21 Dezember 2017

What’s in a Name? The Republic of Macedonia at the Crossroads

Forming of the new Government on 31st of May 2017 marked the beginning of the end of one of the most serious political crisis that Republic of Macedonia has lived through from its independence. The country was faced with challenges both on the domestic front – the dissolution of the democratic institutions and backsliding to authoritarianism, and on the international front as well – worsening of the relations with its neighbors. One of the first steps taken by the new government was to renew the ties with its Southern neighbor – Greece and to continue the talks over the name issue. After a period of three years, the representatives from both countries started negotiating again in order to resolve the name dispute and the security implications of this prolonged dispute on the Balkan region. But by all means the renewal of the negotiations is only just a beginning of the lengthy path of rebuilding the trust and solving the issue that has been a huge burden especially to the R. Macedonia’s integration in EU and NATO.

The dispute in brief

After the Yugoslav Federation disintegrated violently in the 1990’s, R. Macedonia declared independence after the successful referendum held on September 8, 1991. However, this was only the beginning of the long and painful process of building an internationally recognized and secured state. R. Macedonia was faced with the challenge of the international recognition of its independence. One of the main obstacles in that process was the fact that its neighbor Greece would not accept the existence of a distinct Macedonian national identity that would start to exist in an independent state, instead as a Federation’s member state.

Since the early 1990’s, when the dissolution of Yugoslavia started, the international community invested serious political efforts and financial resources to stabilize the region. One of those efforts was the help given in the attempts for resolving of the name issue between Greece and Republic of Macedonia. Primarily, in 1993, the international community managed to find a suitable formula to enable R. Macedonia to join the UN, which helped the country to be recognized internationally. Afterwards, in 1995, the huge international pressure led by the US diplomacy convinced the Greek side to undersign the Interim Accord with R. Macedonia. The Interim Accord laid the foundations for good neighborly relations between the two countries by providing serious obligations on each side. Among other things, Greece accepted that it would not object to R. Macedonia becoming a member to international organisations of which Greece was a member, as long as R. Macedonia was to be referred to in such organization or institutions as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (Article 11 para 1). On the other hand, R. Macedonia agreed to continue negotiations with Greece on the name issue under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

After the US recognition of R. Macedonia under its constitutional name in November 2004, the Greek foreign policy made a sharp shift in its policy towards the name issue. First, already in 2005, Greece made a brave step forward in the negotiations by departing from its initial position to insist in a name that does not include “Macedonia”, proposing instead a new solution based on “a composite name that includes the geographical designation of Macedonia but attaches an adjective to it to distinguish it from the Greek province with the same name.” In other words, the new international name of the country that would be acceptable to Greece would be “Republic Northern Macedonia” or “Republic Upper Macedonia”. According to the Greek side, the purpose of such renaming would be to distinguish R. Macedonia from the northern Greek province “Macedonia”, in a sensible, reasonable and fair to both sides manner. The second line of direction of the Greek diplomacy was to depart from its commitment to Article 11 para 1 of the 1995 Interim Accord, and to start objecting to R. Macedonia’s accession in NATO and EU, in order to get leverage in the negotiations on the name issue. It was first manifested at the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008, where a decision on enlargement was to be made. The Macedonian side rejected the proposal of renaming the country into “Republic Northern Macedonia” or “Republic Upper Macedonia, because that move would severely damage the identity of the Macedonian nation, and it could further lead to a disintegration of the state. The main pillar of the Macedonian nation is the name Macedonia. For that reason, however fair and reasonable these proposals might seem to third parties, they are regarded as hostile from the Macedonian side and undermine the credibility of any third party that intends to facilitate acceptance of such a proposal by R. Macedonia. In 2009, Greece also objected to the opening of the accession talks of R. Macedonia with the European Union.

The ICJ’s Judgment of 2011

After Greece blocked the accession of R. Macedonia to NATO in 2008, R. Macedonia unilaterally submitted the case to the International Court of Justice, on the basis of the pacta sunt servanda principle. The Court concluded that according to the evidence submitted to it, it was clear that Greece had objected to R. Macedonia’s admission to NATO because of the failure to reach a final agreement of the difference over the name. Furthermore, the conclusion of the Court is that Greece failed to comply with its obligation under the Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Interim Accord, when it objected to extending an invitation to R. Macedonia to join NATO. Furthermore, the Court declared that Greek allegations of continuous violations of R. Macedonia’s obligations under the Interim Accord were unfounded, and therefore Greece cannot excuse itself for its breach of the Accord by relying on R. Macedonia’s breaches. Practically, the Court declared that there isn’t any irredentist pattern of behavior on Macedonian side since none of the alleged breaches that amount to such behavior existed on Macedonian side.

However, the Court rejected the Macedonian request to order Greece to refrain from any future conduct that violates its obligation under Article 11, paragraph 1, of the Interim Accord. As the Court explained, “[a]s a general rule, there is no reason to suppose that a State whose act or conduct has been declared wrongful by the Court will repeat that act of conduct in the future, since its good faith must be presumed.”

