Mara Buneva

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Mara Buneva
Mara Buneva.jpg
A photograph of Mara Buneva
Born 1902
Kalkandelen, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
(today Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia)
Died January 13, 1928
Skoplje, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
(today Skopje, Republic of Macedonia)
Organization IMRO
A commemoration plate was mounted on the death place of Buneva in 1943 by the Bulgarian administration, that later was destroyed by the Yugoslav communist authorities.
A bTV - news screenshot, showing the broken plate of Buneva on the Vardar river levee, after being obliterated by local ultra-nationalists.

Mara Buneva (Bulgarian and Macedonian: Мара Бунева; 1902 – January 13, 1928) was a Macedonian Bulgarian revolutionary,[1][2] member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization.[3] She is famous for the assassination of Serbian official Velimir Prelić after which she committed suicide. Today Buneva is considered as a heroine in Bulgaria,[4] while in the Republic of Macedonia she is regarded as a controversial Bulgarophile.[5][6]


Buneva was born in 1902 in Tetovo, then in the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. Between 1915 and 1918 when Vardar Macedonia was under Bulgarian military administration, Buneva studied at the Skopje's Girls' High School.[7] Her father Nikola Bunev was a mayor of Tetovo then, but in 1919 after the Serbian annexation of the area, she moved to Bulgaria.[8] Buneva studied there in the Sofia University, and married a Bulgarian officer.[9] In 1926 she divorced, and under the influence of her brother Boris, also a Bulgarian officer, Buneva joined the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO). Later on direct order by the leader of the IMRO, Ivan Mihaylov, she was trained in Sofia for fulfilling of a future terrorist actions. In 1927 she went back to Yugoslavia and opened a shop in Skopje with a conspiratorial mission.[10] There she managed to acquaint herself with Velimir Prelić, the legal adviser of the Serbian governor of the Skopje district. Prelić had been known for ordering arrests and tortures of young local students, members of Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization, who openly opposed the Serbian rule.[11] The organization was discovered by the authorities in May 1927 and its leaders were arrested. On a trial in Skopje against 20 of them, most were sentenced in December to long-term imprisonment.[12] As result IMRO ordered the execution of Prelić.[13] At the appointed time on January 13, 1928, Buneva intercepted him on his way to lunch and shot the official after which she shot herself.[14] On the next day, the Serbian police buried Buneva's body at an unknown place.[15] Prelić also died in hospital a few days later and was buried in Skopje.[16] Her act was part of a violent resistance movement against Serbian policies of forced assimilation of the Macedonian Bulgarians.[17][18]

Legacy and controversy[edit]

Her act echoed as in Bulgaria and Europe, as well as among the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in America. The first Macedonian Patriotic Organization ladies auxiliary branch was created in Toronto in 1928 and named after Mara Buneva.[19] In Bulgaria she was celebrated also as a martyr for the freedom of Macedonia. During the Second World War Bulgaria annexed Vardar Macedonia again and on the place of the death of Mara Buneva a commemoration plate was mounted.[20] However, later it was obliterated from the new communist authorities. They were successful in removing all pro-Bulgarian sentiments in the region,[21] creating a distinct Macedonian identity, associated with Yugoslavia.[22] In the new Socialist Republic of Macedonia the Bulgarophobia increased almost to the level of state ideology.[23] Fear of the Bulgarian threat was fuelled additionally after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and especially by the annual commemorations dedicated to Buneva in Skopje.[24] Since the beginning of the 2000s, almost every year on the day of her death, Bulgarians in the Republic of Macedonia and VMRO-BND activists, have begun to mount in Skopje a new commemoration plate.[25] However, it does not survive for more than a few days, repeatedly destroyed by local ultra-nationalists.[26][27] While Bulgarians praise her as a freedom fighter, Macedonians consider her a terrorist.[28] Owing to her pro-Bulgarian sentiments, she has been never feted in the Republic of Macedonia.[29][30] In January 2007 the story ended with clashes in Skopje, after that some Macedonian journalists mused, whether it is still a sin to commemorate anti-Serb fighters. Nevertheless, a wax figure of Buneva was set up in the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle opened in 2011 in Skopje. Ljubčo Georgievski, former Macedonian Premier, claims to be against Buneva means, not to have adequate knowledge of the history, and to defend the Serbian chauvinism.[31] According to Bulgarian officials, the repetitive incidents in Skopje are part of an ongoing anti-Bulgarian campaign there.[32]


