Thursday, June 22, 2017

BATTLEFIELD MACEDONIA-have the Bulgarianists made their move?

By Sasha Uzunov

A controversial "Agreement for Good Neighbourly Relations" being pushed by Bulgaria and accepted in principle by Macedonia's new Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has raised concerns about a hidden agenda with the aim of undermining Macedonian identity and statehood under the guise of Euro-Atlantic integration. TEAM UZUNOV surveyed some influential figures about the Agreement:

Do you wish to comment publicly on the following: Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s alleged policy of “Bulgarianisation ?” The Agreement for Good Neighbourly Relations” between Bulgaria and Macedonia, the joint Ilinden commemoration, Bulgaria’s World War II legacy and the Genocide of the Jews in Macedonia, and the status of ethnic Macedonians in the Pirin region of Bulgaria. What will be the consequences of Macedonia signing this agreement?

Dr Chris Popov, longstanding Australian-Macedonian activist:

"PM Zoran Zaev’s agreement on 20 June 2017 with Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov to jointly commemorate Ilinden- the foundation stone of Macedonian identity and statehood-in Macedonia this year and to sign an Agreement on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria on 2 August (the ultimate insult) is a new low point in Macedonia’s short post-independence history. His capitulation effectively means that Bulgaria has achieved many of its foreign policy goals in Macedonia and cemented its claim that “Macedonians and Bulgarians are one people”, as they are wont to tendentiously, incorrectly and ahistorically claim. Macedonians have never claimed that Bulgarians are Macedonians, so the claim “Macedonians are Bulgarians” and the lack of opposition to such a formulation by Zaev, who in May this year stated that Macedonians and Bulgarians are “brotherly peoples, the same people”, in effect means that he accepts or at least does not oppose this Bulgarian chauvinist thesis. Whether Zaev truly believes that we are one and the same people or not is irrelevant as his capitulation has one goal, dictated to him by his EU/USA backers: to get Macedonia into NATO and then the EU as quickly as possible by making the necessary concessions to those who hold the key in the region to such membership-Bulgaria and Greece. 

"While the content of the proposed Agreement has not been made public as yet, enough details have leaked out to allow us to conclude that it is a serious attack on Macedonian identity, history, culture and language, based on the long-standing tenets of Bulgaria’s policy of complete denial of Macedonians as a distinct ethnic group and nation. Some of what has been reportedly proposed is truly scandalous. While the Macedonian language has been internationally recognised and codified, it is being reported that the Bulgarians will insist on the formulation “the language indicated in the Constitution” to avoid mentioning that the agreement will be written in the Macedonian language as well as Bulgarian. In addition, it is being reported that Macedonian history books for students will be “modified” to exclude language and events which “hinder the new spirit of good neighbourliness”. Will this mean that the Bulgarian thesis that Macedonians are in essence ‘‘Bulgarians who are unaware of their Bulgarian roots” or the “product of the Comintern and Tito” will now feature prominently in such texts? Will Kiril and Metodij, their disciples (Kliment and Naum etc) and the Old Church Slavonic language be proclaimed as Bulgarian?”

Ilinden, or St. Elijah’s Day, 2 August 1903, the day that Macedonia attempted to overthrow the Ottoman Empire after 500 years of brutal occupation. The uprising was brutally suppressed by the Ottomans and with Bulgaria sabotaging it even before it was launched. link here

In 2014, there was an attempt to hold a joint Macedonian-Bulgarian commemoration of Ilinden but it met with fierce resistance. The idea was first proposed by a then Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski over a decade ago.

Dr Chris Popov:
“Will VMRO [the Ilinden era VMRO], the Ilinden rebellion and the Ilinden leaders and revolutionaries ( Goce Delchev, Nikola Karev, Jane Sandanski, Pitu Guli) also be deemed Bulgarian? What of Nazi ally, fascist Bulgaria’s occupation of Macedonia during WWII, during which it committed numerous atrocities and rounded up Macedonia’s Jews and sent them to the Nazi death camps? Will that also be relativised and presented as some form of liberation in order not to prevent the development of “good neighbourly relations? It is also being reported that Macedonia will once again have to commit to “not defending the rights in Bulgaria of persons who are not citizens of the Republic of Macedonia” which is code for the Macedonians in Pirin Macedonia and the rest of Bulgaria. This formulation was also used in the Declaration of Good Neighbourliness signed in 1999 between the two countries; however being a declaration it did not have the force of law of the current agreement which will have to be ratified by the respective parliaments of both countries.”

Macedonia’s World War II Partizans marching through the liberated city of Bitola, November 1944. From 1941-44 the Partizan resistance fought the Germans and its allies, Fascist Italy, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and Albanian Balle Kombetar, who had occupied Macedonia.

Dr Chris Popov:
"This Agreement, if ratified with the current reported content, will represent a dagger at the heart of Macedonian identity, language, culture and history and contribute to the weakening of the Macedonian character of the Republic of Macedonia which is under enough pressure as it is from Albanian separatism and Greek nationalist calls for a name change. It will effectively leave the Macedonians in Bulgaria completely defenceless and without any legal protection at all, although it must be said that since independence the Republic of Macedonia has done next to nothing to date to protect their rights. Moreover, given that it represents a complete capitulation to the interests of Bulgaria, it will embolden Greece, Kosovo and Albania and eventually possibly Serbia to seek further concessions from Macedonia until the state has been reduced to a vassal which compliantly implements the agendas of its USA/EU masters and the regional “good neighbours”. I sincerely hope that this ant-Macedonian “agreement” is not ratified in the Macedonian Parliament, however no one should expect a breaking of ranks by the MPs of the “reformist government”.”

Dr Popov's 2014 article on the controversial "Agreement" can be read in full at this link here


Mark Branov, Canadian-Macedonian activist, former media director of the United Macedonia Diaspora lobby group and one of the editors of a popular Social media page on Macedonia - link here

"Zaev's orders seem clear - to confirm and make permanent Macedonia's status as a Kosovo-like protectorate territory, fully subservient to foreign interests. Firstly, Macedonia’s political system has been undermined with the violent installation of UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army] Komandant Forina [Talat Xhaferi] as Speaker of the Parliament of Macedonia, via a sham election process pushed through without a constitutionally required consensus. The terrorists of the UCK, other Albanian separatists, and their George Soros Organisation activist allies have been installed in all the various ministries, with the shared agenda of turning Macedonia into a state of anonymous citizens that have no shared culture, history or identity.

"Secondly, the country is being undermined diplomatically, with Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s grandstanding for the cameras in Athens, where he has signalled a new willingness to surrender Macedonian sovereignty, sparking a loud campaign to re-baptise the country, once again against the will of the vast majority of Macedonians, including those who live under the domination of Athenian bigotry, as second-class citizens in the Aegean region. And thirdly, in Bulgaria, Zaev has undermined Macedonia culturally, by acquiescing to a public humiliation spectacle, where Macedonian dignitaries will celebrate the St. Ilija's Day Uprising alongside dignitaries of the country that historically sabotaged that uprising in the first place, and which continues to violate the human rights of its Macedonian ethnic minority in the Pirin region. Zaev's overall role is to weaken Macedonia's position in the world by siding with the interests of every country except his own, and working to eliminate what is left of Macedonia's sovereignty and independence. And all of this is based on the false narrative that entering NATO and the EU must proceed at all costs.”

Borjan Jovanovski, leading pundit in the Republic of Macedonia, asked by TEAM UZUNOV for a comment but declined.

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