Macedonian nationalism (Macedonian: македонски национализам, pronounced [makɛdonski nat͡sionalizam]) is a general grouping of nationalist ideas and concepts among ethnic Macedonians that were first formed in the late 19th century among separatists seeking the autonomy of the region of Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire. The idea evolved during the early 20th century alongside the first expressions of ethnic nationalism among the Slavs of Macedonia. The separate Macedonian nation gained recognition after World War II when the "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" was created as part of Yugoslavia. Afterwards the Macedonian historiography has established historical links between the ethnic Macedonians and events and Bulgarian figures from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century. Following the independence of the Republic of Macedonia in the late 20th century, issues of Macedonian national identity have become contested by the country's neighbours, as some adherents to aggressive Macedonian nationalism, called Macedonism, hold more extreme beliefs such as an unbroken continuity between ancient Macedonians (essentially an ancient Greekpeople), and modern ethnic Macedonians (a Slavic people), and views connected to the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia, which involves territorial claims on a large portion of Greece, along with smaller regions of Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Serbia.
The designation “Macedonian”
Ogledalo issued by Kiril Peychinovich and printed in 1816 in Budapest. It was inspired by a movement on Mount Athos that was fighting for a liturgical renewal within the Orthodox Church. According to the book's title page, it was written in the "most common Bulgarian language of Lower Moesia".
The Alexander Romance translated into Slav Macedonian by Greek national activists (Megali Idea advocates) in 1845 and issued in Venice. It was typed with Greek letters and implied to the local Slavs that they were heirs to the ancient Macedonians and part of the Hellenic world that had forgotten its native language.
The Macedonian Question an article from 1871 by Petko Slaveykov published in the newspaper Macedonia in Carigrad (now Istanbul). In this article Petko Slaveykov writes: "We have many times heard from the Macedonists that they are not Bulgarians, but they are rather Macedonians, descendants of the Ancient Macedonians, and we have always waited to hear some proofs of this, but we have never heard them. The Macedonists have never shown us the bases of their attitude."
Cover of the first volume of Veda Slovena. It contains "Bulgarian folk songs from ancient times, discovered in Thrace and Macedonia". In fact, it was a forgery printed in 1874 in Belgrade under the edition of the pan-Slavic activist Stjepan Verković. The aim of its author Ivan Gologanov, supported by his brother - Theodosius of Skopje, was to prove the ancient inhabitants of Thrace and Macedonia were not Hellenic but Slav-Bulgarian.
Cover of the "General History of the Macedonian Slavs", completed in 1892 in Sofia by Georgi Pulevski. Its author who endorsed the concept of an ethnic Macedonian identity, claimed the ancient inhabitants of Macedonia were not Hellenic but Slav-Macedonian.
During the first half of the second millennium, the concept of Macedonia on the Balkans was associated by the Byzantines with their Macedonian province, centered around Edirne in modern-day Turkey. After the conquest of the Balkans by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th century, the Greek name Macedonia disappeared as a geographical designation for several centuries. The background of the modern designation Macedonian can be found in the 19th century, as well as the myth of "ancient Macedonian descent" among the Orthodox Slavs in the area, adopted mainly due to Greek cultural inputs. However Greek education was not the only engine for such ideas. At that time some pan-Slavic propagandists believed the early Slavs were related to the paleo-Balkan tribes. Under these influences some intellectuals in the region developed the idea on direct link between the local Slavs, the Early Slavs and the ancient Balkan populations.
In Ottoman times names as "Lower Bulgaria" and "Lower Moesia" were used by the local Slavs to designate most of the territory of today's geographical region of Macedonia and the names Bulgaria and Moesia were identified with each other. Self-identifying as "Bulgarian" on account of their language, the local Slavs considered themselves as "Rum", i.e. members of the community of Orthodox Christians. This community was a source of identity for all the ethnic groups inside it and most people identified mostly with it. Until the middle of the 19th century, the Greeks also called the Slavs in Macedonia "Bulgarians", and regarded them predominantly as Orthodox brethren, but the rise of Bulgarian nationalism changed the Greek position. At that time the Orthodox Christian community began to degrade with the continuous identification of the religious creed with ethnic identity, while Bulgarian national activists started a debate on the establishment of their separate Orthodox church.
As a result, massive Greek religious and school propaganda occurred, and a process of Hellenization was implemented among the Slavic-speaking population of the area. The very name Macedonia, revived during the early 19th century after the foundation of the modern Greek state, with its Western Europe-derived obsession with Ancient Greece, was applied to the local Slavs. The idea was to stimulate the development of close ties between them and the Greeks, linking both sides to the ancient Macedonians, as a counteract against the growing Bulgarian cultural influence into the region. In 1845, for instance, the Alexander romance was published in Slavic Macedonian dialect typed with Greek letters. At the same time the Russian ethnographer Victor Grigorovich described a recent change in the title of the Greek Patriarchist bishop of Bitola: from Exarch of all Bulgaria to Exarch of all Macedonia. He also noted the unusual popularity of Alexander the Great and that it appeared to be something that was recently instilled on the local Slavs.
As a consequence, since the 1850s some Slavic intellectuals from the area adopted the designation Macedonian as a regional label, and it began to gain popularity. In the 1860s, according to Petko Slaveykov, some young intellectuals from Macedonia were claiming that they are not Bulgarians, but they are rather Macedonians, descendants of the Ancient Macedonians. In a letter written to the Bulgarian Exarch in February 1874 Petko Slaveykov reports that discontent with the current situation “has given birth among local patriots to the disastrous idea of working independently on the advancement of their own local dialect and what’s more, of their own, separate Macedonian church leadership.” Nevertheless, other Macedonian intellectuals as Miladinov Brothers, continued to call their land Western Bulgaria and worried that use of the new name would imply identification with the Greek nation.
However, per Kuzman Shapkarev, as a result of Macedonists' activity, in the 1870s the ancient ethnonymMacedonians was imposed on the local Slavs, and began to replace the traditional one Bulgarians. During the 1880s, after recommendation by Stojan Novaković, the Serbian government also began to support those ideas to counteract the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia, claiming the Macedonian Slavs were in fact pure Slavs (i.e. Serbian Macedonians), while the Bulgarians, unlike them, were partially a mixture of Slavs and Bulgars (i.e. Tatars). In accordance with Novaković's agenda this Serbian "Macedonism" was transformed in the 1890s, in a process of the gradual Serbianisation of the Macedonian Slavs.
By the end of the 19th century, according to Vasil Kanchov the local Bulgarians called themselves Macedonians, and the surrounding nations called them Macedonians. In the early 20th century Pavel Shatev, witnessed this process of slow differentiation, describing people who insisted on their Bulgarian nationality, but felt themselves Macedonians above all. However a similar paradox was observed at the eve of the 20th century and afterwards, when many Bulgarians from non-Macedonian descent, involved in the Macedonian affairs, espoused Macedonian identity, and that idea undoubtedly was emancipated from the pan-Bulgarian national project. During the interwar period Bulgaria also supported to some extent the Macedonian regionalism, especially in the Kingdom Yugoslavia, to prevent the final Serbianization of the local Slavs, because the very name Macedonia was prohibited there. Ultimately the designation Macedonian, changed its status in 1944, and went from being predominantly a regional, ethnographic denomination, to a national one. However, when the anthropologist Keith Brown visited the Republic of Macedonia at the eve of the 21st century, he discovered that the local Aromanians, who also call themselves Macedonians, still label "Bulgarians" the ethnic Macedonians, and their eastern neighbours.
Statue of Georgi Pulevski, a major figure who endorsed the concept of an ethnic Macedonian identity, resulting in the foundation of Macedonian nationalism
In the 19th century, the region of Macedonia became the object of competition by rival nationalisms, initially Greek nationalists, Serbian nationalists and Bulgarian nationalists that each made claims about the Slavic-speaking population as being ethnically linked to their nation and thus asserted the right to seek their integration. The first assertions of Macedonian nationalism arose in the late 19th century. Early Macedonian nationalists were encouraged by several foreign governments that held interests in the region. The Serbian government came to believe that any attempt to forcibly assimilate Slavic Macedonians into Serbs in order to incorporate Macedonia would be unsuccessful, given the strong Bulgarian influence in the region. Instead, the Serbian government believed that providing support to Macedonian nationalists would stimulate opposition to incorporation into Bulgaria and favourable attitudes to Serbia. Another country that encouraged Macedonian nationalism was Austria-Hungary that sought to deny both Serbia and Bulgaria the ability to annex Macedonia, and asserted a distinct ethnic character of Slavic Macedonians. In the 1890s, Russian supporters of a Slavic Macedonian ethnicity emerged, Russian-made ethnic maps began showing a Slavic Macedonian ethnicity, and Macedonian nationalists began to move to Russia to mobilize.
