Between ‘the Balkans’ and ‘Europe’: A study of the contemporary transformation of Macedonian identity, 1991-2002

Here we are, brothers, Macedonians! So be it. Everyone gets his own share. For 10 years the international community has been convincing us that the Macedonians are of a reasonable behavior as they had, above all by the wise politics of Kiro Gligorov, avoided bloodshed. As it was, we were here bleeding just because we were not wise enough. The stupid and uncivilized slaughter each other, and the wise and the human negotiate. In those praises of you existed an indirect condemnation of us. But what happened? Did the business-like Macedonian wisdom stop short? Don’t be stupid. Don’t make war! Solve all your misunderstandings with peace and dignity! Show some wisdom. Rise at least once more above the Balkan politics of force and show some diplomacy. Reason will prevail!

- Ozren Kebo [i]

The above statement, which comes from the pen of a Bosniak intellectual, provides a vivid illustration of some of the themes examined in this paper. First, it identifies the existence of a Balkan image saturated with negatively charged characteristics. Second, it places such an image within the context of a set of dichotomies: the Balkan lack of civilisation and reason, the prevalence of stupidity and war, versus the opposite—wisdom, reason, negotiation, dignity and peace. Third, it shows a main Macedonian political strategy of trying to distance the nation from the presented negative ‘Balkan’ features. And fourth, it demonstrates the fluidity of these identified categories: Whereas Bosnia was before firmly entrenched in the Balkans, now it finds itself in a position to speak on the previously ‘elevated’ but now ‘fallen from grace’ Macedonia.

The focus of this article is how people view themselves in the context of a perceived and negatively constraining reality and how that reality could change under the influence of fresh aspirations of a positive self image. The people of interest are the (ethnic) Macedonians, the negative reality is that of the Balkans, and the positive identity aspiration is to be European. Set within the identified and constraining dichotomy of a positive ‘Europe’ versus the negative ‘Balkans’, the question is where, in terms of identity, Macedonia finds its own position. [ii]

Larry Wolff’s Inventing Eastern Europe [iii] and Marija Todorova’s Imagining the Balkans [iv] created unprecedented interest among sociologists, anthropologists, historians and political scientists in dealing with imaginative geography in the European east. This scholarship is focused not only on the ways such imaginations are created, but increasingly on the way the object onto which the resulting (in the Balkan case, negative) images are projected, has dealt with them. Such is the comprehensive study by Todorova in her influential book, but there also exist separate case studies for Croatia [v] , Serbia [vi] , Romania[vii] and the former Yugoslavia [viii] . These studies reveal the phenomenon of ‘nesting Orientalisms’ [ix], self-exception based on the promotion of indigenous values and traditions, [x] and what Marko Zivkovic calls ‘self-exoticising’: “a mode of response to stereotypes [that] important others hold of oneself which to a greater or lesser extent plays on their positive valences”. [xi]

Macedonians have never been the focus of such research. Indeed, Macedonia has been interesting only with regard to the origins, nature and stability of Macedonian identity [xii] , with little being said on how the people deal with being in the Balkans or wanting to be in Europe. Perhaps Macedonia is not an interesting case to explore? Macedonia is neither a country nor a people marginal (in any sense) to the Balkans, which would necessitate having to deal with geographical ambiguity or the possibility of imagining Balkan geography in favourable terms. In view of vague geographic and cultural definitions of the limits of the Balkan Peninsula, [xiii] the particular possibilities for claiming Balkan marginality and therefore exemption are available to such countries as Croatia, Slovenia and Romania; [xiv] one cannot make the same claim for Macedonia. For Rebecca West Macedonia was ‘the Balkan of the Balkans’. [xv]It is in the geographic heart of the Balkan Peninsula and is also unambiguously Balkan from a cultural perspective, largely by virtue of its long Ottoman occupation and Orthodox religion. Any effort to attach to Macedonians a greater civilizational role, like a connection to the ancient Macedonians of Alexander the Great, has been politically and historically disputed, and these claims are in any manner largely abandoned today. Also, lacking the history of an undisputed medieval state, Macedonia has not been able to follow Serbia’s claim to being the last bastion of European Christianity, thus creating for itself a historically-based positive Balkan valence. Neither has it been able,, in the Greek manner, to convincingly claim a significant contribution to (Western) European culture.

But does such a Balkan ‘constraint’ leave no room for manoeuvre with respect to Macedonian regional belonging? The need for such manoeuvre has been imposed by the wider circumstances of the international scene. On one hand, in the decade since Macedonia came into existence as an independent state in 1991, the Balkan region has been scarred by war, genocide, economic difficulties, embargoes, ‘irrational’ disputes and continual security concerns. On the other, the fall of the Eastern bloc at the end of the Cold War has created the conditions necessary for Europe to open its doors to the east in an attempt to wipe out the borders that would divide it between west and east, capitalist and communist, developed and backward. With a view toward economic advancement, and lacking political alternatives by virtue of its location in the turbulent Balkans and no assistance from a weakened Russia, the only path Macedonian has is ‘towards Europe’. It is this new political possibility that has opened the doors to a potential redefinition of Macedonian identity--a move from a negative ‘Balkan’ image to a positively perceived ‘European’ one.

Indeed, in the few years of Macedonian independence, and despite a very divided political scene, seemingly the only political national consensus has been on integration in European political and economic structures. [xvi] Upon opening parliamentary debate on the ratification of the signed Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski acknowledged this by stating:

[t]he integration of our country in the European Union is a clear and primary aim of this government’s politics, in the past ten years, for all the parliamentary assemblies to this day and for all previous governments. We all worked for this aim, and all together succeeded in opening the door for Macedonia to enter in the family of European nations. [xvii]

A practical illustration of this rhetoric is provided by the readiness of the Macedonian government during the 1999 Kosovo crisis to accommodate NATO troops and accept 300,000 (more than 10 percent of its own population) Kosovo Albanian refugees despite attempts at good neighbourly relations with Yugoslavia and threats to its own internal stability. The Macedonian imperative has therefore been to find a compromise between belonging in the Balkans and European aspirations. This article provides an answer to the question of what is to be done in order to find such a compromise, and how successful any attempts have been.

