by: Prof. Svetlozar Eldarov, DSc
"Macedonian Review", Issue 3, 2015, p. 24-34
120 years ago, from 19 to 28 March 1895, a unifying Congress was held in Sofia, which established the Macedonian Committee (MC) as the governing body of a general organization which was joined by the Macedonian societies in Bulgaria and Romania and student societies in Western Europe and Russia. Since its establishment, the Macedonian Committee, literally with a slam-bang, came to the political scene with revolutionary action in Macedonia. This became possible mainly because certain events in Bulgaria, the Balkans and in Europe.
On May 18, 1894, after seven years of authoritarian rule, the Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov fell from power. Taken out from the Bulgarian political course party leaders and activists returned triumphantly with old and new teams, political prisoners came out of prison covered with glory, banished exiles came back from abroad, the society literally was boiling of energy, civil associations were mushrooming. For many, as it life begins anew.
There was new beginning also for the activists of the Macedonian movement (at this stage Thracians have not yet emancipated and organized politically enough to turn it into Macedonian-Adrianople movement, as it will be six years later, in 1900). They also receive another external impulse for activation. In 1894 in the mountainous area Sassoon (the province of Bitlis, the eastern part of Asia Minor), inhabited mainly by Armenians, an uprising burst out. After few months of resistance, the revolt was crushed. The operation ended with a massacre, launched an ugly genocidal wave of violence that from 1894 to 1896 took between 50 000 to 300 000 victims, according to various estimates1. Cruelty and scale of these events caused a wide response among European civil society and political leaders. William Gladstone, the British liberal leader who in 1876 stood with all his authority in defence of the Bulgarians because of the massacres in April uprising, could not remain silent. Already at the venerable age of 85, he pronounced his next historic speech, which called Turkey “curse of mankind” and stated that it “must be
1 Самарджиев, Б. Арменският въпрос и Англия (1894–1897). С., 1994, 38–39.
wiped off the map”2. Though they did not share his political rage, the leaders of the great powers were also forced to intervene. Berlin Treaty of 1878, which contained a special article (Art. 61) for the introduction of reforms in the Anatolian vilayets of Turkey, required them to do so.
Armenian massacres caused wide public concern in Bulgaria. Being until recently subjects of the Ottoman Empire and its closest neighbors, Bulgarians knew better than all other European nations what actually happened to the Armenian people. Therefore indignation against the barbaric slaughter was particularly strong and alive. Political leaders quickly realized that if Armenian issue was coming to the political scene, the Macedonian issue also had a chance whose solution was a major strategic objective of the Bulgarian national policy in that era.
In 1894 one more event happened, which also affected Bulgaria directly. On October 20, in his summer residence Livadia in Crimea, died the Russian Emperor Alexander III. Inherited the throne of the Tsar Liberator (of the serfs) Alexander II in 1881, he for the rest of his life did not forgive the Bulgarian people that, against his will, accomplished unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. Alexander II especially hated Ferdinand and this personal dislike was one reason why the Bulgarian monarch did not receive international recognition. This posed a nuisance not only for him personally, but damaged also Bulgaria, which since 1886 had no diplomatic relations with Russia. So Bulgarians and especially those of political peak, sincerely hoped that the new Emperor Nicholas II will normalize relations between the two countries and will support the Bulgarian interests.
Yet in the coming months events began to develop in the midstream of these two crucial foreign events leading to the revolutionary action of the Macedonian committee in the summer of 1895.
On April 10, 1895 the elected by the First Macedonian Congress deputation was granted an audience with Prince Ferdinand, to deliver a short message asking for his advocacy of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace. Hardly any of the reputable and old Macedonian leaders imagined what an icy shower will pour on them. In response Ferdinand pronounced 15-minute speech, markedly cool, exemplary and imbued with loyalty towards the Sublime Porte. The Bulgarian prince described the actions of the Macedonian Committee and his organization as “thoughtless manifestations”, which could only have extremely negative impact on the situation of Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire appealed to them “to stop useless, even harmful propaganda” and asked to be left to work freely for the improvement of the fate of the Bulgarian population because he believed the favour of his overlord – Sultan Abdul Hamid II – was not yet exhausted. The Prince not once mentioned the name Macedonia and spoke of “vilayets”, as the Turkish authorities officially called this region. In conclusion, he
2 Право, № 10, 13 ян. 1895.
noted that if the Macedonian leaders do not listen to him, they would not be able to rely on support from either him or the government3.
