Miltiades Elia Bolaris
July 13, 2009
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Makedonija - FYROM, is the diminutive ex-Yugoslav state that since 1991 has relentlessly and vigorously sought recognition by the international community under its chosen assumed name "Republic of Macedonia".
Greeks have puzzled the world over by steadfastly refusing FYROM´s recognition under this name, basing their refusal on historical and political arguments.
Skopje insists that their people are the only ones in the Balkan peninsula that deserve to be called Macedonians and they claim to have every right to be called as such, since they have lived in this land for at least two and a half to as many as ten thousand years. They claim to have produced such great kings in antiquity as Philip II of Macedonia and Alexander the Great, and such great minds as the philosopher Aristotle and the Apostles to the Slavs Saints Cyril and Methodius.
A federated Yugoslav People's Republic of Makedonija was established in 1944 and by 1991 all it wanted to do was to simply drop the Socialist label and to become known thereafter as the Republic of Macedonia.
The Greeks had beat the drums back in the 1940's and 1950's against Titos's policies on the Macedonia name issue (and all the irredentism and land annexation propaganda attached to Yugoslavian "Makedonism") but they were eventually forced by the Americans to hush up since Tito was fast transforming himself into the West's favorite enfant terrible of the Eastern Block, following the Tito-Stalin break up and Yugoslavia's placement into the non-aligned camp, never joining the Warsaw Pact.
For the Greeks of the 1960's, 70's, and '80's the "Macedonian Issue" as such was becoming a dead, distant issue of the past. While it is true that a Socialist People's Republic with that name existed right next to and north of Greek Macedonia, for all practical purposes it was a simply a province of a larger state, therefore it could be considered a bilateral diplomatic thorn, but still more of an internal issue for Yugoslavia. After all, there are many cases of two different states sharing the same name for their respective provinces.
But by 1991 everything was different. The newly independent state was not a province any longer. It wanted to become recognized internationally as THE Macedonia, even going as far as demanding that the Greeks drop the name of their own province, Makedonia. Irredentism flared up: United Makedonija Обединета Македонија/Obedineta Makedonija became the wear cry of the south Yugoslav ultra-nationalists. The Makedonist ultra-nationalists did not any longer live and made noise in Canada or Australia: they were now the government in Skopje. Most of the world did not seem to even suspect that there was an issue. Once the Greeks started screaming foul, others were puzzled:
Who in the world has the right to refuse this name to a people that has been called (if what they claim is true) Macedonians since the dawn of time?
Not so fast, countered the Greeks. The central and northern part of FYROM, fully three quarters of it, was never even part of Historic Macedonia. The north in antiquity was Dardania, and Skopje, its capital was the ancient city of Scupi, a Dardanian city, whose inhabitants by the 3rd to fourth century AD had become fully Romanized speakers of Latin. Many of their descendants can now be found among the Latin-speaking Aromanian Vlachs of FYROM.
The central part of FYROM in ancient times was the land of the Paionians, who were linguistically and ethnically distantly related to the ancient Greeks and who, after their conquest by the Macedonians, became eventually fully Hellenized: by the Roman times they only spoke Greek. Only part of the southernmost territories of what is now FYROM (where the modern towns of Monastir/Bitola, Gevgeli and Strumnitsa are now), were in fact part inhabited by Macedonians. Macedonia proper, on the other hand corresponds almost completely (80-90%) with the Greek province of the same name, Makedonia, just south of the Yugoslav Makedonija. Additionally, the Greek province of Macedonia, is almost twice the land size of all the independent country that seeks that name and with a larger population.
To the arguments of Skopje that the ancient Macedonians were a proto-Slavic nation unrelated to the Greeks, the Greeks counter argue, basing themselves on history and language.
To begin with, the historic home of the proto-Slavs was the Pripjet marshes in the land between northern Ukraine, southern Byelorussia and western Poland. No historian except some ludicrous propagandists of the pseudo-makedonist regime in Skopje would ever be caught speaking of proto-Slavs in the Balkans, or anywhere close to them, before the sixth and seventh centuries AD. The Slavs descended to the lower Balkans and started establishing Slavic communities in the Balkans as Serbs, Bulgarians, Croats and Slovenes, not earlier than the late sixth to mid seventh century AD, pushed by and following the Turkic Avars; that is fully a thousand years AFTER the age of Aristotle and Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great.
The Greeks are not the only ones saying this: "We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century (AD). We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians", said Kiro Gligorov, the first elected president of FYROM, referring to the people of his country (Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992).
On the language front the Greeks also cite the fact that there are approximately half a million ancient inscriptions found in Macedonia, documenting the ancient Macedonians and their political religious and personal lives from contracts to funerary and religious inscriptions. They are all in Greek (and some in Latin, post Roman conquest). No inscription has ever been discovered in Macedonia written in any other language besides Greek and the occasional Latin, and for sure not in any Slavic idiom. Greeks also cite the simple fact that it was the Greek speaking Macedonians who, following Alexander's conquest of the then known world established Greek as the international language, the lingua Franca of Antiquity.
The indisputable fact that the Christian bible was originally written in Greek, making thus possible the quick spread of Christianity throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean world of antiquity, was owed exclusively to the military conquests of Alexander´s Macedonians. The Macedonians had established their Greek language as the dominant language of government, commerce and literature from the Balkans and Egypt to Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Bactria (Afghanistan), and down to the gateway of ancient India (now Pakistan).
Saint Paul came to Macedonia, and preached Christianity in Thessalonica, Beroia and Philippoi, making his first Christian converts on European soil, he spoke to the Macedonians in Greek, converting multitudes of Greek Macedonians, as the bible clearly attests (Acts 17:10,11,12.). When he wrote to the Thessalonians and the Philippians he wrote to them in Greek, the only language they understood.
Aristotle was very much a Greek, and he wrote all his scientific and philosophical corpus in Greek, as any middle school graduate would be able to attest, anywhere in the civilized world, but not in Skopje. Yet, according to FYROM's official national dogma, Aristotel was a Madedonski proto-Slav. Alexander the Great was always proud of his Greek descent, a descendant of Heracles and Achilles, the two most beloved of Greek heroes. He became the Marshal General of the Panhellenic (of all the Greeks, except the Spartans, as he himself sarcastically noted, and not just the Macedonians) campaign for the revenge of Greece against the Persian empire.
