Bulgarians in the Republic of Macedonia

Bulgarians in the Republic of Macedonia

ethnic group
group=Bulgarians in the Republic of Macedonia
poptime= 1417 (by ethnicity 2002) [ [http://www.stat.gov.mk/english/glavna_eng.asp?br=18 Republic of Macedonia - State Statistical Office ] ]
popplace= Strumica and region
rels=Predominantly Eastern Orthodox
langs=Bulgarian language

Bulgarians are non-recognised as ethnic minority in the Republic of Macedonia. Bulgarians are mostly found in the Strumica area and surrounding municipalities [Djokić, Dejan (2003). Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea.] but over the years, the absolute majority of southwestern Republic of Macedonia have declared themselves Macedonian. The total number of Bulgarians counted in the 2002 Census was 1,417 or roughly 0.073%.


During World War II, the most regions of Macedonia were annexed by Bulgaria. All local Slavic-speekers were regarded as Bulgarians. After the end of WWII, the creation of People's Republic of Macedonia and of a new Macedonian language, it started a process of ethnogenesis and distinct national Macedonian identity was formed. The new Yugoslav authorities began a policy of removing of any Bulgarian influence, making Macedonia connecting link for the establishment of new Balkan Federation and creating a distinct Slavic consciousness that would inspire identification with Yugoslavia. [Europe since 1945. Encyclopedia by Bernard Anthony Cook. ISBN 0815340583, pg. 808. [http://books.google.com/books?id=hafLHZgZtt4C&pg=PA808&dq=Macedonia+WWII+bulgarian+++IMRO&sig=4Ewh_0ZI-OnSPTb3SaNmOHDOv7M#PPA808,M1] ] The proclamation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as part of the Yugoslav federation the new authorities started measures that would overcome the pro-Bulgarian feeling among much of the population of Macedonia.cite book
last =Djokić
first =Dejan
title =Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918-1992
publisher =C. Hurst & Co. Publishers
date =2003
pages =p.122
isbn =1850656630
] Form 1944 till the end of the 1940s those among Macedonians feeling themselves Bulgarian suffered great repressions.cite book
last =Phillips
first =John
title =Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans
publisher =I.B.Tauris
date =2004
pages =p.40
isbn =186064841X
] According to Bulgarian sources more than 100,000 men were imprisoned under the new "Law for the protection of Macedonian national honor" for refusing to declare they were ethnic Macedonians. Some 1,200 prominent Bulgarians were sentenced to death on Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo's order in the towns of Skopje, Veles, Kumanovo, Bitola and Stip. In 1946 two Bulgarian politicians were sentenced to death and another 74 men jailed for attempting to detach SR Macedonia from Yugoslvaia and join it with Bulgaria. Occasional trial continued until the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Expressing Bulgarian national consciousnesses was strictly forbidden and persecuted throughout Vardar Macedonia with the only exception being the region of Strumica. The town of Strumica and its surrounding area (including Novo Selo) were part of Bulgaria between the Balkan wars and the end of World War I.

The fall of Communism to present-day

The Communist authorities were successful in removing all Bulgarian influence in the region. By the time the Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence those who continued to look to Bulgaria were very few. Some 3,000 - 4,000 people that stuck to their Bulgarian identity (most of them living in Strumica and the surroundings) met great hostility among the authorities and the rest of the population. With the fall of Communism this hostility has decreased, but still remains.

During the last few years, rising economic prosperity and the EU membership of Bulgaria has seen around 60,000 Macedonians applying for Bulgarian citizenship; in order to obtain it they must sign a statement declaring they are "Bulgarians by origin". Another 14,000 have even received Bulgarian passports. [ [http://dnes.dir.bg/2008/09/10/news3365842.html 60 000 чакат да станат българи, 10 септември 2008 / News.dir.bg] ] The rules governing good neighbourly relations agreed between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia were set in the reaffirmed by a joint memorandum signed on January 22, 2008 in Sofia. [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Bulgarian_Policies_on_the_Republic_of_Macedonia "Bulgarian Policies on the Republic of Macedonia"] . Sofia: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2008. 80 pp. ISBN 978-954-92032-2-6] With respect to the ongoing Macedonia naming dispute as it reflects the historical and present identities of people inhabiting the geographical region of Macedonia, Bulgaria uses the name ‘Republic of Macedonia’ for the new neighbouring state even if that name is seen as interfering with the traditional use of the name ‘Pirin Macedonia’, ] insisting however that any solution to the naming dispute with Greece should "take account of the historical, cultural, and other realities related to the geographic region of Macedonia". [ [http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=91876 Macedonia Press Blames Bulgaria for Anti-Macedonian Campaign] , Sofia News Agency, 03.04.2008]


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