Sunday, November 16, 2008

Serbs of FYROM: Historical Presence and the Current Status

Serbs in FYROM are an extension from the central parts of Serbian ethnicity, related to archaic groups in Kosovo and Metohija as well to a larger degree, with the basin of river Morava. That Serbs are found among early medieval Slav settlers of the Vardar/Axios region is confirmed by sources which identify the city of Gordoservon in Asia Minor as founded by introduction of Serb captives from the aforementioned area. The exact nature and scope of this early Serbian settlement in FYROM is not known, but it can be safely assumed that it was minuscule and any demographic and ethnolinguistic influence was probably lost in the Byzanto-Bulgarian struggles of the next few centuries. Serbians established their massive presence in Povardarje (today’s FYROM) and parts of Macedonia (Northern Greece) after King Milutin’s conquest of Polog, Skoplje and Ovče Polje area in northernmost Povardarje in 1282. The catastrophic defeat of Bulgarians at the Battle of Velbužd (Ćustendil) in 1330 inflicted by the Serbian army removed the final challenge to Serbian authority in Povardarje. Conclusive with the act of coronation of Stephan Dušan in his capital Skoplje, Serbian population was implanted in both Pologs, in enclaves around Debar, in the wider regions of Skoplje and Ovče Polje and in small extent in Greek cities of Kastoria and Serres, which together with the southern area of FYROM compromised the part of Dušan’s Empire whose Greek character was observed as the cultural policy of the Nemanjić court. The period of the Serbian rule in Povardarje was characterized by strong cultural initiative in the domain of ecclesiastic art, primarily architecture. Several hundreds of Christian temples build or substantially reconstructed in the relatively brief Serbian period of Povardarje testify to the intensity and maturity of Serbian culture of the era. “Dušan’s Law”, a legal codex and a de facto constitution of the late medieval Serbian state proclaimed in Skoplje as well as the great number of manuscripts and epigraphic monuments produced in that era do not mention “Macedonians”, in contrast with other ethnic groups such as Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Bulgarians and Saxons. The abrupt end of Serbian domination of Povardarje came with the invasion of Ottoman Turks, a militant Asiatic tribe which confronted the Serb defenders at Marica (Černomen) in 1371 in a battle described by the contemporaries as clash of Serbs and Greeks against the Turks. Devoid of freedom and without centralist institutions, with the exception of the inclusion of northern FYROM under jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Peć in 17th and 18th century, Serbs as well as other local Christians were forced to the status of “dhimi”, marginalized and enslaved population that theoretically enjoyed scriptural protection granted by Muslim overlords. It would appear that there are the central trend in the history of FYROM was its De-

Serbization in cultural and demographic sense and the reemergence of the Bulgarian rural population. While this process was not either linear nor it is complete, in the light of total absence of works about the history, language and culture by science of FYROM organized along lines of Pseudomacedonian supremacy, few aspects of Serbian presence in early and middle Ottoman period deserve mention. Western and local Catholic sources generally acknowledge that Skoplje (today’s Skopje, the capital of FYROM) as well as Kratovo, a town located east from Skoplje, have a Serbian character. This was reported by Jakov Sorranzo in 1575, Martin Crusius and Aleksandar Komulović in 1584, Nicolo Longi in 1622, Bishop Peter of Sophia in 1665, Urban Cerri in 1680. Bishop Peter Bogdani in 1685, Bishop of Cotor Marin Drago in 1690 are more specific, mentioning Skoplje’s Serbian and Greek population. These ethnic groups are mentioned also by Bishop Matija Masarek in 1770 and 1790.Orthodox clerics Bratan Ivanov, Dimitrije Petrov and Mihailo of Kratovo were registered in historical sources as Serbs upon their arrival in Russia, during the middle phase of Ottoman rule. Furthemore, one of the most common male names among the Slavs of Povardarje registered by Turkish demographic records is “Srbin” (a Serb) which was popular even at the beginning of the 20th century. Undoubtedly, it was given as a way to express nostalgia for the Nemanjići period, the last Slavic epoch of freedom. The beginning of the last phase of De-Serbization of Povardarje started with the partial forced assimilation out of the circumstances created by the Serbian uprisings in 1804 and 1815 on the territory of today’s Serbia, when a number of Serbs took the Bulgarian ethnic name out of conformism. This phenomena was accelerated with the dying of Serbian schools in northern FYROM by the middle of the 19th century and their replacement by the school system of the Bulgarian Exarchate founded in 1871. The emancipation of the surrounding Bulgarian population, primarily as a reaction against perceived eminent status of the Greek clergy and the emerging class of Greek bourgeoisie in southern towns of FYROM further created preconditions for assimilation of the Serb population already weakened and marginalized from participation in the wider emergence of nationalist sentiments. It is only after beginning of propagandist activity sponsored by official Belgrade in the late 19th century and the appearance of Serbian paramilitary, the Četniks, after 1904 that the described process of ethnic melting was halted and partially reversed. It should be emphasized that the competition of nationalities in the Povardarje region in the closing years of 19th and the first years of 20th century caused more often than not a confusion with regard of self-determination of local individuals. Finally, the ideology of “Macedonism”appeared as an embrionic form and precursor to creation of the nominally “Macedonian” nation in Tito’s Yugoslavia after 1944, although in the preceding decades it was nothing more than intellectual concept nurtured among few people, in opposition of the all-pervasive Bulgarian national feeling south of Skoplje and north and eastern of Pelagonia registered by great number of foreign visitors and recognized by scholars as such. The Serb presence in FYROM in the closing decades of Turkish rule in Europe was nevertheless registered by travelers such as J. Muller, C. Robert, E. Spencer, I. S. Jastrebov, K. Ostreich and others. Among ethnographic customs the archaic and exclusively Serbian custom of “Krsna Slava”, festivity in honor of a Patron Saint, observed even today in spite of decades of Communist oppression of spirituality in general and the Christians in particular, serves as a certain marker of Serbian ancestry of a great number of “Macedonians” of South Slavic type, chiefly in northern and western Povardarje regions.

The legacy of decades of Marxist-Titoist concept of social organization in the Ex-Yugoslav republic and the post-1992 process of symbolic De-Slavization of the “Macedonian” identity in FYROM proved as an obstacle to consolidation of the Serbian identity at local level. The name “Macedonia” for a region belonging to the ancient regions of Paeonia and Dardania substituted the geographic name (southern) Serbia from the north of the country. Scholarship about the Serbian language, folklore and ethnology became non-existent due to the acquired reorientation of the public discourse towards building a fictional “Macedonian” identity rooted in classical antiquity. The presence of ethnic Serbs in FYROM, which numbers over 180. 000 people, mostly undeclared as such due to social pressure, was acknowledged by the constitution of the young Balkan nation only in 2002. Pressure towards Serbs in FYROM continues as an unofficial policy and as folkoristic phenomena according to which they are mixture of “colonists” from Serbia and other areas of former Yugoslavia on one hand and “srbomani”, I. e. “Macedonians” or Bulgarians – depending on the perspective – which converted into Serbianism and are, by implication, traitors from the “Macedonian” collective guided by opportunism. Such stigmatization is part of a broader policy of homogenization of the entities characterized by Orthodox Christian affinity, including Greeks, Greek-Vlachs and conscious Bulgarians, under the banner of Pseudomacedonian ideology. It remains to be seen are Serbs in FYROM going to prevail the local atmosphere of quiet dehumanization and “Macedonisation” in light of the phlegmatic attitude of Serbia with regard to cultural sponsorship of Serbian communities abroad. Modest successes regarding ethnic preservation and creation of ethnic metaphysical values after the change of the FYROMian constitution are encouraging signs, but complete revitalization of the local Serbian national culture can be achieved only in opposition to “Macedonizing” trends and creation of political appeal against national defeatism and fatalism. Vasko Gligorijević Skoplje, FYROM

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Slavic Settlement in Povardarje (FYROM) Reviewed: History, Ethnology and Politics

This article presents a brief outline of Slavic settlement on the territory of modern-day Povardarje - Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The current state of knowledge about the transformation of the ethnic character of this region in Middle Ages shall be restated. While summary of known historical events-or set of events, as is the case here, taking place from 6th to 7th century CE-are useful as orientation points within the body of historiography, concise narrative of this event is particularly necessary due to the confusion created by the adherents of Pseudomacedonian propaganda, both in FYROM and abroad. An atmosphere of denouncement and rejection of the Slavic ethnic aspect engulfed the general “Macedonian” population of FYROM. Motivated by impressive propagandist efforts based on ignorance, low self-esteem and a desire to impose an exclusive, pure “Macedonian” ethnogenetic theory for political purposes bordering on fraud, the propagandist managed to add to the identity-crisis among Slavs of FYROM. Also, the indolence of the organized scholars in FYROM deserves criticism: while they are competent to uphold the factual, documents based state of knowledge regarding the problem of early Slavs in the Balkans, not much has been done with the much needed upgrade of the theoretical base. The non-productivity of a rigid, too conservative methodology still broadly employed in FYROM is aggravated by either deficits or complete absence of anthropological, paleobotanical, paleoeconomical , demographic and technological studies. Not rarely, the form in which this issue is presented in school textbook and popular literature offers nothing more than oversaturation with crudely presented and well-known facts. The time is ripe for a new wave of research and publicist activity which may lead to a firmer, in-depth knowledge of what is a crucial point in region’s ethnodemographic history. The well founded historical fact about settlement of the Slavs in the Balkans today finds its opponents embodied in the pseudoscientist circles of FYROM lead by Aleksandar Donski, Tašo Belčev, Vasil Iljov, Vangel Božinovski, Aristotel Tentov, Tome Boševski and others. The most substantiated criticism of their collective body of work is its apriorism and obvious nationalistic bias in the process that appears to have outward form of a scientific inquiry but is unable to withstood serious criticism. In this article we shall summarize the main body of historical, archaeological and linguistic evidence about settlement of Slavs in the territory of modern day FYROM. A note should be made about Early Slavs and their original habitat. This is one of the most puzzling issues in Europe’s ethnic history. Principal Slavic homeland was sought from

