Saturday, October 28, 2006

0 History of IMRO (VMRO)

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(100 years from Its Establishment)

by: Professor Lyubomir Panayotov

Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) takes up a prominent place in the history of the Bulgarian people. It wrote down unfading pages in the heroic and bloody chronicle of the liberation struggles against the Turkish oppression lead by the Bulgarians in Macedonia and the region of Adrianople for years on end. Even today its fascination and prestige have not lost significance. The Bulgarians from the parts left under Turkish domination met in despair the unjust decisions of the Berlin Congress in 1878.

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In Macedonia they organized the Kresna-Razlog uprising that was brutally suppressed by the Turkish authorities. Being economically oppressed and deprived of political rights the Bulgarian population in Macedonia and Thrace turned to an armed struggle. With the Turkish authorities obviously unwilling to carry out any reforms Bulgarians began to organize their revolutionary forces.

A group of patriots with Damyan Gruev at the head initiated the foundation of Macedonian-Adrianople revolutionary called later "Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization". In history this organization is known as Internal Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO). At the early stage of its activities IMARO worked out its organizational and ideological principles, formed its structures and armed detachments. Its basic demand was the autonomy of Macedonia and the region of Adrianople as a step to unification with the free Bulgarian Principality.

In 1895 a Macedonian-Adrianople organization lead by a Supreme Committee was founded in Bulgaria. Both organizations had one and the same aim though for a certain period some differences existed between them resulting sometimes in armed conflicts. For the Macedonian revolutionaries Bulgaria was a base for detachment organizing and arm supplies, as well as the residence of the Organization abroad representatives. The culmination of the liberation struggles for Macedonia and the region of Adrianople was the Ilinden-Preobrajenie uprising in 1903. It was a new high acme in the Bulgarian National revolution.

The insurgents showed miracles of heroism. The uprising resounded widely among the public in Bulgaria and abroad. It was crushed with unheard of atrocities by the Turkish authorities. The uprising had an impact over IMARO itself shaking it deeply. Ideological trends emerged in the organization and the fights among them broke up its ranks. During the Young Turks' Revolution (1908) the Organization became legal and gave rise to two political parties: the Union of Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs and the Bulgarian Federative party. In 1910 IMARO was again restored. Together with the Union of Macedonian Fraternities in Bulgaria it placed itself at the disposal of the Bulgarian Army during the First World War.

The two national catastrophes plunged in deep sorrow its members. After the First World War the revolutionary organization was re-established under the name of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Its attention was concentrated in the parts of Macedonia left under Greek and Serbian domination. The Organization set itself the task to obtain the Macedonian Bulgarians' liberty in the form of autonomy. A number of legal organizations worked under its guidance in Bulgaria.

In 1924 in Vienna IMRO signed the so-called Manifesto of May. Since the Comintern regarded this as a successful attempt to win over the Macedonian liberation movement the IMRO' leaders Todor Alexandrov and Alexandar Protogerov repudiated their signatures of the Manifesto. After T. Alexandrov' assassination Ivan Michailov took the leadership of IMRO and seriously changed its means and methods of revolutionary struggle.

In 1928 the Organization split up and a series of fratricides followed this act. Along with that revolutionary activity at a large scale developed in Vardar Macedonia. Organizations were set up abroad to win over the European public. The Macedonian question was constantly kept open before the League of Nations.

After May 19, 1934 under pressure from outside the Organization was suppressed by the Bulgarian Government but yet it did not disappear from the political scene.

From: "100 years Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO-IMRO)" , D. Michev, D. Gotsev (Editors), Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofia, 1994, 254 p.

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