Slav-Macedonian Political Separatists

 

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Map published in the Yugoslav newspaper Borba for 26 Aug 1946, showing the Yugoslav Macedonia and the ethnic boundaries as they dreamed from the Slavmacedonian Separatists

FYROM´s (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) irredentist policy towards Greece from 1944 to the present, is a policy that is in flagrant breach of the Interim Agreement signed by the two parties in 1995, calls on FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) to put an end to any expressions of irredentism. The FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) pseudo-irredentist propaganda, by which it essentially disputes Greece´s sovereignty over the northern part of the country, is promoted with a barrage of advertisements in American media, and with the publication of Parliament resolutions and State law suits by so called “Aegean Macedonians” against the Greek state. [1]

“Aegean Macedonia” is a Slav Macedonian irredentist term used to refer to the region of Macedonia in Greece, in the context of a greater ‘United Macedonia’. The origins of the term seem to be rooted in the 1940s, but its modern usage is widely considered ambiguous and irredentist. The term has occasionally appeared on several maps circulated in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which envisioned Greek Macedonia (referred to as “Aegean Macedonia”) as part of a “Greater Macedonia”, and is regarded as a challenge of the legitimacy of Greek sovereignty over the area [2].


King Boris of Bulgaria arrives in Skopje April,1942 to the adulation of the Fyromians/Vardaskans shouting “our King our King”

WHO ARE THESE “AEGEAN MACEDONIANS”?

In Greece, at the World War II and after the Germans invaded in 1941, they established occupation zones for their forces and those of their Italian and Bulgarian allies. In Macedonia (only the Greek province used that name at the time), the German High Command under Field Marshal Sieg-mund List approved of the presence of Slavophone (bilingual) “liaison officers” to be attached to the occupying forces. These were mostly Bulgarian officers linked to the nationalist group VMRO (Slavic for “Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization”), whose agenda was to mobilize and coordinate the activities of Slavophone inhabitants in Macedonia and Vardar Banovina, for the benefit of the Axis occupiers. The leader of VMRO was Ivan Mihailoff (known as Vancho), a major figure in the history of Southeast European extremist nationalist movements, though little studied even by experts [3].

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People from FYROM in Skopje posing with their allies German soldiers with the irredentist map of Greater Macedonia behind them

Most of the Slavophone inhabitants in all parts of divided Macedonia (and in Vardar Banovina, present FYROM) perhaps a million and a half in all – had a Bulgarian national consciousness at the beginning of the Occupation; and most Bulgarians, whether they supported the Communists, VMRO, or the collaborating government, assumed that all Macedonia would fall to Bulgaria after the war as Chris Woodhouse mentions [4]. Communist leader at the time, Josip Broz Tito was determined for this not to happen. The first Congress of AVNOJ (Slavic for “Anti-Fascist Council”) in November 1942, had parented equal rights to all the ‘peoples of Yugoslavia’, and specified the (Slav) Macedonian population among them. By implication, the guarantee could be extended to Pirin (Bulgarian) Macedonia and “Aegean (Greek) Macedonia”. Thus this scenario was a creation of Tito, in order to provide a launching-pad from which to invade and occupy ´proper´ Macedonia found in northern Greece (refer to attached map).

Detachments of Slavophone volunteers were first formed in 1943, and accompanied by Italian units searching for arms from the stores of the retreating Greek forces, which the country people were often hiding. These volunteers joined the Italian-sponsored “Axis-Macedonian-Bulgarian Committee,” which later became better known as the “Komitato” or “Komitet”, first founded in Kastoria by Anton Kaltchev, a Bulgarian officer of Slav-Macedonian antecedents, connected to Mihailoff´s VMRO who enjoyed the respect of the Germans. Soon after, a military arm of this organization was formed and came to be known as the “Macedonian-Bulgarian Command,” or less formally as the “Ohrana”.

POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION

When the Germans withdrew from Greece, and Bulgaria declared war on Germany, the Ohrana and the Slavophone collaborationist effort collapsed. Anton Kaltchev fled Greece, but was apprehended by Yugoslav communist partisans and was delivered to ELAS (Greek People’s Liberation Army). After the end of the war he was put on trial as criminal of war and was sentenced to death by the Greek military court [5].

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Graffiti written in Slavic supporting Markos Vafiadis, a renegade general for KKE (DSE) during the Greek civil war.

Many of the Greek Slavophones who had filled the ranks of the VMRO volunteer (i.e., Axis collaborator) units, enlisted in the ranks of SNOF (Slavo-Macedonian Popular Liberation Front), which was created by the Greek Communist Party. After Bulgaria aligned itself with the Soviets, the process further accelerated. Thus, Slavophone collaborators found their way to DSE (Demokratikos Stratos Elladas), the military force of the Greek Communist Party, and during the civil war in Greece (1946-49) renamed the SNOF organization to NOF.

