Resolution of the Comintern on the Macedonian Question
The resolution of the Comintern of January 11, 1934, was an official political document, in which for the first time, an authoritative international organization has recognized the existence of a separate Macedonian nation and Macedonian language.
At that time there were few historians, ethnographers or linguists who claimed that a separate Macedonian nation and language existed. In early 20th century among the majority of the Slavs in the region of Macedonia coexisted pro-Bulgarian ethnic sentiments and regional Macedonian identity. The partition of the Ottoman Macedonia between Balkan nation-states after the conclusion of the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and World War I (1914–1918) left the area, divided mainly between Greece and Serbia (later Yugoslavia). As result part of the Slav inhabitants of the region emigrated to Bulgarian Macedonia. Under Serbian control in Vardar Macedonia the locals faced with the policy of forced Serbianisation. The Greek governments also began promulgating a policy of persecution of the use of Slavic dialects both in public and in private, as well of expressions of any ethnic distinctiveness. In 1919 and 1927 population exchange agreements were signed and the bulk of the Slavic-speaking population in Greece left for Bulgaria. In this way the Bulgarian community in most of the area began to reduce, either by population exchanges or by change of its ethnic identity.
In June 1931 the registrar of the Comintern Otto Kuusinen in his report on the national question to the Executive Committee, suggested that the main weakness of the Comintern was the insufficient appreciation of the national questions. Kuusinen called to discuss the national question in order to develop a new national program for each of the parties. Meanwhile, to the Balkan communist parties a directive was provided, for the gradual abandonment of the slogan of the Balkan Federation, highlighting in its foreground the "right of the distinct peoples of self-determination to a full separation". The reason for this political turning, was the rising of Nazism in Germany. Thus in 1932 a members of the Comintern sponsored IMRO (United), put for the first time the issue of the recognition of a separate Macedonian nation. This question was discussed among them, however, there was a split when Vasil Hadzhikimov and his group, refused to agree that the Macedonians are a separate people from the Bulgarians. Nevertheless, the highest institutions of the Comintern were informed about this issue from Dino Kyosev who gave a lecture in Moscow in 1933 on the distinct Macedonian national consciousness.
As result in the autumn of 1933 the Macedonian Dimitar Vlahov - leader of the IMRO (United) and former Bulgarian diplomat, was summoned in Moscow and took part in a number of meetings. At one of them the Executive Committee ordered the leading cadres of the Balkan Secretariate, Valecki - a Pole, and Šmeral - a Czech, to draw up a special resolution on the issue. Because they had no concept of this problem, using Vlahov's help the resolution yet had been prepared. Vlahov claims, before the convening of the consultation the leadership had already its stand that the Macedonian nation exists. So on January 11, 1934, the Political Secretariat of the Executive Committee of the Comintern adopted its final decision on the Macedonian Question about the existence of a Macedonian nation. The basis of the new concept was the common view that the region of Macedonia is one of the pivots of future imperialist war and therefore the Comintern seeks an option to blunt the contradictions between the countries that possess it. This decision by the Comintern was the recognition of a separate Macedonian nation. According to Vlahov, that was precisely what happened in Moscow in 1934:
"I mentioned earlier that the Comintern itself wanted the Macedonian Question to be considered at one of the consultations of its executive committee. One day I was informed that the consultation would be held. And so it was. Before the convening of the consultation, the inner leadership of the committee had already reached its stand, including the question of Macedonian nation, and charged the Balkan Secretariat with the drafting of corresponding resolution... In the resolution, which we published in the Makedonsko Delo in 1934, it was concluded that the Macedonian nation exists".
He also mentioned that the resolution had a hostile reception both from members of the Bulgarian Communist Party and of the IMRO (United), residing in Moskow. Vlahov himself was a member of both organizations and a Soviet spy, who declared himself until then as a Bulgarian. He accepted the decision without any personal reaction or substantive comment, that confirms he was operating in fact as a Communist agent. However, the Resolution didn't ever mention the ineffectual Vlahov as a leader of the IMRO (United). The Resolution was published for the first time in the April issue of the IMRO (United) magazine "Makedonsko Delo". Following the decision of the Comintern, IMRO (United) took as its slogan "the right of the Macedonian people to self-determination up to secession" and formation of "Macedonian Republic of working masses". Despite the fact that this was formally a Resolution of IMRO (United), it was a document adopted by the Comintern, which was immediately published in all the mouthpieces of this international communist centre. Afterwards the mainstream Bulgarian public opinion has maintained that the Comintern is the "inventor" of the idea about the existence of a separate Macedonian nation.
Prior to the Second World War, this views on the Macedonian issue had been of little practical importance. During the War the macedonist ideas were further developed by the Yugoslav Communist Partisans, although some researchers doubt that even at that time the Macedonian Slavs identified themselves to be a nationality separate from the Bulgarians. After the Red Army entered the Balkans in the late 1944, new communist regimes came into power in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia and their policy on the Macedonian Question was committed to the Resolution of supporting the development of a distinct ethnic Macedonian identity. A separate Macedonian language also was codified in 1945.