The origins of the definition of an ethnic Slav Macedonian identity arose from the writings of Georgi Pulevski in the 1870s and 1880s, who identified the existence of a distinct modern "Slavic Macedonian" language that he defined as different from the other languages in that it had linguistic elements from Serbian, Bulgarian, Church Slavonic, and Albanian. Pulevski analyzed the folk histories of the Slavic Macedonian people, in which he concluded that Slavic Macedonians were ethnically linked to the people of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia of Philip and Alexander the Great based on the claim that the ancient Macedonian language had Slavic components in it and thus the ancient Macedonians were Slavic, and modern-day Slavic Macedonians were their descendants. However, Slavic Macedonians' self-identification and nationalist loyalties remained ambiguous in the late 19th century. Pulevski for instance viewed Macedonians' identity as being a regional phenomenon (similar to Herzegovinians and Thracians). Once calling himself a "Serbian patriot", another time a "Bulgarian from the village of Galicnik", he also identified the Slavic Macedonian language as being related to the "Old Bulgarian language" as well as being a "Serbo-Albanian language". Pulevski's numerous identifications reveal the absence of a clear ethnic sense in a part of the local Slavic population.
The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) grew up as the major Macedonian separatist organization in the 1890s, seeking the autonomy of Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire. The IMRO initially opposed being dependent on any of the neighbouring states, especially Greece and Serbia, however its relationship with Bulgaria grew very strong, and it soon became dominated by figures who supported the annexation of Macedonia into Bulgaria, though a small fraction opposed this. As a rule, the IMRO members had Bulgarian national self-identification, but the autonomist faction stimulated the development of Macedonian nationalism. It devised the slogan "Macedonia for the Macedonians" and called for a supranational Macedonia, consisting of different nationalities and eventually included in a future Balkan Federation. However, the promoters of this slogan declared their conviction that the majority of the Macedonian Christian Slav population was Bulgarian.
In the late 19th and early 20th century the international community viewed the Macedonians predominantly as a regional variety of the Bulgarians. At the end of the First World War there were very few ethnographers who agreed that a separate Macedonian nation existed. During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Allies sanctioned Serbian control of Vardar Macedonia and accepted the belief that Macedonian Slavs were in fact Southern Serbs. This change in opinion can largely be attributed to the Serbian geographer Jovan Cvijić. Nevertheless, Macedonist ideas increased during the interbellum in Yugoslav Vardar Macedonia and among the left diaspora in Bulgaria, and were supported by the Comintern. During the Second World War Macedonist ideas were further developed by the Yugoslav Communist Partisans, but some researchers doubt that even at that time the Slavs from Macedonia considered themselves to be ethnically separate from the Bulgarians. The turning point for the Macedonian ethnogenesis was the creation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia following World War II.
A World War I era ethnographic map of the Balkans by Serbian ethnologist Jovan Cvijić, depicting "Slavic Macedonians" in shades of green, distinct from Bulgarians and Serbs. The western parts of Bulgaria and northeastern Macedonia are shown as populated by Serbs. In this way he promoted the idea that Macedonians were in fact Southern Serbs.
Map of the region of Macedonia on the basis of an earlier publication in the newspaper "Македонскi Голосъ" by the Saint Petersburg Macedonian Colony, 1913
Early and middle 19th century
With the conquest of the Balkans by the Ottomans in the late 14th century, the name of Macedonia disappeared for several centuries and was rarely displayed on geographic maps. It was rediscovered during the Renaissance by western researchers, who introduced ancient Greek geographical names in their work, although used in a rather loose manner. The modern region was not labeled "Macedonia" by the Ottomans. The name "Macedonia" gained popularity parallel to the ascendance of rival nationalism. The central and northern areas of modern Macedonia were often called "Bulgaria" or "Lower Moesia" during Ottoman rule. The name "Macedonia" was revived to mean a separate geographical region on the Balkans, this occurring in the early 19th century, after the foundation of the modern Greek state, with its Western Europe-derived obsession with the Ancient world. However, as a result of the massive Greek religious and school propaganda, a kind of Macedonization occurred among the Greek and non-Greek speaking population of the area. The name Macedonian Slavs was also introduced by the Greek clergy and teachers among the local Slavophones with an aim to stimulate the development of close ties between them and the Greeks, linking both sides to the ancient Macedonians, as a counteract against the growing Bulgarian influence there.
During the Balkan Wars and the First World War the area was exchanged several times between Bulgaria and Serbia. The IMARO supported the Bulgarian army and authorities when they took temporary control over Vardar Macedonia. On the other hand, Serbian authorities put pressure on local people to declare themselves Serbs: they disbanded local governments, established by IMARO in Ohrid, Veles and other cities and persecuted Bulgarian priests and teachers, forcing them to flee and replacing them with Serbians. Serbian troops enforced a policy of disarming the local militia, accompanied by beatings and threats. During this period the political autonomism was abandoned as tactics and annexationist positions were supported, aiming eventual incorporation of the area into Bulgaria.
Interwar period and WWII
After the WWI, in Serbian Macedonia any manifestations of Bulgarian nationhood were suppressed. Even in the so-called Western Outlands ceded by Bulgaria in 1920 Bulgarian identification was prohibited. The Bulgarian notes to the League of Nations, consented to recognize a Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia were rejected. The members of the Council of the League assumed that the existence of some Bulgarian minority there was possible, however, they were determined to keep Yugoslavia and were aware that any exercise of revisionism, would open an uncontrollable wave of demands, turning the Balkans into a battlefield. Belgrade was suspicious of the recognition of any Bulgarian minority and was annoyed this would hinder its policy of forced “Serbianisation”. It blocked such recognition in neighboring Greece and Albania, through the failed ratifications of the Politis–Kalfov Protocol in 1924 and the Albanian-Bulgarian Protocol (1932).
During the interwar period in Vardar Macedonia, part of the young locals repressed by the Serbs attempted at a separate way of ethnic development. In 1934 the Comintern issued a resolution about the recognition of a separate Macedonian ethnicity. However, the existence of considerable Macedonian national consciousness prior to the 1940s is disputed.
This confusion is illustrated by Robert Newman in 1935, who recounts discovering in a village in Vardar Macedonia two brothers, one who considered himself a Serb, and the other a Bulgarian. In another village he met a man who had been "a Macedonian peasant all his life" but who had been at various times called a Turk, a Serb and a Bulgarian. During the Second World War the area was annexed by Bulgaria and anti-Serbian and pro-Bulgarian feelings among the local population prevailed. Because of that Vardar Macedonia remained the only region where Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito had not developed a strong partisan movement in 1941. The new provinces were quickly staffed with officials from Bulgaria proper who behaved with typical official arrogance to the local inhabitants. The communists' power started growing only in 1943 with the capitulation of Italy and the Soviet victories over Nazi Germany. To improve the situation in the area Tito ordered the establishment of the Communist Party of Macedonia in March 1943 and the second AVNOJ congress on 29 November 1943 did recognise the Macedonian nation as separate entity. As a result, the resistance movement grew. However, by the end of the war, the Bulgarophile sentiments were still distinguishable and the Macedonian national consciousness hardly existed beyond a general conviction gained from bitter experience, that rule from Sofia was as unpalatable as that from Belgrade.
After 1944 the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began a policy of making Macedonia into the connecting link for the establishment of a future Balkan Federative Republic and stimulating the development of a distinct Slav Macedonian consciousness. The region received the status of a constituent republic within Yugoslavia and in 1945 a separate Macedonian language was codified. The population was proclaimed to be ethnic Macedonian, a nationality different from both Serbs and Bulgarians. With the proclamation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as part of the Yugoslav federation, the new authorities also enforced measures that would overcome the pro-Bulgarian feeling among parts of its population. On the other hand, the Yugoslav authorities forcibly suppressed the ideologists of an independent Macedonian country. The Greek communists, similar to their fraternal parties in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, had already been influenced by the Comintern and were the only political party in Greece to recognize Macedonian national identity. However, the situation deteriorated after they lost the Greek Civil War. Thousands of Aegean Macedonians were expelled and fled to the newly established Socialist Republic of Macedonia, while thousands of more children took refuge in other Eastern Bloc countries.
