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The Macedonian question

дата: 27 Май 2011 г. , автор: PhD George Mladenoff; PhD George Genoff



    Makedonian question is called the question of belonging to the territory, population and historical heritage of Macedonia during and after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19 th century and early 20th century. Macedonian question is an integral part of the so-called. East question.
 History to 1945

 Macedonian question is an integral part of the Bulgarian national question, conditional designation of the struggles of the Bulgarian people for the Liberation of Macedonia, which together with Thrace under the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, and remained after the liberation of Bulgaria under direct possession of Ottoman Turkey. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911:

"The Treaty of Berlin with its artificial separation of the Bulgarian race create difficult and convoluted Macedonian question. "

Originally the fight is conducted spontaneously, so the results are almost negligible. The first attempt to remove the Ottoman rule in the two areas is Kresna-Razlog Uprising in 1878-1879, which ended without success. In the early 1880's, is aware that the international situation is favorable for the radical solution of the Bulgarian national issue, thus solving the Macedonian question passes in the background, giving the fight to the compound of Eastern Rumelia with the Principality of Bulgaria. This action ended successfully in 1885 and, in turn, gives impetus to the struggle of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and Thrace to win their freedom.

After the establishment of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO) in 1893 in Thessaloniki fighting in Macedonia (and Thrace) adopt an organized nature.

Two years later, establish and Macedonian Committee in Sofia grew shortly thereafter in the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee (VMOK). Between the two organizations there is no contradiction on the question of the ultimate goal of the struggle of the Macedonian Bulgarians - full exemption from Ottoman rule. Differences between them are tactics to achieving this goal. While IMRO goes the way of self-control, VMOK rely more on direct material support of free Bulgarian principality. At times, two organizations mutually cooperate and assist, but in most cases they operate independently and sometimes against one another.

This leaves its negative impact on the realization of the ultimate goal. Without the consent and even against IMRO. VMOK  organized uprising in 1902 uprising ended without success. His strong suppression destroys the network of IMRO in the Pirin region.

Culmination of the Macedonian Bulgarians fight for their release from Ottoman rule was Ilinden uprising - 1903, organized and led by IMRO. The uprising showed the world that they do not want half-transformations such  Myurtsshtegsk reforms and reforms of 1903-1908, the offered by the Great Powers, and freedom, like their compatriots in the Principality of Bulgaria.

The defeat of the uprising causing severe impact and IMRO, because she could not years to recover. Moreover, its lines begin to form streams, which further weakens the power and as a revolutionary organization. The hopes of most of the Macedonian Bulgarians increasingly began to turn to Bulgaria.

Done Young Turk Revolution in 1908 not only did not allow the Macedonian issue, but it also faces a more difficult situation. Some of the activists of the IMRO to mislead the big promises of the new Turkish government and be legalized. Only when it becomes clear that these rulers to adhere to the Macedonian Bulgarians to the old policy of the Turkish sultans, they end up in the mountains and continue their previous revolutionary activities.

In autumn 1912 the Balkan War broke out in which the Porte against except Bulgaria still face Serbia, Greece and Montenegro. In less than a year the Ottoman Empire was defeated and forced out of Europe and borders. Macedonia shall be exempt from Ottoman rule, but most of it appears in a new foreign domination - Serbia and Greece. While the Bulgarian army fought on the main theater of war against the Turkish troops, both allies of Bulgaria as it was secretly agreed upon and occupied Vardar and Belomorian (Aegean) Macedonia. All appeals of Sofia to resolve the Macedonian issue in view of the historical and ethnic reasons and more - the real merit of the victory over the Ottoman Empire, the ruling circles in Belgrade and Athens meet with outright refusal. That their position is one of the main reasons for the subsequent war in 1913 suffered a defeat in military action against both his former allies, Bulgaria is not able to change the situation in which it appears Macedonia after the Balkan war.

In the summer of 1914 World War I broke. Bulgaria proclaims neutrality beginning to warring countries. In the autumn of 1915, she abandoned this position and intervene in the war on the side of Central Powers. One reason to be oriented towards them are given promises cheaper than those of the Entente, to solve the Macedonian question - in Bulgaria are entitled not only over the straightforward, but over the disputed area in Vardar Macedonia, outlined further in the wake of Balkan War. The fate of Aegean Macedonia is awaiting the decision of Greece. If it passes on the side of the Entente, then this area will be provided to Bulgaria.

Only a few months the Bulgarian troops, together with the armies of Austria-Hungary and Germany pushed Serbian army not only Timok and Moravian region, but from Vardar Macedonia. Immediately after that field is a separate military governorship based in Skopje, headed by Gen.. Racho Petrov. Once in 1916 Greece to intervene in the war as an ally of the Entente, and Aegean Macedonia came under the management of Bulgaria. This area is also a separate military governorship based in Drama. After the military defeat of Bulgaria in World War she was forced to leave Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, which again pass into the possession of Serbia (since December 1918 has already Serbo-Croat-Slovenian Kingdom) and Greece. To erase the presence not only of the Bulgarian element, but everything that reminds Macedonia, Belgrade announced Vardar Macedonia "Southern Serbia". Greece in turn also take immediate steps to killing of Aegean Macedonia by forcing a violent way the majority of the population living in it to leave their homelands. In this royal Yugoslavia managed to grab and Strumica and its surroundings, which also includes within the "Southern Serbia".

