Как реших да постигна съвършенството (откъс от автобиографията на Бенджамин Франклин)

По горе долу това време (около 1730 г., когато Бенджамин е бил на около 25 години, бел. пр.) се зароди в мен мисълта за дръзкия и усилен проект да постигна нравствено съвършенство. Исках да живея без никога да правя каквито и да е грешки; щях да се преборя с всичко, в което природните склонности, навика или компанията биха ме въвлекли. При положение, че знаех, или си мислех, че знам, какво е добро и какво зло, не виждах защо да не е възможно винаги да правя едното и да избягвам другото. Но скоро открих, че съм се захванал със задача по-трудна отколкото си бях представял. Докато вниманието ми беше заето с това да се пазя от един порок, често бивах изненадван от друг; навикът се възползваше от липсата на внимание; склонноста понякога се оказваше по-силна от разума. Накрая заключих, че Още

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Съединението и русофилите лъжесъединисти — откъси от “Принос към историята на социализма в България” на Д. Благоев

откъси от “Принос към историята на социализма в България” на Димитър Благоев, основоположник на социалистическото движение в България

Благоев разказва как русофилските партии в двете Българии, дошли на власт в името на Съединението (било популярна идея), след Съединението (което се случило въпреки, а не благодарение на тех) се обявили срещу него и направили всичко, за да помогнат на Русия да го осуети и да обърне България на руска провинция. Демек, употребили Съединението като предизборен трик.

Благоев ги нарича лъжесъединисти, “слепи оръдия на руската политика в България”, които “се предали на руската дипломация с всичкото си безумие”.

Тея мимикрии на тогавашните русофили напомнят за днешните лъжеатлантици (ГЕРБ) и лъжепатриоти (т.нар. Възраждане), които на дело се показват като най-верните съюзници на Путин в България.

Изобщо социалистът Благоев е един от българските автори, които най-систематично и красноречиво описват вредното влияние на Русия в България и развенчават суеверието, както той го нарича, за освободителната роля на Русия. Той нарича русофилите “най-върли и макар и най-вулгарни” противници на социалистите.

Последното може и да звучи странно за обърканите мозъци на днешните български “социалисти” “русофили” (путинофреници може би е по-добра дума), но нема как социалист да е привърженик на руският абсолютизъм и империализъм (нито тогавашният, нито днешният).

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Joining the Bulgar Comitajis

Revolutionsists touched by the visit of an American

by Albert Sonnichsen

Published in the New York Evening Post, 7 April 1906.

Click to access nyep1906-04-07_joining_the_bulgar_comitajis.pdf

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The Case for an Independent Macedonia

by Albert Sonnichsen

Part of a report written for the US government’s Inquiry to inform the peace negotiations at the end of WW I. See also The Case for a Free Macedonia and The Role of the Greek Clergy in Macedonia.

OCR by Книги за Македония

The Case for an Independent Macedonia (pdf)

Albert Sonnichsen

I. Miscellany 2

II. Study of the Field (Geographical – The Land. – People in Relation to the Land. – Races Constituting Population. – Occupations. – How the People live. – Temperamental Qualities of the People. – Religion. – Education.) 2

III. History and Politics. 5
(b) Comment on Histories and Literature on the Subject 13
(c) Personal Narrative. 14
(d) Forms of Government. 14

IV. Proposals for Settlement 14
V. Criticism of Proposals 17
VI. The Question of Guarantee 17

I. Miscellany

Names of principal people, parties, agencies, etc., alphabetically arranged. Notes and comments not easily classified.
(This section puzzles me and offends my artistic sense. It is a sort of cast of characters and description of scenes? Or is it an index, or appendix, containing details supplementary to the body of the treatise? In the latter case, should it not be at the end? Perhaps I have wrong conception: I need more explanation).

II. Study of the Field

(a) Geographical. Modern Macedonia is on no modern map but can be defined. As compared to the Macedonia of Phillip. Topography: mountains, lakes, rivers, passes and physical aspects in general.

(b) The Land. Nature or territory from productive point of view. Soils, irrigation, fertility: crops and products, mineral resources.

(c) People in Relation to the Land: Practically all agricultural. How the land in owned. The beys and their tenants. The cheflik, or baronial estate, on which workers are practically serfs. Working on shares, by which system landlord supplies half of animals, tools, seed etc. Independent holdings; The stone mason communities of Kostur (Castoria), working in cities of Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece during winter and tilling small holdings in summer. Wandering pastoral communities.

(d) Races Constituting Population. Slavs: Bulgars, Serbs, Pomacs and large portion of Turks. Latins: Vlachs, or Wallachs. Albanians, Jews and Gipsies. Origin, language, or dialects, of each. Various estimates as to number of each race, or nationality.

(e) Occupations. The people are almost entirely devoted to agriculture. Bulgars, Pomacs, Turks and Serbs constitute peasantry. The Greeks are the traders in the large centers and the fishermen along the coast, also including a few peasant communities near Salonika. Vlachs are pastoral nomads and produce cheese and wool. Albanians have no communities in territory under consideration, but are wandering traders and clerks in government offices, etc. Gipsies are iron workers, village blacksmiths. Fee Jews are found outside Monastir, Serres and Salnika, and except in latter city, where are majority of population and cover all trades, they are usually merchants.

(f) How the People live. Village life. Construction of houses, from the two storeyed stone houses of Kostur to wattled huts of the Vlach nomads. Housing in


Monastir. House furnishings, etc. What the people ear. Family fire; monogamy the rule and strict observance of chastity by both sexes.

(g) Temperamental Qualities of the People

(Here my personal knowledge is largely confined to Bulgars, the only ones with whom I could hold conversation and with whom I came most in contact. I could also speak with the Jews, in Spanish, but saw little of them in Macedonia, but was intimately acquainted with them in Bulgaria.)

Bulgars very tolerant of other races, but suspicious of strangers. Absence of nationalist feelings, but strong love of the land. Dogged, stubborn, and no respect for authority, as such. The intellectuals, students and village schoolmasters, inclined toward socialism. But their idealism is less abstract than that of the Russians, whom they resemble in many regards. The Greeks: fanatical chauvinism of the intellectuals – their ancestor worship. Intollerant of all other nationalities, whom they term “kondricephalous,” meaning “blockheads,” a term that has become a slang expression among all peoples of the Balkans. The Turks: kindly, normally tolerant, ignorant, and susceptible to religious fanaticism when stirred from higher up. The Albanians: loyal, rough, simple, given to furious outbursts of savagery. Resemblance to Highlanders of the Jacobite period. Divided into Gegi and Toski, the latter, or the north, being more enlightened.

(h) Religion. Simple faith of the Turks. Christianity among the Albanians. The Pomacs: Bulgars who are divided from the rest of the Bulgars by their religion and from the Turks by their speech. Religious fanaticism of the Greeks, not so much a question of faith as loyalty to the Church, a national institution. Bulgars indifferent, though peasantry not quite heretical. Bulgar intellectuals always atheists, as compared to Greek intellectuals, who never are. Temporal power of the Greek Church. Originally had complete sway over all Christian subjects of the Sultan. Bulgar sessession, followed by Vlachs. The Greek church attempts to counteract this tendency by means of terrorism. The massacre of Zagoritchni as an illustration. Attitude of the various churches toward the revolutionary struggle will be more extensively treated under historical section, “Bulgarophone Greeks,” or Greckomans.

(i) Education. Schools officially under jurisdiction of Greek Patriarch in the beginning. Later, when the


Bulgarian was accorded recognition, a few Bulgar communities were allowed to establish schools in which Bulgarian was taught. But in southwestern sections, about Monastir, all Christian communities had either to accept Greek schoolmasters, or none at all. The majority chose the latter course, especially after the insurrection of 1904, when the Greek schoolmasters and priests proved themselves spies for the Turks. “Karahoul” schools, or secret classes, wherein pupils took turns watching for approach of Turkish soldiers or other strangers from hill tops, while their mates attended secret class. Schoolmistresses disguised as peasant women, ready to turn to washing or cooking on approach of strangers. Higher education in Monastir. Serbian and Rumanian subsidized schools.

III. History and Politics.

(This, I think, should begin with a brief sketch of general Balkan history after the Treaty of Berlin. The stubbornness with which Bulgaria, under Stamboulov, resisted Russian intrigues, is extremely good substantiation on my argument for an independent Macedonia, showing the capacity of the people for self government and how all the races unite under democratic government, as they did in Bulgaria. The Serbian war of 1884 also shows basis for Bulgar hatred of Austria and kindliness toward England. I want to give a basis to my argument that Bulgars are all naturally pro-Ally and anti-German. Also want to show that Bulgaria was only Continental nation which never gave way to Russian


Government’s pressure to persecute refugees. Sofia University was founded by Russian exile, Dragomanov, and large part of faculty was composed of Russian exiles.

Young Macedonians come to Bulgaria to finish their education and return with socialistic or revolutionary ideas. Become schoolteachers in villages after Exarch is allowed to open Bulgarian schools.

Gotze Delchev and Damian Gruev, found the “Macedonian Committee” in the early nineties. Little notice taken of the Committee by outsiders in the beginning. Its policy, economic, rather than military; evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Its immediate object was to establish order under Turkish anarchy by such means as the extinction of brigandage, regulation of relations between landlords and tenants, etc. “Macedonia for the Macedonians” adopted as a slogan from the beginning, because the founders, who were socialists, wanted to include all elements of the population.