Central Europe and the Baltic all the way to Danube and steppes of Central Asia. Today the most accepted theory supported by archeology and paleolinguistics (Slavic character of hydronymy, otherwise a remarkably conservative feature) is that the primitive area of formation and ethnic living of Slavs is to be sought between the Middle Dniepar and southern tributaries of the river Pripet. Another type of evidence is furnished by retention of the common Proto-Indo-European (PIE) words for birch, oak, ash, alder, aspen, elm, maple and hornbeam in modern Slavic languages. This fact conclusively establishes their homeland in the temperate zones north and northeast of the Carpathians. This would be the area of collapse of the Balto-Slavic linguistic commonwealth and crystallization of the Proto-Slavic, probably well before 1st millennium BCE. The most plausible theory about the origin of the ethnonym Slav (Slowene) is that it is derived from “slovo” (word, speech) having the meaning of “(people) who speak a same language”, in contrast to the ethnic name given by Slavs to Germanic peoples “Nemci” (speechless, mute, dumb people). Based on the archaeological and linguistic research, it may be deduced that Slavs retained a stability with regard to the occupation of their primordial space. Challenges related to the expansions and regrouping of the nearest ethnic groups, the Germanic people in particular by all likelihood caused a certain reorientation of the early Slavic society to a more stratified (but still without a centralized authority) form of organization which included a military aspects as evidenced by the Germanic loanwords signifying economic terms and weaponry. This early deficiency of basic military structuralism is evident from the fact that some of the terminology for certain types of arms in early Slavic is of Germanic origin: mečĭ “sword” from Gothic mēkeis, Helmŭ, Old Church Slavonic Šlěmŭ, “helmet” from Germanic helm, as well as military term vitȩdzĭ “knight” and *pǔlkǔ “military formation” from Common Germanic *fulkaz “armed troop”. The Slavic word for king/duke knez is derived from Germanic kuningas. Družina-the Slavic council of noblemen is probably a Scythian influenced formation. According to Procopius, Slavs were not ruled by a single men, but the lived in a democracy. The rule of a tribal chief and council is an Indo-European vestige. As a derivative of their mythology, the name of the god of horned animals “Veles” became a name of the town of Veles, south-east from Skopje. The cult of Veles-Volos was present in Russian folklore until recent times. The name of the supreme Slavic god, Perun, the god of thunder, cognate to Lith. Perkǔnas was given to the mountain peaks Perun on the Kozjak mountain, and Perun over the village Vitolište in Mariovo, both localities being in FYROM Scholars generally agree that the “Slavic problem” started with the Huns in the first half of the fifth century, although there is no firm historic or archaeological hypothesis. It is known that Slavs were in company of Attila’s Huns at whose funeral Jordanes mentions the feast as the Slavic word “strava”. Priscus, a Byzantine diplomat sent as envoy to the Huns, noticed that the people in Banat and Bačka drink “medos”, also a term with Slavic root. After the death of Attila, Hunnic tribes roamed between the Dnieper and the Ural mountains. From these, the Bulgarian groups of Kutrigurs and Utigurs raided Thrace, Macedonia and Thessaly from 493 to 517, a period after which the Slavic raid escalated in intensity. Procopius, in his work “About the Gothic Wars” mentions an event regarding German, a military commander: “When Justin, uncle by German’s grandmother, held the Imperial

throne, The Antes which lived quite close to Slavs passed through Danube and with a great army they went into the Roman land”. The ferocity as well as the magnitude of the attack is well presented by Procopius : “Illyricum and all of Thrace, i. e. the whole country from the Ionian Gulf [the Adriatic to the outskirts of Byzantium, including Greece and the Chersonese, was overrun almost every year by Huns, Slavs and Antae, from the time when Justinian became Roman emperor [527], and they wrought untold damage among the inhabitants of those parts. For I believe that in each invasion more than two hundred thousand Romans were killed or captured, so that a veritable ‘Scythian wilderness’ came to exist everywhere in this land. “ The Empire under Justinian started a mass program of establishing fortifications throughout the Balkan. According to Procopius, 11 cities had their fortifications significantly expanded. These measures were not sufficient not only to stop the Slavs, but the incoming raiders from Asia, the Avars. Organized around heavily militarized horsemen formations, the Avars were joined by Huns and Bulgars. Often aligned with Slavs, Avars managed to impose their own dynamics in the military relationships in the later half of the 6th century. Byzantine historian Menander Protectors states: “In the fourth year of Tiberius’s rule [578] , around 100. 000 Slavs ravaged Thrace and many other areas. . . . . Hellada was devastated”. The occupation of Sirmium by Avars in 582 and of Singidunum two years later marked the devastation of the Byzantine defense system. John of Ephesus states in his “History of the Church”[585] that Slavs attacked and devastated the Roman areas from Constantinople to Thrace, Thessaly and Hellada. With the murder of Emperor Maurice in 602, the possibility of concentrating the defense effort against Slavs, obtained after his victory over the Persian, was lost. A wholesale invasion and settlement of Slavs was to follow. The source “Miracula Sancti Demetrii” mentions how Thessaloniki was sacked and how all of Greece and the Aegean islands were attacked between 610-626. The tribes mentioned are Draguvites, Sagudates (perhaps a tribe of Hunnish origin) Velegezites, Vaiunites, Berzites (Brsjaci of modern-day FYROM?) and others. This book uses the term Σκλαβιναι in order to designate every land populated by Slavs. According to Bishop Isidore of Seville , the Slavs “took Greece from the Romans” (Sclavi Graeciam Romanis tulerunt”), which must be consider an exaggeration, since the highly fragmented and insular character of Greece in the narrower term of the word wasn’t convenient for mass settlement by Slavs , who used their primitive vessels, the monoxyles , to perform limited raids. The Slavic invasion ended before the middle of the seventh century. The scope of Slavic colonization is evident from the “Armenian geography” which mentions that Thrace and Macedonia, among other lands were populated by Slavs. Analysis of Slavic hydronyms in Bulgaria by the linguist V. Georgiev demonstrated that the bulк of Slavic river names are to be found in North-Western Bulgaria and Eastern Serbia, thus demonstrating the route of Slavic colonization via Vardar and Struma rivers. G. Pisida mentions the newly-introduced Balkan ethnic group as Σκλωοις. The source “Paschal Chronicle” from the first half of the VIIth century speaks about Σκλαβους. Theophanes the Confessor is the first author who mentions Sklavinias in relation to Macedonia (”Sklavinias throughout Macedonia”). Archaeological surveys of FYROM discovered a number of Slavic finds belonging to the earliest era of Slavic settlement. These are however, rare, due to poor fundings and primitiveness of local archaeology