During the era of Byzantium, now, in the 9th century AD, Cyrill and Methodius, two Greek brothers, both of them monks from Thessaloníki, scholars and diplomats in the imperial service, were recruited on official mission by the emperor in Constantinople. They sat down and learned Slavic (as they had previously learned Turkic and Arabic), created the first Slavonic alphabet, the Glagolitic which soon developed into what is now known as the Cyrillic script, based on the Greek alphabet. They created the tools with which to spread Christianity and European civilization to the Slavs of their time. They are known as the two Greek brothers who became the "Apostles TO the Slavs" and both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches recognize them as such, except again by the schismatic church of Skopje.
Ancient and Byzantine history aside, now, we move into the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and we come to the bloody era of the two Balkan wars. The first Balkan war was the war of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro against the Ottoman Turks to liberate the (mostly Christian) Balkan peninsula from Ottoman occupation, followed soon after by the entry of all the countries involved into the WWI.
The war cry of Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria in the first Balkan war was the liberation of their brethren in Macedonia. Before the first Balkan war, the fight and competition was underground, and it was fought for the "hearts and minds" and the ethnic and linguistic affinity of the mostly poly-lingual local population.
Everyone wanted to have Macedonia. The Greeks cited their ancient and Byzantine History credentials and the Greek majority in all the major cities of Macedonia. The Bulgarians and the Serbs cited the Slavic element in majority in most rural village communities, especially in the north. The farther north from the Aegean Sea, the more the Slavic element was in the majority in the villages. The closer to the sea and the larger the urban center, the more the Greeks were in the majority, something that had not changed since the descent of the Slavs, an event that had pushed most of the older population to seek the protection of city walls.
Macedonia was and is a land, a geographic entity, not a nation. While Macedonians of antiquity were basically Greeks with some Thracian and Paionians in their midst, the Macedonians of late Ottoman times, late 19th to 20th century were of a mix of languages from Latin and Slavic dialects of Serbian and Bulgarian to Gypsy, Turkish, Armenian, Yehudi-Ladino and Greek. Far from being one nation, the Macedonians were a multi-ethnic and multinational conglomerate of Christian and Muslim Slavs, Vlachs, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Gypsies, Serbs, Bulgarians, Albanians, Cherkezis, Turks, Pomaks, and even some Italians and French, especially in Thessaloniki. Basing their analogy on this confusing linguistic and ethnic medley of humanity the French chose to call their mixed salad "Salade Macedoine", and for good reason: There was not one ingredient making their mixed salad, and there was not one nation making itself stand out to be THE Macedonians of that day. Everyone was a Macedonian, by default, as long as they lived in Macedonia, and NOBODY was an "ethnic Macedonian" at that time. Mark Mazower´s "Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950" is a great book for someone not well acquainted with that part of the world.
Think of Macedonia of the time as a New York of the Balkans. Everyone is a New Yorker as long as they live in New York, but nobody is an "ethnic New Yorker". The newspapers of the time speak of Macedonians as a whole, and then they become particular: Greek Macedonians, Christian Slav Macedonians, Muslim or Turkish Slav Macedonians, Turkish or Albanian Macedonians, Bulgarian speaking Macedonians, Serbs, Jews and Armenians of Macedonia, etc. Different sects of Suni, Sufi and Behtashi Islam, living side by side with Orthodoxy Christianity, with Judaism and Jewish converts to Islam (the Donmedes), next to Catholicism and Uniate adherents to Greek Catholicism, as well as some missions of Protestantism, made the colorful mix of Macedonian humanity an impossibly mind-boggling puzzle. It was enough to challenge the most experienced anthropologist, not to speak of the politicians of the Great Powers of the day.
What is most interesting to note is that IN NONE OF THE ETHNIC CENSUS OF LATE 19TH CENTURY AND EARLY 20TH CENTURY OTTOMAN EMPIRE DO WE EVER SEE MENTION OF A MACEDONIAN ETHNICITY. There are numerous European travelers who crossed Macedonia, and nobody ever spoke of "Macedonians" as a separate nation.
There were Slavic or Albanian speaking people of undefined ethnicity who identified themselves as members of the Orthodox oecoumene, as simply Christians. In the same way, there were many Muslims identifying themselves as simply Muslims, regardless of their Greek, Turkish, Albanian or Slavic language. The very notion of a separate "nation" was new to this area and for many it had to wait until the break up of the Ottoman empire to take roots. We hear at that time of all the nations of Babel inhabiting Macedonia, but curiously, nowhere ever and by nobody is there even a mention of the elusive "ethnic Macedonians" before 1912 or even after. This nation would have to wait until 1943-44 for Marchall Tito to invent it.
Following the victories of the first Balkan war against the Ottomans, in 1912, the Greeks and Serbs found themselves in turn under attack by the Bulgarian army in the June of 1913. The Bulgarians wanted more of Macedonia than their army had captured the previous year. Hell broke loose, and Turkey found the opportunity to counterattack Bulgaria, and so did Romania, out of nowhere, just because the opportunity was there. These are the Balkans, after all.
Bulgaria found itself cornered, from an offensive war to a struggle for survival, with its lands now being overrun by victorious Serb, Greek, Romanian and Turkish armies: They lost most of the Macedonian lands they had won just a year ago to Greece and Serbia, plus parts of Thrace to the Turks and southern Dobruja, by the Black sea and Danube to Romania.
WWI started in Sarajevo, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in August 1914, but it soon spread to the rest of the world. Bulgaria, bruised from their fresh defeat in 1913, now joined the Central powers, the German, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian empires, while Greeks and Serbs joined the Entente Allies. Bulgaria re-entered Macedonia during WWI and captured parts of Northern Greece and Southern Serbia, to eventually find itself again on the side of the losers at the end of the war. It had to retreat, not without putting some of the cities to the torch as they had done in their first hasty retreat, in 1913.
During the inter war years, from roughly 1922 to 1940, all the Balkan countries became busy trying to assimilate their own multilingual and multi-ethnic part of the newly captured lands of Macedonia and Thrace. Greeks had to become Bulgarians in Bulgaria and Bulgarians had to become Greeks in Greece, and Greeks and Bulgarians had to become Serbs in Yugoslavia. Not much luck awaited the Muslims of Macedonia, many of which slowly found their way to Turkey.
