Macedonian Scientific Institute, Est.1923

Home Policy 

International Relations and Foreign Policy

Relations between Bulgaria and R Macedonia 

Books, Brochures and Articles


Macedonia in the Bulgarian and International Press
News  Bulletin No1, January 2000

Nothing New | Schengen Visas | Hashim Tachy and Arben Jafery in Sofia | About the Holocaust

Nothing New

The contacts between the ruling leaders of R Macedonia and Bulgaria in January are isolated phenomenon. And that – within the frameworks of extended international initiatives. Such is the participation of the premiers of South East Europe at the meeting “without neckties” in the Bulgarian spa Hissaria during the same month and the subsequent talks between L.Georgievsky and Iv.Kostov in Sofia. According to a statement of L.Georgievsky before the Sofia newspaper 24 hours from 23 Jan, at the individual meeting both leaders discuss mostly general Balkan problems and they focus on separate aspects of the bilateral relations too. Again within the framework of a larger international initiative, the forum on the Holocaust in Stockholm, another meeting is held between L.Georgievsky and the Bulgarian president Petar Stoianov. In general talks during such meetings represent a continuation of the already established good relations at the level of both Governments of our two countries. Unfortunately, not these relations are dominating in the disposition of the Macedonian community toward Bulgaria. In this respect predominates mistrust against any move on part of the Bulgarian Government and the focus of the attention is on what is distinct from R Macedonia. Most clearly it is visible in the publications of the Macedonian press and not only the opposition one. Thus Nova Macedonia from 27 Jan highlights the typical for the Balkans scuffling between the separate states for the leadership and underlines that after the meeting of the leaders from South East Europe in Hissaria, Bulgaria not only is a contender but consolidates its leading position on the Balkans. A similar status seems to hurt the tender spot of the author of said publication and the newspaper carrying it. 

What impresses is that under the pressure of the opposition in front of the “bulgarization” of R Macedonia, part of the ruling circles in the neighbour-country get involved in the macedonism to the detriment of Bulgaria. In reply to a question on part of the Macedonian team at BBC asked on one of the last days of January and addressed to the newly elected Macedonian president B.Traikovsky – what he would say to his Bulgarian colleague regarding the feelings toward the Macedonian minorities in Bulgaria – Traikovsky states: “The history as well as the modern times show that the Macedonian nation did exist and will go on existing”. At first sight there is nothing special in it but if the following is not taken into account: that justifications and references on history when there is a complete falsification of the past of our region are practiced by the historiography of the neighbour-country as one of the fundamental weapons of the macedonism. And that the recently elected heads of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Arts (which has as a secretary one of the fathers of the updated macedonism, acad.Blaje Ristovsky) assign themselves a task - as reported by Vecher from 13 Jan – an intense scientific dialogue between the neighbours to be initiated regarding the pending questions. And as basic disciplines carrying the burden of such a contention are enumerated: the history, archeology, ethnography etc. However we consider said intention it represents a continuation of the line aiming to search the roots of the “Macedonian nation” in the epoch of Al.Macedonian’s state and said line has been activated during decades and justifies the pretensions of an authentic “Macedonian identity” and respective role on the Balkans. Such an approach, deliberate or sporadic, is manifested during the whole month of January in the Macedonian press on one or another occasion, in the framework of the traditional antibulgarian campaign. Unfortunately, during the whole month it results fed continuously. Back to top

Schengen Visas

A tempest of indignation floods the Macedonian press because of the statement of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadejda Mihailova that if Bulgaria is taken out of the Schengen list it will become necessary visas for Macedonian and Russian citizens to be introduced. On 14 Jan, the first to react is the opposition newspaper Utrinsky vestnik which one publishes also the reservation of N.Mihailova that if such a moment comes the Bulgarian party will seek ways to delay the respective measures or, if introduced, the procedures will be eased. The private TV “TELMA” comments in details the news of eventual introduction of visas and makes the conclusion that Bulgaria does not respect the rights of the “Macedonian nation”. Vecher from 17 Jan also comments the news on eventual visa issuance regarding R Macedonia on part of Bulgaria and refers to analogical situation in Slovania. In said country visas for the Macedonian citizens were introduced; the newspaper explains it as a requirement on part of the EU which was performed, in the opinion of the newspaper, in an “elegant way” whilst N.Mihailova’s statement interferes with the warming up of the relations between our two countries. Vecher is not an opposition newspaper and makes efforts objectively to reflect the status of the relations of R Macedonia and Bulgaria. But it is irritated by the ill-considered and indiscreet phrase of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister that “the rich European family is more attractive than the amicable Macedonia”. This fact is reflected in the Sofia newspaper Macedonia in its issue of 26 Jan and also is treated with criticism. In an interview before the 24 hours from 23 Jan, the premier L.Georgievsky also expresses his opinion. He states that “if we are to deal with visas I must say that things are not going well”.