The Aftermath

So far, in the dispute over the international name of the Republic of Macedonia, both NATO and EU member states have taken solidary stance with Greece. This is mainly due to the fact they considered the Greek offer of a compromise to rename R. Macedonia into “Republic Northern Macedonia” or “Republic of Upper Macedonia” to be fair, notwithstanding the damage that it would entail to the Macedonian national identity. The support given to Greece is actually a support to Greek breach of the Interim Accord and to the false Greek allegations that R. Macedonia is in continuous breach of the Interim Accord.

Greece’s bad faith in the negotiations on the name issue is manifested in one more way. If Greece’s main goal in the negotiations is to achieve a distinction between R. Macedonia and the region of Macedonia, there are other ways to ensure that. The first one is the clear commitment by R. Macedonia not to use solely the term “Macedonia” for its designation in international relations, but always its full constitutional name “Republic of Macedonia” or abbreviation “R. Macedonia”.  The second one is the mediator Niemetz’s proposal of 2008 “Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)”. It is worth to mention that this proposal was previously suggested by the Macedonian side back in 1992 to Robin O’Neill, acting as European Community Envoy. Also, Greece cannot be unaware that the Badinter commission in 1992 found that that “the use of the name ‘Macedonia’ cannot imply any territorial claim against another State”

It is understandable that members of both organisations where Greece is already a member continue providing support their ally in breaching of an international treaty towards the country that is outside the alliance, in order to obtain leverage in negotiations on a bilateral dispute. But the fact that the process of the EU and NATO integration of R. Macedonia has been stalled for the past years has contributed towards deepening the crisis of democratic deficit in the country. Therefore, both EU and NATO member states should remember the ICJ judgment of 2011 and its contribution to normalize the relations between the two countries.

Conclusion

The regional context in the Balkans has changed over the past years and there are numerous factors of possible destabilization, such as the migrant crisis and the growing Russian influence in the region. Therefore, both NATO and EU need to act more rapidly in order to contribute towards final stabilization of the region. To have R. Macedonia in NATO and in EU will not only contribute towards this small country’s stability, but also towards stability of the region. Unlike in 2008, when USA and NATO had friendly relations with Russia, today the situation has changed. The enlargement is necessary to fill the vacuum in the Balkans, or else that will be done by Russia. This was especially the case in R. Macedonia with the Russian support of the former nationalistic government that was entangled in crime and corruption and generated the political crisis which reached dangerous conflict levels.

Today, both USA and the EU are willing to help the new reform government in R. Macedonia. The help needs to be directed towards the domestic reform process of the rule of law as well as towards the faster integration of the country in both NATO and EU. The best way to move forward in these processes is to facilitate the settlement of the name issue, which would mean for the EU and NATO members to return their support for the full implementation of the 1995 Interim Accord, since it provides sustainable framework for good neighbourly relations between Greece and R. Macedonia. Restoring of the balance of negotiations on the name issue, as established by the Interim Accord and preventing the endangering of the good neighbourly relations by Greece by its breach of the Interim Accord is the only exit from the present deadlock.


SUGGESTED CITATION  Deskoski, Toni; Brsakoska Bazerkoska, Julija: What’s in a Name? The Republic of Macedonia at the Crossroads, VerfBlog, 2017/12/21, https://verfassungsblog.de/whats-in-a-name-the-republic-of-macedonia-at-the-crossroads/, DOI: 10.17176/20171223-101309.

36 Comments

  1. Andreas Moser Do 21 Dez 2017 at 13:10 - Reply

    I was dismayed when the EU didn’t use their strong bargaining position during the Greek sovereign debt crisis to lean on Greece to accept that the Republic of Macedonia can choose its own name.

    The notion that a name similar to another region establishes a claim is unfounded (see Mexico/New Mexico, State of Georgia/Republic of Georgia) and in any case could be dealt with by a treaty. (Germany still uses names like Breslau or Warschau for Polish cities, but thanks to a solid treaty, nobody in Poland is afraid of German irredentism/expansionism anymore.)

    But thinking more practically, couldn’t the Republic of Macedonia change its name to, let’s say, Republic of Skopje, join NATO and the EU and then change its name back to Republic of Macedonia?

    On another note, Catalonia shouldn’t even dream of ever becoming an EU member because there is a village called Katalonia in Greece: https://andreasmoser.blog/2017/10/07/katalonia/

  2. Alexandros Fr 22 Dez 2017 at 13:20 - Reply

    The name macedonia is of Hellenic origin .The people of Former Yugoslavia are mainly Bulgarian slavs of slavic origin speaking a slavobulgarian slavic language.Thus they don’t have the right to steal the undisputed Hellenic name of macedonia by misappropriating it to identify their slavic identity of slavic origin witg the intent to impose territorial claims on Hellenic soil.When in fact they have no historical relation or connnection to anything Hellenic or macedonian.

  3. Nick the Greek So 24 Dez 2017 at 21:31 - Reply

    If you name yourself after whole geographic region you are (in fact) making a statement – many statements, in fact!

