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  • indigen
    Senior Member
    • May 2009
    • 1558

    MACEDONIA AND THE MACEDONIAN QUESTION (Greek state propganda 1983)

    A brief survey

    Table of contents
    Introduction .................................................. .................. 2
    I. Macedonia in history
    Macedonia in Antiquity 2
    Macedonia under the Romans 3
    Macedonia in the Byzantine era. Descent of Slavs 3
    Macedonia under Ottoman rule 4
    Greco-Slavic rivalry in Macedonia 5
    Ethnological change in Greek Macedonia 6
    II. The Macedonian Question in modern times
    The Inter-war period 7
    The Axis occupation 7
    Belgrade and Sofia: Entente turns into feud over Macedonia 8
    III. Greece and the Macedonian issue
    The positions of the Greek Communist Party .....................................10
    Greece and Yugoslavia 11
    Greece and Bulgaria 12
    IV. The present policy of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece
    Yugoslav policy 12
    Bulgarian policy 14
    Greek policy 15

    V. Special issues
    On the "Macedonian Question" .................................................. ..........16
    On the "Macedonian nation." .................................................. ..............16
    On the "Macedonian minority" in Greece .............................................17
    On the "Macedonian language" .................................................. .......... 17
    On "Macedonian history" .................................................. ....................18
    Macedonia: A geographical term .................................................. ........18

    It is rare these days for an international dispute to ramify into the dawn of history, culture, linguistics and human rights all at once. Yet, this is exactly what has happened since World War II with the so-called Macedonian Question, which after periods of quiescence tends to erupt from time to time into vehement verbal conflict. Ever since the "tall ones" the “Makednoi" as they were called in Homeric Greek, settled down in the Balkan peninsula named after them, Macedonia has rarely been free from controversy. Even now when the Balkans are no longer the powder keg that they used to be (other regions compete for this honour) a festering debate continues to cloud relations between three neighbouring countries, namely Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and to a lesser degree Greece.
    This is a paper which traces very briefly the history of the region and analyzes certain current issues concerning Macedonia.

    I. Macedonia in history
    Macedonia in Antiquity
    Historical and archaeological evidence points to the existence of Greek-speaking inhabitants occupying the rugged northern slopes of Pindos mountain as early as 2200-2100 B.C. These Greek tribes - thought to have split from the main bulk of the Indo- European family in the course of the 5th millennium - spread throughout the area known today as northern Greece. During the early centuries of the second millennium B.C. three basic groups can already be distinguished:
    (a) The South-Eastern group made up of Ionians.

    (b) The Eastern group with its two linguistic subgroups, one speaking the Arcadian and one the Aeolian Greek dialect.

    (c) The Western group, mainly composed of the populous tribe of the Makednoi.

    With the Ionians leading the way and the Aeolic-speaking tribes (Achaians, Lapithes, Minoans et. al.) following suit, a steady southward expansion of all these proto-Hellenic peoples can be observed as centuries go by. Their migration brought them into contact with the pre-Hellenic tribes in the south such as the Cretans, an insular people who had evolved a sophisticated culture.

    The Western group, i.e. the Makednoi were numerous enough to follow four separate paths of expansion. One group pushed southwards towards Sterea (mainland) Greece and the Peloponnesus. A second settled in the region of Doris where it merged with the local population to produce the Dorians. A third group made its way to Thessaly, whilst a fourth, calling themselves Makedones (Macedonians), settled in the region known to these days as Western, Southern and Central Greek Macedonia. The Macedonians - speaking a Greek dialect as did all the other tribes originating from the Makednoi - remained, for a few centuries, outside the mainstream of Hellenic culture because, unlike their kinsmen, they never ventured southward and thus did not come into early contact with the Creto-insular population. By the 8th century B.C., however, the Macedonians are drawn even more closely to the rest of the Greek World. Orestis (the region known today as Kastoria) is mentioned as early as the 7th century as the birthplace of the Macedonian dynasty of the Argeads and Temenids. Argos is, of course, the name of a city in Makedonia which to this day is called Argos Orestikon to distinguish it from its rather better known Peloponnesian namesake. The fact that the same name, Argos, appears in antiquity in places as far apart as Macedonia and the Peloponnesus is one more piece of evidence showing how much these ancient Greek tribes had in common.

    During the 7th and 6th centuries the Macedonians pushed eastwards of Orestis and populated the provinces of Pieria, Vottiaea (region of mount Vermion), Eordea and Almopia. They crossed the river Axios and stepped into Chalkidiki either driving away or assimilating the indigenous tribes already established there (such as the Pelasgians).

    From at least the 5th century onwards the isolation of the Macedonians starts to be broken down as the more sophisticated South begins - through better sea and land transport - to infiltrate the region by setting up colonies in Chalkidiki.

    During the reign of Amyntas, Philip II and Alexander the Great, the Macedonian revival is at its highest point. The fact that the ancient Macedonians belonged to the world of the Hellenes is hardly disputed by scholars. Recent archaeological finds, in conjunction with linguistic analyses, the discovery of scores of new inscriptions with Greek personal and place names, the diffusion of
    Greek language and culture throughout the then known world by Alexander the Great and the Macedonians, establish the continuity of Greek culture in time and the strong bonds uniting the Macedonians to other Greeks geographically. The latest finds at Vergina and Dion fully corroborate this view.

    Macedonia under the Romans
    Macedonia, as a geographical entity, retained its Hellenic characteristics during the reign of the Epigones (i.e. Alexander's successors) and fostered the creation of many city-states governed for almost two centuries by Macedonian kings. It was only after the decisive battle of Pydna in 168 B.C. that Macedonia finally fell to the Romans and was subsequently divided into four administrative regions.

    Under the Roman occupation the Macedonian provinces thrived and attracted new settlers from the East and from Italy, while Jewish communities made their appearance for the first time. Inscriptions show, however, that as far as language is concerned most of these settlers were gradually Hellenized.

    During the 3rd century A.D., attacks by Goths and other kindred tribes were successfully repelled. The invaders left no ethnic trace in Macedonia. In 324 A.D. the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire was transferred to Byzantium, a fact which has a significant impact on Macedonia in general and on its capital city Thessaloniki in particular, as it gradually developed to become the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire.

    Macedonia in the Byzantine era. Descent of Slavs.
    With the exception of some Latin and other tribal settlements, the basically Greek population of Macedonia remained more or less unchanged up to the 7th century A.D. when various Slav tribes (Dragouvitae, Strymonitae, Sagouditae et. al.) began settling in the Macedonian region. By permission of the Byzantine authorities these tribes set up small Slavic enclaves known to the Byzantines as "Sclaviniae". Throughout the 7th century the Slavs continually fought against the Byzantine authorities and repeatedly attacked - without success - the city of Thessaloniki. In 688, Emperor Justinian II defeated them in a decisive battle and deported many of them to Bithynia in Asia Minor. For a considerable period of time after this, the Slavs lived at peace with their environment while many of them were hellenized.

    In the following centuries the Slavs themselves came under threat when, various Finnish-Tataric tribes, collectively known as Proto-Bulgarians, began, in turn, to infiltrate the Balkan peninsula and subjugate the Slavs in the territories which make up today's Bulgaria. These tribes were soon linguistically assimilated by the Slavs and the resulting mixture produced the "Bulgarians" who established the medieval Bulgarian State. One ought to mention at this point that there is considerable controversy amongst scholars as to the extent to which the Slavs, who settled in Macedonian territories were "Bulgarised". Historians from Skopje Yugoslavia for instance, maintain that there were no Bulgarians in Macedonia during the Middle Ages, that Samuel was a Slav-Macedonian King who fought against both Byzantines and Bulgarians. Byzantine sources, however, reveal that Samuel's kingdom in the 10th century was multi-national in essence, extending over Bulgaria and other regions further northwards and southwards.

    In any case, whatever its precise ethnic identity, the fact remains that Samuel's kingdom, in spite of its dynamism, did not abolish Byzantine suzerainty in Macedonia and did not significantly alter its ethnological composition. The large population centres, still thriving in Greek Macedonia, had remained solidly and continuously Greek. In the countryside, on the other hand, especially in Northern Macedonia - i.e. in the territories shared today between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and in certain areas further to the south - the Slavic element seemed to be much better entrenched. Nevertheless the annihilation of the Bulgarian kingdom by the Byzantine Emperor Vassilios II Voulgaroktonos ("The Slayer of Bulgars") in the 11th century, marked a Hellenic revival in the whole area.

    During the 14th century, the Serbian empire of Dushan encompassed Macedonia. However, this short-lived Empire, which preceded the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans, did not substantially alter the ethnic composition of the population of Macedonia, as Professor A. Vakalopoulos explains in his History of Macedonia. Serbian rule left in its wake a few more Slavic enclaves along with tales of a great, albeit transient, empire. One should add here that such somewhat hazy memories of past grandeur were instrumental in fomenting the nationalistic and irredentist awakening of the Serbian nation during the 19th century and in the formulation of its claims on Macedonia.

    It must be pointed out at this juncture that in Byzantine as well as in Ottoman times the meaning of the term Macedonia had altered somewhat. Byzantine authors used Macedonia as a blanket term to cover the greater part of Albania, Northern Thrace (Eastern Rumelia) as well as areas belonging to Western (i.e. today Greek) Thrace. So, to be a "Macedonian" was not only a meaningless term in the ethnic sense; it had also gradually lost some of its former geographic connotation. The "Macedonian Dynasty" of Byzantine Emperors for instance included sovereigns coming from Thrace.

    Macedonia under Ottoman rule
    The Ottoman rule in the 15th century brought about great changes in the population of the Balkans in general and of Macedonia in particular. Roughly speaking, the Christians took to the mountains, the elite took to the West. Those unable to cope with the harshness of Ottoman rule and the humiliations reserved for non-Muslims took to Islam. These Greek-speaking Muslims, known as Valaads, were to be found in certain parts of the Kozani region, as recently as 1912, when Macedonia was liberated. On the other hand Turkomans (Yuruks) were brought in by the Ottomans to settle the depopulated region in Central Macedonia.

    From the 17th century onwards the situation stabilized somewhat and the Christians returned to the plains from the mountains. One must not forget, in this context, that the vast Ottoman Empire was continually criss-crossed by population movements. To quote from Professor Vakalopoulos History of Macedonia (page 7):
    "Muslims and Christians have the chance to move freely in every direction towards and within Macedonia, to intermarry and fuse with the local inhabitants, creating new settlements, new ways of life and new problems. While Turks are coming and settling in various parts of West, Central and East Macedonia, Greeks of Thessaly and particularly of Macedonia and Epirus, are moving and advancing peacefully towards the North, to Serbia, Austria and Hungary, to Bulgaria and Romania, creating Greek communities in their cities, establishing country-towns and villages or strengthening very old [Greek] population nuclei... Southern Slavs and particularly Bulgarians, descending south in search of employment, revive, in certain parts of Macedonia old remnants Of Slavic settlements dating from the Middle Ages, or create new settlements for themselves".

    The Slavic element is thus strengthened while the Slavic- Bulgarian language gains ground both in the North (i.e. in what is today Yugoslav Macedonia) and in the central region. However as of the 18th century, Greek ascendancy in the economic, social and educational fields turned Greek into the dominant culture in the area. Drawing support, guidance and moral sustenance from the Greek clergy, masses of Christians in Macedonia became aware of their Greek identity. Many Slav-speaking Christians sent their children to Greek schools, fought against the Ottomans during the Greek war of liberation, and joined the Greek revolutionary movements of Macedonia in the 19th century, fighting for the union of Macedonia with the free Greek State.

    Greco-Slavic rivalry in Macedonia
    The establishment of the independent Bulgarian church, called the Exarchate, in 1870, marked the beginning of a struggle between Greeks and Bulgarians, with Macedonia as the coveted apple of discord. In effect, the struggle consisted of each side trying to ascertain the national identity of the slavophone masses living in the central region.

    In the aftermath of Greece's defeat in the 1897 war against Turkey, Bulgaria managed to enlist the support of a great many Slavophones. In the summer of 1903, during the religious festival of the Prophet Elias an uprising - appropriately named "Iliden" - broke out with disastrous consequences. The Ottoman army suppressed the rebellion in a bloodbath and in the process destroyed many Greek communities and towns including Krushovo in Northern Macedonia. Greeks came under great pressure in Macedonia.

    In 1904, they responded by organising armed hands of Greek Macedonians, whose struggle against the Turks and Bulgarians lasted until 1908. Armed detachments of volunteers from the free Greek state, from Crete and other regions still under the Ottoman yoke, were formed, trained, armed and sent to help the indigenous Greeks of Macedonia in their struggle. It is interesting to note that in most regions, the Greek bands were composed of Slavophones, fighting for the Hellenic cause. For their Greek national consciousness, they were labeled by the Bulgarians "Grecomans", meaning "fanatic Greeks". Such a mobilisation was effective in counteracting the Bulgarian expansionary schemes in the area and managed to preserve Greek ascendancy in Southern and Central Macedonia until the liberation of the whole region during the Balkan wars.
    At the height of the Greco-Bulgarian conflict in Macedonia both sides published their own statistics of the ethnic composition of the population of Macedonia, employing different criteria in an effort to promote their respective national goals. Use of the local Slavonic idiom was the Bulgarians' basic criterion for distinguishing between the two main ethnic groups. National consciousness and affiliation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was the factor that counted for the Greek enumerators. The most objective estimates can be obtained by looking at the statistics compiled by the common Ottoman oppressor, who had no particular axe to grind and played no favours to either of the two rival ethnic groups in Macedonia. The Ottoman census carried out by Governor Hilmi Pasha (1904) gave the following results:

    .................................................. ............ Greeks.............................. Bulgarians
    Vilayet of Thessaloniki.........................373,227...... .........................207,317
    Vilayet of Monastir...............................261,283.... ...........................178,412
    Total............................................. .........634,500 ...............................385,729
    Ethnological change in Greek Macedonia
    The Balkan wars (1912-1913) gave Greece the major part of the Thessaloniki and Monastir (Bitola) vilayets (with the exception of certain northern provinces which now belong to Yugoslav and Bulgarian Macedonia). More precisely the Macedonian regions were apportioned as follows:

    Greek Macedonia......................................... . 34,603 sq. km........... 51.57%
    Yugoslav Macedonia.................................... 25,714 sq. km........... 38.32%
    Bulgarian Macedonia...................................... 6,789 sq. km............ 10.11%

    During the next 10-15 years (1913-1925) the ethnological map of Macedonia became almost unrecognisable. While the wars lasted (1912-19), tens of thousands of Bulgarians departed from Mace*donia. Another 53,000 Bulgarians left in the 'twenties, as a result of a voluntary exchange of populations between Greece and Bulgaria, which was foreseen by the Treaty of Neuilly. Only the Slavophones of Western Macedonia stayed behind as most of them considered themselves to be Greeks. At the same time following the Greco- Turkish exchange, over 700.000 Greeks from Turkey established themselves in Greek Macedonia.

    In 1926,after the exchange of populations was completed, the League of Nations produced the following statistical data pertaining to Greek Macedonia:

    Miscellaneous (mainly Jews)


    Two years earlier, in 1924, Greece and Bulgaria signed a protocol within the framework of the League of Nations known as the Protocol of Kalvov-Politis. Under its terms Greece was to recognise the Slavophone populations within her borders as Bulgarian. Serbia which, in the meantime had recognized the Slav inhabitants of her part of Macedonia, as Serbs, was strongly opposed to Greece's initiative to confer Bulgarian ethnic identity to the Slav-speaking inhabitants just south of the Serbian border. To show her disagreement, Serbia immediately retaliated by declaring the Greco-Serbian alliance pact of 1913 null and void. Meanwhile, public outcry against this protocol within Greece itself - especially by slavophone border communities in Macedonia - reached such proportions that the Greek parliament refused to ratify it. The League of Nations accepted this decision, and the Protocol never became a binding agreement. Since then, Greece considered the remaining Slav-speaking inhabitants as Slavophone Greeks, and this was accepted with relief by their vast majority, as their national consciousness was Greek irrespective of their vernacular.

    A few years later (1927) a new Greek-Bulgarian accord settled all outstanding economic issues arising from the mass population exchanges. Thus, so far as Greek Macedonia was concerned, there was no serious problem left, apart from Bulgaria's irredentism which still sought an opportunity to stake once again claims on Greek and Serbian Yugoslavian-Macedonia.
    It was only during the Second World War that these claims took a concrete form, with the occupation of part of Greek Macedonia and Thrace by the Bulgarian army, already Hitler's loyal ally in the Balkans. As for the Slavophones, a number of them went through an identity crisis. While most remained firmly attached to Hellenism, others joined the Bulgarian and Nazi occupation authorities and persecuted their compatriots. With the defeat of Nazi Germany, these collaborators deserted the Bulgarian camp, and joined the adherents of the "Macedonian" policy initiated by the new Yugoslav regime. Thus, overnight, in a chameleon transformation, Bulgarian fascist collaborators turned into Yugoslav "Macedonian" communists.

    II. The Macedonian Question in modern times
    The Inter-war period

    With the emergence, after World War II, of communist federal Yugoslavia which proclaimed the existence of, and gave official recognition to a "Macedonian" nation, the issue assumed an entirely new form. Before the war, the Balkan communist parties had decided, under Comintern instructions, to fight for the establishment of a unified Macedonia and Thrace within the framework of a Communist Balkan Federation. However, the terms "Macedonians" and "Thracians", widely used at the time, did not define specific ethnic groups but covered populations of mainly Bulgarian stock who inhabited Macedonia and Thrace. A leading part in this movement was played by the Communist Party of Bulgaria under Dimitrov, while the communist parties of Greece and Yugoslavia were obliged to toe the Bulgarian line. In 1935, however, due to the Soviet need to foment popular fronts in Europe, in order to confront fascism, led to the substitution of the unpopular goal of a unified and independent Macedonia and Thrace by the slogan "equality of treatment of the Slav-Macedonians within the framework of the Greek state".

    The Axis occupation
    As already mentioned, about 100.000 Slavophones had remained in Greece, more specifically in Western Macedonia, after the exchange of populations. During the Axis occupation, some of these saxophones were recruited by the Bulgarian occupation authorities to form their own military units under the command of Bulgarian officers. When the Bulgarian occupation troops pulled out of Greece in 1944, these persons either left Greece or joined the rebel armed bands of a slavophone partisan organisation calling itself the "Slav-Macedonian National Liberation Front" and known from its initials as SNOF. SNOF was founded after Tito's lieutenant Vukmanovic-Tempo visited Greece in 1943. At that time, the leadership of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) had adopted the policy of recognizing minority rights to the Slav-Macedonians (encouraging them to set up their own schools, newspapers, etc.) but had turned down the suggestion that the Slav-Macedonians should be allowed to form their own separate armed bands. Finally, however, with the assistance of the Yugoslav partisans the Slav- Macedonian battalions of SNOF were created. These battalions aroused the suspicions of the Greek partisan army - calling itself the "Hellenic Popular Liberation Army" (ELAS) - because they lost no time in forging very close links with the so-called "Macedonian brigade" in Yugoslav Macedonia. In October 1944 a number of ELAS units clashed with the Slav-Macedonians and pushed them out of Greece. In 1946, with the communist uprising in Greece looming large on the horizon, the former SNOF militants returned to Greece, joined the "Democratic Army of Greece" (i.e. the communist guerrillas), while at the same time setting up their own party organisation called NOF. After the end of the civil war in 1949, the Slav-Macedonians left Greece and this particular issue was settled once and for all.

    In the meantime, in Yugoslav Macedonia, the communist party of Yugoslavia had a very difficult time trying to win over the local communists who had joined the communist party of Bulgaria during 1941-42 when most of Macedonia was under Bulgarian rule. By 1942, Tito's partisans had taken control of the situation. The solution adopted at a conference (1943), anticipated a federal structure for post-war Yugoslavia with "Macedonia" figuring prominently as one of its six federated republics. At the same time by official decree a "Macedonian nation" was sanctioned, emerging as one more, the latest, Slavic nationality in the area.

    Belgrade and Sofia: Entente turns into feud over Macedonia
    Before the end of the war, Tito tried to maximise the advantages that had accrued to him as a successful political and military leader. He also tried to promote a solution of the Macedonian question from which Yugoslavia could eventually benefit. He thus proposed to the Bulgarians (1944-45) that a federation be created with seven constituent - and equal - republics, viz. the six newly established republics of Yugoslavia (of which one was Macedonia) plus Bulgaria. This was hardly acceptable to the Bulgarians who put forward, instead, their own proposal for a bilateral federation (Bulgaria and Yugoslavia). With Stalin's help, the Bulgarians got their way in the sense that, in the event, no federation was established. They were, however, forced to swallow the term "Macedonians" as applicable to the inhabitants of both the Yugoslav and the Bulgarian part of Macedonia. They also had to accept the creation - in the near future - of a united "Macedonian Republic" as one of the constituents of the Yugoslav Federation. In spite of the turmoil generated by this issue within the ranks of the Bulgarian communists, the 10th plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bulgaria voted in August 1946 in favour of a resolution to indoctrinate the population of "Pirin" (i.e. the Bulgarian part of Macedonia) with the "Macedonian" sense of identity. "Measures would be taken" the resolution stated, to enhance "cultural autonomy" and "ethnic self awareness" within the population of this area. Those measures aimed at paving the way for the emergence, some day, of the People's Republic of Macedonia which would encompass all the Macedonian regions. Indeed, the official Bulgarian census of 1947 counted most of the inhabitants of Pirin not as Bulgarians, but as "Macedonians".

    In July 1947 Marshal Tito and the Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov met in Bled and agreed to work towards the establishment of a federation. In the words of Dimitrov himself "all the unsolved problems bequeathed by the bourgeois-monarchic regimes with regard to the union of the Macedonians of Pirin with the People's Republic of Macedonia and also in connection with the return to Bulgaria of the Western border regions will find their proper solution within the framework of the Federation". The bilateral Bled agreements were followed up by the signature in Varna (November 1947) of a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance. Although the concept of a federation was quashed by the categorical opposition of the USSR to any such plan, the Bulgarians continued to be bindingly committed to cultivating the "Macedonian cause" amongst the inhabitants of Pirin. As a result the Bulgarian authorities appointed teachers from Skopje to instruct children in the "Macedonian" language, encouraged the publication of "Macedonian" newspapers, accepted the emergence of a "Macedonian" theatre and other such cultural activities. It was obvious that Dimitrov went out of his way to make substantial concessions on the Macedonian issue in return for a firm promise by Tito that Bulgaria would acquire the Bulgarian region to be ceded and that Yugoslavia would support - as she did at the Paris Peace Conference - the annexation by Bulgaria of Greek Western Thrace.