Some of them are: Slavic pits for keeping grain with ceramic vases in Berovo, Prilep, BaÅ¡ino Selo near Veles. Belt application from St. Erazmo, Ohrid, Amphorae, Vases, Torc and fibulae from the same location, ceramic vases from Prilep. The monk Hrabar in his tractat “O Pismeneh” (9th century) uses the following terms to designate ethnolingustic realities of his time :словѢане (Slavs), словѢньскы (Slavic), словѢньскаа писмена (Slavic letters), словѢньскоу рѢчь (Slavic word), родь словѢньскыи (Slavic breed), словѢньскы книгы (Slavic books), по словѢньскомоу іазыкоу (in Slavic language). Teophilactus mentions that the brothers from Thessaloniki found “Slavic letters” (”Σθλοβενικα γραμματα”). The Pope John VIII issues a document in which he calls that language: lingua sclavinica, sclavina. After the colonization of Slavs on the area of FYROM, much of the old geographic terminology was replaced with Slavic names: towns of Struga, Ohrid (Lihnid), Velbužd (Pautania), Kičevo, Debar, Raven, Kočani, Radoviš, Prosek, Delčevo, Stena, Sokolec, Črnče, Trnovo, Modrič, Belica, Železnec, Dobrun, Črešče, Lukovica, SlaviÅ¡te, rivers Sateska, Bistrica, Lepenec, Pčinja, Kriva Reka, Treska, mountains Korab, Bistra, Belasica, Vodno etc. Slavic personal names attested in medieval period are: Bratan, Bratislav, Boleslav (cf. Polish. Boleslaw), Boleslava, Vladimir, Verota, Vŭlkan, Grdju, Dobri, Dobresin, Dobroslav, Dragomad, Desislav, Dragan, Draža, Krasna, Kurica, Litovoj, Milju, Miroslava, Obrada, Prodan, Prevo, Rado, Radoslav, Stana, Stano, Slava, Slav, Tihomir, Černikosa etc. From all of these matters combined we can conclude that the area of FYROM was indeed colonized by Slavic settlers who changed the ethnic make-up of the population, consisting mostly of Greek and Vulgar Latin speaking people. The Slavs were novelty to the Balkan peninsula which brought rudimentary material artifacts in their cultural inventory, but nevertheless managed to establish themselves demographically and later politically. The process of Slavic settlement from Eastern European core homeland to FYROM can be traced via historical, archaeological and linguistic evidence. The Slavic character of Pseudomacedonians is evident from their language, folklore and mythology. Slavs are not autochtonous population in Northern Geographic Macedonia, as some pseudo-scholars, motivated by aprioristic ideological fixations suggest. Vasko Gligorijević Further reading: Adžievski, K. “Pelagonija vo sredniot vek”, Skopje 1994 Antoljak, S. “Srednovekovna Makedonija”, Vol. 1, Skopje 1985 Backman, C. R. , “The Worlds of Medieval Europe”, Oxford 2003 Belderovski Z. , “Slovenski srednovekovni jami od Berovo”, Macedoniae Acta Archaeologica No 9, 1983-1984, p. 230-232 Dabinovic, A. “Early Balkan Migration”, Slavonic and East European Review 16 (1937-1938), p. 363-411 Dimevski, S. “Makedonskite opštestveno-kulturni tekovi vo feudalizmot”, Skopje 1981

Đerić, V. “Nekoliko glavnih pitanja iz etnografije Stare Srbije i Maćedonije”, Sremski Karlovci 1922 Gimbutas, M. “The Slavs”, London 1971 Haldon, J. “Byzantium at War, AD 600-1453”, 2003 Ilievski P. Hr. , “Pojava i razvoj na pismoto”, Skopje 2001, p. 233 Ivanovski, O. “Makedonskite Sloveni od VI do IX vek”, Skopje 1962 “Knjiga o Balkanu”, Vol. 1, Beograd 1936 Lunt, Horace G. “The Beginning of Written Slavic. ” Slavic Review 23, no. 2 (1964): 212-19 Obolensky, D. “Byzantium and the Slavs", 1994 Ostrogorski, G. “Vizantija i Sloveni”, Beograd 1969 Pančovski, I. G. , Panteonyt na drevnite slavjani i mitologijata im, Sofija 1993 Pohl, W. “Conception of Ethnicity in Early Medieval Studies”, p. 13-24 in: “Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings”, Ed. Little K. L. , Rosenwein, B. H. ”, 1998 Stefoska, I. “Slovenite na počvata na Makedonija”, Skopje 2002 “Vizantijski izvori za istoriju naroda Jugoslavije”, Vol. 1, Beograd 1955 Živković, T. “Sloveni i Romeji”, Beograd 2000 Zogović, S. “Etničkite zaednici vo Makedonija do krajot na raniot sreden vek”, Prilep 2001

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Death of Academic Honesty in FYROM: The Case of National Sciences

If any honest investigation is to be made into the question of academic competency regarding humanities in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to be made, a theoretical definition of the ethnocentrism in humanities has to be set a priori. By definition, exercise in humanities tend to embrace the cultural phenomena specific to anthropologically established social group, many of them having the hallmarks of identity and modes of interplay resembling to a certain extent the actual ethnic groups.

The plurality of postmodern liberal conceptualization of recent times and the revival for identity studies within the globalized framework of the Huntington’s theory of “Clash of the Civilization” as the predominant leitmotiv of variety of interaction revived interest in humanities from a pragmatist perspective. In the context of miniaturized, yet sufficiently articulated as set of traditional practices and institution within a single, monolithic interrelationships of the traditional humanities in FYROM, many ofvarious trends regarding the aforementioned revitalization are yet to manifest themselves within the provincial sphere of productivity of the national myths of Macedonism. Humanities in FYROM tend to be highly reflexive of the social zeitgeist that articulated itself after their inception in 1940’s. Doomed to a life of subservience to what history has demonstrated were grossly erratic Marxist doctrines, the chance of fresh start after the pluralization and liberalization promised by liquidation of the Titoist regime was soon wasted in fruitless effort to secure scholarly plausibility to the previously marginal idea of synthetic “Macedonian” history, which never existed as a coherent narrative of event which furnished the genesis of an alleged “Macedonian” nation. The typology of the phases of interaction of politics, common mentality as well as certain determinants goes\related to the development of ethnic sciences in FYROM in author’s opinion, through six phases: The first phase encompasses the period from 1944 to early 1960’s that saw a transition from the initial didactic propagation of “Ethno-Communism, the apologetic local genre into the more analyticalapplication of Marxist theories of economic determinism, in context of severe split from Serbian and Bulgarian roots of humanistic investigation. At the same period, the entire infastructure represented by Faculties, Museums, Institutes was created. According to the most prominent exponent of local national studies, “the Macedonian people is product of early differentiation from other South Slavs, based on adoption of the name “Macedonia”, which facilitated a set of discrete, yet present ethnic characteristics, that came to establish the “Macedonian” people in the 19th century. The second phase from early 1960’s to mid-1970’s, strongly supported by the Croatian historian Stjepan Antoljak, further straightened the narrative structure of the myth, enriching it with pseudoscientificstudies of middle age. Recognizing the Samuel’s state formation as the first “Macedonian” state and thus projecting the alleged continuity between the contemporary generation of Pseudomacedonians centuriesback, this mixture of politically correct doctrine based on falsification gave energy to wealth of speculations, which were massively produced with pretensions of genuine academic quality. Manyworks considered magnum opus of the Pseudomacedonian history, archeology, linguistics and philology were published in that period. Assertive translation and export of the domestic material was oftenmet with ridicule in the Western World, but nevertheless was a way to attract more foreign scholars for the purpose of obtaining a credibility from authority. The third phase from mid-1970’s to late 1980’s saw exponential rise of productivity and newly found interest in Paleobalkan studies, non-Marxist sociology and anthropology and publishing a number ofarchaeological as well as Byzant ological works. Emphasis was for the first time put on the construction of model of ethnicity which emphasized biological and to a certain extent cultural continuity in the formation of the “Macedonian” people. While Marxist rhetorics, preoccupation with the largely fictional epical presentation of WWII and Slavic studies were represented, they had a marginalized role, especially in the process of differentiation of FYROMian academia into three camps: conservative communist, ethnocentric liberal and pro-Serbian, the latter trend having a number of adherents after 1986. With the fall of the Titoist system and the subsequent disintegration of Yugoslavia, the

national humanities of FYROM restructured themselves into two camps: the “Ancient Macedonian” group ofhistorians which sought a wholesale revision of the national historiography and the transformed ethnocentric liberal. The fourth phase of historiography displayed the eclectic method of the both camps, the appearance of activity by amateur/dilettante historians which would exponentially rise in terms not only of production, but also in influence among the general public and idiosyncratic influx of greater number of approaches. These not rarely included non-sequitur and lack of polemic inclusion of multilateral views. The main trendscrystallized by mid-1990’s, adding to common outburst of national hysteria in conditions of challenged identity. The 5th and 6th phases are two subperiods in development of the contemporary clash of adherents of several methodological approaches: the commercial pseudoscience, often supported by sponsorship from the official academia, then the “mainstream” current based on models which propose a polymodal ethnogenesis, a school of thought which although of apparently more moderate type is nevertheless erroneous in some basic assumption that determine its lack of usability.The first phase coincide with the first government of VMRO-DPMNE, from 1998-2002 which manifested itself with several policies that modeled the development of the distinct flavor of academic thought. Among these were attempt of slow, but steady liberalization of cultural communication with Bulgaria which facilitated exchange of ideas and common projects. In terms of academy, it manifested itself with a number of works dealing with Bulgarian aspects of FYROMian history and ethnolingustic characteristics of the local Slavic population, although with strong provincial emphasis. The 2001 military conflict among local Slavs and Albanians and the implementation of egalitarian policies which strongly discouraged systematic ethnocentrism, but in practice shifted the energy of ethnocentrism into stronger emphasis of alleged exceptional ethnic character of the Pseudomacedonian population. Inaddition, an autarhic development of the Vlach ethnos was furthermore emphasized and resources begun to be mobilized into the support of investigation of its ethnology which never included the Greek aspectof this old Balkan entity. The process of De-Slavization of the history of FYROM accelerated during the revival of sociological and anthropological studies which shifted their working paradigm fromethnocentric to liberal, with forced egalitarian themes complemented by integrative policies within FYROM. Furthermore, the “Bulgarian Spring” period was obliterated with withdrawal of official support in terms of state sponsorship, further degrading the status and eminence of the authors which stood by rationalist principles. The trend in national sciences, established with these tectonic social changes andescalated since the 2006 elections, are the following: 1. The principle of dialectic debate is replaced by dogmatic selection of preexisting data. 2. The local school of Slavic studies is based on senior authors and lack of interest by the general public for Slavic-related aspect of their identity, insofar its members recognize such identity which often more is no more the case. 3. The Bulgarian position has a stable, but marginal support by small number of authors and remains actively opposed by a de facto governmental policy. 4. Scholarship regressed to the early false dichotomy of defending the “uniqueness” trough real and imagined arguments for defense of ethnic typology.