Greek Church first to react against the organization. Calls attention of Turkish government to fact that “Bulgars” are organizing. Turks inclined to close their eyes to


Development of what they think is a movement against influence of Greek Church. Greek Church excommunicates members of the Committee, and Greeks leave it.

Progress of the Committee, or “Adrianopolitan and Macedonian Revolutionary Organization;” it becomes an underground, democratic government, based on universal suffrage. How authority is vested in committees, and never in individuals. Village, county, provincial and Central Committee. Annual congresses.

It is decided to establish a department of foreign affairs, technically known as the “beyond the frontier committee,” whose purpose is to represent the organization to foreign governments, explain aims and to collect funds. Boris Sarafov is chosen as chief of this committee, with headquarters in Sofia. He is corrupted by Prince Ferdinand. Their mutual understanding. Sarafov’s high handed method in collecting contributions for the cause, backed by Bulgarian police. Sarafov causes the assassination of a Rumanian journalist who has criticized his methods in Bucharest. The Rumanian government demands his arrest and moves troops toward the Danube. Sarafov is arrested. The interior organization makes an investigation


and strongly condemns Sarafov’s methods, though still unaware of his understanding with Ferdinand.

At this juncture, before Sarafov’s successor can be appointed, occurs the famous Salonika betrayal, followed by the arrest of nearly all the principal leaders of the interior organization by the Turks. Astounding revelations as to widespread scope of the movement attracts attention of all Europe, especially of Greece, Serbia and Turkish government.

Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria begin sending propagandist bands across the frontier, to arouse “national spirit” of the Macedonians. Warfare between these bands and the armed bands of the Committee. At the same time Ferdinand quietly takes possession of the office, machinery and official organ of the “beyond the frontier committee,” and installs therein his own creature, General Tsonchev. Macedonians in the Bulgaria, numbering some 50,000, believe he is backed by interior organization.

The interior organization bands resist the invaders. The Greeks and Serbs are held back. But Ferdinand’s bands


make progress. The Macedonians fighting them have few arms and little ammunition, though they are backed by the populace. Sandanski and Tschernopeev the two most important chiefs opposed to the Bulgarian forces. They are driven back.

The Miss Stone affair. The money so raised saves Macedonia from Ferdinand and reestablishes the interior organization. European pressure forces a general amnesty and the leaders return after the Miss Stone affair.

Ferdinand determines to precipitate affairs. Sends Tsonchev across the frontier with a large force of filibusters and starts an uprising in Razlog caza. It fails, through lack of support by Macedonian peasantry. Next year, in 1904, the Committee precipitates an uprising in Monastir, to attract attention of Great Powers to Macedonian conditions. It is put down with severity. The reforms, foreign gendarmerie officers etc. At this juncture, during Monastir uprising, Sarafov, who has been taking vacation abroad, returns and offers his service as a military man to the Committee. He serves under Gruev’s command in Monastir with great gallantry and is forgiven for past misconduct.


The Monastir uprising is a failure, not only in a military sense, but in its diplomatic aims, failure of the reforms. Reconstruction. A new beyond the frontier committee is established in Sofia and a strong publicity campaign compels Ferdinand to change his tactics. Tsonchev recalls his bands.

Sarafov, protesting his loyalty to “Macedonia for the Macedonians,” is made “revizor”, or literally inspector, for the organization. Meanwhile, however, through his powerful personality, he has gained a following among the younger members. He begins sending armed bands across the frontier ostensibly subject to the orders of the Central Committee, but composed of young Macedonians who he has corrupted, either with money or favors, or with visions of a “Greater Bulgaria.” He is facilitated in this course by the ease with which he is able to procure manlicher rifles and ammunition. The older leaders realize that he has been again corrupted by Ferdinand, but can only agitate against him, on account of his popularity.

The matter is brought to an issue at the Congress, held in the Rilo Mountains, in 1906. Sarafov again protests his innocence of relations with Ferdinand. He is again elected


revizor, being paired with Garvanov, a leader known to be anti-Ferdinand, who is expected to act as a check on him. Partnership shown at this Congress. Questions at issue, “Evolution versus Revolution;” “Centralization versus Loose Federation.” Sandanski represents the socialistic party, which favors evolution, loose federation and is against a Greater Bulgaria. At his juncture Gruev is killed. He was against Sarafov, but not in favor of expelling him from the organization.

Sarafov corrupts Garvanov, his mate. Whereupon Sandanski has him assasinated in Sofia, at the same time sending a stern warning to Ferdinand to interfere no more in interior Macedonian politics.

The rise of Young Turkey: relations between Young Turks and Committee. Young Turk Revolution. Committee leaders join the Salonika Young Turk Committee. Sandanski heads Young Turk army into Constantinople and helps depose Abdul Hamid. But Young Turks are overwhelmed by reaction by masses of Asiatic Turkey. Sandanski and his colleagues return to the mountains.


Sandanski is approached by agent of Ferdinand, who promises a free, or independent Macedonia, backed by Bulgaria and Serbia, if he will join in military campaign against Turkey. The Committee, Macedonian underground government, becomes one of the Balkan allies against the Turks. Sandanski takes command of the guerella forces protecting the Bulgarian flanks against Turkish troops.

Austria’s interference, demanding an “independent” Albania, causes Serbia and Greece to demand a rearrangement of the treaty on which the war was fought. The Macedonians strongly object to either Greece or Serbia getting any portion of Macedonia. Sandanski’s influence, backed by the Macedonians in the Bulgarian army and government office, in precipitating the Second Balkan War.

The Treaty of Bucharest. Serbia and Greece begin nationalizing their portions of conquered territory.

Outbreak of the present war. Sandanski opposed to Ferdinand’s pro-German policy. Ferdinand has him assasinated and jails his sympathizers. Ferdinand swings Bulgaria over to Central Powers solely on Macedonian issue.


He is unable to lend his German allies a single Bulgarian soldier on any front not on Bulgar soil, or what the people consider Bulgar soil (Dobrudja is Bulgar by population).

In spite of this there is strong opposition still, which broke out no later than last year (1916), so violently that hundreds of leaders were executed.

(b) Comment on Histories and Literature on the Subject

(These I would have to go over again to refresh my memory. But I should judge that nine out of ten books on the Balkans are the results of superficial observation, all the more superficial on account of the restrictions which the Turks placed on foreign travelers. And of all these books on travel few treat of Macedonia itself, as that was the turbulent region and travelers were unable to penetrate the country at all.

Then there are the books treating of the political aspect. Those written by natives; Greeks, Serbs or Bulgars, are absolutely worthless as sources of accurate information, as will be obvious when comparing them. The Greek literature is especially untrustworthy.

Books written by foreigners. These, too, are unsafe because the facts were gathered from intensely prejudiced and interested sources, such as the official records of the Balkan governments. They are all incomplete. As an instance, there is not one book presenting the revolutionary struggle in Macedonia other than as organized brigandage. Books on Bulgaria are either violently pro- or anti-Bulgarian. On the economic or commercial aspects I believe the Austrian Government has published some rather trustworthy facts; the only accurate maps of the Balkans are Austrian. The London Balkan Committee published a great deal of material, but they suffered from too much neutrality. By that I mean that they glossed over the defects of all the parties concerned, except those of the Turks, to the extent of ignoring entirely then very important reasons for the antagonism between Bulgars and Greeks. Also, they were inclined to ignore the revolutionary struggle.)

On internal conditions in Macedonia itself I think I am safe in saying that there is absolutely no literature of an informative nature.


(c) Personal Narrative.
This, I suppose, would include a sort of a report on my travels among the villages, to indicate their race character. As a matter of fact, my line of travel constitutes a pretty accurate boundary line of the Committee’s territory, for I walked along the outer edge. Beyond were Greeks, Albanians or Grecomans. We mush have a large scale map showing my route, with perhaps color indications of villages along the way.

(d) Forms of Government.

Nature of Turkish government in Macedonia. Negatively bad, except during uprisings. Trouble was there was too little of it, rather than too much. Some villages never saw a Turk, except the tax gatherer and his escort, during many years.

Bulgarian government. This is covered in the historical section, also Serbia and Greece, in describing activity of propaganda bands.

European Powers.
Does this mean their attitude toward the revolutionary efforts of the Macedonians? This needs discussion.

Internal or local. Does this not come under “Turkish government?”


IV. Proposals for Settlement.

Six possible settlements considered:

(1). Macedonia divided between Serbia and Greece.
Various measures for mitigation of situation on native Macedonians. United States might insist upon prevention on “colonization” system, whereby Serbs or Greeks are imported and settled and encouraged to terrorize natives into leaving the country and lands, etc. Measures for communal autonomy. International commission or board to review all sales of land. Native courts of justice. Native school boards.

(2). Macedonia divided between Bulgaria and Greece.
Churched to have to territorial jurisdiction in Macedonian territory, first provision to be insisted on. Division of country into sections, or districts, according to race, and each to enjoy local autonomy, especially in matter of schools. Judges locally elected and police locally organized.