    In July 1948, Tito became an outcast of the international communist movement. In the aftermath of his rift with the Cominform, Bulgaria sided immediately with Stalin. With regard to Macedonia, however, the reversal of Bulgarian policy was somewhat more gradual while Dimitrov was alive. To start with, the teachers from Skopje were sent packing and the "Macedonian" schools and newspapers were closed. But the concept of a unified Macedonia was not officially denounced. The difference was that now the "undivided Macedonia" became a slogan firmly integrated in the wider plan for a Balkan Communist Federation promoted by the Cominform in its anti-Yugoslav campaign. The implication was that this unified Macedonian Republic - which was endorsed also by the Greek Communist Party - would be controlled by Sofia and Moscow.

    It saw only in 1955, after Khrushchev's visit to Belgrade, that a major change took place in relations between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Polemics ended and Bulgaria followed suit, stopping the anti-Yugoslav propaganda over Macedonia.

    Most importantly, in the population statistics released by Sofia in 1956, the bulk of the inhabitants of Pirin, once again, were designated as "Macedonians". All signs pointed a return, by the Bulgarians, to the old Dimitrov attitudes in connection with the unification of the two parts of Macedonia straddling the frontier between the two countries. This new honeymoon did not last long. Yugoslavia's policy of equidistance from the two power blocks was formulated and adopted - much to the Soviets' displeasure - by the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1957. This posture coming shortly after Tito's condemnation of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 made relations between Moscow and Belgrade almost as chilly as ever. The opportunity was too good to be missed by the Bulgarians. Not only did they re-confer Bulgarian nationality on the "Macedonians" of the Pirin area, but they also accused Belgrade of trying to turn the people of the Vardar valley into Serbs while maintaining that these "Macedonians" were really Bulgarians. Such bitter polemics lasted up to 1961, during which year a new rapprochement took place between Moscow and Belgrade while the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR was being prepared. Khrushchev visited both Belgrade and Sofia within the space of a few months. In the wake of these visits Sofia's policy with regard to the Macedonian question reverted almost to that of 1955 with one significant exception. The inhabitants of the Pirin area were never rebaptised as "Macedonians".

    The ensuing two decades did not bring about any change in the situation. The tone of the polemics became that much more raucous with every increase in the tension between Moscow and Belgrade, as for instance during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In calmer periods, as for instance in 1963-1967, or 1976, attempts to settle the matter through summit meetings proved abortive. The stumbling block was Bulgaria's firm refusal to concede that a "Macedonian" group existed within its borders and Yugoslavia's equally firm assertion that it did, even outside the confines of Federal Yugoslavia.

    Meanwhile, Belgrade and Skopje launched a vociferous campaign against the Bulgarians, accusing them of persecuting minorities and of coveting Yugoslav territories. By the end of 1977 Bulgaria discreetly briefed foreign observers on her policies on the issue, always insisting that she had no territorial claims against any of her neighbours. She also intimated that such false accusations as were leveled against her by Belgrade would not be tolerated indefinitely. This campaign reached its climax with President Zhivkov's speech in Blagoevgrad (July 1975) in which the Bulgarian leader publicly proposed to Tito that the two countries sign an agreement on the issue pledging themselves not to raise any territorial claims against each other. This proposal was rejected by Yugoslavia while the verbal onslaught against Bulgaria for her treatment of the "Macedonian" minority in Pirin continued unabated. In response to this attitude, Bulgaria's policy stiffened. Instead of merely rejecting Belgrade's accusations, the Bulgarians launched a campaign to inform international public opinion on the merits of their case. Until Tito's death (May 1980) the dispute continued in the open with mutual recriminations on every conceivable level (press, politics, science, history, diplomacy et. al).

    III. Greece and the Macedonian Issue
    Meanwhile, the Macedonian issue acquired some significance for Greece, in the post-war period, as it affected the country in three different but interconnected ways:

    (a) The policy adopted by the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

    (b) The relations between Greece and Yugoslavia, and

    (c) The relations between Greece and Bulgaria.

    The positions of the Greek Communist Party
    Mention has already been made of KKE's policy during the inter-war period and the 1940's. The Communists' policy on the issue can be summarised as follows:

    In 1924 the party adopted the Comintern policy for a unified Macedonia and Thrace, but in 1935 it called for "equality of treatment" for Slav-Macedonians within the borders of Greece.
    During the Nazi occupation it implemented its policy in the areas under its control by establishing Slav-Macedonian schools, printing Slav-Macedonian publications and endorsed the establishment of a Slav-Macedonian communist organisation known by its acronym as SNOF. There is, however, no evidence that during this period the KKE committed itself by signing agreements which envisaged the creation of a separate "Macedonian State".

    During the first period of 1946-1948, the Communist Party pursued its policy of "equal treatment" which fanned the flames of irredentism among the Slav-Macedonians.

    Following Tito's expulsion from the Cominform in 1948, a resolution by the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party in January 1949, bound the Party to the Cominform policy for a unified and independent Macedonian State as part of a pro-Soviet Balkan Federation. This policy was not abandoned until 1956.

    After the defeat of 1949, the leadership of the KKE in exile continued to distinguish the Slav-Macedonians from the Greeks amongst the ranks of the refugees who had fled to the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. During the early years of its life in exile, the Party maintained separate Slav-Macedonian schools and until 1974 the last page of the Party's newspapers was printed in Slav-Macedonian. It was not until the great bulk of Slav-Macedonians finally migrated to Yugoslavia that the Greek Communist Party got rid of this rather unpleasant problem.

    During the 60's, in Greece, the leadership of EDA (Unified Democratic Left) —a party sheltering at the time most Greek Communists while the Communist Party was outlawed— had officially adopted in Parliament (until the abolition of democratic rule by the Colonels in 1967) the policy of recognizing the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority in Greece.

    Ever since the fall of dictatorship in 1974, the various parties of the Communist Left have kept conspicuously silent on the issue. The interviews given by former guerrilla and party leader Markos Vafiadis in Skopje (July 1978) to the effect that a Slav-Macedonian minority does exist now in Greece are the only public statements on this issue made by a Greek Communist. Vafiadis, however, when making these statements was no longer a member of any of the parties of the Communist Left.

    Greece and Yugoslavia
    During the Nazi occupation the Yugoslav partisans had tried hard to convince the Greek Communist leadership to accept the idea for the cession of Greek Macedonia to a unified Macedonian state within Yugoslavia. Undeterred by their failure to achieve this, they continued to promote the motion of a unified Macedonia throughout the period 1945-48. The Bulgarian leader, Georgi Dimitrov agreed to the scheme in Bled (1947) as already mentioned. It was also concluded that in the not too distant future Greek Macedonia —as a whole or in part— would be incorporated in the unified Macedonian state.

    In the wake of the establishment of friendly Greco-Yugoslav relations in 1951, Belgrade ceased to promote the unity of Macedonia as a political objective. The societies founded in Skopje by "Aegean Macedonians" were disbanded and their newspaper was closed down. Yugoslavia confined itself to merely demanding that the "Macedonians" living in Greece be granted minority rights. This demand, despite the departure of Slav-Macedonians in 1949, was never forsaken by Belgrade even during the halcyon days of the Tripartite Balkan Pact (1954) between Athens, Belgrade and Ankara.
    In 1959 an agreement was signed regulating border traffic between Greece and Yugoslavia. As this was used by Belgrade to foment "Macedonian" agitation amongst the border populations, Greece unilaterally suspended in 1962 part of this agreement and stopped Greek citizens from crossing the border without passports. In 1964, after an exchange of real estate in the border areas, Greece abolished this measure but Belgrade continued to pursue the same policy without any change whatsoever.