    1- I (unilaterally) stake claim to whole region

    2- I reserve the right to stake claim to whole region at some future date

    3-The region is named after my forebears

    4-The Place-Name describes my paternal ancestors tribal name

    5- I claim historical rights and cultural-heritage rights of the whole region

    6- I relegate downwards, the self-determination rights of other regional contenders

    7- I claim all cultural endowments gifted from geographic region name

    8- I reserve the right to write and rewrite historical narrative for whole geographic region

    9- I reserve the right to raise monuments in the name of geographic regions powerful figureheads

    By choosing to name itself after whole geographic region, FYRoM is (unilaterally) making bold statements it cannot possibly live up to. Regardless the ramifications and consequences of their actions.

    FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to name itself after the whole geographic region of Macedonia. Without the consent of the regions native autochthonous inhabitants.

    FYRoM sits on 38% of geographic region of Macedonia. But chose (unilaterally) to name itself after the whole.

    The geographic region of Macedonia comprises of Greece 51% – FYRoM 38% – Bulgaria 11%. It is irrational for 38% to (unilaterally) claim the name of the whole.

  4. Nick the Greek Di 26 Dez 2017 at 23:20 - Reply

    Scandinavia is a geographic region. But there is no country called ‚Republic of Scandinavia‘. There is no language called Scandinavian-language. And there are no ethnic-Scandinavians claiming self-determination rights.

    Iberia is a geographic region. But there is no country called ‚Republic of Iberia‘. There is no language called Iberian-language. And there are no ethnic-Iberians claiming self-determination rights.

    Baltic Rim is geographic region. But there is no country called ‚Republic of Baltic Rim‘. There is no language called Baltic-language. And there are no ethnic-Baltics claiming self-determination rights.

    Carpathia region. There is no country called ‚Republic of Carpathia. No language called Carpathian-language. No ethnic-Carpathians claiming self-determination rights.

    Macedonia is geographic region. FYRoM covets the name. That is why FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to call itself ‚Republic of Macedonia‘. Without consultation(s). And without the consent of the regions native autochthonous people-groups.

    It’s crude unfriendly unneighbourly uncivilized action. An indication (inner desire) that whole geographic region of Macedonia belongs to Republic of Macedonia.

  5. Nick the Greek Mi 27 Dez 2017 at 14:31 - Reply

    Supplementary to the historical arguments, FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to name itself after of whole geographic region. And in so doing, FYRoM sent out strong message to the neighbourhood, that the geographic region of Macedonia belongs to FYRoM instantly undermining the rights of native autochthonous peoples there.

    What FYRoM did was hostile unfriendly unneighbourly act. Because FYRoM constitutes just 38% of geographic region of Macedonia. Greece holds majority share 51%. Bulgaria holds smallest share 11%. On this basis, it is irrational for FYRoM to claim the name of the whole region.

    FYRoM’s unneighbourly uncivilized action(s) created a name dispute that is now in the middle years of second decade. Still unresolved. It ranks at No.2 Place Name Dispute Everyone in Global Business Should Know About [link to http://www.commisceo-global.com (secure)]

    Taking the name of whole geographic region to the level(s) of (i) Country Name, (ii) Sovereign State-Name, (iii) Nationality, (iv) Language and (v) Ethnicity, sends out wrong message to the neighbourhood. It is saying, that FYRoM (at some undisclosed future date) has inner desire to claim the whole region for itself. Seemingly an impossible task in the here and now. But shifting alliances in future Balkan configuration cannot be dismissed.

    FYRoM naming itself after whole geographic region created mess at political level, diplomatic level, and academic level. All of which encourage FYRoM to end a dispute it created back in 1991.

  6. Meri Do 28 Dez 2017 at 09:10 - Reply

    Just a few words to explain Greece’s fear „The Treaty of Bucharest“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Bucharest_(1913). Please read about it and the treatment of Macedonians living in the Greek occupied territories of Macedonia. The EU has turned a blind eye to the treatments of Macedonians by the Greek Government.

  7. Sasha Uzunov Do 28 Dez 2017 at 09:35 - Reply

    Quote:
    „The enlargement is necessary to fill the vacuum in the Balkans, or else that will be done by Russia. This was especially the case in R. Macedonia with the Russian support of the former nationalistic government that was entangled in crime and corruption and generated the political crisis which reached dangerous conflict levels.“

    The US supports the Albanian political bloc in Macedonia which is ultra nationalistic and entangled in corruption ; Bulgaria,one of the most courrupt states in the EU, is a US ally and is conducting a nationalist agenda in Macedonia.

    Not forgetting Greece’s shenanigans. This article read like a high school essay rather than serious analysis

  8. Nick the Greek Do 28 Dez 2017 at 12:21 - Reply

    Two John Smiths could live in peace, side by side, next door to each other but if one John Smith decides to take on the identity of the other John Smith, that would be called identity theft.

    I see it like this – Two John Smiths could live in peace, side by side, next door to each other but if one John Smith decides to paint his house, adorn fixtures and fittings the same as the other John Smiths house, whilst at the same time claiming his lineage and taking on his identity. What should the first John Smith do about it?

    I think what Greece is doing – Defending, Protecting the Hellenic Republics People-Names, Place-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy, is about right. The right approach towards FYRoM’s anti-Hellenic antics.

    Lets not indulge FYRoM any more. Because…

    1- FYRoM is not Macedon – It is Paeonia, and then Dardania north from Skopje.