5. Fictional kinship with the Ancient Macedonian is vigorously defended and is outside of any polemical realm, having obtained a monopoly in perception of the plebeians in FYROM. 6. Themes of even greater, pre-Indo Europian antiquity rooted in the Neolithic era are making their occasional appearance, stirring public sentiments of ethnic supremacy. One final observation should be made: while relatively adequately founded, the Academia in FYROM is strongly correlated with the policy makers, existing in authoritarian atmosphere in place where ethos ofcritical individuality is almost non-existing. Decades of mismanagement of funds which accounts for poorly equipped infrastructure and limited access often even to capital scholarly publication together with a tendency of overproduction of cadres also contribute to the current conformism, coupled with a common,commercially-driven outlook In conclusion, the only way to secure a restoration of FYROMian academia and restitution of the national science is formulation of a more idealist working philosophy. Cultural policy of layman education less depended on state centralism, but on grassroots activism by individuals and groups which realize the absurdity is needed and should be strategically implemented. The atmosphere of doctrinal populism is the major obstacle to the realization of capital works and communication between the intelligentsia to the people. The alternative is a stagnation and continuous isolation of those whoinvested their being into liberal arts investigating the real nature of identity, but opted not for truthful formulation but for an futile exercise of creating and supporting the construct of a fictional nationality. Vasko Gligorijević Skoplje, FYROM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Pseudomacedonian Ideology: Its Narrative

The Macedonian Issue is one of most significant and yet least understood cultural conflicts in modern Europe. It involves concepts which differentiate it from being a classic geopolitical crisis, many of which are easily, if not completely, explained by their economical aspects coupled with the archaic, recurring themes of expansion as augmentation of the assertive side’s space and resources. The Macedonian Issue of modern type demands other approaches towards rational its understanding. In brief, the conflict emerged from the dissolution of Yugoslavia in early 1990’s when the young Balkan nation which gained recognition in the United Nations as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia challenged the integrity of neighboring Greece. This is a continuous pattern of behavior practiced not via direct, military confrontation or hostile action in terms of economic and other forms of pressure but through attempts at creating fake historical narratives as a reason d’ etre of the entire social life within FYROM. This mentality is also evident in a more pronounced manner within the Slavic part of its diaspora (it should be noted that while “Slavic” correctly designates the ancestry and the language of FYROMian, all affinity towards Slav ethnic heritage as well as self-recognition as a part of the Slavic group of peoples are almost completely extinguished). The basic concepts of the Pseudomacedonian irredentism may be reduced to following political and cultural policies:

1. The “Macedonian” people have unbroken cultural lineage with Ancient
Macedonians, a Paleobalkan group whose Hellenic ethnocultural quality is zealously denied, which came into worldwide prominence in the era of Phillip II and Alexander III with creation of the first truly global empire. This idea had no precedent in the cultural and education policy of Yugoslav federation from 1944 to 1991 which favored Slavic ethnogenetic narrative, although within the a historiographic context based on communist ideology, 19th and 20th century military and economic history was favored. In today’s FYROM, the hardline advocates of this idea surpassed the “fusionist” theory according to which Slavs “took the torch” by obtaining the ethnic name and folklorist traits from the Ancient Macedonians. Indeed, one has to wonder, if Slavs truly amalgamated with the Macedonian population (which was, 900 years after Alexander, completely homogenized regarding the language, identity and way of life under high Byzantine culture of Greek type). Any erudite observer of this ethnogenetic theory is left to wonder: “if such ethnic fusion occurred, how came that neither Bizantine contemporaries registered the process, nor the presence of a new,

“Macedonian” ethnic group, north of one of greatest political, economic and cultural centers of the Empire, Thessaloníki”? How come that such “Macedonian” ethnic groups failed to instill itself in the memory of peoples from surrounding ethnic groups prior to the XXth century? All this given the fact that the areal of Slavic people of FYROM until quite recently in terms of Balkan history overlapped with all of its neighbors which had no reasons not to include “Macedonians” into the corpus of their documents and literary works if there was such population with which they would obviously have interaced. The silence of history regarding the existence of a “Macedonian” group of Slavicspeakers in their alleged formative years speaks volumes. Consequently, the narrative in which leaps are made from ancient history of the neighboring Greek region to 19th century speculations of the first Protomacedonists is a prevailing form of contribution to the identity discourse.

2. The second point, with quite recent origin, on which the Pseudomacedonian
historiography is based, is that the migration of Slavs, an event from 6th and 7th century CE attested by history and archeology as well as th evident linguistic Slavization of the geographical names throughout most of the Balkan peninsula, never took place. Instead, Pseudomacedonian historians claim that “Slavic migration” was actually a fabrication from Communist Moscow and Belgrade designed to keep the least developed Yugoslav republic in a political status quo. The persistent urban myth that the Yugoslav regime “forbade” archaeological and historiographic research of Ancient Macedonia is easily refuted by simple bibliographic research. The inability by Pseudomacedonian thinkers to explain the existence of other Slavic nations which use languages that have a great degree of mutual intelligibility with standard FYROMian forced them to invent bizarre theses: one of them holds a position that Slavs are descendants of deserters from the Macedonian army in Alexander’s time, another theory states that a wholesale conversion of Slavs to “Macedonian” language as a result of Cyrilo-Methodian and other missions took place, then there is a theory postulating genesis of Slavic-speaking areas in situ and so on. Once a result of spare-time activity by extremist elements of the diaspora, its status changed with the proclamation during the recent ordination of FYROM’s top prize for scholarship, the “23. October” awards, that today’s language of Slavs in that state has Ancient Macedonian language as its ancestral form. Such stance became official with this act and will determine the future allocation of human and material resources in the relevant scholarly disciplines. Undoubtedly, such regressive, anti-scientific attitude will lead to further deterioration of the already minuscule credibility of entire culture-contemplating intelligentsia in FYROM. What would be in another context just an exercise in quasimythological ramblings by small and marginal group of sensationalist authors, a genre belonging to the countercultural movements which are to a certain degree found everywhere, since 1992 became a dogmatic credo, criticism of which is halted by the oppressive social conditions prevalent in VMRO-DPMNE’s FYROM. Needless to say these theories were never considered as a welcome alternative to the current state of knowledge in relevant peer-reviewed journals outside FYROM, let alone taken as plausible. The decisive action undertaken by the ruling political party regarding the propagation and subsidizing the process of building identity framework via manipulation of history, public education and creation of symbols caused understandable reactions in

Greece. These are in turn locally articulated in the progovernmental media as displays of Greek extremism against which only a rightist, “defiant” political option can provide consolidation. What has been until quite recently only a relatively lucrative niche business, by a small number of amateur authors without any relevant education, slowly rises as a trend designated to impose itself as a pattern of self-legitimation. The Cominternecreated ethnocentric, national-communistic model could have been liquidated in the first years of independence of FYROM and replaced with restitution of the traditional and well-attested Bulgarian, as well as Serbian identities. Instead, it became a developed, robust system of popular self-identification. Being upgraded from the methodologically flawed explanation of cultural development by Titoist theoreticians, the ideology of Pseudomacedonism became a secular religion based on blind faith. Its defeat will not depend just on diplomatic pressures from abroad but on energetic confrontation from inside based on might of the facts and plausible opinions formed in accordance with them. Vasko Gligorijević Skoplje, FYROM

