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Old 04-12-2019, 05:55 AM   #51
vicsinad
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I'll touch back on this at the end of the month when i have more time to revisit the sources that talk about this. From memory it was Shandanov's memoirs but i could be wrong.

I enjoy these type of discussions, good to get another perspective from someone who is knowledgeable in that period of Macedonian history.
Yes, absolutely agree -- so many conflicting testimonies about this event (May Manifesto and Aleksandrov's assassination), as well as other events during this period...it can really be hard to sort through this all and say one version is absolutely the truth.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:35 AM   #52
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Are there any free books/articles available online (in English or Macedonian) that deal with Macedonians and their organizations in United States and Canada in 1920s/1930s/etc.?
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:52 PM   #53
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Are there any free books/articles available online (in English or Macedonian) that deal with Macedonians and their organizations in United States and Canada in 1920s/1930s/etc.?
Not really, that's why I wrote all those books on Macedonians in America. I have 7 of them. If there's anything you want to know, just ask. I don't want all that knowledge/research to go to waste lol
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:35 PM   #54
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Not really, that's why I wrote all those books on Macedonians in America. I have 7 of them. If there's anything you want to know, just ask. I don't want all that knowledge/research to go to waste lol
In one of your previous posts you wrote the following:

"There membership in the 1920s and 1930s was not any higher because of three reasons: 1) many Macedonians were not on board with the MPO from the get-go (think pastor David Nakoff and his followers); 2) MPO suffered major divisions once the Mihailov-Protogerov feud escalated with Protogerov's death; MPO almost ceased to exist, but the Protogerovists essentially left en-masse; 3) the creation of the Macedonian People's League attracted most of those Macedonians who a) were from the old IMRO guard (those that fought in Ilinden); b) had supported Macedonian ethnicity and language; and c) were left-leaning."

1) Would you be able to provide more information about how Macedonians were not on board with the MPO? For example, summaries of any articles/brochures/newspapers about this?

2) Would you be able to elaborate about the divisions in MPO in more detail?

3) Summaries or pictures (if any) from the "congress" of the creation of the Macedonian People's League?

Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:51 AM   #55
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1) Would you be able to provide more information about how Macedonians were not on board with the MPO? For example, summaries of any articles/brochures/newspapers about this?

2) Would you be able to elaborate about the divisions in MPO in more detail?

3) Summaries or pictures (if any) from the "congress" of the creation of the Macedonian People's League?

Thanks.

Question 1: Excerpt from George Pirinsky book:

Quote:
But of course, most of MPL’s time was consumed by promoting the Macedonian agenda and combating Bulgarian and MPO propaganda. These confrontations started early on and persisted through MPL’s existence. For example, in 1932, Pirinsky attended a meeting of “radicals” in Akron to help organize progressive Macedonians there.129 In a later meeting in Akron, Pirinsky and his progressive followers fought with MPO members and sympathizers, who dominated the area; and Pirinsky and his followers were evicted from several other meetings there. Apparently, at one meeting, Pirinsky brought in Macedonians and African-Americans, which upset many of the MPO members. One MPO member spat in Pirinsky’s face, which caused the fight to break out.130

In a 1933 meeting of Macedonians at a café in Hammond, Indiana, Pirinsky and several MPL members, along with other progressive Macedonians, got into a massive brawl with MPO members. The fight escalated into a shoot-out, as the MPO was irritated by Pirinsky and the MPL for trying to organize Macedonians into the progressive movement and steal Macedonians from their organization. Pirinsky and several others were arrested.131

At the MPO convention in Fort Wayne on September 2, 1934, four MPL members were arrested and charged with communistic activities during the opening session. They were officially charged with violating a city ordinance prohibiting the passing of handbills without license fees. The handbills criticized Mayor William Hosey for giving welcoming addresses to the convention, and they stated that “city officials did not know the type of persons they were greeting,” referring to the fascist connections of the MPO. The handbills were signed by MPL officials and detectives stated MPL was a communistic group. The four arrested all lived in Fort Wayne.132

The next year, at the MPO convention in Akron over Labor Day weekend in 1935, the MPL circulated a statement issued by the MPL central committee, and signed by Pirinsky, that claimed the MPO convention in progress did not represent the suffering and heroic struggle of the Macedonian people for national liberty. It particular, it read:

Those Macedonians who are members of the Macedonian Political Organization are being misled; their leaders are Macedonian fascist agents of Bulgarian imperialism and two of its leaders, Peter Atseff, general secretary, and L. Dimitroff, editor of the Macedonian Tribune, were imported from fascist Bulgaria.

