Saturday, November 11, 2006
Ivan Mihailov also known as Vancho or Vanche Mihailov was born on
Mihailov studied at the Bulgarian Secondary School "St. Cyril and Methodius" in Solun/Thessaloniki until the Second Balkan War when the school was closed by the new Greek administration and he was forced to continue his studies at a Serbian school in Skopje. He was offered a scholarship by the Serbian Ministry of Education to pursue a degree at a European university but declined and enlisted instead in the Bulgarian army. After the end of World War I, Mihailov settled in
After the death of Aleksandrov on
In the late 1920 s, Mihailov got into contact with the leader of the Croatian Ustase movement, Ante Pavelic and the two organisations started to co-operate in their struggle against the Yugoslav regime. The most obvious result of that co-operation was the assassination of the arch-foe, King Alexander I of
The events in 1934 prompted the Bulgarian government to take action against the IMRO and expelled Mihailov from
Although IMRO's goal was creation of an independent Macedonian state, some previous Bulgarian governments tolerated it as its goal was the liberation of the Macedonian Bulgarians as well from the Greek and Yugoslav occupation. As a result of this, IMRO had built an extensive network in Pirin
After 1934, Mihailov lived in
Although IMRO was no longer active, Mihailov remained the leader of the Macedonian Liberation Movement and was supported by the Macedonian Patriotic Organization of US and
IVAN MIHAILOV REFLECTS. 55 YEARS AFTER THE
THE CONSPIRATOR REDISCOVERED
Storia Illustrata, 1990 p. 46-51
He was among the bitterest enemies of that
His name is Ivan Mihailov, known as "Vance". He led the IMRO in the period between the two wars. In
Mihailov and Pavelic's struggle against
Mihailov had disappeared from the Balkan scene since 1934 when the Bulgarian military forces had taken power in
Q: Mr. Mihailov, let's start straight away with the Marseilles attack The man who killed King Alexander of Yugoslavia was one of your men. He was 'identified' by the French police as Peter Keleman. That was one of his many pseudonyms. What was his real name?
A: His real name was that made public by the Bulgarian police, and that is
Q: Between you and Ante Pavelic's Croats there was a "unity of action pact' anti-Serb and anti-Yugoslav. When you "lent" Tchernozemsky to Pavelic, did you know what action he was to undertake?
A: A written and undersigned pact for a common struggle between Bulgarian-Macedonians and Croats does not exist and never has. But there was, and there still is, the same state of defence and offence against the actions and machinations of the Serbs at the expense of the Croats and Bulgarians in
Q: You have not answered the question: did you know what action Tchernozemsky was to undertake?
A: Tchernozemsky was placed at the disposal of Pavelic's Croats for any action directed against
Q: But did you and Pavelic discuss the death of Alexander of Yugoslavia?
A: Between Pavelic and myself there was no specific talk of the death of Alexander. But for the two of us it was a natural assumption that Alexander should end up as he did.
Q: You said that there was no written pact between you and Pavelic. But IMRO men were training Croats in the Hungarian base of Janka Puszta.
A: The IMRO never delegated its men as instructors of the Croats at Janka Puszta or anywhere else. I can affirm that, because if I did not know of it, no-one else could have known. If some young Macedonian students in
Q: Where were you on the day of the attack?
A: About thirty days before the death of the Serb king, I was in
Q: You have mentioned a "superior power". That superior power was called Tchernozemsky. And the death at Marseilles was in any case a murder.
A: I have already had occasion to write that the act of Vlado Tchernozemsky cannot be called murder. That was clear to whoever knew anything of King Alexander's regime and of the plans devised by Belgrade. Vlado was the instrument of the punishment decreed by the curses, the rivers of tears and blood of the Bulgarian-Macedonians, of the Croats, of the Albanians and of the other city and country-dwellers of the other nationalities of Yugoslavia, among whom were many Serbs. The Bulgarian-Macedonians and the majority of the other Yugoslav nationalities exulted at the news of the Serb King's punishment. My mother, who lived in Serbia, got my brother to take her to Belgrade to see the pistol with which he was killed, on show in a museum. Looking at it, she exclaimed: "May his hand flower!" Obviously, her blessing was on he who had killed the king. Behind the killing of Alexander there are numberless crimes, his and his regime's. As to the Serb people, I have nothing against them.
Q: One of the hypotheses regarding the Marseilles regicide, unproven on a documentary basis, is that behind it all there was Nazi Germany. Is there any truth in it?
A: A number of years ago, the Macedonian Tribune, the journal of our emigration in America, denied the report in a newspaper stating that I had met a German in Paris to decide on the assassination of the Yugoslav king. I don't remember all the details they invented. I don't know who put about that lie, nor why. I never met any German in Paris or elsewhere. I never had any such discussion regarding the matter you mention. Ever since 1912, at the time of the first Balkan war, when he entered Skopje from which the Turks had withdrawn, Alexander Karadjordjevic, at that time still Crown Prince of Serbia, gave proof of his very bad character and his occupier's instinct in front of the population and the notables representing all the nationalities of Macedonia. [Ed: here Mihailov is reflecting on the incident immortalised in Vazov's poem]
WHEN A GIRL WENT UP TO HIM TO WELCOME HIM IN THE NAME OF THE POPULATION GATHERED FOR THE OCCASION, ALEXANDER ASKED HER:
"WHO ARE YOU?"
THE GIRL ANSWERED: "A BULGARIAN"
SO ALEXANDER KARADJORDJEVIC SLAPPED HER.