UN COMMISSION REPORT

Following the resolution of the Security Council of April 18, 1947. a commission was set up in order to investigated the Greek Frontier Incidents. The general conclusion of the UN Security Commission on the Macedonian issue was as follows:

biglogo Slav Macedonian Political Separatists
The U.N. Logo of 1947

The Yugoslav and Bulgarian Governments themselves revived and promoted a separatist movement among the Slav minorities in Macedonia. In making this finding, the Commission pointed out that some 20,000 Greek citizens had fled to Yugoslavia and some 5,000 to Bulgaria — most of them Slavs — and that the treatment of this group by Greek officials had “provided fertile breeding ground for separatist movements.” In Yugoslavia, Macedonian separatism was the special goal of an organization called the NOF (National Labor Front) which had its headquarters in Skopje and Monastir» [6].

LEGAL PROBLEMS

Recently, (July 2008) the issue of a “Macedonian minority” in Greece and the returning of the properties to “Aegeans”, (even directly from the leader of the ultranationalist VMRO and Prime Minister of FYROM Nikolas Gruevski, and the confirmation from the FYROM Parliament), has been orchestrated purely for the promotion and the support of the requests for property compensations.

After the Greek Civil War (1949), some 20,000 to 25,000 Slav-Macedonian separatists (with their families) from Greece settled in Yugoslav Macedonia. These “Aegeans”, as they were arbitrarily group-labelled by the local Communist leaders in Skopje, were not a tightly-knit community despite allegations to the contrary; many of them had simply become trapped in Yugoslavia, and were the Yugoslav Macedonian’s captives – hostages to an irredentist ambition. The question of the properties of fugitives and refugees from Greece was one that was already on the minds of the Yugoslav authorities, from the early 1950s. Initially, it was widely thought that the negotiations with Greece should include a demand for indemnities. Nevertheless, this line of thought was soon abandoned; the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry´s legal department had given its opinion that anything of the sort would be legally null and void; and for good reasons too. There are a large number of Yugoslavian documents that support the above historical fact [7].

FYROM and activist centers have accused Greece because it passed the Law 3370/1955 that concerns the Greek nationality and the Ministerial decree No. 106841/29 Dec. 1982, that concerns the free repatriation and return to Greek citizenship of political refugees of the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949. They both accept as a criterion of implementation the ethnic identity (genos) of the citizens, and apparently contradict the Greek Constitution. For this reason alone, they are considered by the aforementioned reports as indispensable evidence for the unfair treatment of ethnic minorities in Greece. A better understanding of these laws requires a deep knowledge of the Macedonian Question and its special and complex relation to the Greek Civil War; when Greek Macedonia became the target of Yugoslav territorial expansionism using Slav-Macedonian activists in Greece as a vehicle for these aspirations. Unfortunately observers are reluctant to understand and explain; but more apt to judge and condemn [8].

CONCLUSION

Slavmacedonian Political Separatists who were born in Greece and in 1949 fled to Tito´s Communist “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”, who years before (during Greece´s occupation by the Axis in 1941-1944) had openly expressed pro-Bulgarian sentiments and affiliations and enthusiastically collaborated with the Bulgarian allies of the Nazis – those very people – decided, literally overnight, to make a drastic and highly opportunistic change of their political affiliations and national consciousness.

These Slavmacedonian Political Separatists and as mentioned collaborators of the Bulgarian and Italian fascist occupation transformed, as if by magic, to left-wing Slav Macedonians fully committed to the propaganda and designated aims of Tito. From 1946-1949 they fought for the secession of Macedonia and Thrace from Greece. But during this time they wore the cloak of Communist Internationalism and followed the rhetoric of the ´class struggle´ ideals. Having tasted defeated twice, and within a relatively short time, (and fearing that justice for their actions was rapidly approaching) they decided to flee from Greece and into Skopje. Since then they became the basis and the cornerstone of the FYROM pseudo-macedonian propaganda. Many of them afterwards immigrated to the USA, Canada and Australia carrying with them every bit of hatred and fanaticism towards anything Greek, bringing with them the very same sentiments that had misguided their flawed actions and agendas from the past.

NOTES

[1]- FYROM´s Provocations and their American Godfathers, Mihalis Ignatiou, Ethnos Newspaper, 19th July 2008
[2]-“The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World”, Loring M. Danforth, p. 37
[3]- The Reality and the Weight of History: Why the Greek People Cannot Easily Accept FYROM’s Claims, Aristide D. Caratzas, hellenicnews.com
[4]-“The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949″, Chris Woodhouse, page 67
[5]-Trial of the Bulgarian and Italian Criminal of wars at Macedonia , Royal Prosecutor Ioannis Papakyriakopoulos, 1946
[6]- A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941-4,(U.S. Govt. Print. Off), 1950
[7]- The Hostages of Skopje-Fugitives, properties, and repatriation: Yugoslav confidential documents, Society for Macedonian Studeis, 2008
[8]-Recycling Propaganda: Remarks on Recent Reports on Greece’s “Slav-Macedonian Minority” by Vlassis Vlasidis – Veniamin Karakostanoglou, Macedonian Press Agency-Institute for Balkan Studies , 1996

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  1. Towards the resettlement of a Slav-Macedonian minority in Macedonia?
  2. Slav-Macedonian Australian newspaper prints falsifications
  3. Macedonia News : Reply by the Pan-Macedonian Association USA to FYROM’s Foreign Minister
  4. Pan-Macedonian Association of the Macedonian Struggle regarding the Greek-“Macedonian” lexicon
  5. Pan-Macedonian Association of the Macedonian Struggle regarding the Statue of Alexander the Great
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