Σάββατο, 19 Απριλίου 2014

The Myth of Liberation: 1903 - The “People’s Republic of Krushevo”


The following is a set of various segments 
put together for the purpose of this article 
on Krushevo from the upcoming book Macedonia, A Pass to Time, A Bridge 
to Infinity, (© 2014) by 
Marcus Alexander Templar

The Myth of Liberation:  1903 - The “People’s Republic of Krushevo” 

At the early evening of Sunday, St. Elijah Day of Configuration (July 20/August 2, 1903) and during the banquets that followed eight simultaneous weddings in the Greek community of Kushevo, while people were enjoying the day, the IMRO staged a revolt declaring independence from the Ottoman yoke.  The instrument of independence is known as the Manifesto or Proclamation of Krushevo and it was directed toward the Turkish population of the area.  It must be noted that the president of the ephemeral Republic of Krushevo, Nikola Karev, Kirov’s cousin, was a well-known member of the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party, i.e. communist.[1]

In 1923, Nikola Kirov-Majski published a book, which developed into a theatrical play, Ilinden. In the second act, second scene of the play, the character of the “teacher” reads the manifesto to Nikola Karev, the President of the Krushevo Republic.  Karev, tells the teacher to translate it into Turkish and disseminate it to the Turkish villages of the area.[2]  The manifesto promoted in the play as a declaration of independence, is filled with socialist parlance, which was very common for the time and place of the play when taking into consideration the negotiations between the IMRO and the Comintern and the establishment of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization –United (IMRO-U).  One must have in mind that both Kirov and his cousin Karev were socialists.  The language of the manifesto that Skopje promotes as original is in conflict with what Kirov states in his book published in 1935, which in fact is Kirov’s diary, of the 10 day Ilinden Revolt, versus the book published in 1924, which was the basis for a theatrical play.  

According to Kirov-Majski, on July 24, 1903, that is a few days after the Bulgarians declared independence and after they had massacred and destroyed the Greek sector, Taško P. Hristov, a Bulgarian parliamentarian, took the original document to the Turkish village of Adalci and handed it to a child with the directive to give it to Sinan, the mayor of the town.  Hristov waited three full hours for the answer.  The document was in fact an ultimatum in the form of a letter and not a proclamation of any type.  In the meantime, from the minaret of the mosque, the hodja called together the entire male population of the village, which had 40 households, and made the terms of the ultimatum known to them.[3] From there, Sinan sent the ultimatum to the Turkish villages of Lažani (180 households) and Debrište (250 households) which returned their response to Sinan.[4]  The letter-ultimatum served a dual purpose:  first, to make clear the purpose of the Revolt, and second, to serve as a warning to the Turkish population that any collaboration with the Ottoman Army would be punishable by death.[5] Under the threatening conditions set by the Bulgarian brigands, all three villages agreed not to assist the Ottoman troops if and when they would arrive.[6] Concerning the events of the Revolt, the Bulgarian komitadjis killed innocent Greeks, burned and pillaged only Greek houses, and in general destroyed only Greek properties.[7]

Krushevo was split into different ethnic sectors.  The Greeks of Krushevo knew that something was going to happen because the Bulgarians were moving their families out of town.  In some cases, the Bulgarian komitadjis had sealed the Bulgarian section of the town in a way that the incoming Ottoman troops would perceive that the Bulgarian population did not participate in that “unjust” against the Sultan revolt.

The Ottomans rushed an army of nine Infantry Battalions, three Cavalry Companies, 18 artillery pieces (four Mountain and 14 Field guns), in order to crush the revolt of the Greeks.  In fact, they looted and burnt the Greek households that the Bulgarians did not have a chance to burn, and killed innocent civilians,[8] Over and above the regular forces, the bashibozuk,[9] an irregular force, the Grey Wolves of the time, came to Krushevo in order to aid the ungodly work of the Ottoman Army.[10]

The toll of destruction inflicted by the Bulgarian revolutionaries and the incoming Ottoman Army was 366 houses and 203 shops, all belonging to Greeks.  In total, 46 innocent Greek civilians were murdered with many more missing.  Some were murdered outside the town as they tried to escape and others less fortunate were buried alive by their captors.  The names of the victims are enumerated in the Greek Consul’s dispatch.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of the victims (and their properties) were Greeks,[11] the FYROM historiography has re-baptized the victims Vlachs, Albanians, and “Macedonians.”[12]

Thus, if the FYROM historiographers call the Greek victims “Macedonians,” they identify themselves to the Greeks making the Macedonians ethnically Greeks.  This means that the FYROM historiographers have invalidated their own contention that the Macedonians were not ethnically Greeks.  