    2- FYRoM language is not Macedonian language – It is Serbo-Bulgarian hybrid concoction…renamed.

    3- FYRoM inhabitants are not Macedonian – They are (Yugo) South-Slavs…with desire’s.

    Lest we forget – Macedon is historical region of Northern-Greece, and Macedonians, a regional-historical people-group of ethnic-Greek stock. FYRoM does not connect to this place historically, culturally, linguistically.

    FYRoM deserves a place in Europe, but not as Macedonia…Why ? Because neither the place nor the peoples connect to Macedon or Macedonians in any meaningful way. The long running name dispute between FYRoM and Greece resolves when the former acknowledges the latter’s rights.

    Macedonians have UN recognized (autochthonous) rights to keep as Greek as possible, the identity-characteristics of their paleo-Hellenic ancestors.

    FYRoM infringes those rights, contesting their existence.

  9. Nick the Greek Fr 29 Dez 2017 at 13:08 - Reply

    It needs checking but if international law permits new emerging countries to name themselves after whole geographic regions, then that specific law is an a$$. It needs to be revised and amended in such a way as to inhibit pretender states like FYRoM from taking advantage.

    If such law does really exist, it is trumped by this example: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html

    United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/61/295)
    http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

    Imagine this scenario…

    Bavarians have UN recognized rights to keep as German as possible, the identity-characteristics of their ancient Germanic ancestors. Non Germans using ‘Republic of Bavaria’ for country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity would be challenged at (i) political level, (ii) diplomatic level, (iii) academic level. Which is exactly what Greeks do with Macedonia.

    The Greek position is ethical [[principled][moral]] and clear – FYRoM cannot take the name of whole geographic region of Macedonia to levels of country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity, because FYRoM constitutes just 38% of the region. Greece constitutes 51%. Bulgaria holds smallest part 11%.

    FYRoM taking unilateral action to name itself ‘Republic of Macedonia’ infringes on the rights of Macedonians wanting to keep as Greek possible, the identity-characteristics of their paleo-Hellenic ancestors.

    International Law cannot support two John Smiths contesting exact same People-Names. Place-Names. Identity. History. Heritage. Legacy. One of them is being insincere, disingenuous and dishonest in their claim(s).

  10. Nick the Greek So 31 Dez 2017 at 11:47 - Reply

    Historical arguments aside. FYRoM has named itself after whole geographic region. The only one in the whole world to do it, at country name level, sovereign state-name level, nationality level, language level, and ethnicity level. So it is wrong on many levels. But the obvious wrong is this one – FYRoM constitutes just 38% of geographic region of Macedonia. It is irrational for 38% to name itself (unilaterally) after the name of a whole region.

    Baring Canada, the only other example in the world I can think of, that gets close to what FYRoM has done is South Africa. But there, there are no people-groups using ‚South African‘ for ethnic identity. And there is no language called South African language. Most important, there are no objections. No native autochthonous people-groups exist close by, to contest country name South Africa, or nationality South African.

    Propaganda arguments aside. I think the citizens of FYRoM are so much more informed today. I think rational people there can see the problem that has been created. I also think that the peoples of FYRoM now appreciate the importance Europeans place on their People-Names, Place-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy.

    These things are (very) important to Europeans. More important to the people-groups that created (originated) them in the first place.

    Pretenders to these cultural endowments should be concerned.

  11. Nick the Greek So 31 Dez 2017 at 14:10 - Reply

    Naming. Aside from territory name rights. FYRoM’s Slavic identity narrows self-determination direction to Slavic paternal ethnicity. Explanation: FYRoM’s immediate forebears were the medieval Slavic tribes of Baiounitai, Belegezites, Berziti, Draguvites, Rynchines, Sagudates, Smolyani. These medieval Slavic tribes did not mix with ancient Macedonians. There were no ancient Macedonians during this time. Just (Byzantine) Greco-Romans. Romioi. Slavs called them Rimyani, meaning Romans.

    Choices. Hence, the choices for ‚identity name‘ (People-Name) is restricted. Selection is reduced to Slavic names. Why? Because FYRoM cannot leapfrog back in time, to a pre-Slavic history, in order to choose identity name. It is quirky and unethical to name yourself after a people-group your Slavic forebears had no knowledge of.

    Timing. Ancient-Macedonians did not meet Slavs. Incoming (early medieval) Slavic settlers interacted with Byzantine Greco-Romans, not ancient Macedonians. Hellenic regional-tribal names, http://my.raex.com/~obsidia
    Macedonian, Spartan, Athenian, Thessalian, Corinthian, Ionnians, Thesprotians, merged into one Greco-Roman supranational identity – Romioi, meaning Roman.

    Posture. It is pretentious on the part of FYRoM to choose (ancient) ‚People-Name‘ their Slavic ancestors had no knowledge of. Hence, FYRoM’s People-Name must reflect faithfully, paternal ethnicity. A Slavic forebears name, for example.

    Validity. FYRoM’s choice of country name rest’s solely on territory name. On this, FYRoM has (Pelagonia) small claim. To put into perspective, FYRoM’s right to the Macedonian name rest’s soley on ‚latin-Roman‘ (nomenclature) naming conventions and sitting on slither of ancient-Macedon soil. Enough to validate a claim. On that, FYRoM elevates territory name to levels of (i) country-name, (ii) sovereign state-name, (iii) nationality name, (iv) language name, (v) ethnicity name.