After World War Bulgaria has an inconsistent policy on the Macedonian issue. It is now closer to Yugoslavia, now occupies a position of neutrality. Lack of determination compels the leader of VMRO Ivan Mihailov, who is already under sentence of death in our country to react angrily in 1936 from abroad. Mikhailov said that such a policy  by the state to the Bulgarians in Yugoslavia would lead to the point that Serbs will soon start looking for some Yugoslav minority in Bulgaria. And it turns right. During the years of World War II 1939-1945, after the defeat of Yugoslavia and Greece by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Bulgaria without taking part in military operations again stepped in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia and by the autumn of 1941 considers them as an integral part of its territory. After declaring war on Germany, our country willfully withdrew from these areas and assign them without resistance of Tito's partisans and Greek communist groups. People with Bulgarian consciousness there face after the withdrawal of our army of mass repression and atrocities.

 After 1945 [edit] As a result, the subsequent post-war period, Yugoslavia, ruled by Josip Broz Tito does not hide his aspirations and the Pirin part of Macedonia, which since 1912 is in the composition of Bulgaria. To this end, Belgrade made various suggestions to the Bulgarian government: in exchange of Pirin Macedonia to receive the Western suburbs, or to create a South Slav federation, in which Bulgaria (without Pirin Macedonia, which will immediately join Vardar Macedonia) to become the seventh Federal Republic in it. Before you carry out this plan of the Yugoslav leadership in Pirin allowed "Macedonian emissaries" who engage in promotion of the new Macedonian language among the Bulgarian population there. Only thanks to the dropping of the Yugoslav Communist Party (the ruling power in Yugoslavia) by the Association of Southeast European Communist Parties (Cominform), located under the leadership of SCP (b) in the summer of 1948, this plan does not take place.

After the war, Greece is taking immediate steps to restore its pre-war dominance in the Aegean Macedonia. The area was renamed Northern Greece. Bulgarian language was again banned for use in public places, and existing until 1944 Bulgarian schools and churches are either deleted or converted into Greek. Such is the attitude of Yugoslavia to the Bulgarian schools and churches in Vardar Macedonia. Yugoslavia was denied by the name "Southern Serbia", as proclaimed Vardar Macedonia to the Federal Republic of Macedonia in the composition of the Yugoslav Federation. The reaction of Bulgaria to the assimilation of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia and makedonizatsiyata by the Communists in Greece and passive. Furthermore - under the influence and urging of Georgi Dimitrov, a campaign record of nationality "Macedonian" in the personal documents of Bulgarian citizens. It again a long period of vague and ambiguous policy on the part of Bulgaria. Meanwhile, in Yugoslavia, a policy of building a Macedonian nation based on total end bulgarofobiya through falsification of historical events and processes.

Until March 11, 1963, the Plenum of the BCP Central Committee marks the beginning of a new line on the Macedonian issue. For the first time Todor Zhivkov openly criticized the mistakes of the Communist Party and categorically stated that no Macedonian nationality, no Macedonian nation and state did not exist during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but in Vardar Macedonia within the established in August 1944 the Federal Republic of Macedonia gradually formed a Macedonian national consciousness. Zhivkov said that an individual folksy and literary Slavic Macedonian national language has never been. Macedonian language is the vernacular, dialect of our western dialects, dialect, but after 1945 this Macedonian language is artificial in Skopje. Zhivkov and outlines future policy: public recognition of the objective existence of the Macedonian Republic, but without reconciliation Macedonian national consciousness to form and build protivobalgarska basis. For Pirin Zhivkov is also clear that there seems to be part of the Bulgarian nation and in 1946 the party has made violence against his will, but must now be firmly opposes attempts to have it treated as a Macedonian.

 After 1990 In the late 1980's and early 1990's began the collapse of communism and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and Vardar Macedonia proclaimed an independent state under the name Republic of Macedonia. Bulgaria first in the world on January 15, 1992, recognizing its independence and has decisive economic, military and political support to the fledgling state. Instead of gratitude in Skopje, however, continue to insist to recognize a "Macedonian minority" and "Macedonian language in Bulgaria. In the former Yugoslav Republic authorities of instigating anti-Bulgarian sentiments permament  trying to discredit Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people and chasing people with famous Bulgarian identity .

Bilateral relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria are based on their Joint Declaration of 22 February 1999.  At the end of 2008 Bulgaria has to be signed providing relations between the two countries.  The project is based on Declaration of 1999 and its adoption and implementation will make possible the provision of Bulgarian support for Macedonia's accession to the European Union.  To date no response has been received the proposal from the Macedonian side, at the beginning of March 2010 the Skopje authorities recognized under the Bulgarian press for the existence of such a proposal.


PhD George Mladenoff – University of Toronto ; PhD George Genoff – University of Sofia


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