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Birth name: Velichko Dimitrov Kerin
Classification: Murderer - Assassin
Characteristics: Regicide - Bulgarian revolutionary
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: 1924 / 1930 / 1934
Date of birth: October 19, 1897
Victim profile: Dimo Hadjidimov (leader of Bulgarian Communist Party) / A member of the left wing of IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) / King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, and his chauffeur
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Bulgaria / France
Status: Sentenced to death in 1928, but was granted an amnesty in 1932. Cut down by the sword of a mounted French policeman, and then beaten to death by the crowd on October 9, 1934

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Vlado Chernozemski (19 October 1897 – 9 October 1934), born Velichko Dimitrov Kerin (Bulgarian: Величко Димитров Керин), was a Bulgarian revolutionary.

He was born in the village of Kamenitsa (now part of Velingrad, Bulgaria). He joined the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in 1922. After killing Dimo Hadjidimov, leader of Bulgarian Communist Party in 1924 he was sentenced to death in 1928, but was granted an amnesty in 1932. He also murdered another member of the left wing of IMRO in 1930 on the order of Ivan Mihaylov. He had cooperated with the Croatian movement Ustaše.

Chernozemski also entered the region of Vardar Macedonia with IMRO bands and participated in more than 15 battles with the Serbian police.

In 1927, Chernozemski proposed to the Central Committee of the IMRO to enter and detonate the main conference building of the League of Nations in Paris, with grenades attached to his person, in order to attract the attention of the world publicity over the question of the Bulgarians in Macedonia, but his proposal was not accepted.

He was one of the finest marksmen in the IMRO. He assassinated Alexander I of Yugoslavia in the port of Marseille, France on 9 October 1934, and was himself killed immediately afterwards, 10 days before his 37th birthday. He was also thought to have shot and killed French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou until 1974, when it was revealed that the bullet actually came from a French policeman reacting to the shooting of King Alexander.


Assassination of Alexander I of Yugolasvia

As a result of the previous deaths of three family members on a Tuesday, Alexander refused to undertake any public functions on that day of the week. On Tuesday 9 October 1934, however, he had no choice, as he was arriving in Marseilles to start a state visit to the Third French Republic, to strengthen the two countries' alliance in the Little Entente. While Alexander was being driven in a car through the streets along with French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, a gunman, Vlado Chernozemski, stepped from the street and shot the King and the chauffeur. Barthou was accidentally shot by a French policeman and died later.

It was one of the first assassinations captured on film; the shooting occurred straight in front of the cameraman, who was only feet away at the time. The cameraman captured not merely the assassination but the immediate aftermath; the body of the chauffeur (who had been killed instantly) became jammed against the brakes of the car, allowing the cameraman to continue filming from within inches of the King for a number of minutes afterwards.

The assassin, Vlado Chernozemski, was a Bulgarian, member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) Macedonian: Внатрешна македонска револуционерна организација (BMRO) and an experienced marksman. Immediately after assassinating King Alexander, he was cut down by the sword of a mounted French policeman, and then beaten by the crowd. By the time he was removed from the scene, he was already dead. The IMRO was a political organization that fought for secession of Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia. The leader of the organization in that time was Ivan Mihailov.

According to the UKTV History program Infamous Assassinations-King Alexander, IMRO worked in alliance with the Croatian Ustaše group led by Ante Pavelić, under the secret sponsorship of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

The film record of Alexander I's assassination remains one of the most notable pieces of newsreel in existence, alongside the film of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia's coronation, the funerals of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

King Alexander I was buried in the Memorial Church of St. George, which had been built by his father. The Holy See gave special permission to bishops Aloysius Stepinac, Antun Akšamović, Dionisije Njaradi and Gregorij Rožman to attend the funeral in an Orthodox church. As his son Peter II was still a minor, Alexander's first cousin Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic took the regency of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

This assassination has been fictionalized at the beginning of The Second Assassin, by Christopher Hyde, as being a Nazi-backed Ustasa plot. In the book, it was a Croatian assassin, plus the titular second gunman.



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