The statement then appealed to members of the MPO to “throw out of your ranks the fascist leaders and murderers of your brothers, friends and sisters and unite with us in a joint struggle against the tyrants of Macedonia.”133

...

Narodna Volya also served as a spark that caused many battles and severe divisions between Macedonians. The paper was especially used to attack Ivan Mihajlov’s right-wing IMRO in Macedonia and its MPO face in America. It referred to them as “terrorists” and “Bulgarian nationalists and fascists.” For example, the MPL chapter in Toronto attacked the Toronto MPO chapter claiming that the MPL and its supporters were “the only true voice of the sentiments and desires of the Macedonian immigration in the USA and Canada.” In return,
the MPO and Bulgarian Orthodox Church declared that these statements by MPL discredited the Bulgarian community; and then in June 1932, they stated that only MPO and Sts. Cyril and Methodius Macedono-Bulgarian Orthodox Church represented Macedono-Bulgarian immigration to Toronto, and that Canadian authorities should only deal with them and their institutions. The MPO further claimed that Pirinsky was not a progressive idealist but a paid communist agent working with left-wing immigrants to confuse the Slavic speaking populations. MPO then revealed Pirinsky’s contacts with Yugoslav, Bulgarian and Soviet communist party members.138

Pirinsky was adamantly against the MPO’s ties with IMRO, fascism and Bulgarian nationalism, and this message remained consistent and powerful throughout his life in America. He told a Congressional Panel in the late 1940s:

The main objective of that organization – it was founded in reaction against a situation that existed among Macedonian Americans here. Some Fascist leaders, Macedonians who were living in Bulgaria, came to this country and founded the Macedonian Political Organization, with headquarters in Indianapolis. These people were telling our Americans of Macedonian descent that Hitler will be the one to liberate Macedonia…

[Fascist leaders] were carrying on assassinations of Macedonian progressive leaders. So our organization came into being as a reaction on the part of Macedonian Americans . . . We formed the Macedonian People’s League to fight against this policy of fascism that was being injected in the minds of our people…

Generally, we also support the fight of the Macedonian people for freedom. After the two Balkan wars, Macedonia remained oppressed. It was divided between the three Balkans countries and we felt that whatever moral support can be given here to encourage this people to continue to work for their national independence should be done by us.139
Another struggle, defined in my David Nakoff book, was how in the mid-1920s the MPO managed to make inroads into Nakoff's church (Nakoff was a Macedonian priest) and congregation. He fought them in court for many years -- Nakoff wanted the church to split essentially from the Bulgarian church but MPO members didn't want that. Eventually, the US courts ruled that Nakoff's church was in the control of the Bulgarian OC and that he had to follow the BOC's direction. Nakoff and his followers said their church had nothing to do with Bulgaria and everything to do with a church Vardar Macedonia (southern Serbia at that time). Nakoff and his followers then formed the first Macedonian Orthodox Church (called the Macedonian-American Orthodox Church) not under the control of the BOC and free from MPO members. This church lasted until Nakoff died and his flock couldn't find a new priest. They rejoined with the BOC Macedonians in the 1940s; but this culminated in a shoot-out at the church (with an MPO member killing two of Nakoff's flock) because the MPO wanted to install a Mihajlovist priest as the new priest.