That gesture, shameful and tragic, was the starting signal for a long series of moral and material abuses of power, of humiliations and continuous attempts to enforce the Serb way of life on the Bulgarian-Macedonians of Vardaska-Macedonia. The IMRO was the only moral and material support for the Macedonian people. The IMRO reached right into the Belgrade office of the highest representative of the Serb terror against the Bulgarian-Macedonians, Jika Lasic. A subordinate of his, whom he considered loyal, shot him as he was sitting at his desk. He survived. And when the Communists came to power they gave him a pension for his services to Serbanism. Not knowing how to justify their regime, the Serbs decided that the criminals were not they-themselves, but whoever opposed them. Out of revenge, the Serb police killed my father and my brother, two of the most peaceable people in the town of Shtip. At that time, I told a journalist that the IMRO would never sink to the level of the Serb intelligentsia which was behind the murder of so many Macedonians.
Q: It has been historically ascertained that the Pavelic Ustashe movement was supported by the Italian Government. Were you Macedonians so supported too?
A: The IMRO was supported by our people, and sometimes, but more rarely, by the Bulgarian-Macedonian emigrants. I have never seen or heard of any help to IMRO, not even on the part of Bulgaria or of any other State. The IMRO has never had any base on Italian soil, as the Croats did. I never had any connection or any contact with Mussolini's government, either personally or through third parties.
Q: Macedonian independence, like that of Croatia, meant the disintegration of Yugoslavia And the triumph of Mussolini's foreign policy in the Balkans. Was that what you wanted?
A: The crumbling of Yugoslavia was ardently wished for by all the peoples annexed to it, except by the Serbs.
Q: The Italo-German attack of 1941 led to that disintegration Yugoslav Macedonia was annexed to Bulgaria. But with the victory of the Resistance led by Tito, Macedonia remained Yugoslav. And it became a Republic of the Federation. For the first time since the liberation from the Turkish yoke, the Macedonians have their own State. The Macedonian question has been solved. Don 't you think that certain periodical irredentist references to Yugoslav Macedonia on the part of Bulgarian circles, especially academic circles, are by now historically out of place?
A: The Bulgarian-Macedonians, the majority in that country, wish for either an independent Macedonia, on the lines of Switzerland, or the reunification with Bulgaria because of their majority. However, Bulgarian-Macedonians continually invite the other Macedonian minorities to fight for an independent Macedonian State. I approve one of the solutions mentioned above. None of the nationalities of Yugoslavia has ever wanted or has ever fought for this "Yugoslav" State. No Yugoslav nationality exists. On the other hand different nationalities do exist with centuries of history: Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Bulgarians, Albanians, Bosnian Moslems, Roumanians, Montenegrins etc. Tito was sent to Yugoslavia by others to take a part imposed from without. The latest events testify to that. And with regard to the Bulgarian-Macedonians of Macedonia, they are not all to be found within the frontiers of today's Yugoslavia. There are just as many who have emigrated to Bulgaria, then another three hundred thousand in Pirinska Macedonia, then those in America, in Australia and elsewhere. Therefore Bulgarian academicians are not outside history, on the contrary they are right in the centre of it, with their interest in Macedonia. Alter 1945, when the Bulgarians in Macedonia realized that they were to remain subject to Belgrade, an organization made up mainly of young high school students secretly prepared a petition to the United Nations requesting an independent Macedonia. They were discovered, arrested and condemned to from 6 to 14 years in prison. To impose the Serb culture on the Bulgarian-Macedonians, the Communist regime in Belgrade created "the Macedonian language and nationality", defined by the French sociologist Guy Heraud in 1966 as "non-existent and created to confuse people's ideas".
Q: It has been written that in the IMRO you represented the nationalist wing, opposing the faction favourable to a federation of Bulgaria with the USSR. So much so that you killed its leader, General Alexander Protogerov.
A: Within the IMRO no such two factions as you mention ever existed. Protogherov was a colleague of mine of the same rank in the central committee of the IMRO. He was ambitious, aspiring to power in the IMRO and in the country, but he did not have revolutionary status. And he was untrustworthy. After a certain point he was excluded from the political and combat decision-making undertaken by the central committee. These decisions came to his knowledge only later, from the newspapers. Protogherov was punished by the IMRO above all because he had inspired the killing of Todor Alexandrov, promoter of the IMRO. It was not I who killed Protogherov. But it was I who ordered his elimination.
Q: The history of Bulgaria has been different from what you desired. It has become a Communist country. Bulgarian-Macedonian nationalism has been defeated. This has been a defeat for you also, don't you think?
A: I have not stayed on the outside of history. I live in the free world, and I continue to work for my people, Communism has been imposed, as you know, by force on our freedom-loving people, as on other peoples. If anything of importance must remain on the outside of history, that thing is Communism itself. In America we have organizations that continue to work for an independent Macedonia, where the Bulgarian nationality is recognized.
Q: In the post-war period your name appeared frequently in publications relating to Balkan and European history. But since the Forties, you have not been heard of You were believed dead by now. How and where have you lived?
A: I spent one year, before the War, in
Q: The armed struggle and the terrorism you headed threw
A: You say that the terrorist actions we prompted against the oppressors have been without results. In many parts of the world terrorist activities are still undertaken today, in the name of various causes. By terrorist actions many peoples try above all to open or to keep open national or political questions. A specific national cause can be sustained at one and the same time by means of varying types of propaganda. As to the IMRO, it has never resorted to terrorism. It has tried to punish those who have erred, only individually.
by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Mihailov and IT.