There were massive and mutual exchanges of population between Greece and Bulgaria (about 60 to 70 thousand each way) and between Greece (700 hundred thousand Muslims left) and Turkey (1.5 million Greeks left their ancestral lands in Anatolia). Despite the tragedy of it, these exchanges helped solidify ethnic majorities in all these countries, except for Yugoslavia, which remained the old "salade Macedoine" it was before the Balkan wars.
Yugoslavia had to wait until the bloody events of the 3rd Balkan war or should I say a series of Balkan wars which erupted after 1990 between Serbia, Croatia, the communities of Bosnia Herzegovina and then the Albanians of Kosovo, with NATO forces joining in.
Finally, in 2001 there were flares of Albanian ethnic revolts in FYROM. These were quickly put out as soon the US stepped its boot on the Albanian Kosovars who had assisted the Tetovo Albanians of FYROM to start it all, and asked them to stop paying with matches. They promptly did, for now.
Time reversal back to 1940: WWII came to the Balkans with the Mussolini´s Italy's attack on Greece through Albanian territory, and the vicious game started all over again. Serbia and Greece with the Allies, Bulgaria now joining Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy to (what else?) help itself to the lands of South Serbia and Greek Macedonia.
Italy blundered and lost pitifully, losing one third of its Albanian lands to Greece. Germany had to delay its planned Barbarossa invasion of Russia, to came and rescue Mussolini´s armies. The reason for this delay was that Germany could not afford to permit its south flank (now that the Italians had recklessly opened it) exposed to a possible British counterattack, especially with the Ploesti oilfields of Romania being so close to Thessaloniki´s airport.
Hitler committed his armies to an all out attack on Greece and Yugoslavia, overrunning Yugoslavia within eleven days April 6th to seventeenth) and then wasting six more weeks to overrun the rest of Greece (April 6th to June 1st, 1941). The Russians are grateful, ever since, for that Balkan delay. Hitler, according to Leni Riefenstahl, claimed "if the Italians hadn't attacked Greece and needed our help, the war would have taken a different course. We could have anticipated the Russian cold by weeks and conquered Leningrad and Moscow. There would have been no Stalingrad".
The Bulgarian army followed a step behind the German invasion army, and was awarded without firing a shot what they had lost in the second Balkan war and WWI. During the war years, South Serbia, the land won by the Serbian armies from the Ottoman Turks, was split in two parts. Part of what is now FYROM plus Kosovo was given as a land gift by Hitler to his Albanian allies, to create a Greater Albania (Clinton and Bush did the same thing years later, with Kosovo). Germany´s Bulgarian allies were awarded the rest of south Serbia, the rest of what is now FYROM, which was then called Vardarska Banovina: the Vardar province of Serbia. Northern Greece was also divided between an Italian and German occupied part of Greece (central and western Greek Macedonia) and a part was ceded to Bulgaria as per previous agreement with Hitler (Greek Western Thrace and Greek Eastern Macedonia). These Greek lands along with Vardarska Banovina of Serbia created a Greater Bulgaria.
Greeks and Jews were actively persecuted out of the Bulgarian occupied lands. On a even more tragic note, the Jews of Thessaloníki were virtually completely exterminated by the German Nazis (about 60-70 thousand people; the Jewish community of Thessaloníki was the largest in the Balkans). Greek schools and churches in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace were handed over to Bulgarians teachers and priests and Greeks were actively forced to either get Bulgarian identity cards (which came with double food coupons) and declare themselves ethnic Bulgarians or be expelled to the German/Italian occupied part of Greece. Many preferred the later, while others took to the mountains and started the resistance. The Drama and Doxato revolts of 1941 were summarily suppressed and drained in blood by the Bulgarian occupation army.
In South Serbia, the grandfathers of today's "ethnic Macedonians", the Bulgarian speaking "Bugari" of Yugoslavia, actively welcomed the Bulgarian occupation army as liberators, while even the Communist Party cadre abandoned the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to join the ranks of the Communist Party of Bulgaria। In Italian and German occupied Greece, Bulgarian officers attached themselves to German and Italian military units, propagating the imminent unification of all of Northern Greece to an even greater Bulgaria after the end of the war, with Hitler´s blessings.
The end of the war found Bulgaria once again, the third time in the 20th century, on the time of the losers and it found itself retreating from Greek and Yugoslav Macedonia for the last time.
Greeks on the other hand, following the retreat in 1943 of the Itaian, and in 1944 of the German and Bulgarian occupation forces, found themselves engaged in a brutal civil war (partially instigated by Great Britain that sought to crush the influence of the Greek Left) on one side, and adequately fueled and supported by Tito's Yugoslavia on the other. During the occupation, and especially towards the end of the war, Tito's partisans had freely roamed Greek Macedonia during, actively propagating among the Bulgarian speaking minority of Greece. Their plan was to use the arms which had been distributed by the Italians and the Germans to the Bulgarophile Slavic element of Greece (that was originally intended to protect the collaborationist villagers from the Antartes/Ἀντάρτες rebels of ELAS/ΕΛΑΣ), and to organize the mounting of a revolt against Greece right after the retreat of the defeated axis armies.
With Bulgaria´s star waning, the Bugari of Greece and Serbia were given an escape route: by switching their ethnic allegiance from Bulgaria to Yugoslavia, they were given absolution for their collaborationist crimes against the Greek, Vlach and Slavic populations of Greek Macedonia and south Serbian Vardarska Banovina, and they were asked to help create a Greater Yugoslavia which would include a new "United Macedonia" (Обединета Македонија/Obedineta Makedonija) state. They were told to forget the lost case of their far away defeated mother/maika Bulgarija which was dying, and to join the new and seemingly vigorous Makedonija, as brother Macedonians/brate Makedonci, and this Makedonija would be the land sum of South Serbia, Southwestern Bulgaria and virtually all of Greek Macedonia. The map shown in the beginning of this article was initially published in the Yugoslav newspaper Borba in August 26, 1946, and it is showing the Yugoslav province of Makedonija. In heavy black line towards the bottom are the new state boundaries as demanded by the Yugoslav "Makedonci" separatists. Interestingly enough, today's FYROM irredentists are brazenly outdoing even their parents and grandparents and they demand ALL of Greek Macedonia, which they consider enslaved territory in need of liberation:
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg0JxehJDww&NR=1 )
( http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/83332 ).