- Duncan Perry, "The Republic of Macedonia: finding its way" in Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrot (eds.), Politics, power and the struggle for Democracy in South-Eastern Europe, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 228-229.
- Dennis P. Hupchick states that "the obviously plagiarized historical argument of the Macedonian nationalists for a separate Macedonian ethnicity could be supported only by linguistic reality, and that worked against them until the 1940s. Until a modern Macedonian literary language was mandated by the communist-led partisan movement from Macedonia in 1944, most outside observers and linguists agreed with the Bulgarians in considering the vernacular spoken by the Macedonian Slavs as a western dialect of Bulgarian". Dennis P. Hupchick, Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 1995, p. 143.
- Loring M. Danforth, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0691043566, p. 65.
- During the 20th century, Slavo-Macedonian national feeling has shifted. At the beginning of the 20th century, Slavic patriots in Macedonia felt a strong attachment to Macedonia as a multi-ethnic homeland... Most of these Macedonian Slavs also saw themselves as Bulgarians. By the middle of the 20th century, however Macedonian patriots began to see Macedonian and Bulgarian loyalties as mutually exclusive. Regional Macedonian nationalism had become ethnic Macedonian nationalism... This transformation shows that the content of collective loyalties can shift. "Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe", Ethnologia Balkanica Series, Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010, ISBN 3825813878, p. 127
- Gallagher, Thomas (2001). Outcast Europe: The Balkans, 1789-1989: From the Ottomans to Milosevic. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 0415375592.
Where an overarching identity existed among Slavs in Macedonia, it was a Bulgarian one until at least the 1860s. The cultural impetus for a separated 'Macedonian identity' would only emerge later.
- Dejan Djokić, Yugoslavism: histories of a failed idea, 1918–1992, University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 ISBN 0299186105, p. 117.
- Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics, Cornell University Press, 1988, ISBN 0801494931, p. 33.
- К у у с и н е н, О. Слабият участък от фронта на Коминтерна. — Комунистическо знаме, VIII. 1931, № 9, с. 19.
- Произходът на македонската нация - Стенограма от заседание на Македонския Научен Институт в София през 1947 г.
- Мемоари на Димитър Влахов. Скопје, 1970, стр. 356.
- Balkan Studies: Biannual Publication of the Institute for Balkan Studies, Hidryma Meletōn Chersonēsou tou Haimou (Thessalonikē, Greece), 1994, p. 363.
- Dimitar Vlahov, Memoirs, Skopje, Nova Makedonija, 1970, str. 357.
- Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1-85065-534-0, p. 98.
- Палешутски, Костадин. Югославската комунистическа партия и македонският въпрос, 1919–1945, Издателство на Българската Академия на Науките, София 1985, стр. 223.
- The national question in Yugoslavia: origins, history, politics, Ivo Banac, Cornell University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-8014-9493-1, p. 328.
- Balkan Currents: Studies in the History, Culture and Society of a Divided Land, Basil P. Caloyeras, Lawrence A. Tritle, Loyola Marymount Univ, 1998, ISBN 0941690822, p. 108.
- Разведка и контрразведка в лицах: энциклопедический словарь российских спецслужб, Анатолий Валентинович Диенко, Клуб ветеранов госбезопасности (Руссия), Издател Русскій мiръ, 2002 стр. 97.
- Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 105.
- According to the Macedonian historian Academician Ivan Katardzhiev all left-wing Macedonian revolutionaries from the period until the early 1930s declared themselves as "Bulgarians" and he asserts that the political separatism of some Macedonian revolutionaties toward official Bulgarian policy was yet only political phenomenon without ethnic character. This will bring even Dimitar Vlahov on the session of the Politburo of the Macedonian communist party in 1948, when speaking of the existence of the Macedonian nation, to say that in 1932 (when left wing of IMRO issued for the first time the idea of separate Macedonian nation) a mistake was made. Katardzhiev claims all this veterans from IMRO (United) and Bulgarian communist party remained only at the level of political, not of national separatism. Thus, they practically continued to feel themselves as Bulgarians, i.e. they didn't developed clear national separatist position even in Communist Yugoslavia. Академик Катарџиев, Иван. Верувам во националниот имунитет на македонецот, интервjу за списание „Форум“, 22 jули 2000, број 329.
- Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, LIT Verlag Münster, 2008, ISBN 3825813878, p. 142.
- Yugoslav communism and the Macedonian question, Stephen E. Palmer, Robert R. King, Archon Books, 1971, ISBN 0208008217, p. 48.
- Македонско дело, бр. 185, IV. 1934.
- Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans, John Phillips, I.B.Tauris, 2004, ISBN 186064841X, p. 37.
- The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-691-04356-6, pp. 65-66.
- Politics, power, and the struggle for democracy in South-East Europe, Volume 2 of Authoritarianism and Democratization and authoritarianism in postcommunist societies, Karen Dawisha, Bruce Parrott, Cambridge University Press, 1997, ISBN 0521597331, pp. 229–230. Google Books. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- The Resolution of the Comintern on the Macedonian Nation and the Macedonian Language (1934)
- The situation in Macedonia and the tasks of IMRO (United) "Makedonsko Delo", April 1934.