    Conclusion: I think we can all see the line of travel in FYRoM’s thinking.

  12. Nick the Greek Sa 6 Jan 2018 at 00:28 - Reply

    Just six generations ago, around the year 1862, FYRoM was Bulgarian speaking place. If we go back to the year 1862, the Bulgarian speaking peoples of FYRoM buried their dead using the Bulgarian Cyrillic script. The Tombstones of their dearly departed bear testament to that fact.

    If we go back to the year 1943, the Bulgarian speaking peoples of FYRoM continued to bury their dead using the Bulgarian Cyrillic script engraved on the Tombstones of their dearly departed.

    If we go back to the year 1944, Bulgarian speaking peoples of FYRoM had to use new, Serbo-Bulgarian script, to engrave the Tombstones of their dearly departed. From August 1944, the Bulgarian speaking peoples of FYRoM learned new Serbo-Bulgarian language. Communist’s baptized this new language Macedonian language. To name it Macedonian-language was wrong because no matter which way you write it, whether in Bulgarian script or Serbian, it is a hybrid concoction, nothing more. For it to be Macedonian, it would need to be written in Greek alphabet, the script used by Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonians from antiquity.

    Lest we forget, Greeks have been using the Macedonian name for (regional) self-Identity from since it’s creation. The Macedonian name has been in constant use in the Hellenic world from since it’s inception. Macedonians are self-determined Greeks for >3 Millennia. There has never been a day, week, month, year, decade, century, millennium, where the Greeks did not take that name with them wherever they went.

    Lest we forget, two different, ethnically-distinct people-groups…one Northern-Hellenic, the other one Southern-Slavic, cannot use the same ethno-generic tribal name for self-identity – one of them is being insincere and disingenuous in their claim.

  13. Nick the Greek So 7 Jan 2018 at 12:35 - Reply

    FYRoM does something very unique in the world. Something no other country has done. Something that is indefensible and rather gratuitous. FYRoM has taken self-determination right(s) to whole new level. How? By taking the name of (whole) geographic region to level(s) of (i) country-name, (ii) sovereign state-name, (iii) nationality, (iv) language, (v) ethnicity.

    FYRoM constitutes just 38% of the geographic region of Macedonia. Greece holds 51%. Bulgaria holds smallest part 11%. It is irrational for 38% to name itself (unilaterally) after the whole. Hence, FYRoM Protectionist’s cannot defend this position easily. They may argue, that Canada, USA, South Africa, Central African Republic, Sudan, and Australia chose to name themselves after a whole geographic regions. But those examples do not do what FYRoM does. They do not elevate geographic region name to level(s) of country-name, sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity. And they do not extract cultural historical endowments from the geography, the way FYRoM does. Hence, protecting FYRoM is not easy. Because FYRoM is the only country in the world to demand these things under the twin banner of human-rights and self-determination rights.

  14. Nick the Greek Sa 13 Jan 2018 at 15:34 - Reply

    From the geographic historical record we learn that ‚Vardarska‘ is the last known territory Place-Name name attributed to FYRoM. But FYRoM Leapfrogs back in history to latin-Roman times. Bypassing a whole list of names just to cherry pick ‚Macedonia‘ from the list. That is being ’selective‘ I think. And for the record – We note it here.

    The list of names FYRoM was known for – in backwards compatible listing…

    1- Vardaska
    2- Krusevo Republic
    3- Ottoman Vilayet Kosovo
    4- Ottoman Vilayet Manastir
    5- Greco-Roman Byzantine Theme Bulgaria
    6- Latin-Roman Macedonia Secunda Salutaris
    7- Dardania
    8- Pelagonia
    9- Paeonia

    I believe it is time to settle the Macedonian question once and for all. Conclusively. Definitively. I hope this helps.

  15. Nick the Greek So 14 Jan 2018 at 11:25 - Reply

    FYRoM wont let go of the Macedonian name. So they change strategy. They move the goal post’s. FYRoM’s protectionist’s have shifted the argument to territory name. So it is not about ancient-Macedonia any more. Now, they* posit that FYRoM has right to name itself after (latin-Roman) territory name ‘Macedonia Secunda Salutaris’, circumventing argument with Greece over ancient-Macedon. The position now, is that FYRoM gets it’s name from latin-Roman nomenclature. But even this position is flawed, because it means that FYRoM had to leapfrog itself back in history, back to pre-Slavic times, before Slavic settlement of Byzantium and Greco-Roman world, just to [[pick][choose]] select a ‘time specific’ name for itself. See below…

    1- FYRoM had to leapfrog over last known territory name ‘Vardaska’ – then…
    2- FYRoM had to leapfrog over Krusevo Republic – then…
    2- FYRoM had to leapfrog over Ottoman Vilayet Kosovo and Manastir – then…
    3- FYRoM had to leapfrog over Byzantine Theme Bulgaria

    As can be seen, FYRoM had to leapfrog past many historical time lines and territory place-names, in order to get to ’specific time‘ in history when the land was called Macedonia Secunda Salutaris.

