole - that is, not only the Yugoslav part of it - a connecting link in establishing a Federation of the Balkan peoples. The latter had also been the aim of the Bulgarians during the inter-war period.

It is important to note that Hristo Tatarchev, President of the Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), writes in his memoirs (Sophia, 1928): "We thought that later an autonomous Macedonia should be able to be joined more easily to Bulgaria, or, if this was unrealizable, it should be able to become the uniting link in a federation of Balkan Peoples"12. After World War II, Stalin tried to create a Federation of Balkan States and, by including Greece among them, to secure access to the Aegean Sea - a Federation over which the Soviet Union would have had complete control. Since Macedonia was the bone of contention and the cause of friction between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, he tried (through the Stalin-Tito-Dimitrov plan) to use Macedonia as a connecting link by detaching it from both countries which claimed it. But after the split between Tito and the Soviet Union (1948), the Yugoslav leader adopted the plan of Stalin for his own benefit, removing Bulgaria of course.

Yugoslav "Macedonia", formed in 1946, consisted of the area previously called "Southern Serbia" or Vardaska Banovina"13. Since 1946 the Yugoslavs call it "Vardar Macedonia" (Vardarska Makedonia), referring to Greek Macedonia as "Aegean Macedonia" (Egeiska Makedonia) and to a small Bulgarian part as "Pirin Macedonia" (Pirinska Makedonia).

They wanted to give a separate political and national existence to this newly-established socialist republic. As we know, the main characteristics of a nation are unity of country (with the meaning of common fatherland) and of political organisation, language, religion and heritage, which are joined by a common past, common consciousness - characteristics which alone are not enough or indeed necessary but which in combination create the separate identity of a nation. They tried to give these characteristics to the new "republic of Macedonia". They wanted, in other words, to fabricate a nation. The means that they used were the following 14:

  1. Separate state organization: All the local state organizations which were created, with Skopje as the centre, within the framework of the federal government of Yugoslavia, were called "Macedonian": "Macedonian government", "Macedonian Parliament", etc. Thus this term acquired a new political and state dimension, which in the course of time became established.
  2. Separate language: The Yugoslav Constitution recognized a local dialect as the official language; it was called "Macedonian" and was considered equal to the Serbo-Croatian and the Slovenian languages14a. This "Macedonian" dialect, which until then had only been considered a dialect of the Bulgarian language, "was purged" of lingustic elements which might create disputes in the future, became the official language of the reagion, and has been taught in schools ever since. Thus the children started using it and became accustomed to it, whichever language or dialect they used at home. In this way the new postwar generation of the region acquired a new linguistic instrument which was imposed "from above", by state will and for political reasons.
  3. Independent Church: Despite the fact that communist ideology does not accept religion, religious sentiment was deeply rooted in the inhabitants of the region and the Church was closely related to their historical traditions. It is for this reason that the "Autocephalous Macedonian Church" was founded in 1964, after communist party intervention, with Ochrid as its seat, despite the strong reactions of the Serbian Patriarchate. This emancipation was a blatant violation of the canon law of the Orthodox Church and was effected in order to reinforce the autonomy of "Macedonia" vis-a-vis Serbia - as autonomy which was expressed by the slogan "One State, one Church, one Nation"15.
  4. Separate nationality: In order that their political existence could be consolidated and their general political aims strengthened, it was essential that the population of the region became consious of Macedonia as a separate nation. For this reason they attempted to create and propagate a "Macedonian" national cosniousness amongst the inhabitants of Southern Yugoslavia. In this endeavour it was essential to project a separate historical past, to "fabricate" a "Macedonian" history. Historians were mobilized and an "Institute of National History" was founded in Skopje. It was instantly staffed by many scholars who started conducting extensive research in libraries and archives, gathering a huge amount of material 16 and publishing books, reviews and journals17 at an impressive rate. By means of their studies and publications they attemped to reconstruct and re-interpret historical data in order to fulfil their objectives.

Their first aim was to cut off every link between the so-called "Macedonians" and the Bulgarians, as a well as the Serbs, and to convince the people that they belonged to a separate Slavic nation, the "Macedonian" one. Therefore the history of the region, as well as the language, had to be "purged" of all Bulgarian and Serbian elements. All Bulgarian and Serbian historical data connected to that region - historical events, people, activities and intellectual work - were renamed "Macedonian"18, so that they could be incorporated into the new "Macedonian" history which was then being written, or, if they did not fit into the new historical frame work and guidelines, they were denounced as hostile19.

