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Dame Gruev (1871 - 1906)

In the latter part of May, 1902, Gruev was imprisoned in Podroum-Kale in Asia Minor. There he found Christo Matov and Dr.Christo Tatarchev, both sentenced to exile in January 1901. Gruev and his comrades were kept in Podroum-Kale for 10 months. Dame GruevEven though he was not in Macedonia, Gruev managed to keep himself informed as to the development and affairs of the MRO. He kept up a steady correspondence, with Salonica, Monastir, and Sofia.

In Easter of 1903, a general amnesty was declared, and Gruev was released. Gruev travelled directly to Salonica and there he found the that the Central Committee, which was in charge of the MRO, had already resolved to declare an uprising which was to take place during 1903. Gruev did not agree with the Central Committee’s decision, mainly because of the MRO’s lack of preparedness, and as he believed it was too late to oppose or to follow any other method, he agreed to the decision of the Central Committee. He left Salonica and went to Smilevo where the revolutionary Congress was to be held. The purpose of this Congress was to set the date for the declaration of the uprising and to outline the methods and tactics in its execution. Here Gruev met Boris Sarafov, who had just arrived from Bulgaria.

Gruev was elected as chairman of the Congress, and it was decided that the day of the declaration of the uprising was to be August 2, 1903. This uprising would hence be known as the Ilinden Uprising (Ilindensko Vostanije). Gruev, Sarafov, and Alexander Lozantchev were elected by the Congress as the three members of the General Staff, and empowered to direct the revolutionary forces in the Vilajet of Monastir.

Dame Gruev talks about the creation of a Revolutionary Organization in Macedonia, January 18th, 1905.

"Better an end with horrors, than horrors without end"

"It was after the assassination of Minister Belchev in Sofia that, for the first time, I became aware of my desire to work for the Macedonian cause. Three or four months before that, we, the Macedonian students at the University, had decided to organize ourselves for self-education and mutual influence. Our aim was that, after completing our education, we should all return to Macedonia, which stood in great need of intellectual forces. In this narrow, intimate circle of ours, the idea of creating a revolutionary organization in Macedonia was born. Serbian propaganda had already begun its activity and we were shocked by this and considered that we had to hasten and put the idea of the liberation of Macedonia on the agenda before Serbian propaganda gained momentum and managed to split the people. We had experienced the activities of this propaganda. It had agitators both in Soloun and Skopje. They promised us scholarships and gave them to us. It was then that I and several other Macedonians went to Belgrade. There, we were able to perceive the intentions of the Serbs because of their great efforts to impress us with the Serbian idea and to impose the Serbian language upon us, which irritated us even more.

In Sofia, the chief members of our 'society' were Hristo Popkotsev D.Mirchev, N.Deykov (secretary to a justice of peace, born in Prilep, at present a lawyer in Loukovit) and Poparsov. We intended to work mainly in the direction of demanding the implementation of the Berlin Treaty. We wanted to create an organization on the model of the revolutionary organization in Bulgaria before the Liberation, following the example of Botev, Levski, Benkovski, etc. We studied the experience and structure of that organization. We were influenced by the Notes of Zahari Stoyanov, and other Bulgarian revolutionary publications of that time. We had also studied the history of the Serbian movement.

I spent the following year in Salonica in the printing shop of Semerdjiev. There I met some old comrades: Poparsov, Andon Dimitrov (born in the village of Ayvatovo, near Soloun now a member of the District Court in Bitolya), Dr. Hristo Tatarchev, Hadji Nikolov (from Koukoush), Hristo Batandjiev (from Gumendie, secretary of the Soloun commune). We revived our old idea. We grouped together and jointly worked out a Statute. It was based on the same principles: a demand for the implementation of the Berlin Treaty. This Statute was worked out on the model of the Statute of the Bulgarian revolutionary organization before the Liberation. Our motto was 'Implementation of the provisions of the Berlin Treaty.' We established a 'Central Committee' with branches, membership fees, etc. An oath, etc. was also envisaged. In the rules there was nothing about Serbian propaganda, but we intended to thwart it by enlightening the people. This was during the academic year of 1893-1894. During the first year, we admitted into the new organization two or three graduates of the high school in Soloun: Alexander Panov - a teacher in Prilep, who afterwards pursued his studies in Paris, and then he returned to Soloun where he died, and two others. The year ended with this."

Reference: Memoirs of Damyan Grouev, Boris Sarafov and Ivan Garvanov, Sofia, 1927, Book V, pp. 8-11 the original is in Bulgarian


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