At the end of the 1950s the Bulgarian Communist Party repealed its previous decision and adopted a position denying the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity. As a result, the Bulgarophobia in Macedonia increased almost to the level of State ideology. This put an end to the idea of a Balkan Communist Federation. During the post-Informbiro period, a separate Macedonian Orthodox Church was established, splitting off from the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967. The encouragement and evolution of the culture of the Republic of Macedonia has had a far greater and more permanent impact on Macedonian nationalism than has any other aspect of Yugoslav policy. While the development of national music, films and graphic arts had been encouraged in the Republic of Macedonia, the greatest cultural effect came from the codification of the Macedonian language and literature, the new Macedonian national interpretation of history and the establishment of a Macedonian Orthodox Church. Meanwhile, the Yugoslav historiography borrowed certain parts of the histories of its neighboring states in order to construct the Macedonian identity, having reached not only the times of medieval Bulgaria, but even as far back as Alexander the Great. In 1969, the first History of the Macedonian nation was published. Most Macedonians' attitude to Communist Yugoslavia, where they were recognized as a distinct nation for the first time, became positive. The Macedonian Communist elites were traditionally more pro-Serb and pro-Yugoslav than those in the rest of the Yugoslav Republics.
After the Second World War, Macedonian and Serbian scholars usually defined the ancient local tribes in the area of the Central Balkans as Daco-Moesian. Previously these entities were traditionally regarded in Yugoslavia as Illyrian, in accordance with the romantic early-20th-century interests in the Illyrian movement. At first, the Daco-Moesian tribes were separated through linguistic research. Later, Yugoslav archaeologists and historians came to an agreement that Daco-Moesians should be located in the areas of modern-day Serbia and North Macedonia. The most popular Daco-Moesian tribes described in Yugoslav literature were the Triballians, the Dardanians and the Paeonians. The leading research goal in the Republic of Macedonia during Yugoslav times was the establishment of some kind of Paionian identity and to separate it from the western "Illyrian" and the eastern "Thracian" entities. The idea of Paionian identity was constructed to conceptualize that Vardar Macedonia was neither Illyrian nor Thracian, favouring a more complex division, contrary to scientific claims about strict Thraco-Illyrian Balkan separation in neighbouring Bulgaria and Albania. Yugoslav Macedonian historiography argued also that the plausible link between the Slav Macedonians and their ancient namesakes was, at best, accidental.
On September 8, 1991, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia held a referendum that established its independence from Yugoslavia. With the fall of Communism, the breakup of Yugoslavia and the consequent lack of a Great power in the region, the Republic of Macedonia came into permanent conflicts with its neighbors. Bulgaria contested its national identity and language, Greece contested its name and symbols, and Serbia its religious identity. On the other hand, the ethnic Albanians in the country insisted on being recognised as a nation, equal to the ethnic Macedonians. As a response, a more assertive and uncompromising form of Macedonian nationalism emerged. At that time the concept of ancient Paionian identity was changed to a kind of mixed Paionian-Macedonian identity which was later transformed to a separate ancient Macedonian identity, establishing a direct link to the modern ethnic Macedonians. This phenomenon is called "ancient Macedonism", or "Antiquisation" ("Antikvizatzija", "антиквизација"). Its supporters claim that the ethnic Macedonians are not descendants of the Slavs only, but of the ancient Macedonians too, who, according to them, were not Greeks. Antiquisation is the policy which the nationalistic ruling party VMRO-DPMNE pursued after coming to power in 2006, as a way of putting pressure on Greece, as well as for the purposes of domestic identity-building.Antiquisation is also spreading due to a very intensive lobbying of the Macedonian diaspora from the US, Canada, Germany and Australia, Some members of the Macedonian diaspora even believe, without basis, that certain modern historians, namely Ernst Badian, Peter Green, and Eugene Borza, possess a pro-Macedonian bias in the Macedonian-Greek conflict.
As part of this policy, statues of Alexander the Great and Philip II of Macedon have been built in several cities across the country. In 2011, a massive, 22-meter-tall statue of Alexander the Great (called "Warrior on a horse" because of the dispute with Greece) was inaugurated in Macedonia Square in Skopje, as part of the Skopje 2014 remodelling of the city. An even larger statue of Philip II is also constructed at the other end of the square. A triumphal arch named Porta Macedonia, constructed in the same square, featuring images of historical figures including Alexander the Great, caused the Greek Foreign Ministry to lodge an official complaint to authorities in the Republic of Macedonia. Statues of Alexander are also on display in the town squares of Prilep and Štip, while a statue to Philip II of Macedon was recently built in Bitola. Additionally, many pieces of public infrastructure, such as airports, highways, and stadiums have been named after ancient historical figures or entities. Skopje's airport was renamed "Alexander the Great Airport" and features antique objects moved from Skopje's archeological museum. One of Skopje's main squares has been renamed Pella Square (after Pella, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon), while the main highway to Greece has been renamed to "Alexander of Macedon" and Skopje's largest stadium has been renamed "Philip II Arena". These actions are seen as deliberate provocations in neighboring Greece, exacerbating the dispute and further stalling Macedonia's EU and NATO applications. In 2008 a visit by Hunza Prince was organized in the Republic of Macedonia. The Hunza people of Northern Pakistan were proclaimed as direct descendants of the Alexandrian army and as people who are most closely related to the ethnic Macedonians. The Hunza delegation led by Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan was welcomed at the Skopje Airport by the country's prime ministerNikola Gruevski, the head of the Macedonian Orthodox ChurchArchbishop Stephen and the mayor of Skopje, Trifun Kostovski.
Such antiquization is facing criticism by academics as it demonstrates feebleness of archaeology and of other historical disciplines in public discourse, as well as a danger of marginalization. The policy has also attracted criticism domestically, by ethnic Macedonians within the country, who see it as dangerously dividing the country between those who identify with classical antiquity and those who identify with the country's Slavic culture. Ethnic Albanians in North Macedonia see it as an attempt to marginalize them and exclude them from the national narrative. The policy, which also claims as ethnic Macedonians figures considered national heroes in Bulgaria, such as Dame Gruev and Gotse Delchev, has also drawn criticism from Bulgaria. Foreign diplomats had warned that the policy reduced international sympathy for the Republic of Macedonia in the then-naming dispute with Greece.
The background of this antiquization can be found in the 19th century and the myth of ancient descent among Orthodox Slavic-speakers in Macedonia. It was adopted partially due to Greek cultural inputs. This idea was also included in the national mythology during the post-WWII Yugoslavia. An additional factor for its preservation has been the influence of the Macedonian Diaspora. Contemporary antiquization has been revived as an efficient tool for political mobilization and has been reinforced by the VMRO-DPMNE. For example, in 2009 the Macedonian Radio-Television aired a video named "Macedonian prayer" in which the Christian God was presented calling the people of North Macedonia "the oldest nation on Earth" and "progenitors of the white race", who are described as "Macedonoids", in opposition to Negroids and Mongoloids.
This ultra-nationalism accompanied by the emphasizing of North Macedonia's ancient roots has raised concerns internationally about growing a kind of authoritarianism by the governing party. There have also been attempts at scientific claims about ancient nationhood, but they have had a negative impact on the international position of the country. On the other hand, there is still strong Yugonostalgia among the ethnic Macedonian population, that has swept also over other ex-Yugoslav states.
Macedonian nationalism also has support among high-ranking diplomats of North Macedonia who are serving abroad, and this continues to affect the relations with neighbors, especially Greece. In August 2017, the Consul of the Republic of Macedonia to Canada attended a nationalist Macedonian event in Toronto and delivered a speech against the backdrop of an irredentist map of Greater Macedonia. This has triggered strong protests from the Greek side, which regards this as a sign that irredentism remains the dominant state ideology and everyday political practice in the neighboring country. Following strong diplomatic protests, however, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Macedonia condemned the incident and recalled its diplomat back to Skopje for consultations.
Damaged inscription on the Holy Sunday church (Sveta Nedela) in Bitola. It reads: This holy church was erected with the contribution of the Bulgarians in Bitola on October 13, 1863. The part of the inscription that reads "Bulgarians" has been erased. There are many other deliberately destroyed Bulgarian monuments in the Republic of North Macedonia.
