These coming days, the final result of the inter-state negotiations between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece about the official and internationally used state’s name of the former is to be announced. According to many unofficial sources, most probable new state’s name of FYROM is going to be the Republic of North Macedonia but other options like the Republic of Ilinden Macedonia are also circulating in mass media. Here, it is worth to remember some of the aspects of historical disputes over the “Macedonian Question”.
The focal Greek accusation of Yugoslav Macedonian policy after the WWII was that the recognition of Yugoslav Macedonians as a separate ethnolinguistic nationality was a tool for the creation of a Greater Yugoslavia of a communist dictator Josip Broz Tito – a country which had to dominate in the Balkan affairs. Yugoslav post-1945 policy of the recognition of Slavo- Macedonians as a separate ethnolinguistic entity was extremely important for Athens as the creation of the separate (socialist) political unit (republic) of Macedonia within a Yugoslav federation had its irredentist implications for the territorial integrity of Greece. The crux of the matter was that Yugoslav authorities as have been ideologically backed by the inter-war Comintern’s attitude and politics that Slavo-Macedonians were a separate nation which as such deserved its own united national state claimed after 1945 that a Macedonian diaspora living outside of Yugoslavia (in Greece and Bulgaria) has to be incorporated into the “motherland” – a Yugoslav Macedonia. Therefore, socialist Yugoslavia indirectly claimed parts of Bulgaria and Greece that was seen by both Sofia and Athens as a policy of the creation of a Greater Yugoslavia at the expense of the territorial integrity of Bulgaria and Greece – two countries which never recognized the existence of any “Macedonians” on their state’s territory.
Bulgaria, nevertheless, is not recognizing the existence of “Macedonians” at all, treating them as ethnolinguistic Bulgarians and henceforth claiming that a historical-geographical region of Macedonia belongs to Bulgaria. According to an American professor of political sciences, Alex N. Dragnich, Macedonia became a separate Yugoslav republic for the sake to beat Bulgarian irredentist propaganda by Yugoslav authorities but as well as in order to satisfy at least some territorial claims by Macedonian communists within the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, such Macedonian policy of Yugoslav post-WWII authorities made Yugoslav Slavo-Macedonians to be one of the most satisfied Yugoslav ethnic groups.
It is a matter of fact that а Slavic speaking minority in North Greece is seen by Athens either as the “Slavophone Greeks” or the “Slavic speakers of Bulgarian origin” but surely not as the “Macedonians”. According to а Greek point of view, а term “Macedonia” can refer only to the land of North Greece and, therefore, the usе of this term for one of six Yugoslavia’s socialist republics after the WWII was a Yugoslav communist plot to annex the region of North Greece to a Greater Tito’s Yugoslavia.
For the matter of better clarification of the issue, the term “Macedonia” was used to designate a separate republic as a national state of quasi-ethnolinguistic “Macedonians” when the communist leader of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito (1892−1980) established Macedonia as one of six Yugoslav socialist republics in 1945 and, therefore, Macedonia became a separate political-territorial entity for the first time in modern history. It was followed by the official recognition of Macedonians as an independent ethnic, linguistic and national subject, regardless to the very fact that a Macedonian national (self)identity was extremely problematic, disputed and ambivalent. It is true that the population of historical-geographical Macedonia did not always have a Macedonian national consciousness. The Slavs of Macedonia traditionally have been either without some exact ethnonational name or being self-identifying themselves as the Bulgarians. However, from the late-19th century, due to both Bulgarian and Greek political propaganda efforts, a Macedonian regional identity started to be developed but from 1945 became simply transformed into the ethnonational identity within the borders of ex-Yugoslavia. That is how today we have the “Macedonians” as an ethnolinguistic nation which is even internationally recognized as such by many political and academic authorities.
A Macedonian state is fairly young and a Macedonian nationality is recently created in comparison to other Balkan cases. A Macedonian identity is, as all other national identities, a product of imagined community and, therefore, a Macedonian national identity has been constructed in an equal way as, for instance, a Greek national identity, just rather later on. If we accept a leading Western (German) theory of the Slavic origin, the Slavs have been living since the end of the 6th century on the territory of Macedonia while the Macedonian national identity started to be developed only from the late 19th century. It is a historical fact that Slavo-Macedonian populated territories had always been part of other states like Bulgaria, Byzantine Empire, Serbia, and Ottoman Empire. Among all Yugoslavia’s provinces, Macedonia was longest occupied by Ottomans – from 1371 to 1912. After the collapse of ancient Kingdom of Macedon, Macedonia as an independent state appeared only in 1991 (like Slovenia as well) but having nothing in common with the previous one except having the same state-name. Subsequently, a modern Macedonians are historically a “stateless ethnic group” (and, therefore, not a nation from the Western point of view) like many other Balkan ethnic groups like Gypsies or Vlachs. For that reason, three Balkan national states rather divided the territory of historical-geographic Macedonia in 1913 than to support the creation of a new Balkan independent state which would not have any historical background of the existence. However, a socialist Yugoslav historiography, for the very political purposes, reinterpreted the Balkan medieval history in order to overcome a very bad reputation of Yugoslav Macedonians as the “stateless ethnic group” but not a historical nation. As a result, a (quasi) Macedonian national state was found in the Empire of Samuel which existed as a state from 976 until 1018 when it was conquered by Byzantine Emperor Basil II.
The foundation for such Yugoslav and present-day Macedonian claim was a self-constructed interpretation that the subjects of Samuel’s state were the “Macedonians” regardless on historical fact that all Byzantine and other sources of the time were clearly calling this state as of Bulgarians. Even a Byzantine Emperor Basil II after the final victory over Samuel took for himself an official title of the “Killer of Bulgarians” rather than of Macedonians. Furthermore, after the occupation of the territory of the Empire of Samuel, „Bulgaria once more became an integral part of the Byzantine Empire and was divided into ‘themes’” (the Byzantine administrative provinces), but no one of them was named “Macedonia” while the biggest of them, established on the central territory of ex-Empire of Samuel, with its administrative centre in Skopje, was named as Bulgaria.
It is quite understandable, henceforth, that Bulgarians see the Empire of Samuel as a part of the history of Bulgaria and Bulgarian people as their claims that Samuel was a Bulgarian and ruler of a Bulgarian state are founded on the number of historical sources of the time. Nevertheless, FYROM Macedonians base their claim on the Macedonian character of the Empire of Samuel on the fact that the capital of this state was Ohrid, a city located on present-day FYROM (on the very border with Albania), whereas the medieval Bulgarian rulers administered their state traditionally from Preslav in Bulgaria.
Prof. Dr Vladislav B. sotirović
© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2018
 Алекс Н. Драгнић, Титова обећана земља – Југославија, Београд: Задужбина Студеница−Чигоја штампа, 2004, 90−91.
 Victor Roudometof, “Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Balkans: Greece and the Macedonian Question”, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1996, 253−301.
 Nikolaos Zahariadis, “Nationalism and Small-State Foreign Policy: The Greek Response to the Macedonian Issue”, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 109, No. 4., 1994, 647−667.
 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised edition, London: Verso, 2016.
 Looring M. Danforth, ”Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of Yugoslavia”, Anthropology Today, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1993, 3−10.
 Historija naroda Jugoslavije, I, Zagreb, 1960, 295−301.
 Ivan Božić, Sima Ćirković, Milorad Ekmečić, Vladimir Dedijer, Istorija Jugoslavije, Drugo izdanje, Beograd: Prosveta, 1973, 38.
 Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans: From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 23.
 Георгије Острогорски, Историја Византије, Београд: Просвета, 1969, 296−297.
 Short History of Macedonia at:
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.Among the possibilities:Protracted uncertainty about the presidential contest. Think Florida 2000 but with several states’ results unresolved for weeks or even months (“Experts held ‘war games’ on the Trump vs. Biden election. Their finding? Brace for a mess”);A disputed outcome, perhaps with Donald Trump and Joe Biden both claiming victory, compounded by a “blue shift,” where states are claimed by Trump on election night but flip over to Biden as additional absentee and mail-in ballots conveniently turn up days or weeks later;Violent civil conflict, spurred on in the ...
One sharp and interesting analysis of situation in Serbian province of Kosovo Metohija came last week from Andrew Korybko, program host at Radio Sputnik.Mr. Korybko speaks on how the whirlwind of geopolitics, military interests and global giants of business, as well as the change of US administration, could impact the fragile peace in Balkans and what’s behind the latest tensions:”Serbia’s NATO-occupied province of Kosovo has been up to its old tricks lately in trying to provoke Belgrade into another military confrontation conveniently timed to coincide with Trump’s inauguration.The former so-called “Prime Minister” of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, was detained in France ...
