The Post-Ilinden Crisis in IMARO and the Bulgarian State


The failure of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903 inflicted serious damage on the conceptual and organizational state of IMARO. After 1903, two main ideological trends emerged in the organization – a leftist (reformist, “left wing“) and a moderate (centralist, “right wing“) one. Until the beginning of 1907 existed also the faction of Boris Sarafov supporters (the so-called Sarafists), that adhered to its own line of conduct. 

 The leftist ideologists held that maintaining contacts with official Bulgaria compromised the independence of IMARO and would serve as an obstruction for the other ethnicities in Macedonia (different than Bulgarian) to perceive the idea of autonomy. The attitude of the moderate trend was more realistic and was expressed through collaboration and tighter involvement with the Bulgarin state, whose financial and military help it relied on. 

 The Bulgarian governments sensibly preferred the moderate trend, but at the same time strove to keep the balance between the factions and restrain them from internal conflicts. It was only the assassination of IMARO’s foreign representatives Ivan Garvanov and Boris Sarafov, committed by extreme leftists (Serres faction), that led to an open and long-lasting rift between official Sofia and said part of the Internal Organization.

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