The Bitola inscription of 1016/1017. The medieval stone contains instances of the word Bulgarian. In 2006 the French consulate in Bitola sponsored and prepared a tourist catalogue and printed on its front cover the inscription. News about it had spread prior to the official presentation and was a cause for confusion among the officials of the municipality. The printing of the new catalogue was stopped because of its "Bulgarian" cover.
Front cover of the original edition of Bulgarian Folk Songs collected by the Macedonia-born Miladinov Brothers. When the Macedonian State Archive displayed a photocopy of the book, the upper part of the page showing "Bulgarian" had been cut off. There is a similar case with the national museum of the Republic of North Macedonia which, apparently, refuses to display original works by the two brothers, because of the Bulgarian labels on some of them.
Macedonism, sometimes referred to as Macedonianism (Macedonian and Serbian: Македонизам, Makedonizam; Bulgarian: Македонизъм, Makedonizam and Greek: Μακεδονισμός, Makedonismós), is a political and historical term used in a polemic sense to refer to a set of ideas perceived as characteristic of aggressive Macedonian nationalism. Before the Balkan Wars Macedonist ideas were shared by a limited circle of intellectuals. They grew in significance during the interbellum, both in Vardar Macedonia and among the left-leaning diaspora in Bulgaria, and were endorsed by the Comintern. During the Second World War, these ideas were supported by the Communist Partisans, who founded the Yugoslav Macedonian Republic in 1944. Following the Second World War, Macedonism became the basis of Yugoslav Macedonia's state ideology, aimed at transforming the Slavic and, to a certain extent, non-Slavic parts of its population into ethnic Macedonians. This state policy is still current in today's Republic of North Macedonia, where it was developed in several directions. One of them maintains the connection of the modern ethnic Macedonians with the ancient Macedonians, rather than with the South Slavs, while others have sought to incorporate into the national pantheon the right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) activists, previously dismissed as Bulgarophiles.
The term is used in Bulgaria in an insulting and derogatory manner, to discredit the development of Macedonian nationalism during the 19th and 20th centuries. The term is widely seen as a Greater Serbian aspiration, aiming to split the Bulgarian people on anti-Bulgarian grounds. The term is first believed to have been used in a derogatory manner by Petko Slaveykov in 1871, when he dismissed Macedonian nationalists as "Macedonists", who he regarded a misguided (sic): Grecomans. 'Macedonism' is also used by international scholars and historians as word to describe the political belief that Macedonians are distinct from Bulgarians.
Macedonism as an ethno-political conception
The roots of the concept were first developed in the second half of the 19th century, in the context of Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian initiatives to take control over the region of Macedonia, which was at that time ruled by the Ottoman Empire. It was originally used in a contemptuous manner to refer to Slav Macedonians, who believed they constituted a distinct ethnic group, separate from their neighbours. The first to use the term "Macedonist" was the Bulgarian author Petko Slaveykov, who coined the term in his article "The Macedonian Question", published in the newspaper Makedoniya in 1871. However, he pointed out that he had heard for the first time of such ideas as early as 10 years prior, i.e. around 1860. Slaveykov sharply criticised those Macedonians espousing such views, as they had never shown a substantial basis for their attitudes, calling them "Macedonists". Nevertheless, those accused of Slaveikov as Macedonists were representative of the movement aiming at the construction of the Bulgarian standard literary language primarily on the Macedonian dialects, such as Kuzman Shapkarev, Dimitar Makedonski and Veniamin Machukovski. Another early recorded use of the term "Macedonism" is found in a report by the Serbian politician Stojan Novaković from 1887. He proposed to employ the Macedonistic ideology as a means to counteract the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia, thereby promoting Serbian interests in the region. Novaković's diplomatic activity in Istanbul and St. Petersburg played a significant role in the realization of his ideas, especially through the "Association of Serbo-Macedonians" formed by him in Istanbul and through his support for the Macedonian Scientific and Literary Society in St. Petersburg. The geopolitics of the Serbs evidently played a crucial role in the ethnogenesis by promoting a separate Macedonian consciousness at the expense of the Bulgarians (it is worth mentioning that 19th century Serbian propaganda mostly adhered to direct Serbianization, including post-WWI policy of Belgrade in Vardar Macedonia). In 1888 the Macedono-Bulgarian ethnographer Kuzman Shapkarev noted that, as a result of this activity, a strange, ancient ethnonym "Makedonci" (Macedonians) was imposed 10–15 years prior by outside intellectuals, introduced with a "cunning aim" to replace the traditional "Bugari" (Bulgarians).
In 1892, Georgi Pulevski completed the first "Slavic-Macedonian General History", with a manuscript of over 1,700 pages. According to the book, the ancient Macedonians were Slavic people and the Macedonian Slavs were native to the Balkans, in contrast of the Bulgarians and the Serbs, who came there centuries later. The root of such indigenous mixture of Illyrism and Pan-Slavism can be seen in "Concise history of the Slav Bulgarian People" (1792), written by Spyridon Gabrovski, whose original manuscript was found in 1868 by the Russian scientist Alexander Hilferding on his journey in Macedonia. Gabrovski tried to establish a link between the Bulgaro-Macedonians from one side, and the Illyrians and the ancient Macedonians from another, who he regarded also Slavs. The main agenda of this story about the mythical Bulgaro-Illyro-Macedonians was to assert that the Macedonian and Bulgarian Slavs were among the indigenous inhabitants of the Balkans.
Other proponents of the Macedonist ideas in the early 20th century were two Serbian scholars, the geographer Jovan Cvijić and the linguist Aleksandar Belić. They claimed the Slavs of Macedonia were "Macedonian Slavs", an amorphous Slavic mass that was neither Bulgarian, nor Serbian. Cvijić further argued that the traditional ethnonym Bugari (Bulgarians) used by the Slavic population of Macedonia to refer to themselves actually meant only rayah, and in no case affiliations to the Bulgarian ethnicity. In his ethnographic studies of the Balkan Slavs, Cvijic devised a "Central Type" (Slav Macedonians and Torlaks), dissimilar at the same time to the "Dinaric Type" (the principal "Serb" ethnographic variant) and the "East Balkan Type" (representing the Bulgarians, but excluding even Western Bulgaria). The true Bulgarians belonged only to the "East Balkan Type" and were a mixture of Slavs, "Turanian" groups (Bulgars, Cumans, and Turks) and Vlachs, and as such, were different from the other South Slavs in their ethnic composition. More importantly, their national character was decidedly un-Slavic. Bulgarians were industrious and coarse. They were a people without imagination and therefore necessarily without art and culture. This caricature of the Bulgarians permitted their clear differentiation from the "Central Type," within which Cvijic included Macedonian Slavs, western Bulgarians (Shopi), and Torlaks, a type that was eminently Slavic (i.e. old-Serbian) and therefore non-Bulgarian. Nowadays, these outdated Serbian views have been propagandized by some contemporary Macedonian scholars and politicians.
Some panslavic ideologists in Russia, former supporter of Greater Bulgaria, also adopted these ideas as opposing Bulgaria's Russophobic policy at the beginning of the 20th century, as for example Alexandr Rittikh and Aleksandr Amfiteatrov. At the beginning of the 20th century, the continued Serbian propaganda efforts had managed to firmly entrench the concept of the Macedonian Slavs in European public opinion and the name was used almost as frequently as Bulgarians. Simultaneously, the proponents of the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, such as Germanos Karavangelis, openly popularized the Hellenic idea about a direct link between the local Slavs and the ancient Macedonians. Nevertheless, in 1914 the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs report states that the Serbs and Greeks classified the Slavs of Macedonia as a distinct ethnic group "Macedonians Slavs" for political purposes and to conceal the existence of Bulgarians in the area. However, after the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) Ottoman Macedonia was mostly divided between Greece and Serbia, which began a process of Hellenization and Serbianisation of the Slavic population and led in general to a cease in the use of this term in both countries.
On the other hand, Serbian and Bulgarian left-wing intellectuals envisioned in the early 20th century some sort of "Balkan confederation" including Macedonia, should the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire dissolve. This view was accepted from the Socialist International. In 1910, the First Balkan Socialist Conference was held in Belgrade, then within the Kingdom of Serbia. The main platform at the first conference was the call for a solution to the Macedonian Question. The creation of a Balkan Socialist Federation was proposed, in which Macedonia would be a constituent state. In 1915, after the Balkan Wars had concluded, the Balkan Socialist Conference in Bucharest agreed to create a Balkan Socialist Federation, and that divided from the "imperialists" Macedonia would be united into its framework. This ideology later found fruition with the support of the Soviet Union as a project of the Yugoslav communist federation. Various declarations were made during the 1920s and 1930s seeing the official adoption of Macedonism by the Comintern. In turn declarations were made by the Greek, Yugoslav and Bulgarian communist parties, as they agreed on its adoption as their official policy for the region. Also, the demise of the IMRO and its ideology for much of the interwar period led a part of the young local intellectuals in Vardar Macedonia, regarded at that time as Serbs, to find a solution in the ideology of Macedonism. This issue was supported during the Second World War by the Communist Resistance and in 1944 the wartime Communist leader Josip Broz Tito proclaimed the People's Republic of Macedonia as part of the Yugoslav Federation, thus partially fulfilling the Comintern's pre-war policy. He was supported by the Bulgarian leader from Macedonian descent and former General Secretary of the Comintern Georgi Dimitrov, in anticipation of an ultimately failed incorporation of the Bulgarian part of Macedonia (Pirin Macedonia) into the People's Republic of Macedonia, and of Bulgaria itself into Communist Yugoslavia.
The first Macedonian nationalists appeared in the late 19th and early 20th century outside Macedonia. At different points in their lives, most of them expressed conflicting statements about the ethnicity of the Slavs living in Macedonia, including their own nationality. They formed their pro-Macedonian conceptions after contacts with some panslavic circles in Serbia and Russia. The lack of diverse ethnic motivations seems to be confirmed by the fact that in their works they often used the designations Bulgaro-Macedonians, Macedonian Bulgarians and Macedonian Slavs in order to name their compatriots. Representatives of this circle were Georgi Pulevski, Theodosius of Skopje, Krste Misirkov, Stefan Dedov, Atanas Razdolov, Dimitrija Chupovski and others. Nearly all of them died in Bulgaria. Most of the next wave Macedonists were left-wing politicians, who changed their ethnic affiliations from Bulgarian to Macedonian during the 1930s, after the recognition of the Macedonian ethnicity by the Comintern, as for example Dimitar Vlahov, Pavel Shatev, Panko Brashnarov, Venko Markovski, Georgi Pirinski, Sr. and others. Such Macedonian activists, who came from the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (United) and the Bulgarian Communist Party never managed to get rid of their pro-Bulgarian bias.
Monument of Samuel of Bulgaria in Skopje. In the Republic of North Macedonia he is identified as an ethnic Macedonian king. In 2012 the European Parliament has urged the R. of Macedonia to create a joint expert committee with Bulgaria to tackle the sensitive issue of history education in the country.
Among the views and opinions that are often perceived as representative of Macedonian nationalism and criticised as parts of "Macedonism" by those who use the term are the following:
The opinion that the term Bulgarians used in Medieval and Ottoman Macedonia meant in fact common peasants or Christian Slavs, but had no affiliations to the Bulgarian ethnicity. (see: Macedonian Bulgarians)
The belief that North Macedonia's neighbours have organized a huge propaganda effort across the world, containing false history and portraying a wrong picture about its people as a young nation, although the Macedonians are in fact the forefathers of the modern Europeans. (see: Foreign relations of North Macedonia)
The idea that the internationally accepted term Hellenism is wrong and has to be replaced with Macedonism, which is more correct in an historical aspect.
Other, related areas of Macedonian–Bulgarian national polemics relate to:
The presence of the Bulgars in Medieval Macedonia and the lack of ethnogenetic connection to today's Macedonians in contrast to the Bulgarians; (see Kouber)
The opinion that a separate Macedonian nationhood and ethnicity are an artificial product, result of the Serbian propaganda during the 19th and the Comintern policy during the 20th century; (see: Balkan Communist Federation)
^"Until the late 19th century both outside observers and those Bulgaro-Macedonians who had an ethnic consciousness believed that their group, which is now two separate nationalities, comprised a single people, the Bulgarians. Thus the reader should ignore references to ethnic Macedonians in the Middle ages which appear in some modern works. In the Middle Ages and into the 19th century, the term 'Macedonian' was used entirely in reference to a geographical region. Anyone who lived within its confines, regardless of nationality could be called a Macedonian...Nevertheless, the absence of a national consciousness in the past is no grounds to reject the Macedonians as a nationality today." "The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century," John Van Antwerp Fine, University of Michigan Press, 1991, ISBN0472081497, pp. 36–37.
^Modern Greece: John S. Koliopoulos, Thanos M. Veremis, A History since 1821, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN1444314831, p. 48.
^Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity, Andreas Wimmer, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN0-521-01185-X, pp. 171–172.
^Richard Clogg, Minorities in Greece: Aspects of a Plural Society. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2002, ISBN1850657068, p. 160.
^Dimitar Bechev, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN0810862956, Introduction, pp. VII–VIII.
^ abJelavich Barbara, History of the Balkans, Vol. 2: Twentieth Century, 1983, Cambridge University Press, ISBN0521274591, p. 91.
^ abJ. Pettifer, The New Macedonian Question, St Antony's group, Springer, 1999, ISBN0230535798, pp. 49–51.
^Anastas Vangeli, Nation-building ancient Macedonian style: the origins and the effects of the so-called antiquization in Macedonia. Nationalities Papers, the Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, Volume 39, 2011 pp. 13–32.
^Dimitar Bechev, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN0810862956, Introduction, p. VII.
^Roumen Daskalov, Tchavdar Marinov, Entangled Histories of the Balkans, Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies, BRILL, 2013, ISBN900425076X, pp. 283–285.
^The Macedonian Question an article from 1871 by Petko Slaveykov published in the newspaper Macedonia in Carigrad (now Istanbul). In this article, Petko Slaveykov writes: "We have many times heard from the Macedonists that they are not Bulgarians, but they are rather Macedonians, descendants of the Ancient Macedonians, and we have always waited to hear some proofs of this, but we have never heard them. The Macedonists have never shown us the bases of their attitude."
^On 8 January 1861, K. Miladinov wrote to the Bulgarian wakener G. Rakovski to explain his use of the term ‘‘Bulgarian’’ in the title of his and his brother’s collection of Macedonian folk songs: ‘‘In the announcement I called Macedonia West Bulgaria (as it should be called) because in Vienna the Greeks treat us like sheep. They consider Macedonia a Greek land and cannot understand that [Macedonia] is not Greek.’’ Miladinov and other educated Macedonians worried that use of the Macedonian name would imply attachment to or identification with the Greek nation For more see: Andrew Rossos Macedonia and the Macedonians: A History. Hoover Institution Press, 2008, ISBN0817948813, p. 84.
^Miladinov suggested that Macedonia should be called “Western Bulgaria”. Obviously, he was aware that the classical designation was received via Greek schooling and culture. As the Macedonian historian Taskovski claims, the Macedonian Slavs initially rejected the Macedonian designation as Greek. For more see: Tchavdar Marinov, Famous Macedonia, the Land of Alexander: Macedonian identity at the crossroads of Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian nationalism, p. 285; in Entangled Histories of the Balkans - Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies with Roumen Daskalov and Tchavdar Marinov as ed., BRILL, 2013, ISBN900425076X, pp. 273-330.
^Dimitar Miladinov's most famous literary achievement was the publishing of a large collection of Bulgarian folk songs in Zagreb in 1861 under the title Bulgarian Folk Songs. He published the volume with his brother Konstantin (1830-1862) and even though most of the songs were from Macedonia, the authors disliked this term as too Hellenic and preferred to refer to Macedonia as the "Western Bulgarian lands". For more see: Chris Kostov, Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN3034301960, p. 72.
^The struggle over the historical legacy of the name “Macedonia” was already underway in the nineteenth century, as the Greeks contested its appropriation by the Slavs. This is reflected in a letter from Konstantin Miladinov, who published Bulgarian folk songs from Macedonia, to Georgi Rakovski, dated 31 January 1861:On my order form I have called Macedonia “Western Bulgaria”, as it should be called, because the Greeks in Vienna are ordering us around like sheep. They want Macedonia to be Greek territory and still do not realize that it cannot be Greek. But what are we to do with the more than two million Bulgarians there? Shall the Bulgarians still be sheep and a few Greeks the shepherds? Those days are gone and the Greeks shall be left with no more than their sweet dream. I believe the songs will be distributed among the Bulgarians, and have therefore set a low price for them. For more see: Spyridon Sfetas, The image of the Greeks in the work of the Bulgarian revolutionary and intellectual Georgi Rakovski. Balkan Studies, [S.l.], v. 42, n. 1, p. 89-107, Jan. 2001. ISSN 2241-1674. Available at: <https://ojs.lib.uom.gr/index.php/BalkanStudies/article/view/3313/3338>.