Buneva Point in Antarctica is named after Mara Buneva.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nationalism, Margaret H. Lamb, Heinemann Educational Books, 1975, p. 31.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Volume 1, Andrea O'Reilly, SAGE, 2010, ISBN 1412968461, p. 149.
  3. ^ Bulgarian conspiracy, Joseph Swire, R. Hale Publisher, 1939, p. 210.
  4. ^ Цочо В. Билярски, Мара Бунева и нейното време. Положението на българите във Вардарска Македония през 30-те години на XX век.
  5. ^ Атентаторката на Прелиќ не живее во меморијата на Македонците. На панихидите доаѓаат тие што се чувствуваат Бугари и ја негираат македонската нација. В. Цветаноски, Утрински вестник. 22.02.2007 г.
  6. ^ Бугарската окупаторска власт и' оддаде незапаметена почит, Која е контроверзната тетовка што ја слават Бугарите? В. Цветаноски, Утрински вестник. 23.02.2007 г.
  7. ^ Никола Коларов. Слова край Вардар. Библиотека "Целокупна България" № 1, Скопие, 1942, стр. 68.
  8. ^ At the end of the WWI there were very few historians or ethnographers, who claimed that a separate Macedonian nation existed... Of those Slavs who had developed some sense of national identity, the majority probably considered themselves to be Bulgarians, although they were aware of differences between themselves and the inhabitants of Bulgaria... The question as of whether a Macedonian nation actually existed in the 1940s when a Communist Yugoslavia decided to recognize one is difficult to answer. Some observers argue that even at this time it was doubtful whether the Slavs from Macedonia considered themselves to be a nationality separate from the Bulgarians. "The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world", Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-691-04356-6, pp. 65-66.
  9. ^ Подвигът на Мара Бунева, Цочо Билярски, ИК "Анико", 2010, ISBN 9789548247115, стр. 16.
  10. ^ Иван Михайлов: отвъд легендите, Том 1, Иван Гаджев, УИ "Св. Климент Охридски", 2007, стр. 787.
  11. ^ Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996, Chris Kostov, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN 3034301960, p. 77.
  12. ^ „Националноосвободителната борба в Македония, 1919 - 1941 г.“, Колектив, ИК „Знание“, София, 1998 г., стр.221.
  13. ^ Българки стрелят в показни атентати, 06.02.2013, в-к 24 Часа. Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Terrorism and the Politics of Social Change: A Durkheimian Analysis, James Dingley, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2013, ISBN 1409499766, p. 64.
  15. ^ Бунев, Борис. Кратки бележки из живота на Мара Бунева, 7 август 1936 година, в: Билярски, Цочо. Подвигът на Мара Бунева (съкратено издание), Анико, София, 2010, стр.45.
  16. ^ Kedourie, Elie (1993). Nationalism. Blackwell Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 0-631-18885-1. [1]
  17. ^ The British Museum, Mara Buneva (Biographical details).
  18. ^ Up until the early twentieth century, the international community viewed Macedonians as a regional variety of Bulgarians, i.e. Western Bulgarians. However during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 the Allies sanctioned Serbian control of much of Macedonia, because they accepted the belief that Macedonians were in fact Southern Serbs. This extraordinary change in opinion can largely be attributed to one man, Jovan Cvijić, a prominent geographer at the University of Belgrade. Nationalism and Territory: Constructing Group Identity in Southeastern Europe, Geographical perspectives on the human past, George W. White, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN 0847698092, p. 236.
  19. ^ Whose Are You?: Identity and Ethnicity Among the Toronto Macedonians, Peter Vasiliadis, Ams Press Inc, 1989, ISBN 0404194680, p. 238.
  20. ^ Македонска библиотека, Снимки, документи и материали за историята на българите от областта Македония. Паметник на Мара Бунева в Скопие през 1943 г.
  21. ^ Djokić, Dejan (2003). Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918–1992. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 122. ISBN 1850656630.
  22. ^ Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, Bernard A. Cook, ISBN 0815313365, Taylor & Francis, 2001, p. 808.
  23. ^ Mirjana Maleska. Editor-in-chief. With the eyes of the “Others”. (about Macedonian-Bulgarian relations and the Macedonian national identity). New Balkan Politics - Journal of Politics. Issue 6 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  24. ^ Tchavdar Marinov, New Bulgarian University, Historiographical Revisionism and Re-Articulation of Memory in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 2010, p. 6. Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 35.
  26. ^ People Arrested After the Mara Buneva Plate Incident in Skopje were Released.
  27. ^ Die, Bulgarians! 13 January 2007, FOCUS News Agency.
  28. ^ Balkan Travellers Macedonia: Skopje, the Balkans' Least Known Capital, Dimana Trankova. Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Memorial Demolition Tests Macedonia-Bulgaria Relations. BalkanInsight News, 13 Jan. 2014
  30. ^ Bulgaria’s Mara Buneva plaque in Skopje broken again, 14 January 2014, FOCUS News Agency.
  31. ^ Georgievski: Pro Serbian ideas and installations are putting the country in danger, Independent Balkan News Agency, 15.01.2014.
  32. ^ The Sofia Echo, Mon, Jan. 22. 2007, Anti-Bulgarianism in Macedonia.
  33. ^ Buneva Point. SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica