декември 5, 2023



Macedonians are not recognised as a minority (on the contrary the denial of the existence of the Macedonian minority is a fundamental state doctrine as the conflict with Macedonia shows), they are not included within the scope of the Framework Convention for the Defence of National Minorities, are not mentioned in state documentation, and do not have their representatives in the National Council on Ethnic and Integration Matters. [11]

The denial of the minority in the past few years has been transformed into a condition of the Republic of Macedonia’s integration into European institutions. According to the position adopted in the Explanatory Memorandum, the Agreement on Friendship with Macedonia has clarified that“all claims regarding the existence of a so-called “Macedonian minority” on Bulgarian territory are without foundation”. Correspondingly, “Bulgaria expects the Republic of North Macedonia to fulfil its obligations, cease implementing the abovementioned policies, immediately align its positions and actions in international organisations and forums in keeping with Article 11 of the Agreement and to cease its practice of using multifaceted formats and mechanisms of monitoring as a means of applying inordinate pressure on Bulgaria. That will be a prerequisite for obtaining Bulgaria’s agreement to taking the next step in the process of integration” [12]

This document was totally devoted to disputing Macedonian identity within the context of proving that there is not, has not been and cannot in future be a Macedonian minority.

According to this document Macedonian ethnic identity and language did not exist until 1944 and were created with the goal of dividing people in Macedonia from people in Bulgaria. It directly claims that the Macedonian nation has been artificially created by means of mass murder and violence against Bulgarians and via a falsification of the historical truth such that it represents “an ethnic engineering project for the creation of a “Macedonian identity”; a position which apart from being historically untrue, implants exceptionally negative stereotypes about the Macedonian nation and identity.

The Bulgarian authorities are especially interested in safeguarding their thesis that the process of the creation of the Macedonian nation did not involve the population within Bulgaria’s borders: “the process of creating an identity however was limited only to the territory of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia and after 1991 to the Republic of Macedonia. Even though Bulgarian citizens have not participated in this process, the authorities in the Republic of Macedonia still maintain that there is a “Macedonian minority“ in Bulgaria”. That is interpreted as “the creation of antagonisms with Bulgaria through the dissemination of stereotypes”. “Bulgaria, however, cannot accept the continuing process of nation building in the Republic of North Macedonia will be achieved through the re-examination of our joint history, denial of our common ethnic and language roots or unfounded allegations regarding the existence of a “Macedonian minority” in Bulgaria. These manifestations of state financed anti-Bulgarian ideology and practice contradict European values and should not be legitimised through accession to the EU”.

Macedonian is directly accused that “by violating Article 11 of the Agreement, Skopje has not changed the policies of previous governments which encourage and support persons and organisations that seek the recognition of the non-existent “Macedonian minority” in Bulgaria.”

Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva supports this same political line which has led to the blocking of Macedonia’s membership of European institutional structures: “In this Agreement there is also a text on the unilateral obligation on the part of the Republic of North Macedonia to not make any claims relating to the presence of a so-called Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.” [13]“Bulgarian fears are linked to the incessant claims of the Republic of North Macedonia that there is a Macedonian minority in our country” stressed Zaharieva. A Bulgarian veto could be avoided if Macedonia “recognises that its roots and language have Bulgarian foundations and as such discontinues all claims that in Bulgaria there exists a clearly defined “Macedonian minority”. [14] The last statement clearly shows that the essential reason for the historical and language dispute with Macedonia is to be able to deny any possibility of the existence of a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

Premier Boyko Borissov commented as follows for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in relation to the resolution in the European Parliament: “For me it was a great surprise that the recent resolution in the European Parliament regarding Bulgaria raised the matter of the supposed Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. There is no Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. What sort of Macedonian minority should there be in Bulgaria? I don’t know even one Macedonian. I only gleaned from the resolution that there should be such a minority….. I must say that I am truly worried about this development.“ [15] (In this case the Premier was being insincere as this matter has been raised with him more than once by representatives of the Macedonian minority who have sought meetings with him on several occasions. The reason for him not knowing anyone from the Macedonian minority is because he has refused all requests by Macedonian organisations for meetings with him)

In the original version of the European Parliament’s resolutionthe Macedonian minoritywas mentioned, however reference to it was later dropped due to pressure from Bulgarian Euro MPs. [16]

Even the most liberal politicians in Bulgaria strongly oppose the raising of the question of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. In that regard the Euro-MP, Radan Kunev, from the Democratic Party stated: “the topic of the so-called “Macedonian minority”…. I categorically reject that concept and question which has been closed between our countries. I appeal to all colleagues in the European Parliament to adopt a common position, one which rejects and denies the raising of such a topic.” [17] The leader of the same party, Hristo Ivanov, in relation to the presence in the resolution of topics such as that of OMO “Ilinden” perceived “an attempt to change the subject”. Elena Yoncheva from the BSP (the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament), also reacted that in the resolution “a Macedonian minority which doesn’t exist is spoken about”. [18] In that regard there is no difference between liberal and extreme nationalist politicians. Angel Dzhambaski from the VMRO-BND in regard to the same matter spoke of “the non-existent “Macedonian” minority in Bulgaria … a false thesis on the presence of a “Macedonian minority” in our country… our country is mono-national and unitary and no type of autonomous formations or collective “minority” rights are permitted on its territory. The mere asking of a question about the so-called “Macedonian” minority constitutes insolence…. an openly anti-Bulgarian campaign which is unfolding in the EP against Bulgaria.” [19]

In that regard Bulgarian politicians are unanimous in agreeing with the thesis proposed by the dictator Todor Zhivkov in 1963 that “the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria does not and cannot exist”, in fact to such an extent that they unconsciously cite it. For example, from the “liberal” Radan Kunev: “A Macedonian minority has not existed, does not exist and will not exist”, [20] to the extreme nationalist Angel Dzhambaski who states: “(A Macedonian minority) has not existed, does not exist and cannot exist!” [21]

Even though Macedonian Premier Zoran Zaev in November 2020 would state that “Specifically we have no claims, either of a territorial or minority nature” towards Bulgaria. Bulgaria nevertheless blocked Macedonia’s integration into European structures in December. [22]

The denial of the Macedonian minority does not only involve official political figures and state institutions, but also includes a large part of the intelligentsia. [23] Each and every external intervention is considered to be extremely negative: ”the European Court is now pushing us directly in the direction of recognising an imaginary Macedonian minority…. a non-existent ethnic minority”. [24]

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