^ abIn a letter to Prof. Marin Drinov of May 25, 1888 Kuzman Shapkarev writes: "But even stranger is the name Macedonians, which was imposed on us only 10–15 years ago by outsiders, and not as some think by our own intellectuals.... Yet the people in Macedonia know nothing of that ancient name, reintroduced today with a cunning aim on the one hand and a stupid one on the other. They know the older word: "Bugari", although mispronounced: they have even adopted it as peculiarly theirs, inapplicable to other Bulgarians. You can find more about this in the introduction to the booklets I am sending you. They call their own Macedono-Bulgarian dialect the "Bugarski language", while the rest of the Bulgarian dialects they refer to as the "Shopski language". (Makedonski pregled, IX, 2, 1934, p. 55; the original letter is kept in the Marin Drinov Museum in Sofia, and it is available for examination and study)
^Claudia-Florentina Dobre, Cristian Emilian ed., Quest for a Suitable Past: Myths and Memory in Central and Eastern Europe, Central European University Press, 2018, ISBN9633861365, p. 139.
^Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900–1996, Chris Kostov, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN3034301960, p. 65.
^According to Vasil Kanchov: "The local Bulgarians and Kucovlachs who live in the area of Macedonia call themselves Macedonians, and the surrounding nations also call them so. Turks and Arnauts from Macedonia do not call themselves Macedonians, but when asked where they are from, they respond: from Macedonia. Arnauts from the north and northwest limits of the area, who also call their country Anautluk, and Greeks who live in the southern areas, do not call themselves Macedonians, hence the borders in these areas according to the peoples’ perception are not clearly defined." Vasil Kanchov - 1911. Original: Орохидрография на Македония, wiki translation: Orohydrography of Macedonia. For more see: E. Damianopoulos, The Macedonians: Their Past and Present, Springer, 2012, ISBN1137011904, p. 185.
^Tchavdar Marinov, Famous Macedonia, the Land of Alexander: Macedonian Identity at the Crossroads of Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian Nationalism in Entangled Histories of the Balkans - Volume One, BRILL, 2013, ISBN900425076X, p. 303.
^Donald Bloxham, The Final Solution: A Genocide, OUP Oxford, 2009, ISBN0199550336, p. 65.
^Raymond Detrez, Pieter Plas, Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence, Volume 34 of Multiple Europesq Peter Lang, 2005, ISBN9052012970, p. 173.
^Chris Kostov, Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN3034301960, p. 71.
^Keith Brown, The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN0691099952, p. 110.
^ abViktor Meier. Yugoslavia: A History of Its Demise. p. 179.
^Entangled Histories of the Balkans: Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies, Balkan Studies Library, Roumen Dontchev Daskalov, Tchavdar Marinov, BRILL, 2013, ISBN900425076X, pp. 300–303.
^The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN0-691-04356-6, pp. 65–66.
^"The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world", Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN0-691-04356-6, pp. 65-66.
^Modern hatreds: the symbolic politics of ethnic war. New York: Cornell University Press. Kaufman, Stuart J. (2001), p. 193, ISBN0-8014-8736-6.
^Up until the early twentieth century, the international community viewed Macedonians as a regional variety of Bulgarians, i.e. Western Bulgarians. However, during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 the Allies sanctioned Serbian control of much of Macedonia because they accepted the belief that Macedonians were in fact Southern Serbs. This extraordinary change in opinion can largely be attributed to one man, Jovan Cvijić, a prominent geographer at the University of Belgrade. Nationalism and Territory: Constructing Group Identity in Southeastern Europe, Geographical perspectives on the human past, George W. White, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN0847698092, p. 236.
^John Breuilly, The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism, Oxford University Press, 2013, ISBN0199209197, p. 192.
^Robin J. Fox, Robin Lane Fox, Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC – 300 AD, BRILL, 2011, ISBN9004206507, p. 35.
^Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN0275976483, p. 89.
^"The lack of capability by Macedonists in condition of democracy, also contributes to the vision of their opponents. The creation of the Macedonian nation, for almost half of a century, was done in a condition of single-party dictatorship. In those times, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the Macedonian historiography, unopposed by anybody, comfortably performed a selection of the historic material from which the Macedonian identity was created. There is nothing atypical here for the process of the creation of any modern nation, except when falsification from the type of substitution of the word "Bulgarian" with the word "Macedonian" were made." Denko Maleski, politician of the Republic of Macedonia (foreign minister from 1991 to 1993 and ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997), and professor at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, North Macedonia (International Politics and International Law). Utrinski Vesnik newspaper, October 16, 2006
^Loring Danforth, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World, Princeton University Press, December 1995, p. 63: "Finally, Krste Misirkov, who had clearly developed a strong sense of his own personal national identity as a Macedonian and who outspokenly and unambiguously called for Macedonian linguistic and national separatism, acknowledged that a 'Macedonian' national identity was a relatively recent historical development."
^Eugene N. Borza, "Macedonia Redux", in "The Eye Expanded: life and the arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity", ed. Frances B. Tichener & Richard F. Moorton, University of California Press, 1999: "The twentieth-century development of a Macedonian ethnicity, and its recent evolution into independent statehood following the collapse of the Yugoslav state in 1991, has followed a rocky road. In order to survive the vicissitudes of Balkan history and politics, the Macedonians, who have had no history, need one."
^Throughout this article, the term "Macedonian" will refer to ethnic Macedonians. There are many other uses of the term, and comprehensive coverage of this topic may be found in the article Macedonia (terminology).
^ abcDanforth, L. (1995) The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational WorldISBN0-691-04357-4
^Social cleavages and national "awakening" in Ottoman Macedonia by Basil C. Gounaris, East European Quarterly 29 (1995), 409–426
^Teodosij Gologanov established contacts with the patriarchate in Constantinople in an attempt to persuade its leadership to accept and promote the revival of the Ohrid archbishopric under the patriarchate of Constantinople but with an autonomous status. After the Greek newspapers prematurely broke (and distorted) the news, the Exarchate started proceedings for Teodosij’s dismissal. Teodosij’s last attempt was to contact the Vatican representative Augusto Bonetti with the aim of negotiating a Greek Catholic (Uniate) archbishopric in Ohrid to serve the territory of Macedonia. The Exarchate, however, with the help of the local Turkish administrative authorities arranged his expulsion from Skopje (1892). For more see: Nikola Iordanovski, Letter on the renewal of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, Teodosij Gologanov. pp. 188-193 in Balazs Trencsenyi, Michal Kopecek as ed., National Romanticism: The Formation of National Movements: Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe 1770-1945, Vol. 2. Central European University Press, 2006, ISBN963732660X, p. 187.
^Although he was named Bulgarian metropolitan bishop in Skopje, in 1890–1892 Gologanov tried to establish a separate Macedonian Church, an activity that resulted in his dismissal and temporary marginalization. Thus after his short period as an early Macedonian national ideologist, Gologanov again became a Bulgarian bishop, as well as a writer and a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He contributed significantly to the construction of the image of Macedonia as cradle of the Bulgarian National Revival. For more see: Roumen Daskalov, Alexander Vezenkov as ed., Entangled Histories of the Balkans - Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies, BRILL, 2015, ISBN9004290362, p. 451.
^Theodosius, the metropolitan of Skopje, to Pope Leo XIII I, the undersigned Metropolitan of Skopje, Theodosius, by Gods Mercy head of the Skopje eparchy, am submitting this request both in my name and in the name of the whole Orthodox flock of Macedonia, with which we are begging His Holiness to accept us under the wing of the Roman Catholic Church, after he has restored the ancient Archbishopric of Ohrid, unlawfully abolished by Sultan Mustapha III in 1767, and put it in canonical unity with the Roman Catholic Church. Our desire springs from the historical right of the Orthodox Macedonian people to be freed from the jurisdiction of foreign Churches - the Bulgarian Exarchate and Constantinople Patriarchate - and be united in its own Orthodox Church, acquiring all the characteristic features of a people who have a right to independent spiritual and cultural life and education.
^Спомени, И. Х. Николов, Д. Груев, Б. Сарафов, Ј. Сандански, М. Герџиков, д-р. Х. Татарчев. Култура, Скопје. 1995. ISBN978-9989-32-022-4.