Tito's "United Macedonia" was going to be a federated part of Yugoslavia, and its capital would be, as Marshall Tito envisioned it, the Greek Macedonian metropolis of the north, the city of Thessaloníki, to be renamed Solun.
All they had to do was quickly get out of the Bulgarian and Nazi colaborationist Ohrana and join the ranks of the Yugoslav partisans or SNOF, the Slavo-Macedonian Popular Liberation Front. They were to prepare and be ready for the great moment to arrive when they could make a push and get all the Grci/Greeks and Grkmani/Slav speakers of Greek identity and Prosfyghes/Asia Minor refugees out of Makedonija, and join Greater Yugoslavija.
As the news of an imminent defeat of the Axis powers were becoming louder, the Nazi-Royalist Ohrana and its offshoots kept on losing its cadre who were now swelling the ranks of the "communist" partisans. A miraculous transformation, by all political standards, and a great case study for an anthropologist. Yugoslav Makedonism became their communal as well as private pool of Siloam, where their collaborationist crimes and Bulgarian past was to be drowned in waters of absolution and they were to emerge from it gloriously victorious partisans. All they had to do was tear away the Bulgarian lion and crown and put up the red star of Yugoslavia on their hat.
On liberation day, after the German convoys retreated, the exuberant population came out to the streets jubilant and happy to welcome the rows of partisans coming down from the mountains. It was the National Liberation Front (EAM)'s army, the ELAS (National Popular Liberation Army), but also the SNOF of the Slavomacedonians, many of whom had fought hard the good fight against the Nazi and Italian armies. But then, surprise surprise, bewildered city folk started counting the faces of people who until a month ago had been terrorizing them as Bulgarian and Nazi collaborators, but were now walking as victorious and proud red star-wearing "communist" Makedonci partisans. Even such a notorious criminal as the Bulgarian Anton Kaltchev whose hands were dripping with the blood of thousands of innocent Greeks and Slavs of the area almost escaped punishment when the Yugoslav partisans who caught him in Monastiri trying to escape to Bulgaria initially refused to hand him in "because he is a Macedonian". Only after the Communist Party of Greece and ELAS urgently sent their own high ranking officials to Skopje to apply pressure were they able to finally secure this criminal's return to Greece. He was eventually executed after a trial in 1946.
The Greek fratricidal civil war, which started for all practical purposes during the occupation, in 1943-44, then flared in the end of 1944 and started wholesale again in 1946, lasted until 1949, ending with the defeat of the leftist rebel forces and retreat of the remnants of the Greek Democratic Army and the NOF into Albania and Yugoslavia. The NOF, the Narodno Oslobotitelen Front/Popular Liberation Front, which unlike the previous SNOF which was half dependent on EAM/ELAS and theoretically at least received its orders from it, had been founded in Skopje and was completely dependent on Yugoslavia.
Following the thousands of defeated Greek leftists were several thousand of the Bulgarian minority of Greece, now branded and reborn as ethnic "Makedonci".
The defeated Greek partisans were spread throughout Eastern Europe, some taken in by Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia, while the bulk of them ended up as Stalin's internal exiles in distant Central Asian Uzbekistan, where a vibrant Greek community of several thousands tried to lick its wounds and survive in the Asian steppes, creating a new life in Tashkent.
The majority of the Greek Slavs of Macedonia were taken in by Tito´s Yugoslavia. Many had already sent members of their families, women and children, for "temporary" shelter behind the Yugoslav frontier, a frontier which existed only on paper while the war was ravaging those mountains communities. Once the nationalist forces pushed the Leftists out, many found themselves trapped forever away from their homes and families. Many did not even want to return, or had left even earlier, since their crimes as collaborators during the Nazi and Bulgarian occupation would guarantee harsh punishment by either the state or their community, as it happened in other parts of Europe after the war. Others had committed crimes against their own brethren during the civil war, thinking that the victory of Yugoslavia and the Greek Democratic Army was a done deal and imminent, and they had acted as the new masters in their villages, creating blood enemies left and right. They had no place to come back to after the defeat.
This final defeat was the most bitter. They had first bet on the Bulgarian King´s horse and on a quick Nazi victory. They saw their Bulgarian dreams crashed in a humiliating defeat in 1944. Some, most of them, had switched horses by the end of 1944, and through the Bulgarian crown for Yugoslavia´s red Star on their rebel´s hat, and joined the forces of Slavomakedonism, hoping to become the rising stars of the newly-created People´s Republic of Makedonija.
They were sincerely convinced that Tito would force the annexation of their land and villages into Yugoslavia, splitting Greek Macedonia away from Greece. From his 10th of January 1945 meeting with Stalin, Bulgarian Communist Party Leader Georghi Dimitrov remembered that: "Stalin, however, was opposed to the "ethnic" federation, which he saw as a Yugoslav attempt at "absorption of Bulgaria." He favored a dualist federation, "something along the lines of the former Austria- Hungary." In any case, being increasingly suspicious of Tito's intentions, he saw Yugoslav policy as excessive: "The Yugoslavs want to take Greek Macedonia. They want Albania, too, and even parts of Austria and Hungary. This is unreasonable. I do not like the way they are acting."
Dimitri Vlahov, twice a Bulgarian member of the Ottoman parliament, representing the Bulgarians of Monastiri/Bitola and Bulgarian General Commissar of the same area later on, upon becoming a convert to Makedonism was rousing the crowds in a demonstration in Monastiri on September 21, 1946:
"What do the Grci want in Macedonia? Grcija has no rights in Aegean Macedonia!".
A year earlier, Tito himself in a public speech in Skopje on October 11, 1945 had declared that he "would never find a quiet moment until he liberated the enslaved Macedonians in Greece, his Macedonian brothers". They followed his calls, and now they saw their tribal dreams crashed. They were now (1948-1949) running for their lives, away from a Greece they had twice betrayed from inside, opportunistically clinging on to Bulgarians Royalists, Italian fascists and German Nazis and later on to Yugoslav "Makedonist" propagandists.