Question 2:

This passage from my MPO book touches on both questions 2 and 3:

Quote:
Still, the 1930 Youngstown Convention highlighted real divisions. Zografoff resigned as Tribune editor. Nizamoff describes MPO President Shaneff’s dilemma, as well:

Mr. Shaneff was a close friend of Zografoff, and he too considered stepping aside. Taking into consideration the prevailing atmosphere and the uncompromising attitude of some of the delegates, Mr. Shaneff's pending resignation would have created a divisive split in the organization. Some of the most influential and concerned delegates then gathered together and contacted Mr. Shaneff. They presented their case to him. He listened patiently and politely and finally said: “My friends, I do not want to see a split in the MPO any more than you do. We are going to accept.”63

As a viable organization, the MPO was saved. However, the Macedonian Cause in North America remained fractured and would continue to remain fractured for several decades. Soon after this convention, Zografoff published an article warning of the impending doom lurking over Europe because of narrow nationalism, which could only be described as a reaction to the events that unfolded three weeks earlier at the MPO convention. His 1930 editorial read, in part:

More than ten years has passed since the war. Many events have occurred in this period and they showed that the world war, especially the peace treaties, did not bring the expected peace, security and justice in the world. We are witnesses of a reviving, and perhaps strong, spirit of narrow nationalism, as a militant force, opposed to some nationalism of other people, which spirit is dividing Europe into new hostile camps.

Great efforts are to be made to save humanity from a new war, which might destroy the whole world. In my opinion, the elementary duty in the present time of every citizen in every country is: To preach and to work for the rooting in the heart’s feelings of brotherhood not only toward people of former allied countries, but also toward people of every nation, and for the rooting in the conscience of the generation that the only way to attain peace and security in the international life is the way of justice and good will among all nations of the world.64


This was Zografoff’s final public word on the matter. In his wisdom, he saw the need for not only the Macedonians to unite against fascism and narrow nationalism, but for the world’s countries to do the same. He forewarned of drastic consequences if not – and history proved him right.

With Zografoff gone, the MPO now needed to replace him. At the Youngstown convention, they appointed Luben Dimitroff as editor. Dimitroff – more about him in a moment – was still in Sofia, however, so they sought to fill the void until his arrival in 1931.65 Avramoff volunteered to edit the Tribune for the time being.66 During his stint as editor, the Tribune began publishing hundreds of articles detailing the lives of revolutionaries who died fighting the Serbian government in Vardar Macedonia (Serbian-occupied Macedonia, today the Republic of Macedonia). The Tribune furthermore began to expose spies, betrayers and traitors to Mihajlov’s IMRO.67 In this way, MPO was finally doing the propaganda and ‘legal’ work for Mihajlov’s IMRO.

It was not just through publishing Mihajlov’s writings, such as when, in 1936, the MPO published a booklet by Ivan Mihajlov (who was writing under the name Balkanicus at the time) justifying IMRO’s assassinations of Serbian officials,68 that MPO was serving Mihajlov’s agenda. In 1999, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a confidential 1953 document that highlighted the real connection between Ivan Mihajlov’s IMRO and the MPO throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In part, the CIA operative stated:

The US branch of the IMRO is the Macedonian Political Organization [MPO] which, through its secretary Luben Dimitroff, acts as a money raising organ to support Ivan Mihailov. Dimitroff is completely subservient to Mihailov who sets the policy for MPO activities in the US. Dimitroff and several of his staff are paid for their work, while Ivan Mihailov receives approximately US $8,000 per year plus expenses. Although the money to pay the salaries is raised in the US very few people know that Ivan Mihailov is hiding in Italy under an assumed name which unfortunately, I do not know.69

Not only did the MPO begin advocating for Mihajlov’s and IMRO’s goals and beliefs, they soon became Mihajlov’s champions, even when most Macedonians worldwide despised him.

The CIA further detailed that Mihajlov cooperated with the Nazis during World War II. It then insisted that Avramoff had been sent to North America by Mihajlov “to strengthen the MPO, collect more money and also to spot the opposition to the MPO both in Canada and the US.” The CIA exposed Mihajlov even further:

In 1945, when Tito created an autonomous Communist Macedonia, the MPO congress in the US sent a congratulatory telegram to Tito…Later, when Tito broke from Moscow, the MPO and Mihailov broke with Tito…Recently, Mihailov sent to the US two of his most trusted associates who are currently in Detroit. They are: Ivan Vassilev who has become president of the MPO branch in Detroit; Vassilev’s real name is Ivan Ilchev but he changed it so he could enter the US. The other henchman is Argir Nikolov.70