Ferdinand's statement before the Macedonian activists, and also government behaviour towards the Macedonian movement in the country, could be understood properly in the context of the Bulgarian-Turkish relations at the end of 1894 – the first half of 1895, which in turn coincided with the initial phase of the Middle East crisis (from 1894 to 1898).
Ever since taking power the new government of Dr. Konstantin Stoilov faced the dilemma – to continue Stefan Stambolov’s policy for wining church and school privileges for Bulgarians in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace in application of Exarchate decree from 1870, or officially refer the matter of implementation of Article 23 of the Berlin Treaty and the ensuing political rights of Bulgarian population. The second way was, as a basis for political autonomy of Macedonia, chosen from the Macedonian Committee (as well as the internal organization of the Central Committee in Thessaloniki, founded in 1893). Bulgarian government, however, chose the other option – by maintaining loyal relationships with the Sublime Porte to expand the church-school rights of the Bulgarians in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The main reason for this choice is the need for recognition of Prince Ferdinand, foreign policy stabilization of Bulgaria and improvement of relations with Russia.
Intransigence of the Ottoman Empire to meet even the minimum demands in the field of church-school case brought some Bulgarian politicians to the thought that external pressure should be applied to make the Turkish rulers more cooperative. First to come to this idea was the Bulgarian diplomatic agent in Constantinople Petar Dimitrov, who had closely followed the mood in the Turkish capital and very well knew the motivation and mechanism of decision making there. On March 12, 1895 he wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religions Grigor Nachovich that the most appropriate, in the circumstances created, was to untie the hands of the Macedonian activists. According to him Bulgaria should allow organizing bands and to allow passage of some of them in Macedonia. The only necessary would be that the government closely monitor and control the movement, so to be able to stop it in the right moment. Only then, according to P. Dimitrov, the Sublime Porte would understand that without the assistance of Sofia it would not be able to cope with the revolutionary movement and this would make it more prone to concessions4.
Later on the Bulgarian government officially raised the issue of political and administrative reforms in Macedonia, without abandoning their old demands for church-school rights. So the positions of the government and the Macedonian
3 ЦДА, ф. 3К, оп. 8, а.е. 30, л. 8–15, 16–22; НБКМ–БИА, ф. 178, ІІ Д 2805; Мах, Р. фон. Македонският въпрос. С., 1895, 55–58; Велчев, В. Страници от новата ни политическа история. С., 1924, с. 120, 130–132.
4 Попов, Р. Балканската политика на България 1894–1898. С., 1984, 32–34.
Committee, although driven by different interests and motives for some time completely coincide. From this coincidence, the Revolution action was born.
On May 17, 1895 the President of the Macedonian Committee Trayko Kitanchev was, on his demand, accepted by Dr. Konstantin Stoilov. The same day the Prime Minister recorded in his diary that he advised his interlocutor to refrain from military actions in Macedonia and to do nothing without the knowledge of the government5. Few days after this meeting, T. Kitanchev went to Kyustendil to guide at place the forthcoming armed activity. There is no doubt that the preparation and execution of the Revolutionary action was with the knowledge and support of the government and K. Stoilov was regularly informed by the Macedonian activists themselves, which visits to him became frequent.
From late May – early June, in the actions of the government and the committee, full synchronization was already visible. On June 6, 1895, with a note to the Sublime Porte, the Bulgarian government strongly and firmly placed the request for reforms in the spirit of Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin. In the note it was explicitly stated that only through broad reforms in the Macedonian vilayets the revolutionary propaganda could be stopped among the Bulgarian population and the emigration in Bulgaria6. As the note was not accepted on the grounds that a vassal principality has no right to deal with the situation in individual areas of the empire, on the evening of June 12 P. Dimitrov left Constantinople without notifying any Turkish official. His sudden departure caused confusion and concern in the Turkish capital, the more so as it coincided with the known invasion in Macedonia of the first large revolutionary squads7.
