Greek Proposal for a Sovereign Macedonia

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Greek Proposal for a Sovereign Macedonia

By Aleksandar Donski Translated and Edited by Risto Stefov

(This article was taken from the Macedonian magazine “Makedonsko Sonce” 531 / 3.9.2004, pages 52 and 53)

First Greek President Yannis Kapodistria calls for a sovereign and independent Macedonian State! Imperial Russia was in favour of the creation of a contemporary Greek State!

It is interesting to note that Imperial Russia, in October 1829, during a leadership meeting with Czar Nikolai I, decided that it was in Russia’s best interests to preserve the Ottoman Empire. It is also interesting to note that during the same meeting the Russian leadership considered the eventual breakup of the Ottoman Empire and reviewed the proposal put forward by the then Greek national advocate Yannis Kapodistria. This proposal (in which Macedonia was considered as an independent state), at the same meeting, was brought forward by Dashkov, the Russian minister of foreign affairs. In his proposal, the Greek Kapodistria envisioned the formation of five Balkan states. These are:

  • 1. Dachia (which consisted of the principalities of Moldavia and Vlachia, i.e. the closest territories to present day Romania and Moldavia);
  • 2. Serbia (which consisted of the territories of the then Serbian State, along with parts of the territories of Bulgaria and Bosnia);
  • 3. Macedonia (which consisted of the entire territories of the then Rumelia together with the surrounding islands, i.e. the entire territory of ethnic Macedonia and parts of today’s Bulgaria, Thrace and Thessaly);
  • 4. Epirus (which consisted of the territories of upper and lower Albania); and
  • 5. Greece (with the name “Territory of the Hellenes”, which consisted of the territories south from the river Pena in Thessaly including the city Arta and the entire Archipelagos). (For more details about this consult Blazhe Ristovski’s “Istoria na Makedonskata Natsia”, MANU Skopje, 1999, page 10.)

From this Greek proposal we can clearly see that the then nationally conscious Greeks considered Thessaly to be the most northern part of their Greek territories. Epirus was not considered to be part of the Greek territories and Bulgaria was not even considered to be a country.

This proposal carries even more weight if we consider that it was put forth by Yannis Kapodistria, the first president of the Independent Greek State!

Before becoming president of Greece, Kapodistria was a Russian Count and served in the Russian State as secretary of foreign affairs. Afterwards he became President of the newly formed Peoples Greek Assembly and at the end he was chosen as the first president of the Greek Independent State. Russian Proposal for a Macedonian State

At the same Russian leadership meeting one more proposal was put forth, this one from the Russian Count Bulgari who proposed the following states for the Balkans:

  • 1. Greece (with the Archipelagos, Samos and Crete);
  • 2. Macedonia (together with the northern part of Albania and part of Thrace up to the river Maritsa);
  • 3. Serbia (together with Bosnia), for which he asked to become a protectorate of the Great Powers; and
  • 4. The Territories of Moldavia, Vlahia and Bulgaria (as one state), to become a protectorate of Russia.

The Academic Ristovski (from whose book this information is obtained), justifiably concluded that during that time in Europe, and in the Balkans, there was no clear representation of ethnic boundaries in the Balkans and in these combinations Bulgaria was only mentioned as part of Serbia, Romania and Russia.

And now we will return to the history of the creation of the then Greek State, its development and territorial expansion.

During the period between 1453 and 1460, most territory of present day Greece was captured by the Sultan Mohamed II and annexed by the Ottoman Empire. In the following two centuries the Ottomans fought against the Venetians and other City States who had remaining colonies in Greece. In 1669 the Ottomans succeeded in taking the island of Crete but lost Peloponnesus to the Venetians. In 1718 the Ottomans recaptured the Peloponnesus and the Greek territories remained under Ottoman rule up until the 19th century.

A great number of Greeks suffered from the Ottoman regime, however it is a fact that many of them also enjoyed a variety of privileges in the Ottoman State. This, above all, was carried out by the Greek Church whose high ranking officials (with the Patriarch in charge) enjoyed great privileges and influence in the politics of the Ottoman Empire. Actually, the worst suffering was felt by the Macedonians, when under the influence of the Patriarch, the Sultan ordered the abolishment of the Ohrid Eparchy.

Many Greeks took important positions in the Ottoman administration and served as officials and political advisers (for more information on this consult the world famous Microsoft Encarta CD encyclopedia, 1988, re: Greece).

The first signs of serious and significant Greek nationalism surfaced in the mid 18th century directly initiated by Russia. Being a Pravoslav (Orthodox Christian) State, Russia incited the Pravoslav (Christian Orthodox) Greeks to rebel against Ottoman rule. Unfortunately these first attempts at creating a Greek consciousness were unsuccessful. In 1770 the Russian Count Orlov came to the Peloponnesus with warships aiming to start a Greek rebellion, but without success. Another factor that played an important role in the awakening of the Greek ethnic consciousness and its desire for liberation was the French Revolution. Then again under Russian influence, the Russian prince of Greek descent, Alexander Ispilanti, in 1814 formed a secret organization under the name “Filiki Heteria” (friendly association) and in 1821 started a rebellion, which was quickly put down. In the next three years the Greeks again began to actively arm but in their fight they were almost entirely alone. They did receive material help from a number of European countries but that help was self serving in the eventual creation of the Greek State.