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Методија Андонов Ченто
August 17, 1902|
Prilep, Manastir Vilayet, Ottoman Empire (now Macedonia)
July 24, 1957 (aged 54)|
Prilep, PR Macedonia, FPR Yugoslavia
|Organization||Yugoslav Partisans (People's Liberation Army of Macedonia)|
Metodija Andonov-Čento (Macedonian: Методија Андонов Ченто) (August 17, 1902 – July 24, 1957) was a Yugoslav statesman, the first president of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia and of the People's Republic of Macedonia in the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia after the Second World War.
Metodi Andonov was born in Prilep, which was then part of the Manastir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. He was the first healthy child of Andon Mitskov and Zoka Koneva, as his older siblings bore diseases. His father was from Pletvar, while his mother was from Lenište. As a child, he worked in opium poppy fields and harvested tobacco. During his adolescence, he was considered to be an excellent gymnast. On March 25, 1930, he married Vasilka Spirova Pop Atanasova in Novi Sad and fathered four children, including Ilija Andonov-Čento, a politician in today's Republic of Macedonia.
Pre-war era and the National Liberation War of Macedonia
At the 1938 Yugoslav elections, he was elected deputy but not a Member of Parliament because of a manipulation with the electoral system. In 1939, he was imprisoned at Velika Kikinda for co-organizing the Ilinden Demonstrations in Prilep. The following year, he imposed the use of the Macedonian language in school lectures and was therefore imprisoned at Bajina Bašta and sentenced to death by the government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for advocating the use of a language other than Serbo-Croatian. On April 15, 1941, he was presented to a firing squad, but was released just prior to being shot.
During the Bulgarian occupation of Vardar Macedonia, Čento received an invitation to collaborate with the Bulgarian occupational authorities but refused, favoring the achievement of liberating Macedonia.
Čento's liquor store was used as a front for the communist resistance in Macedonia, which prompted Bulgarian authorities to imprison him. In 1944, he was elected as President of Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia. Čento's goal was to create a fully independent United Macedonian state or as a constituent republic within the new communist Yugoslavia. The latter became a reality with the formation of the People's Republic of Macedonia, however, Čento as its first president wanted a greater independence for the republic from the federal Yugoslav authorities. He clashed with Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo, Josip Broz Tito’s envoy to Macedonia and Lazar Koliševski, the leader of the ruling Communist Party of Macedonia.
Post-war era and death
After disagreement with the policy of new Yugoslavia and after being repressed by the authorities, Čento resigned. In 1946, he went back to Prilep, but was arrested yet again and sentenced to twelve years in prison for having worked to achieve a "completely independent Macedonia".
Čento died at home on July 24, 1957, after sickness from torture in prison.
Metodija Andonov-Čento was rehabilitated in 1991 with a decision of the Supreme Court of Macedonia in which it annulled the verdict against Čento from 1946.
In 1992, his family and followers established a Čento Foundation, which initiated a lawsuit for damages against the Government of Macedonia. The agenda of the foundation is to support young students, should they win the court proceeding. Until the present day (2009), a decision has not been made by the courts due to procedural lapses.