They termed their run following their defeat the "exodus", using the Greek word for exit that has strong biblical connotations. Recently (post 2000) some have started talking about a "genocide", bringing insult to the two great genocides of the 20th century Europe, the Genocide of the Armenians during WWI, in the hands of the ottoman Turks and the Genocide of the Jews during WWII in the hands of the Nazis. When they are being asked to further define the "genocide", they forget the so called "exodus" and they fall back to the "assimilation" of the Slavic population into the mainstream Greek culture.
If this is the case, then the biggest perpetrator of Genocide is surely the United States, followed by Australia and Canada, for helping assimilate into their immigrant fed societies countless thousands of Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans and Africans, and turning them into citizens in their new countries. Should Mexico be ready to accuse the united States of wholesale genocide of the original Mexicans who inhabited Texas, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona before these territories joined the American union, because the US turned many of them into English speaking Americans? If nothing else, genocide means "killing of the genes", extermination of a generation of people, something that surely happened to both the Armenians and to the Jews, and to a lesser extend to Greeks and Assyrians in Anatolia and the Pontus. But becoming assimilated is now to be termed a genocide? I wonder what the European Jews and Armenians think of such an absurdity that grossly cheapens their own plight as truly suffering nations and persecuted people.
Makedonism, the imposition of a new, "Macedonian" identity on the Bulgarian speaking Slavs of south Serbia, was, simply put, Marshall Tito´s stroke of genius for solving many issues at once.
It was first of all a way of creating a gap between these people and Bulgarism, and to alienate them from any future Bulgarian claims on south Serbia´s territories. On the other hand a split between Serbia and this population, a connection that was weaker as you went further south, and a way to to weaken Serbia´s cultural and political control within the Yugoslav union, by detaching them from Serbia's hold.
"We are not stating by accident that Josip Broz Tito is Jesus Christ for Macedonia, a father and a mother for Macedonia. Because we have, in that time, after NOB, for the first time created a Macedonian alphabet, a Macedonian television, a Macedonian state, a language, a passport, an identity card, a university for the first time, a Macedonian academy for the first time. We, communists, have created the Macedonian Orthodox church." stated in a May 04 2009 interview on A1 TV, Slobodan Ugrinovski/Слободан Угриновски, current leader of the Union of Tito's Left Forces Party in FYROM ("Tito e Isus Hristos za Makedonija"/"Tito is Jesus Christ for Macedonia").
During the 1940´s Makedonism was also used as the perfect tool to gain the shaken allegiance of the Bulgarian speaking Bulgarophile Slavs of Greece, who faced defeat and destruction for having identified themselves with the losing party of the war, and turn them as his own agents in the creation of a United Macedonija, as part of a Greater Yugoslavija. That Yugoslavija in 1944 looked very close to becoming a reality, and it would would include historic Greek Macedonia, it would incorporate insignificant Albania, and recently defeated Bulgaria, and of course, the jewel on Tito´s crown, the Greek metropolis and, since the Hellenistic times, capital of Macedonia, Thessaloniki. It was to become their Solun.
Stalin had no problem with this, Tito was his favorite man in the Balkans, and the Bulgarians were as low as dirt in his mind by the end of the war. Unless we understand the prehistory of this issue, we cannot even come close to understanding what is happening now.
Makedonism, or pseudo-makedonism as it should be properly described, became the promotion of a historically inaccurate and ethnically fake identity. It may sound too strong of a statement but it is unfortunately very precise, nevertheless.
It is obvious that the inhabitants of FYROM need and want to have an identity. But if they so insist on a "Macedonian" identity, then that identity needs clarification. I will explain.
When some American or other asks me what am I, my answer is: "I am Greek".
The next question usually is: "What part of Greece are you from?"
I answer: "Macedonia".
"Oh, then you are not Greek, you are a Macedonian?"...Needless to say, there is always tension after this, and five minutes of explaining to be had to clarify that "Yes, I am Greek, indeed, and Yes I am a Macedonian, and no, being a Greek and a Macedonian is not mutually exclusive, it goes just fine together, and it is the same as saying being a Greek and being a Peloponnesian or being a Greek and a Cretan, one indicates nationality and ethnicity the other indicates regional descent and cultural sub-identity. No, trust me, the Slavs of Macedonia and the Slavs of FYROM and are Not the ONLY or even the original Macedonians, and no, Alexander and Aristotle were not Slavs, they spoke perfect Greek, thank you!".
Many of FYROM´s Slav Macedonians scream their war cry through the inter net forums:
"Call me by my name, call me Macedonian!"
Brate Makedonci, I am with you, and I want exactly the same thing too: Call me Macedonian! If some of you do not want to be called Bulgarians or Serbs, that is an issue that I can fully understand, but you cannot take away from me MY Macedonian identity, which is a centuries-old geographic identity. You cannot usurp it as if it was your exclusive property and cultural fiefdom. After all, I am willing to share the geographic identity with anyone who lives in Macedonia, and I am ready to accept any ethnic prosonym, and call you Povardarje Macedonians, Serbomacedonians, Slavomacedonians, whatever name you chose: just chose a name that is not simply and exclusively "Macedonians", a name that is not excluding me and two and a half more millions of Greek Macedonians (not to mention other nationalities in your own FYROM, such as Vlachs, Jews, Greeks, Albanians, Gypsies and Turks among others) from such an identity. They are inhabitants of Macedonia too, they are also Macedonians, in the Geographic sense. After all, if numbers were to count, The Slavs of FYROM who claim to be "Makedonci" are in the small minority in the Greater area of Macedonia. They are according to their own statistics no much more than about 60% of the total population of FYROM, close to 1.3 million people, while in Greek Macedonia alone there are almost twice as many Greek Macedonians, about 2.5 million.
Any Slav Macedonians rights to the Macedonian cultural identity are not any stronger than mine, and if someone would push the issue, a visit to any museum in any part of
Macedonia will quickly resolve the issue as to who can read and understand the inscriptions left by the ancient Macedonians, whose tribal name became the name of this land.
We need to let reason prevail, difficult as this may be on ethnic issues, issues heavily lad with deeply felt emotions and subjective concepts.
