Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Revolt of Tikvesh – 1913
At the very beginning of the Balkan war, the Serbian army set course for the yearned over half a century Macedonia. After the failure of all previous attempts for annexation of this primordial Bulgarian region to Serbia, a unique way left was to dominate Macedonia through military occupation. The Serbians took advantage of the preoccupation of Bulgarian army on the battlefields in Trakia (Thrace), where it defeated continuously and dislodged the Turkish army down to the fortified line at Chataldja, showing as usually incredible courage and unbending spirit. They profited also from the participation of bands of VMORO (The Internal Macedonian-Odrin Revolutionary Organization) and of the big part of population from Macedonia and the region of Odrin (in total 46844 from Macedonia) in Bulgarian army, in order to help for the liberation of their native land and its unification with mother Bulgaria. That, however, is the most pleasant situation for the Serbian army, which in its history wins battles, in which there is either no one to fight with or the enemy small, weak and unprepared.
Already at the time of the invasion in Macedonia are seen the real aims of Serbia: not to liberate and defend the local Bulgarian population before the coming of the Bulgarian army, but to enslave it and transform it into “actual Serbs”.
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Indicative is the story in the quarter Ischaliane in Skopje with the Serbian heir to the crown Alexander giving a slap to the three years old Bulgarian girl Vasilka Zoicheva, because she was „buliaka” (Bulgarian), in front of her parents Liuba and Danail Zoichevi (whom he offered later money to hush the story). Indicative also the actions of the Serbian heir to the crown in Prilep: on October 24, 1912, he ordered the plates with Bulgarian inscriptions to be removed from the market and to be replaced by Serbian inscriptions. On December 5, the first innocent victim was given in this city to the Serbian occupiers. This was the teacher Atanas Liutviev, killed only because he proposed the health of the Bulgarian army for their glorious victories. This is just a small part of the anti-Bulgarian policy of the Serbian army serving to the great-Serbian chauvinism. All Bulgarian schools are closed; a chase of Bulgarian bishops and teachers begins. Bulgarian literature is thrown out of the churches, Bulgarian libraries and schools are blocked. The great Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov dedicated to these disgraceful events and to the heroism of the Macedonian Bulgarians his poem „To Macedonia”.
The Bulgarian population does not accept the Serbs as liberators (which embitters still more the Serbian occupiers) and expects the arriving of the Bulgarian army of liberation. The conflict between Bulgarian and Serbs becomes pressing and in a moment overspills in passages of arms. This becomes firstly in the parts of Tikvesh. In October 1912 the Serbian army there understands that it is not welcome by the local Bulgarian population and signs even a declaration that they are temporarily there, until the coming of the Bulgarian army.
Things change in December. The Serbs begin showing their real intentions – to liquidate the Bulgarian national spirit in Macedonia. The town-major of Kavadartzi announces that he relieves the local Bulgarian municipal management. It will be replaced by Serbian one, formed by three members, and until then, he himself takes the management of the town. The Bulgarian schools are closed. The population is displeased but the reply is: „You are real Serbs. The Bulgarians have assimilated you. Now when we are here, you will be Serbs again. If you do not consider what I say, I’ll kill all of you.”
On January 11, 1913 the Bulgarian municipal management, the functionaries of VMORO and local teachers direct statement to the country governor in the town of Stip - N. Sprostranov and the chief command of the Bulgarian army that they speak up for their brothers. On the other side, the Central Committee of VMORO sends P. Chaulev. He organizes a meeting with local notables and activists of the organization in the house of Iovcho Shkatrov. A resolution for revolt has been made. The preparation of the population for the revolt is assigned to the organization leaders D. Lazarov and M. Shkatrov. They have to organize bands from the local police and to provide munitions.
In the end of April and beginning of May, the Central Committee of VMORO decides to start active operations in the rear of the Serbian and Greek occupiers. On May 26, according to circular letter No. 57 of the Central Committee of the Organization is announced that the bands of P. Chaulev, P. Karamfilov, M. Ivanov and V. Chakalarov are directed towards Kavadartzi with the aim to assist for the preparation and organization of the future revolt. Later arrives also Chr. Chernio Peev with his band.
On May 29 and 30, 1913 in the village of Begnishte, a district meeting is held. The revolutionary revolt staff is elected and the revolt plan is elaborated. The date of break out has to be additionally fixed. The revolt staff includes: Mihail Shkatrov, Dimitar Lazarov, Lazo Banski, Milan Atanasov, Milan Atzev, Dime Pendjurov, Pano Izmirliev, Todor Kamchev, Evtim Monev, Grigor Linin, Hristo Mihov, Tase Bojkov, Traicho Trushiata, etc., as well as the arrived leader of VMORO.
On 13th June in the village of Vatasha, a meeting of the revolt staff is held. The decision is that the revolt shall break out, when the Bulgarian army sets off from Stip, Radovish, Strumitza towards the interior of Macedonia. The rebels shall attack the Serbs by the villages Pepelishte and Mushantzi. On 15th June the band of D. Lazarov is revealed by the Serbian army and a battle is engaged near the village of Vatasha. The Serbs profit from the moment to show their power and attack Negotino. After the arrival of the bands of the Organization, they are sent away and dispersed. In aid of the army arrive also the Serbian bands of „The Black Arm”, which have caused so much sore to the local people.