(3). Macedonia annexed by Serbia.
This settlement assumes a pretty complete victory for the Allies, in which case the U. S. would be in a position to insist on a larger measure of local autonomy for the population. Why such a settlement would be directly contrary to the principles ennunciated by President Wilson. An autonomous Macedonia, under Serbian government.

(4). Macedonia annexed by Bulgaria.


U. S. should insist on postponement on such a union, or annexation, for at least year, during which the Macedonians should be allowed opportunity to organize themselves, or to reorganize themselves, rather. Should insist on troops or occupation being under Macedonian commanders, of which there are many in the Bulgarian army, etc. etc.

(5). Macedonia as an Independent State.
The ideal settlement. French, British or American troops in occupation for a year, or until a constituent assembly could be called. Boundaries should be fixed by an international commission, or an American commission, preferrably, as more likely to inspire confidence. Community elections in disputed zones. Central Powers would insist on monarchial form of government, which should be resisted.

(6). Macedonia as a Separate Member of a Federal Union of the Balkan States.
This settlement would naturally evolve from a strict application of the policy that “all small nationalities shall have the decision of their own fates in their own hands.” What general conditions throughout the Balkans would be necessary as a basis for such an outcome. Greece perhaps excluded.

(Macedonia as a part of Bulgaria in a federal union of the Balkan states is inconceivable. Conditions favorable to a federal union would not allow such a union. On the contrary. Bulgaria herself would probably split between north and south.


V. Criticism of Proposals.

Objections against 1, 2 and 3, Why they would lead to future trouble, all the sooner because the United States was able to insist on provisions favorable to the condition of the population.

Settlement No. 4 considered, pro and con. Probably outcome of such a settlement favorable to Macedonians.

Criticism of 5. and 6. involving national independence of Macedonia, either alone or as a member of a federal union of Balkan states.

Are they a step backwards? Are the people capable of self government?

Bulgaria’s experience after liberalism as an example from the past. The natural antipathy of the people against the Teutons and the democratization of Russia two big factors in favor of these two settlements, as eliminating outside intrigues, etc. The character of the Macedonians, as illustrated in their organization of the Committee. Illustrated by personal observation, and observations of various authorities.

VI. The Question of Guarantee.

Each settlement taken up separately.

Why guarantees under 1, 2 and 3 are practically impossible. Guarantees in Macedonia have never worked. Real guarantees under these conditions would constitute so much outside authority as to be mutually exclusive on the part on one neighbor against another, in case of an independent Macedonia.

(a) fixing boundaries on basis of nationality.
(b) removing those elements in all the states of the Balkans, which have made for “national expansion.”


(c) encouraging the natural tendency of the peoples in all the states to express themselves through democratic forms of government, from constitutionalism up.
(d) disestablishment of all the churches.

Guarantee against Interference from Great Powers.
(a) strong autonomy for all the Austrian Slavic elements.
(b) elimination of Ferdinand from Bulgaria, (as …ing his …. support).
(c) democratization of forms of governments in the Balkans.
(d) Balkan Federation of Slavic states.
(e) Internationalization of Constantinople and Salonika.

Guarantees against Internal Disorders.
Occupation of Salonika until Macedonian Government had been organized. There would be no guarantee under first three proposals.

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The Role of the Greek Clergy in Macedonia

by Albert Sonnichsen

Part of a report written for the US government’s Inquiry to inform the peace negotiations at the end of WW I. See also The Case for a Free Macedonia and The Case for an Independent Macedonia.

OCR by Книги за Македония

Appendix I.

The rôle of the Greek clergy in Macedonia. (pdf)

A. Sonnichsen.

Jan 29 1918

(In reply to a request from J. T. S. for more details concerning the hostility of the “Free Macedonians” to the Greek clergy, the author submits the following elaboration of reasons for the proposed Elimination of the Church from Politics given as the 2nd platform of his proposal for a settlement.)

The part played by the churches, and very especially the Greek Church, in Balkan politics is a subject with which I feel myself very familiar; that is, with a certain phase of the Greek Church. It was against the Greek Church that the forces I was with in Macedonia were operating, more than against the Turks.

To what extent could I elaborate it? A book would hardly do go give the details of the infernal activities of the Greek clergy in Macedonia. However, I suppose you want only enough to fill out my report a trifle.

As the literature on the subject will indicate, the Turkish Government recognized the temporal sway of the patriarch of the Greek Church over practically all of the Christian subjects of the Empire, in the beginning. The jurisdiction of the Church extended even up into Rumania. This made the Patriarch the ally of the Sultan


in resisting the tendency of the Powers to trim down Turkey in Europe. When the Treaty of San Stefano was up for revision at the Berlin Conference, the representatives of the Patriarch clamored very loudly for the retention of Macedonia by Turkey, “because all the inhabitants were Greeks, and they would die before they would submit to Bulgarian rule”. Gladstone denounced the Greek Church very strongly at the time, saying it had played a “contemptible part”, or words to that effect.

With liberation the people of Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria established churches of their own, and their nationals in Macedonia naturally preferred to belong to churches in which their own languages were spoken, etc. There were secessionist movements among the people on the one hand, and on the other hand the churches in the free states exerted themselves to obtain recognition in Constantinople. To this pressure the Turkish Government was often obliged to yield, even at the cost of his Greek ally, the Patriarch.

This, I think, makes the situation of the various churches obvious.

But the Greek Church stood alone in the violent methods it employed in combating the secessionist movements among the people and in attempting to bring back into the fold those who had already strayed. Terrorist bands wore openly organized in Greece and sent across the


frontier to terrorize the people. I have still a number of samples of the threatening letters which the leaders of those bands would send to the villagers before attacking them, written on paper bearing the ecclesiastical letter head stamp: crossed swords and a mitre. A lot more I sent to the Balkan Committee in London, to Noel Buxton. I
personally have seen those bands burning villages and slaying the peasants, and those villagers were to my personal knowledge Bulgars. As an instance, one of their notable performances was the massacre of Zagoritchni, a large village near Castoria. An annonymous letter was sent to the villagers, signed “a friend”, in which they were warned that the Turks were about to make an unusually thorough search for arms on a certain day. This caused the peasants to take their guns out of easily accessible hiding places and bury them. Then, on the day set, which was a Sunday, and while all the peasants were attending church, a band of several Greek “antari”, as these “soldiers of Christ” were called, led “by officers in the uniform of the Greek army, attacked the village and killed near a hundred old men, women and children, in some cases hacking the corpses of their victims actually into small pieces. Zagoritchni was razed flat to the ground, and when I visited the place some months later weeds were growing inside the roofless houses.

During my presence in Monastir the commander-in-chief of these terrorist bands in that section was a simple village cure, Father Stavre. He was a remarkably intelligent


fellow and was often sent to Western countries on diplomatic errands by the Church. His headquarters were in the garrisoned town of Pisoder , whence he directed operations. During my presence in the district we found a letter in cipher, evidently dropped on the mountain trail by a courier. We succeeded in finding the key to the cipher and translating the letter. It was obviously written by the Bishop of Castoria and was addressed to Father Stavre, notifying him that he was sending a certain Captain Bellos and his force, who would arrive a week or two latter and Father Stavre “might utilize him in carrying out the plans arranged between us for the burning of Boof”. Boof is a large Bulgar village in that neighborhood.

One of our Committee band leaders, who had been in Greece and could speak Greek almost without accent, undertook to impersonate Captain Bellos. He and half a dozen of our men dressed up in the fustani uniforms worn by the Greek antari, then sent down a letter to Father Stavre by a peasant picked up at random, advising him that “Captain Bellos had arrived and awaits your command up here on the mountain”. The letter was written in the cipher, so it is not surprising that the priest was deceived. At any rate he responded and came up, attended only by a Turkish kavass. Of course, he never returned to the village. This is the sort of actual evidence I had of the activities of the Greek Church in Macedonia. Thus, I have read with my own eyes a letter written by a Greek Bishop, directing, or approving of the burning of a whole village of Bulgars. Officially Boof is a Greek village. On that sort of stuff Balkan statistics are built.


One of the most notorious of the Greek band leaders at the time I was there was Captain Akritas. We came into violent contact with him two or three times. During the Olympian Games celebrations in 1906, when European visitors flocked to Athens, among them two or three monarchs , this Captain Akritas played a very prominent part as having just returned from a visit to Macedonia (he was an officer of the royal bodyguard), and he spoke of the “oppression of the Bulgar brigands, etc”. I believe one of his speeches was made in the presence of King Edward. At any rate, he was quite a figure in diplomatic circles, though I have viewed the corpses of women which he or his men slew.

The barbarities practiced right along by these Greek soldiers of the Church were even outside the Turkish pale; the Turks only did such things on tremendous occasions, when their fanaticism was at white heat. The Greeks did it as a practical measure to obtain a certain end, in cold blood. No other people in the Balkans have shown themselves so barbarous as the Greeks, neither Turks, Serbs, Vlachs, Bulgars, or even the Albanians, who have no pretentions to culture. As an instance, returning to father Stavre; during the insurrection of 1904 this priest wanted to accompany a certain Turkish force sent off on a punitive expedition, that he might point out certain objectionable Bulgars should he see them. The Turkish officer in command, an old major of the old school, refused to have him with him, saying “we can disgrace ourselves quite well without the assistance of the swine”.