The next day, Trayko Kitanchev went to Konstantin Stoilov asking for weapons and cash assistance and convinced him that the government must maintain the Revolutionary movement, “not to be blown out”8. On June 19, Kitanchev went again, this time with another member of the committee, to the Prime Minister. The same day the government granted to MC 400 rifles and 100,000 cartridges. This weapon was though not enough and on June 23 at Stoilov appeared the Vice-President of the Macedonian Committee Naum Tyufekchiev asking for more guns.9
Government had no difficulty to find the necessary weapons and to conceal their involvement in arming bands. This was made in the form of scrapping and sale. On June 17, 1895 Defence Minister Colonel Racho Petrov wrote to the Minister of Interior, i.e. Konstantin Stoilov, which together with the prime minister position was leading this institution as well, that he had a certain amount of weapons of different systems, which cannot serve the army and for which a report
5 Д-р Константин Стоилов. Дневник. Част ІІ. С., 1996, 203–204.
6 Попов, Р. Цит. съч., 42–4.
7 Пак там, с. 44.
8 Д-р Константин Стоилов. Дневник..., с. 211.
9 Пак там, с. 213.
will be submitted to the Cabinet to be sold. It's about 2607 guns of different systems, together with more than 600,000 cartridges. According to Defence Minister these weapons could be used to arm “either the country or the population where this is necessary, or for any other purposes”. The question to the Ministry of Interior was whether the Ministry wanted to buy it10. Sudden arming of several hundred people implied these weapons further destiny.
Organizational preparation of the Revolutionary action undoubtedly had begun several months earlier than the diplomatic manoeuvre in Istanbul. Ideas for armed actions found response in those environments that were most prone to them and had the skill and experience to apply them to the case – the Bulgarian officers. Lieutenant Boris Sarafov, one of the protagonists of the Revolutionary action, which in May 1894 was transferred to service in Sofia, alluded in his memoirs for such preparation in winter, when he began to gather and train volunteers11.
The earliest documented record of preparing armed action preceded the First Macedonian Congress. On March 1, 1895 Kyustendil district governor reported “hard work” in the city in organizing bands for Macedonia. The same was confirmed by the correspondence of the President of the Macedonian society in Kyustendil Efrem Karanov with the leaders in Sofia. Although the capital at this time was giving advices for patience, a band was sent to Macedonia12.
After the closing of the congress in Sofia, one delegate from each company remained. At the meetings, which lasted two days, T. Kitanchev portrayed the situation of Bulgarians in Macedonia as extremely disappointing and suggested that the coming spring will be one of the most restless of Turkey. He recommended any company to organize groups of volunteers who on Sundays and holidays to be trained in musketry. Societies also needed to accelalrate their activity in finding funds and weapons, and to seek to include all Macedonian Bulgarians in the settlement13. Maybe for this reason, while running meetings of the Congress in Sofia, rumours started for organizing and sending bands in Macedonia. On this occasion “Law” newspaper, which most closely expressed the interests of the Macedonian Committee, even came with a special disclaimer14. Hardly rumours were unfounded, because at the end of May and beginning of June K. Stoilov noted in his diary that the passage of bands in Macedonia happened almost daily15. At that time, Boris Sarafov expanded the agitation among officers. He personally presented a group of junior officers to T. Kitanchev ready to lead an armed
10 ЦДА, ф. 600К, оп. 1, а.е. 967, л. 10–11.
11 Материали за историята на македонското освободително движение. Кн. V. Спомени на Дамян Груев, Борис Сарафов и Иван Гарванов. Съобщава Л. Милетич. С., 1927, с. 36.
12 Георгиев, Г. Македоно-одринското движение в Кюстендилски окръг (1895–1903). С., 2008, 20–21.
13 Материали…, 36-37
14 Право, № 20, 31 март 1896.
15 Д-р Константин Стоилов. Дневник…, 212–213.
campaign in Macedonia16. Other officers were also performing agitation in the army who were in connection with the committee. So on May 13, 1895 Colonel Anastas Yankov wrote to Kitanchev from Shumen, that it was time to act while Armenian question had not lost yet its relevance17.