On 19th June, despite the aid of the Serbian bands, the “glorious” Serbian army suffers a new defeat by the bands of VMORO and draws off the troupes towards Veles. Kavadartzi is liberated. On the next day a ceremonial meeting is held for the citizens. Over the buildings in the city the Bulgarian tricolor banner waves, as well as the revolutionary banners of the Organization. Provisional Bulgarian government of 12 persons – activists of VMORO is formed. The defense of the city begins, because the Serbs attack from several sides. On 22th June, the bands of Chr. Chernio Peev, P. Chaulev, M. Giurlukov and V. Chakalarov arrive in aid of the rebellions. In order to suppress the revolt, the Serbian chief command sends 30-thousand army towards Kavadartzi. On their road, they burn to ashes many Bulgarian villages. The rebellions take the strategic elevation above the village Palinura between the rivers Cherna and Luda Mara. As many as 7 days the positions are defended by the whole population. Women, children, old people participate at the battles.
On 23th June Chr. Chernio Peev, in the name of the revolt staff, sends the appeal for aid to the Bulgarian chief command. On 24th June the Bulgarian army is situated in 15 km from the city. Bulgarian chief command orders, however, that the army and the bands shall be draw off in the East, leaving thus the local people to a certain death. The leaders of VMORO refuse to fulfill the order. They decide help the local people to draw out in the mountain villages. On 24th June starts the drawing out. In the same evening the battles move in the city. The night of 25th June the battles are fight in the streets. In the still dark morning of 25th June the bands of the Organization start drawing off toward the village Begnitze. Kavadartzi is plundered by the „brave” 30-thousand Serbian army, which realized the „heroism” to shoot dead 24 caught unarmed Bulgarians. In Negotino the Serbian „feats of arm” go on, where more than 800 houses and workshops are plundered and 750 - burnt down. On 27th June over the village Konopishte the revolt staff decides that the civilian people shall go back home. The Serbian town-major sends the priest Gr. h.Yordanov from the village of Vatasha to calm the civilian people and to send them back, in telling them that their life and property are guaranteed by the Serbian king.
Three days continues the home-coming of the civilian people. Three days, when the Serbian army shows the manner of making war for the freedom of Macedonia and its consideration about the future of the Bulgarian people in there.
During their home-coming in the village of Moklitza 18 people are shot dead. Near the village of Koreshnitza 19 unarmed people are shot dead. The same tragic fate shared 16 people from the village of Ribartzi. In Kochani over 150 people are bound on stakes, and then shot in the outskirts of the town. It is forbidden that their bodies are buried and are left in the fields. Permission is given for the body of Tase Bojkov only. This is an inhuman act of a supposed to be Christian nation, but in fact - arrogant by the easy victories over unarmed common people. This is the deed of the Serbian politics towards Bulgarian national spirit there. This politics is developed since the 60ties and 70ties of the 19th century. It went on in the 20th century and is still continuing nowadays, in the 21st century. It depends on us to stop this development in the future.
On 12th July (St. Peter’s day), a service is hold in king’s honor. The Serbian town-major gathers the people and tells them that „ here in Serbia, can live the only one who is „real” Serbian and thinks and works like a „real” Serbian”.
On 20thJuly, the Serbian authorities bring out to a meeting the local people. Surrounded by the Serbian army and the bands of the „Black arm”, the citizens are forced to „vote” for a declaration that they renounce „voluntarily” of their Bulgarian nationality and acknowledge themselves Serbs. This „ceremony” is repeated many times in the Bulgarian lands occupied by Greeks and Serbs, and not only during the wars of 1912 - 1913, but also afterwards. The history, however, confirms the proverb that you can take a horse to water, but you can not make him drink. In the entire period from those days until now, the population of these lands have declared many times and shown their Bulgarian nationality and self-consciousness everywhere.
The number of killed, arrested and tortured Bulgarian reveals the manner of extinguishment of the attempt of local people there to reject the Serbian occupational authority and to defend their mother tongue and their Bulgarian origin. In Kavadartzi, 363 people are killed, in Negotino - 230 people, and in the village Vatasha - 40 people. In every village of the region of Tikvesh are killed several not-guilty persons. In the region, 2700 Bulgarians are arrested, tortured and put in Serbian prisons. All that, in the name of one purpose: to extirpate the Bulgarian national spirit in Macedonia. As history shows, this has a temporary, but not complete and final success.
The revolt of Tikvesh of 1913 is organized by VMORO, is, however, a deed of all Bulgarians in that region. This is a first attempt of the Bulgarians in Macedonia to reject the Serbian anti-Bulgarian and anti-human politics (in the period of Yugoslavia). This is not simply an attempt, but a serial prove that the people, which live in the ethnographic region Macedonia, are Bulgarians. Despite all trials of Belgrade to assimilate the Bulgarians in Macedonia by means of the doctrine of Macedonism, it is obvious that this idea has no final success, because the Bulgarian spirit in Macedonia has been, is and will be alive. We all, however, should not forget and must help our Bulgarian brothers in Macedonia to reject the Serbian slavery and, together with us, to build an ENTIRE BULGARIA!!!
Macedonia. History and Political Fate (1912-1941). Vol. II.,Sofia, 1998 (in Bulgarian)
Tzyrnushanov, K., Macedonism and the Resistant Movement of Macedonia against it. Sofia,1992 (in Bulgarian)