The Balkan Peninsula, together with the region of South-East Europe, historically has been one of the most important focal points of Russian foreign policy, cultural influences and attempts to spread an ideology of the Orthodox solidarity and the Slavic reciprocity. These ideas are common to almost all trends of Russian public life in the past and very much today too.
After Russia lost the Great Crimean War of 1853–1856 she intensified its cultural influence in the region of South-East Europe for the purposes of beating Habsburg (Roman-Catholic) rivalry and to spread an idea of the Pan-Slavism in this part of Europe. ...
Dechani monastery in Metochia - one of the most important shrines of Serbian Orthodox Church (14th century)
The region of Kosovo & Metohija was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of ...
A project for Greater Albania – conspiracy or legitimate? According to a 2010 Gallup Balkan Monitor report, 83% of Albanians in Albania supported the idea of a Greater Albania, with 81% and 53% of Albanians in Kosovo and North Macedonia respectively supporting such an ambition.The ultimate goal? To have Kosovo and the Preševo Valley in Serbia, southern Montenegro, Epirus in Greece and western North Macedonia into a single Greater Albanian state. Although this may not be official policy of the Albanian Republic, it is ingrained into the Albanian mythos. The very idea of a Greater Albania has roots in the 1913 Treaty of London that left roughly 40% ...
The NATO military alliance is a world encompassing threat. It is now conducting various forms of hybrid warfare against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most of Africa. They have destroyed directly or are largely responsible for the destruction of the socialist nations of the USSR, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and too many to name in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Destruction is the fate that each nation on earth can expect unless it pays homage and obeisance to these neo-feudal overlords who promise protection in return for national servitude, in return for the complete ...
In his recent replies to Archbishop of Albania Anastasios and Archbishop of Antioch John X, Patriarch Bartholomew demonstrated once again that Constantinople envies Rome’s reputation and influence in Catholic Church. The Phanar refuses to take notice of the opinions of other Churches (even on the issues influencing the whole Orthodox world!) presuming itself as the one and only decision-maker and its verdict indisputable.However, justifying its decisions, the Phanar turns to arguments that aren’t really relevant – for example, comparing the recent situation in Ukraine to the Meletian schism in his letter to Anastasios, Bartholomew for some reason didn’t mention that ...
“If the Nuremberg Laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged” Noam ChomskyEurasiaHenry Kissinger, one of the fundamental figures in creating and maintaining the US policy of global hegemony during the Cold War, was quite clear and precise in his overviewing the issue of the American geopolitical position, national goals, and foreign policy. His remarks can be summarized in the following points:The US is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia.The resources and population of Eurasia far exceed the resources and population of the US.Any domination by any single state from Eurasia (either ...
On January 17, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) passed the bill No. 4128 on new amendments regarding the subordination (denomination) of religious organizations and the procedure of state registration of religious organizations with the status of legal entities. The relevant law No. 2673-VIII was signed by President Poroshenko on January 28 and came into force on January 31, 2019.Though the bill was designed to simplify the process of changing the religious subordination of a religious community, it actually introduces a new, more complicated scheme of registration and reregistration for religious organizations of all confessions including Protestants.So, reregistration becomes not just a ...
Headlines and commentary across both Eastern and Western media have mainly focused on the Catalan independence referendum and the actions of Spanish police and the Spanish government's attempts to disrupt polls.However, little is being said about what the real implications of Catalan independence may be. What do those politicians in Catalonia in favor of independence seek to do with it should they succeed? Will they create a Catalonia that serves the best interests of the people? Or serve the EU and NATO more efficiently and eagerly than a united Spain ever could?There are 5 points those following this conflict should ...
The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for ...
Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo: NATO’s Prototype for the Next Wars of Globalization. Publisher: Unwritten History, Inc., New York, 2007. By Michel Collon, 276 pages, with photographs and maps.
“Each war begins with media lies.” This is how Belgian journalist Michel Collon begins his analysis of the Kosovo conflict which resulted in the U.S. and NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the subsequent occupation of the Serbian Kosovo province by U.S. and NATO troops. The U.S. and NATO had launched a war of aggression without United Nations approval and in violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of ...
First of all, taking into consideration the particular region of the Balkans in the context of Russia's national interests, we should consult official documents reflecting the wishes and intentions of the government. It is therefore necessary to consider Russia’s foreign policy doctrine.