"The idea that Alexander the Great was something that belonged to our history was in the minds of some extremist political groups only! These groups were insignificant the first years of our independence, but the big problem is that the old Balkan Nations have been used to be legitimized through their history. In the Balkans, if you want to be recognized as a Nation, you need to have history 3000 years old. So since you made us invent a history, we invented it! (…) You forced us to the arms of the extreme nationalists who today claim that we are direct descendants of Alexander the Great!" said Denko Maleski, FYROM's first Minister of foreign affairs (1991 to 1993) and ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997, in an interview he gave to the Greek TV channel, Mega in November of 2006.
People in FYROM need to forget the ludicrous forging of ancient history, for they convince nobody outside their frontiers, and leave the most intelligent of their citizens running for cover and true answers. They need to leave aside the identification with the ancient Macedonians and they need to find another more productive way to spend their paltry GNP on bronze statues of Philip II and Alexander the Great.
"There is no doubt that those who call themselves ethnic Macedonians could change their history twice a year and it is not business of the Albanians in this country. But, there is also no doubt that, while rummaging through their past and patching up their history with the remains from the past of other peoples of the Balkans, they who call themselves Macedonians today are plunging the country ever deeper into conflict with neighbors, thus holding the future of Macedonia hostage, in which there are peoples that want to have a future that is as certain as their past." Kim Mehmeti commended in a June 22, 2009 article in Skopje Lajm, ("Grandfathers and Their Grandsons").
Their fake identification with the Greek antiquity to the point where they negate the Greeks' own identification with it (as if the Tunisians, for example could make a case that they are the TRUE Romans, though they do not speak a Latin derived language, and that the modern Italians have no connection with Roman antiquity), has brought upon them intellectual contempt and derision and lately also the wreath of the world wide academic community for promoting Skopje-paid propaganda and pseudo-scientific charlatanism and accepting it as divinely sanctioned historical truth.
Professor Stephen G. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, was forced to send a letter to President Obama, and to State Department's Hilarry Clinton, and to the US congress and the European community too, a letter that as of today has been signed by over 350 professors of ancient History and the Classics worldwide, and the list is daily growing). These Academics are insulted by the degradation of their science by politicians and propagandists alike.
This letter of outrage by the most respected professors worldwide should have shaken the pseudo-makedonists to their bones, and force them to change course and bring them to their senses:
( http://macedonia-evidence.org/obama-letter.html ).
What we see instead, is the embarkation of the pseudo-makedonists upon a rabid and deleterious campaign of the basest kind, hurling insults at the Academics (many of them published authorities on the History of ancient Macedonia), calling them fascists, paid stooges of the Greek Government, or victims of Greek misinformation. This has of course exposed the vulgarity and thinly veiled (under Human Rights, of all things) ultra-nationalist Nazism of the pseudo-makedonists even further, making their fake and racist case look even flimsier and thinner than Japanese rice paper.
Kiro Gligorov, the first elected president of FYROM, speaking about the ethnic roots his people in an interview to the Toronto Star on March 15, 1992, could not have been more clear: "We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians. That's who we are! We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia. The ancient Macedonians no longer exist, they had disappeared from history long time ago. Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century (AD)." A few years later he paid for it, with a bomb that blew half of his cranium away, for ever deforming his face, for being a traitor to their fake "Makedonism".
Pseudomakedonism, it must be understood, has by now developed into an ethnopolitical cult, a personality and party cult for Nickola Gruevski/Никола Груевски and his fascistic VMRO party. The ludicrous campaign to change names of streets, expressways and stadia from Slavic to Ancient Macedonian names, the erection of Statues to dead Greek kings of times past, only shows, to quote the previous mayor of Skopje, that "whoever hides into the past for comfort has no proposal for the future". The megalomaniac attitude of building a Central Asian type "Republic" in the midst of an impoverished Balkan statelet, is an insult to the future of the children of FYROM, which deserve better than what the drug-dealing and mafia-connected VMRO cadre are willing to offer them, all under the cover of pseudo-makedonism. What good will the fifteen million euro, 30 meter (90 ft) tall statue of Alexander the Great in the middle of Skopje do, if it only becomes a shaded cover for drug dealing unemployed youth for that forsaken place?
The Balkans have suffered enough this past century. My own hometown of Serres, in East-Central Macedonia has changed hands eight times in the years between 1912 and 1944. From Turks to Bulgarians to Greeks to Bulgarians to Greeks to Germans to Bulgarians to Greeks.
Do we need more of the same? Did we not have enough of bloodshed and killing in the recent Balkan killing fields? Do the Balkans need more megalomaniac Hitleroids, the kinds of Metaxas, Tudjman, Milosevic and Gruevski?
Creating ultra-nationalist fantasies of Nazi inspiration like the recent openly racist video propagating the sufferings of the Makedonoid [sic] white race (not the Mongoloid, the Negroid or the Mulattos, mind you):
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ITEdiSBl3Y )
which is going to fulfill its divine destiny with the help of the benevolent God of the Makedonci, a benevolent Makedonoide race loving God, who is going to punish the enemies of the children of flowers and give back to the Makedonci their forcefully stolen land, and throw into the mix the corpse of Alexander the Great which they will find into their land) is bad enough for a country that is trying to bring itself into the 21st century. Showing such reprehensible fascistoscatology as VMRO (governing party) sanctioned propaganda on state paid television (MTV-Skopje), is bringing us back to the darkest ages of Goebelian and Hitlerite totalitarianism and mass mind control.
This is where this insane pseudo-makedonist delirium is leading this nation into: They have as of June 2009 published new History Books to be distributed to public libraries in FYROM and abroad (it has simultaneously been translated into English and other Languages) and they now declare that they are NOT Slavs.
Clinically speaking, when someone refuses his reality and lives in his own world he is called paranoid, he is para from noesis, comfortable in paranoia, escaping reality to create comfort in a fake, fantasy world. Paranoia, which is deplorably a pathetic state of affairs for a private person, becomes tragically disastrous and dreadfully devastating when applied to a whole nation. The German nation, spell bound and captivated by the paranoia of Nazism caused untold suffering to the whole of the world, bringing disaster upon its own at the end. Dreams are good and necessary for a nation trying to move ahead. National delusions are not.
