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459 RACIN, Kočo (Konstantin Solev) (1908–1943) Macedonian poet, fiction writer, historical thinker and revolutionary; one of the first Macedonian autonomous feminist thinkers and a central figure of Macedonian feminism between the two world wars. ‘Kočo Racin,’ the pen-name that he used from 1928, comes from the name of Rahilka Raca Firfova, for whom he had a great and unrequited love. The poems, written on postcards that he sent her, are considered to mark the beginning of Expressionism in Macedonian literature. In Macedonian history, the name Kočo Racin is widely accepted and used instead of the poet’s Christian name. Konstantin Solev was born on 22 December 1908, into an extremely poor Orthodox Christian family from Veles. His mother Maria was a housewife and his father, Apostol Solev, a pottery-maker. He was their first child. He had three brothers: Aleksandar, Nikola, and a third one whose name is unknown. Konstantin Solev never married and did not have children. He completed four grades of primary school in Veles and one year of what was then high school in the same town. Then, because of the poor financial situation of his family, he left school to join his father in the pottery workshop (in the basement of the family home), where he spent his days both making clay pots and educating himself with diligence and dedication. In spite of his modest formal education, Konstantin Solev is today regarded as the most important Macedonian intellectual between the two World Wars. In Racin’s time, what is now the Republic of Macedonia had been incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, from 1929 known as The Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Solev/Racin was exceptionally active in revolutionary, communist and union movements (from 1924 until his early death). He made an effort to establish a network between workers and peasants and organized seminars and courses on Marxist topics, as well as literary evenings and other events, often followed by demonstrations . In 1928, he was an elected delegate to the Fourth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) in Dresden, where he became acquainted with international activists and their ideas. In 1933, he was sentenced to four years of imprisonment in Sremska Mitrovica (Serbia and Montenegro) for his work editing and publishing Iskra (Sparkle), the clandestine newspaper of the Regional Council of the Communist 460 Party of Yugoslavia. He was released under partial amnesty after two years of imprisonment . In addition to working zealously for the community as a revolutionary, Kočo Racin possessed a rare talent for poetry and was a successful essayist. In 1939, in Samobor (Croatia), he published a collection of poems entitled Beli Mugri (White dawns), one of the most significant Macedonian collections of poetry. As an essayist, Racin took an interest in seemingly diverse topics such as literature, Hegelian philosophy, the Bogomils (members of Europe’s first great dualist church that flourished in the Balkans from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries) and feminism. The common denominator of these topics was their potential to provoke criticism of phallocentric structures of power and probe the possibility for the ethnic, class, or gender restructuring of society along more egalitarian lines. Racin’s interest in ‘the woman question’ can be dated to around 1936. Several fragments and pieces of paper, two articles, and one short story on this topic, all from 1936, have been found preserved in his archives. Several people provoked Racin’s interest in women’s issues, among them Rosa Plaveva, who came from the same town as Racin and was a key figure in the Macedonian socialist women’s movement. A group of Macedonians who participated in the international brigades in the Spanish Civil War, including Alekso Demnievski, Kiro Kjamilov, Trajko Miskovski and Ganco Hadji Panzov, also came from Veles. Racin was a close friend of Rumenika Hadji Panzova, Hadji Panzov’s sister, who studied German language and literature in Skopje and Belgrade. Through her brother, Hadji Panzova became acquainted with the international women’s movement (the implications of which remain as yet unclear) and popularized it in Veles and Skopje. Of importance for Racin’s relations with the socialist women’s movement was the Macedonian revolutionary Malina Pop Ivanova, alias Elena Galkina, a close friend of Racin whom he met at the above-mentioned Fourth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in Dresden (1928). Racin’s most important article on feminism was “Ulogata na feminizmot vo opstestvoto i prvite pocetoci na feministi...


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