Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question

Nationalists from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M) and her diaspora exert great efforts in promoting an "ethnic Macedonian" historiography which encompasses a genealogical and cultural continuity that literally spans thousands of years. In reality practically every objective and qualified scholar who has studied the history of the region describes the "Macedonian" ethno/national identity as being a mid to late 19th century construct.
The concoction of a "Macedonian" historiography has been an ongoing process largely instigated and influenced by the Yugoslav communists during the years immediately following World War II. Tito and the Yugoslav communists capitalized on the late 19th/early 20th century politically motivated notion that the South Balkan Slavs were a distinct ethnic group by developing the Socialist Republic of Macedonia and the so called "Macedonian" ethnicity for political purposes including the pretense for future territorial expansion. By fostering a "Macedonian" consciousness amongst the largely illiterate and peasant populace the communists could secure their territory from the Bulgarians and set their sight on the Greek region of Macedonia due to their implicit implication that Macedonia should belong to the "Macedonians".
The Yugoslav communists developed and imposed numerous cultural measures in order to de-Bulgarize the region and to foster a "Macedonian" consciousness amongst the populace. An excellent book describing these cultural implementations is "Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question" authored by Palmer and King. This is an important source because it was written by non-Greeks during the late 60's and published in 1971.
The following are excerpts from the book that describe the process in which the Yugoslav communists sanatized and manufactured "Macedonian" historiography in order to lend the "Macedonian nation" a historical legitimacy that was distinct from the Bulgarian nation.
It is important to note that the communist architects behind the "Macedonian" historiography argued that the "Macedonian" nation diverged from the Bulgarian populace as the result of a 'natural' process that unfolded during the 19th century. They were not so bold and so unrealist to claim that the "Macedonian" nation is rooted in ancient Macedonia! The mythical historiography encompassing ancient Macedonia was largely developed by F.Y.R.O.M nationalists, mostly from the diaspora, during the past 25 years.
While you read these excerpts ask yourself this: if the "Macedonian" ethnicity is over 2000 years old and is the product of natural processes why would the communists have to sanatize the history of the region and why wouldn't they include the history of ancient Macedonia when they were developing the "correct interpretation" of history for the "Macedonian nation"?

by Chris Philipou in

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