Can we say that our National Liberation Movement ends with Liberation (1878)? This question is, in fact, not so controversial about Bulgarian historical science. We all know that our national ideal is Sanstefan Bulgaria. Like any ideal, this one remains an eternal pursuit and a bright dream, but not an achievement. Now, looking more closely, one might wonder how "fair" Bulgaria is.

Is it not an ambition of Russian foreign policy rather than a formulated own Bulgarian desire, due to the actual spread and domination of the Bulgarian ethnicity within these limits? Perhaps the most correct thing to say is that Sanestefan Bulgaria, our national ideal, is the result of the Liberation War, in which the victorious Russia was obliged to satisfy, besides us, its allies Serbia and Romania. And this satisfaction naturally has territorial dimensions that are to the detriment of Bulgaria - Northern Dobrudzha, Nisko and Pirotsko, native Bulgarian lands, go to our neighbors Romania and Serbia.

In this sense, San Stefano Bulgaria can be seen as some pragmatic result, rather than justice sought at all costs…

But anyway, the other thing is important! Sanstefan Bulgaria is a myth that evokes the memory of the greatness of Bulgaria from the time of Simeon the Great and Ivan Assen II. And as one great thinker puts it: “Myth is a window, not a door. Trying to enter through it turns him into an allegory. As much as we "delve" into the myth, as much as we try to "enter" through the window, we will not succeed. Because, “He who does not believe in myths believes in lies.” One myth can be displaced by another myth, but can never be erased.

As much as it is explained to people that Sanstefan Bulgaria "does not deserve" to be mythologized - it does not matter, since it has already been mythologized. Some experts say that Krali Marko also "does not deserve" to be mythologized. Others say that among the Fathers of the Church, John Chrysostom is by no means so "golden". good speaker and sage, especially when compared to Basil the Great or Gregory the Theologian. There are many examples of "undeserved" mythologized by something or because of something faces and events.

At the Berlin Congress, a few months after the establishment of Sanstefan Bulgaria, our country is fragmented. This inequity from the point of view of the Bulgarian ethnic division of the purely Bulgarian territories from one another and pushing the border between them obliges the Bulgarian national liberation movement to continue beyond 1878. An attempt was made for the Bulgarian greatness, Sanstephan Bulgaria, at the will of the Great Powers. to be destroyed. This, of course, does not happen, because Bulgarians after 1878 did not tend to accept injustice at all.

Their ideal crashes, but the myth of it does not disappear! Hope is alive, and it strengthens the fighters for justice and freedom! And so, after the Berlin Congress of the summer of 1878, the struggle of the Bulgarians for freedom resumed with full force. And as has already been said, there is no serious debate in the historical science about the stages and duration of the Bulgarian national liberation movement: it practically does not stop with 1878. It may seem paradoxical to anyone that Liberation does not end the fight for freedom, but this is a fact!

If we have to answer the question, where is the most fierce fight for freedom - the answer this time is not surprising: this is Macedonia! Anyone who is familiar with medieval Bulgarian history would not be surprised, since for a long time it was this geographical area that was the cradle of Bulgarian. It has preserved our people and kept the Bulgarian spirit alive, mainly thanks to the Archdiocese of Ohrid, which was recognized by Byzantium as a Bulgarian church and as such has worked for the benefit of the people throughout the centuries of foreign political power. Its status as a Bulgarian church was not liquidated, even during most of the Ottoman rule.

So here I will draw attention to something very important that is usually overlooked: Macedonia is not just a nurse of Bulgarian haramia and "crazy heads". For centuries it has been the cultural center of the Bulgarian language and culture. Here is the medieval Kutmichevitsa, where St. Kliment Ohridski begged, here is the Ohrid Literary School, created at the request of Prince Boris the Baptist. In this line of thought, it is not surprising that much of the Bulgarian intelligentsia after the Liberation comes from Macedonia: Nikola Vaptsarov, Hristo Smirnenski, Dimitar Talev, Atanas Dalchev, Jordan Badev, Danail Krapchev, etc. etc. Macedonia's tradition of giving birth to intelligent Bulgarians, beginning with the Cross (865), continues after the Liberation (1878).

Now to the question: What is the expression of the Bulgarians' struggle for freedom in Macedonia? The struggle is on two fronts: the first is through the aforementioned awake Bulgarian intelligentsia under the rule of the Church (the Bulgarian Exarchate) and peacefully, and the second is with a weapon in hand. Very often, actors fighting on one front (the enlighteners) quietly move to the other. The Bulgarian Exarchate also helps with this, which many times quite purposefully helps the armed wing.

How do we know this? Under the rule of the Bulgarian Exarchate are Bulgarian schools opened outside the borders of Bulgaria - in Macedonia and Thrace. It is in these schools that teachers who prepare students - awake Bulgarians - to engage in armed resistance work. Many of the most prominent Macedonian figures were teachers: Dame Gruev, Krustyu Asenov, Hristo Silyanov ... Let's say a little more about the remarkable personality Hristo Silyanov - the greatest memoirist of the Bulgarian National Liberation Movement after 1878.

