(on the occasion of the Skopje Meeting - 24 April 1998, of a group of intellectuals organized by the Helsinki Committees of the two countries)

With regard to the meeting in Skopje, we - the members of the Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofia - academicians, corresponding members, professors, associate professors, research fellows, and public figures - feel our obligation to state that we are not surprised, not in the least, by its results.  Having in mind the biased views of some of the Bulgarian participants in the Meeting, and especially of the few homebred political science experts known from the press even before the meeting, we were completely aware that the organizers had sought for Bulgarian adherents to the official authorities in Skopje. Of special significance in this respect is the fact that no representatives of the opposition parties from Macedonia took part in the Meeting.

The drastic denial of the results achieved by Bulgarian humanities (history, linguistics and ethnography) declared by political science experts as "abstract" in taking permanent political decisions, is a really unique phenomenon. In this case, it cannot be classified even as a Balkan one, for its homebred nature is more than obvious.  The denial has been the deed of political science experts who also claim to be research fellows, yet they consider their subject, in the obsolete Marxist way, as the "science of sciences", or rather "science above the other sciences", which could easily substitute the rest of scientific knowledge.  The crooked glass of the political science experts who participated in the Meeting reflects the situation in a distorted way. What is really changed, in fact, is the old terminology which, despite the efforts, did not appeal to the hosts. The Skopje press describes their terminology as merely "polite".

The pragmatic (or, more correctly, the "polite") approach suggested by them, has undergone only some verbal changes. In its essence, it is only a repetition of the age old Stalin-Tito (Komintern) postulates of the "language" and the "nation", which were conjured up in 1934, but were legalized by the two leaders in their interviews published in Skopje as the "Macedonian language" and the "Macedonian nation".

The complete crash of their politically non-scientific nature becomes obvious when an attempt is made at the recovery of the paradoxical definition of "recognizing" things which are not subject to recognition by the international public. That was even well enough realized before the Meeting by the Macedonian President himself.  The mixing of concepts of various ranks - political (state) with linguistic (language) and ethnological (ethnos, nation, people), as well as attributing the name of one to the other, reveals a primary school illiteracy, to put it rather directly. The pursue of science which provides the empirical material for politics, does not relate us to the future but rather to the Mediaeval type of thinking, where it was less needed.

Another distortion is the statement that the past of the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria is a division line, therefore, the questions related to it, should necessarily be put aside for the sake of pragmatics. For the sake of exactness, it is namely the millennial history (Cyril and Methodius, Kliment, Naum, Samuil, the Miladinov brothers, Zhinzifov, Purlichev, Gotse, Dame, etc.) is the common link, while the foreign powers, among them being the Macedonism of the Serb Stoyan Novakovich, the Serbo-Communism, the New Macedonism (i. e. Serbomano-Macedonism) are what divides us and raises the old-new Berlin Wall.  Completely distorted is also the statement of the Bulgarian "nationalism" as an unpredictable evil. It is a blasphemy proper to speak of nationalism regarding a nation torn apart as early as 1878, evermore that since then it has seen seven acts of detaching lands and population from itself. The term national used for describing a certain characteristic of the Bulgarians, could often be detected, yet, unfortunately, in the combination national nihilism - a result of the deformation suffered from old (international) or newer (cosmopolitan) influences from outside.

The Citizen of the World is not identical to the man without a country. A citizen of the world becomes the one who is a citizen of his own country in the first place and only after that, through the material and cultural achievements of his country - turns into a dignified citizen of the world civilized community without, however, losing his own national identity.  Entering the European Economic Union, a Frenchman (or an Englishman, or a German) does not cease to be a Frenchman (Englishman or Greman, respectively). He does not give up the history of his country, or his language, nationality, or cultural identity). The "principle of the ostrich" (i. e. escaping the problems) was proclaimed at the Meeting, i. e. there was no "language dispute" nowadays, is a false one. This is so at least for the fact that the signing of the documents between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia (on the insistence of Skopje), should be done in one variant only - in Bulgarian and in Macedonian (perceived by those in power in our western neighbour as the language which is spoken in the Pirin region, i. e. on the territory of a Bulgarian political reality.

In this respect, Bulgarian diplomats have been well ahead of some political science experts (among them professors, directors of strategic programmes, etc.) in introducing the postulates about signing the restrictions on "constitutional language", "state language", "official language", etc., i. e. texts which point towards language formations within state borders and which exclude any possibilities for future claims whatsoever.  The proposals reflect the good will on the part of the Bulgarian country, therefore they are numerous (between 12 and 15 variants). They all have a common purpose: a permanent and unbiased settling of the problems which could serve as the basis for future relations of a sincere and good neighbourhood nature. The unconditional and sole proposal of Skopje is in fact a political blackmail. It fully complies with Art. 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia which stipulates for "concern" for the "minorities" in the neighbouring countries.

It comes out that the Helsinki Committee in Bulgaria (in case it is really interested in the final settlement of the problems), along with its associates - "people of free will", might contribute to the establishing of actual democratic relations in Bulgarian southwestern neighbour country where, under the so-called "Law for Preserving the National Identity" fall mainly those who dare to state their Bulgarian ethnic self-awareness. The examples in this respect are quite numerous. At the same time, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (provided it is really Bulgarian) should not support on the territory of Bulgaria a small and illegitimate group of people which were purposefully established by foreign embassies and with the financial provision of foreign countries.

The Institute of Political Science and Regional and International Research - Sofia, could evidently also assist in broader terms, in order to specify the amount of materials issued by each country against its neighbours. This could provide a factual evidence as to the real provokers of interstate tension on the Balkans. In this respect, Bulgaria might prove in the most favourable state.
 Obviously, the practical work carried out by the numerous public organizations of "free people" is of a great scope. Yet it should take a more specific nature, since politeness is related to the form, and not to the essence of those complex problems.

Macedonian Scientific institute - Sofia
12 May 1998