The importance of this question lies in the examination of the possibility for identity re-definition within a constraining framework of region-based images. As has been claimed, opportunities for redefinition are now open and the ways to achieve redefinition are many. What needs to be elaborated, however, is the driving force, or lack thereof, behind their success. Such a driving force should be sought in the interaction among all political levels, including international (regional) structures, domestic political elites, and domestic popular audiences. With this aim in mind, what follows is an exploration of Macedonian political rhetoric [xviii] and domestic popular opinion. [xix] Establishing a correspondence among them is important because it does not leave the task of identifying Macedonian regional self-understanding unfinished. Indeed, as Risse et al suggest, “how can one talk about ‘national identity’ and ignore the people who are the subject of such elite discourses?” [xx] The international level is addressed from the perspective of constraining the free re-negotiation of identity.

In trying to promote the above-defined Macedonian political interests, political elites have attempted to construct the regional aspects of Macedonian identity in two largely continuous and overlapping although temporally consecutive and dominant discourses. [xxi] The first and primary discourse focuses on Macedonian exemption from the negative Balkan mould, well exemplified by the quotation at the beginning of this text. The second attempts to promote a positive all-Balkan image of which Macedonia forms an integral part. Popular perceptions, nevertheless, reveal the lack of success of such attempts: national self image remains largely negative. This article looks at the reasons for this lack of success in the relational nature of social identity, and thus in the difficulty of changing or exempting oneself from such long established fixed images as that of ‘the Balkans’, created by a continual Europe-wide structure.

Identity as a social construct: a structural approach

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Philosophers and scientists in psychology, sociology and international relations theory [xxii] have a common approach to identity in stressing its socially constructed nature. [xxiii] The basic point of all such scholarship is revealed in the axiom that there is no self without the other. The self, therefore, by its own definition, seeks to draw a line of demarcation against the outsider. For Emile Durkheim, for instance, “the lineation of an ‘in-group’ must necessarily entail its demarcation from a number of ‘out-groups’, and that demarcation is an active and on-going part of identity formation.” [xxiv] In the field of social anthropology, Frederic Barth’s classic Ethnic Groups and Boundaries stresses the reproduction of ethnic groups via the maintenance of boundaries (diacritica) that distinguish them from other groups.[xxv] To take an example from the field of international relations and its constructivist approach, Alexander Wendt defines social identities as sets of meanings that an actor “attributes to itself while taking the perspective of others, that is, as a social object.” [xxvi] That is to say, “[i]ndividuals and groups acquire social identities from the way others treat them and from the social practices which confirm the treatment that they receive from others….Social identities are social because they are created and sustained through social practices, which are produced and continuously reproduced.“ [xxvii] In social psychology, Henri Tajfel identifies the process of social identification as constituting three stages: categorisation (when a category is accepted both internally and externally), identification (of the individual with this category), and social comparison. [xxviii] It is this social comparison that allows the individual to define his/her identity with reference to others, ‘the self’ relative to ‘the other’.

It can be said, therefore, that social identity depends on two parameters: first, the group’s position within a wider structure; and second, the role one holdsin the group. Within groups and societies, it is structures that define individual identity. Theodore Sarbin and Karl Scheibe’s model of social identity starts with the assumption that society is a role system in which roles are not considered trivial. [xxix] In fact, a person’s social identity is a function of his/her validated social position at a particular time, which in turn is based on a system of roles, always defined in relation to others. The validation of social position, i.e. status, being either degradation or advancement, depends on performance within a given role and has powerful implications for the conduct of certain individuals or groups, and therefore the content of their identity. Therefore, “individual’s valuations of themselves – their self-respect and self-esteem – will depend upon the particular reference group or groups that are important to them.” [xxx] The same can be said of peoples within the wider context of international society.

This relativity shows that the development/construction of identity can be dependent on two factors: social negotiations, which stress the fluidity of social identity, and social structures that render identity a less flexible category. ‘Social negotiation’ suggests that the creation of social identity is an active process, dependent on the communication of ‘the self’ and ‘the other’. The question here is how this communication occurs . The fact that identity is socially defined (and thus shaped) suggests the possibility of intentionality, or the instrumental use of such a definition. National ‘grand narratives’, as in cases of the ‘creation’ of glorious histories, [xxxi] are often used to increase the positive value of belonging to a certain group, in this case the nation. Thus, in the words of Aziz Al-Azmech, identity becomes “a performative category rather than one of authenticity”. [xxxii] A similar observation, although one that only separates performance and authenticity without giving precedence to either , is made by Marko Zivkovic, who distinguishes between identity as self-knowledge and self-display. Narratives that make sense of ‘the self’ can be divided in the same manner: The narrative, or discourse, can thus be seen as constitutive of collective identity, but also as the context in which politics are played out. [xxxiii]Placing it thus in the realm of politics, one can assume identity to be negotiable. “In this struggle for representation for the definition of the self and the other, the weaker side tends to accept the judgement of the stronger, but also tries to twist and manipulate it to its own satisfaction and best interests.” [xxxiv]

However, by placing identity in the realm of politics, one cannot avoid the question of power. This is addressed by David Campbell, speaking as follows in the context of US foreign policy:

If we take the Cold War to be a struggle related to the production and reproduction of identity, the popularly heralded belief that we are witnessing the end of the Cold War embodies a misunderstanding: While the objects of established post-1945 strategies of otherness may no longer be possible candidates for enmity, their transformation has not by itself altered the entailments of identity which they satisfied.[xxxv]

Thus, the one who holds power will define the ‘other’, not only in terms of the requirements of its foreign policy, but also in terms of maintaining a certain position of order (or hierarchy) within which ‘the self’ has been defined and is reproduced. Thus, order, in this case , requires the maintenance of a certain structure. Therefore, where power is present, power is a factor. Should there be situations of well-defined and historically continuous powerhierarchies (at the level of politics, economics and thus culture and identity, as indeed in the relations between Western Europe and the Balkans), or indeed great discrepancies of power, the one who will dictate the definitions of identity and against which identity is defined can be confidently identified . Suggesting historically determined structures, Michael Shapiro concludes that “[s]elf/other relations have to be understood in their historicity; they are aspects of historically contingent ideas of self, which again are rooted in historically contingent ideas about time and space.” [xxxvi] For Alexander Wendt, structure and process are merged through collective identity formation at the inter-state level: The dichotomy between the two is false because they are mutually constitutive. Thus, “[t]he conceptions of self and interest tend to ‘mirror’ the practices of significant others over time.” [xxxvii] This does stress a certain fluidity (a constant redefinition of the self relative to the other) but at the same time this flexibility is not unlimited: “To say that worlds are defined intersubjectively is not to say that they are malleable, however, since intersubjective constructions confront actors as obdurate social facts. Sometimes structures cannot be changed in a given historical context.” [xxxviii]

