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MIRJANA MALESKA
THE  MACEDONIAN  ISSUE
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MIRJANA MALESKA 

THE MACEDONIAN (OLD-NEW) ISSUE

1. History
In his famous article ôThe Macedonian Syndrome, An Historical Model of International Relations and Political Developmentö, published in 1971 in World Politics, M.Weiner explains that the Balkan cases during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century provided him with material for a descriptive model, one that might prove useful for describing, explaining and predicting the patterns of political development and international behavior of some of the states of Asia and Africa that had recently become independent. ôI have chosen, Weiner said, to call it the Macedonian Syndrome, named after the region in the Balkans disputed by Greece, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and that provided me with an almost pure case history with which to build the modelö. 
In that model Weiner calls Bulgaria a ôrevisionist stateö, because from the very beginning of their national movement, the Bulgarians laid claim to Macedonia. The Bulgarian governments from 1913 onward displayed an uncanny instinct for losing wars, allying themselves with the losing sideůthus demonstrating the overwhelming role that irredentism has played in the choice of allies.(1)
When, in 1991, a massive political quake disrupted the previous balance of powers, shaking the Balkans, and when Yugoslavia began to fall apart through bloody ethnic wars, Bulgaria did not make the same historical mistakes. The countryĺs desire to join the European Union and provide better prospects for its citizens led it to recognize the independence of the new Macedonian state. That moment was a crucial turning point in the new Balkan context and is a testimony to Bulgariaĺs commitment to the principles and norms enshrined in the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other international documents. But the relationship among the two states remained far from ideal. The disputes continued, for Sofia refused to recognize the Macedonian nation and language.
Much later, in 1999, the Bulgarian Prime Minister officially recognized before international society the existence of a separate Macedonian language and, thus indirectly, of the Macedonian nation. This step was an important precondition in the context of a troubled history, and it will increase the mutual trust of the two countries.
2. öMacedonianismö, ôanti-Macedonianismö and  ôBulgarophobiaö
But what has so far been achieved is only the beginning of the possible stabilization of the Southern Balkans. ôThe Macedonian Fileö has not been completely closed for at least two reasons: there is still a powerful so-called ôanti-Macedonianismö in Bulgaria as well as in Macedonia and among immigrant organizations; while in Macedonia, besides the new phenomenon of ôanti-Macedonianismö (or at least a ôprimitiveö interpretation of  ôMacedonianismö), feelings of what some call Bulgarophobia are still very strong.(2)
Clearly a lot of ambiguous issues of Macedonian history and identity have been raised since 1989 in the new circumstances of political freedom. For instance, the public in Macedonia was shocked when it first saw a phototype reissue of the original edition of the Miladinovci brothers collection of folk. The subtitle proved to be öBulgarian Folk Songsö. A similar reaction was provoked when the ôStatement of the Carnegie Commission concerning the Causes and Consequences of the Balkan Warsö was published in Macedonian: according to its authors Macedonia was populated by Macedonian Bulgarians.
The most heated disputes were provoked by the ňntry on Blaze Koneski in the ôMacedonian Historical Dictionaryö (published by the Institute of National History, edited by the historian Stojan Kiseli-novski). Many philosophers and historians publicly expressed disagreement with the explanation that, as a member of the Commission for Codification of the Macedonian Language, Koneski was working for the implementation of the Serbian (Vuk Karagicĺs) alphabet in Macedonia. For example, historian Vlado Ivanovski reacted by an article in the journal ôZumö (13 October 2000); apart from disagreeing with the explanation about Blaze Koneski, he angrily noted that entries about other people and events were also incorrect, while others historical figures worthy of mention had been omitted. Where are the entries for Macedonia, for the War of Liberation (NOB), for people like the writer Slavko Janevski, why is the text on the Macedonian Institute of National History half the length of the article on the Macedonian Scientific Institute of Sofia? Ivanovskiĺs conclusion was that this approach in the dictionary was a result of a politically motivated revision of history.