    Later, in 1967, Greece, making use of the relevant clause of the 1959 agreement, notified Belgrade that she had no intention of renewing the agreement, due to expire in November 1967. This, in conjunction with a more general deterioration in the two countries' relations, resulted in an upsurge of "Macedonian" propaganda from Belgrade with vociferous allegations of oppression of the "Macedonian minority" in Greece. This campaign continued unabated —with only a short respite during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia— for the duration of the dictatorship in Greece.
    On July 24, 1974, when parliamentary democracy was restored in Greece, Belgrade changed its tune. For two years the Yugoslav media scrupulously avoided any reference to the existence of a minority in Greece. This did not mean that the Yugoslavs had abandoned their cherished line that a "Macedonian" minority did exist within the borders of Greece. Belgrade, however, seemed to hold the view that time would create more favourable conditions for raising the issue anew.

    From 1976 on, a significant shift of emphasis became evident. Not only public criticism against Greece for not recognising a "Macedonian minority" was on the increase, but once again, a press campaign went as far as to allege ill treatment of "Macedonians" by the Greek authorities. Numerous books on the subject were published in Skopje and in 1978 the Secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslav Macedonia thought it proper to openly criticise Greece to foreign journalists. Party documents of this period, including resolutions of various congresses, especially in Yugoslav Macedonia, insisted on the need for the rights of the "Macedonian minority" to he guaranteed in Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. As a result of the firm Greek response, by all major political parties, and in view of the increasingly venomous dispute with Bulgaria on this subject, the Yugoslav press reduced polemics concerning a nonexistent minority in Greece. Occasionally, however, new flare ups occur which should be mainly attributed to internal pressures within the Yugoslav federation.

    Nevertheless despite differences on this issue, Greek-Yugoslav relations are developing positively on many domains as both sides realize the mutual benefits of good, friendly relations.

    Greece and Bulgaria
    During the time when Yugoslavia actively promoted the Macedonian issue ( 1945-1948), Bulgaria confined its claims against Greece to the area of Western Thrace (Paris Peace Conference 1946-1947). In this policy, Bulgaria had the support of both the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia. Following Tito's excommunication by Stalin in 1948, Bulgaria decided the time had come for her to take a lead on the Macedonian issue as well. As already mentioned, she lost no time in launching a campaign for the establishment of a unified Macedonia within the framework of a Balkan Federation. This implied that Bulgaria was indirectly laying a claim to Greek Macedonia as well. Thus, in the 1950's, when Bulgaria started internationally promoting the view that the inhabitants of Yugoslav Macedonia were really Bulgarians, she included in this category the few remaining Slavophone citizens of Greece. In the early 60's, this policy was somewhat softened. Sofia confined itself to sporadic references to a "Bulgarian speaking" population living in border regions of Greek Macedonia.

    Since 1963, all references to Greek Macedonia and its present inhabitants stopped altogether. In the bilateral negotiations of 1964, which led to a complete normalization of relations between Greece and Bulgaria and the final settlement of all issues arising out of the war, the Bulgarian side solemnly declared that it had no claims on Greek territory. This policy remained unchanged during the period of the dictatorship. After the restoration of parliamentary democracy in Greece and on the occasion of meetings between Karamanlis and Zhivkov, the Bulgarian leader made it repeatedly clear in public, that his country had no claims regarding Greece either on territory or with respect to minorities. This is particularly the context within which relations with the new Greek government of Andreas Papandreou are being promoted.

    IV. The present policy of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece
    Yugoslav policy
    Belgrade's official line on the Macedonian question starts with the statement that Yugoslavia has no territorial claims against anybody. This said, the Yugoslav authorities always hasten to add that for them, minorities are a matter of principle. They therefore strongly advocate the recognition of Yugoslav minorities living in neighbouring countries and the grant of minority rights to such minorities. This policy of strong advocacy of the interests of "oppressed" Yugoslav minority is then made to apply to "Macedonians" living in Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia), in Greece (Aegean Macedonia), and more recently in Albania (some villages in the region of the Prespa lakes).

    The policy is common to Skopje and Belgrade. However, it is natural that Skopje should be more vocal on the issue and should try to put pressure on the federal capital in order to make Belgrade as active a standard-bearer of the "Macedonians'" rights as it possibly can. It is worth stressing that the Yugoslav constitutional reforms of 1974 have devolved considerable power to the federated republics so that the regional capitals (Skopje included) have acquired much more influence in their dealings with Belgrade.

    Besides internal political considerations, Yugoslavia's Macedonian policy aims at promoting abroad the notion of a separate, distinct and well defined "Macedonian" nation on the cultural level. It is for this reason that Belgrade always insists on the participation of representatives from the "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" when cultural agreements are signed with any country. It is for this reason that Belgrade finances chairs and conferences or seminars on the "Macedonian" language in foreign universities, publishes a large number of books and tries to organise as many visits to Skopje by foreign leaders as it possibly can, so as to promote some kind of "defacto" recognition of Yugoslav Macedonians as a distinct nation.

    Special attention has also been given to the recruitment of emigrants in foreign countries originating from all parts of Macedonia. The main object of this exercise is to recruit adherents to the "Macedonian cause" from Greece and Bulgaria as well. For this reason a good many Yugoslav consuls overseas, where such emigrants are concentrated, are themselves natives of Yugoslav Macedonia.

    In order to sell the concept of a separate "Macedonian nation" the Yugoslav cultural authorities have been at pains fundamentally to revise history with a view to:

    (a) eliminating from Macedonia every historical and cultural trace of other peoples (Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs) and

    (b) establishing the continuity of the "Macedonian nation" since the emergence, of the very first Slavic tribes in Macedonia in the 6th century A.D.

    As for the earlier history of the region, scholars from Skopje confine themselves to a negative stance. They painstakingly deny on each and every occasion the Greek identity of the ancient Macedonians. According to their current theory the ancient Macedonians, like the Illyrians and the Thracians were not Greeks. Only their ruling class had been hellenized (sic). When the Slav tribes in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D. mingled with these indigenous "non-Greek" ancient Macedonians, what emerged from this melting pot was the Slav-Macedonian, or put more simply, the "Macedonian" nation. This simplicist view of history, aiming at applying a "Macedonian" identity to the heritage of every ethnic group inhabiting Macedonia, has particularly antagonized the Bulgarians, as well as Greeks and Serbs. Indeed Bulgarian authors sharply denounce historians from Skopje for their tactics in "Macedonizing," every Bulgarian shrine or hero from Macedonia.
    In more recent years, Yugoslav diplomacy is hard at work trying to advocate the adoption of new rules by international bodies which deal with the protection of minorities. Making maximum use
    of the international climate favouring the protection of human rights, Belgrade promotes concepts which it believes will allow it to intervene as protector of the "Macedonian minority" in neighbouring countries.

    More specifically Belgrade pursues towards Sofia a policy of open, persistent and continuous diplomatic and propaganda pressure. It accuses the Bulgarian authorities of having decreed out of existence all "Macedonians" in the Pirin region and of coveting territory of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. In the field of historical propaganda every single Bulgarian statement or text whether mentioning the Bulgarian presence in Macedonia, or referring to the era of Emperor Samuel or to the Macedonian Struggle of the late 19th and early 20th century, is vociferously challenged and "refuted".

