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441 PLAVEVA, Rosa (born Varnalieva) (1878–1970) Member of the first generation of socialist women in late nineteenth- and early twentieth -century Macedonia; campaigner for women’s equality; influential public figure. Rosa Varnalieva was born in 1878 in Veles, to parents Agna (her mother, who lived to be 103) and Atanas Varnaliev. The Orthodox Christian Varnaliev family had four children: Rosa, Kata, Petar and Ilija, all of whom became active in the town’s socialist movement. The Varnalievs were well-off merchants, one of the wealthiest families in Veles, and owned a big estate. The young Rosa finished a (then prestigious) vocational school, the Radničhka Škola (in Veles), and became a seamstress. In 1900, Rosa Varnalieva joined the Socijalistička organizacija (Socialist Organization), founded in 1894 by Vasil Glavinov (1869–1929). Socialism attracted her because it incorporated the emancipation of women into its political program, which she felt particularly strongly about, having been raised in a liberal family in harmony with her brothers. Around 1903, Rosa married Ilija Plavev (born Veles 1871–died Belgrade 1940), with whom she had two children : a son and a daughter, Nada (born 1908). As an adult, Nada would support her mother’s campaigns for the emancipation of women. Rosa Plaveva had many Turkish friends (Macedonia being a multi-ethnic country) and tried to draw them into the Socijalistička organizacija, especially after the Mladoturska revolucija (Young Turk Revolution) of 1908, which made demands for civil rights in the Ottoman Empire. In 1909, Plaveva organized meetings at her home, attended by approximately twenty women, most of them Turkish and sympathizers of the Mladoturska partija “Edinstvo i napredok” (Unity and Progress Party). The women discussed causes of women’s discrimination and possible campaigns for women’s rights. They also criticized the veiling of Islamic women, but because the Mladoturska revolucija had changed its civil rights agenda, adopting conservative Koranic codes, this particular campaign was without success. With the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Macedonia on 12 January 1951, a statute was passed—“Zakon za zabrana na nosenje zar i feredze” (against the use of the veil)—that outlawed the practice . 442 Alongside her great interest in progressive social movements, Plaveva keenly followed developments in the international socialist women’s movement. (According to the Rosa Plaveva Fund at the Institute of National History’s Documentation Unit, one of her contacts was Rosa Luxemburg.) She was also strongly influenced by the Macedonian revolutionary tradition—a participant in the 1903 Ilinden Uprising against Ottoman rule—and her profile as an activist was profoundly shaped by the spiritual values of ‘national revival.’ From 1909, Rosa and her husband, Ilija Plavev, began making plans for a new Social Democratic Organization in Skopje. It was founded on 1 May 1909 and used the 1891 Erfurt Program of the German Social Democrats as its platform. Rosa Plaveva, together with Nakie Bajram (1889–1962), took on the task of rallying support for the new organization from women in Skopje. Bajram was a teacher of Turkish nationality, married to Ferid Bajram (1881–1950), a socialist journalist. In 1917, a committee was founded in Skopje for the liberation of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht (in prison in Berlin). On behalf of this committee, Plaveva organized the collection of approximately one hundred women’s signatures in support of a petition; this was a significant number considering the conditions in which the signatures had been obtained (World War I and Bulgarian occupation). The end of World War I brought about a new territorial division of Macedonia among the three neighboring countries: Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. After the Versailles Treaty from 1919, the territory of modern day Macedonia was incorporated into the newly founded (Balkan) Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (known from 1929 as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). Women did not gain any political rights in the new state and in Macedonia, the old Serbian Civil Code (1844) came into force, paragraph 920 of which made adult women legally incompetent, along with minors and the mentally disabled. Despite the fact that the patriarchal norms in the larger Macedonian towns loosened slightly after World War I, many women and men regarded patriarchal family structures as normative and strongly resisted emancipation movements on behalf of women. Yet this did not deter the indefatigable Plaveva who, along with others, founded the Organizacija na ženite socijalistki (Organization of Socialist Women) in Skopje, a branch of the Yugoslav Organization of Socialist Women. Many women attended the Founding Assembly of the Organization...


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