We will also mention the opinion of the well-known philologist Trajko Stamatovski of the Macedonian Language Institute, who reacted (in the issue of ôDnevnikö of 23 September), to several of S. Kiselinovskiĺs articles about the revision of the Macedonian language. ôStojan Kiselinovkiĺs text and several others published in various journals, raise a very serious question: does anyone really believe them today, after fifty five years of existence of the Macedonian literary language, with all its codified regulations and norms?ö His point was that ôa predominantly large group of authors, artists, journalists and other citizens has been formed, which does not permit something so sacred to be blasphemedö. He refers to the distinct national identity of the Macedonians and their language. 
Researchers are open for discussion and there is no doubt that the times are past when there was only one ôofficialö version of historical science. Here, however, deep political differences are manifested. ôMacedonianismö, ôanti-Macedonianismö and ôBulgarophobiaö are ideologies that touch peopleĺs deepest sentiments, and therefore they are very frequently used and abused for massive mobilization of people in political struggle. The results of that struggle directly influence the relations between Bulgaria and Macedonia in the process of European integration. 
3. Possible indicators
I doubt that anyone in Macedonia can say exactly how large that ôcritical groupö of distinguished authors (about which Stamatovski wrote) is. Until recently it seemed there was not a single Macedonian who would permit ôblasphemy of the sacredö nation and language, but today this is clearly not so. Although they are not numerous, such manifestations do exist. 
The number of voters for and the supporters of the two largest parties ľ SDAM (Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia), successor of the Macedonian Communistsĺ Alliance and VMRO-DPMNU (Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity) illustrate this indirectly. The number of supporters, however, is a changing category that largely depends on unpredictable events. 
It cannot be said that VMRO-DPMNU has a consistent ideology of ôprimitivizingö ôMacedonianismö or ôanti-Macedonianismö, although distinguished members of this partyĺs leadership express an ideology which can objectively cause political quakes in the region, especially in the relations between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, in a way that can jeopardize the security of Macedonia. Coming later than the ôprimitivization of Macedonianismö in Bulgaria, or created as its echo, the restoration of the Macedonian nation is explained mainly as a product of the ôCominternö, and as nothing more than a reflection of a ôSerbophile ideological terminologyö. (D. Dimitrov, M. Srbinovski).
On the other hand, K. Kertikov, in ôBulgaria and Macedonia: Together in Europeö (page 19), states that right after the active political party OMO-Ilinden-Pirin was declared non-constitutional by the Bulgarian Court, 81 out of 120 members of the Macedonian parliament, the VMRO-DPMNU representatives among them, voted for a resolution that was highly critical of the Bulgarian Court. K. Kertikov quoted a statement by Cedo Kralevskiĺs (coordinator of the VMRO-DPMNU parliamentary group) for Radio ôFree Europeö that Macedonia had never rejected the claim that there is a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. One can say that ôMacedonianismö is also the ideology of VMRO-DPMNU.
The party itself (VMRO-DPMNU), or rather its political leadership has gone through a ten-year period of changes. Starting as a radically right-wing party which called for guerrilla attacks on the Yugoslav army, for conquering Thessaloniki, for confrontation with Greece over the countryĺs flag and name, a party that spread anti-Albanian and anti-Serbian hysteria, anti-Western feelings, defied any suggestions about increasing the rights of the Albanian minority, VMRO-DPMNU has transformed itself into a pragmatic party cooperating constructively with NATO and EU during the Kossovo crisis, has carried out reforms, shares power with a radical Albanian party, and, least expected of all, is making great concessions to the Albanian minority. ---------------------

1. Myron Weiner: öThe Macedonian Syndrome: A Historical Model of International relations and Political developmentö, World Politics. Vol. XXIII, July, 1971, No.4   back
 2. These terms, which I think are very adequate for the phenomena, ôMacedonianismö, ôBulgarophobiaö and ôanti- Macedonianismö, are borrowed from the book by Kiril Kertikov and Dolores Arsenova: öBulgaria and Macedonia: Together in Europeö, Institute of Sociology-BAN, 2000. (Str.9-19).
I agree that what is called ôMacedonianismö needs more than just a ôprimitiveö interpretation as a ôComintern productö and that it is directed only against Bulgariaĺs interests. I would accept as closest to mine understanding, the interpretation of Petar Semerdziev (in the same book, page 16) that: öModern Macedonianism obviously is not only a ôSerbian ideological termö. back
 

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