The CIA operative concluded: “I would say that Ivan Mihailov is a gangster, terrorist who cannot be trusted by the US or anyone; he runs the IMRO and the MPO entirely for his own advancement.”71 Even author Joseph Roucek, in his 1948 book Balkan Politics, wrote that “the aims of the Macedonian Political Organizations were at first ‘to work in a legal manner for the independence of Macedonia’; after 1931, however, and especially after 1933, the influence of Mihailoff prevailed. The organization contributed large sums of money to Mihailoff’s cause and tried to appeal to the American public on its behalf.”72

It is because of this reality, which the CIA and others recognized over seven decades ago (the true nature of Mihajlov, his aims and his methods) that the MPO found itself under constant attacks by the “left-wing” Macedonian groups that were adamantly anti-Mihajlov. For example, in September of 1932, Toronto MPO members got into a melee with Macedonians belonging to the Macedonian Progressive and National Organization (MPNO). MPO members accused the MPNO of being Communists. MPNO countered by “accusing members of [the MPO] of being sympathetic to Bulgaria instead of working for Macedonian independence.” In this fight, “chairs, jugs, fists and even a knife were used, sending eight men to hospital for scalp-wound treatment” and “two men suffered abdominal wounds.” About 100 people were involved in the fight, and scores of others suffered minor injuries.73

Two years later, an anonymous MPO member submitted an editorial to the Akron Beacon that, on the surface, appeared to be quite pro-Macedonian:

The strong Macedonian freedom seeking political organization [MPO] of United States and Canada make drastic cuts to free themselves of the ‘blood sucking unjust European vampires.’ Along with the Macedonian political organizations are the communists and socialists who demand rights, justice and equality…Serbia and Greece divided the famous ancient country, Macedonia. Will they let the Macedonians have their own churches? No! Their own schools? No! What constitutional rights then do these Macedonians have? None whatever!74

In reply to this, however, another Macedonian responded by condemning the author’s views, especially for MPO’s Mihajlov ties:

I state that the Macedonian political organizations are neither strong, nor effective in scaring these Fascist governments, and furthermore, the parent organization of the Macedonian political organization in Europe, the so-called ‘Interior Macedonian Revolutionary Organization’, under the leadership of Evan Mihailoff, is helping the Bulgarian king and his government to kill the Macedonian progressives such as Dimo H. Dimoff, Karakiroff, Hristo Traveoff and many others which were shaving the stability of the Bulgarian Fascist government, and thus creating a misunderstanding in the Macedonian revolutionary movement. Secondly, they never cooperated with the communists, nor socialists, which, from a revolutionary standpoint, are the real friends of the oppressed, and economically exploited people. The real fight against the governments and its helpers in undertaken by the IMRO-United, in Macedonia itself and the Macedonian People’s league of United States and Canada.75
Question 3:

This is from my George Pirinsky book; I think it should give enough of a summary:

Quote:
By the next year, Pirinsky had enough Macedonian support to begin circulating a newspaper called The Macedonian Bulletin. It was in this publication, in 1928, where Pirinsky first “organized a committee of Macedonians to coordinate messages, and distribute a socialist newspaper, the Macedonian Bulletin, which criticized the MPO for its conservative politics and for opposing the establishment of a sovereign Macedonia.”27 Pirinsky envisioned an independent Macedonia, or at least a Macedonian republic within a Balkan federation. The MPO’s views on the issue was confused and scattered at best, sometimes arguing for the same, and other times arguing for a Macedonian federation with Bulgaria.

The formation of the MPL as it was known throughout the 1930s and 1940s came during the following year, in 1929. Pirinsky and a Macedonian by the name of Cross Mischeff were the initiators and organizers. After some deliberations, the two recruited Smile Voydanoff to be the chairman of the MPL. FBI Special Agent Charles Solomon noted that they probably chose Voydanoff to be the chairman “because he was a rather well-to-do elderly man who had an intense interest in gaining the ultimate freedom of Macedonia and the Balkan states.”28 He had led a guerilla band during “the Balkan war for independence from Greece”29 and had no greater desire than to see a free Macedonia. An FBI informant claimed that he had once warned Voydanoff that he was being misled into acting as a front for a Communist organization.30 Voydanoff either didn’t believe the informant or didn’t care because he himself was aligned with Pirinsky’s goals to establish an independent Macedonian nation and was opposed to MPO’s agenda.