    This is not playing by the rules. This is being (political) selective.

  16. Nick the Greek Mo 15 Jan 2018 at 22:55 - Reply

    Max, there is always room for more comment.

    Lavrov: Greece should not make concessions in FYROM name talks http://www.ekathimerini.com/224914/article/ekathimerini/news/lavrov-greece-should-not-make-concessions-in-fyrom-name-talks

    Pure Geopolitics – I’m with Lavrov on this. Why? Because this is last chance to bury the Macedonian question once and for all, and confine it to the annals of history.

    Final resolution must be crystal clear. Final resolution must conclude leaving absolutely no doubts. Example(s)…

    1- Macedon name originated in Hellenic world. Created for Greeks, by Greeks.

    2- Macedon was Greek Kingdom

    3- Alexander the Great was Greek King of Macedon

    4- Macedonia is historical region of Northern-Greece

    5- Macedonians are regional historical people-group of ethnic-Greek stock

    6- Macedonian identity was cast in Hellenic mold millennia in the past.

    7- Macedonians have always been a Greek-speaking Hellenic-peoples.

    8- Macedonians are the Greeks, who to this day, continue to self-identify in the (ages old) tradition of their regional historical paleo-Hellenic ancestors.

    So it’s important. It must be made clear to our Western-Partners and European-Cousins that no enticement is big enough to make Greek politicians negotiate the Macedonian name away from it’s Hellenic (origin) roots.

    In the end, in the case of a stalemate, the West will have to make a choice…(i) Choose Greece – Drop FYRoM, or (ii) Drop Greece – Welcome FYRoM, into Euro-Atlantic economic and security structures. The choice is for the West to make!

  17. Christian Schmidt Mi 17 Jan 2018 at 11:08 - Reply

    Mongolia is called Mongolia (literally ‚Mongolian State‘) despite it only being the old Chinese province of Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia is still part of China. China does not seem to demand that Mongolia calls itself ‚Outer Mongolia‘.

    (In fact, there are twice as many ethnic Mongols in China than in Mongolia!)

  18. Christian Schmidt Mi 17 Jan 2018 at 11:17 - Reply

    Most of South Africa’s Northwest province used to be a Bantustan called Bophuthatswana (‚Gathering of the Tswana‘). This is were most of the Tswana people live. In fact more than 2/3 of all Tswana live in South Africa. South Africa does not object to Botswana (‚Land of the Tswana‘).

  19. Christian Schmidt Mi 17 Jan 2018 at 11:27 - Reply

    The UK doesn’t demand Ireland to be called ‚Southern Ireland‘ (despite the original Home Rule bill giving it exactly that name).

  20. Christian Schmidt Mi 17 Jan 2018 at 11:37 - Reply

    The Samoan Islands are one archipelago, inhabited by the Samoan people. The eastern islands are a US territory. The western islands used to be a UK territory. They became independent in 1962 as ‚Western Samoa‘. In 1997 they changed the name to ‚Independent State of Samoa‘. American Samoa protested. Nobody cared.

  21. Christian Schmidt Mi 17 Jan 2018 at 11:38 - Reply

    And I guess I leave it at that, or I get told off too…

  22. Nick the Greek Do 18 Jan 2018 at 21:32 - Reply

    Names can be adopted. FYRoM though, takes it to the extreme. How?

    FYRoM extracts cultural historical endowments from adopted [[selected][time-specific]] name.

    FYRoM adopted Hellenic-peoples regional geographic name and (unilaterally) took the level(s) of country-name, sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity.

    This is wrong. Very wrong!

  23. Jim So 21 Jan 2018 at 23:07 - Reply

    Nick the Greek,
    Can’t you see how unhistorical those people are..? I’ve read some comments on other sites as well and they (skopjans) insist that macedonian ancient language is different than greek..!!! 😮 They even say that on Philip’s tomb, Greeks carved it on Greek language… They don’t know where Great Alexander came from and who his ancestors are..I’ve also read that Aristotele is not Greek hahaha. The problem is what our traitors politician do…I’m afraid that our moron politicians as well gave Thrace to Erdogan…It’s so pity what is going on, on our country and what hostile neighbours we have.. and yet we are separated through different political parties… and vote the most inappropriate people to rule our country without any hesitate to sell our land, our history, our homes… We should wake up at last or more will come… And yes I’m Greek and i hate German Xrisi Avgi (you know what i mean)

  24. Nick the Greek Mo 22 Jan 2018 at 22:49 - Reply

    The Macedonian question must conclude in definitive conclusive manner. Once and for all time. Never to return. Autochthonous Macedonians insist on that. Original Macedonians cannot leave anything to chance. Otherwise FYRoM will act on it!

    For Kotzias – leave nothing to chance. The Macedonian name belongs in Greek domain. Macedonian identity belongs to Greek heritage. Negotiating these things to benefit non-Greeks is morally ethically wrong. Why? Because Greek governments are morally and legally obliged to defend and protect the Hellenic peoples cultural historical endowments – regardless the enticements afforded to negotiator’s.

