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NATO expansion has stumbled on the national pride of the Macedonians

NATO expansion has stumbled on the national pride of the Macedonians

14 2018 June LJ cover – Расширение НАТО споткнулось о национальную гордость македонцев
Tags: Macedonia, Greece, NATO, Europe, Politics, Analytics, The Balkans, History

The President of Macedonia appealed to the nation and announced the refusal to sign a treaty with Greece to rename his country. It may look ridiculous, but it means a lot. First, the plan for accelerated drawing of Macedonia into NATO is defeated. Secondly, a very painful click on the nose was given to the Americans, whose role in the conflict of the Macedonians and Greeks is simply disgusting.

Во вторник весь мир облетела весьма оригинальная новость: Македония меняет свое название ради вступления в ЕС и НАТО. Премьер-министр страны Зоран Заев сообщил гражданам, что достиг со своим греческим коллегой Алексисом Ципрасом принципиального соглашения на этот счет. Когда правительства двух стран подпишут договор, который ратифицируют парламенты, а македонские граждане утвердят на референдуме, Македонию переименуют в Республику Северная Македония, в том числе «в повсеместном употреблении» и в «национальных документах» (а это, например, конституция).

Внезапно весь этот график полетел к чертям, до референдума дело, похоже, не дойдет, а все планы по ускоренному вступлению Македонии в НАТО по черногорскому сценарию превратились в тыкву.

On Wednesday, the Macedonian prime minister in the company of the head of the Foreign Ministry appeared to the president of the country to officially inform about the agreement with the Greeks. As the Cabinet of the Head of State subsequently reported, the meeting lasted two minutes. Georges Ivanov actually expelled them. And in his address to the nation stated:

"Such a damaging treaty, unique in the history of mankind, is unfit for me and unacceptable. With it, the constitution, laws are violated, state institutions are destroyed. I will not legalize political initiative ".

Under the amateur performance here is understood not the personal choice of Prime Minister Zaev from the three names he proposed ("New Macedonia", "Northern Macedonia" and "Upper Macedonia"), but the renunciation of the Macedonian identity for the sake of joining the EU and NATO.

Теперь страну ждет правительственный кризис. По идее Заев должен подать в отставку, за которой маячат новые парламентские выборы, что в нынешней Македонии означает автоматическое возобновление уличного противостояния.

The dispute between Athens and Skopje around the name of Macedonia is perhaps the most surreal in Europe. It is worthwhile to ponder over the supporters of economic determinism: in the Greek-Macedonian conflict there is not a single gram of the economy and not a drop of oil. But there are things more expensive than money.

The Empire of a Powder Cellar

Вардарская Македония, то есть ущелье реки Вардар с единственным относительно крупным городом – Скопье (турецкий Ускуп) и несколькими соседними ущельями, попала в состав Сербии по результатам Второй Балканской войны начала ХХ века. Недовольная результатами Первой Балканской войны Болгария тогда переоценила свои силы и практически в одиночку напала на всех вокруг нее. В итоге она потеряла больше, чем хотела прибрести, а Вардарская Македония закрепилась в составе т. н. Первой Югославии – Королевства сербов, хорватов и словенцев. При этом южная часть исторической области Македония со столицей в Салониках осталась за Грецией. Турок и евреев (денме) в этом городе тогда жило заметно больше, чем греков, но взаимные этнические чистки греко-турецкой войны 1920-х годов подправили демографию Салоник.

After the Second World War in the Balkans, a complex game with higher stakes began. Josip Broz Tito wanted to create an empire on the entire peninsula and, for this purpose, copied the obsolete moves of the Soviet Union in an unpretentious way. In particular, before the Winter War, the Karelian-Finnish Republic was created within the USSR as the basis for the absorption of all of Finland. When this goal was cleared, the KFSSR was "lowered in rank" to autonomy within the RSFSR, but its permanent leader Otto Kuusinen never dropped out of the highest Soviet nomenclature (just in case). Similarly, Tito created the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, meaning the absorption of the whole of Albania, and the Republic of Macedonia in the SFRY, bearing in mind the absorption of Bulgaria and even Greece, which at that time was a brutal civil war.

I must say that in 1945-1949 Tito claimed the lands of all surrounding countries without exception. The formal basis for this was that Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Hungary surrounding Yugoslavia were members of the Hitler coalition. Thus, in Italy Belgrade claimed Trieste and part of the province of Venice-Giulia. The case almost came to open battle with the British, Australian and New Zealand troops, hastily transferred to Venice.

Then came the turn of Hungary and Romania, with the Hungarians less fortunate, as they resisted to the last and missed the moment when the war could come out without serious consequences. If the Romanians habitually quickly surrendered, they began to be considered a victorious country and, in the plan of the territories, even acquired something, the Hungarians, with their gouge of national pride, lost Transylvania forever and were a step away from losing Szeged and Pecs. The Yugoslav delegation stated to the "Litvinov Committee" (an expert think tank at the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which competently and skillfully prepared plans for the further development of Eastern Europe) that it is impossible to live without these cities, since steel mills have been preserved there.