Regardless, Voydanoff was a smart pick to be a central figure of the MPL. With Voydanoff as a top figure in MPL, it would be easier for many Macedonians who respected him (whether or not they were with the MPO) to flock to the MPL. Meanwhile, Pirinsky was the driving force of the organization and was elected its secretary,31 and Mischeff became editor of their newspaper, called Soznanie (Consciousness).32 Before Mischeff became the editor of Soznanie, however, it was edited by the former editor of the Socialist Labor Party newspaper in Granite City, Illinois. However, this individual was expelled from the Communist Party in 1932 and returned to the Balkans.33 Thus, these three men formed the first central committee of the organization.34

The purpose of the MPL, as stated in Article 1 of the organization, was the following:

The MPL aims to help, with all its efforts, the liberation and unification of Macedonia in an independent people’s republic and its joining as an equal member of the future Balkan federation of the free Balkan nations.35

Pirinsky stressed this purpose many years later at a U.S. Congressional investigation into his alleged communist ties, when senators were accusing him of taking orders from Tito. Pirinsky insisted that MPL’s fight for Macedonia’s freedom originated long before they knew of Tito’s existence or involvement in Macedonia.36

According to the MPL’s Articles of Incorporation, however, the MPL’s purpose was “to educate the Macedonian-Americans in the spirit of American democracy.”37 This tune was echoed often, especially in front of American audiences, such as when advertising their annual convention in 1940, claiming that the organization was founded for the purpose of educating Macedonian immigrants in the spirit of true American democracy and to give moral and material support in the struggle of the Macedonian people for national liberation.38
Pirinsky, though, acknowledged that the underling purpose of the group was “to get moral support in the United States with the program of obtaining an independent Balkan Federation”39 with Macedonia as an equal republic. Pirinsky stressed that the MPL “did not believe in a forceful formation of Macedonia but would give financial aid to a ‘political policy’ for Macedonian independence.”40 This was likely not just fodder to please and appease an unsuspecting public: Pirinsky and the Macedonian progressives were, in general, disheartened and disgusted by the terroristic activities of the right-wing Macedonians (in Macedonia) that killed and targeted other Macedonians who ideologically disagreed with them.

The IMRO’s right-wing group in America, the MPO, communicated a different reason for MPL’s existence. According to an FBI informant named Tsvetco Anastasoff, an elderly but strong supporter of the MPO, the MPL was directed from abroad by Georgi Dimitrov, a Macedonian exiled from Bulgaria and living in Russia and serving as secretary of the Third International there (Dimitrov would eventually become the Prime Minister of Bulgaria). Anastasoff claimed that Dimitrov ordered MPL members to “conduct an open campaign of hate” against the MPO. These orders appeared in the Soznanie newspaper, according to Anastasoff.41

Undoubtedly, MPL’s goals were to counter the ideology of the MPO, and anti-MPO activity became a significant part of its agenda.
Mischeff and Pirinsky, however, often disputed over the structure and purpose of the organization. Mischeff insisted that the organization ought to be “out and out communist” while Pirinsky wanted it to be a “united front organization.”42 The extent to which the Soznanie newspaper should be used for supporting communism, along with a brief shortage of funds, heightened their disagreements.43 The U.S. Communist Party arbitrated this dispute after several years of disagreements by sending a communist official from New York City44 to preside over their dispute; and in 1936 Mischeff was kicked out of both the Communist Party and the MPL.
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:36 PM   #56
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Thanks vicsinad. Pretty thorough.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:53 AM   #57
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I see Todor Aleksandrov's collaboration with the Bulgarian army and Government during his lifetime as a means to an end (no different to other Macedonian revolutionaries before him) - to gain finances and arms for the organisation. When the comm-intern and Soviet Union expressed interest in the 1920's for the Macedonian cause, he saw this as a golden opportunity for a new ally that was not tied to Bulgarian interests and their anti-Macedonian politics.

