A.V. Amfiteatrov: Macedonia
…Following the Russian war, Turkey of the old regime finally turned into a “sick man”, and the heirs of the executors of the expected will gathered around his death-bed. The future destiny of Macedonia came to depend not as much on the will of Turkey itself as on the sympathies of the European guardians. In the 19th century Europe learned through Germany, Italy and Greece to consider the right to national self-determination a little. Thus, all the states and countries bordering on Macedonia have started intensive propaganda in favor of their nationalities, as it were a race or along jump for an award. They have taken care, as much as they have means and power, to persuade Europe by truth and lies, that allegedly the national self-determination of the Macedonian inclines in their favor, and not in favor of the neighboring nation. In this respect the Bulgarians proved more swift the their rivals. In order to make Macedonia Bulgarian, they had to Bulgarize the Macedonians. Thus, following the Bulgaro-Serbian War of 1885, the greatest powers and considerable sacrifices of the Bulgarian state apparatus were given to the Bulgarization of the Macedonian Slavs. Bulgarian agents were the priests and the teachers; the comitajis and band-members became the secret government of the country and, allegedly, its soul. In the beginning the propaganda was exceedingly successful. Miljukov, who visited Macedonia towards the end of the nineties, looked at it too much through Bulgarian glasses and – so to say – proclaimed all the Macedonians to be full-blooded Bulgarians. But his mistake can be considered as made with clear conscience. He found Macedonia so profoundly and brilliantly Bulgarized that it is no wonder that he took the clothes for the body – the culture for the nationality. Those who have read The Land of Discord know my view about the Macedonians. They are neither Serbs nor Bulgarians, but a primordial Slav people with simple basic language which is to a great degree able to be subject to any form offered by another, more influential and more developed Slav culture. There are Macedonian Bulgarians where the Bulgarian school and Church are firmly established, and Serbs where literacy is in the hands of the Serbs. They could have been turned with the same ease, under the influence of education, religion and commerce, into Little Russians, Great Russians or Poles. Their language is melted metal which can easily be molded into any kindred form. But – a related one. So, it is national kinship which is the main reason for making Macedonia a center of confrontation between the Slavs and for destroying the Greek influence in it. Statistics about Macedonia are confusing, tendentious and fantastic. In spite of that, even according to Greek sources, it is easy to see the Hellenes represent a minority in the Macedonian vilayets. As a result of this and aiming to create a majority, the Greeks had to resort to sufficiently unscrupulous falsifications, counting all Slav Patriarchists as Greeks. These are Slavs who have not acknowledged the Exarchate but remained faithful to the Constatinople Patriarchate, although they speak only Slavic. In this way the Greeks have come to understand one’s nationality in the same manner as the Turks – religion equals nationality. A patriarchist – means a Greek…
Taken from C. Stanoevski, “Kako ja vidoa Makedonija”, pages 210-211.