The second aim was to eliminate Greek character of Macedonia and Macedonian history; and this would be achieved by minimizing the Greek presence in this region and misinterpreting or falsifying their role, specifically the cultural and intellectual contribution of Hellenism, the orthodox Greek clergy and Greek schools.

The third aim was to search for, fabricate and project the historical development of the so-called "Macedonian people", so as to prove the separate national identity of the "Macedonians", as well as their cohesion and continuity from ancient times until today. It should be noted that this attempt was the reverse of normal methods: that is, they studied modern history first and turned to the study of Antiquity later20.

The fourth aim was to create a Great Idea21, which would bring awareness to the masses. So the historians of Skopje started declaring that Macedonia, as a whole, was a Slavic country both in its historical tradition and its ethnic composition. For this reason, it had to be united and form a unified state. After World War II, only the Yugoslavian part was re-established nationally within the framework of the Yugoslav Federation. The other two parts, Aegean Macedonia and Pirin Macedonia would have to be restored, i.e., to be united with Yugoslav Macedonia22.

At this point there was a deliberate distortion not only of historical events but also of contenporary numerical data and statistics referring to the composition of the population of Greek Macedonia23.

The historical contrivance which the historians of Skopje fabricated and put forward is roughly as follows:

As the appearance and settlement of Slavs in the region took place during the Middle Ages, the Slavs of Skopje could not present ancient parchments confirming their presence in the area. On the other hand, the history of Ancient Macedonia and the work of Alexander the Great presented a major obstacle to their propaganda, because both were universally known and had made a great impression24. It was essential for them to cast doubt on the greek character of Anceint Macedonia. So, they declared that the Ancient Macedonians were not Greeks but an Illyrian tribe. Their kings were not Greeks but mere "Philhellenes". The ruling class was hellenized in the course of time, but the people remained "Macedonian", that is, Illyrian, not Greek. Alexander was not Greek, he did not disseminate Greek culture, but "the name of Macedonia". During the period of his successors, the hellenization of the region started gradually, especially in the upper class, because many Greeks had been slaves and mercenary soldiers25.

In the Middle Ages the Slavs settled in Macedonia where, according to Skopje, they exterminated a large number of the indigenous population and assimilated the rest. Thus, within a few years Macedonia became Slavic. Because these indigenous populations were Illyrian and not Greek, the Slavs who settled in Macedonia were united with that non-Greek element and thus acquired ancient roots, irrespective of any Greek presence. In this way, Skopje claims for itself not only the history but also the achievements of the civilization connected to this region.
At the same time, the historians of Skopje minimised the Bulgarian presence claiming that the expansion of the First Bulgarian state into Macedonian territory was temporary and superficial; thus this Bulgarian expansion could not have been bulgarized the "Macedonians" who remained a separate slavic tribe. A characteristic case is the one of Samuel who, by means of revolution, succeeded in setting up an independent state with, initially, its centre as the inaccessible region of NW Macedonia; he was declared "Tsar of the Bulgars" (977-1014) and turned out to be a dangerous adversary of Byzantium and its emperor Basil II Bulgarictinous ("Bulgar Slayer"). According ot the historians of Skopje, Samuel's State was "Macedonian", since the Slav-Macedonians were the dominant national element, and not related to the Bulgarians. They also assert that Samuel, the son of a Byzantine official, was a "Macedonian" since he was the leader of a "Macedonian" state 26. Nevertheless, as the Bulgarians rightly note, Basil II was given the epithet Bulgaroctonus ("Bulgar Slayer") and not Macedonoctonus ("Macedonian Slayer")27.
The historians of Skopje also claim that Constantine-Cyril and Methodius, the two Apostles of the Slavs, were "Macedonians" and therefore Slavs since they were born in Thessaloniki, where at the time "the indigenous population was Slavic and everybody spoke a purely Slavic language"28. For this reason the two brothers based their alphabet on the "Slavo-Macedonian" or "proto-Macedonian" language. Consequently, modern Yugoslav-Macedonians are direct descendants of these "Proto-Macedonians" who disseminated the alphabet and culture throughout the Slavic world29. It should be noted that the terms "Slav-Macedonians" and "Proto-Macedonians" are an invention of Skopje and are not attested to in any source of that time, nor have they been suggested by other writers.