Such a solidification of identity structures is complemented by the creation of fixed categories of images and stereotypes which correspond to existing power structures. Social identification is connected to, indeed cannot do without, categorization within groups. Tajfel’s cognitive explanation of stereotyping refers to the inescapability of such categorization in a complex world; it is an indispensable part of perceiving reality. [xxxix] In coping with differences, ambiguities and complexity, therefore, stereotyping involves categorization ( which provides “the mould that gives shape to inter-group attitudes” [xl] ), assimilation (of social values and norms that contribute to the content of the category), and the search for coherence. The stereotype thus attaches to an individual a label by virtue of his/her belonging to a certain pre-conceived category, and sets ‘us’ against ‘them’. [xli] This label is self-perpetuating. As Umberto Eco writes, “if the sign does not reveal the thing itself, the process of semiosis produces in the long run a socially shared notion of the thing that the community is engaged to take as if its were in itself true. [xlii]

The stereotype thus helps organize the world via labels, images, signs, all of which attach to individuals certain fixed meanings. How is this connected to identity? The image being a product of one’s own self-understanding, it is a prism through which the world is seen, thus fixing and indeed creating certain identities. [xliii] Hedetoft argues that the sign ‘Europe’ has served the political purpose of creating a European identity [xliv] ; Risse et al stress the use of the EMU and the Euro—both of which symbolize a collective European identity—as tools used to get closer to the political vision of ‘an ever closer union’.[xlv] Fixed images of the self imply the inflexibility of identity and thus help maintain existent identity structures. Because of the relational nature of identity, these structures then serve to shape and maintain the firmness of other identities. The question, therefore, and in spite of constant interaction, remains how and when the actors are able to overturn the existent reinforced structure and thus renegotiate identities. Lacking such a revolution, the structure and its definition remains, and communication between the self and the other remains a largely predictable process.

This structural explanation of identity definition has to be kept in mind when considering the identity narratives of Macedonian elites and their success in selling these narratives. This is where the audience holds the key. Speaking about the intentionality of the narrative and its link to certain political actions in the case of Sweden’s intervention in the Thirty Years War, Ringmar reveals that “[i]n order to find out whether a particular constitutive story is a valid description of us, it must first be tested in interaction with others…” [xlvi] Confirmation of the narratives of the self nevertheless cannot be given by just anybody, but only by those whom the self recognizes. Thus, and although, as Sarbin and Scheibe claim, one “can have many evaluating audiences” and therefore “no one valuation is uniquely appropriate”, “[i]f there were such a thing as an organised and extensive dominant society or ‘establishment’, it would seem that a person could acquire only one evaluation.” [xlvii] As we will see below, in the case of the Balkans, and thus Macedonia, this establishment is (Western) Europe.

>‘The Balkans’ and ‘Europe’

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This essay would have lacked a thesis were the images of ‘the Balkans’ and ‘Europe’ mutually compatible. A clear opposition between ‘Balkan’ and ‘European’ images nevertheless exists—a historically createdfixed image of a positive (Western) Europe, based on 18th century Enlightenment values, and its negative Balkan reflection . Thus, the best-known derivatives of the term Balkan today are ‘Balkanisation,’ which means messy fragmentation, and ‘Balkanism,’which refers to barbarism, primitivism, tribalism. The opposite of this is the Enlightened (Western) European idea(l) as depicted by Tony Judt: “When people refer to possible future adherents they now quite simply and unblushingly speak of a country… ‘joining Europe’. This curious location shows how much Europe today is not so much a place as an idea, apeaceful, prosperous international community of shared interests and collaborating parts…” [xlviii] Thus, while (Western) Europe is progressive, civilised, rational, tolerant, democratic, the Balkans are backward, barbaric, irrational, primitive.

According to Todorova, the formation of the Balkan image/sign/stereotype was a two-century process, beginning in the 18th century with the first contacts by Western travellers with the Balkans. According to Zivkovic, however, such contacts existed beforehand: The first visits by the British, for instance, occurred in the 16th century, a direct consequence of travel resulting from the establishment of the British Levant Company in 1581. [xlix] The difference, nevertheless, that allowed for the formation of a negative image of the Balkans, as stressed by Wolff, was the fact that 18th century Enlightenment values of progress, civilisation and reason provided a reference point from which to measure other cultures and thus perceive their relative industrial backwardness, undeveloped social relations, lack of political institutions, and culture based on superstition and submission; this was found in the Balkan peoples. Thus, according to Wolff, the distinction between the West and the East was calculated and deliberate:

[It] was not a natural distinction or even an innocent one, for it was produced as a work of cultural creation, of intellectual artifice, of ideological self-interest and self-promotion….It was Western Europe that invented Eastern Europe as its complementary other half in the eighteenth century, the age of Enlightenment. It was also the Enlightenment, with its intellectual centres in Western Europe, that cultivated and appropriated to itself the notion of ‘civilisation’, and eighteenth-century neologism, and civilisation discovered its complement, within the same continent, in shadowed lands of backwardness, even barbarism. [l]

Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the Balkan image is not an invariable one, and perhaps this is one criticism that can be directed towards Todorova’s work or this paper. Zivkovic, for instance, mentions the Thesaurus Geographicus (1695), which described the Serbs and Bulgarians as “vicious, given to robbery and drinking”, but a little later as “famous on the account of their Courage and Magnanimity”. [li]The perception of the Balkans by the West has been mixed as it did , for instance, inspire romantic dispositions in the context of the European era of Romanticism. Byron’s inspiration to fight in the Greek War of Independence is illustrative. However, the persistence and dominance of the fixed dichotomy as explained above cannot be overestimated. ‘Balkanisms’ essentialisation, persistent throughout the 20thcentury and transcendent over time, is most vividly illustrated by the Carnegie Endowment reports on the region. Having published the first in 1914 after the Balkan wars, in 1993 the Endowment satisfied itself by reprinting the old one (the same 1914 publication? Clarify!) with a new caption, The Other Balkan Wars. George Kennan’s Preface to the 1993 report stated the strongest motivating factor for the new wars :

…[a]ggressive nationalism… [that] drew on deeper traits of character inherited, presumably, from a distant tribal past….And so it remains today. What we are up against is the sad fact that developments of those earlier ages…had the effect of thrusting into the southeastern reaches of the European continent a salient of non-European civilization, which has continued to the present day to preserve many of its non-European characteristics. [lii]

These attitudes also dominate the contemporary accounts of Western journalists, ‘travelers’, and even historians, evident in such books as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” [liii] or Richard Kaplan’s “Balkan Ghosts” [liv] . In September 1991, at the beginning of the Yugoslav dissolution, the influential German daily Die Zeit wrote, “The illusion for a new world order fell apart quicker than it needed to be created….The East European states saw the return of the old chaos. Its best illustration is found in the Yugoslav disintegration – in the form of a Balkanisation of the Balkans.” [lv] The same attitudes are found implicit in the ‘civilizing’ policies of the ‘West’ towards Eastern Europe in general and the Balkans in particular, such as the Copenhagen criteria for European accession, or simply the intense scrutiny under which these regions are evaluated based on Western policies.

The division of Europe is thus still persistent, with the Balkans, to use Wolff’s metaphor, finding itself on the other side of the remnant shade of the iron curtain. [lvi] The additional question is what the function of such a division is; indeed, why such a division persists. The above social explanation of identity supports the conclusion that there would not have been a ‘West’ or ‘Europe’ as a basis for self-identification without concepts such as the ‘East’, the ‘Orient’, ‘Eastern Europe’, or the ‘Balkans’.Mutatis mutandis, the latter signifiers, images, signs, would not have existed without (being defined by) the former. This structural interpretation lets us suppose and indeed understand the hierarchies in such identifications and the content of such images and value-loaded signs. In Orientalism, a book that threw initial light on the West’s, primarily Europe’s, creation of ‘the other’, Said reveals that, “European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of a surrogate or even an underground self.” [lvii] ‘Europe,’ being politically, economically and, according to its self-view, therefore culturally more advanced, was in position to define the other and be defined against it:

Seeing Orientalism as a dialectical process helps us recognise that it is not merely a Western imposition of a reified identity on some alien set of people. It is also an imposition of an identity created in dialectical opposition to another identity, one likely to be equally reified, that of the West. Westerners, then, define the Orient in terms of the West, but so others define themselves in terms of the West….Of course, the way I have cast this privileges the West as the standard against which all others are defined, which is appropriate in view of both the historical political and economic power of the West. [lviii]

This, however, does not mean that the ‘Balkans’ is the intra-European equivalent of the ‘Orient’ as understood in Said’s ‘Orientalist’ discourse. Indeed, both the ‘Orient’ and the ‘Balkans’ are European constructs, made possible because of existing hierarchies and their performance of particular functions for ‘Europe’. The difference with the ‘Balkans’, however, is that they are not the outsider: Quite to the contrary, they are the insider, albeit one different from Western Europe, and therefore an ambiguous challenger to its values. Wolff has revealed such an attribute toward Eastern Europe: He traces, for instance, attitudes towards Eastern Europe as a land not of absolute opposition to the ‘West’ but one of ambiguity and contrasts. According to him, “uncertainty encouraged the construction of Eastern Europe as a paradox of simultaneous inclusion and exclusion, Europe but not Europe….One might describe the invention of Eastern Europe as an intellectual project of demi-Orientalisation.” [lix] In her analysis of ‘Balkanism’ in Imagining the Balkans, Todorova transposes this transitoriness of the whole region to the smaller scale of the Balkans;they are the geographic and cultural bridge between the ‘West’ and the ‘East’, not only as understood on a broader European scale as discussed by Wolff, but in more recent terms that make distinctions within Eastern Europe itself. Nevertheless, Todorova goes one step further: ambiguity, according to her, means danger. The Balkans are the internal outsider: By being different and yet (geographically) European, they are potentially subversive. The Western European fear of Europe-wide instability emanating from Balkan turbulences reveals a persistent fear of internal subversion. By being essentially different, the Balkans become the perfect dumping ground for all of Europe’s negativities. Thus, they have become the despised alter ego, the dark side within Europe. This is perhaps not surprising, since the evil attributed to the region is in fact, historically speaking, the mark of its ultimate ‘Europeanization’. With regard to violence, the early Balkan Wars were an attempt to consolidate nation-states, the latter being an entirely Western European concept; the latest Yugoslav wars were again conflicts to obtain the same nation-states. Speaking of backwardness, i exactly this wasproduced by the setting of Western European standards and the perpetuation of a real relationship of power between Europe and the Balkans, which resulted in the economic dependence and underdevelopment of the East. Indeed, the term ‘Balkan’ in its negative meaning was popularized at a time of European decadence and self-doubt, a fin de siecle atmosphere that dominated the turn of the century. European values were the focus of serious challenges, reflected in the emergence of nihilism and existentialism in European thought. The feeling of a looming world war challenged Europe’s peace system and self-image as the center of all civilization. Communism challenged liberalism and the West’s capitalist traditions. The need for protection of decaying social values resulted in the identification of a negative other that would make Europe feel better about being Europe. Thus, talking about the former Yugoslavia in particular, the Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek writes: “Far from being the Other of Europe, ex-Yugoslavia was, rather, Europe itself in its own repressed reverse.” [lx]

Having thus presented the ‘Europe’/’Balkan’ image dichotomy, the question of why it should be expected to influence Balkan identities in particular can now be answered. Talking about European ‘cultural hegemony,’ “which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand”, Said, in a somewhat defeatist manner, asks: “And why should it have been otherwise, especially during the period of extraordinary European ascendancy from the late Renaissance period to the present? The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader, or the soldier was in, or thought about, the Orient because hecould be there… with very little resistance on the Orient’s part.” [lxi] The same could be said of the Balkans. A Europe-wide structure of a Northwestern European core and its periphery, of which the Balkans form a part, cannot be denied. Placed in relation to Europe, the Balkans have historically been in the position of relative underdevelopment (and submission to power) in the political, economic, social (and therefore cultural) meaning of the word. Since it was Western Europe, the leader, that dictated the principles of such development (indeed, why industry and not agriculture; why the city and not the village; why the individual and not the family?), it was the Balkans that followed. Thus, although Todorova objects to placing the region in the category of post-colonial analyses, their quasi-colonial character cannot be disputed.

