The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs

© Marcus A. Templar, 2008.

  • Abstract and Acknowledgement
  • Chapter 1. What is all about? Regional Stability and Security
  • Chapter 2. Ancient Macedonia and its people
  • Chapter 3. Slavs: New Invaders in Byzantium
  • Chapter 4. Ilinden Uprising: A “Macedonian” or a Bulgarian Act?
  • Chapter 5. The Transmutation of a Slav People to Macedonians
  • Chapter 6. The Establishment of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Chapter 7. Nationalism and Stability
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 1.

    What is all about?

    Regional Stability and Security

    Stability of the South East Balkans is of utmost importance to the Intelligence Community (IC). Historically, the nationalism that is thriving in the Balkans either created preconditions for war or, in some cases, was the reason for wars. While the Balkans can be dismissed as “Yesterday’s War,” the underlying causes of the 1945-2001 upheaval remain as strong and as viable as ever. The 1944-49 civil war in Greece and the 2001 civil war between the Albanian minority and the Macedonian Slav majority in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) demonstrate that the nationalism that has fueled the fires of this region for centuries were not extinguished or resolved by the 2001 events. Another upheaval in FYROM is so likely that the area and the people should be the subject of continuing and in-depth interest to the intelligence community.

    When a civil war took place in Greece (1944-1949) between the communists and the democratic forces of Greece, the communists attempted to incorporate the Greek part of Macedonia into a Balkan federation and to change the ethnic makeup of Greek Macedonia from Greek to Slavic by using Slavic nationalism. During the civil war in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) between the Albanian minority and the Macedonian Slav majority, the Macedonian Slavic forces saw an opportunity to justify their goal of incorporating Greek Macedonia into their lands and to subjugate their minorities resulting in tensions that continue to this day.

    It is a fundamental discipline of the U.S. Intelligence Community to monitor trends and indicators in areas of interest which could lead to the destabilization of individual nations or, as we have recently seen, an entire region. While a de facto peace now prevails in the Southeast Balkans, the underlying xenophobia and self-serving nationalism, which imbue all parties in the area, was not resolved by the cessation of open hostilities. The Intelligence Community must cast a studious eye to the history and ethno-political dynamic of the FYROM and its neighbors. All factors necessary for regional destabilization remain viable in this area and national-level policy makers will surely turn to us in the future for our input as they seek to adjust or change U.S. foreign policy for the region.

    The thesis is separated into two segments: one, to prove that the ancient Macedonians were of Hellenic stock speaking Greek with Greek sociology; and two, to prove that those who want to be called “Macedonians” are actually Slavs. The focus of this thesis is to identify the historical events that have created and molded the national conscience and the “Macedonian” identity of the Slavic population of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the basis and the cause of their nationalism. The study is guided by the following research question: How and what historical events have affected the creation and the molding of the national conscience and the “Macedonian” identity of the Slavic population of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?

    Why Is It Important?

    Only after 1944, and upon the establishment of the People’s Republic of Macedonia within communist Yugoslavia, did scholars begin to recognize that the Macedonian Slav nationalism was so distinctive from that of the other national and ethnic groups of the area that it merited study in its own context and definition. The nature of Macedonian Slav nationalism in the early twenty-first century should be a thoroughly analyzed and a well-understood facet of strategic intelligence planning for the region.

    The Macedonian Slav majority of the FYROM contend that they are descendants of Bulgarians, Slavs, and indigenous Macedonians who were separate and distinct from the Hellenic ethnic group and spoke a distinct Macedonian language. The Macedonian Slavs’ adoption of the Hellenic and Bulgarian histories is based on assumptions and hypotheses that are not held by the neighbors of the FYROM. While in their own minds the FYROM Macedonian Slavs’ beliefs legitimize territorial nationalism, it is at the expense of their neighbors: the Serbs, Bulgarians, and Macedonian Greeks.