As for the works of art, architecture and painting which were created in this region, they are presented as works of a separate "Macedonian" art 30, in spite of the fact that their style is distinctly Byzantine. This "Macedonian" art should not be confused with the so-called "Macedonian School", which they also misinterpreted and appropriated.

They claim that at the time of the Turkish domination, the historical memory of the "Slav-Macedonians" was wiped out, along with their national conscience; this was due to political and social reasons and particularly Ottoman empire policy - which classified its subjects on the basis of religion and not national origins - and also because of the priveleges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the assimilative power of the Greek clergy. Since most priveleges, were in the hands of the Greeks, many "Slav-Macedonians" felt constrained to present themselves as Greeks. During the period of the struggle for independence and national rehabilitation, the "Slav-Macedonians" fought alongside the Greeks. Furthermore, they do not hesitate to claim for themselves famous heroes such as Markos Botsaris, whom they present as "Macedonian" changing his name to Marko Botsvarot of Prilet 31!!

According to the historians of Skopje the national awakening of the "Macedonian people" started in the first decades of the 19th c. and culminated at the end of the century in the establishment of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in 1893 (which in reality was a bulgarian organisation) and in the armed struggle at the beginning of the 20th c. At that time the Slav-Macedonians were engaged in fights "on several fronts", not only against Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs and their respective neighbouring states, but also against the Ottoman empire and its social system. This struggle was aimed at the creation of an independent Macedonian state, but was uncussessful then. Only in 1944 was part of Macedonia liberated, becoming an autonomous republic within the framework of the Yugoslav Federation32.

This outlines the scheme which the historians of Skopje put forward. I have considered it essential to hightlight it so that the distortion of History, tha falsification and fabrication of historical data should become obvious.