    Towards Greece, Yugoslav policy can be summarized as follows:

    In the political field, it merely raises the question of the recognition of the "Macedonian minority" and of the minority rights that should be granted to it. However, taking account of the overall good relations and community of interests that bring together the two countries, no overt pressure seems to be exerted on Greece on this issue. Belgrade appears content to put the whole matter to the test of time while emphasizing that any display of interest in the fate of the "Macedonians" on its part should not be construed as a territorial claim against Greece. At the same time Belgrade tries to boost the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as a significant factor in Yugoslav-Greek relations.
    In the fields of economic and cultural co-operation Yugoslav policy aims particularly at fostering close contacts between the S.R. of Macedonia and Greek Macedonia. A considerable number of common projects proposed by Belgrade serve this goal of promoting the overall unity of the area. Such are for instance proposals for joint ventures in the border regions, the establishment of border bus services, of a free border zone of trade and traffic, the joint construction of a pipeline et. al. Similar proposals are being put forward in cultural and scientific matters.

    In the field of propaganda, Yugoslav policy is more aggressive, which include:

    - Allegations to foreigners about Greece's alleged ill treatment of her "minority" and attempts to assimilate it.

    - Publication of fanciful Skopje statistics about the number of Slav-Macedonians in Greece, and allegations that every indigenous inhabitant of Greek Macedonia is by right birth a "Macedonian" even if he does not speak any thy but Greek.

    - Systematic replacing on maps of all Greek toponyms with now extinct Slav or Turkish ones, and persistent reference to Greek Macedonia as the "Aegean part of Macedonia". Both cases reveal Yugoslavia's unwillingness to reconcile herself with the fact that Greek Macedonia is an integral part of the Greek state and nation.

    - Methodical denigration of all Greek heritage in Macedonia. Publications in Skopje mention, for instance, that the Greek Revolution of 1821-22 in Chalkidiki and Naousa was a feat of "Macedonians", Vlachs,... and Greeks (!) that Tsamis Karatasos, the Greek Macedonian leader of the uprising in Chalkidiki (1854), did not foment a Greek but a "Macedonian" uprising, that the liberation of Macedonia in 1912-13, was by no means liberation, but a "partition" and a new "enslavement" to three neighbouring countries, that the Greek Government between the two world wars oppressed and enslaved the "Macedonians", and at the risk of outright ridicule, that the "Macedonians" were the first to defeat an Axis power during World War II, meaning of course the successful action of the Greek Division of the Florina district Western Macedonia which repelled the Italians during the Greek-Italian war (1940-41). Yugoslav historiography even alleges that the participation of Slav-Macedonians in the Greek civil war (1946-49) was a struggle of national liberation of the "Aegean Macedonians", aiming at the annexation of Greek Macedonia to Yugoslavia. Such veteran warriors of this struggle now residing in the S.R. of Macedonia are therefore entitled to an honorary state pension for their contribution to this "war of liberation", which in the event, was nothing less than a conspiracy at Greece's territorial integrity.

    In their attempts to appropriate and monopolize all things Macedonian, as defining the identity and culture of a Slav nationality, writers from Skopje have no hesitation in presenting as their own, Greek popular architecture, churches, monasteries, religious paintings, folklore and even Byzantine tradition, including Byzantine ecclesiastic music.

    On the above evidence, it is not difficult to assert that such behavior on this issue has all the attributes of an irredentist policy, which although avoids pursuing overt territorial claims, it, nevertheless, betrays such intentions under the guise of a human rights campaign for recognition of minority rights for the "Macedonians". Leading personalities from Skopje are on record as having said that the Macedonian question "will be resolved in a suitable way" when "really progressive forces" prevail in the two other countries.
    Bulgarian policy
    Sofia's policy on the Macedonian question today is really a twin denial: Bulgaria does not stake any territorial claims on neighbouring countries and does not recognize the existence of a "Macedonian minority" within her borders. She accepts, however„ the internal situation created in Yugoslavia after World War 11, i.e. she recognises the existence of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - with whom she has even signed agreements - but her position on the ethnic identity of the population there is somewhat hazy. Sofia's acceptance of a "Macedonian nation", only within Yugoslavia, is indirect and concerns exclusively the period alter World War II. Historically speaking the population is considered to he of Bulgarian stock.

    In the field of historical scholarship the dispute remains insoluble because Bulgaria is not prepared to accept the "Macedonization" of her own history.

    In the diplomatic field, Bulgaria is trying to convince other countries of her peaceful intentions and draws attention to the "aggressive" policy of the Yugoslavs who are accused of nurturing territorial claims against Bulgaria under the guise of protecting the "Macedonians" of Pirin. The present leaders in Sofia attribute Dimitrov's policy in 1946-48 to a "faulty" political assessment of that period but refrain from clarifying on what ground this assessment was then based. It is implied that Dimitrov believed that a unified Macedonia would gravitate towards Bulgaria on account of the close ethnic links between "Macedonians" and Bulgarians.

    As mentioned earlier, Bulgaria today makes no territorial claims or demands related to any minority against Greece. Nevertheless in Bulgarian history books and anniversary celebrations - in particular of the Treaty of San Stefano - Macedonia and Thrace as a whole are portrayed as "historically Bulgarian territories". In addition, Bulgaria's frequent changes of posture on the Macedonian question render rather difficult any prediction as to her long range attitudes on this issue.

    Greek policy.
    Greek policy on the Macedonian question has been fairly consistent. Greece has no territorial claims and makes no demands concerning the fate of any Greek minority in the Macedonian regions of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. But she does not accept the existence of a "Macedonian" minority on her territory either, particularly after the mass exodus of Slavs in the inter-war years and in 1944-1949. As far as the Yugoslav views on the Macedonian question are concerned, the Greeks cannot recognise the existence of a "Macedonian" nation. They insist on this line for the simple reason, that "Macedonian" is an ancient Greek name which in modern times has become a purely geographic term, in constant use in Greece as well. Any attempt to appropriate it for defining exclusively a newly-constructed Slav nationality is hound to meet with strong Greek objections. If another name had been adopted, there would be no difficulty in accepting the emergence of one more Slav ethnic group in Yugoslavia as separate from the others.

    After the war, the new Yugoslav regime chose to adopt the name of "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" for the southern region of the country. On this point there can be no real argument as this is essentially an internal administrative arrangement decided upon by a sovereign country. After all the same name "Macedonia" is also in use in Northern Greece and defines the northern geographical and administrative districts of the country.

    If Yugoslavia were to give up the policy of misappropriating the term "Macedonians", if she were to adopt, for instance, another term, (such as "Slav-Macedonians" or "Macedonoslavs") in order to designate the Slav inhabitants of Yugoslav Macedonia and possibly certain emigre groups who share her views, the Greeks, naturally, would have no quarrel with this state of affairs.

    On the contrary, no compromise seems feasible on Yugoslavia's consistent policy of distorting historical facts and recasting the history of Macedonia in a way to suit present political ends. Indeed this practice is strongly objected by Greeks, who resent attempts by Yugoslav historians to find roots for their "Macedonian" nation, by appropriating Greek history and Greek cultural heritage.
    Similar is the reaction of the Bulgarians, when Bulgarian history is recast as "Macedonian". On this particular point, there is a certain coincidental convergence between Greek and Bulgarian views, which has been forced upon by Yugoslav manipulation of Macedonia's past.

    In international bodies, Greece has always been a firm supporter of human rights as they are defined in the Charter of the U.N. Nevertheless certain Yugoslav proposals allegedly providing further safeguards for minority rights, are in fact aiming at providing a legal basis for interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries under the guise of protecting non-existent "Macedonian" minorities. Balkan turbulent history is replete with instances of aggression and outright armed interference by certain countries appearing as protectors of minorities —whether these existed or not. There are also certain events during World War II which the Greeks have some difficulty in forgetting, such as Hitler's proposal in 1940-41 to hand Greek Macedonia over to Yugoslavia in return for her accession to the Axis.

    In certain countries with a high concentration of emigrants from all parts of Macedonia there is some confusion as to who are the Macedonians. Greek, Yugoslav and Bulgarian immigrants all claim, with some justification, that they are Macedonians. Each gives a different interpretation to the term. To avoid confusion and indeed, to be closer to historical accuracy, each immigrant should he identified by his place of origin, i.e. Greek-Macedonian, Yugoslav-Macedonian, Bulgarian-Macedonian.