    This thesis has proved that the ancient Macedonians were of Greek stock by examining their language and their history as well as their particular religion as compared to different religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. This thesis has also discussed the emergence of the Slavs and Bulgarians in Thrace and Macedonia and the various developments and events that led to the appropriation and exclusive use of the name “Macedonia” and “Macedonians” by a Slavic people and its political consequences.


    Macedonian Slav Nationalism decreases stability on the region.


    Research Design

    We have used as research design the exploratory case study that has included analysis of events such as historical, cultural, political, and linguistic that led to the present day nationalism of the Slavic populace of the FYROM. Furthermore, we have considered the complexity of the issue and its implications to the broader political and perhaps psychological environment, of the FYROM’s neighboring countries.

    Collection Strategy

    Archival Research

    We own every single book that we have listed in our bibliography; however, we have obtained needed copies of journals with the assistance of libraries and any other open sources available to us.

    Field Research

    Time and funding constraints were a very important issue and a problem for good research. Nevertheless, we have obtained information and interviews from other sources, which we have cited properly.

    Electronic database

    Concerning International Treaties, we have utilized all available appropriate electronic databases of the United Nations, the European Union, etc.

    Analytical Strategy

    The analytical strategy of our thesis was a Comparison and Contrast. We have compared primary and secondary sources that the Macedonian Slavs and especially the “Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences” invoked to justify their ethnicity that drives the nationalism of the country. Moreover, we scrutinized primary sources of ancient periods either in Greek language (various dialects) or in Latin which we are knowledgeable of, in order to extract pertinent information regarding the ethnicity, language, and customs of the ancient Macedonians.

    Brief Description of Chapters

    The second chapter elucidates the history of the Macedonian people along with their language, and explains the different terms “Geographic Macedonia,” “Macedonian Homeland,” and “Historic Macedonia.” A brief explanation of the language of the ancient Macedonians has showed it to be one of the Greek dialects of the Northwestern group.

    The third chapter elucidates the effect of the Slavic invasion in the region of the Balkans. The emergence of Slavs and Bulgarians in Thrace and Macedonia had enormous effect on the life and sociology of the Balkan Peninsula. This chapter examines various events that the emergence of the FYROM Slavs consider as crucial in their history such as the reign of King Samuil and the defeat of his army by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, the “Bulgar-slayer.”

    Chapter four examines the establishment of the Internal Macedonian-Thracian Organization (VMRO) and the Ilinden Uprising, offering a different perspective regarding the Treaty of Bucharest, 10 August 1903 from the one presently held by the political establishment.

    The fifth chapter explains the term “Policy of Mutation” coined by Dr. Evangelos Kofos, author of a series of publications on the issue of the Macedonization of the Slav inhabitants of the FYROM.

    Chapter six examines the establishment of the legal entity under the name “People’s (later Socialist) Republic of Macedonia” and finally, as an independent state, under the name “Republic of Macedonia,” one of the successors of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). This chapter probes the reasons of the establishment under the name “Macedonia” and the activities of its governments along with the activities of the SFRY with the aim of creating a “Macedonian” nation, a “Macedonian” language, and a “Macedonian” Orthodox Church.

    The seventh chapter examines the political consequences of the nationalism turned “Macedonism” in the FYROM and its implications and contributions to the internal and regional instability. It further examines the broader reasons of the role of the Slavic majority of the FYROM in the civil war of Greece and the civil war of the Slavs against the Albanians.

    In the conclusion, the eighth chapter answers the thesis question in accordance with the research findings. The evidence will show that the ancient Macedonians were one of the Hellenic groups of tribes speaking a Greek dialect and having the same institutions as the Spartans and especially the Greeks of the western group of the Hellenic nation. The evidence will also demonstrate that the present inhabitants who want to be called ethnic “Macedonians” are, in fact, ethnic Slavs.

    Related posts:

    Want more of this? See these Posts:

    1. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs, Chapter 5
    2. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs, Chapter 4
    3. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs, Chapter 6
    4. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs, Chapter 2
    5. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - A Challenge to the Macedonism of the Slavs, Chapter 7
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