Sunday, November 30, 2008
FYROM: How a Lie was Imposed as the Supreme Reality
The nominally “Macedonian” nation of FYROM emerged as a byproduct of Yugoslavia’s dissolution in the 1990’s and suffered a major transformation of the internal relationships after the US-supported uprising of its Albanian population in 2001 which led to a de facto confederalization of the country. As of late 2008, it is led by the charismatic ex-boxer Nikola Gruevski surrounded by a clique of young politicians. Plagued by chronic unemployment standing at the rate of 35%, with economy characterized by collapsing light industry based on primitive technologies and decaying public infrastructure, the nationalistic government of VMRO-DPMNE failed to attract any substantial foreign investments. Most of its economic policies failed to raise the public standard based on average salary of barely 300 USD. At the same time analysts predict that the consequences of the Global financial crisis are yet to

strike FYROM, raising the issue of further deterioration of the prospects for decent livelihood. The main-although progressively marginalized ethnic group-in FYROM are the “Macedonians”, a nation postulated by the Communist internationale in 1934 and created by policies of Josip Broz, Communist’s Yugoslavia strongman after 1944. A basic historical review of their ethnicity reveals that prior to 1941, when the Bulgarian army, invading the remains of royalist Yugoslavia, was greeted euphorically by the local population, this population considered itself Bulgarian and led a combined struggle of civil disobedience and guerrilla warfare against Belgrade in order to achieve either annexation to Bulgaria or a transitional autonomous state with Bulgarian preeminence. Further exploration of the past reveals an ubiquitously attested in historical sources Bulgarian character, an impression complemented with the peculiar character of the local Slavic language which shares features with standard and dialectal forms of the Bulgarian language proper which set it quite radically apart from all Slavic languages. While this ethnic group to a various degrees assimilated in the last two centuries a certain number of Serbs and Vlach/Aromanians (the latter having historically a Greek consciousness), this is almost irrelevant to its ethnological and linguistic qualities which are almost identical as the Bulgarian vernacular. The other large population in FYROM is the Albanian. Compromised from descendants of the Paleobalkan ethnic group of Dardanians which was to a certain extent influenced by Roman culture and Latin language and which took refuge in the mountains of present-day north Albania (”Ghegnia”) in late antiquity/early middle ages, the Albanians which converted to Islam under Ottoman rule spread to Kosovo and western FYROM in 17th and 18th centuries. Today, in FYROM, they number near 600. 000, with a compact presence in the towns of Tetovo, Gostivar and Debar and representing a significant population in Skoplje, Kumanovo, Kičevo and Struga. Cherishing an archaic formalized code of conduct based on family and clan loyalty, ethos of reciprocity and obligation, Albanians have been historically more successful than the Bulgarians/”Macedonians” in preservation of means of private entrepreneurship and achieving a more vertical socio-economic stratification coupled with elaborated social network designed to minimize contact with the “Macedonian” non-Muslim population. Among both the “Macedonians” and the Albanians, collectivist, anti-individualist attitude is deep-seated. Within the daily affairs of both ethnic groups there is a strong reverence for authority and hierarchy. The notion of “state”, a concept held identical with the actual government, which has to be obeyed and respected and which represent the supreme reality in which any individuality is lost is particularity prominent among the “Macedonians” having its root in their quite recent and long-lasting premodern feudal historical phase. It is no wonder that having realized that after the 2001 conflict and the subsequent signing of the Ohrid Agreement they lost the privileged status and that both factually and symbolically they cannot cherish the FYROMian state as their own, the elite of the “Macedonians”, realizing that any confrontation with the Albanian factor would be too dangerous, designed a national idea with the purpose of keeping the wider “Macedonian” public mobilized against nonissues. This recent idea is composed of the recycled concept of “Macedonian autonomism”-Bulgarian idea that that any initiative of the Slavs of Geographic Macedonia has to be labeled “Macedonian” in order to gain sympathies by deciding external political factors and the concept of “Ancient Macedonism”, the idea that the Slavs of FYROM are direct descendants of Ancient Macedonians. The idea of “Macedonian autonomism” needs no further explanation of its perfidiousness and absurdity. Regardless of the trick character of the concept it still remains a doctrine of the

Bulgarian nationalist originating from FYROM: The Bulgarians of Geographic Macedonia should claim that although their singular ethnic identity is the Bulgarian one they are, nevertheless, the exclusive Macedonians. As late as 1960’s this doctrine was restated by the leader of VMRO Ivan Mihailoff with the words “the name Macedonia should be preserved because it is a thorn in the eyes of Greeks and Serbs”. The enormous success of the idea of “Ancient Macedonian continuity”, which originated among the most primitive sections of FYRO Macedonian emigration in 1970’s (in Sweden, Australia and Canada) needs careful analysis. Although the fallacy of the crude ethnogenetic theory which claims that the “Macedonians” of FYROM and elsewhere speak the tongue of Phillip II and Alexander the Great and that their customs, folklore and other aspects of the culture are either intact or evolved form of the civilization of Ancient Macedon is quite easy refutable, this is not the case in the current conditions under which the national discourse articulates itself in FYROM. Briefly, Ancient Macedonians were a Greek entity with Greek ethnic name, using exclusively a Greek Doric dialect and later Koine Greek and practicing the same Olympian religion with the rest of the Greek. Ancient Macedonians participated at the Olympic Games, where only Greek were allowed to compete and had theaters on the soil of Macedon, an uniquely Greek concept. All names of Macedonians (with several exceptions) are Greek as confirmed by their Greek etymology. Conclusive to 2008, no scholar outside FYROM has even remotely claimed that the language and culture of Ancient Macedonians are an ancestral type of the present-day FYRO Macedonians, which are descendants of Slavs, an ethnic group originating from North-East Europe. Slavs settled the Balkans from 5th to 7th century and the FYRO Macedonian tribes were homogenized under the rule of the Turkic horsemen tribe of Bulgarians. These Slavs never called themselves “Macedonians”, while Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ottoman sources as well as western travelers and others failed to furnish any reference to a “Macedonian” ethnic group prior to late 19th century. The issue of the ethnic, cultural and linguistic nature of the Ancient Macedonians deserves a wider and detailed expose, referenced and structured according to the scientific method. However, in light of the present state of knowledge, based on the enormous archaeological wealth and a plethora of historic sources, modern historiography universally accepts the conclusion that Ancient Macedonians were Greeks. The key issue with regard to the “Macedonian” nationalism is how the opposite and improbable conclusion could became a “valid” and all-pervading form of public discourse and the root of national self-identification. The problems arouse with the way in which the totalitarian VMRO-DPMNE government energized the masses among which the national confusion brought by media exposure of contradictory data grew. Firstly, it reactivated the conflict with Greece by multitude of irredentist moves. Secondly, within FYROM it carried massive policy of introduction of Ancient Macedonian symbols (names of institutions, statues) after the expected and natural Greek negative reaction. The population, feeling threatened, mistook the attitude of aggressive “Macedonization” sponsored by the government as “defiance” against a hostile state (the hostility of which was precisely provoked by FYROM’s initial provocations). Capitalizing on the fact that the vast majority of the general population does not have neither a capability nor a will for sustained scientific research regarding ethnology, history and linguistics, the government managed to capture attention of the whole body of citizens. One can presume that the sheer authority the organized government yields in a conformist society where libertarian principles of critical thinking and individual self-reliance regarding the process of opinion-forming are practically absent is sufficient to impose an entirely absurd idea of identity. In FYROM it is unchallenged by organized bodies from which a better knowledge of the true state of affairs might be expected, including universities, institutes,

museums etc. With the sole exception of Internet, all electronic and printed media are participants in government’s monopoly over identity dogmas. Only few individual voices of distaste and revolt against the lies have insofar voiced their concerns (Denko Maleski, Petar Hr. Ilievski) but they got a hostile, unsympathetic public response. While the prospect of organized challenge of the pro-governmental stances regarding the identity issues is something expected given the conventional political dynamics within pluralist societies, this is not quite a case. Nikola Gruevski achieved dominance of his party by calling premature elections in 2008 at the time of peak in the approval rating of his first mandate caused by populist measures. That gave him an unprecedented might against which FYROM has no institutionalized mechanisms of control. Furthermore, in a state of affairs whereby the larger part of the Slavs have abandoned their Bulgarian and Serbian culture in belief that they represent a separate ancient ethnicity in a category of its own, creators of the policy of the opposition (led by the leftist SDSM party) must carefully measure their words of opposition to the lavish Pseudomacedonian rhetorics, since they may be branded as “traitors” given the appropriate circumstances. Consequently, in such occasion they would find themselves ostracized from the ongoing debate. This leads to the conclusion that the solution to the Pseudomacedonian hysteria which totally dominates public life in FYROM is not only confined to the change in the internal situation which may come as a result of economic collapse or a full-scale civil war, but also from strong pressure from outside which would enable FYROM to conform itself to reality and to rational way of conducting cultural policy. The reign of VMRO-DPMNE, characterized by collectivist, group-centered policies, extensive role of the police in society, new legislature sponsoring religious education, subsidizing biological procreation with wealth redistribution, enforcing ethics of service to the “common good”, emphasizing the feral, folklorist and medieval aspects of local national culture in opposition to modern as well as apolitical high culture, is the greatest political catastrophe FYROM faces in early 21st century. A hope remains that the Slavs of FYROM will reject the artificial and overbearing attempts to instill a connection with chronologically and ethnically distant Greek kingdom as well as to make history the most important aspect of their everyday lives. Only through enduring action from within and from abroad the local state-worshiping, centrally-planned tribal way of life may be liquidated and replaced with a political system based on freedom, a change which will forever put the era of Pseudomacedonism behind, as a doomed ideology based on lies Vasko Gligorijević Skoplje, FYROM