It should be stressed that just prior to the manifesto being made public, secret talks among the various warring Macedonian factions were being held in Vienna with the intention of bringing peace among them and starting fresh as a strong and unified Macedonian front with a common Macedonian goal - the re-unification of dismembered Macedonia. The newly unified Macedonian organisations were to swear that, from that moment on, they would end all contact with the Bulgarian Government and fight against its anti-Macedonian politics. This was never intended to be made public because of the enormity of what was being stated and how extremely detrimental it was to Bulgarian interests in Macedonia. However, when the manifesto was made public in the newspaper Balkan Federation, it did not hide what it thought of the neighbouring Balkan states and labeled them enemies of Macedonia and the Macedonian people. Not only that but the May Manifesto treats the Macedonian people in their own right, as a separate and independent Balkan people and not as part of some other neighbouring Balkan people. This would have pissed off Bulgaria to no end and, as far as those in power were concerned, heads would need to roll.

Todor Aleksandrov would have known this and, although current literature of the time suggests that Aleksandrov feared for his life and, as a consequence, denied that he ever signed the manifesto to save his own hide, I have a slightly different take on what might have gone down. Regardless of whether he personally signed the document himself or representatives of his, he knew exactly what was being asked of him to agree upon and give his blessing to. Apparently, he warned his reps not to be too quick to sign anything but, nevertheless, he was fully aware of what was being put on the table. Although members of a fractured VMRO (left, right or centralist), and regardless of which faction they belonged to, none could be accused of being cowards who were afraid to die, least of all Todor Aleksandrov. These guys were fanatical members of one of Europe's most deadly revolutionary organisations. All of them were blind followers of the ideology they espoused, whether it was to see a completely independent and united Macedonia standing alone or a united Macedonia within some kind of Balkan confederation or even a Macedonia that would one day be incorporated into a Greater Bulgaria. All of them would have gladly given their lives for Macedonia, something they swore to do over a Bible with a crossed revolver and dagger lying on top. Todor Aleksandrov does not strike me as one who would have shirked at the thought of dying for Macedonia. On the contrary, I think his main concern was more selfless than that. If I were to put myself in Todor Aleksandrov's shoes, just after it was made public that my signature was on a document espousing separatism and threatening the territorial integrity of the country I was, on the surface of it, seemingly supporting (i.e. Bulgaria), then I would know that it was pretty much a certainty that my days would be numbered and that I would die in vain at an assassin's hands at a time when my real country and people, Macedonia and Macedonians, needed me most.
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:31 AM   #58
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Great info Vic, top read.

Karposh, can you provide some evidence on that?
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:20 AM   #59
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Evidence on what?
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:42 AM   #60
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I see Todor Aleksandrov's collaboration with the Bulgarian army and Government during his lifetime as a means to an end (no different to other Macedonian revolutionaries before him) - to gain finances and arms for the organisation. When the comm-intern and Soviet Union expressed interest in the 1920's for the Macedonian cause, he saw this as a golden opportunity for a new ally that was not tied to Bulgarian interests and their anti-Macedonian politics.

It should be stressed that just prior to the manifesto being made public, secret talks among the various warring Macedonian factions were being held in Vienna with the intention of bringing peace among them and starting fresh as a strong and unified Macedonian front with a common Macedonian goal - the re-unification of dismembered Macedonia. The newly unified Macedonian organisations were to swear that, from that moment on, they would end all contact with the Bulgarian Government and fight against its anti-Macedonian politics. This was never intended to be made public because of the enormity of what was being stated and how extremely detrimental it was to Bulgarian interests in Macedonia. However, when the manifesto was made public in the newspaper Balkan Federation, it did not hide what it thought of the neighbouring Balkan states and labeled them enemies of Macedonia and the Macedonian people. Not only that but the May Manifesto treats the Macedonian people in their own right, as a separate and independent Balkan people and not as part of some other neighbouring Balkan people. This would have pissed off Bulgaria to no end and, as far as those in power were concerned, heads would need to roll
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Evidence on what?
Above ^^^^^^^^^
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