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Metodija Andonov-Čento

Metodija Andonov-Čento (Методија Андонов Ченто) (August 18, 1902July 24, 1957) was a Macedonian statesman, first president of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia and of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the Second World War.

Early life

Metodi Andonov was born in Prilep, Vardar Macedonia under Ottoman Empire (now Republic of Macedonia). He was the first healthy child of Andon Mitskov and Zoka Koneva, as his older siblings bore diseases. As a child, he worked in opium poppy fields and harvested tobacco. During his adolescence, he was considered to be an excellent gymnast. On March 25, 1930, he married Vasilka Spirova Pop Atanasova in Novi Sad and fathered four children, including Ilija Andonov-Čento, a politician in today's Republic of Macedonia.

Pre-war era and the National Liberation War of Macedonia

At the 1938 Yugoslav elections, he was elected deputy but not a Member of Parliament because of a manipulation with the electoral system. In 1939, he was imprisoned at Velika Kikinda for co-organizing the Ilinden Demonstrations in Prilep. In 1940 he imposed the use of the Macedonian language in school lectures and was therefore imprisoned at Bajina Bašta and sentences to death by government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for advocating the use of a language other than Serbo-Croatian. On April 15, 1941 he was presented to a firing squad but was released just prior to being shot.

During the Bulgarian occupation of Vardar Macedonia, Čento received an invitation to collaborate with the Bulgarian occupational authorities but refused, favoring the achievement of liberating Macedonia.

Čento's liquor store was used as a front for the communist resistance in Macedonia, which prompted Bulgarian authorities to imprison him. In 1944, he was elected as President of Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia. Čento's goal was to create fully independent United Macedonian state, or as a constituent republic within the new communist SFR Yugoslavia. The latter became a reality with the formation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, however, Čento as its first president wanted a greater independence for the republic from the federal Yugoslav authorities. He clashed with Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo, Tito’s envoy to Macedonia and Lazar Koliševski, the leader of the ruling Communist Party of Macedonia.

Post-war era

After disagreement with the policy of new Yugoslavia, and after being repressed by the authorities, Čento gave his resignation. In 1946, he went back to Prilep, but was arrested yet again and sentenced to 12 years in prison for having worked to achieve a "completely independent Macedonia".

Death

Čento died of intestinal cancer at his home in Prilep on July 24, 1957.

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See also

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