Foreign policy strategy
The Russian Federation's previous foreign policy doctrine was made public on July 15th, 2008.
Russian objectives were marked as the following:
- Impacting global processes in order to establish a just and democratic world order based on collective principles in solving international problems and on the rule of international law, primarily the UN Charter provisions as well as equal ...
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha advocated granting Albanian citizenship to all Albanians, wherever they reside. This statement was made during a visit of the city of Vlora where the independence of the Albanian state was declared, only 100 years ago. At the time Albania had just liberated itself from Ottoman rule.This declaration follows a separate statement, collective this time, that Sali Berisha had made with his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci a few weeks ago, promising the union of all Albanians. The place was, I must say, well chosen since the vast majority of the inhabitants ...
Tehmine Martoyan is lecturer at the University of Economy and Law (Yerevan, Armenia). She is also the president of Lazaryan Institute scientific and educational NGO.Martoyan is the author of books and articles on the Armenians in Safavid Iran, and she has participated in international conferences and meetings in Armenia and abroad. She also translated into Armenian the book by Theofanis Malkidis titled The Greek Genocide: Thrace, Asia Minor, Pontus.She has made two films dedicated to the Greek and Armenian populations in Smyrna. Her forthcoming book is titled Psychological and Political Causes of Annihilation of the Armenians and the Greeks in ...
It is worth noting that 6 out of these 7 countries (with the exception of Lebanon) identified by General Wesley Clark “to be taken out” are now the object of President Trump’s ban on Muslims’ entry to the US: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Yemen.
All of these countries are on the Pentagon’s drawing board. These countries have been directly or indirectly been the object of US aggression (Global Research Editor).
General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia.
Complete Transcript of Program, Democracy Now.
Today we spend the hour with General ...
Back in February, we warned about the prospect of Israel selling F-16s to Croatia, a state in which WWII revisionism and Holocaust denial are running rampant, and memories of the Nazi puppet Independent State of Croatia are routinely glorified. In the meantime, that has become a done deal. But there is more. Not only will Israel sell half a billion dollars worth of fighter jets to Croatia, but on August 5, three Israeli F-16s, crewed by Israeli pilots, took part in a parade to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the “Operation Storm,” in which more than 2,300 Serbs were killed, including more than 1,200 civilians, among which more ...
March 2018 marks the 19th anniversary of NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.For over a month Canada has been bombing Yugoslavia. Without a parliamentary resolution, without a declaration of war and without a shred of legality Canadian war planes are attacking the nation that stood at the forefront of the fight against both Hitler’s Nazis and Mussolini’s fascists during World War II.The Nuremberg trial ruled that “to initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime.” Yet this is precisely what Canada and its NATO allies have done.The Canadian government said it was bombing ...
The Balkan Peninsula together with the region of South-East Europe historically has been one of the most important focal points of the Russian foreign policy, cultural influences and attempts to spread an ideology of the Orthodox solidarity and the Slavic reciprocity. These ideas are common to almost all trends of the Russian public life in the past and today.
After Russia lost the Great Crimean War of 1853–1856 she intensified its cultural influence in the region of the South-East Europe for the purposes of beating the Habsburg (the Roman-Catholic) rivalry and to spread an idea of the Pan-Slavism in this part ...
Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the practical results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
But it would be a mistake to focus all the criticism on Trump. Not only are Democrats also at fault, but a good argument could be made that they bear even greater responsibility.
For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, ...
Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia
Why the Albanians Need Tensions in the Province of Kosovo-Metohija Now?
Tsarist Russia and the Balkans: A Brief Overview
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Is the ‘Greater Albania’ Project Aimed Against Russia in the Balkans?
NATO’s War Crimes: The Crime of Propaganda
Implicit Meanings in Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Tomes
A Nature of the US and the American Foreign Policy
Serious Drawbacks in Ukraine’s Adopted ‘Church’ Bill
Catalan Independence: 5 Things to Think About
Book Review: NATO War Crimes: “Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo”
Russia’s Geopolitical Interests in the Balkans
Greater (Islamic) Albania: United States Project against the Orthodox World?
The 95th Anniversary of the Destruction of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna
Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”
Israel Stamps Approval on Europe’s Largest Post-WWII Ethnic Cleansing
NATO’s 1999 “Humanitarian Bombing” of Yugoslavia: Month Two
The Pan-Slavism and Tsarist Russia’s Balkan policy
Luring Trump into Mideast Wars
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS