Infringement of Rights of Citizens of Other Countries in Connection with the Issue of Macedonian Ethnical Character.

In its struggle against the Bulgarian consciousness, the Macedonian authorities often encroach upon Citizens of other countries.

On January 21st, 1991, in Skopje, the Bulgarian citizen Nedka D. Ivanova was arrested, only because she announced that ethnical Macedonian Nation did not exist and in fact the Macedonians were ethnic Bulgarians. At the moment of her arrest she was physically maltreated by the Security authorities.

From August 18th, to 22nd, 1992, two Albanian citizens of Bulgarian origin (their names are well known to IIM) visited VMRO-SMD. When they were passing over the Albano- Macedonian border at Kafasan, they told the Macedonian authorities that they were ethnic Bulgarians. The authorities charged them with an unusually big fee 110 DM for the car and 25 DM for each of them for a transit visa valid for 5 days. Usually transit visas are issued for one month. The aim was to prevent the visit of the two Albanians to Bulgaria. The sum of 160 DM was equal to one year payment at that time in Albania.

According to protocol No 1 from January 26th, 1996, an album called "Kiustendil and the Liberating Fights in Macedonia" had been confiscated from Andrea Shtika, an Albanian citizen of a Bulgarian origin (See appendix No 9).

According to the Macedonian authorities, the Slav minority of Albania consisted only of ethnical Macedonians and not Bulgarians. Each attempt for a declaration of a Bulgarian ethnic consciousness in Albania is pursued in a very brutal way by the authorities in the Republic of Macedonia. Very indicative is the following article in the independent Albanian newspaper "Koha Jon" for destruction of Albanian passports by the Macedonian frontier authorities:
"The rage of Macedonia perhaps was caused by the reporting of the Bulgarian National Television, made with the participation of the residents of 10 villages with Macedonian national minority in the region of Likenas. The citizens of this zone declared in front of the cameras of the Bulgarian Television that they should not be called Macedonian, but Bulgarian national minority. Among those, who took part in the interview was the ex- headmaster of the Town Hall in Likenas, George Kaslari, who said that the population calls itself Bulgarian and asked for the help of the Bulgarian state for it to acquire a status of a minority. The sharp reactions of Skopje about the national minority in Likenas became stronger after the reporting was shown by the 1st channel of the State Macedonian TV... The Macedonian national minority is a victim of this position. One of its representatives declared in front of "Koha Jon": Now we have got a lot of problems with the (Macedonian) Custom Office and we were told that as long as we call ourselves Bulgarians, we should take visas from the Bulgarian Embassy. The Macedonian authorities made invalid the visas of those who have been caught in various cities in Macedonia and took them back to the border". [28].

The Macedonian police encroached on the rights of the political emigrant of long standing in Belgium - Alekso Stoimenov. From the protocol No 3 from May 17th, 1996, it shows that his Belgian passport was temporarily taken in (see appendix No 10).

The authorities meet with hostility the Macedonian emigrant from Bitola Metodi Dimov, and many times have worn him to leave the Macedonian Republic. M. Dimov living also in Belgium, together with A. Stoimenov published a number of books about the Macedonian Liberation Movement in Bulgarian literary language. M. Dimov is an ex-speaker in the broadcasts of Radio Madrid, intended for Macedonia.

The Macedonian Secret Services show a particular interest in the activity of emigrant organisations such: VMRO- SMD in Bulgaria, MPO in USA and Canada, the editorial office of "Macedono-Bulgarian Review "Vardar" in Toronto, Canada and others that stand up for Bulgarian ethnical positions. A person, wished to be anonymous but known to the editors of "Macedonian Tribune" newspaper, announces:
"Knowing the history and the character of MPO and its strong position for many years, I know that people from the Macedonian UDBA (Secret Services) have infiltrated MPO and even its governing body. I know a case when an UDBA officer from Skopje during his visit in Columbus was boasting that: "UDBA had its own people in MPO and knew everything that happened there". Each step of Ivan Lebamov (ex-chairman of MPO) had been followed at the time of his visit in Macedonia. The activity of MPO in Fort Wayne, no doubts was under surveillance".[29]

On September 18th, 1992, a member of the Central Committee of MPO Pando Mladenov and his brother Georgi Mladenov a chairman of MPO "Liuben Dimitrov" in Toronto, met the Macedonian president K. Gligorov and made a request for a permission to publish a Bulgarian literary language newspaper in Skopje. After K. Gligorov's refusal, they declared:
"We do not intend to waste money (investing) in such unsafe situation in the country".[30]

On August 26th, 1996, the Macedonian border authorities did not permit the Bulgarian citizen Andon Traikov Spasov from the village of Rupite (Pirin Macedonia) to visit the Republic of Macedonia because he was carrying Bulgarian Literature. In his passport seal: "Forbidden to enter Republic of Macedonia on the basis of article 17" was placed. On September 22nd, and October 28th, 1996, again he was not allowed to visit Macedonia. The mother and the sister of A. Spasov were Macedonian citizens and were living in Skopje. His father Trajko Atanasov, died in 1990, was from village of Gabrovo, Strumitsa region (of Republic of Macedonia). Among his neighbours in Skopje he was well known as Trajko Bugarinot (the Bulgarian). In 1996 his grave was desecrated. As a result of that outrage, on October 31st, 1996 Andon Spasov addressed an appeal to the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria:
"I am writing these lines with pain and outrage because these actions were typical for former Yugoslavia. In my capacity of a Bulgarian and a Bulgarian citizen, I had been declared "persona non grata" three times".