For the Military Ministry, the mood of the officers and their involvement in the preparation and conduct of revolutionary action was not a secret. Openly, in the garrisons, were going subscriptions to collect cash aid for the Macedonian case. Only in Sofia garrison 49 officers collected and sent to the Macedonian Committee 855 lev.18 Prime Minister K. Stoilov was informed how many and which officers were leaving their regiments to join bands19. In light of this and other similar information, the fact logically fits that later T. Kitanchev often requested assistance directly from the Prime Minister to dismiss rebels and chieftains20 detained by police authorities.
In the month of May 1895 at the Macedonian societies in Bulgaria were already starting to appear volunteers for the bands. Varna society is one of the first to report to MC that recently almost every day appeared people willing and ready to go with the bands in Macedonia. The situation is similar in other Macedonian societies in the country, which then were 38 in number21. At least 1,500 people, in its majority from among the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria, stated readiness to engage in armed struggle.
The contribution was also significant of Macedonian societies in Romania in providing volunteers for revolutionary action. In the first half of May 1895, in Galati, a detachment of 27 people was formed, which sent its representative in Varna to settle the matter with their journey through Bulgaria. On June 1, the society in Galati wrote to T. Kitanchev that it already had 150–170 to 200 people, ready to leave for Macedonia. Volunteers appeared in other Macedonian societies in the country, which were then 10 in number. So in May, June and July, no less than 500 people among the Bulgarian settlers and temporary workers in Romania were ready to join the bands of the Macedonian Committee22.
Kyustendil stood as the most important point of focus, organization and preparation of the bands. In the spring and summer of 1895 the Macedonian societies in the city provided 17 bands with a total staff of 779 people. This activity
16 Mатериали…, 36–37.
17 НБКМ–БИА, Ф. 224, а.е. 15, л. 92.
18 Пак там, л. 371.
19 Д-р Константин Стоилов. Дневник…, с. 213.
20 НБКМ–БИА, ф. 224, а.е. 15, л. 49, 348.
21 Пак там, л. 143–144, 202, 302, 338–339, 340, 381, 387, 442, 574.
22 Елдъров, С. Македоно-одрински дружества, колонии и групи в Румъния 1895–1903 година. – Военноисторически сборник, 1989, № 4, 34–35.
was personally supervised by Kitanchev who resided long time in the city23. Another training centre was Dupnitsa, where four bands were formed. In the border region passed also bands of other places24. Important logistical support for its strategic position played the Rila Monastery25 as well.
On June 10, 1895 the “Law” newspaper, under Latest News column, published in French (for the first time this number of the newspaper began to print texts in French) a telegram from Kyustendil, with which their correspondent informed them that, as received by special courier from inside information, in recent days, in the region of Kriva Palanka and Kratovo, there were clashes between two rebel bands and Turkish troops26. From the next day, the newspaper started the publishing of extraordinary supplements that in the form of appeal submitted telegrams and news events under the general heading of “Uprising in Macedonia”27. By June 12 also other Bulgarian newspapers, especially those who have dedicated themselves more or less in this field, as “Voice of Macedonia”, “Young Bulgaria”, “Consciousness”, etc. broached the news of the uprising in Macedonia. Most informed was “Law” newspaper, which continued to issue extraordinary supplements and monitor events in the main edition. News, taken mostly from “reliable sources”, was pouring one after another, and victorious battles of the bands were multiplying. Of course, these communications were pure propaganda. Distorted and exaggerated beyond recognition, they aimed to present the events in Macedonia as a mass rebel movement, which continued to expand.
Subsequently, in memoirs and historiography, events in Macedonia in the summer of 1895 will also sometimes be presented as rebellion. Even the name “Melnik Uprising” gained some popularity for daring attack and capture of the town Melnik. In fact the revolutionary action represented an invasion, from Bulgaria inside Macedonia, of armed squads, without any moral, organizational or military-technical training. In essence this is the classical revival tactics of Georgi Rakovski applied in the Bulgarian national liberation movement in the era before the apostolic activity of Vasil Levski and the April Uprising. The only difference is in scale – the number of bands, military skills and experience of the participants, and organizational training and practical implementation.
