After numerous unsuccessful attempts to make the international community solve the problem and in response to the persecutions by the Turkish Ottoman administration, the I.M.R.O. took the course of armed resistance in order to obtain human rights and liberties for the enslaved nationalities within the empire. In 1903, the I.M.R.O. raised a revolt in Macedonia and Thrace (Ilinden uprising) which was crushed with cruelty by the Turkish authorities. The free thinking people in America followed with the interest the uprising. Many outstanding personalities, such as the journalists Albert Sonixen, John Smith and the Protestant missionaries John Henry House, Dr. Clark, Helen "Miss" Stone, supported the Organization in its fight to get elementary rights for the oppressed.
In 1908, a coup d'etat was made in the Ottoman empire. The new 'Young Turk' rulers declared their wish to grant rights to the enslaved nations as well as provide them with opportunities to take part in the political life of the Empire. Being a democratic organization, the I.M.R.O. suspended the armed fight and adopted more appropriate peaceful methods. The Organization transformed itself into two legal parties seated in Salonika - the Union of Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs and the People's Federate Party (Bulgarian section) - which took part in the elections and sent deputies to Ottoman Parliament. Nevertheless, the Young Turks forsook their promises and resumed the previous policy of discrimination. The two Bulgarian parties in Macedonia and Thrace were banned.
After the Balkan Wars and the WW I, only 10% of Macedonia were included in Bulgaria. The remaining 90% were occupied and divided between Kingdom of Greece and Kingdom of Serbia (Yugoslavia - since 1929).
In Greek (Aegean) Macedonia, the Greek authorities set up an inflexible tyrannical regime, so the Organization immediately undertook armed activities; whereas in the Serbian part different ways for legal political activities were sought at first. The ruthless persecution of members and supporters of the Organization as well as the terror imposed on those who declared themselves Bulgarians, forced the I.M.R.O. to use the methods of armed resistance.
At the same time, the I.M.R.O. initiated in Western Europe, USA and Canada emigrants' organizations of the Macedonian Bulgarians, which appealed to the freedom-loving Western societies to support the struggle for human rights of the Bulgarian population in the parts of Macedonia occupied by Greece and Yugoslavia.
Although in 1934 an antidemocratic authoritarian coup in Bulgaria banned all the political parties as well as the I.M.R.O. The last fractions of the Organization were abolished as late as in the late 1940-s by the newly-established communist dictatorships in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
After the WW II a "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" was created in the framework of Tito's "Federal" Yugoslavia. Belgrade was motivated by its political objective to continue the execution of the old Comintern resolution (adopted in 1934 in Moscow) postulating the creation of a separate "Macedonian" nation. Under the pressure of the communist regime, the Bulgarian population was obliged to accept the geographical denomination "Macedonian" as a national one. Up to 1990 more than 700 legal trials were held against citizens refusing to adopt the new "Macedonian" national identity.
After the fall of the communist
dictatorship in Bulgaria (1989), some veterans of the former Organization
as well as a group of young intellectuals restored I.M.R.O. Despite its
traditional naming after the 19th century formation, the present VMRO is
a modern social and political organization.
Concerning the Republic of Macedonia
VMRO stands for:
- affirmation and complete international recognition of the Republic's independence, preservation of its territorial integrity ;
- real democratization of its social and political life;
- protection of the citizen's rights to free political choice and national self-determination.
In respect to Greek Macedonia, VMRO insists on restoring the basic human rights of the local Slav Bulgarian population (cultural, linguistic, educational ones).
As far as the whole of South-East
Europe is concerned, VMRO stands for regional stability and cooperation
allowing free exchange of people, goods and ideas among the different states.
This implies the gradual diminution of the role of the state borders.
The Organization is managed by the following central organs: Congress, National Council, Executive Committee.
The Congress is the supreme organ of VMRO. It is convoked every two years and consists of delegates elected by the different societies. The Congress determines the basic trends of the Organization's activities, adopts and revises its Statute, elects the National Council and Executive Committee.
The National Council comprises 35 members; it is called at least once quarterly and manages the activities between the congresses. It approves the budget and staff of the Organization and controls the work of the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee consists of a president, three vice-presidents, organization secretary and four members - 9 persons altogether. The Executive Committee meets every week to solve routine problems concerning the Organization's activities. It coordinates the work of the different societies as well as the relationships with other organizations.
The current president is Mr. Krasimir
Karakachanov - 33 years old, historian, author of several books, MP. Traditionally
VMRO is a centralized organization; hence, the president's authority is
In January 1997, VMRO was the first organization to initiate the democratic protest actions against the corrupted neo-Communist government of Zhan Videnov which ultimately led to its breakdown. Young members of VMRO led the students protests (a large portion of the Organization consists of young people; VMRO is especially popular among the student youth). VMRO is a part of the United Democratic Forces which won the general elections in April 1997 and formed the present government. Now VMRO has two deputies in the Bulgarian National Assembly. Mr. Krasimir Karakachanov,VMRO's president is a member of the parliamentary commission for national security. Mr. Anatolii Velichkov, member of VMRO's Executive Committee, is a member of the parliamentary commission for foreign relations.
VMRO helps in solving the social problems of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Vardar (former Yugoslav) and Aegean (Greek) Macedonia. The Organization grants financial aid to veterans, to children in distress and provides assistance in disclosing new working places. In this activities it relies and welcomes investments from abroad, especially from the European Union countries. The Organization has its own economic base, promotes active business activities. VMRO has a number of local mayors, including heads of the communities in the biggest cities of Sofia and Plovdiv. The recent sociological surveys indicate the sharp increase of the Organization's popularity, especially among young Bulgarians: small wonder since VMRO has a clear and effective position on solving the important social and economic issues, on uncompromised struggle with the organized crime and so on. In some regions app.. 30 % of the population outline VMRO as their favorite political formation. The Organization's importance within the ruling United Democratic Forces rises too.
VMRO has its own publishing house,
which prints academic, popular and political literature as well as the
weekly Makedonia ("Macedonia") and the monthly magazine Nie
("We") - the major theoretical review of the Bulgarian conservative
right. VMRO cooperates and supports activities of the Macedonian
Scientific Institute in Sofia.
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