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The Secret Republic of Macedonia

by Albert Sonnichsen

Published in the New York Evening Post, 12 November 1904.

Posted in История, Македония | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Case for a Free Macedonia

by Albert Sonnichsen

Part of a report written for the US government’s Inquiry to inform the peace negotiations at the end of WW I. See also The Case for an Independent Macedonia and The Role of the Greek Clergy in Macedonia.

OCR by Книги за Македония


Albert Sonnichsen

(Property of the Inquiry. United States Government)

Jan 28 1918

• Race dispersion 2
• Macedonian revolutionary organization 4
• Political program of the Macedonian committee 8
• Macedonian policies of Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria 9
• How the Macedonians were forced into partnership with Bulgaria 10
• Macedonian and Bulgarian pro-Ally sentiment 13
• Proposals for a settlement 16
• Macedonia as a separate member of a Federal union of Balkan states 19
• Macedonia annexed by Bulgaria 21
• Macedonia divided between Serbia and Greece. Macedonia annexed by Serbia 22
• Criticism of the proposal for an Independent Macedonia 23

The following remarks and suggestions are based solely on the personal experience of the writer; personal observations and the expressed opinions of the leading Macedonians and Bulgarians, gathered during a long and continuous association with them. In the summer of 1904 I went out to the Balkans, on the invitation of the Macedonian Revolutionary Committee, and remained there until the early spring of 1907. During this period I acquired a fluent knowledge of the Bulgarian language and was, therefore, able to carry on direct conversation with all natives of the Bulgar districts after having been there seven or eight months. The first year I spent in Bulgaria, mostly in the frontier town of Kustendil, with frequent visits to Sofia, the capital. The second year was spent in the field with the armed forces of the Revolutionary Committee, save for a month or more spent in hiding in Monastir and another month, during which I toured certain villages in the Monastir district disguised as a peasant. Throughout the whole period I made a fairly complete survey of the whole territory organized by the Macedonian Committee, becoming especially familiar with the natural frontiers of the Bulgar districts, through Vodena, Florina, Castoria and Ochrida. At no time was I under the control of the Committee leaders, having command of the bands


detailed to serve as my escort and being limited in my movements only by the danger of coming into too close a contact with the armed enemies of the revolutionary movement, who, obviously, were deeply interested in eliminating me from the field. The correspondence which I carried on for the press, mostly the New York Evening Post, during these wanderings, was under no form of censorship and was sent through by means of couriers chosen by myself. So complete and general was my knowledge of the Committee’s affairs that I was acquainted with the identities of the members of all the secret committees in Salonika, Vodena, Monastir and all the smaller communities in practically all of Southern Macedonia, a knowledge not entrusted to any other individual outside the Central Committee.


Since a thorough understanding of the fundamental political situation in the Balkans, and more especially in Macedonia, must rest on as complete a collection of facts as possible, I shall outline briefly certain historical events which are not included in the general literature of the subject and which have a vital importance as a basis for my plea for an


independent Macedonia.

As is known to all close and impartial observers, the Balkans are mainly inhabited by Slavs. The Slavs, again, are divided into two main branches: Bulgars and Serbs.

Roughly speaking (and I doubt if anybody can be accurate here), the dividing line between these two Slavic groups runs from the Danube down through Nisch, Vranya, Uskup, then swings westward over toward Albania.

South of Uskup the Bulgar territory is bounded on the west by Albania, the line running down to about the western shore of Lake Ochrida, around to Koritza. Here the Greeks begin to take the place of the Albanians as neighbors of the Bulgars.

The Bulgars themselves reach down solidly to below the two lakes, Ochrida and Little Prespa and slightly below Castoria (town and lake). For a certain distance in this section, along the Grebina mountains, there is a strip of Vlach population which forms a sort of a buffer between the Bulgars and the Greeks. From slightly below Castoria the line runs over through Florina, or a little below it, continues over to well below Vodena, or through Negush, or Negostia, then swings around Salonika and travels coastward, toward the seacoast. Kavalla is quite


Greek, while Serres and Drama constitute the centers of a mixed population, the Greeks predominating southward, especially along the coast.

The Turks cover no territory as a solid mass, but are sprinkled all over the Balkans, up to the Danube, as race islands. There are probably more Turks in and around Varna and Bourgas than anywhere else outside Constantinople and Adrianople.

The chief element in the population of Salonika is Jewish, or Ladino. The Greeks probably come next, then the Bulgars and Vlachs and Mohammedans. I do not give figures because I do not believe there are any, the estimates varying. The population beyond the outskirts of Salonika, northward and eastward, is about as purely and consciously Bulgar as may be found anywhere in Macedonia, the people speaking a dialect very close to the Bulgarian of Sofia.


The result of the Treaty of Berlin was that the Bulgar population of the Balkans had been arbitrarily divided, one section constituting free Bulgaria, the other remaining subject to Turkish rule, save for Eastern Rumelia, which enjoyed almost complete autonomy, until it seceded and annexed itself to Bulgaria, in 1884.

For the next fifteen years the Macedonian Bulgars made no special effort to translate their


Discontent into action. As in all countries suffering the oppressions of a foreign rule, patriot-brigand bands roamed the mountains, punishing the most flagrant offences against Bulgars by Turks.

Meanwhile many young Bulgars went up from Macedonia into Bulgaria to acquire their educations in the free schools and gymnasia of the principality, sometimes finishing in the University of Sofia. The majority remained, entered trade, or the professions, and some rose to high positions in the Army or the Government civil service. This Macedonian refugee population was estimated at about 50,000.

Some of these educated young B ulgars returned to Macedonia to teach schools in those villages where the people had been allowed to establish their own schools. In Southern Macedonia, however, the official schools were under the supervision of the Greek Patriarch, who, naturally, exerted all his efforts to suppress Bulgar speech. From time to time the representative of the Bulgar Church, the Exarch, in Constantinople, succeeded in having the territory or Bulgar schools extended.

The fact was, however, that those communities under the jurisdiction of the Greek Patriarch, had no schools at all, since they boycotted the Greek schoolmasters. Into these villages the young Macedonians


who had been educated in Bulgaria entered and established secret schools. So much were they persecuted, by both the Turkish officials and representatives of the Greek Church, that they were practically outlaws, conducting their classes at night, or with outposts stationed around the village to warn them of the approach of enemies to give them time to flee.

Gradually, in the middle 90’s, this system of illegal schoolteaching began to take a more ambitious phase. The children’s classes began to assume the character of secret propaganda meetings of adults, The subjects of discussion became political. Local committees were organized which, at first, were rather indefinite in character, but gradually became distinctly revolutionary.

The two principal leaders in this revolutionary propaganda movement were Gotze Deltchev and Damian Gruev, both schoolteachers. Giving up their local activities in Monastir district they began, with the assistance of the patriot brigands, to tour the whole of Macedonia, organizing local committees.

By the first few years of the new century these local committees had been extended practically all over Macedonia and Adrianople and had assumed a distinctly political character. Local committees were federated into


provincial committees, which in their turn each elected a member to a Central Committee, in which was vested supreme authority. Meanwhile many of the brigand bands had declared allegiance to the Committee (as the whole organization was called) and recognized the authority of the provincial committees. Such as did not were killed off or driven out by the villagers themselves and other bands were organized, subservient to the authority of the Committee. Thus the brigand bands also changed in character; became a sort of secret constabulary through which the Committee enforced its authority.

Thus the Macedonian and Adrianopolitan Interior Revolutionary Organization, as the Committee officially called itself (Makedonska e Odrinsko Vutershina Revolutzianarna Organizatzia), gradually assumed the proportions and functions of an underground republic, a secret government established by the people, on a democratic basis, to maintain as much order as was possible under the anarchy of Turkish misrule. The executive was the Central Committee, and the provincial and local committees. The legislative branch was the yearly Congress, held once a year in some mountain fastness and local conferences, held under similar conditions. The committees also assumed judicial functions, each constituting itself a local tribunal, the court of appeal being the Central Committee, which must approve all death sentences.


The fundamental laws of the organization were embodied in a carefully crafted constitution, printed and distributed among the villagers.


Contrary to what might be expected from its name, the object of the Macedonian Committee was not revolutionary, in a military sense. That is, it did not propose to employ armed force in gaining its chief ends. The arm bands at the disposal of the provincial committees were for defensive purposes and to enforce order. Nor was the ultimate aim of the Committee an independent Macedonia. It aimed at an autonomous, constitutional Macedonia, under Turkey. Its slogan was “Macedonia for the Macedonians”. So strongly was this insisted on that the Bulgars or Macedonians gradually ceased calling themselves Bulgars and insisted that they were “Macedonians” only. This policy brought in practically all the Vlachs and many Albanians, Pomacks and Turks into the organization. Several of the prominent leaders were Vlachs.

The methods by which the Committee proposed to gain these political ends is best expressed in a slogan printed at the head of one of its secret organs: “Evolution, not Revolution”. First of all, the leaders had faith in the ultimate triumph of the Young Turks, with whom they were in close touch. They believed that the Turks themselves


would ultimately bring about a constitutional Turkey. Their chief program of action, however, was one of attrition. They hoped by a sort of an economic boycott to render Macedonia so unprofitable to the Turks that they would grant reforms themselves. Thus, they boycotted the Turkish courts, Turkish landlords, Turkish merchants, etc.