Tuesday, December 09, 2008
VMRO Reign in FYROM: Europe's Only Modern-Day Fascist Regime by Vasko Gligorijević
The ultranationalist regime of the "Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization" (VMRO), an awkwardly and anachronistically named rightist political party of FYROM is likely to reach the zenith of its autocratic practices within the first quarter of 2009. The merciless wave of the Global economic crisis, although slightly curbed by measures in US and EU is likely to hit the economy of the small Balkan state throughout the winter, the period of the greatest expenditure of home budget. This will negatively adverse on Gruevski's rating due to the prevalent mentality in FYROM that the government rather then the Free market is responsible for living standards ups and downs. Yet the reason for the fall from the grace are not to be sought in economy only. The expected withdrawal of support by official Washington after the takeover of Presidency by Barack Obama to Skoplje will add to the lost of support for government by the local Slavic population. The quite naive belief cherished internally that FYROM has a priority position in US Foreign policy on pair with Israel and South Korea, based on oil pipeline project and building of a CIA station of imposing capacity in Skoplje's center, slowly fades within this small Balkan population of 1.200.000 indoctrinated for nearly two decades with belief of its exceptionalism and global importance. So far, what remains is to assess the legacy of two years of VMRO's reign of terror within the puppet-state. The most important aspect is the complete destruction of any possibility of good relationships, primarily with neighboring Greece (the name or rather, identity theft issue) and Serbia (the recognition of "Kosovo"). Relationships were uneasy with Bulgaria, regardless of the fact that the ruling VMRO also has a Bulgarian nationalist aspect. The only neighbors

with which the young Balkan people has any substantial ties and mutual sympathies are Albania and Kosovo, although VMRO, representing FYROMian Slavs is in a state of latent civil war with its numerous ethnic Albanian population, numbering nearly 30% of the population. Unlike Serbia and Bulgaria, there are no Russophile thinkers in FYROM due to the fact that the population, termed "Macedonian" ceased to consider itself Slavic for a host of political and cultural reasons. Instead, it claims continuity with the Ancient Macedonians, a Greek tribe unrelated anthropologically, linguistically and cultural with present FYROMian population, inhabiting in antiquity mostly the region from southern borders of FYROM to the Aegean Sea around Greek port of Thessaloníki. Turkey, an Asiatic power which enslaved FYROMian peoples for 500 years in a most brutal way imaginable is FYROM's preferred strategic political and military partner in the wider region. Not much sense can be made from this absurd realpolitik except through the perspective of Pseudomacedonian "archaeological nationalism". Reminiscent of Mussolini's and Ceausescu's grandomania, the practitioners of Pseudomacedonism put emphasis on revival of real or imagined ancient ancestral links via extensive public propaganda, sporting of ancient symbols, erection of forceful, imposing exemplars of architectural and plastic art evocative of glorious past, but out of place and any meaningful context. The VMRO of today is not much unlike its predecessor, the historical VMRO (18931934). The Bulgarian terrorist organization created a fame in the world by being as ferocious in guerrilla warfare and assassination campaign against Serbia, later Yugoslavia as it was known for fratricidal campaigns for internal power. Based on income gathered by racketeering, VMRO integrated itself with the regular Bulgarian army in both Balkan wars (1912-13) and WWI, being responsible for the 1917 massacre in Toplica, Serbia, when 14. 000 civilians were slaughtered by "komitadjiite", the squad men of VMRO. Puzzled by the usage of terms "Macedonia" and "Macedonians" in organization's document, younger generations of the "Makedonci" people erroneously think that this organization was centered around ethnic, categorical "Macedonism" segregated from Bulgarians and all other peoples, a notion rejected by the multitude of recorded statements and literature produced by members of the original VMRO. The name "Macedonian" is simply a Bulgarian subterfuge used to create impression of native character of the VMRO struggle and to reject accusation of Bulgarian irredentism. Such "Macedonian" character was cherished by VMRO groups operating in Communist Yugoslavia so that they could gain confidence of Anti-Communist governments which would lack if they proclaimed direct unification with Bulgaria, then a dogmatic Warsaw pact country, as a goal. US Department of State initially classified VMRO, then an emergent "Macedonian" organization during 1990 as a terrorist organization, but it remains a mystery why that suitable label was withdrawn later. Today's VMRO most staunchly defends a continuity with the historic VMRO, listing the friend and ally of Adolf Hitler and Ante Pavelic, the Bulgarian VMRO leader Ivan Mihailoff (1896-1990) as its ideological predecessor. Unlike other current and former terrorist organizations in Europe, whose strategists were subtle enough to create differently named civil wings for the purpose of negotiations and other political affairs, the fact remains that VMRO is the only authentic terrorist organization in power on European soil, albeit elected in a (quasi)democratic way. The only significant difference which shapes the way modern-day VMRO articulates itself is that today, "komitadjii" have traded uniforms for suits, mountain shacks and caves for offices, donkeys for limousines. The Bulgarian core of the organization is evident on close inspection: while vast majority of its members, mislead by the atmosphere of decades-old, powerful, "Macedonizing" propaganda and especially its nebulous escalation,

the "intellectual wing" is still "Crypto-Bulgarian". One recalls the essayist and poetic phase of Antonio Milososki, current Minister of Foreign Affairs, marked by allusive, yet firm, often emotional Bulgarian patriotism. DRUM, a minor explicitly Bulgarian party led by A. Milenkovski and A. Čibišev was absorbed in VMRO-DPMNE in 2006, a process which failed to gather comments. Miroslav Rizinski, one of the unofficial leaders of Skoplje's small right-wing Bulgarian element currently preoccupied with commemorations and anniversaries, was a high-ranking member of the current administration and member of VMRO-DPMNE regardless of his vehement denials of a "Macedonian" nation. Crypto-Bulgarism, which manifest itself, curiosly, not with affirmative statements of Bulgarian ethnicity but with denial of non-Bulgarian ones, the absurd practice of "našisam", (a territorial variant of nostrism which claim that every historical non-Muslim person born on soil of Geographic Macedonia regardless of actual ethnicity is "ours"-"naš"), thus, remains the spirit of the VMRO leadership. The repressed, or rather "auto-repressed" conscious Bulgarian element of FYROM, which numbers today perhaps about 200. 000 people, mostly in Eastern FYROM, deserves its national emancipation. The current constellation of CryptoBulgarism for internal and "Ancient Macedonian" nationalism for external purposes, nevertheless, continues to exercise command in the realms of national and cultural politics. Without a "Macedonian" identity, the symbolism of sovereignty over municipalities in Western FYROM in which the Albanian element has not rarely an overt demographic majority would cease to exist. Indeed, "Macedonia for Macedonians", if one agrees with the absurd notion that Slavs of FYROM are "Macedonians", may sound logical. "Macedonia for Bulgarians", however, is not exactly a slogan which can be stated to the world with a straight face. Just as somebody may leave his true identity in a confines of a bank in order to perform a fraud and then revert to one's true person moments after, so the identity theft by Pseudomacedonians is designated to evoke sympathies of the public and governments of the Great powers. This trick was also employed by Tito's Yugoslavia in order to propagate a myth of a "dismembered people" with a "lost and unredeemed homeland". Taken to an extreme of farcical proportions by modern day nationalist in FYROM, it is the backbone of continuity of politics based on misinformation directed both inside and externally. This politics is aimed against Serbs of FYROM as well as those Slavs who are determined to remain nonBulgarians. The former could react more directly if open, public program of Rebulgarisation ever becomes a reality. The later could join the Serbs and both could ask for secession in favor of Serbia. It is likely that the Pseudomacedonian political clique will attempt to homogenize the Serbophile and Serbian element within the broader "Macedonian" nation. The Pro-Serbian party has already been excluded from the public discourse about history and ethnicity which is replaced by the false dilemma of "Ancient Macedonism vs. Bulgarism". The 160.000 strong Vlach group, residing chiefly within the Pelagonia region of southern FYROM, mostly semi-assimilated has been encouraged by the centers of power to create a nationalism of its own, separated from any Greek affinity of a type formerly prevalent among this community.