Generally speaking the intention or the requirement for introduction of visas regarding R Macedonia, is considered by the Macedonian press mainly as an aspiration on part of Bulgaria to keep at a distance the country which was not invited for negotiations with the EU. This is stated in Vecher. Utrinsky vestnik from 28 Jan publishes an interview with the leader of OMO “Ilinden-Pirin”, Singartiysky. In his opinion, the cancellation of the monitoring regime on Bulgaria is a slap in the face of the Government in Skopie and of the “Macedonian minority” in Bulgaria. In fact, the new element in the attacks and in the antibulgarian campaign of the Macedonian opposition now is the “merger” with it on part of OMO “Ilinden-Pirin” accompanied by the newspaper Narodna volia published precisely in Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad. The editor of the newspaper Yan Pirinsky writes down that when entering the EU and adopting its respective discipline, Bulgaria must grant the human and minority rights of the “Macedonians in the country” which by now have been disregarded. A similar move is undertaken by the trend of “unification of Macedonia”. Makedonia denes finds somehow a way to involve to the visa issue the Macedonian ex minister of culture Prof. D.Dimitrov who is expected to be appointed Ambassador of R Macedonia in Bulgaria. The newspaper reads that he has no reason to state that he has demolished the wall between Bulgaria and Macedonia as Bulgaria has intentions to introduce visa regime for the Macedonian citizens. 

As a matter of fact, the visa issuance regarding R Macedonia is a problem of an undetermined future, if ever. But it blows the coals of the compaign against the Macedonian Government and forces it to be more cautious in its contacts with our country. Back to top

Hashim Tachy and Arben Jafery in Sofia

Another stormy reaction on part of the Macedonian press is provoked by the visit of the Kossovo’s leader H.Tachy and the leader of the Macedonian party ADP Arben Jafery in Sofia and their talks with the premier Iv.Kostov.

On 29 Jan the Skopie’s radio announces the visit of both Albanian leaders in Sofia, and on 30th the same month, the electronic media in R Macedonia already echo the comments of the Sofia press about it. Several questions treated in Sofia are under scrutiny. Suppositions are made whether such a meeting means a change in the Bulgarian position regarding the statute of Kossovo; whether it is a way of sounding eventual change in the positions of the big European countries on the same matter or the reaction of Belgrade is checked respectively.

For the Macedonian public, not only for the opposition, the question of the Kossovo statute is considered fateful. During the presidential campaign the opposition related it to the hypothesis that recognition of Kossovo’s independence would split Macedonia itself between Albania and Bulgaria. Already on 22 Jan i.e. before the visit of Tachy and Jafery in Bulgaria, the Greek newspaper Express publishes a material according to which eventual splitting up of Macedonia between Albania and Bulgaria is probable. And justifies its statement with: the “fatal union” between VMRO-DPMNE and the Albanian parties; and that the election of B.Traikovsky occurred with the support of the Albanians which is in detriment of the Macedonian interests etc. In addition to all this, Fatos Nano makes a visit in Tetovo during the month. And a probable splitting of R Macedonia is claimed to be the most painful perspective on the Balkans. In its next issue on 23 Jan Express n. focuses again on the same problem.

We must acknowledge that the thesis of Macedonia’s splitting up is carried also in media and institutions outside the country and thus makes its respective impact on the opposition. Dnevnik from 12 Jan publishes a forecast on the future of R Macedonia made by the Czech Ambassador in Belgrade at a seminar at the Massarikov University in December, stating that the partitioning of R Macedonia is imminent and a cause of it will be the apathy of the Macedonians and specially the high activity of the Albanians. According to the Ambassador a similar perspective is acceptable for Europe. In the same direction the statement of H.Tachy before the Bulgarian press on 31 Jan makes its effect too when declared that the independence of Kossovo is the only alternative for its existence and it is to be achieved. 

The clarifications on part of the Bulgarian Government that there is no change in its position on the Kossovo statute are received with suspicion by the opposition press in R Macedonia. A publication in Nova Macedonia on 31 Jan, in which Arben Jafery gives explanations on his visit to Sofia and the problems discussed at the meeting with Iv.Kostov, mollifies the atmosphere a little bit. In Arben Jafery’s opinion it has been a visit of good will; Tachy wanted to hear the opinion on part of Bulgaria regarding the Kossovo’s independence issue; Iv.Kostov expressed the Bulgarian position for stability on and of the borders on the Balkans; Tachy is grateful for the Bulgarian support for the Kossovo’s cause; both parties have parted each one keeping its own vision.Back to top

About the Holocaust

The series of occasions for exacerbation of the antibulgarian campaign in R Macedonia, in the month of January, ends with the participation of the Bulgarian president P.Stoianov in the conference on the Holocaust held in Stockholm. Regarding his speech about the merit of Bulgaria for the salvation of the Jews in our country, the Macedonian press as well as the Jewish organizations in R Macedonia express categorical protest. Dnevnik from 29 Jan, on its front page, carries an article in which Bulgaria is accused of hiding the truth about the deportation of Jews from Macedonia and Thrace to the camp of Treblinka (only from the Vardarska Macedonia 7 200 people were numbered) and of usurping any merits without confessing its guilt respectively. An extended article on the same topic is published in Vecher too, on 31 Jan; it becomes known that at the conference in Stockholm two Macedonian Jews protested against P.Stoianov’s exploitation and falsification regarding the Jews’ salvation. At the conference the Jews’ organization from Greece make a protest too. 

It is true that the deportation of the Jews from Thrace and Macedonia occurred in time when a Bulgarian administration was assigned there. But the latter as well as the Bulgarian Government scarcely were able to counter-act the deportation request on part of Germany. Back to top