Making this an absolute claim can, however, be disputed. It is a fact of history that the Balkans has been subject to the Ottoman legacy and the influence of that ‘alternative’ European state, Russia. Nevertheless, although these legacies cannot be denied, modernity in the Balkans is connected to an unambiguous ‘Western’ influence in terms of economic, social and political development. The beginning of modern Balkan history is Western European in itself—the idea of the nation-state being a Western European invention—and came about with the first intensified contacts of Balkan merchants with Western Europe.[lxii] Almost immediately after the formation of the incipient Balkan nation-states, all of them invariably embarked on a process of modern, meaning Western, organisation of their societies. This is a result of what Stavrianos terms the ‘new Western imperialism’, in that it “engendered a thorough transformation of the subject territories….The impact affected all aspects of the subordinate culture: their traditional values and ways of thinking, as well as their economic and social organisation.” This impact was felt not only in the Balkans, but all over the globe. [lxiii] In today’s post-Cold War context the relative underdevelopment of the Balkans is still relevant. The EU—that ultimate embodiment of what is perceived as ‘European’—functions as the source of an authoritative allocation of values. After the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the ‘Europeanization’ of the region, in terms of finding permanent security in regional cooperation, development and adoption of (Western) European economic and democratic values, became the prime concern of (Western) Europe and increasingly the region. Thus, according to Leeda Demetropolou, “[i]t is the EU that produces the dominant discourse about the Balkans as part of its broader Europeanization discourse,” and, “it is the EU which holds the leading role of the generator and main agent of Europeanization.” [lxiv] Culture and identity will therefore be defined in terms of this Europe-wide structure.

A second reason why image structures are expected to influence Balkan identities is the temporal coincidence of the emergence of the negative Balkan image and the formation of Balkan national identities. It is a historical coincidence that the identities and states in question were shaped at about the same time as the Balkan stereotype was reinforced in the West. According to Todorova, the negative Balkan image crystallized with the news of the barbarities of the 1912/3 Balkan wars, which stood in sharp contrast to the peace movements at the time prevalent and even institutionalized in Europe. The beginning of the 20thcentury was a period of nation- and state-building; Serbia and Bulgaria had established independence from the Ottoman Empire, Croatia had managed to dissociate itself from the Habsburg Empire, while the Macedonians were struggling to maintain national consciousness. In the 1990s, the fall of the Yugoslav state and identity meant that the former Yugoslav peoples struggled, yet again, to build individual identities as well as states. . The fall of communism at the same time oriented the Balkan peoples towards a search for a new (or a return to the old) European identity, understood as the ‘true’ (Western) European meaning of the word. A negative, all-Balkan image, therefore, meant that the Balkan peoples were particularly sensitive to how they were perceived, and thus their identities were a result of the ways in which ‘Europe’ defined them.

Macedonian identity’s fragility and Balkan internalisationback to top

The importance of understanding general, dominant and persistent views of the self stems from the previous discussion on the importance of such views in consideration of certain self-representations and discourses forwarded by political elites . The following points thus represent an important starting position in understanding the sources of and limitations contained in such discourses.

The necessity of outside acceptance of the nature of identity is particularly true in the Macedonian case. Macedonian-ness has historically been challenged, and such challenges are particularly important in view of their continuity today. Historically, the Macedonians never had their own modern state until after the Yugoslav dissolution of 1991 and the proclamation of Macedonian independence in November of the same year. When that state was finally established, however, challenges to Macedonian identity surged forth from all neighbours and were specifically targeted against major (including symbolic) aspects that otherwise serve to consolidate an identity and a nation: These were, and to a degree still are, the language, the church, the flag, the name, and finally, the state. Figure 1 is illustrative of this situation: Surrounded by threatening neighbours, the Macedonian leadership has to stand firm, something for which luck is always necessary (note the four-leaved clover).

Figure 11. Veto - State yes, Nation no – ‘Ilirida’ [lxv]

Even if some of these threats can be claimed as only symbolic, in view of historic experiences the antagonism received from Macedonian neighbours aroused fears for the survival of the state, and by extension, the survival of the nation. The serious nature of these challenges is illustrated by the following excerpt from former President Gligorov’s speech given on the eve of the 1991 referendum on independence:

On these territories, different Balkan states have made their own arrangements for Macedonia. To all, we need to say today what Macedonia truly is, why it needs to be an independent and sovereign state, so that everyone understands that these people in these spaces will never renounce their state, and be without name, or language, or be the object of assimilation and of the conquering aspirations of other states. [lxvi]

In view of such challenges, and in view of ongoing regional turbulences, the very survival of the Macedonian state was also put in question by relevant international actors, none of whom believed in the viability of the state. After the attempted assassination of former President Gligorov in October 1995, and without even a degree of surprise, Paris’s Le Monde wrote, “Macedonia succeeded to survive in relative peace in spite of the ethnic kettle, to which Gligorov’s politics largely contributed.” [lxvii] Seeing Macedonia as a particularly fragile state at about the same time, a The New York Times editorial expressed amazement with the fact that the situation in Macedonia, even after the terrorist attempt to assassinate its leader, had remained calm! The same editorial, however, also wrote that, “the peace may not last….With all the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia, analysts in the Western capitals have been convinced that even the slightest spark may arouse a war in Macedonia.” [lxviii]

The resulting insecurity of the Macedonian people is well illustrated by the constant political accusations exchanged by pro-Bulgarian, pro-Serbian and pro-Albanian political parties . The former government of the VMRO-DPMNE, for instance, was accused of developing much too close and thus dangerous ties with Bulgaria. [lxix] In the context of the inter-ethnic conflict of 2001—only the most recent challenge to the Macedonian state and nation— , the process of constitutional change as part of the peace agreement implementation threatened to wipe out mention of the Macedonian people as the constitutive nation of their state. In this dilemma, President Trajkovski sought support from US President Bush with the following words: “It is a widespread feeling that the identity of the majority Macedonian people is jeopardised by its not being mentioned in the Preamble.” [lxx]

These challenges and the perceived fragility of the Macedonian state, nation and identity, lead to two separate conclusions . On one hand, Macedonian identity is more dependent on international (and thus European) acceptance and esteem. The political rhetoric of Macedonian politicians and opinion leaders from 1991 to this day demonstrates a very strong concern that Macedonia, as such, be accepted as an independent, separate and sovereign member of the family of nations. In 1994, talking about Macedonia’s relations with its neighbours, former President Gligorov stated, “Only free, independent and sovereign states shape their relations on the basis of full equality and look for such ways to connect each other as suits the interests of all.” [lxxi] After a long-fought battle for recognition within Europe in 1994, an influential commentator wrote, “… Macedonia has finally received international recognition of its own legitimacy… and a confirmation that, finally, it exists and it exists for the eyes of the world….[Macedonia] fought for its own existence, and it is the greatest achievement after all efforts, anxiety, disappointments and renouncements. And that, it has to be admitted, is an enormous thing.” [lxxii] Even as recently as 2000, Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski recalled the accomplishment of creating an independent state:

We were told that we could not do it alone….But we patiently kept convincing them that we can make a state, and an army, and a currency, and a representation. Macedonia proved its ability for statehood at a time of the most difficult crisis in Europe…in Kosovo.…For this we got recognition from influential states and statesmen, we showed them that Macedonia was a mature state, capable of surviving crises of that calibre….We managed for Macedonia to secure a dignified place on the international political scene.[lxxiii]

On the other hand, however, a direct challenge to identity and thus the very existence of the nation can, and has, lead to self-protection. In search of national consolidation, Macedonian historians today stress the glorious aspects of Macedonian history. [lxxiv] One of the most interesting claims that came to the author’s attention is one that centres on the nature of Macedonian genes. The following is a quotation from an article in a Macedonian on-line journal, which was also reprinted by a right-leaning weekly. It reports the results of genetic research on individuals from the Republic of Macedonia:

1) Macedonians belong to the ‘older’ Mediterranean substratum, like Iberians (including Basques), North Africans, Italians, French, Cretans, Jews, Lebanese, Turks (Anatolians), Armenians and Iranians; 2) Macedonians are not related to the geographically close Greeks, who do not belong to the ‘older’ Mediterranean substratum; 3) Greeks are found to have a substantial relatedness to sub-Saharan (Ethiopian) people, which separate them from other Mediterranean groups. [lxxv]

The stress on separateness from the Greeks and that Macedonians as a people are ‘older’ than the Greeks, as well as the implicit European tint of Macedonian DNA, are all striking.

This illustration also suggests that the consolidation and self-promotion of the group are accompanied by an antagonism toward the out-group. Rogers Brubaker has spoken of the paradox created by communist policies in both the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. While rejecting nationalism and creating multinational societies within the separate republics, [lxxvi] these policies contradictorily allowed for the creation of nation-based federal units that were deemed the property of a dominating titular nation. In the case of Macedonia, nationhood was recognised and guaranteed for the first time by these policies. After the dissolution of the federations, the units sought continuity and subsequently became the states of the largest, titular national group. Thus, having received their full independence and statehood with the Yugoslav federation’s dissolution, Macedonians viewed their new state as the ultimate, indeed the only guarantor of nationhood, and in the perception of any challenge to the state, they insisted on the preservation of the post-communist status quo. [lxxvii] Continued challenges from all of Macedonia’s neighbours thus lead to internally oriented protectionism of the state and thus the nation. It is with such a view that commentators have perceived the conflict of 2001. In search of a durable solution to this conflict, the International Crisis Group issued a report calling for the immediate recognition of the Macedonian name by Greece. [lxxviii] In a similar vein, Jenny Engstrom claimed that “the attitudes of Bulgaria and Greece, and to a lesser extent Serbia and Albania, towards the Macedonian nation influence the ongoing conflict between Macedonians and Albanians as to the kind of state the Republic of Macedonia should be.” [lxxix]

These reactions to challenges to national identity are not without consequence. First, it is recognised that the Macedonians in the relevant period have been engaged in what can be termed ‘a dual struggle for recognition,’ i.e. for legal recognition as a sovereign state on one hand, and as European on the other. This is an additional reason to stress the importance of outside, especially European, acceptance of Macedonia as European. In such a struggle, Macedonian discourse has been dominated by the Western evaluations of Macedonia, its people and politics. A public address given in 2001by President Trajkovski confirmed that, “[w]ith their presence in the Republic of Macedonia, NATO, the EU and the OSCE have demonstrated their determination to see Macedonia as a part of the new Europe.” [lxxx] Second, the fragility of Macedonian identity relative to the challenges of Macedonian neighbours will have repercussions in the Macedonian political insistence on being European (and thus integrated into Europe) rather than being connected to the Balkans. Macedonian reaction to the European Union’s so-called ‘regional approach’ to enlargementwas guided by the fear of an eventual Balkan form of association that would go against Macedonian aspirations for independence, equality, and survival. As the Vice-president at the time, Jane Miljoski, stated, “[a]lthough regional cooperation is a policy of our country, our delegation expressed concern that it is mentioned much too often…so the fear exists that it is a form of insistence on the revival of old federations or the formation of new formal associations...” [lxxxi]

“We are but a small Balkan state.” This common Macedonian expression of resignation shows the Macedonian acceptance of the Europe-defined structure in which the Balkans and thus Macedonia find themselves in a subordinate position: Macedonia belongs to the Balkans, themselves being far away from the Western ideal. A well-known Macedonian playwright, in a regular contribution to the Macedonian daily Utrinski Vesnik, wrote of this situation:

At the moment we decided with our minds and hearts to become a part of modern civilization following the examples of Western European and American democracy, it should have been clear to us that what is the rule for Denmark and Portugal is also the rule for us. We will not be able to eat only ajvar… [lxxxii]

Similarly, during the first days of the Yugoslav crisis in 1992, an article in the main daily stated: “If we lie to Europe this time as well, that is, if now, as numerous times before, we do not respect the signed documents, surely Europe too will give up on us.” [lxxxiii] This significant dose of Balkan-based self-criticism is evident also in Macedonian political rhetoric. Speaking on the challenges in Southeast Europe, Macedonian Prime Minister Georgievski recently stated, “First our people must change their habits, mentalities and thought processes. Old ways of thinking must change and new ways [must be] adopted.”[lxxxiv] Former President Gligorov was of the same opinion at the time of his presidency: “To catch up with the 21st century and with the Europe of open frontiers and cooperation, it is necessary that the Balkans change themselves essentially.” [lxxxv] By virtue of this, Macedonia is not a fully European state, and it has to transform into such. Speaking of the attempted assassination of Macedonia’s former President, the Foreign Minister at the time, Stevo Crvenkovski, said, “The attempted assassination of my President will in no case force Macedonia to change its course toward democracy, reforms, development of good neighbourly relations…for a transformation of my country into a modern European state.”[lxxxvi]

Nevertheless, Macedonia belonging in the Balkans does not automatically lead to Balkan fatalism. In 1991 Macedonia saw the formation of a Macedonian Council of the European Movement that based its work on the understanding that “Macedonia has never been, as it is not now, a terra incognita on the European cultural map….We have belonged there, we are not entering Europe with a complex of inferiority, but as an equal member who has always tried to adopt the most valuable of the human mind and spirit and ennoble it with its own contribution.” [lxxxvii] The Balkans, and Macedonia within, remain a European region that, with or without European perceptions, has nevertheless contributed to European culture. President Trajkovski has stressed that “[t]he geographic position, the history, the culture and inheritance, of the Republic of Macedonia make it a part of European civilization.” [lxxxviii] This already points to the possibility of promoting an identity that would break the Macedonian Balkan relationship .