When the existence and the policy of the Macedonian Committee became known to the governing cliques of the neighboring states, these latter soon showed themselves violently opposed. All three of those states, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, held annexationist ambitions, mutually exclusive with the purposes of the Macedonian Committee. And all thrеe immediately sent armed bands across the frontiers to suppress the Committee. The Committee, however, had already acquired a strength and high degree of organization not suspected as yet by their enemies and they easily repelled these attacks from the outside.

The Bulgarian court was especially handicapped in that there was a strong race sympathy between the two peoples, augmented by the presence of the 50,000 immigrants. Popular indignation soon compelled Ferdinand to abandon his hopes of accomplishing his desires through armed force.

Henceforward he pursued a policy of corruption, his chief agent being Boris Sarafov, a young Macedonian lieutenant in the Bulgarian Army who “resigned” his commission and entered into the Committee. Sarafov once or twice almost


succeeded in disrupting the organization, at least, in causing an annexationist policy to be adopted by the Committee, but he ultimately failed and was assasinated by order of the Committee.

I cannot make it too plain that at that time, from 1900 to 1906, the Macedonians were unalterably opposed to annexation with Bulgaria. How sincere this feeling may have been in the beginning is a matter of doubt, but there can be no doubt that Ferdinand’s intrigues, backed by the higher military elements in Bulgaria, roused a deep-seated resentment against the Bulgarian Government in Macedonia. As an instance, one of my associates in Macedonia, a leader of one of the larger bands, had attempted to assasinate Ferdinand and establish a republic in Bulgaria. As an enemy of the Committee Ferdinand was ranked next to the Greek Patriarch, the most hated of all.


When the Young Turks rose against the old Turkish regime the Macedonian Committee was with them. For some years they had been working together and were striving for the same ends; a constitutional Turkey.

Then Abdul Hamid was dethroned a Young Turk army entered Constantinople to suppress the reactionary elements. At the head of that army marched Yane Sandanski, one of the principal chiefs of the Committee’s field forces and with him was his old band of a hundred “comitajis”.


The spirit of Young Turkey was overwhelmed by the reactionary elements as time progressed.

The Committee, bitterly disappointed, resumed its secret activities as before. Sandanski and his colleagues retired into the mountains again.

The following information I have from persons who certainly were in a position to know. I cannot, however, vouch for the accuracy of every detail of the information conveyed to me. Briefly, it is to this effect.

Just before the Balkan states formed their alliance against Turkey, resulting in the First Balkan War, a representative of Ferdinand approached the Committee through Sandanski, and promised an independent Macedonia if the Macedonian would support the invading armies of Serbia and Bulgaria. Both Bulgaria and Serbia were behind this preposition. Greece agreed to it later, after attempting to impose certain limitations to the territory of the proposed free Macedonia.

Sandanski, in the name of the Committee, accepted the offer and when hostilities broke out he had already overrun the Bansko caza, close to the Bulgarian frontier, and afterwards rendered important services in protecting the right flank of the Bulgarian army in Thrace.

The intervention of Austria regarding Albania


forced a revision of the treaties under which Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria had entered the war. Both Greece and Serbia demanded territory which should have been included in the independent Macedonia they had promised to establish, in compensation for their losses in Albania.

Sandanski and his Macedonian following, including a number of men high in position or rank in the Bulgarian government and Army, opposed the suggested revision bitterly. Their influence carried the day, against Ferdinand, it is said, and thus the Second Balkan war was brought about.

Followed the Treaty of Bucharest, handing over the main strongholds of the Macedonian Committee to Greece and Serbia.

Both Serbia and Greece now instituted severe programs of “nationalization” in their respective shares of Macedonian territory. Whole communities were expatriated and Greek and Serbian colonists settled on the confiscated lands. The exiled Macedonians went to Bulgaria, where their presence added still more to the bitterness against Serbia and Greece.

With the outbreak of the present great war there came a split among the people of Bulgaria. On one side, and they probably formed a considerable majority, were the Macedonians, almost to a man, and the Bulgarian radicals. These were decidedly against Ferdinand’s and Radoslavov’s pro-Teuton policy. Before Ferdinand dared to


come to a final decision he was forced to eliminate the leaders of this large faction from the field. Sandansky was assasinated and Ghenadiev, a former cabinet minister and a Macedonian, was imprisoned. As late as the spring of 1917 this pro-Ally faction attempted to assert itself, this last attempt resulting in several hundred executions by court martial.


Though not directly pertinent to the matter under discussion, I cannot help devoting a few lines to the national prejudices and sympathies of the Bulgars as a whole.

First of all, they are profoundly pro-Russian, for two fundamental reasons. First of all comes race affinity and similarity of speech. Though the Russian language is really a younger branch of the old Slavic, Russian is looked upon as a cultural ideal by the Bulgars. Russian literature, which any educated Bulgar may read with very little difficulty in the original, is to them very much what the literature of England is to us.

The second reason behind this deep sympathy is the fact that it was Russian blood which flowed in the liberation of Bulgaria from Turkey.

This strong Russophile sentiment was, however, considerably modified by the black intrigues of the old Russian autocracy which culminated in the assasination of Stamboulov and the later hypocricy of the Russian Government in its
attitude toward the Macedonian revolutionary movement. But, this modification was strictly limited to official Russia.


Thus, aside from Switzerland and England, Bulgaria was the one European country where Russian political refugees were absolutely free from molestation. Sofia University was founded by a Russian exile and many of its faculty were Russian refugees . The children of Russian exiles came there to finish their education.

The Bulgars as a whole are also strongly pro English. It was an English newspaper, the London Dally News, which exposed the “Bulgarian atrocities” under great difficulties. These exposures served as the cause of the Russian intervention and also roused British public opinion so strongly against the Turks that the Conservative Government as unable to carry out its policy of shielding the Turks against Russia. Another reason for the pro-England’s sentiment is Gladstone; his public utterances in favor of Bulgaria in the early days are freely quoted in the school text books. And finally, it was England which prevented the interference of Turkey when Eastern Rumelia seceded and declared for annexation with free Bulgaria.

True, it is not forgotten that England, through Beaconsfield, was largely responsible for the Treaty of Berlin, which handed Macedonia back to Turkey, but the tendency is to place the blame on “that Jew renegade” personally. Bismark is considered to have been primarily responsible for the revision of the Treaty of San Stefano.


Among Bulgars of all classes there is a profound prejudice against German; “Schwabs,” as they are called. This is primarily due to race antipathy. Every Slav fundamentally hates a German. Specifically Germany is hated on account of the Treaty of Berlin. Austria is hated even more intensely because she robbed the Bulgarians of the fruits of their victory over the Serbs in 1884, when all that Bulgar territory east of the Nisch-Vranya line had been taken over. Austria compelled Bulgaria to hand this territory back to the defeated Serbs.

But above all these considerations the reason why Ferdinand’s adherance to the Central Powers was unpopular was the fact that the Bulgars would thus find themselves fighting side by side with the Turks against Western Europeans. The Bulgar does not utterly despise the Turk, as he does the degenerate Greek, but he hates him with a fervor little understood by an American. There are many Bulgarians not yet old who remember distinctly the atrocities which lead to the Russo-Turkish War of 1879; those days have neither been forgiven or forgotten. Naturally, this feeling is still more intense with the Macedonians, who have been taught to hate and fear the Turk from babyhood.

Had the Allies declared for the principle of the “self determination” of the Bulgar nationality wherever found, in 1915, Ferdinand’s pro-German policy would have failed.



There can only be one settlement of the Macedonian Question; that is, a settlement which will be permanent. That is the establishment of a free, an independent, Macedonia, whose government is based on democratic principles. This is the intense desire of the people themselves. The Macedonians have that same passionate respect for democracy that is now manifesting itself among the Russians. I am convinced that their understanding of democratic principles, speaking of the people as a whole, is far more intelligent than that of the Russians, for they have been self conscious longer and, through the revolutionary organization, have practiced democracy longer and have become practical through hard experience. Their experience with Sarafov has made them suspicious of fiery orators, for example.

That free Macedonia should be thoroughly democratic strikes me as a matter of greater importance than the demarcation of frontier separating the Bulgars from the other nationalities.

In the formation of a Macedonian Government the principles emphasized in the constitution of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization should not be overlooked, for this document was only adopted at the Yearly Congress after many revisions and much general discussion. Those chief points were:


1. Universal suffrage, above the age of twenty, regardless of sex, race or creed.
2. Elimination of the Church from politics.
3. Executive power vested in committees, rather than in individuals. Trivial as this may seem, it was considered important by the Macedonians, who emphasized it so strongly that the Turks knew them as the “committee people”, and the Bulgarians as the “comitajis”, meaning the same thing. They considered this peculiar measure a safeguard against corruption .
4. The greatest measure of local autonomy consistent with general unity.

The Organization, which in its forms and principles represented an ideal to the Macedonians, was really a federation of which the constituent units were the five provincial organizations, each of whose territory corresponded with the Turkish vilayet. The executive power of the provincial committee was really more potent, within its own jurisdiction, than the power of the Central Committee of five, each member being the representative of a province.