The will and the soul of revolutionary action in Macedonia in the summer of 1895 were servicemen of the Bulgarian army. Among these are the officers, mostly first and second lieutenants that, at various command positions, participated
23 Кюстендилски окръг и националноосвободителните борби в Македония 1895–1903 г. Документи. Съст. Т. Димитров, И. Пашев. Кюстендил, 1983, с. 17; Георгиев, Г. Цит. съч., 26–27.
24 Георгиев, Г. Цит. съч., 27-28; История на Дупница и Дупнишко. С., 2015, 286–287.
25 Царев, Г., Ал. Гребенаров. Документи за ролята на Рилския манастир в националноосвободителните борби. – Векове, 1987, № 1, с. 65.
26 Право, № 30, 10 юни 1895.
27 Трета извънредна притурка на в. „Право”, 12 юни 1895.
in hostilities. The authors give different estimates of their numbers. Christo Silyanov numbers them up to 40 people, some other also accept that number28. In fact, they are only 20. Among them, there are names that in the coming years will not go down from the chronicles of the Macedonian-Adrianople liberation struggle such as Boris Sarafov, Toma Davidov, Yordan Stoyanov, Anton Bozukov, Stoycho Garufalov. For others, yet at the time, little was known and then they sank into oblivion. Two are with the rank of captain, seven are first lieutenants, and eleven are second lieutenants. The majority are between 23 and 27 years old, only three are older. That much had their combat experience of the Serbian-Bulgarian War. Some officers dismissed from military service to devote to the armed struggle. Others went on leave or simply departed from their squads and are subsequently dismissed. The example of the officers was followed by the cadets of the Military School. There were also non-commissioned officers (unterlieutenants) of the army, the number was significant of those who served as soldiers in the Bulgarian army.
Professional chieftains with exotic names gave original colouring, in whose eyes the border between the robbery and the revolution was too thin and permeable. This is not true for the students of the Higher School in Sofia, which were carried away by the lofty aspirations of the Fatherland ideal. Also Montenegrins passionate Slavonic condottiere joined the bands, always available for such causes. The bulk of the fighters, however, consisted of volunteers ready to fight and die for the freedom of their homeland – Macedonia. Total number of participants in the Revolutionary action was calculated from 800 to 1,000 people.
The fighting forces had a kind of structure that combines elements of the army and the rebel organization. Four “rebel” bands were formed - I Strumitsa, II Pirin Mountain, III Serska and IV Kresna-Melnik, which in turn consisted of companies, half-companies, platoons and detachments. Along with them, as armed groups, operated independent bands whose names came from both the regions, in which they were intended to operate – “Melnik” band, II Vardar band, “Mountain Belasitsa” band – and the places in which they were organized – Plovdiv-Stanimaka band, Ruse band. Due to the short time for preparation and the lack of a clear strategy, the structure of armed formations was not static and underwent changes in the course of organizational preparation or during the hostilities29.
In late June, six officers most closely involved in the preparation of revolutionary action, namely first lieutenants Petar Nachev, Vasil Mutafov, Stoycho Garufalov and Hristo Lukov and second lieutenants Boris Sarafov and Yordan Venedikov, drew up and signed an “appeal to our comrades in the
28 Силянов, Хр. Освободителните борби на Македония. Т. І. С., 1933, с. 56; Пасков, Р. Четническата акция на Македонския комитет през 1895 г. – Военноисто-рически сборник, 1981, № 3, с. 20; Националноосвободителното движение на маке-донските и тракийските българи 1878–1944. Т. 2. С., 199, 73–74.
29 Елдъров, С. Четническата акция на Македонския комитет през 1895 година. – Военен журнал, 1995, № 3, 106–113.
Bulgarian army”. It was dated “Julius, 1895” and the place of the event was referred to “Perrin Mountain”. The brief text, edited by the rules of the revolutionary style, called on Bulgarian army officers to follow their example and set up with detachments to Macedonia. The Appeal was published on July 8 on the home page of “Law” newspaper in Bulgarian and French30. The “Voice of Macedonia” newspaper also published it on top31. When this happened, detachments and groups have long set up for their combative march, some have returned broken, and two of the authors of the Address – Petar Nachev and Vasil Mutafov – were already dead.
