Mirjana Maleska
Full Professor at the Doctoral School of Political Science, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje.



I have invited several distinguished academic scholars to express their views on the incredible dispute between Macedonia and Greece regarding the name of the country – Macedonia. I had hoped to see impartial, objective analysis about the origin of the dispute, its history from 1991 until today, and what the perspective is to find a solution. Some promised to write but did not fulfil their promise. Others were allegedly busy. It seems that not many people feel like writing on this topic. Or they don’t feel like writing at all…!?

In Macedonia it is not popular to express one’s opinion on this topic in public if it is not in accordance with the present policy of the government of not backing down. Most of the media ignore such opinions or interpret them in their own way. I assume that the case is similar or worse in Greece… An investigation on the grounds of high treason has been launched against the founder and the President of the Greek Helsinki Committee, Panayote Dimitras, because he defended the rights of the Macedonian and Turkish minorities. That is frightening…

Thus, on the topic of the Macedonian-Greek dispute on the name issue, I have collected three articles overall: from Nicos Dimou (Greece), Panayote Dimitras (Greece) and from Denko Maleski (Macedonia). I am grateful to them, especially to Mr. Dimou and Mr. Dimitras, for having the virtue to respond, even if shortly, to our questions. All three texts have something in common, which I would like to strongly affirm: criticism toward nationalism, regardless of who expresses it, nationalism which makes it impossible to normalize the relations between the two countries, so that we can live as good neighbours are supposed to live.

Mr. Nicos Dimou is right to say that the Greek policy, from 1991 to today, has conceded from its extreme positions. The compromise that Greece has made is in its consent to allow the word Macedonia to be a part of the compound name of the neighbouring state. I would add that, on the account of that, it has raised the price for the given concession. The pressure now is that it aims to redefine, in alliance with the Bulgarians, who should be won over to its side, the ethnic identity of the northern neighbours, in the direction given in the text by Dr Evangelos Kofos, published in Eliamer, 3/2009. According to the text, the country should change its name for internal and external use into “Vardar Macedonia” or “even better” ( although I do not see a good explanation why this is “even better”) into “Vardar Makedonia”; the citizens of Slovene origin would be called Slavo-Macedonians or would be called, as they call themselves in the local language, Makedontsi (noun) and the adjective would be Makedonski (adjective). In English and in the other languages these words would just be transliterated into the Latin alphabet, for example: The Makedontsi immigrated to the USA. The Makedonski language… etc.


It is difficult to assume that any ruling authority in Skopje, especially this one, will enter such expanded negotiations, because the discussion regarding the identity of a young nation, which has recently barely dealt with an armed ethnic conflict, can dissolve the already weak multinational cohesion and initiate quarrels between the citizens. Perhaps the Greek politics does not want that (although one can never be certain), but the demonstration of power politics, can easily cause destabilization of Macedonia. The negotiations have entered a deadlock. The April elections for President of the state, of a dull ancient history admirer, whose highest quality is his closeness with the Prime Minister, was a manifestation of a large support of the citizens for the policy of not backing down, which is led by Gruevski. However incredible it may have seemed to the reasonable citizens, a grand monument of Alexander of Macedon, 22 meters high, will soon be placed in the Skopje central square. The several-months rumours turned out to be true. According to the statement of the Mayor of the Centre Municipality, the monument is already being cast in Italy.

Mirjana Maleska, Editor-in-Chief