This tendency towards decentralization is inherent in the temperament of the people. Any proposal for a free Macedonia would have to give it free scope.

The territory of the proposed independent state should, no doubt, correspond more or less with the area I have already indicated as being under the jurisdiction of the Organization, not because of any principle of the “right of conquest” but because the adherence of a community to the Organization


was completely voluntary and thus demonstrated the sentiment of the people. Nevertheless, communal plebiscites should probably be held within a strip of territory passing along what might be regarded as a doubtful region, a sort of “no man’s land ” between the Bulgar population on the one hand and Greek and Serbian territory on the other. The frontier with Bulgaria should conform with the old Turkish-Bulgarian frontier existing before the First Balkan war. This would undoubtedly be fought by the Bulgarian governmental clique, but there would be no public sentiment against it among the people of Bulgaria, who are in favor of a free Macedonia. And on the other hand some of the strongest anti-Bulgarian government communities were close to the old frontier, as Bansko caza, Sandanski’s own territory. These people were probably more pronouncedly in favor of the policy of “Macedonia for the Macedonians” than any other district. There are various reasons why these Macedonians along the frontier would resent being annexed to Bulgaria, provided there was the possible alternative of being part of a free Macedonia. First of all, they are prejudiced against official Bulgaria on account of the depredations committed by the Bulgarian propaganda bands sent across in the earlier years. Then, they do not like the centralized form of the Bulgarian government.



A Federal Union of all the Balkan peoples, regardless of race or creed, was certainly the ideal of such men as Gruev and Sandanski and the more intelligent radicals. A Federal Union of the Slavic peoples at any rate was regarded with a very friendly eye by even the liberal elements. The radical elements in those countries are much more numerous than in more Western countries, for every Bulgar who has had even a part of a gymnasium schooling, unless he goes in for a civil service or a military career, is a Radical, a Socialist. Balkan Socialism, however, emphasizes “internationalism” much more than do the German Socialists, and is directed against the Church, rather than against Capitalism. In other words, it is a protest against conditions which even an American Republican would consider obviously undesirable. Thus, Bulgars who want a republican form of government and desire just such a federal union of states as already exists in the United States, align themselves with the Socialists and, once these objects were attained, would become comparatively conservative.

The Macedonians, to the last man, it would be no exaggeration to say, are radicals in this sense. A free Macedonia, with a democratic form of government, would undoubtedly be a lively factor making for a Balkan Federation. Whether they could accomplish this aim would, of course, not depend entirely on them.

The Bulgarians, I am convinced, would be strongly with them.


A monarchial form of government was, it must be remembered, imposed on the Bulgarians by Russia and Austria. The feeling of the educated masses is all for a republic. Had it not been for the pressure maintained by the powers, a Bulgarian republic would have been established in 1885, alter Alexander’s abdication. Yet in spite of this restriction from the outside, there have been several plots to overthrow the monarchy. In one of these, which was betrayed, the ringleader, or one of the ringleaders, Luka Ivanov, was tried and condemned to death. But before he could be executed the Sobranya, or Popular Assembly, granted him an unconditional pardon. Ivanov was then received by the Macedonian Committee and given command of its field forces in the Vodena district.

Were it possible, therefore, to eliminate Ferdinand and his clique; or, rather, were they left to the Bulgarians to do with as they pleased, I am convinced that Bulgaria would constitute itself a republic, probably on a federal basis with perhaps northern and Southern Bulgaria (Eastern Rumelia) and Adrianople as the constituent units. The next step would probably be a union between Bulgaria and Macedonia.

How soon the present hatred between the Serbs and Bulgars would die down sufficiently to permit a discussion of a further enlarging of the Union is a question. This mutual hatred rests entirely on the events that have occurred since the Balkan Wars and is therefore not fundamental, however keen it may temporarily be. I have travelled through the provincial districts of Serbia with Bulgars as companions


and know from first hand that up to the Second Balkan War the sentiment in Serbia toward the Bulgars was quite cordial. The two peoples can converse together quite freely and read each other’s papers and literature. And though of a less serious temperament radicalism was quite strong among the Serbs. A union between these two peoples would undoubtedly be hastened if the Serbs were allowed to expand into Austria.

That Rumania or Greece could be brought into a Balkan Federation is extremely doubtful. The Greeks especially are strongly under the influence of their priesthood, and the Greek Church would inevitably fight any tendency toward more liberal conditions in the Balkans. Both the Greeks and Rumanians, moreover, are intensely chauvinistic in spirit, the Greeks especially so, and correspondingly suspicious of all foreigners.


In their present state of mind it is extremely probable that the Macedonians would welcome annexation with Bulgaria; that was, in fact, what they were fighting for in the Second Balkan War and that is what they hope to gain through the present war, an independent Macedonia being apparently out of the question. But after a period discontent would assert itself and movements would be organized having as their object, either separation, or discentralization man federation of the parts. How long this process might be delayed would depend on the power of the central government. With a strong government in Sofia, backed by outside Powers, it might be retarded indefinitely. On the other hand the creation of a Greater Bulgaria at this time


would not tend toward peace in the Balkans, if previous conditions continued. The Serbs, Greeks and Rumanians would form an alliance for self protection which might at any opportune moment develop into an offensive alliance. Any measure providing for as large a degree of local autonomy as possible for Macedonia should be fought for, in the interests of the Macedonians and in the interests of future peaceful development. In other words, the Macedonians should be given as much opportunity as possible to assert themselves. The army of occupation should be commanded by Macedonian officers, of which there are a great number in the Bulgarian Army. A native gendarmerie, with native officers, should be insisted on. And the schools should be taken out of the hands of the exarch. On the whole, however, there would be little danger of tyranny, for Macedonia would be incorporated as an integral part of Bulgaria, a was Eastern Rumelia, and the natives would have equal privileges with the Bulgarians of upper Bulgaria.


These two possibilities may be discussed as synonomous, so far as the Macedonians themselves are concerned. Either solution would be equally distasteful to them. Both of those propositions are practically identical with the provisions of the Treaty of Bucharest, for which the Allies have already paid dearly enough. Both mean just what Turkish rule meant; the domination of a people by a government composed of a foreign nationality.


It is almost hopeless to suggest mitigating measures in favor of the inhabitants under such settlements. The history of the Balkans, since the Berlin Conference, is almost a continuous record of attempted reforms of this nature, each and every one of which was an absurd failure. Most notable of these was the attempt to establish a gendarmerie under foreign officers, after the uprising in Monastir in 1904.

Nevertheless, some authorative body should be established composed of disinterested foreigners which should review all transfers of landed property. Strong measures should be taken against the “colonization” policies adopted by both Serbia and Greece after the Second Balkan War. In the Monastir district the population of whole communities was driven off the land and sent in exile to Bulgaria, while Greeks and Serbs were imported and the confiscated lands and houses given to them. The original owners and tenants of the soil should be guaranteed in their rights and these should be perpetually maintained by some outside authority.

This, of course, is suggested merely as a measure of justice. It would not eliminate the seed of future turmoil. Revolutionary movements would be as rife no ever, and violence as frequent as before.


With an independent State established in Macedonia, would the rivalries and jealousies of the neighboring Balkan states continue?

This, of course, would depend on the degree of


support such a settlement would have from the Powers. Also, whether or not the Junker governing cliques, under the Ferdinands and Peters would have their powers restricted. Chief of all the mischief makers in the olden days before the rise of Young Turkey was the Greek Church, but this was because it enjoyed temporal power within Turkish territory. This factor for trouble at least would be eliminated.

In Bulgaria Ferdinand’s annexationist policy would be almost impossible, on account of public sentiment. He would no longer have liberation as a pretext and he would get no support for an aggressive war against the Bulgars of Macedonia. He would, even as in the days of the Committee, be compelled to confine himself to a campaign of internal corruption.

Certainly Bulgaria would never combine with either Serbia or Greece against Macedonia, as they did against Turkey. Alone either Greece or Serbia would be powerless. Unless a Greater Serbia were created at the cost of Austria, and then not all the Powers in Europe and America could prevent a union, or at least a strong alliance, of Bulgaria and Macedonia against Serbia.

The prime cure for these dangers is the democratization of all the peoples concerned. Imperialism has been the cause of all trouble; the most effective antidote to this disease is Democracy.

The second possible objection to be considered is:


would a free Macedonia develop internal disorders among the various race or national elements of the population?

This question was a very live issue at the time of the Berlin Conference and was the pretext for the reactionary measures incorporated in the Berlin Treaty. Macedonia was handed back to Turkey because it was feared that internal disorders would compel Russia to Intervene again and so lead to Bulgaria being annexed as a Russian province.

Russian intrigue did subsequently direct itself toward stirring up just such internal disorders, so that a pretext might be had for a second intervention. But the solidarity which developed among the Bulgarian people, which included Turks and Greeks as well as Bulgars, against the Russian intrigues, is a matter of history. Stamboulov has be given the credit for the success with which Russia was defeated in those attempts to acquire dominance over free Bulgaria, but Stamboulov’s assasination, at the instigation of the Russian autocracy, did not make the slightest breach in the solid front which the Bulgarians presented against Russian intrigue.

Democratic self-government would create this same solidarity in a free Macedonia.