During my previous visits to my family I had to undergo humiliating and illegal treatment in the hands of the Macedonian authorities. I was forced by the police authorities at the time of my arrival to go to the Regional administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for address registration and then again for disregistration at the time of my departure. Twice, being late for two or three hours, uniform police-officers came home and forced me immediately to go to the police office for registration. In my visits to the Republic of Macedonia, I was regularly followed by civil officers of the Macedonian police, at the time of my travelling and my stay in Skopje. During my last visit on November 8th, 1996, after I was denied for 3 consecutive times to be allowed in the country, while the house of my sister and my mother (Davcha Spasova and Ilinka Atanasova) was surrounded and watched over by civil persons for some hours at the time of my departure... With the present request I address you as a Bulgarian and citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria, hoping that my human and citizen rights would be defended, as well as those of my relatives".


Conclusion

At the moment some very complex processes of identity search are occurring among the main ethnic group of the Republic of Macedonia.

Right now, in the Republic of Macedonia
"On the pages of the newspapers, on the TV screens, every day we come across with the condemnation of at least one fascist Bulgarophil enemy of Macedonia.[31]

As one of the well known Macedonian authors, Alexandar Bonev sais, the period of 1988-1989:

"was called the Macedonian spring, but it turned out to be more of a Macedonian variety of a Hrushchev-like charade, rather than an honest, objective and unprejudiced dismantling of the fabricated cult of Tito".[32]

According to professor D. Galev
"By the end of 1989 and throughout 1990 there was more democracy than now, because in 1990 (when we were lying the first stony fundaments of the independent Macedonian state) we did not face any obstacles".[33]

If the authors of these statements are to be believed it means that in the already established independent Republic of Macedonia, the civil and political rights are violated more often and more brutally than during the last months of the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
By promoting the theory of Macedonism in a most brutal way and by not permitting a free and open discussion on the complex and contradictive questions about the origin and the ethnical character of the Macedonians, the former communist authorities of the Republic of Macedonia create the preconditions for future destabization of the entire Balkan region.

The honest attempts made by the chairman of VMRO DPMNE to begin a national reconciliation between the Macedonians with preserved Bulgarian ethnical identity and the Macedonians that have developed a Macedonian ethnical identity, was interpreted by the regime as an act of treason .
Yet the reconciliation between those two groups has no alternative, if Macedonia is to become a free and democratic country.

The reconciliation is also needed to the people with Macedonian ethnic identity, because they themselves are also deeply divided on 'Slavic Macedonians' and 'Descendants of the Ancient Macedonians'.

Unfortunately, some circles of the regime still believe that they could eradicate an ethnical consciousness that has existed in Macedonia for more then one thousand years. In a interview on Channel 1 of the Macedonian Television on July 22th, the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov expressed the opinion that the Bulgarian consciousness was preserved only by:
"...few individuals who for family or other reasons still carry some heritage from the past...those are just few people...and few parties that are trying, unclearly and indecisively to find room for doubt if we could view differently those key questions on which depends the existence of this nation as a Macedonian one "

THIS IS A DANGEROUS SELF-DECEPTION.

In order to overcome the inevitable conflict, an efficient international pressure and control must be exercised in order to make the Macedonian government respect the human rights of the Macedonians with preserved Bulgarian ethnical consciousness.

Now it is impossible to tell what percentage of the main ethnic group supports one or the other view since no freedom of expression is allowed. Also it must be kept in mind that between the Macedonians who feel as ethnic Macedonians and the Macedonians feeling as ethnic Bulgarians, there are no ethnic or cultural differences. They speak the same variety of dialects; they have the same folk songs, traditions and customs. Often members of a same family disagree on the issue! Within the two groups we can find both Orthodox Christians and Moslems. The relation between those two groups could not be compared with the relation between them and the minority groups - Albans, Serbs, Greeks, Turks, Gypsies with whom they TOGETHER form the people of the Republic of Macedonia.

Since the concept of what is Macedonian is a very flexible one and has geographical, political and only to some people ethnical aspects and is understood differently by the different citizens, there is not real problem for the people with a Bulgarian ethnical consciousness to identify with the Republic of Macedonian as far as the statehood is concerned.
By no means the people who have preserved their Bulgarian ethnical identity could be regarded as traitors or renegades.

Since they are not territorially concentrated and since Bulgaria first recognised the independence and the territorial integrity of Macedonia, only paranoid minds could consider the very existence those people as danger to the peace, security and stability of Republic of Macedonia and the region.

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