In fact, the first bands began to enter Macedonia yet with the beginning of spring. They were small in size and are composed of experienced revolutionaries who had previously practiced such activities. In March, in Prilep, one such detachment appeared, in early June two or three more operated in the vicinity of Kriva Palanka and Kratovo. However, they were only the vanguard of the actual battle forces. Practically revolutionary action began when the big battalions set on the march commanded by officers32.
The battle time of I Strumitsa band was described in several number of “Law” newspaper under the title “Brief notes on the activities of rebel Strumitsa band”33. Of course, such writings must be taken with reserve, taking into account the added value of revolutionary propaganda. This applies both for them and for all the pages of the then press about revolutionary action at all. Strumitsa band entered in Macedonia on June 29 with the intention to reach the vicinity of the town Strumitsa. They could not achieve this after three bloody battles in which two officers were lost and many killed and captured, on July 7 returned with only 70 people left from the initial composition of 158.
The fate was similar of the second rebel band “Pirin mountain”. Their battle time was described in six consecutive number of “Law” newspaper, in his inherent style, which requires serious reservation by the researcher34. The lineup of 148 people entered in Macedonia on July 2 with the intention to attack some villages with Muslim population in the Maleshevia area35. However, it seems that something was wrong and battalion gave up its original purpose. On July 5, they had their first battle near the village of Gabrovo, in the same place where two days
30 Право, № 34, 8 юли 1895.
31 Глас Македонски , № 31, 9 юли, 1895.
32 Силянов, Хр. Цит. съч., с. 56; Пасков, Р. Четническата акция..., с. 23; Георгиев, Г. Цит. съч., 26.
33 Право, № 35, 15 юли; № 36, 22 юли; № 37, 29 юли 1895.
34 Право, Law, № 37, 29 юли; № 38, 6 авг.; № 39, 12 авг.; № 40, 14 авг.; № 41, 26 авг.; № 40, 2, 3 септ. 1895.
35 НБКМ–БИА, ф. 224, а.е. 15, л. 408.
later the Strumitsa band will be defeated. After the fight at Gabrovo the detachment literally fell apart and the actions of individual units became completely chaotic36.
Third Serres battalion was the largest formation that took part in revolutionary action. It had about 250 people and consisted of four bands or companies. Its story was told in detail in the memories of the officer Dimitar Atanasov, published in the 80s of XX century with censorship of some inconvenient details37. “Law” newspaper also provided information on its war path38. On 13 July the battalion hitting a march from the rally point near the Rila Monastery. For two weeks, it moves along the Bulgarian-Turkish border in the Rila-Rhodope mountain, and several times made unsuccessful attempts to enter Macedonia. Meanwhile, because of internal contraditions among officers and desertions, its personnel was reduced to 150 people. On July 28 the battalion attacked the village of Dospat (about 400 houses inhabited only by Muslim Bulgarians and a garrison of 100 men Turkish regulars). Overall action was successful – for eight to nine hours the battalion lead fight with three times the superior opponent causing serious damage. The fire caused of bombings, however, absorbed most of the houses. Civilians were also killed.
For other revolutionary units information was quite fragmentary and inconsistent and there was no evidence on which to reconstruct their battle way similar to the first three companies. Fourth Kresna-Melnishka band did not act as an independent fighting unit, but yet in Bulgaria divided into separate bands. For them and for others who were mentioned in the initial preparatory stage, there are no documents and materials. The only exception is the Melnik band, thanks to its commander Lieutenant Boris Sarafov. In his memoirs, he told ten years later to the prof. Lyubomir Miletich, he described pictorially the march to Melnik and back, which was destined to become the most vivid episode of the revolutionary action.