There remains still the danger of aggression from interested European Powers. Russian Imperialism having been eliminated, there might remain Austrian Imperialism, backed by German Imperialism.


This danger, I believe, would be one of the most potent factors in hastening the formation of a Federal Union of the Slavic Balkan States; it might even drive Rumania into becoming a member of such a family.

With Russia gone, the larger would be so obvious that oven Ferdinand could not betray his people to the Teutons, provided Macedonia were free.

Ferdinand’s whole power rests on the fact that he has ever declared himself a champion of oppressed Bulgars. To this pretext he has clung desperately. Without it he would have fallen long ago.

Thus, a free Macedonia would loosen the hold of the Central Powers on Bulgaria to the extent of eliminating Ferdinand’s power of imposing a pro-Teutonic policy on his people. This quite independent of the natural prejudices of the people against Germans and Austrians.

Knowing the Bulgars as intimately as I do, it is my firm belief that a “Middle Europe” scheme is an absurdity, no matter what the outcome of this war may be, unless the Central Powers deliberately conquer Bulgaria with their military forces and maintain a strong military government. In this war it will be noted that while Turkish soldiers have fought on the Galician front, having to cross Bulgarian territory to reach it, not one Bulgarian soldier may be found on territory not inhabited by Bulgars.


Even during the invasion of Rumania, when Mackenzen reconquered Dobrudja with a Bulgarian army, that portion of his left wing which swung across the Danube into Rumania proper was composed of Turkish units, if the dispatches speak the truth.

Nevertheless, this tendency toward self assertion on the part of the Bulgars, and which past events seem to indicate as being equally pronounced among the Serbs, should be encouraged at its source, which is the people themselves. The more freedom they have to express themselves, the more surely will they form a barrier against what is, after all, a greater danger to themselves than to the Allies; German domination. That barrier is a Federal Union of Balkan Slavs, who thus would be able to present a front against the Central Powers which the latter could only break down if given a free rein by the rest of the world.

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Пиша Ви във връзка с начина, по който продуцираните от Вас новинарски емисии по БНТ1 отразяват протестите срещу наскоро приетите от МС промени в плана за управление на Национален парк Пирин.

В редица репортажи по темата, представяте протестите като протести на “еколози” срещу “решението за втори лифт в Банско” (например: емисии на “По света и у нас” от и 28/12/2017 и 04/01/2018 ).

Би трябвало да ви е известно, че в промените в плана за управление на НП Пирин приети от МС на 28 декември 2017 г. изобщо не се споменава втори лифт над Банско, а се отваря вратата за строителство на територията на 48% от националния парък (досега строителство бе възможно на едва 0.6% от територията на парка).

Би трябвало да ви е известно, че “Юлен” (настоящият концесионер на ски зоната над Банско) има планове за значително разширение на ски зоната, така че тя да обхване територии между Симитли и Добринище далеч надхвърлящи границите на настоящата концесия и навлизащи дълбоко в обекта на световното природно наследство. Планове, които са по-близо до осъществяване след последните промени в плана за управление.

На последно място, би трябвало да ви е известно, че огромното мнозинство от хилядите протестиращи в София и други български градове срещу това покушение срещу национален парк Пирин не са еколози, а граждани с най-различни професионални квалификации обединени от загрижеността си за законността и общото ни природно наследство.

Предвид тези обстоятелства, намирам че решението Ви да представите протестите като протести на “еколози” срещу “втория лифт над Банско” подвежда българската общественост, предава обществения интерес, и наподобява повече евтин пиар, отколкото обективна журналистика.

Надявам се скоро да дойде денят, в който не частните финансови интереси и политическия натиск, а общественият интерес, обективността и истината ще са основни критерии при съставянето на новините в БНТ.

В тази връзка искам да Ви насърча да проявявате нужната доблест.

С уважение,
Петър Бакалов
скиор от София

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Псевдоаргументи на псевдопатриоти

от Петър Бакалов

(Обновена версия от 28 декември 2017)

В последните седмици представители на Обединените “патриоти” се проявиха като най-ярките защитници на разширяването на ски зоната над Банско. Благодарение до голяма степен на тяхната подкрепа, днес (28 декември 2017) МС прие промени в плана на управление на Национален парк Пирин, които отварят вратата за сечи и строителство в половината парк.

Енергията с която Валери Симеонов и Красимир Каракачанов (и други по-незначителни представители на “патриотите”) защитават промените, които са в интерес на “Юлен” (концесионер на ски зоната над Банско) и вероятно ще позволят ново значително разширение на ски зоната, доведе до шеги, че Цеко е взел патриотите на концесия (става дума за Цеко Минев, акционер в Първа инвестиционна банка, който е свързан с “Юлен” и “Витоша ски”, компанията-собственик на лифтовете на Витоша).

По-долу са събрани основните аргументи на “патриотите”, заедно с коментар. Вярваме, че читателите сами могат да преценят, доколко аргументите са състоятелни. И дали тук става дума за патриотизъм или нещо друго.

1) Грижим се за поминъка на местните

Разширението на ски зоната отдавна няма общо с поминъка на местните – от десетина години работната ръка не достига и се налага да се внася от други населени места извън региона. Из Банско човек често може да чуе съдържатели на кръчми да подканят потенциални клиенти на непривични за региона диалекти. Че работници в Банско не достигат и трябва да се внасят се потвърждава от представители на общината и хотелиери:

Недостигът на работна ръка е много осезаем и идват много хора, които са извън община Банско,” заяви заместник-кметът Сашка Въчкова. „Ние нямаме персонал от Банско. Целият ни персонал е от други места,” каза Теодора Лазарова, управител на хотел. (източник)

През зимния сезон в района на Банско и Разлог се наемат на работа близо 5000 души. Много от кадрите са работили през лятото на българското Черноморие. Идват и безработни от цяла България, за да намерят своето препитание в продължение на 4-5 месеца в подножието на планините Пирин и Рила. (източник)

2) Нужна е втора кабинкова въжена линия

Става дума за кабиновия лифт, който извозва туристи от Банско до ски зоната в планината. Всъщност по признания на самия концесионер, капацитетът на сегашната кабина може да се увеличи с 40%.

Концесионерът обаче не го прави, а предпочита да води репортери да снимат опашките на паркинга пред лифта и да говори за това как “зелената мафия” скапвала ваканцията на хората. Защо?

Досега няма официално постъпило искане от страна нито на концесионера, нито на общината, за изграждане на нова кабинкова въжена линия. Нито в новия концесионен договор, за чието приемане “патриотите” настояват, нито в новия план за управление, който беше приет от МС, фигурира изграждането на втора кабинка. За сметка на това новият план за управление отвори вратата за строителство в много по-голяма територия (48%) от националния парк. Тоест, мантрата за втора кабина се използва, за да се прокарат промени, които ще развържат ръцете на концесионера за много по-мащабно строителство.

Пътем, вероятно изглежда едно ново разширение на ски зоната да доведе до ново безконтролно строителство в Банско, което отново да доведе до опашки.

Положението е малко като в поговорката, дай ми сиренце да си доям лебецо, дай ми лебец да си доям сиренцето.

3) Искаме да се развива ски спорта в България

Преди време сравнихме цената на сезонната карта в Банско и цената на сезонната карта за цял Тирол. Е, оказа се, че цената на сезонната карта за цял Тирол е по-ниска от тази за Банско.

С други думи, цената за сезонна карта, която дава достъп до стотина ски зони в Австрийската провинция Тирол се оказа по-ниска от цената за сезонна карта за ски зона Банско. Къде е тук грижата за масовия спорт или дори за професионалните скиори (които обикновено имат нужда от сезонна карта).

Всъщност твърденията на Юлен и “патриотите”, че ги е грижа за развитието на ски спорта в България, са лицемерни. Това проличава щом си припомним, че “Витоша ски” – свързаният с “Юлен” и Първа инвестиционна банка собственик на лифтовете около “Алеко” на Витоша – на практика е затворил планината за софиянци. Много от лифтовете са оставени да се разпадат (Романски, Помагалски, Спас, Боби, котвата под Черни връх не работят от години) въпреки възможността да бъдат ремонтирани. Цеко Минев дори преди време излъга (или шефът на федерацията по ски е толкова некомпетентен?), че били много стари и вече не се правели части за тях. Едно разследване на Стоян Георгиев от БТВ (който се свърза по телефона с производителите) доказа, че това не е вярно. В същото време лифтът на Горно лале, най-новият в планината, който на практика дава достъп до цялата ски зона и би могъл да компенсира отчасти липсата на Романски, в последните години не превозва скиори повече от няколко дни в годината.

4) Ама в Алпите е така

Алпите не само са с площ около сто пъти по-голяма от тази на Пирин. По стечение на историческите и икономическите обстоятелства (мислете за недоразвитата икономически Османска империя) природата на много места в Алпите отдавна е загубила първоначалния си див вид, а много от съвременните курорти са установени далеч преди идеите за опазване на природата да добият популярност. Едрите хищници (вълци, мечки) в Алпите са избивани в продължение на столетия и към началото на 20 век вече не се срещат там. Напоследък се правят опити за репопулация и се внасят мечки от други места. Това говори за наивността на сравненията между Алпите, с тяхната отдавна изгубена природа, и Пирин, обект на световното природно наследство, дом на стотици редки и защитени видове, някои срещащи се само в него.