^Yugoslavism: histories of a failed idea, 1918–1992, Dejan Djokić, Hurst, 2003, ISBN1-85065-663-0, p. 123.
^'Kuzmanovic Z, Vranic I, 2013: On the reflexive nature of archaeologies of the Western Balkan Iron Age: a case study of the "Illyrian argument". Anthropologie (Brno) 51, 2: 249–259, International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution, ISSN0323-1119, p. 6.
^Bechev Dimitar, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Publisher Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN0810862956, p. 12.
^Elisabeth Kontogiorgi, Population Exchange in Greek Macedonia: The Rural Settlement of Refugees 1922–1930, Oxford Historical Monographs, Clarendon Press, 2006, ISBN0191515558, p. 12.
^Fingerprinting the Iron Age: Approaches to identity in the European Iron Age: Integrating South-Eastern Europe into the debate. Oxbow Books, 2014, ISBN1782976752, Vranic. I., Hellenisation and Ethnicity in the Continental Balkan Iron Age, pp. 169–170.
^Eugene N. Borza, "Macedonia Redux", in "The Eye Expanded: life and the arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity", ed. Frances B. Tichener & Richard F. Moorton, University of California Press, 1999, pp.264-265: "Some of the Macedonian émigré community in North America have adopted Ernst Badian, Peter Green, and me as “their” scholarly authorities, believing (without basis) that we possess a pro-Macedonian bias in this conflict. While it is true we share certain similarities in our views about the ancient Macedonians, none of us has, to the best of my knowledge, publicly expressed any political opinions on the modern Macedonian Question. Thus, in a recent telephone conversation initiated by a fervent Macedonian nationalist from Toronto who saw in me a potential ally, the caller expressed astonishment when I said that I thought his views on the languages of ancient and modern Macedonia were without scholarly merit and bordered on the absurd. He never called back."
^Makedonska molitva - Македонска молитва - Macedonian prayer, on CastTV
Translation from Macedonian:
0:25–0:45 O, Lord! Dearest God, which You are in Heaven! Do you see our Macedonian agonies? Do you hear the crying of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and of our children? For the offspring which died for Macedonia?
0:47–2:27 We are bleeding for thousands of years, the living wounds of our offspring are left to them. O, Lord, You are the Only One in the Heaven. Only You are looking at our mother, crucified at four sides as the Son of God. Wherever You go, You are stepping over a grave and fall over bones. O, Lord, appear now, say us the truth, to us and to the world, because St. Nicholas came in my dream and told me: "and I am from the land of love and goodness, and I am a Macedonian. And I shed a bloody tear in the pot of our pain. But the truth is at the Almighty. Ask Him and He will tell it, because our Macedonian era has arrived. O, Lord, only You know that two truths exist, but the justice is only one. Thousands of books were spread all over the world by our neighbors with fake history and twisted truth about Macedonia. O, Lord, only You know our true justice: who we are, from where we are and why we are Macedonians? And to the Apostle Paul during a dream a Macedonian appeared, saying: "come to Macedonia and help us".
2:28–3:24 And St. Apostle Paul listened to the prayer and firstly came among us, Macedonians. And now here, for 2.000 years we are believing only in You, and in 2.000 Churches and Monasteries we are praying, and from the eternity we are waiting on You. I already can't remember, but I know, I, Macedon of Govrlevo, I am alone with God for 8.000 years and I pray in front of the largest cross in the world. You, the only Lord, dearest God which is in Heaven, listen to our prayer, come to Armageddon, lend us a hand and tell us the truth about the evil and the good, to us and to the whole world, because no more blood left in us, for the great mother - Macedonia.
"God" is supposed to say the following:
3:48–5:16 Divine blessing for you, my Macedonians. I have waited for thousands of years to be called by you. From always with you, from eternity I am coming, I am already among you because here neither time nor space exists. Here, at my place, the time is still. But at your place, the time is now, for me to explain. Your mother Earth I have inhabited with three races: the White-Macedonoids, the Yellow-Mongoloids and the Black-Negroids. The rest-all are mulattoes. From you, Macedonians, the descendants of Macedon, I have impregnated the White race and everything began from you, to the Sea of Japan. All White people are your brothers because they carry Macedonian gene. And all the migrations started from your place towards the north. Kokino, Porodin, Radobor, Angelci, Barutnica, Govrlevo, wherever you dig you shall find the truth who you are, why you are and from where are you. Evil diabolic souls obscured the truth for thousands of years and lied to the world.
5:19–6:37 How much did you suffered and to what kind of plights did you passed, because I was sending you temptations, but you have stayed faithful, my children. Children of the sun and of the flowers, blessed with the joy, love and goodness. I send you Tsars for thousands of years and now I am giving you again. You are giving them to everybody, you didn't left them for you. How many Tsars are here with Me and how many Macedonians are, so many stars are on the heaven and sand in the sea is. Let all the Angels sing, for everybody who are with Me, who from love for Macedonia, exchanged their life for eternity and shared the Tsardom here with Me. Already the Angels are singing for all of you which understood God's glory, for all of you to which I gave a part of Paradise, for all of you I gifted with love and peace, for all of you which waited for Me and have seen My arrival.
6:40–8:23 Here, I am now coming to Macedonia, I am now among you, to tell you the truthful truth, which is among you under the soil. The grave of Alexander, the Macedonian Tsar, I shall open it, and the entire world at bowing in front of you I shall bring. How many Macedonian graves I have yet to open, because souls near me desire the truth. Love your greatest enemies, because I send them to be of greatest help to you. The truth about Macedonia and you, Macedonians should be known to the world. Because you were first among the firsts, most dignified among the most dignified. Now the Macedonian era arrived, the whole world to obtain the truth, to see that honor and blessing is to be a Macedonian, a descendant of Macedon and son of the God of Universe. Children of mine, blessed and eternal be, here where the sun and flowers rule, let there be eternal joy, love and goodness. Among you, I am now noble. In eternal Macedonia, blessed One, amen!
^John D. Bell, edited by Sabrina P Ramet - (1999) The Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe Since 1989, ISBN0271018119&id=QZr1vsDIvlUC&pg=RA1-PA252&lpg=RA1-PA252&ots=-2m4nrHkz1&dq=macedonism&sig=GwSevgcuvQtmz9ZAWPvrNKobTxg p. 252
^Лабаури, Дмитрий Олегович. Болгарское национальное движение в Македонии и Фракии в 1894–1908 гг: Идеология, программа, практика политической борьбы, София 2008
^Nikolaĭ Genov, Anna Krŭsteva, (2001) Recent Social Trends in Bulgaria, 1960–1995, ISBN0773520228, p. 74.
^Example cited in: Loring Danforth (1995), The Macedonian Conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, ISBN0691043566&id=ZmesOn_HhfEC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&ots=Eb0bBzHBQT&dq=macedonism&sig=LO82EJ_vsHIAzByUF4dUWNNRjd4 p. 45
^Џамбазовски, Климент. Стоjан Новаковић и Македонизам, Историјски часопис, 1963–1965, књига XIV–XV, с. 133–156
^"The lack of capability by Macedonists in condition of democracy, also contributes to the vision of their opponents. The creation of the Macedonian nation, for almost half of a century, was done in a condition of single-party dictatorship. In those times, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the Macedonian historiography, unopposed by anybody, comfortably performed a selection of the historic material from which the Macedonian identity was created. There is nothing atypical here for the process of the creation of any modern nation, except when falsification from the type of substitution of the word "Bulgarian" with the word "Macedonian" were made. In a case which that was not possible, the persons from history were proclaimed for Bulgarian agents who crossed into some imaginary pure Macedonian space. But when we had to encourage the moderate Greek political variant and move into a direction of reconciliation among peoples, our nationalism was modelled according to the Greek one. The direct descendants of Alexander the Great raised the fallen flag on which the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia was written and led the people in the final confrontation with the Greeks, the direct descendants of Greek gods. This warlike attitude of the "winners" which was a consequence of the fear of politicians from heavy and unpopular compromises had its price. In those years, we lost our capability for strategic dialog. With Greeks? No, with ourselves. Since then, namely, we reach towards some fictional ethnic purity which we seek in the depths of the history and we are angry at those which dare to call us Slavs and our language and culture Slavic!? We are angry when they name us what we -if we have to define ourselves in such categories- are, showing that we are people full with complexes which are ashamed for ourselves. We lost our capability for reasonable judgment, someone shall say, because the past of the Balkans teaches us that to be wise among fools is foolish. Maybe. Maybe the British historians are right when they say that in history one can find confirmation for every modern thesis, so, we could say, also for the one that we are descendants of the Ancient Macedonians...." Denko Maleski, politician of the Republic of Macedonia (foreign minister from 1991 to 1993 and ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997), Utrinski Vesnik newspaper, October 16, 2006.