1. The institutional firman included a controversial stipulation; that in the future, other provinces of the vilayets of Monastir and Thessaloniki could also be placed under the jurisdiction of the Exarchate, if all the inhabitants or at least two-thirds requested it. This clause, as a matter of course, later caused much friction between Greeks and Bulgarians, as well as armed interventions by the Bulgarians, because the clause became an instrument of political propaganda: For the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate and its repercussions, see Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou: Οι Βαλκανικοί Λαοί. Από τήν τουρκική κατάκτηση στήν εθνική αποκατάσταση, 14ος-19ος αι.2 (= The Balkan Peoples. From the Turkish Conquest to the National Emancipation, 14th-19th c.) (Thessaloniki, 1991), pp.213-222.
2. Re the Treaty of San Stefano, the Treaty of Berlin and their repercussions, see among others M. Laskaris, Τό Ανατολικόν Zήτημα 1800-1923 (= The Eastern Question, 1800-1923) (Thessaloniki, 1948), pp. 291-300. Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, The Balkan Peoples, op. cit., pp. 262-272.
3. Ibid., p.287.
4. I note selectively: N. Vlachos, Τό Μακεδονικόν ως φάσις τού Ανατολικού Zητήματος, 1878-1908 (= The Macedonian Question as a Phase of the Eastern Question, 1878-1908) (Athens, 1953). L. S. Stavrianos, Balkan Federation. A History of the Movement toward Blkn Unity in Modern Times (Hamden-Connecticut, 1964), and mainly ch.g "Macedonia versus Balkan Unity, 1878-1902", pp. 123-151, with the bibliography. D. Djordjevic, Revolutions nationales des peuples Balkaniques, 1803-1914 (Belgrade, 1965); in particular for Macedonia, see pp. 105-109, 146-150, 166-175, 194 et sq. D. Dakin, The Greek Struggle in Macedonia, 1897-1913 (Thessaloniki, 1966). K. Vacalopoulos, Ο βόρειος Ελληνισμός κατά τήν πρώιμη φάση του Μακεδονικού Αγώνα, 1878-1894 (= Northern Hellenism During the Early Phase of the Macedonian Struggle, 1878-1894) (Thessaloniki, 1983). Idem, Νεώτερη Ιστορία τής Μακεδονίας, 1830-1912 (= Modern History of Macedonia, 1830-1912) (Thessaloniki, 1986). N. Martis, Η πλαστογράφηση τής Ιστορίας τ\;ς Μακεδονίας (= The Falsification of the History of Macedonia) (Athens, 1983) and, below, the notes 93 and 94. See also the related publications of the Society for Macedonian Studies, the publications of the Institute of Balkan Studies, and the articles in the journals Makedonika [= Μακεδονικά] and Balkan Studies. The related Bulgarian and Yugoslav bibliography is most extensive: Specifically see the presentations, book reviews and translations in the bibliographical publications of the Isntitute of Balkan Studies and in the journal Balkan Studies.
5. The official position of Yugoslav "Macedonia" is expounded in the publications of the "Institute of National History" of Skopje and especially in the thre-volume work Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod (= History of the Macedonian Nation) (Skopje, 1969). For a detailed survey on this subject, see Ev. Kofos, Η Μακεδονία στήν Γιουγκοσλαβική Ιστοριογραφία (= Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography), Publication of the Society for Macedonian Studies, No 24 (Thessaloniki, 1974) from which I drew useful elements. See also Ev. Kofos, Ο Μακεδονικός Αγώνας στη Γιουγκοσλαβική Ιστοριογραφία (= The Macedonian Struggle in the Yugoslav Historiography) (Thessaloniki, 1987).
6. See M. Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, Εθνικιστικά φαινόμενα καί χωριστικές τάσεις στα Βαλκάνια. Τά ιστορικά αίτια (= Nationalistic Phenomena and Separatist Tendencies in the Balkans. The Historical Reasons), Publications of the Greek Committee for Southeastern European Studies (Athens, 1991), p. 28.
7. See generally E. Hoesch, The Balkans. A Short History from Greek Times to the Present Day (English translation, London, 1972), pp. 171 and 174. M. de Vos, Histoire de la Yugoslavie 2, "Que sais-je?" No 675 (Paris, 1965), p. 111 et sq; for the renaming, see p. 126.
8. Apart from the autonomous republics which were detached from Serbia, inside the limits of the Republic of Sebia the autonomous province of Vojvodina and the autonomous region of Kossyphopedion (Kossovo) - Metojija were created. Since then Serbia has owned an area of 88,361 square kilometres, i.e. 34,5% of the total area of Yugoslavia, while in the inter-war period it exceeded 60%. Cf. also M. de Vos, Histoire de la Yougoslavie2, p. 112.
9. After the Serbian Revolution (1804-1830) and the establishment of the Serbian autonomous principality (1834), Serbia sought to play a leading role among the Yugoslav Peoples as well as throughout the Balkans. This policy was expressed in the Nacertanije, "The Plan", that Ilija Garasanin worked out in 1844 and which constituted the guideline for Serbian foreign policy during the entire 19th century. Cf. M. Laskaris, The Eastern Question, op. cit., p. 200. M. Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, The Balkan Peoples, op. cit., p. 199 sq. Cf. also D. Djordjevic, Revolutions nationales, op. cit. p. 73.
10. About the Serbian hegemonistic policy after World War I, see M. de Vos, Histoire de la Yougoslavie2, p. 97 sq.
11. See Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, pp. 6-7 with the notes.
12. Macedonia. Documents and Material (Sophia, 1978), pp. 661-662. Cf. Ev. Kofos, The Macedonian Struggle, op. cit., pp. 22-23. It should be noted that neither Chr. Tatarchev nor earlier the Communist Congress of 1924 mention a "Macedonian Nation": see M. Papaconstantinou, Η Μαψεδονία μετά τ\;ν Μακεδονικό Αγώνα (= Macedonia after the Macedonian Struggle) (Athens, 1992), p. 35.
13. The name Vardarska Banovina is a result of the reorganization of 1931. At that time the old names and administrative divisions were abolished and simultaneously with its renaming as Kingdom of Yugoslavia the state was organized into nine banovinas, which took their names from the river which passed through them. In this way the new Concstitution attempted to eradicate localism and the old divisions into ethnic groups and at the same time to obliterate the interior boundaries: Cf. M. de Vos, Histoire de la Yougoslavie2, p. 100.
14. See Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 8.
14a. See N. Andriotis, The Federative Republik of Skopje and its language2 (Thessaloniki, 1966).
15. See H. Papastathis, "L'autocephalie de l'Eglise de la Macedoine Yougoslave", Balkan Studies 8 (1967), pp. 151-154.
16. In 1976 Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslave Historiography (p. 13 et sq.), had already observed: "Within a few years in Skopje they collected hundreds of thousands of microtapes from state, private and ecclesiastic archives which referred, in whatever way, to Macedonia. Without stinting themselves materially, they also photographed thousands of pages of old editions, books, pamphlets and newspapers". In theis way they created huge Archives relating to Macedonia, although, of course, this material should not be able in any way to support the existence of a separate Macedonian nation.
17. For the first publications, see Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 9 and notes 1-2. From these publications the moist basic is the Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod which I have already mentioned (see above, note 5). A second voluminous edition of this work is being prepared since the first one is considered out-of-date.
18. The examples are many. Characteristically, I mention the work of the brothers Constantin and Dimitri Miladinov, Balgarski Narodni Pesni [= Bulgarian Popular Songs], which was published in Zagreb in 1861 and was widely disseminated; it was republished recently in Skopje, but with its original title changed into Makedonski Narodni Pesni [= Macedonian Popular Songs].
19. See Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 4 and note 7.
20. Idem, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p.11
21. For the term, see ibid., p. 11.
22. Ibid., pp. 11-12.
23. See E. Zografski, Egeiska Makedonia (Skopje, 1951), p. 50: So that the Greek character of Greek Macedonia could be disputed, they fabricated a census for the year 1941, in which it is stated that at that time the following ethnic groups lived in Greek Macedonia: 258,000 "Macedonians", 250,000 Greeks, 210,000 Karamanlids (that is populations coming from Asia Minor by virtue of the exchange of populations), 80,000 Armenians, 74,000 Lazes and others. In these statistics the population of Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki and of the prefecture of Kozani is not included, because it would then have been more difficult to falsify the numbers (Cf. Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p.12).
24. See Ul. Wilcken, Alexandre le Grand (Paris, 1952), p. 15: "Alexander the Great belongs to the small minority of men who initiated a new era in world History. Perhaps, he may be the only one who sealed the world with the stamp of his personal will, and with such strength that the progress of mankind remained under his influence for many centuries".
25. Cf. Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod, vol. I, ch. 20, especially p. 45. (Cf. the book review by P. Charanis, Balkan Studies 13, 1972, pp. 166-168. Cf. Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, pp. 15-16.
26. See Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod, vol I, p. 117.
27. See Makedonskijat Vapros (Sophia, November 1968), Greek translation published by the Institute of Balkan Studies, p. 9.
28. See P. Miljkovic-Pepek, "L'architecture chretienne chez les Slaves Macedoniens a partir d'avant la moitie' du IXe siecle jusqu'a fin du XIIIe ciecle", The 17th International Byzantine Congress. Major Papers (Washington D.C., August 3-8, 1986) (New York 1986), p. 483.
29. D. Vlahov, Makedonija. Momenti od Istorijata na Makedksijot Narod [= Macedonia. Moments from the History of the Macedonian People] (Skopje, 1950), pp. 11-12 (Greek translation published by the Institute of Balkna Studies).
30. Cf. P. Miljkovic-Pepek, "L'architecture chretienne", op. cit., pp. 483-496.
31. D. Vlahov, Makedonija..., op.cit., p. 10. Cf. Ev. Kofos, Macedonia..., op. cit., pp. 20-21.
32. See in detail Ev. Kofos, The Macedonian Struggle, p. 9 sq. and pp. 15-16.