Няма да говорим въобще за разликата във височините, количеството на валежите, височината на дървесната линия, продължителност на ски сезона и други съображения, които вярваме всеки мислещ човек може сам да претегли.

5) Хората в региона подкрепят развитието на ски зоната
Мнимите патриоти Каракачанов и Симеонов се стремят да се представят за изразители и на обществените нагласи в региона и защитници на интересите на банскалии. Същевременно твърдят, че единстените противници на разширението на ски зоната са някакво пренебрежимо малцинство, шепа “зелени рекетьори”, или “200 човека, събрани от пет извънпарламентарни партии, плюс някакви зелени, плюс гей организации” (последното са думи на Каракачанов).

“Патриотите” отново се разминават с истината.

Според социологическо проучване проведено във връзка с новия план за управление на Пирин, около 72% от хората в региона подкрепят опазването на природата, дори то да има неблагоприятни икономически последици.


Предвид изложеното по-горе, вярваме, че непредубедените читателите сами могат да преценят дали “патриотите”, които се хвърлят в защита на промени в плана за управление на НП Пирин, правят това от патриотични подбуди или са движени от мотивация от съвсем друго естество.

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How to switch on a VirtualBox virtual machine remotely via ssh and get its IP address

This note to self explains how to remotely start an existing Oracle VM VirtualBox machine over ssh and find its IP address.

Step 1: once you’ve ssh-ed into the host machine on which you would like to run a VirtualBox virtual machine, start the virtual machine by typing in terminal

$vboxmanage startvm UbuntuVM --type headless

In the above UbuntuVM is the name of the virtual machine that you want to start.

Step 2: to find out the IP address of the VM

$vboxmanage guestproperty enumerate Ubuntu12.04.3 | grep IP

Et voila! Now you can ssh into your VM.

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Патриот ли е Емил Кошлуков, или гербава патерица?

Няколко думи за лицемерието и за надменността присъща на неграмотния

от Петър Бакалов

Повод за бележката е следният пасквил (изпратен ми наскоро от приятелка), в който авторът Емил Кошлуков (журналист и телевизионен водещ) напада Емил Джасим, учител по история и (по това време) кандидат-депутат от “Да, България” за това, че (в една своя TEDxBG презентация от преди няколко години) уж се подигравал с историята и националните ни герои.

Не бих седнал да пиша, но текстът на Кошлуков е такъв блестящ пример на онази отровна комбинация от неграмотност и надменност, същата тази токсична смес, която трови обществото ни от години, че заслужава изобличение.

Надеждата ми е, че – лека-полека – репутацията на хора като Кошлуков ще ги застигне, и разумните и добронамерени хора ще спрат да им обръщат внимание.

Екзархия на три морета, или колко е кьорав Кошлуков

След кратко встъпление, в което Кошлуков с няколко щрихи нахвърля образа на врага (“самопровъзгласили се интелигенти”, които “вият на умряло”, че “[българите са] прости”) и декларира тезата си – Емил Джасим е малограмотен – той бързо прави стъпки към премахване съмненията относно собствената си неграмотност (или непочтеност, не е съвсем ясно). И то още с първия камък, който хвърля по “лошия” Джасим и неговата “клика”. (Епично прострелване в крака от тоя род не се среща често дори в парцалите на прасешката преса, пътем.)

Цитирам от статията: “България на три морета ставало само за тениска, не за история. Общо 22 години сме имали такава България, така че тоя цар Симеон да си го носим знаете къде […] Ако [Джасим] беше отворил картата на Екзархията, бая след онзи цар Симеон е, щеше да види, че пак България е на три морета. И това е след 200 години византийско, 500 години османско иго и още толкова разпокъсвания, войни и разделения. Абе 1000 години по-късно е тази карта, а виж ти – пак на три морета.”

Карта на Екзархията одобрена от МОН. Границите и опират само в едно море.

Много карти на Екзархията сме гледали, и знаем, че на повечето от тях тя е или на едно море (Черното, ако изобразява границите според султанския ферман от 1870 г.), или на най-много на две (ако включва области, в които български духовници са имали позволение да представляват българските общности пред властите, да се грижат за просветното дело и т.н. – макар тези области да не принадлежали формално към Екзархията), но в никакъв случай на три морета. Та един въпрос, който можем да зададем е – лъже ли Кошлуков или недовижда?

Надяваме се да е второто.

Всъщност моментът с трите морета е несъществен. По-големият грях на Кошлуков е другаде. Първо, че приписва на Джасим думи, които не е казвал: “тоя цар Симеон да си го носим знаете къде”. И второ, той подменя същината на посланието на Джасим – Симеон е велик не толкова заради трите морета, а заради Златния век.

Златният век на българската култура и просвета, който за съжаление изглежда не е стигнал да просветли ума на Кошлуков.

Продължителността на живота през 19 век, математика за “грамотни” и трудни ли са за четене “Записките” на Стоянов

Вторият просветителски опит на Кошлуков също не сполучва. Опирайки се на твърдението, че средната продължителност на живота в Османската империя през 19 век била 49 години, той заключва, че когато писал “Историята”, 40 годишният Паисий бил “старец по онези стандарти”.

За да видим наивността на това съждение стига да си припомним, че детската смъртност (дефинирана като % от живородените, които умират преди да навършат 5 години) към 18 век е била около 40%. Изглежда на Кошлуков не е хрумвало, че когато едно дете умре на 2 години, а един дядо на 96, взети заедно те имат средна продължителност на живота 49 години.

По-смешното е, че Кошлуков дава и записките на Захарий Стоянов за доказателство за „старчеството“ на 40-годишния Паисий – Стоянов пишел за някакъв 40-годишен старец. В глава четвърта, уж. Е, отваряме глава четвърта от том първи на “Записките” и там не намираме такъв старец. Старци има, но са на 60 и 65 години. За сметка на това, след като позачитаме “Записките”, установяваме, че старците на Стоянов като цяло са си 60-65 годишни. Не са, значи, били толкова редки 60-годишните старци по онова време. Не че сме много изненадани – Софроний Врачански все пак се преселва на по-доброто място на 74 г., а Неофит Рилски на 88 г., без да са известни като някакви куриози или шампиони по дълголетие.

Така или иначе, пак имаме повод да се запитаме дали Кошлуков има проблем със зрението (за математиката, логическото мислене и познанията по история не питаме – там нещата изглеждат ясни).

И отново, Кошлуков не само греши, но и се хваща за второстепенното, докато пропуска по-важното – митът, за който Джасим говори в ТЕД презентацията си, е че Паисиевата история е насочена предимно срещу турците. Всъщност тя е преди всичко насочена срещу гърците (“[Българите и гърците] рядко някога имали мир, но все война, бой и вражда имали помежду си.” – от “История славянобългарска”), а съвременната българска нация се оформя именно във и чрез продължилите десетилетия (от 30-те години на 19 век) църковни борби срещу гръцката Цариградска партриаршия.

Пеевски – национален герой?

Дотук – нищо особено. Човек, който (очевидно) няма понятие от темата пише назидателно – нормално, все пак надменността е присъща на незнанието, казват.

Нещата обаче добиват сюрреалистичен отенък, когато в своя “патриотичен” пристъп Кошлуков поставя Пеевски редом до Левски, Паисий и цар Симеон:

“Така че проблемът не е, че Джасим се подиграва с историята, с националните герои. При тях само с Прокопиев е забранено да се подиграваш, с друго всичко може. […] Виж, с Пеевски е задължително мимимум 27 пъти дневно, да изкараш надника. С Левски, Паисий и цар Симеон може по-рядко.”

На нас пък ни се струва, че истинската подигравка с нацията е това да съпоставиш Пеевски с Левски, Паисий и цар Симеон. И внушението, че за да се подиграваш на Пеевски, някой трябва да ти плаща надница. И чичко Оруел би завидял на такава способност за изкривяване на реалността.

И между другото, съпоставката е толкова ласкателна за Пеевски, че човек може да се зачуди дали не е плод на някой нездрав лакейски инстинкт у автора.

Прости ли са българите

Доста още може да се напише за перфидните внушения и глупостите в текста на Кошлуков, но няма нужда. От горното е видно, че човекът не знае за какво говори или – още по-зле – умишлено заблуждава. И в двата случая не може да му се вярва.

Все пак има нещо смешно в това, че този, който обявява Джасим за малограмотен, се разкрива като такъв; смешно е, и че този който уж защитава Паисий от Джасим и “кликата” около него, която уж обяснявала на българите, че са прости, изглежда не подозира, че самият Паисий пише в своята История: „за простите българи просто и написах“.

Всъщност Джасим прилича на Паисий по нещо – и двамата разбиват митове и вървят срещу течението – за разлика от нашия пишман просветител, който по наше мнение вероятно нахлузва наметалото на патриoтизма не толкова от любов към народа и омраза към нарочените за негови душмани, колкото от желание да брани корумпираната настояща политическа класа и да очерни тези, които я застрашават.

Нашият народ, слава на Бога, има една хубава приказка – на лъжата краката са къси. Поне когато има кой да я изобличи. Така че вярвам, че кошлукопитеците ще си получат заслуженото.

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