"But, even as such, it seems that not a single people in the Balkans has gone so far as to do what those who call themselves ethnic Macedonians have been doing: to change the calendar of their past as though it were a seasonal fruit that can be uprooted and then planted back again in any other garden or as though it were a tree whose branches you can graft into any other tree you like. And so, many peoples in the Balkans have embellished their past with whatever they could, but no one has done what those who call themselves ethnic Macedonians have been doing: from time to time they change their birth certificates, amend their grandfathers´ names depending on political circumstances and, whenever it crosses their minds that, such as they are, they think that they deserve ancestors who are more famous than the true ones and that they are grandsons who deserve not just any grandfather." Kim Mehmeti continues in his June 22, 2009 article in Skopje Lajm,("Grandfathers and Their Grandsons").
( http://history-of-macedonia.com/wordpress/2009/06/24/fyroms-rewritten-history-to-cause-troubles-with-greece-must-read/ ).
I would suggest that if someone wanted to create a friendly environment, and promote peace and understanding in the volatile Balkan peninsula, then some of the pseudo-historic and pseudo-scientific fascistoid articles and books that speak of pre-historic, Proto-Slavic, Makedonci white Aryan soldiers fighting with Alexander the Great against the hated subhuman, Sub-Saharan Athenian Negroid Greeks might have to change too:
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7VK8-QD0oM&feature=related ).
Defining who is a Macedonian, and deciding who is to be called a Macedonian, is not as simple an issue as for some to choose and grab this identify for themselves and claiming exclusivity over it as if others WHO HAPPEN TO SHARE IN THIS SAME IDENTITY have no choice on the matter.
You cannot simply grab on to something that is commonly owned by others too. If person A is called Smith and person B is called Smith and person C is called Smith, then you cannot allow one of them to claim that HE IS the only one called Smith, and the Smith property belongs to him, house, land, and the wife too. Each has to be called Smith, if they so desire, but then one can be called John smith the blind one, the other can be called Jim Smith the bald one and the third can be called Tim Smith the lame one.
FYROM is a country of the lowest denominator as far as national identity goes. They know, or most of them do, that they do not want to be Serbs or Bulgarians (unfortunately, not all of them, and notorious among them is the most illustrious fence jumper, Ljubco Georgievski, FYROM´s ex prime-minister who gladly accepted Bulgarian citizenship a few years ago, remembering that his grandparents "were all Bulgarian", causing a lot of pain and a bitter sense of betrayal and self absorbed ridicule in the little nation.
The Greeks of Macedonia are at least as much, if not more, entitled to be accepted as true Macedonians due to their millennia-old presence on the Macedonian land. Even in areas where the Slavic element was strongest, it was in the majority only in rural settlements while in the cities the Greek element was always dominant, sharing their numbers in later years with Turks and sometimes as in Thessaloniki with Jews too.
The Greek language throughout Hellenistic, Roman Byzantine and Ottoman times down to the modern era remained always the language of education and culture in the area, it was the liturgical language for all the Orthodox and the language of commerce and the market place. This created a situation of bilingualism for vast segments of the population, especially among men. Most people were Greek and Slavic speaking, Greek and Albanian speaking, and the Vlachs were in most cases trilingual Greek, Aromanian and Slavic speaking; in the Ottoman empire, everyone spoke some degree of Turkish too. This bilingualism or multilingualism is what created the great waves of shifting ethnic identities in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and beyond. The language became less of an issue, the religion even less so, after a while (the Bulgarian Exarchate period, where the Slavic speaking Bulgarians split from the Patriarchate that was identified as being Greek), since most of the Christians were Orthodox, and adopting an ethnic identity was even more confusing than ever, especially from the point of view of the puzzled outside observer.
To the mono-lingual post WWII generations of FYROM nationalists, who have been raised in the narrow-minded propaganda of the Skopje regime in Titoist Yugoslavia, the fact that there are people in Greece who speak a Slavic dialect alongside Greek and consider them selves Greek in ethnicity and identity is beyond comprehension. They call them traitors and Grecomanics/Grkmani. When Ouranio Toxo/Ουράνιο Τόξο - Vinozhito (Raibow) a political Party representing the "ethnic Macedonians" slated candidates under the banners of the European Free Alliance (Eyropaiki Eleytheri Symmachia – Ouranio Toxo) for the in June 2009 Europarliament, the total votes tally they were able to receive in the districts of Macedonia were two thousand five hundred ninety four votes (2594), out of a population of 2.5 million Greek Macedonians
( http://ekloges-prev.singularlogic.eu/e2009/pages/index.html?lang=en ).
This is hardly making a case for allowing one third of Greece, Macedonia, to be split and given as a land grant to the FYROM ultra-nationalists in Skopje.
By comparison, the Komma Ellinon Kynigon (Fysi - Kynigi - Psarema - Paradosi)/Party of Greek Hunters (Nature -Hunting - Fishing - Tradition), the quintessential joke of a party in Greece, in the very same districts (Districts of Drama, Kavala, A' Thessalonikis, B' Thessalonikis, Serres, Chalkidiki, Kilkis, Pella, Imathia, Pieria, Florina, Kozani, Kastoria and Grevena) received 5900 votes, twice as many as Eyropaiki Eleytheri Symmachia – Ouranio Toxo / Vinozhito.
( http://ekloges-prev.singularlogic.eu/e2009/pages/index.html?lang=en ).
The language of the 2.5 million Greeks of Macedonia offers the only linguistic continuation of the language of the ancient Macedonians in the area. If nothing else, for this reason alone they are fully entitled to the claim of the cultural identity and the ancient history of Macedonia, and this includes the name Macedonians/Μακεδόνες and Macedonia/Μακεδονία.
Unlike the Slav Macedonians, the Greeks, to their credit never raised any irredentist claims on the land of FYROM, though the opposite is disturbingly commonplace. Cries of "United Makedonija" among ultra-nationalist Slavs of FYROM and their parrots in Australia and Canada, are commonplace, and of course by "United" what they mean is land grab of almost a third of Greece and a quarter of Bulgaria.
Is this a problem for a country that is part of NATO and fully armed and ready at a moment's notice to confront a hostile Turkey, for example? In any realistic scenario, FYROM can be completely overrun and taken over by the Greek army in no more than two days. So, why are the Greeks so seemingly paranoid about this insane irredentism by a diminutive state?