to be continued.....

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Doing a Google for VMRI I stumbled across your blog.

    I am a 1st Generation Macedonian-American, whose father was a member of the Underground in the Gevgelija region of his birth, during WW 2.

    I gather this would be the VMRI (IMRI).

    I know little of his life, or my ancestors, before he immigrated the US after the war, other than having a few photos of him in the uniform of what must be the Bulgarian Air Force, though I'm not sure, and the refugee camps he was in in Greece & Italy.

    I know little about the history of that area of Macedonia, and knowing who to ask, and where to look, for information, from ANY side of the age old debate has been hard for me because I do know know enough to ask inteligent questions.

    I am bookmarking your blog, especially because of its links, but hope that you, and your readers, can find it within you to look past your partisanship on the question of the country of Macedonia, to the north of Greece, and guide me to to resources, of both a historical, and genealogical nature, related to the area, even if you have disagreements with what they write about.

    It is important for me to honor my Father by trying to understand his early life, the history of the land of his birth, and try to trace my roots into the past as best I can.

    I have no stake in the disagreement between Greece & Macedonia, hell, considering the complex ethnic history of the region I tend to believe that there is no such thing as an ethnic Macedonian of the type my Father proudly believed he was all his troubled life.

    He used to say I was a direct descendant of Alexander, hee, hee!

    About my birth he used to say that my spirit was born in Macedonia, and carried to America by stork, avoiding anti-aircraft fire from Tito's army, and given to him for implantation into my Mother. ;-D

    He was very proud of his only son. ;-D


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