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[i] Ozren Kebo: “Biti bijesan” [“Being Enraged”]. Balkanis No.2, Year 2 (February 2002)

[ii] Or, to be more precise, ethnic Macedonians. Although this paper pretends to measure Macedonia’s self-image with regard to regional belonging, the research was in effect done among ethnic Macedonian politicians and people. The inclusion of ethnic Albanians would have made the research much more extensive in time and scope, and much more complex in analysis, both of which the writer could not afford at the time of writing.

[iii] Larry Wolff: Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilisation on the Map of Enlightenment(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994)

[iv] Maria Todorova: Imagining the Balkans(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

[v] See Nicole Lindstrom: “Balkan Is Beautiful: Croatia between Europe and the Balkans”. East European Politics and Societies Vol.16, No.2 (2002); Laura Sakaja: “Stereotypes of the Balkans of Young People in Zagreb: A Contribution to the Study of Imaginative Geography.” Revija za socijologiju [Review for Sociology] 1-2 (2001), 27-37

[vi] Marko Zivkovic: We Are Gypsy People Cursed by Faith, at (24 October 1998)

[vii] Sorin Antohi: “Romania and the Balkans: From Geocultural Bovarism to Ethnic Ontology.” Transit – Europaeische Revue [Transit – European Review] No.21 (2002); Katherine Verdery: “Nationalism and National Sentiment in Post-socialist Romania.” Slavic Review, Vol.52, No.2 (Summer 1993), 179-203

[viii] Milica Bakic-Hayden: “Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Former Yugoslavia.”Slavic Review 54 (1995)

[ix] See Bakic-Hayden and Sakaja

[x] See Antohi, Lindstrom and Zivkovic 1998

[xi] Zivkovic 1998

[xii] See Loring Danforth: The Macedonian Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); James Pettifer (ed.): The New Macedonian Question(London: Palgrave, 1999); and Jane Cowan (ed.): The Politics of Identity and Difference(London: Pluto Press, 2000)

[xiii] Exposing those debates is not relevant for this paper. Nevertheless, should there be any interest, see Todorova, 29-33; and Leeda Demetropolou: “The Balkans – A Multi-Dimensional Sign Within Multiple Discourses”. Eurobalkans, 4, Autumn/Winter (1999)

[xiv] To take the case of Croatia, in analysing the local press in 1996, the Croatian ethnologist Dunja Rihtman Augustin cited the following as a typical example of the position of state media: “Croatia is a bridge to the Balkans, but it is not the Balkans….The sensibility of Croatian historical present is such that after all the bitter experiences with the Balkans, it is insulting for us to be pushed into the Balkans….Croatia is neither culturally, nor religiously or geographically a Balkan…state.” Quoted in Zivkovic 1998.

[xv] Rebecca West: Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia. (Edinburgh: Cannongate, 1993)

[xvi] The evident unity on this issue can be called into question by the more recent anti-Western statements of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. Nevertheless, these have never been strong enough to question the general Macedonian pro-Europe orientation.

[xvii] (20 April 2002); author’s translation

[xviii] Or, more precisely, of the most visible Macedonian politicians in the period between 1991 and 2002, mainly its Presidents and Prime Ministers. For this purpose, I have consulted the official web sites of the current President,, and Prime Minister, at, the content of which provided material for the period between 1999 and 2002. For the rhetoric of the previous Prime Ministers and the previous President, I have relied mainly on the longest-standing pro-government Macedonian newspaper, Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia].

[xix] Public opinion conclusions in this paper are based on semi-structured interviews conducted among ethnic Macedonians ranging in age, gender and socio-educational background.

[xx] Risse et al 1998, 35

[xxi] Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish, within the political rhetoric on identity, between instrumentality, i.e. the attempt to achieve one’s own political goals, and self-perception. The problem is solved, however, with a complementary analysis of public opinion.

[xxii] In the context of the constructivist school in international relations theory. To name a few, see Alexander Wendt: “Collective Identity Formation and the International State.” American Political Science Review Vol.88/2 (June 1994), 384-96; Peter J. Katzenstein (ed.): The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996)

[xxiii] For a short overview, see Neumann, Introduction

[xxiv] Emile Durkheim: The Division of Labour in Society (New York: Free Press, 1964), 115-22, quoted in Neumann, 4

[xxv] Frederic Barth et al: Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1969)

[xxvi] Wendt 1994, 385

[xxvii] Bedredine Arfi: “Ethnic Fear: The Social Construction of Insecurity.”Security Studies Vol.8/1 (1998)

[xxviii] Henri Tajfel: Human groups and social categories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)

[xxix] Theodore R. Sarbin and Karl E. Scheibe: “A Model of Social Identity”. Theodore R. Sarbin and Karl E. Scheibe (eds.):Studies in Social Identity. (New York: Praeger, 1983)

[xxx] Sarbin and Scheibe, 6

[xxxi] Eric Hobsbawm has used the crude term ‘invention’ of such traditions; Eric Hobsbawm and Terence O. Ranger (eds.):The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

[xxxii] From a lecture titled “The Muslim Question” given at the Central European University (19 February 2002)

[xxxiii] Bach, see Chapter 2

[xxxiv] Marko Zivkovic: Representing the Balkans – Symbolic Geography in the Southeastern Margins of Europe. Unpublished manuscript (Chicago: Anthropology Department, University of Chicago, 1990)

[xxxv] David Campbell: Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992), 195

[xxxvi] Paraphrased by Neumann, 23

[xxxvii] Alexander Wendt: “Anarchy Is What States Make of It.” International Organisation 46(2) (1992), 384-425, 404

[xxxviii] Wendt 1994, 389

[xxxix] Henri Tajfel: “Cognitive Aspects of Prejudice” (1969), quoted in Penelope J. Oakes, S. Alexander Haslam & John C. Turner: Stereotyping and Social Reality (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 34-5

