In Bulgarian
TODOR ALEXANDROV AND THE RAILROAD SECRET
ORGANIZATION

(Alexandar Grebenarov, the Macedonian Review quarterly, year XXII, 1999, issue 3)

  • STATUTE OF THE SECRET RAILROAD ORGANIZATION
  • TABLES WITH THE AWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS OF THE SECRET RAILROAD ORGANIZATION
        (Windows Cyrillic 1251)
    During the last decades there were published quite a lot of studies and documents connected with the life and the activity of Todor Alexandrov. To a grand extent they rehabilitated the prominent figure who was until recently denigrated "at the both sides of the Vardar river". The reports at the anniversary scientific session, held in 1991 in commemoration of the 110th jubilee from the birth of Todor Alexandrov1, also contributed to the more realistic presentation of the image of the prominent figure to the society. Most of the researchers justly compare him with the leading revolutionaries of our movement for national liberation.
    In the years after the First World War T. Alexandrov acts as an indisputable leader of IMRO in spite of the fact that according the bylaws of the organization the Central Committee comprises 3 members with equal rights and obligations. He succeeds in the complete restoring of the organizational structures and in the control of the processes in the whole movement. In the end of 1918 he participates in the assemblies of the most numerous refugee’s organization leaded by the Executive Committee of the Macedonian Brotherhoods. Later he supports the Macedonian organizations which are founded in the first years after the war – Macedonian student’s society "Vardar" (1920), Macedonian League (1920), Ilinden Organization (1921), Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization (1922), Union of the Macedonian Youth Organizations (1923), Macedonian Scientific Institute (1923).

    Trough different ways he collects information for the formations founded and supported by the leaders of the Agricultural Union in Bulgaria. The Federalist Organizations ( legal and secret ) and the Emigrant’s Organization of the Agricultural Union meet a strong resistance on the part of IMRO. On August 22, 1922 T. Alexandrov signs the lately famous circular letter ¹303. The document ( along with the sent on September 5 Temporary Regulations) regulates the transformation of the organization, which is called "subsidiary’ in Pirin’s Macedonia2. Alongside with the main goal – to support morally and materially the struggle of the revolutionaries in Vardar’s and Aegean’s Macedonia, the subsidiary organization has also an implied task to protect the bases and the influence of IMRO in the Petrich region from Bulgarian rulers.
    During the next months at the territory of southwestern Bulgaria an undeclared war ‘breaks" between IMRO and the Agricultural Union (BZNS). Representatives of the authority organize military- punitive actions in the Petrich region. The corruption and the unscrupulous cliquishness turn the district into a purgatory which gives asylum to corrupted state clerks and unmanageable military officers from the whole country. IMRO responds to these challenges and unceremoniously takes Nevrokop (today Goce Delchev), and later even Kustendil. These events provoke heterogeneous reactions throughout the country. Many see as a consequence the lowered foreign policy prestige of Bulgaria in fatal time and invoke the government to take more drastic measures against IMRO. However the prudence overcomes and the rulers ponder on the idea of long term agreement with IMRO.

    The statement of Al. Stamboliiski on January 26, 1923 and the unsuccessful attempt on his life several days later again deteriorate the relations between the rulers and IMRO. As a response to the restrictive measures of the government towards the Organization and the dismissal of the ministers favorable to it T. Alexandrov signs a death sentence of Raiko Daskalov3. This new disruption puts an end of the efforts of the moderate leaders of the Agricultural Union and the Petrich district governor Sr. Poppetrov to settle the disputes between rulers and revolutionaries4.
    The conference in Nish opened on March 1, 1923 inflames even more the passions among the revolutionaries. They justly fear from the promises made to Belgrad by the rulers to liquidate the bases of IMRO in Bulgaria. The Agricultural Union really signs such an agreement with our western neighbor showing lack of foresight and not demanding Yugoslavia to stop its denationalization policy in Macedonia or to support actively Bulgarian foreign policy5. The decisions of the conference become known to the public only after the Ordinance ¹44 of the Council of Ministers from May 7,1923. With the undertaken measures of repression against the Macedonian refugee’s organizations and certain members of IMRO the rulers demonstrate an intention to liquidate the liberation movement.