^"Macedonia was also an attempt at a multicultural society. Here the fragments are just about holding together, although the cement that binds them is an unreliable mixture of propaganda and myth. The Macedonian language has been created, some rather misty history involving Tsar Samuel, probably a Bulgarian, and Alexander the Great, almost certainly a Greek, has been invented, and the name Macedonia has been adopted. Do we destroy these myths or live with them? Apparently these radical Slavic factions decided to live with their myths and lies for the constant amusement of the rest of the world!..." T.J. Winnifrith, Shattered Eagles, Balkan Fragments, Duckworth, 1995
^Marinov, Tchavdar (2013). "Famous Macedonia, the Land of Alexander: Macedonian Identity at the Crossroads of Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian Nationalism". Entangled Histories of the Balkans : National Ideologies and Language Policies. Leiden: BRILL. p. 274. ISBN978-90-04-25075-8. Here is how a Bulgarian historian nowadays interprets the existence of Macedonian national identity (usually stigmatized in Bulgaria under the derogatory term “Macedonism”—makedonizăm): “As an offspring of Greater Serbian propaganda and aspirations in Macedonia, Macedonism was meant to split the Bulgarian people, to denationalize a part of it on anti-Bulgarian grounds. Macedonism sought to destroy the sentiment of the Bulgarians from Macedonia of having historical roots identical with those of the Bulgarians from Moesia [northern Bulgaria] and Thrace, to destroy the feeling of belonging to the Bulgarian nation.
^Marinov, Tchavdar (2013). "Famous Macedonia, the Land of Alexander: Macedonian Identity at the Crossroads of Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian Nationalism". Entangled Histories of the Balkans : National Ideologies and Language Policies. Leiden: BRILL. p. 286. ISBN978-90-04-25075-8. The historians from Skopje refer in particular to an 1871 article published by Petko Slaveykov in his Makedoniya. He describes the ideology of some “young patriots” whom he labels “Macedonists” (makedonisti)— without a doubt, this is the first instance of the derogatory term. According to Slaveykov, the “Macedonists” claimed they were “not Bulgarians but Macedonians, descendants of ancient Macedonians. Though, the Macedonists have never shown the bases of their attitude. They believed they had “Macedonian blood,” and, at the same time, they were “pure Slavs”— in any case, different from the Bulgarians. These patriots even had ethnoracist stereotypes about the latter: for them, the Bulgarians were “Tatars.”
^Речник на българската литература, том 2 Е-О. София, Издателство на Българската академия на науките, 1977. с. 324.
^Myer, Will (2005). People of the Storm God: Travels in Macedonia. Signal Books. p. 46. ISBN9781566565783.
^"We have many times heard from the Macedonists that they are not Bulgarians but Macedonians, descendants of the ancient Macedonians, and we have always waited to hear some proofs of this, but we have never heard them. The Macedonists have never shown us the bases of their attitude. They insist on their Macedonian origin, which they cannot prove in any satisfactory way. We have read in the history that in Macedonia existed a small nation - Macedonians; but nowhere do we find in it neither what were those Macedonians, nor of what tribe is their origin, and the few Macedonian words, preserved through some Greek writers, completely deny such a possibility....", "The Macedonian question" by Petko R. Slaveikov, published 18 January 1871 in the Macedonia newspaper in Constantinople.
^Ц. Билярски, Из българския възрожденски печат от 70-те години на XIX в. за македонския въпрос, сп. "Македонски преглед", г. XXIII, София, 2009, кн. 4, с. 103–120.
^"Since the Bulgarian idea, as it is well-known, is deeply rooted in Macedonia, I think it is almost impossible to shake it completely by opposing it merely with the Serbian idea. This idea, we fear, would be incapable, as opposition pure and simple, of suppressing the Bulgarian idea. That is why the Serbian idea will need an ally that could stand in direct opposition to Bulgarianism and would contain in itself the elements which could attract the people and their feelings and thus sever them from Bulgarianism. This ally I see in Macedonism...." from the report of S. Novakovic to the Minister of Education in Belgrade about "Macedonism" as a transitional stage in Serbianization of the Macedonian Bulgarians; see idem. Cultural and Public Relations of the Macedonians with Serbia in the XIXth c.), Skopje, 1960, p. 178.
^He was sent as the Serbian envoy to Constantinople, considered as one of the most important posts in that period. The diplomatic convention with Ottoman Turkey signed in 1886, due to Novaković's skillful negotiations, made possible the opening of Serbian consulates in Skopje and Thessaloniki. He was instrumental in organizing a huge network of Serbian consulates, secular and religious Serbian schools and Serb religious institutions throughout Turkey in Europe, in particular in Macedonia, where he aided Macedonistic intellectuals as K. Grupchevic and N. Evrovic. Furthermore, Novaković initiated the establishment of closer Serbian-Russian relations as consul in St. Petersburg, where he supported the local Macedonists as Misirkov and Chupovski. Angel G. Angelov, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 1470–1316, Volume 2, Issue 3, 1997, pp. 411–417.; Memoirs of Hristo Shaldev, Macedonian revolutionary (1876–1962), Macedonian Patriotic Organization "TA" (Adelaide, Australia, 1993), The Slav Macedonian Student Society in St. Petersburg, pp. 14–21.
^An Agenda for the Western Balkans: From Elite Politics to Social Sustainability, Nikolaos Papakostas, Nikolaos Passamitros, Columbia University Press, 2014, ISBN3838266986, p. 121.
^Јован Цвијић, Основе за географију и геологију Македоније и Старе Србије I-III, 1906–1911.
^Дијалекти источне и јужне Србије, Александар Белић, Српски дијалектолошки зборник, 1, 1905.
^Стефан Дечев: За българските и македонските учебници, за удобния и неудобния „оригинален език“. 31.12.2018, Marginalis.
^Проф. Драги Георгиев: Да признаем, че е имало и фалшифициране - вместо "българин" са писали "македонец"- това е истината. 21.03.2020 Factor.bg.
^20.11.1914 "Македонскiй Голосъ" - Кто такие Македонцы?
^This theory has its deep roots into the Greek policy on Macedonia, which may be noticed in the address of Archbishop Germanos Karavangelis and his advice to Konstantinos Christou. In his memories entitled as "Macedonian Struggle", Archbishop Karavangelis, wrote: "You have been Greeks since the time of Alexander the Great, but the Slavs came and slavicized you. Your appearance is Greek and the land we step on is Greek. This is witnessed by the monuments that are hidden in it, they are Greek, too, and the coins that we found are also Greek, and the inscriptions are Greek...." Каравангелис, Германос. "Македонската борба (спомени)", Васил Чекаларов, Дневник 1901–1903 г., Съставителство Ива Бурилкова, Цочо Билярски, ИК "Синева" София, 2001, стр. 327.
^"A comparison of the ethnographic and linguistic maps drawn up by Messrs, Kantchev, Cvijic and Belic, with the new frontiers of the treaty of Bucharest reveals the gravity of the task undertaken by the Servians. They have not merely resumed possession of their ancient domain, the Sandjak of Novi-Bazar and Old Servia proper (Kosovo Pole and Metchia), despite the fact that this historic domain was strongly Albanian; they have not merely added thereto the tract described by patriotic Servian ethnographers as "Enlarged Old Servia" fan ancient geographical term which we have seen twice enlarged, once by Mr. Cvijic and again by Mr. Belic; [See chapter I, p. 29.] over and above all this, their facile generosity impelled them to share with the Greeks the population described on their maps as "Slav-Macedonian", a euphemism designed to conceal the existence of Bulgarians in Macedonia."
^Stavrianos, L. S. (1942) The Balkan Federation Movement. A Neglected Aspect in The American Historical Review, Vol. 48, No. 1. pp. 30–51.
^FYROM, 2011 - Euphoria Of Racism And Expansionism Towards Greece. A large assembly of people during the inauguration of the Statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje, the players of the national basketball team of the Republic of Macedonia during the European Basketball Championship in Lithuania, and a little boy, singing a racist tune. Translation from Macedonian:
"Get out, boy, right away on the balcony
And say hello to the people of Goce's race
Lift your hands up high
Ours will be Thessaloniki's field."