Autonomist Movements of the Slavophones in 1944



πλήρης τίτλος:
Spyridon Sfetas, Autonomist Movements of the Slavophones in 1944: The Attitude of the Communist Party of Greece and the Protection of the Greek-Yugoslav Border
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The founding of the Slavo-Macedonian Popular Liberation Front (SNOF) in Kastoria in October 1943 and in Florina the following November was a result of two factors: the general negotiations between Tito's envoy in Yugoslav and Greek Macedonia, Svetozar Vukmanovic-Tempo, the military leaders of the Greek Popular Liberation Army (ELAS), and the political leaders of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in July and August 1943 to co-ordinate the resistance movements[1]; and the more specific discussions between Leonidas Stringos and the political delegate of the GHQ of Yugoslav Macedonia, Cvetko Uzunovski in late August or early September 1943 near Yannitsa[2]. The Yugoslavs’ immediate purpose in founding SNOF was to inculcate a Slavo-Macedonian national consciousness in the Slavophones of Greek Macedonia and to enlist the Slavophones of Greek Macedonia into the resistance movement in Yugoslav Macedonia; while their indirect aim was to promote Yugoslavia's views on the Macedonian Question[3]. The KKE had recognised the Slavophones as a “SlavoMacedonian nation” since 1934, in accordance with the relevant decision by the Comintern, and since 1935 had been demanding full equality for the minorities within the Greek state; and it now acquiesced to the founding of SNOF in the belief that this would draw into the resistance those Slavophones who had been led astray by Bulgarian Fascist propaganda[4].
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[1] See T.-A. Papapanagiotou, L’ Effort pourla creation dugland quartiergendral balcanique et lacooperation balcanique, Juin-Septembre 1943 (unpublished postgraduate dissertation, Sorbonne, 1991); there is a copy in the library of the Institute for Balkan Studies, Thessaloniki.
[2] See S. Vukmanovic-Tempo, Revolucija Koja teee, vol. 3, Zagreb 1982, p. 14. In a postwar report to the Central Committee of the KKE on SNOF's activities, Stringos had this to say about the meeting: “Abas requested that our sections work together against the Germans and that we make things a littleeasier for their sections that were obliged, because of the operations, to cross over into Greek territory frequently; and they also offered to help with the work among the Slavo-Macedonians, who were still being influenced by the komitadyis”. See AM (Arhiv na Makedonija-Skopje), K.20/242.A.
[3] Tempo brought up the question of uniting Greek and Yugoslav Macedonia in a future Yugoslavfederation when he met Andreas Dzimas, the KKE's representative, in the summer of 1943. He asked Dzima to sign a statement to that effect. Dzimas refused to discuss the subject. See RCHIDNI (Rossijskij Centr Hranenija i Izutenija Dokumentov NovejPej Istorii), F. 495, Op. 74, D. 177, L. 60, Fitin (Director of Soviet espionage) to Dimitrov, 18 August 1944. This was another fundamental reason why Siandosrejected Tempo's proposals for setting up a Balkan HQ. It was agreed, however, to set up Slavo- Macedonian anned sections within the frarnework of ELAS, to foster the Slavo-Macedonian dialect, and to publish Slavo-Macedonian newspapers
[4] According to confidential statistics collected by the Macedonian GHQ early in 1925 (i.e. after the deadline for emigration applications), there were 76,098 Slavophones fonner Patriarchists in Greek Macedonia and 97,636 Slavophones fonner Exarchists, of whom 11,228 were due to emigrate to Bulgaria, thus reducing the number of fotmer Exarchists to 86,408. The Slavophones, including those who were bilingual, therefore numbered 162,506 (see 1. Mihailidis, ,'H Mclxeoovia TOU 1930 1lfaa cso It5axawtattxE;: H REQiZT(2)an T(l)V okXoXvxv,,, XVlth Greek Histoncal Conference, Thessaloniki 1994). The Slavophones may be divided into those who regarded themselves as Bulgarians, those who regarded themselves as Greeks, and those with a more fluid consciousness. They were incolporated into the Greek state, to which they remained loyal. It is significant that neither the Bulgarian IMRO nor the Communist IMRO (United) exerted much iniluence on the Slavophones. Their displeasure was chiefly aroused by the policy of “forced Hellenisation” implemented under the Metaxas dictatorship, when they were forbidden to speak the Slavo-Macedonian dialect even in the privacy of their own homes. Although Metaxas' policy was dictated by the necessity of preventing the Communists from infiltrating the Slavophones_after 1934 the KKE regarded them as a “(Slavo-)Macedonian nation” and members of IMRO (United) wrote to Rizospastis pointing out the “distinct ethnic status of the (Slavo-)Macedonians”_ it may in general tens be desctibed as illconsidered, and ultimately facilitated Bulgarian and Yugoslav propaganda duting the occupation.