Kruševo Republic

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Republic of Kruševo
Крушевска Република



Freedom or Death
Capital Kruševo
Government Republic
 •  1903 Nikola Karev
Prime Minister
 •  1903 Vangel Dinu
Historical era Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising
 •  Established 3 August 1903
 •  Disestablished 13 August 1903
Today part of  Republic of Macedonia
A photo of the squad of Pitu Guli near Birino, 1903

The Kruševo Republic was a short-lived political entity proclaimed in 1903 by rebels from the Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) in Kruševo during the Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising.[1] The establishment of the short-lived entity is seen today in the Republic of Macedonia as a prelude to the independence of the modern Macedonian state.[2][3][4]

On 3 August 1903, the rebels captured the town of Kruševo in the Manastir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire (present-day Republic of Macedonia) and established a revolutionary government, which according to subsequent Bulgarian and Macedonian narratives, was one of the first modern-day republics in the Balkans. However, no one in 1903 actually used the term republic, giving it de jure status. The entity existed only for 10 days: from August 3, to August 13, and was headed by the Bulgarian socialist Nikola Karev.[5] He was under strong leftist influence, rejecting the nationalism of the ethnic minorities and favouring as the alliances with ordinary Muslims against the Sultanate, as well the idea about a Balkan Federation.[6] Amongst the various ethno-religious groups (millets) in Kruševo a Republican Council was elected with 60 members - 20 representatives from each one: Aromanians (Vlachs); Slav-, Vlach- and Albanian-speaking Greek Patriarchists and Macedonian Bulgarians (Exarchists).[7][8][9][10][11] The Council also elected an executive body - the Provisional Government, with six members (2 from each mentioned group),[12] whose duty was to promote law and order and manage supplies, finances, and medical care. The "Kruševo Manifesto" was published. Written by Nikola Karev himself, it outlined the goals of the uprising, calling upon the Muslim population to join forces with the provisional government in the struggle against Ottoman tyranny, in order to attain freedom and independence.

Initially surprised by the uprising, the Ottoman government took extraordinary military measures to suppress it. After fierce battles near Mečkin Kamen, the Ottomans managed to destroy the Kruševo Republic, committing atrocities against the rebel forces and the local population. Today an enormous monument on the hill above Kruševo marks the elusive dream of the Ilinden revolutionaries. In the area there is another monument called Mečkin Kamen. This was the place where Pitu Guli's band (cheta) tried to defend the town of Kruševo from Ottoman troops coming from Bitola. The whole band and their leader (voivode) perished. As result of the gunnery, the town was set partially ablaze.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There was even an attempt to form a kind of revolutionary government led by the socialist Nikola Karev. The Krushevo manifesto was declared, assuring the population that the uprising was against the Sultan and not against Muslims in general, and that all peoples would be included. As the population of Krushevo was two thirds hellenised Vlachs and Patriarchist Slavs, this was a wise move. Despite these promises the insurgent flew Bulgarian flags everywhere and in many places the uprising did entail attacks on Muslim Turks and Albanians who themselves organised for self defence.” Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1850652384, p. 57.
  2. ^ In fact Macedonian historians as Blaze Ristovski have recognized, that the "government" of the "republic", nowadays a symbol of Macedonian statehood, was actually composed of people who identified themselves as "Greeks", "Vlachs" and "Bulgarians". "We, the People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe" Diana Mishkova, Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 9639776289, p. 124.
  3. ^ "The IMARO activists saw the future autonomous Macedonia as a multinational polity, and did not pursue the self-determination of Macedonian Slavs as a separate ethnicity. Therefore, Macedonian was an umbrella term covering Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, Vlachs, Albanians, Serbs, Jews, and so on." Historical Dictionary of Macedonia, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, Introduction.
  4. ^ The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard the call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians.[...] (They) never seem to have doubted “the predominantly Bulgarian character of the population of Macedonia". "The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world", Princeton University Press, Danforth, Loring M. 1997, ISBN 0691043566, p. 64.
  5. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 114.
  6. ^ "It would nevertheless be far-fetched to see in the Macedonian socialism an expression of national ideology... It is difficult to place the local socialist articulation of the national and social question of the late 19th and early 20th centuries entirely under the categories of today's Macedonian and Bulgarian nationalism. If Bulgarian historians today condemn the “national-nihilistic” positions of that group, their Macedonian colleagues seem frustrated by the fact that it was not "conscious" enough of Macedonians' distinct ethnic character." Entangled Histories of the Balkans - Volume Two, Roumen Daskalov, Diana Mishkova, BRILL, 2013, ISBN 9004261915, p. 503.
  7. ^ "Беше наполно прав и Мисирков во своjата фундаментална критика за Востанието и неговите раководители. Неговите укажуваньа се покажаа наполно точни во послешната практика. На пр., во ослободеното Крушево се формира градска управа составена од "Бугари", Власи и Гркомани, па во зачуваните писмени акти не фигурираат токму Македонци(!)..." Блаже Ристовски, "Столетиjа на македонската свест", Скопjе, Култура, 2001, стр. 458.
  8. ^ Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996, Chris Kostov, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN 3034301960, p. 71.
  9. ^ Fieldwork Dilemmas: Anthropologists in Postsocialist States, Editors Hermine G. De Soto, Nora Dudwick, University of Wisconsin Press, 2000, ISBN 0299163741, pp. 36-37.
  10. ^ Tanner, Arno (2004). The Forgotten Minorities of Eastern Europe: The history and today of selected ethnic groups in five countries. East-West Books. p. 215. ISBN 952-91-6808-X. 
  11. ^ The past in question: modern Macedonia and the uncertainties of nation, Keith Brown, Publisher Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-691-09995-2, pp. 81-82.
  12. ^ We, the People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe, Diana Mishkova, Central European University Press, 2009, SBN 9639776289, p. 124.