On June 29, Melnik band formed in Dupnitsa composed of 65 people entered into Macedonia and headed to Nevrokop. Because of the increased vigilance of the Turkish authorities and the movements of army, lieutenant Sarafoff guided it towards the western slopes of the Pirin mountain. On 12 July at dawn, the band settled near the town of Melnik, then with 4330 inhabitants, of which 2650 Greeks and 950 Turks, 500 Bulgarians, 200 Gypsies and 30 Wallach. His garrison consisted of 200 soldiers. Despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, under the skilful command of Boris Sarafov Melnik band performed a daring attack, panicked the population and the army, burned several dozen houses and retreated
36 Силянов, Хр. Цит. съч., с. 57; Националноосвободителното движение на македонските и тракийските българи..., с. 79.
37 Билярски, Ц. Спомените на Димитър Атанасов Думбалаков за участието му в Четническата акция през 1895 г., Горноджумайското въстание през 1902 г. и Илинденско-Преображенското въстание през 1903 г. – Известия на държавните архиви, 1984. Т. 47, 197–212.
38 Право, № 42, 3 септ.; № 43, 10 септ. 1895.
without casualties, with rich trophies. On July 22, the detachment reached safely Bulgaria after few more battles.
After the return of the battalions and detachments in Bulgaria attempts were made to regrouping and re-entry in other directions. In Kyustendil in the first ten days of July, 400 people gathered – returning rebels or newly arrived volunteers. Their intent was to break the blockade of the Turkish army in Kochani region in the direction of the river Vardar. But the government was relentless and took decisive action, including military force, for disarmament and decommissioning of rebels in the border area. However hundred people managed to escape and hide in Osogovo Mountain. On July 23, under the command of lieutenants Ivan Pozharliev and Vladislav Kovachev, the squad enters the Turkish territory and fighted with superior in number enemy, and then was forced to turn back. This time, all were captured by the Bulgarian army and by the end of the month Kyustendil and the district was cleared of rebels39.
On July 27 successful attempt of transition in Macedonia was made from the points in Dupnitsa. A band composed of 40 people managed to penetrate until Demir Hissar where set on fire the village of Katuntsi inhabited with Turks and Gypsies Muslims40.
At this final phase of revolutionary action, the first and only attempt dated back of a band to entry in Adrianople region. In the second half of August near Burgas a detachment was formed of 43 people. From Sofia, as commanders, five officers arrived. Despite the opposition of the local authorities, the band managed to get over the border, but besides three days hiding on Turkish territory, it failed to perform something more significant. This was the last act of the Revolutionary action41.
After the initial full support of the campaign and especially since the Vice-President of the Macedonian Committee Naum Tyufekchiev organized the assassination of former Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov (attacked in the Sofia centre by Macedonian revolutionaries on July 3 and died of his wounds on 5th of the following month), the government began restricting it with demonstrative diligence and deliberate ostentation. In July, the Ministry of Interior issued a circular specifically intended not only to prevent the transfer of bands in Macedonia, but also to block the activity of the entire organization. The circular were especially zealously applied in the border areas. To a large extent it is this change in the relationship between the Government and the Macedonian Committee that caused the death of Trayko Kitanchev of 1 August 1895 as a result of a heart attack.
The Revolutionary action did not achieve its main goal – the Sultan and the Ottoman government be forced to introduce reforms in Macedonia in the spirit of
39 Георгиев, Г. Цит. съч., 29–30.
40 Пак там, с. 31.
41 Преображенското въстание. Статии и документи. С., 1955, с. 158.
article 23 of the Berlin Treaty. However, the other objective of the Bulgarian government was realized – Prince Ferdinand was recognized by the great powers as the rightful monarch and Bulgarian-Russian relations were restored, which happened yet in 1896.
The most important result of the Revolutionary action, however, was bringing the Macedonian movement in Bulgaria to a qualitatively new stage. It is in its preparation that was born the Macedonian Committee and its organization. In the spring of 1899, they werw led by officers involved in the campaign led by Boris Sarafov, who managed to turn them into second in meaning and importance factor of the liberation struggle of the Macedonian and Thracian Bulgarians after the Internal organization. Therefore the Revolutionary action of 1895 objectively must be assessed as inevitable and necessary link in the liberation struggle that bridging the Kresna-Razlog Uprising in 1878-1879 and Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising in 1903.