    V. Special issues
    On the "Macedonian Question"
    The Macedonian Question in our days is a political dispute between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in which Greece is only indirectly involved. The fact that Yugoslavia does try to involve Greece by raising the issue of a non-existent minority should be attributed mainly to Belgrade's tactical maneuvering and has nothing to do with present realities in Greek Macedonia. Yugoslavia's occasional criticisms of Greece could he interpreted as an evenly balanced policy towards all occupiers of "Macedonians", be they Bulgarians, Greeks or Albanians. In addition to this, the need to counteract internal centrifugal trends in a country with so many nationalities, makes it imperative for Belgrade to be seen to cater openly and publicly for each one's particular national aspirations. Certainly in so doing, it often give Greece good cause for offence. Fully aware of these internal problems and motives, the Greek side restrains, as best as it can, from aggravating the situation by indulging in public invective, unless openly provoked.

    On the "Macedonian nation"
    As already mentioned, the Greeks do not recognize that a "Macedonian nation" has been in existence for 13 centuries (sic), as the Yugoslavs claim. In taking this attitude they are consistent with history as there is no source either in the Byzantine era or during the Ottoman rule that has ever mentioned the existence of such a nation. It is well known, that Byzantine Emperor Vassilios II has been called the "Slayer of Bulgars" (Voulgaroktonos) and not the "Slayer of Macedonians". This is historical fact and cannot be disputed. On the other hand, various travellers, well as well as foreign consuls of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, frequently mention in their reports Bulgarians or Slavs. There is no mention of ethnic "Macedonians" whatsoever. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, during the Greek-Bulgarian struggle for predominance in the still Ottoman-held Macedonia, there was, of course, mention of Macedonians but only in the sense that they (Bulgarians or Greeks) were inhabitants of Macedonia.

    The conflict that occurred in the period of this st niggle 1904¬1908) among the various organisations - i.e. the Verhovists, who were guided by the government of Sofia and were seeking the integration of Macedonia in Bulgaria; and the "internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation" (IMRO), who advocated the creation of an autonomous Macedonian State - was not a conflict between Bulgarians and "Macedonians", but between unionist and autonomist Bulgarians. In other words, it was a debate similar to the one that was raised during the Cretan and Cypriot struggles for liberation between supporters of enosis on the one hand and self- government or independence on the other, respectively. As no one could attribute a separate Cretan or Cypriot national identity to the advocates of autonomy or independence, so no one could think of acknowledging separate "Macedonian" national consciousness to the followers of IMRO. During the period between the two World Wars, the communist parties of the Balkans spoke of the existence of "Macedonian" and "Thracian" peoples, but without a consistent set of arguments as to the distinctive national identity of these "peoples". The proof of this is that the "Thracian people" were never heard of again after World War II.

    On the "Macedonian minority" in Greece
    The concept of a "Macedonian" minority in Greece is a difficult one to grasp. It is indisputable that in the past there have been in Greece persons considering themselves to be Slavs, who declared themselves now as Bulgarians and now as Slav-Macedonians. After the Nazi occupation and the ensuing civil war these persons took refuge mainly in Yugoslavia. Once there, they were thoroughly indoctrinated in the new ethnic "ideology" and as a result they identified themselves with the local Slav population. In addition, a number of Slav-conscious Greek citizens, who did not flee to Yugoslavia emigrated to various overseas countries. Certain bilingual persons who chose to remain in Greece distinguished themselves as Greek patriots fighting against schemes to incorporate Greek Macedonia to neighbouring countries. These persons are totally integrated in Greek society and make a valuable contribution to the Greek nation's welfare and development. During the last 30 years, better communications and transport, improvements in education and rapid urbanisation, together with a much higher standard of living have dramatically reduced bilingualism. What does happen now is that Greeks in Northern Greece, active in the tourist business, are learning not just English, German or French, but also the various languages of Yugoslavia in order to cope with the unending flow of tourists coming to Greece from their neighbouring country.

    On the "Macedonian language"
    Until the Second World War, there was no such thing as a "Macedonian" language. The language spoken by the Slav-speaking inhabitants of northern Macedonia - i.e. regions of southern Yugoslavia and SW Bulgaria - was always considered to be a Bulgarian dialect. In regions bordering Albania, or in the northern border zone of Greece, it took the form of a local idiom replete with Albanian and Greek words, respectively. It was a spoken idiom with a poor vocabulary and no grammar or syntax. Indeed, the influence of Greek was such that Slavophone inhabitants in pre-war Greek Macedonia, could hardly understand natives of Sofia or Skopje.

    After the war, however, when the "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" was set up in Yugoslavia, the new regime there, made an all out effort, to raise the local dialect to the rank of a respectable language. Swarms of linguists, philologists and other such scholars converged in Skopje and set out first, to break off any lingering bonds between the language of Yugoslav Macedonians and Bulgarian. Their next step was to create a separate written language founded on the dialect spoken in central Yugoslav Macedonia as well as on massive borrowings from Serbian, Russian and other Slav languages. The language thus constructed was christened "literary Macedonian" and no sooner was it launched than it was recognized in the Yugoslav constitution as one of the three official languages of the Federation.

    Literary "Macedonian", however, has not managed to shake off, convincingly the Bulgarian connection. What it has done, is to become even less comprehensible to the few ageing Slavophones still living in the border areas and still able to speak their rather poor local Greco-Slav idiom.

    On "Macedonian history"
    Yugoslav scholars have completely re-written the history of Macedonia. By totally ignoring all factual evidence and all objective interpretations of such evidence, they have endowed their newly constructed nation with traditions, a culture, and a history appropriated from their neighbouring nations.

    Their theory that the ancient Macedonians were not Greek is not the outcome of a scientific reassessment of existing evidence but merely a tool to promote Macedonian separateness even at that remote era. It flies in the face of recent finds in Vergina and Dion of scores of tombstones all of which bear Greek names. These tomb¬stones, for instance, provide strong evidence of the Hellenic origins of the Macedonians, as it proves that even ordinary people not in any way connected with the royal family or the so-called "hellenised elite", bore ordinary Greek names like any citizen of Athens, Thebes or Sparta. As pointed out before, with the passage of time almost a millennium later, Slavs did settle in Macedonia eventually, but there has been no evidence whatsoever during the Byzantine Empire or later during the Ottoman Empire that any of these Slavs in any way merited singling out as a separate group and still less being labelled "Macedonians". Greek historians support the view of most foreign scholars that such Slavs as lived in Macedonia in the 19th and early 20th centuries considered themselves to be Bulgarians as a rule.

    Macedonia: A geographical term
    The area covered by present-day Yugoslav Macedonia can lay no valid claim to the use of the term Macedonia even as a purely geographical term. With the exception of a narrow strip, less than a hundred kilometers wide beyond the Greek border, this area was never part of ancient Macedonia. It would be historically more accurate to call this region Dardania. This argument is historically valid but it has lost much of its potency since, during the Ottoman period, the whole area as far north as Shar (Scardus) mountain (i.e. north of Skopje) became popularly - although unscientifically - known as Macedonia. Today, after Macedonia's liberation from the Turks in 1912-1913, the southern part equivalent to 51% of the whole constitute the region of Greek Macedonia. Approximately 39% belongs to Yugoslavia and, since 1944, constitutes the S. Rep. of Macedonia. Bulgaria hold the remaining 10%. The Greeks take offence when the Yugoslavs peddle the notion of Macedonia not only as a national, historical and geographical entity, but a trisected one, known under the regional names "Vardar Macedonia" (Yugoslav) "Aegean Macedonia" (Greek) and "Pirin Macedonia" ( Bulgarian). In the Greek view, "Greek Macedonia", "Yugoslav Macedonia" and "Bulgarian Macedonia" are more appropriate terms, as they clearly denote each region's identification with the state to which each belongs. The obstinate insistence on newly-coined terms which aim to show the unity of the geographical area of Macedonia and the temporary state of its "dismemberment", shake mutual confidence among neighbours, and revive suspicions about old-fashioned territorial pretensions.


