In Bulgarian
A KNIGHT OF THE BULGARIAN NATIONAL REVOLUTION
The assassination of Todor Alexandrov - The underhand role of the Comintern - The wrong calculations of the Bulgarian Communist Party - The marionettes.
by d.h.s. Decho Dobrinov

On August 31. 1924 in the nooks of Pirin Mountain, hit by a traitorous bullet died "the last king of the mountains" - Todor Alexandrov, the most significant leader of IMRO in the period after the Ilinden Uprising. What attracted the arrows of hate to this man who served his enslaved fatherland more than quarter of a century? It is not likely that we will ever tear the vail of the mystery apart, but based on the facts already known and those recently discovered we could make some more determinate conclusions.

The conspiracy for the removal of Todor Alexandrov from the leadership of IMRO was definitely shaped during the summer of 1924. The supreme leader of IMRO became target of hostility from different directions at the same time: the government of Alexander Tzankov and especially the military; the Communist Party (BCP), directed by the Comintern towards new armed rebellion in Bulgaria; and, finally, on behalf of a group of IMRO functionaries led by the responsible for Petrich region Aleko Vasilev (Pashata). Motivated by different grounds and even contradicting among themselves, these three forces had in their interests one crossing point - Todor Alexandrov.

He was an obstacle for the government of the Democratic Alliance because of his independent conduct, his ambition to protect the independence of IMRO, not willing to transform it into a hostage of the foreign policy of Alexander Tzankov. Namely IMRO was the price that Tzankov was ready to pay for the stabilization of his regime in international aspect. His conflict with Todor Alexandrov was old and started already in the autumn of 1923. However, the attempts of the government to shift on IMRO the responsibility for certain political assassinations, as the arrests in the spring of the same year too sharpened to the limit the relations between the generals Valkov and Rusev, on one side, and Todor Alexandrov, on the other. The leader of IMRO even directly threatened the government with responding measures similar to those at the time of Alexander Stamboliysky.

The challenging tone of Todor Alexandrov towards the government met as opponent Alexander Protogerov - the second important figure in IMRO. Being officer, a member of the Military Union and mason (as most of the members of the government), Protogerov had different opinion about the development of the relations between IMRO and the governors in Bulgaria. On this ground the break between both leaders and during many years closest collaborators became irreversible at the end of July 1924.

Meanwhile the Communist Party was preparing with all its efforts and Moscow's active support another armed rebellion. During its political preparation BCP and the Comintern paid serious attention to the Macedonian revolutionary movement. Particular court was made to IMRO. The goal was to conquer the leadership of the Organization and to use it as a striking force and instrument in the forthcoming adventure. Being loyal servants to these plans, as a "fifth column" were acting diverse remnants of the ex-sandanists, the morally compromised and defeated "federalists" and others. Besides Moscow they were serving faithfully to the Serbian and Greek enslavers of Macedonia too.

Considering the opportunities to gain moral and material support in the spring of 1924 Todor Alexandrov left himself to be persuaded to negotiate with the Comintern and BCP.

Step by step, using corruption and blackmailing BCP and the Comintern attracted in their camp Dimitar Vlahov - proxy of IMRO's Central Committee (CC) for the negotiations and Petar Chaulev, member of the CC. The purpose of the negotiations became clear already during the preliminary talks and Todor Alexandrov insisted that IMRO's CC should leave Vienna immediately. Alexandrov himself left for London on May 1. 1924. In his absence and under the dictation of the representative of the Comintern the famous May Manifest was created. It was signed by Petar Chaulev and Alexander Protogerov, signing both also on behalf of Todor Alexandrov without letting the latter have any idea about the contents of the document in question.

However, the Manifest, which was officially a document of IMRO's CC, became a powerful weapon in the armament of BCP and the Comintern for the elimination of the leadership of the Organization discrediting it as being "bolsheviks". Namely because of this the Manifest was written deliberately according to all dogmas of the hard-line Comintern phraseology, containing furthermore even completely nihilistic view about the nationality of Macedonian Bulgarians. The publication of the May Manifest was supposed to compromise Todor Alexandrov to the maximum in the eyes of Bulgarian government and European public opinion and leave him without any support. The authors of this scenario were deeply convinced that IMRO was drawing its strength namely from Bulgarian and European "reaction". Left without its backing Todor Alexandrov was supposed to be replaced by the so called "left forces" in the Macedonian movement.

It is in the interest of the historical truth to mention that not all of the members of BCP's leadership within the country (K. Yankov) shared this tactics, but just because of this they were kept aside from the whole operation.

After the publication of the May Manifest the plan was partially put into practice. Across Europe and in the Balkan capitals reproaches were launched against the "bolshevization" of IMRO by Todor Alexandrov. The conflict with the government was sharpened to its extreme. The negotiations in London, which aimed at lightening somehow the regime in the part of Macedonia under Serbian occupation, were ceased.

The isolation Todor Alexandrov fell in was welcomed by his adversaries within IMRO. The ideological aspect in the formation of this "left" opposition was playing only a supporting role or served rather to disguise the betrayal. The same was confessed even by the ideological godfathers of this new "left wing".

Soon also Alexander Protogerov joined the opposition grouped near Aleko Vasilev and Georgi Atanasov. What exactly was Protogerov's part in the conspiracy and whether he was interpreting the removal of Alexandrov as his physical liquidation, it is hard to say. Nevertheless, Protogerov's very active participation in the manoeuvres against Todor Alexandrov is out of any doubt and proved with documents.

Besides the personal ambition to rise within the movement Aleko Vasilev was motivated by another basic reason - to group near him all those who were dissatisfied with Todor Alexandrov. Since years Vasilev was misusing the authority of IMRO, committing pillages and unjustified violence. Surrounded by similar to him "ideological comrades" and considering himself almighty in Petrich region, Aleko had only one obstacle on his way to the complete power - Todor Alexandrov.

Alexandrov himself was aware since long time of Aleko's "revolutionary activity". In the eve of the congress of Ser revolutionary district Alexandrov had already collected enough evidences in order to accuse Aleko and handle his case in accordance with the Statute and the traditions of IMRO. Alexandrov wasn't cautious enough and shared his intentions with Protogerov. Thus they were found out by the accused too.

The publication of the May Manifest and the moral impact on Todor Alexandrov were welcomed by the conspirers. The conflict with the government gave them additional courage and they decided to solve all their problem with one single hit. In the end of August 1924 the last days of Todor Alexandrov's life were passing.

To serve as direct weapon of the crime were chosen two men among Aleko's close surrounders - Shteryu Vlahov and Dincho Vretenarov. On August 31. they led Alexandrov and Protogerov to the place where the Ser congress was about to begin. On the way to his Golgota Alexandrov was cheerful and they were recalling different occurrences and telling jokes. Round about noon the group stopped for a break. Both executioners stepped aside and at the same time and emptied their rifles in Todor Alexandrov's back. At the same moment was also killed the rebel escorting him - Pando Zafirov. Alexander Protogerov lost consciousness and the assassins walked away without any trouble.

Less than two weeks later the retribution reached both of them and those who inspired them. Four years later their fate was shared by Alexander Protogerov.

Mourned and beweeped by all Bulgarians in Macedonia, Thracia and Dobrudzha, the great leader of Macedonian revolution was laid in the grave on September 3. 1924 near the chapel "Saint Ilya" over the village of Sugarevo in the region of Melnik.

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Translated by Georgi Kalinov