The first ever Foreign Affairs Minister of the Former Yugoslavia Republic of “Macedonia” (now known as “North Macedonia”) after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Denko Maleski, has caused an outraged in Skopje’s media.
As Republika wrote, Maleski “continues to denigrate Macedonia and the Macedonians.”
“A few days ago in a column he stated that Macedonians and Bulgarians were one people and that the Ilinden Uprising was an ordinary ‘revolt; of the Bulgarian population. Maleski in a statement to Bulgarian media now says that Gotse Delchev and Krste Petkov Misirkov were Bulgarians,” said Republika.
“When asked by the journalist what Gotse Delchev and Misirkov were, Maleski said that there are no doubts that they were Bulgarians,” meaning not “Macedonians.”
So what was the Ilinden Uprising?
The Ilindin Uprising was a Bulgarian revolt in the land we now call “North Macedonia” against the Ottoman Empire for independence, or at the very minimum, autonomy.
Despite historical revisionism from the usual suspect, there is little doubt that Delchev considered himself and his revolutionary comrades as Bulgarian and not a mythical separate “Macedonian.” Delchev is known as one of the most important figures in the Bulgarian struggle in Macedonia against the Ottomans.
Misirkov was another figure who identified as Bulgarian, but had conflicting thoughts on whether Macedonia should join Bulgaria or remain independent.
In another scathing statement that sent Republika into a frenzy, Maleski said “We are past the time when Macedonian history was protected by the powerful Yugoslav federation and could, without pressure, selectively choose the building blocks of the Macedonian nation, and could cross out the mentions of ‘Bulgarian’ and write ‘Macedonian’ instead.”
“You can now go to the New York Times and read their archives from 1903, where they write about the rebellion of the Bulgarian population in Krusevo during Ilinden. We have to adapt to a historic truth that in the past we were part of a same people,” Maleski concluded.
Bulgaria says the people of “North Macedonia” are Bulgarians who were stripped of their identity by Yugoslav authorities to serve two purposes:
- To legitimise Yugoslav claims on Greece’s north, especially the port city of Thessaloniki.
- To weaken Bulgarian identity so that the people would remain loyal to Yugoslavia and not call for unification with Bulgaria.
History proves the Bulgarian claims are correct, but unfortunately the people of “North Macedonia” are yet to wake up to this reality.