    Posting this material for educational purposes (to see how, if at all, the Greek position vis-a-vis Macedonia and Macedonians has changed over the last few decades) and the MTO admins can delete or leave to stand this post at their discretion.

    Last edited by indigen; 09-12-2010, 05:09 AM.
  • Risto the Great
    Senior Member
    • Sep 2008
    • 15659

    Good point Indigen.
    It is well worth the exercise to compare how the Greek propaganda machine has evolved over the last 27 years.
    Risto the Great
    "Holding my breath for the revolution."

    Hey, I wrote a bestseller. Check it out:


    • fyrOM
      • Feb 2010
      • 2180

      Ahh…did you guys read this. The part from Introduction through to Macedonia Under the Romans says a few things very clearly. Wow we are all Greek lets grab a souvlaki and drink some Greek coffee and put all this nonsense behind us.

      I also like the bit

      The Slavic element is thus strengthened while the Slavic- Bulgarian language gains ground both in the North (i.e. in what is today Yugoslav Macedonia) and in the central region.

      Looks like the Greeks don’t really need a propaganda machine.


      • indigen
        Senior Member
        • May 2009
        • 1558

        Originally posted by Risto the Great View Post
        Good point Indigen.
        It is well worth the exercise to compare how the Greek propaganda machine has evolved over the last 27 years.
        The Greeks take offence when....the notion of Macedonia not only as a national, historical and geographical entity, but a trisected one, known under the regional names "Vardar Macedonia" (Yugoslav) "Aegean Macedonia" (Greek) and "Pirin Macedonia" ( Bulgarian). In the Greek view, "Greek Macedonia", "Yugoslav Macedonia" and "Bulgarian Macedonia" are more appropriate terms, as they clearly denote each region's identification with the state to which each belongs. The obstinate insistence on newly-coined terms which aim to show the unity of the geographical area of Macedonia and the temporary state of its "dismemberment", shake mutual confidence among neighbours, and revive suspicions about old-fashioned territorial pretensions.

        The above is worth noting in consideration of what some UNINVITED GODFATHERS of the Macedonian nation are aiming at.


        • George S.
          Senior Member
          • Aug 2009
          • 10116

          This thread shows how macedonia was one nation with one country & it was dismembered
          by the ravenous wolves.Some of the members at MTO go on & carry on as if macedonia is still one,the sad fact that they delude themselves & present wishful thinking.Macedonia at present is not one.We all hope that is the true macedonians that one day the whole of macedonia will be free that is all the dismembered pieces will come together & function as one!Also macedonia will one day we hope to be shown as one on the maps.
          "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
          GOTSE DELCEV


          • julie
            Senior Member
            • May 2009
            • 3869

            Originally posted by George S. View Post
            This thread shows how macedonia was one nation with one country & it was dismembered
            by the ravenous wolves.Some of the members at MTO go on & carry on as if macedonia is still one,the sad fact that they delude themselves & present wishful thinking.Macedonia at present is not one.We all hope that is the true macedonians that one day the whole of macedonia will be free that is all the dismembered pieces will come together & function as one!Also macedonia will one day we hope to be shown as one on the maps.
            Please explain your comment, am having difficulty grasping what you mean here
            "The moral revolution - the revolution of the mind, heart and soul of an enslaved people, is our greatest task."__________________Gotse Delchev


            • George S.
              Senior Member
              • Aug 2009
              • 10116

              Macedonia is only free at the moment in the srbian side "vardar" & not yet perhaps it's our hope that in future we get freedom for the rest of macedonia,then macedonia can be as one united as it was before 1913.All i'm saying don't take offence at this macedonia is not yet united like it was originally.Even though we wish & hope but the whole of macedonia is not yet freed.Julie i'm not saying bad things but it's the reality.Sooner or later greece will have to bite the bullet & grant human rights to macedonians living in greece that goes also for macedonians living in bulgaria & mala prespa in albania.I just hope you are not offended by that.Also i'm not saying it's wrong to think that macedonia is one
              at the moment everyone is entitled to feel how they like.Also in the threads we might mention about the status of the macedonian part held by greece that is an illegal holding & at no point do i advocate that there is more than one macedonia.There is only one Macedonia & don't you forget it,i haven't forgotten that & thank's for the reminder!.
              Last edited by George S.; 09-29-2010, 09:50 PM. Reason: edit
              "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
              GOTSE DELCEV


              • Stojacanec
                • Dec 2009
                • 809

                I'm not taking offence at the notion that Macedonia is not one at the moment. I am struggling however to understand how Macedonia is free from the Serbian side "vardar". What does that mean?

                serbians never owned Macedonia, it was annexed to Yugoslavia and Yugoslavia was never Serbia.


                • Bratot
                  Senior Member
                  • Sep 2008
                  • 2855

                  After 1913 the "Vardar" part of Macedonia was under Serbian occupation, untill 1944.
                  The purpose of the media is not to make you to think that the name must be changed, but to get you into debate - what name would suit us! - Bratot


                  • George S.
                    Senior Member
                    • Aug 2009
                    • 10116

                    In regards to ozimak comment that under the romans in the article it says we are greeks.In history we read that the macedonians were a distinct nation to greece that's why the romans named macedonia a sperate province to greece.In answewr to stojanec as bratot correctly pointed out that we were under occupation.A few of the older people will remember that we were under serbian control.There were a lot of harsh measures serbia took to harm the macedonian people.
                    Last edited by George S.; 09-30-2010, 04:21 PM. Reason: efit
                    "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                    GOTSE DELCEV


                    • Daskalot
                      Senior Member
                      • Sep 2008
                      • 4345

                      A very interesting post regarding the Greek mindset and propaganda towards the Macedonian nation.
                      Macedonian Truth Organisation


                      • George S.
                        Senior Member
                        • Aug 2009
                        • 10116

                        yes it is a good article.
                        "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                        GOTSE DELCEV


                        • Angliski
                          • Jul 2012
                          • 46

                          Greek propaganda

                          It would be helpful to some of us if someone can give us specific examples of where the above Greek history of Macedonia is wrong or distorted and where it differs from the Macedonian view of its history.



                          • Daskalot
                            Senior Member
                            • Sep 2008
                            • 4345

                            Originally posted by Angliski View Post
                            It would be helpful to some of us if someone can give us specific examples of where the above Greek history of Macedonia is wrong or distorted and where it differs from the Macedonian view of its history.

                            Welcome Angliski, sure but going thru it all will take some time. Is there some part that you are more interested in? So it would be easier to dissect.
                            Macedonian Truth Organisation


                            • George S.
                              Senior Member
                              • Aug 2009
                              • 10116

                              ok lets look at the greeks after the balkan wars.Macedonia was occupied militarily by the greek army.But they say that they liberated the lands from the ottomans.If that's the case how did they liberate it they simply took over & called it the occupied lands.So it was a land grab.It tried to hide the fact that there were living macedonians which was a majority population.Population exchanges the bringing ofprosfeges from turkey.The change of toponym names to greek.The changing of macedonian names,Macedonian forbidden to be spoken.Forced assimilations of macedonians.
                              Last edited by George S.; 07-12-2012, 05:58 AM. Reason: ed
                              "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                              GOTSE DELCEV