[xl] Henri Tajfel: “Cognitive Aspects of Prejudice” (1969), quoted in Oakes, Haslam and Turner, 34

[xli] Offering a more compact definition, Tajfel defines a stereotype as “an over-simplified mental image of (usually) some category of person, institution or event, which is shared, in essential features, by large numbers of people.” Tajfel 1981, 143

[xlii] Umberto Eco (1994:41), quoted in Ulf Hedetoft: “The Cultural Semiotics of ‘European Identity’: Between National Sentiment and Transnational Imperative.”In Alice Landau & Richard G Whitman: Rethinking the European Union: Institutions, Interests and Identities (London: Macmillan Press, 1997), 147

[xliii] See Kenneth Boulding: The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society(The University of Michigan Press, 1961), Introduction, on the subjectivity of the image. For him, the image is built upon the basis of previous experiences of its possessor, and therefore is dependent upon his/her system of values.

[xliv] See Hedetoft

[xlv] Risse et al 1998, 33

[xlvi] Ringmar, 80, quoted is Neumann, 223

[xlvii] Sarbin and Scheibe, 6

[xlviii] Tony Judt: A Grand Illusion? An Essay on Europe(New York: Penguin Books, 1996), 3; for more on the content, and indeed the instrumental formation of this European idea, or as Hedetoft calls it, the European Identity ‘Sign’, see Hedetoft. He claims that the forging of European identity has urged the creation of an idea for the cultural definition of Europe based on “the inherited civilization whose most important sources are the Judaeo-Christian religion, the Greek-Hellenistic ideas in the field of government, philosophy, arts and sciences, and finally, the Roman views concerning law”; Hedetoft, 152

[xlix] Zivkovic 1990

[l] Wolff, 4

[li] Zivkovic 1990

[lii] George Kennan: The Other Balkan Wars (1993), quoted in Todorova, 5-6

[liii] Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order (London: Touchstone Books, 1996)

[liv] Robert Kaplan:Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History(London: Macmillan, 1993)

[lv] Reprinted in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia],22 September 1991; author’s translation

[lvi] Wolff, 3

[lvii] Edward Said: Orientalism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978), 3

[lviii] James Carrier, quoted in Todorova, 10

[lix] Ibid. 7

[lx] Slavoj Zizek: The Metastases of Enjoyment(London: Verso, 1994), 13

[lxi] Said, 7

[lxii] For instance, Greece was the first to accomplish ‘independence’ from the Ottoman Empire in view of the contacts of its merchants with the West. See Stavrianos 1958 for a comprehensive study of this nation-formation.

[lxiii] Leften Stavrianos: “The Influence of the West on the Balkans.”In Charles and Barbara Yelavich (eds.): The Balkans in Transition(Hemden, Conn.: 1974), 197

[lxiv] Demetropolou

[lxv] By Kole Manev, Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia]10 May 1992

[lxvi] Printed in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 1 September 1991; author’s translation

[lxvii] Quoted in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 6 October 1995; author’s translation

[lxviii] As reported by Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 9 October 1999; author’s translation

[lxix] These fears are perhaps not unfounded. A former culture minister from the currently governing party was openly stating that the Macedonian language was in fact a Bulgarian dialect. This same minister was as a result named by the public “the greatest Macedonian Bulgarian”; see the article “Patriotizam so bugarski nacionalni cuvstva” [“Patriotism with Bulgarian National Feelings”], New Macedonia [Nova Makedonija], 6 November 1994.

[lxx] Letter from President Trajkovski to US President George Bush Jr., 24 October 2001; (30 April 2002)

[lxxi] Quoted in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 25 November 1994; author’s translation

[lxxii] Zaneta Skerlev: “Maraton na Juznata Pateka” [“A Marathon on the Southern Trail”], Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 13 October 1994, 2; author’s translation

[lxxiii] Skopje, 8 September 2000; (5 May 2002)

[lxxiv] Indeed, this is not strange for a nation: see Hobsbawm and Ranger. The peculiarity in the Macedonian case lies in the fact that such history is paralleled by the challenges directed to it: Macedonians and Bulgarians, for instance, are still fighting about whose national is Jane Sandanski, or about the ‘nationality’ of the pre-national figures of Cyril and Metodius.

[lxxv] Makedonika, (21 April 2002)

[lxxvi] For instance, many Kosovar Albanians were encouraged to settle on the territory of Macedonia during Tito’s rule

[lxxvii] See Rogers Brubaker: Nationalism Reframed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); for more on this paradox in the Macedonian case, see Kristina Balalovska, Alessandro Silj and Mario Zucconi: “Minority Policies in Southeast Europe: Crisis in Macedonia.” The Ethnobarometer Working Paper Series, No.6 (Rome: Ethnobarometer, 2002)

[lxxviii] International Crisis Group: “Macedonia’s Name: Why the Dispute Matters and How to Resolve It.” ICG Balkans Report N.122 (10 December 2001)

[lxxix] Jenny Engstrom: “The Power of Perception: The Impact of the Macedonian Question on Inter0ethnic Relations in the Republic of Macedonia.”The Global Review of Ethnopolitics Vol.1/3 (March 2002), 3-17

[lxxx] President Boris Trajkovski’s address to the Macedonian Assembly, Skopje, 21 December 2001; (21 April 2002)

[lxxxi] Quoted from a press conference, Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 3 April 1996; author’s translation

[lxxxii] “The Slow Days of Baptism”, Utrinski Vesnik [Morning Paper], 24 August 2001, Opinions. Ajvar is a Macedonian dish, considered a representation of local culture

[lxxxiii] “Evropeizacija na Ju-krizata”[“Europeisation of the Yu-crisis”],Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 3 September 1991; author’s translation

[lxxxiv] Statement at the summit meeting in the context of the South-East European Cooperation Process, Skopje, 25 October 2001, (28 November 2001)

[lxxxv] Former President Gligorov, speech on the 48th session of the UN General Assembly; reported in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 1 October 1993; author’s translation

[lxxxvi] From a speech at the UN General Assembly, as quoted in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 4 October 1995; author’s translation

[lxxxvii] Professor Vladimir Cvetkovski, President of the mentioned Council, quoted in Nova Makedonija [New Macedonia], 19 September 1992; author’s translation

[lxxxviii] President Trajkovski, discussion organised by The Economist, 15 March 2001; (22 April 2002); author’s translation