If anything, history teaches us that we can never be overly protected. In the 1930's, when Greece built the Metaxas defensive line to protect itself against any possible attack from Bulgaria, they stopped that line at the beginning of the Yugoslav frontier. Serbia was historically a friendly country by all accounts. Would the Greeks ever have imagined that this line would now be attacked by a distant north European nation, the Germans, of all people? Bulgaria was perceived as a threat to Greece and steps had been taken to defend against it. The Metaxas line held strong. The Germans never breached it. It was the unexpected attack through the undefended Yugoslavia front that allowed the German tanks unimpeded access and easy capture of Thessaloniki, when the Roupel Fort defenders were still mowing down the Germans. Pre-WWII Albania and Yugoslavia were not considered threats, yet there the attacks came precisely from there, and while Italy had been held back in Albania and Germany had been held back on the well protected Bulgarian front, it was in the Macedonian plain, across from Yugoslavia where the mortal hit to Greek defenses were given.
More recently, the Albanian Kosovars launched attacks on the Serbian army and the Serbs were able to virtually wipe them out, but now Kosovo is semi-independent. not because of the non existent strength of the Albanians, who never had any chance against the Serbs on their own, but on the international alliances that opportunistically found it to their interests to support the Kosovar Albanians against the Serbs.
What history teaches you is that you must take a threat, ANY threat, even from an insignificant and very weak enemy, especially one expressed with such virulent hatred against your nation, very seriously, and you can underestimate the degree of threat at your own risk.
If you have to live with a wolf next to you, then you must try to either take the teeth out of the little wolf, while he is still young and powerless, or you train him and make a friendly dog out of him, by feeding him when he is good and slapping him when he is trying to bite you. This exactly what successive Greek governments have attempted over the last several years, with a low degree of success: they have allowed and encouraged Greek businesses to invest heavily into FYROM, to uplift its abysmally pitiful economy, and have refused to recognize it in international fora under the irredentist name Macedonia.
As far as the Greeks are concerned, the Slavic people of FYROM who do not want to be considered Serbs or Bulgarians have every right to choose any name they wish, as long as:
A. It does not infringe on the cultural identity of others, including Albanians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Aromanian Vlachs, Serbs, etc, who live in either Historic-Greek Macedonia or in FYROM. You cannot forget the wishes of the Albanian minority (on its way to becoming within a generation or two the majority due to high birth rates) numbering now between 25% and 35%, depending whom you believe. They have a say on this name issue, it is not only a Greek and Slav issue. You cannot also pressure the Slavs to accept something they do not want, or their hatred of Greeks will never subside, nor can you humiliate the Macedonian Greeks into submitting to the acceptance of a name that will give away their Macedonian identity.
B. The name of the language, the name of the people, and the name of the country need to be all in concert. If you call your country Slavomakedonija, for example, then your need to identify as Slavomakedonijans and your language to be called the Slavomakedonijan language. Otherwise, any confusion that will arise from not tackling the name of the language and the people, after the name of the country has been agreed upon would only solve the issue temporarily. Any hiding of issues under the rug will be hidden dynamite ready to open the next round of trouble to surely arise in the future. If, for example, anyone seriously thinks that the "solutions" given to the issues of Bosnia or Kosovo are long term solutions, then they are tragically mistaken. Those issues that were never solved comprehensively and to the satisfaction of the local populations, are problems which will arise sooner or later to haunt the Balkans once again.
The reason I am saying this is that there are by necessity two sets of solutions: one is of the kind that will shovel the real issues under the rug and opportunistically comform to the interests of the superpowers of the day. The other kind is when a real solution is reached between the interested local parties themselves and the ethnic pain and hatred is for ever alleviated. If, siting the previous example, someone assumes that by fully supporting the Albanian case in Kosovo and forcing it down the throats of a defeated and humiliated Serbia will make the Serbs forget the injuries and humiliations they are currently being subjected to, in the hands of Albanian Kosovars extremists, all under NATO enforcement, is tragically dreaming.
Solutions of the type imposed by the Entente allies upon the defeated and humiliated Germany, after the first world war, will only temporarily put the lid on the Balkan cauldron. The same issues will come back forcefully at a later time to haunt later generations with a vengeance. The people of the south Balkans, Greeks, Slavomacedonians, Albanians, Serbs and Bulgarians do not need such a rushed and hastily cooked-up "solution" to the Macedonian Issue.
C. The History and culture issues need to be cleared out. Teaching your children that they are descendants of ancient Greek kings is not the way to continue, once a solution is reached. Re-writing the history of the inhabitants of FYROM for one more last time will become essential and necessary, and acceptance of the basically Slavic identity of the Macedonian Slav population should be the sine qua non of moving forward into a normal future. Lying to children about their true progenitors and making them think that the land of their alleged ancient Macedonian ancestors of Alexander the Great is now "occupied" by others, will only fill them with a sense of bitterness and resentment against their Greek neighbors to the south. Historical truth needs to be respected.
D. Any talk of irredentism and land grabbing and annexation, the crux and core of the Macedonian issue, needs to go out of the window, once and for all, if we want long term peace in the southern Balkans for generations to come.
Unfortunately, the "solutions" that Mr. Matthew Nimetz has proposed as solutions to the "Macedonian Name" issue are only sugar coating the problem. East, West, North, Northwest, Left, Right, Up and Down or New and Antique Macedonia, that will have two or three different names depending on who addresses it, and a solutions that is leaving aside the name of the language and the name of the ethnicity, is simply not going to work.
For some, the issue is to simply get FYROM into NATO and the EU, no matter what. President Bush smashed his face on the wall, in the 2008 Bucharest NATO conference, adding personal humiliation to his administration's painful injury, precisely because he ignored the will of the people involved. If a solution is not possible with the current set of players, in Skopje, Athens, the European Union and Washington, then let a real solution wait for another five, ten or a hundred years, rather than have a half baked one.
Until that happens, I think most of the people of the area would prefer to see NATO and the EU wait in line. Once the people of the area come to a consensus, the real solution, I am sure, will be found within a day. But to have that you also need serious governments, and leaders with vision, a commodity in short supply in the Balkans at the moment.
Until then, all I want to do is agonizingly wait and see what the monstrously enormous statue of Alexander the Great that the Nikola Gruevski regime has ordered from Italy will look like in the middle of Skopje-grad.
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