    Through different ways there is a "leak" of information which becomes known to the revolutionary leaders during the very conference in Nish. This alarming news compels the leaders to undertake immediate measures to preserve IMRO and its bases in the country. On March 14,1923, three days before the closing of the conference, T. Alexandrov sends a secret circular letter ¹ 384 to the commanders of the border revolutionary districts in Macedonia6. They are informed that in connection with the new situation the Central Committee is planing to create a second subsidiary organization whose area of action will be the border region with Macedonia. The intention of the subsidiary organization, planed by T. Alexandrov is to move away and thus to preserve the bases and the members of IMRO in case of measures of repression undertaken by the government in the Petrich region.
    The apprehensions of T. Alexandrov that the rulers will harm IMRO become even stronger after the end of the conference in Nish. Three days later he takes new precautions to save the cause. To this end he prepares the constitutive documents to a new conspiratorial structure called Railway Secret Organization(RSO). He draws up Statute and two Tables for awards and punishments of the new subsidiary organization of IMRO. These documents are shown in the present publication.

    Through the new structure T. Alexandrov tries to enhance the span of the revolutionary organization in Bulgaria and to reinforce the counteraction against the rulers. As the railway transport is quite vulnerable it is not a problem for IMRO to create a network of faithful members who at a given sign to reconnoitre or to paralyze most of the railways in the country. The new subsidiary organization has a regulation which is different from these of the other Macedonian organizations founded after the First World War. Besides in its statute is unambiguously underlined that the organization will protect "purely national Bulgarian interests"(art.1). This is reaffirmed by the oath. Every member in front of a gun and a dagger swears "in his honour , conscience and faith" to work "for the freedom of Macedonia and the other enslaved Bulgarian territories"(art.40).
    Despite the fact that RSO is created under the pressure of the events its constituent documents are well conceived and the texts are properly arranged. This implies that probably they were prepared some time ago in view of the permanent crises between IMRO and the Agricultural Union. However until today there are no found documents which to reveal the activity of RSO. Whether it really acts as a subsidiary organization of IMRO and whether it contributes to the success of the coup d’etat against the Agricultural Union are questions to which probably the future will answer.

    The two documents published here consist of 6 pages of typewriting with number and date, with the seal of IMRO and they are signed by IMRO’s chief leader T. Alexandrov. For more than 75 years they have rested out of the sight of most of the contemporaries and the researchers of the liberation movement7. The documents complete the image of the factual leader of the movement - T. Alexandrov revealing new features of his character- foresight and pragmatism8.
    The documents are kept in the Central State Archive(CSA) fund 1932 ( National liberation organizations of the macedonian bulgarians after the Congress of Berlin, 1878). The text is published with modernized spelling, the compiler’s interference is marked with square brackets or is explained under line, the author’s grammatical use of definite article is kept. The two documents are numbered and with the original titles.

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    1. Materials from the scientific session "Todor Alexandrov – life and cause (dedicated to the 110th anniversary of his birth)"- Makedonski Pregled,1991, book 3 , pg. 109-148
    2. CSA, fund 1932
    3. CSA, fund 396
    4. National Library "St. St. Kiril and Metodi"- Bulgarian History Archive, fund 808
    5. Vassilev, V. The government of BZNS(the Agricultural Union), IMRO and the relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. S. 1991, pg. 256-275; Georgiev, V. Protocols from the sessions of the bulgarian-serbian-croat-slovenian commission in Nish March 1-17, 1923 – Messages of the state archives, book 67, S. 1994 , 261-312
    6. CSA, fund 1932, See also: Tulekov,D. IMRO in the Petrich region (1922-1934), dissertation . 1998, pg. 73-75
    7. Recently they were used by me. See: Grebenarov, A. Secret structures of bulgarians from Macedonia(1919-1941), S. 1998, pg. 26-32
    8. On April 5, 1923 T. Alexandrov jotted notes on the Bylaws and the Regulation of IMRO. He tries to modernize texts in its statutes because of the changed conditions and situation in Macedonia after the wars (Biliarski, C. , Nikolov, B.. T. Alexandrov and the post of IMORO in Kustendil – Military history miscellany , 1995, book 1, pg. 106)

    Translated by Angel Bandzhov