    Yes, FYRoM deserves it’s place in Europe, but not as ‚Republic of Macedonia‘. Why? Because that name, the Macedonian name, is too heavily rooted in Hellenism to be contested. Our Western-Partners and European-Cousins know that now.

    The Macedonian question is something that touches Greek-Hellenic peoples heart. Negotiate this question badly – Greeks will react badly.

    People-Names, Place-Names, form important identity factors. More important to the people-group(s) that created them in the first place. Macedonian component of Greek identity cannot be negotiated to the benefit of non-Greeks. Why? Because Macedonians will react badly towards such silliness.

  25. Nick the Greek Mi 24 Jan 2018 at 19:58 - Reply

    The Macedonian question is nearing end of life. The West has historic opportunity to end it once and for all time, so it never requires a revisit. Hence it is important for Greece to get Western-Partners and European-Cousins on side. And on that, Greece has been partially successful. See explanation below…

    Explanation: Greece won the cyber (propaganda) war. FYRoM propagandists, their benefactors and enablers have been shunned and isolated. Their revisionism and pseudo-history dismissed for what they really are – anti-Western propaganda. Cyber space has been purged from most of it. But remnants remain and kept updated. Example: http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/ConciseMacedonia/timeline.html This site, History of Macedonia.Org is FYRoM Propaganda Site. It continues to litter the internet with fake (pseudo) history, brainwashing young Slavic children, pupils and students to themselves as ‚Macedonians‘ and ‚ancient-Macedonians‘ as Slavs.

    I think FYRoM should be encouraged to remove this site because of the damage it is causing young Slavic children, pupils and students. Our Western-Partners and European-Cousins could help in this endeavour.

    Greece is morally and legally obliged to defend and protect the Hellenic Republic’s (National) Place-Names, People-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy. The same way our Western-Partners and European-Cousins defend and protect theirs. I think it is widely understood now, that the ‚Macedonian question‘ must end with historical cohesion preserved.

    It leaves FYRoM to ponder and reflect. The Macedonian name they covet for country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity is causing problems for Greece particularly and the West in general. Hence, the onus is on FYRoM to find a proper more suitable name. A name that properly describes the geography and the demography there. Vardar Republic sounds original and true. Just a thought!

  26. christian schmidt Fr 26 Jan 2018 at 10:00 - Reply

    „Names can be adopted.“ – yes I agree. Great Britain (and even ‚British‘) was adopted by the English that conquered the region (island) called Britain from the Celtic Britons. Mexico adopted the name Mexico despite the majority population being of Spanish-origin, not natives. Then there are the West Indies, Indonesia, the USA. To even if the Slavic-speaking inhabitants of Makedonia are incomers that settled in a land that was previously called Makedonia but had a different majority population, so what?

  27. christian schmidt Fr 26 Jan 2018 at 10:01 - Reply

    Also, if my history is correct, then for more than thousand years the Hellenic population of Greece called itself ‚Romans’…

  28. christian schmidt Fr 26 Jan 2018 at 10:37 - Reply

    The original Rus was a Viking state. Should Sweden object to Russia calling itself Russia?

    France is named after a Germanic tribe. Should Germany object to France calling itself France? (There is still a region called ‚Francia‘ within Germany…)

  29. Nick the Greek Sa 27 Jan 2018 at 00:35 - Reply

    FYRoM uses the name of ancient-Greek kingdom for country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity. FYRoM academics scripted ethno-origin story and national historical narrative based on ancient Macedonian themes and synergies. But now, they have been told to stop, namely by other Slavic countries embarrassed at their silliness. And by Protectionist’s who want to see this fledgling newly established country enter the western worlds most prestigious economic and security structures of EU and NATO.

    Background: Macedon was Greek Kingdom. FYRoM is not Macedon. FYRoM is Paeonia south of Skopje and Dardania north from it. Latin-Romans incorporated Paeonia and Dardania into one greater administrative district they renamed Macedonia Secunda Salutaris. Interesting reference point here because FYRoM uses this historical time period to claim attachment to ‚time specific‘ territory name. A point in history before Slavic arrival to Byzantium and final settlement in Greco-Roman world.

    There are protectionist forces in the West that work hard to see FYRoM enter Euro-Atlantic economic and security structures. Greece too, wants to see this newly established [Yugo] Slavic country join EU and NATO, but not as ‚Republic of Macedonia‘. Why? Because that Place-Name and People-Name are far too rooted in Hellenism to be contested.

  30. Nick the Greek Sa 27 Jan 2018 at 19:34 - Reply

    FYRoM had many names in the past, all of them recorded for posterity. The first recorded name was Paeonia. Latin-Romans renamed Paeonia to Macedonia Secunda Salutaris. Then Greco-Romans renamed the area Theme-Bulgaria. Theme-Macedonia Greco-Romans relocated to Thrace. By doing this, Byzantine Greco-Romans made ‚ownership‘ statement. You know when a name is yours, when you take it with you to different geographical location.