In retrospective it is easily to deduce that VMRO has all the characteristic of a fascist regime, not only in terms of conforming to historic political archetypes but also possessing peculiarities which, nevertheless, are perfectly explained with Fascism's most ubiquitous feature: forced sacrifice of oneself to the altar of the Ethereal State via continuous reform imposed by the Top Leadership/the Big Government. Some formulaic and not so formulaic hallmarks of VMRO regime in FYROM:

1. Declared usage of a conservative-clerical model designed to impose social tranquility and complacency and to provide a social fabric based on units larger than the individual. Restriction on social drugs, alcohol, tobacco consumption. 2. Historicism, not only reminiscent to the types present in historical regimes of modern times, but of a more bizarre, eclectic, pompous type. 3. Effective modernization, sustained program of upgrading of the police and security agencies, without or with very liberal judicial mechanism of power control, insufficient to provide civilian control over this instrument of power. Spectacular overkill arrests of nonviolent alleged criminals, with "accidentally" televised scenes of weapons and might display. 4. Grip on journalism through pressure, draconian laws and integration of the loyalist media into state's giant megaphone. An extensive program of TV and magazine budget-payed advertising of the "successes" of the government, in essence a prolonged pre-election campaign. 5. Enforcement of a 1996 totalitarian law that forbids private research and foundation of private institutes and projects studying the identity cultures of peoples living within FYROM. 6. Politicization of groups of virile, ultra-nationalist young men (reserve troops, sport hooligans), making a standing Praetorian guard of them. 7. Nationalist-Clerical public primary education, obligatory in essence. 8. FYROM's own Micro-Imperialism designed to dominate the North Aegean and to be dominated by USA, the later trend likely to be abolished from January 2009 onward. While plenty in the development of internal relationships in FYROM remains to be seen and are yet to be studied, certain calls to actions come to the mind. It is clear that the individual will never have a peace of the mind in the vertically stratified command-type society of FYROM. The genocide of Bulgarians is the single greatest atrocity in FYROM, perpetrated by Pseudomacedonians, a number of which have Crypto-Bulgarian tendencies but the implementation of which is likely to prove itself fatal. Hellenism is the largest external victim of Pseudomacedonism: both as a colossal historical legacy and as a living reality, its symbols are expropriated zealously by Pseudomacedonians. The territorial pretension of FYROM against Greece are real, although they may seem in their preparatory phase as of now. The Slavs in general and the Serbs in particular are also threatened with their forced incorporation into the VMRO's Big Brother State. What remains to be done? As of now, no opposition worthy of name exist in FYROM. Public voices against the regime are rare. Hope remains that the world, drawing analogy between the consequences of actions undertaken by the doomed ideologies of the past, will awake. The world has an obligation to stop FYROM from being the trouble-maker of the Balkans and a source of major instability which could affect the wider region. The regime may implode, or even get overthrown by the dissatisfied masses. Yet apocalyptic scenarios are not necessary part of the solution-bringing equation. What is certain is that a long process of detoxification of entire FYROM must follow the fall of VMRO. Old politicians must be banned from any participation into politics. The educational system should be reformed, while the public culture sector should be privatized as much as possible and reformed. The collective delusion should be brought to an end through a public program. If reformist forces from within, ready to invest effort into the enterprise of DeVMROvisation, fail to be up to the task or even fail to appear, the

International, primarily European Community should step in and impose order. Only through a fall of Gruevski and his clique a full restoration of freedom-based values in FYROM may occur and fresh solution to the identity-crisis of the troubled Pseudomacedonian Balkan nation may be found. The one thing that is sure is that time is of essence and the time is getting late.

Monday, December 15, 2008
University Education in FYROM: The Production of Pseudomacedonian Historiography

Vasko Gligorijevic "Slavic Philhellenic Network" December 10, 2008 In relation to problem of Pseudomacedonian indoctrination, a particular importance is occupied by the system of university-grade education in FYROM. While the irredentist themes within textbooks and programs for primary and high education have been scrutinized and publicized, the form of education which is quite important through the fact that historians within FYROM's national sciences are produced domestically with few exceptions was left out from any serious analysis. Skoplje's public "St. Cyrill and Methodius" University (UKIM) via its Philosophical Faculty (FZF), country's most important institution in the process of production of historians, classical philologists and archaeologist, most important professions dedicated to exploring and revealing the past, including the matters of ethnicity and cultural identity. Due to the fact that private research on matters of national identity regarding the genesis and ethnic anthropology of peoples historically present in FYROM is forbidden by the 1996 Law for scientific-exploring activity ("Zakon za naučno-istražuvačkata dejnost"), article 16, which reads: "The approval (for performing public scientific work-V. G. ) can be given for all areas designated as a public interest in scientific-exploring activity, with the exception of scientific research in the area of historical and cultural identity of the Macedonian people and the

nationalities which live in the Republic of Macedonia, defense and security. " Added to this draconian, totalitarian enslavement of free thought, designed to keep the state monopoly over the nationally important sphere of identity study is the fact that the state institutions, to which the aforementioned law gives a monopoly over the process are not only funded by the budget, but have their managers ("direktori") appointed by decree. It is axiomatic that this configuration of the circumstances breeds conformism, inefficiency, rigidity and consequently, sustained dogmatism. Subservient to the politicians, university postgraduates remain firmly tied in Big Brother's iron mold, having no chance to get support for projects outside the politically-imposed correct collectivist thinking. The political line is clear on this matter: a "Macedonian" ethnicity of a non-Greek type emergent in Balkan Neolithic period exists. It is completely culturally, anthropologically and linguistically in a category of its own. It is destined to dominate the ancient fatherland, partitioned in 1913 by the evil neighbors which had no ethnic and cultural presence in the region, nor was their action legitimate. This is the official, sacrosanct and all-pervading mythology of the young Balkan nation. External scholars of Balkan affairs, classicists, archaeologists, byzantologists, slavists and all others focused on region's culture, history and politics disagree firmly. Yet their voices of protest over the farce are not mentioned in FYROMian media. Their books, articles and other publicized works are not available in bookstores and public libraries in FYROM. Programs for study abroad are expensive in relation to local standard, at least for most students. Only few of those who study abroad take a curriculum in humanities. As a result, for anybody aspiring towards a carrier in history and for those who find this profession which offers little financial award, yet provides intellectual stimulus as few others, the only path is enrollment in UKIM. Neither the University of Monastiri/Bitolj nor other private educational institution do offer programs in the science of historiography. The FZF of UKIM issues a eclectic guideline for each curricula containing the University's statute and regulations, practical general advice and a program, divided by study subjects. The program for each subject is left to the chair-holding professorship's discretion, however the entire course is planned centrally. A brief review of the plan for four-year study of history as exposed in the UKIM's current official guideline ("Priračnik-institut za istorija-nasoka arhivistika" Skopje 2004) follows: 1. "History of Ancient Macedonians" is one of the 31 subjects during the program, studied in the first year. A tendency to separate Macedonian from general Greek history is immediately noticed. The section "Celi (lit. "Targets") reads: "Students should understand the historical processes (ethnogenesis, socio-economic relationships, the political system, the religion and the culture, as well as the contribution of the Ancient Macedonians to the human civilization) with the target of gathering a historicistic consciousness necessary for understanding of the contemporary (sic) historical processes as well for the proper understanding of all types of sources which can be found among us". Apart from the usage of the word "ethnogenesis", which is out of the place in relation to the phyllogenetical study of tribal and politically separate units within the same ethnic group, in this case the Hellenic one is puzzled by the usage of the phrase "sources. . [. . ]. . found among us". Is this to be understood in terms that only historical sources-recognizing their primacy within the theoretical framework in the historiographic sources-only the quantitatively small part of Macedonian sources found in the southernmost parts of FYROM have any relevance whatsoever to the history of Ancient Macedonia and Macedonians? Regarding the statement that "the understanding of the contemporary historical processes" is

the only reason why Ancient Macedonian history is studied today-so that one can be professionally equipped to cover the gaps of 900 years from Alexander the Great's death to the arrival of Slavs and the subsequent gap of 1400 years to the first idea of separate "Macedonian" ethnicity with falsified abrogations-the observer finds unintentionally humorously, but truly expressed reality. 2. The list of basic bibliography ("osnovna literatura") contains only 6 books, among which are: Proeva, N. "Studii za antičkite Makedonci" ("Studies about the Ancient Macedonians"), Skopje, 1997. This is rather strongly polemically-worded statement about the different nature of the Ancient Macedonian from the Greeks from the current holder of the chair at the faculty. Several highly specific properties of Ancient Macedonian language and the religious cult are used as a starting platform for deconstructionistic differentiation of Macedonians from Greeks over 300 pages. Similarly, both listed 1960's studies by Fanoula Papazoglu, historian and classicist from Monastiri/Bitolj which spend most of her career in Belgrade ("Middle Balkan Tribes in Pre-Roman Times" and "History of the Hellenistic Period") contain the typical for the era lack of definite statement on Macedonian ethnicity, and while extremely valuable in all other aspects, cannot be held as a source of direct knowledge about the issue. Inclusion of the book "Demosthenes" by P. Carlie in FYROMian translation puts a too heavy spotlight on this protagonist of ancient History. The motive here is to put emphasis primarily on Demosthenes usage of anti-Macedonian rhetorics in his comment against the political clash between Macedonia of Phillip II and Athens for leadership in the Greek world. The bibliographical sections lists 7 works by ancient authors translated in Serbian and Croatian language among which the only body of works translated in FYRO Macedonian language is-unsurprisingly-a collection of speeches by Demosthenes (Demosten, "Govori", trans. Danica Čadikovska, Skopje 1995). 3. The Greek history is treated separately in the subject „History of the Old Age" together with the cultures of the Fertile Crescent. Here, the influence of the discredited archaeological-historical paradigm Ex Lux Oriente formulated by the British Marxist Scholar Gordon Childe is visible. Out of 4 monographs mentioned in the guideline for the second part of the course Carlie's biography of Demosthenes is mentioned again (!). Fixation with the ancient rhetorician by FYROMian scholars is obvious. The blunt segregation of the Ancient Macedonian history from the general Hellenic one fortifies the impression in the student that these two entities should be viewed separately in an ethnological sense. Left without a proper bibliographical guidance, the caricature of which contains mostly suitable collections of sources and politically-correct foreign monographs, the student is being mislead at the formative academic years. Overt usage of FYROMian and South-Slavic language books also raises suspicion. The rest of the program puts a heavy emphasis on the medieval and 19th/20th century history of the Geographic Macedonia (an ahistorical and geotechnical concept whose northern borders are set quite further than those of Macedonia proper). Furthermore, synthetic (in contrast with more topical) published material from the Communist era often carries not only the baggage of wrongful statement on the Macedonian problematic proper but employ a broad set of devices to fashion a monist (and thus fluid) materialistic-deterministic, economistic and quasipositivistic worldview , quite often laid out in a descriptive and didactic fashion. True knowledge about Macedonia, its development as a territorial and political concept, its Greek ethnological and

