The supreme leaders were looking for the "head of Sandanski"! (1)

The great Macedonian revolutionary Jane Sandanski

Bulgarian supremacy was as dangerous as the anti-Macedonian policies coming from Serbia and Greece, however, unlike Jane Sandanski, who clearly perceived such danger and fought against it, the majority of MRO leaders did not recognize those threats.

Jane Ivanov Sandanski-Starikot was born in the village of Vlahi, Melnicko, Pirin part of Macedonia, on May 18/31, 1872. He completed the second grade of high school in Dupnica, Bulgaria, and then he was self-educated. As a youth, he was politically active among the Macedonian emigration in the city of Dupnica. He was a member of armed companies of the Supreme Macedonian Committee (SMC), and with them in 1895 and 1897. entered Macedonia. During the second entry, in a fight with the Turkish army, near the village of Lopovo, Melničko, in 1897. he was wounded in the left hand.

In 1899, through Nikola Maleshevski, Jane Sandanski met Gotse Delchev and Gjorche Petrov and became a supporter of the Secret Macedonian-Odrina Revolutionary Organization (TMORO). From that period, he started collaborating with Dimo ​​Hadji Dimov, who was one of the ideologues of socialist thought in the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement (MRO). Since then, he has gradually turned into one of the main leaders of that current which is colloquially called "the left in the Macedonian revolutionary movement".


Jane Sandanski

The rifles should remain in Dupnica

Even while he was living and working in Dupnica, Jane Sandanski came into conflict with the representatives of VMK from Sofia. Namely, together with Maleshevski, they opposed the intention of General Ivan Tsonchev, to return a certain amount of rifles intended for MRO, stored in Dupnica, to Sofia to VMK. In 1901, from Delchev, he was sent as a voivode to the border regions of the Ser district, with the task of agitating in favor of the organization among the population and for the protection of the organization's territory from the intrusion of the supremacists. His company moved to Macedonia in April 1901. and it will be in the peonies east of Ctpyma: gopnogymajki, razloški and melinki, and as its special task it should have organized the fire against the people of the cami level. Since then, until his death in 1915, Jane Candancki acted as one of the heads of the MRO in Sersko, i.e. in a large part of the Pyrenean and eastern Aegean part of Macedonia, and he visited Macedonia more frequently.

Jane Sandanski and Aleksandar Bujnov

Already at the time of his initial actions as a duke, Sandanski constantly stressed the need for freedom in the war, and he persistently guarded against the illusions that existed, for any help to Macedonia, the liberation of Bya.

 The Miss Stone Affair

Jane Sandanski was the main organizer of the seizure of the American missionary Ellen Stone. It is one of the most significant and media-exposed episodes, not only from the activities of Jane Sandanski, but from the entire Macedonian liberation struggle in the Ilinden period. During the implementation of this action, Sandanski showed not only excellent organizational skills, but also great persistence and dedication to the implementation of the action. In order to hinder Jane Sandanski in her intention to obtain a ransom for the American missionary, VMK sent Duke Doncho Zlatkov with a large company to Melničko, who was supposed to take away the abducted women from Sandanski. However, the historian Manol Pandevski asserts that, in addition to such a task, Doncho Zlatkov with the supremacist company had another task, that is, the "presuprist center" from Sofia was looking for "first of all, the head of Sandanski, and only then Miss Stone, but alive and healthy".

Advertisement for Miss Stone in the Akron Daily Democrat/Photo: October 17, 1901. Akron Daily Democrat (Akron, OH), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

As its ultimate goal of the struggle, the left faction in MRO, in which Jane Sandanski was among the most prominent figures, set the demand for "full political independence of Macedonia and Odrina", without foreseeing joining Bulgaria, but creating some form of Balkan or eastern federation in which Macedonia will be a separate political unit. Sandanski's conception of an eastern federation, in fact, represented a socio-political and economic basis for solving the Macedonian question, in the direction of opening opportunities for self-determination of the Macedonian population and the constitution of Macedonia as a federal state. At the same time, the federation thus conceived neutralized external influences and prevented the division of the territory of Macedonia by Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. In essence, it is the basis of Macedonian political separatism.

The conflict between the left and the right

In contrast to it, the right wing in MRO kept the goal - "autonomy" of Macedonia as a stage towards joining with Bulgaria. Such goals of the struggle of the left and the right in the post-Ilinden period, i.e. full "political independence of Macedonia" or "autonomy" as a stage for unification with Bulgaria, will gradually not only lead to a complete division of the Macedonian revolutionary movement, but the left will ideologically evolve from the so-called political separatism to Macedonian national self-identification.

The Supreme Committee headed by Boris Sarafov
The Supreme Committee headed by Boris Sarafov

Bulgarian supremacy was as dangerous as the anti-Macedonian policies coming from Serbia and Greece, however, unlike Jane Sandanski, who clearly perceived such danger and fought against it, the majority of MRO leaders did not recognize those threats. After all, it is understandable if you consider that they were "officials of the Exarchate" and had undergone its educational and propaganda Bulgarian nationalist "treatment".

Since 1902 Jane Sandanski with his company began to oppose the VMK companies that entered Macedonia armed. After the Gornojumaj insurgent provocation of September 23, 1902, his reputation as a revolutionary, who opposes supremacy, grew a lot. Due to his open and unshakable anti-sovereignist position, during his life and revolutionary activity he was the target of even six supremeist assassinations, the last of which was fatal.


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