    Anyway, (Paeonia) Theme-Bulgaria is military district of Byzantium, Empire of Constantinople, Imperium Romanum, Romania. It stayed this way until the coming of the Ottoman Turk. The Turks rename (Paeonia) Theme-Bulgaria to Vilayet-Monastir and Vilayet-Kosovo. It stayed this way until 1912 when after Balkan Wars the area became province of South-Serbia, within Kingdom of Yugoslavia. 1943, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia becomes Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. Paeonia becomes Vardar-Banovina. 1945, Comrade Tito renamed the place to ‘Peoples Republic of Macedonia’, then to ‘Socialist Peoples Republic of Macedonia’ a short while afterwards.

    As can be seen, FYRoM can trace it’s geographic regional-historical name back to Paeonia, in backwards compatible fashion…in perfect synchronicity with western worlds (mainstream) historical record.

    Balkan intrigue – FYRoM gets it’s name from latin-Roman nomenclature and naming convention(s). Comrade Tito had to leapfrog back to specific time in history (before Slavic arrival) when Paeonia was renamed Macedonia Secunda Salutaris.

  31. Nick the Greek Di 30 Jan 2018 at 21:31 - Reply

    FYRoM’s catalogue of (nation building) mistakes put it on collision course with Greece. See list of early mistakes…

    1- Academics there scripted FYRoM a history and heritage based on the achievements of Hellenic Macedonian people-group.

    2- Academics there scripted FYRoM a national historical narrative so crude and so crass, it went against Western worlds (mainstream) long-established cultural-historical narrative.

    3- Politicians there allied FYRoM to Turkey. Making it little-Turkey. The most Turkic friendly country in Europe.

    4- Politicians there delegated FYRoM foreign policy to [[Canadian][American][Australian]] diaspora groups and NGO’s.

    5- Benefactors, Backers and Supporters, financed FYRoM’s building programme. They payed for huge Monuments, Statues, Sports-Stadiums, Arenas, Roads, Highways, Boulevards and Triumphal Arch – All in the name Macedon, the ancient-Greek Kingdom.

    6- Propagandists there, specialists in the field, littered the internet with anti-Hellenic propaganda. The most Vile and Virulent propaganda ever unleashed on Hellenism and the Greek-Hellenic State.

    7- FYRoM sanctioned, payed for, supplied the staff, to promote rigged Dna test, fronted by Spanish immunologist Antonio Arnaiz-Villena. They placed Greek Dna in African cluster. Something L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza (the worlds leading geneticist) could not replicate.

    A catalogue of Mistake after Mistake. Too numerous to list. The net result of which alienated the West and particularly the Greek-Hellenic peoples against them.

  32. Nick the Greek Sa 3 Feb 2018 at 22:34 - Reply

    When a name is imposed on you, and in such a way as to deny your ancestral forebears paternal-ethnicity, what kind of a name could that be but an imposed one. The Macedonian name was imposed on Bulgarian-speaking Vardar-Slavs in order to ethnically-manipulate them.

    Comrade Tito the Croat, created 6th autonomous Republic 1944 Yugoslavia, ‚Peoples Republic of Macedonia‘. He socially-engineered new kind of Slav, the Macedonian-Slav. But he did not cater for the day when after more than two generations, those same Vardar-Slavs would be espousing collective-memories, ethnic-feelings and national-pride for all things Macedonian.

  33. Nick the Greek So 4 Feb 2018 at 11:22 - Reply

    Names can be adopted or imposed. Identity is inherited, passed-on, onward-transmitted from one ethno-cultural generation to the next one. Expired identity is confined to history. It belongs to heritage of people-group(s) claiming it.

    In the case of ‚Macedonian identity‘ – It still exists on basis and principle(s) explained above. Whilst Macedonian identity continues to exist in Northern-Greeks, no other Macedonians can exist next to them, claiming their lineage or achievement(s).

    People-Names. Place-Names. Identity. History. Heritage. Legacy – These things are important. More important to the people-groups that created and originated them in the first place.

  34. Homer Mo 5 Mrz 2018 at 07:15 - Reply

    The Greeks invented the trojan horse. They won’t be easily fooled by FYROM’s „assurances“ that FYROM does not have irredentist claims against Greece in the future without concrete and irreversible changes to FYROM’s constitution.

    Unless FYROM can demonstrate that it can somehow place the „We are descendants of Ancient Macedonians“ narrative „genie“ back in the proverbial bottle, and acknowledge that Greeks are the true heirs both culturally and geographically to the ancient Macedonian Kingdom and peddle that narrative as well as making the necessary constitutional changes, a solution is unlikely.

    The removal of a couple of statutes and renaming the airport and roads whilst welcomed by Athens, I doubt will cut it as I am sure Erdogan would gladly pay to replace the statutes of Alexander and signage after FYROM becomes an EU and NATO member.

  35. Nick the Greek So 18 Mrz 2018 at 12:29 - Reply

    FYRoM could have been the (fraternal) conduit through which brother-peoples and sister-nations channelled good ideas themes and synergies at each other. Looked out for each other. Cultivated common future together. For their own benefit and the common good.

    Alas, it was not to be. FYRoM took on anti-Hellenic stance. And spent the next 26 years at arms length, isolated, from joining western worlds most prestigious economic and security structures of EU and NATO.

    FYRoM learned the hard way – The Macedonian name is far too rooted in Hellenism to be contested. On this reflection, I think FYRoM should rescind the name…I mean give it back to Hellenism where it belongs.

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