anthropological character eludes the student. Tragically, this is the place where future generation of FYROMian historians, those patron-saints of ethnic identity in its modern and political context learn their craft. What was a world of their past, its idiosyncratic character left within confines of a hermetically sealed educational process grows in UKIM in a more elaborate, rich and detailed scheme. The interplay of awakened distant ages will, however , continue with its disharmonious, cacophonous sound , having no truthful meaning , in the next phase: creation of dogmatic and sanitized "truth" for internal purposes in a variety of genres: primary and secondary textbooks, lexicons, atlases, encyclopedias. These are widely available forms of expression against which most rigid standards of conservation within the dogma are set. Classic monographs and articles are products for which slightly more liberal circumstances for creation in the spirit of science and rigorous scholarship is in existence. But, even here, within the almost paramilitary structured state institutions, the difference is one of small quantity, not quality. FYROMian writer, the Bulgarian nationalist Mladen Srbinovski called the neighborhood where the State Archive, the s. c. MANU ("Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts"), the Institute for National History (INI) are located "The institutional belly of Macedonism" in his essay "Turbo Makedonija" ("Turbomakedonija" in "Obedi ništožnost", Skopje 1999). He could have added UKIM, too. Perhaps the striking methaphore would have gained even greater potency. Situated right to the bulevard "Aleksandar Makedonski", UKIM, under the shell of gray Brutalist architecture encloses the corridors of totalitarian misery, libraries of PC decrees disguised as literature and teaching halls where the "virtue" of conformism is forced with an iron hand of the Big Government. It is an institution that cannot in itself teach anything about truthfulness, self-discipline, aspiration towards excellence which are values through which any enthusiasm results in quality and productivity. For maximum efficiency, those FYROMians who cherish history as it is should strive toward autodidactism, mastery of several global languages and reliance on sources and non-FYROMian literature. Although UKIM is nominally autonomous, strong mechanisms of factual dependence to the government of FYROM in general, and on the actual Pseudomacedonian leadership set in particular are in existence, mutually reinforcing each other. Nevertheless, Skoplje's university is bound to its mission which is cherished by all institutions of its kind belonging to the European tradition: to stand above politics, to espouse principles leading to proliferation of science and increasing the sum of knowledge and the capability to act upon it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009
FYROM: Fascism in Action

by Vasilije (Vasko) Gligorijevic taken from Slavic Philhellenic Network blog. The new provocative measures undertaken by the regime of Nikola Gruevski show that the political leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia decided to create a virtual reality as a substitute for normal free life of its citizens. The Prime Minister of the small Balkan nation, termed “the immortal and eternal shepherd and leader of his people” by the state TV continued the policy of historical revisionism carried through occult usurpation of the space much to the disbelief and revolt among outside observers which slowly but steadily begun to understand its eerie monstrosity. Since its separation from Yugoslavia in 1991, FYROM struggled with its troubled past originating from the ideology of separate “Macedonian” nation formulated by the Bulgarian VMRO, later by Communist Internationale in 1934 and implemented on its soil from 1944 onwards by Yugoslav Communist dictator Josip Broz “Tito”. While there is a convergence in the global Balkanology-oriented historiography that prior to 1944 most of FYROMian socalled “Macedonian” population was ethnically Bulgarian, energetic Titoist policy of allocating large funds to creation of schools, media outlets, institutions, museums and other cultural institution among the hitherto extremely backward people managed to instill a strong sense of one’s “Macedonian” ethnicity, neither Bulgarian, nor Serb and categorically as well as diametrically opposed to any other interpretation of local culture and politics. After 60 years of such totalitarian “national-communist” model which is continued today in altered form by the ruling “Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization” (VMRO), this view escalated into widespread belief among the general public that the Pseudomacedonian ethnic group has its direct ancestry from Ancient Macedonians, a Greek entity bulk of which historically inhabited modern-day northern Greek province of Macedonia.


A mountain of evidence exists against this postulated linear connection brought by two centuries of historical and linguistic studies against any connection, including those of cultural, linguistic and demographical type between Macedonians of antiquity and FYROMian Slavs of Bulgarian and Serbian type. However, the lack of any kind of public discourse as well as absence of alternative media brought confusion about the national identity of the population of self-styled Bulgarian-speaking “Macedonians”. Although, with the possible exception of North Korea, the phenomenon of collective government-imposed delusion in FYROM is the largest and most profound such example in modern times, it didn’t attract the due interest from scholars and thinkers worldwide. History and politicology never hitherto witnessed that a massive disposition in an ethnic groups towards symbolical connection with a imagined ancestral stock whose alien character is apparent from a cursory glance over history, geography and facts of language may function as a central foundation of both internal and external politics in their totality. Yet, the politics of lie and eradication of the true history of Pseudomacedonian people continues unchallenged. From 2006 onwards the entire landscape has been turned into a theme-park celebrating the Ancient Macedonians. In what was named a “renaming spree” by some observers, enormous number of public facilities were named either “Philip the Macedonian” or “Alexander the Great” and plenty of statues of these ancient Greek historic persons were erected. Usage of the names of other Macedonian figures is avoided most likely because their Greek character would be more salient. The “Vergina Star”, the political and dynastic symbol of the historic Macedonians is cherished and implemented in a number of architectural and decorative projects. The state-organized education instills a sense of ethnic superiority , namely the idea that the entire human civilization originated among FYROMians. Private historical research is forbidden and challenge of the official identity dogma is a criminal offense carrying lengthy prison sentence (article 179 of the Criminal Code). The international community must intervene energetically if this abomination is to be stopped and the people of FYROM saved from ultranationalist, collectivist fallacies. What is in stake is a wholesale cultural genocide over the countries remaining Slavic populations compromised of Serbs and Bulgarians which remained true to the type, the later being particularly exposed to repression and obstacles to creation of even the most diminutive forms of political and cultural association. The outgoing administration of George W. Bush, in a catastrophic mismanagement of Balkan policy, blindly supported the Pseudomacedonian side which nourishes ambitions of territorial expansion towards Greek Macedonia. This policy, motivated by US support for creation of east-west communication and transport infrastructure traversing FYROM, created an island of instability in the southern Balkans and obstructed the peaceful harmonization of the region in the European Union. Hope remains that the incoming administration of President-Elect Barack Obama will, after the initial adaptation during the transit of power, have a clear, coherent Balkan policy, a hope strengthened by the fact that it will be shaped by Vice-President Joseph Biden and the next Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, individuals with profound Balkan expertise and history of their involvement in Balkan affairs. However, the primary place in the process of destruction of the VMRO regime in FYROM should be given to Serbia and Bulgaria, which should, coordinated with other leaderships and thinkers within the Slavic word, work on the palliative process of restoration of country’s true Slavic identity which will be a precondition of cherishing libertarian values in politics, economy and culture. At the same time, a process of healing the catastrophic relationships between Skopje and Athens, which will take certainly more than a decade should start. The

first step of this process should be rejection of Skopje’s irredentist program and its machinery and a wholesale reform of public education, universities, museums, institution. The latest provocative act of FYROM is the erection of a 50ft tall horseman statue of Alexander the Great at Skopje’s central square, scheduled for the later half of January. It remains to be seen whether the resident diplomats, including the representatives of EU will protest over this farce. The expected massive hysteria will coincide with the time of downfall of the economic parameters. The occult symbolism of “Alexander returning abroad” and the apparent manifestation of “our king” as the crowd shall cheer will be a prime example of futility of emotions and moods manipulating politics which isolated a European country into a brainwashing camp. In the war between freedom and individuality and collectivist groupthink , FYROM is the most acute hotspot in Europe. Decisiveness in the treatment of VMRO gang is what the civilized world owes to itself. ==================================================

* I remind to the readers that Vasko Gligorijevic is an activist, strong criticizer of

“Pseudomacedonism” and one of the leading members of the Slavic Philhellenic Network. Vasko has devoted his efforts at improving Slavic-Greek friendship through the advancement of historiographic and anthropological scholarship about Southern Slavs in the Balkans and Greeks as well as the various aspects of their mutual cultural and political relations.This is the last article that written from him before FYROM police in 28th January charged into Gligorijevic’s apartment where they possibly arrested him because of his activist actions and put it in the Bardovci purgatory mental hospital. Now news until now from him.