If on the other hand, the historiographers call the Bulgarian villains “Macedonians,” they admit guilt and responsibility for the atrocities that the “liberators” of Krushevo inflicted during the life of their ephemeral republic.  The Preamble of the FYROM, draws its legitimacy from the Republic of Krushevo, which makes it a modern komitadji state.  In this case, the government of the FYROM should relinquish any and all claims as a “nation of victims” that the Krushevo Memorial aka “Makedonium” represents.  

But how is it possible for the villains and the victims of the Ilinden Revolt to belong to the same ethnic group?  Which ethnicity does the FYROM government honor in the Krushevo Memorial? Looking at the names of the honorees, one cannot but conclude that the government of the FYROM honors the villains, the Bulgarian bandit-rebels, the thugs, and the criminal elements re-naming them “Macedonians” who killed innocent civilians, i.e. Greeks and destroyed their properties.


[1]. Lazar Kolishevski, Aspects of the Macedonian Question, (Belgrade: Socialist Thought and Practice, 1980), 12;  Keith Brown, The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation¸ Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003), 190, 209.  George W. Gawrych, “The Culture and Politics of Violence in Turkish Society, 1903-14,” Middle Eastern Studies, 22, 3 (Jul., 1986), 307-330; 308.
[2]. Nikola Kirov-Majski, Ilinden (Sofia, 1923), passim. 
[3]. Nikola Kirov-Majski, Крушово и борбитѣ му за свобода (Krushovo and its battle for freedom) (София: Стопанско Развитие, 1935), 56.  
[4]. The location of the three villages is as follows:  Adalci is located west of Krushevo about four kilometers as the crow flies, Lazhani about 12 kms northeast of Krushevo as the crow flies, and Debrishte is located about 6 kms north of Lazhani as the crow flies. 
[5]. Nikola Kirov-Majski, Крушово и борбитѣ му за свобода (Krushovo and its battle for freedom) (София: Стопанско Развитие, 1935), 56 - 57.  
[6]. Nikola Kirov-Majski, Крушово и борбитѣ му за свобода (Krushovo and its battle for freedom) (София: Стопанско Развитие, 1935), 57.
[7]. Nicholas Ballas (Νικόλαος Μπάλλας), Ιστορία του Κρουσόβου (Θεσσαλονίκη: IMXA, 1962), 37-66. Christopher Naltsas (Χριστόφορος Νάλτσας), Ο Μακεδονικός Αγών εις την Δυτικήν Μακεδονίαν (Θεσσαλονίκη: IMXA, 1958), 18-22.
[8].  The names of the victims, their destroyed properties, their allegiance and other details are recorded in the report of the Greek Consul in Monastiri (Bitola). 
[9]. The Ottoman terminology of its various army services is as follows:  Nizamiye = Regular Army and nizami = a soldier of the regular army. Redif was a reservist, mostly Albanians.  Bashibozuk was a civilian performing the job of a soldier; it was essentially an irregular soldier. They were similar to the Greek Ταγμάτων Εθνοφυλακής Αμύνης (T.E.A.).  Ilavi was a second class reservist, unruly tending to have criminal behavior. 
[10].  Christopher Naltsas (Χριστόφορος Νάλτσας), Ο Μακεδονικός Αγών εις την Δυτικήν Μακεδονίαν (Θεσσαλονίκη: IMXA, 1958), 55.  Greek Consul Dispatch 1903/ No 604).
[11]. Nicholas Ballas (Νικόλαος Μπάλλας), Ιστορία του Κρουσόβου (Θεσσαλονίκη: IMXA, 1962), 37-66. Christopher Naltsas (Χριστόφορος Νάλτσας), Ο Μακεδονικός Αγών εις την Δυτικήν Μακεδονίαν (Θεσσαλονίκη: IMXA, 1958), 18-22.  Greek Consul Dispatch 1903/ No 604)
[12]. Nikola Kirov-Majski, Крушово и борбитѣ му за свобода (Krushovo and its battle for freedom) (София: Стопанско Развитие, 1935), passim. Keith Brown, The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation¸ Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003), 17, 79, 81-82, 96, 225.



See the  following relevant  publication:

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