Hristo Silyanov

Hristo Silyanov

Hristo Silyanov was born in Constantinople on 24 on May 1880. His father is Bulgarian from Ohrid and his mother is Greek. An orphan remains. His uncle is taking care of him. By coincidence, he enrolled to study first at Thessaloniki Bulgarian High School, then he graduated from the Bitola Bulgarian High School. He became a member of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Organization as a student under the influence of his teacher Dame Gruev. After graduation, he worked as a teacher in Prilep and Lerin (1899 - 1900) for a year or two, and since 1902 he has already been involved in armed combat.

Silianov is an example of a person who first participated in the enlightenment front and then in the illegal armed struggle. It is fortunate to join the troupe of renowned Duke Marco Lerinski, who was known as the best school for training revolutionaries. Thanks to his stay in Marko Voevoda's company, Silyanov also got acquainted with Gotse Delchev. For the rest of his life, he is proud to have met personally and had close contacts with the three greatest figures for Bulgarian liberation after 1878 - Gotse Delchev, Dame Gruev and Marko Lerinski (the battle name of Georgi Ivanov from Kotel ).

During the Ilinden-Transfiguration Uprising Silianov actively participated in the fighting, but this time not in Macedonia, but in Thrace, as part of Mikhail Gerdjikov's detachment. During all this time, while participating in different readings and going to different places, Silyanov does not stop reading and writing. This entitles Ts. Bilyarski to call him "a revolutionary with a rifle and a pen in his hand" and "a historian of the revolution". Silyanov is really a historian: in 1907 he graduated with a degree from Sofia University and then specialized in Switzerland for about a year. His active "struggling years" were until the wars for national unification.

Hristo Silyanov's company

Hristo Silyanov's company

If we ask ourselves which author and participant describes the most complete and vivid liberation movement before 1878, and especially its supreme expression, the April Uprising, then almost every Bulgarian knows that it is Zahari Stoyanov. I think it is appropriate for every Bulgarian to know and who is the successor of Zahari Stoyanov, who most clearly describes our struggles for freedom after 1878 and at the same time participates in them - this is precisely Hristo Silyanov.

Hristo Silyanov and his work Letters and Confessions of a Chetnik are direct followers of Zahari Stoyanov and his work Notes on the Bulgarian Uprising. Ivan Burin rightly points out that we would not have "Under the Yoke", "Bloody Song" and "Epic of the Forgotten" without Zahari's Notes, and without Silianov's "Letters and Confessions" we would not have " Under the Yoke "- Dimitar Talev's tetralogy. The author of the preface to the book by Silyanov states that the case of Dame Gruev, Gotse Delchev and Yane Sandanski is a direct continuation of the case of Rakovski, Levski and Botev. Since the time of the Rakovski Institute, the Chetnik Institute has been part of the Bulgarians' struggle for freedom: with the help of small combat units, the aim is to ease the turmoil and win the local population for a conspiracy to reject Turkish rule.

This is something we see him continue in practice in the Macedonian-Adrian organizations from the 90's of the XX century. An example of the supreme expression of a Bulgarian band before the 1878 is the epic at the Dryanovo Monastery with the participation of Bacho Kiro and the company of pop Hariton. During the Chetnik Action of the Macedonian Committee in 1895, the squad led by Lieutenant General Boris Sarafov (later called "Prince of Macedonia") took over the town of Melnik in Turkish territory. We see the same mechanism of struggle, continuity is present. While the supreme expression on the road to self-liberation of the Bulgarians before 1878 was the April Uprising (1876), after 1878 it was the Ilinden-Transfiguration (1903). Fighting memoirist Hristo Silyanov has been involved in fights with the Turks in both Macedonia and Thrace. Later, during the Balkan War (1912) and the Inter-Allied War, he fought in the ranks of the Macedonian-Edirne militia.

After the First World War, his revolutionary fervor subsided and Silyanov was mainly engaged in literary and journalistic activities. In addition to being a revolutionary who has been involved in the armed struggle for over a decade, he is a talented poet and a very good publicist. He is the author of a poem about the "Hajdic deity" Gotse Delchev, which has become very popular in Macedonia.

"Hurry up, young voivode, with your faithful wife,

And cross those desolate mountains!

All evil has passed so far

And shame does not tarnish you.

A vigilante, like you, awaits paradise,

Thirsty for extinction, for hot speech (…) "

("Hurry up, young voivode" - a poem dedicated to Gotse Delchev, which exists in folk song version)

The work of Hristo Silyanov in memoirs is commendable. The respect that all those familiar with the national liberation movement have received is immense and well deserved. It is no coincidence that Dimitar Talev himself, at his tombstone at his funeral in 1939, says: "His greatest work is the magnificent image of Macedonia, on that wicked Bulgarian land whose name is being thrown away today by some in oblivion."

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