Subsequently, the appetites of Belgrade expanded to all Hungarian Danube lands, which, like in Pec, had no Slavic population. To confirm these claims, Serbia even included the Autonomous Region of Vojvodina with its capital in Novi Sad, which included lands north of Belgrade, inhabited mainly by Hungarians.

The same trick Tito repeated in the south of the country, creating the territory of the Vardar Banovina Republic of Macedonia and proclaiming the presence there of a new Slavic nation - the Macedonians. The Macedonians spoke Slavic language, which many researchers considered a dialect of Bulgarian, and in 1941-1944 years when the Vardar area was occupied by Bulgaria, were subjected to violent Bulgarianization - the new government eliminated dialectal differences and banned the very concept of "Macedonian". In response, partisanship began, and at the end of the war the Bulgarians proclaimed the Independent State of Macedonia for Croatian and Slovak samples, which existed only a couple of months.

The ambitions of Yugoslavia on Italian and Austrian directions threatened to become the reason for a new big war, and in conditions of the monopoly possession of the US by atomic weapons, Tito had to cool down. After much persuasion and shouting, Belgrade withdrew troops, but for the first time hid an offense against the USSR. The Soviets, however, had their own cause for insult: at that time, the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that Libya, as the former part of Italy, be mandated by Moscow, and Tito, in fact, thwarted these plans with his Venetian trick.

Until a certain moment, Stalin encouraged Tito's ambitions,

but only in the territory where it was possible to dispose of, not touching the position of the British. In August 1947, Tito and Bulgarian Prime Minister Georgy Dimitrov agreed that eventually the whole of Bulgaria, Vardar Macedonia, and in the long run, part of Greek Macedonia, would be part of the so-called Balkan Federation. Then Moscow still hoped to win in the Greek civil war and transfer all the Balkans under Tito's control, creating a gigantic state of pro-Soviet orientation. In turn, Belgrade refused unrealistic claims to Romania, Hungary and Italy.

One of the reasons for the breakdown of Soviet-Yugoslav relations in 1949 was the conflict between Belgrade and Sofia and the subsequent funeral of plans to create the Balkan Federation. But "for the future" in the SFRY remained the Socialist Republic of Macedonia with the Macedonians as an officially registered nationality.

Antiquity of the "remake" type

After the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, the Bulgarians were the first to recognize the independence of Macedonia, and the Greeks immediately raised the question of the name of the new country. Their reaction was so harsh and violent that even the UN in 1993 adopted Macedonia into its composition under a strange name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - an unprecedented case. And if the principles of the hostel with Bulgaria were determined by the memorandum of 1999 (Sofia refused to claim Macedonia and confirmed the identity of the Macedonian language), the Greeks became an anti-tank hedgehog on the way to Skopje in the EU and NATO. If FYROM Athens was ready to temporarily reconcile, then with the Macedonian identity outside the Greek context - never.

According to all the laws of the genre in Macedonia, a reaction of reaction began. Since 2010, under Prime Minister Nikolay Gruevsky, the so-called Skopje 2014 project has been adopted, the essence of which was the "anti-quiz" of the country. There is an opinion that Gruevsky thus wanted to increase the tourist attractiveness of the republic (there is simply no other way for economic development of the country), but the "antiquity" was taken literally. According to this theory, modern Macedonians are never Slavs, but the direct descendants of the ancient Macedonians of the times of Philip and Alexander, who adopted Orthodoxy and spoke in simplified Bulgarian. But to the Bulgarians themselves, these "descendants of the Tatar tribe", the Macedonians do not consider themselves demonstratively.

On the Macedonian Square in Skopje a huge monument to Alexander the Great was put and named after him by the airport. Nearby there was a monument to the father of the commander - Emperor Philip II, as well as the Museum of the struggle for Macedonia, the Macedonian Opera, the triumphal arch of Macedonia, the national theater, the bridge across the Vardar and the mass of monuments to various figures of ancient Greece. All this was spent more than 200 million euros. Most of the statues and statues are even perceived by many Macedonians as kitsch. However, the flow of tourists has really increased.

All this time Athens was in hysterics. Each new monument to Alexander the Great on the territory of the neighbors evoked mobilization sentiments in Greece, and at some point it began to seem that soon the Greeks would really introduce troops and destroy all this remake. Any connection between modern Macedonians and ancient culture was categorically denied, and politically it was claimed that the existence of the Republic of Macedonia could lead to claims on the Greek province of Macedonia, but this, of course, echoes of fears 1940-1950-ies: Skopje does not pretend to Thessaloniki and never claimed.

Сохранение своего названия и так называемой македонской идентичности стало сверхидеей не с целью оторвать что-нибудь от Греции и получить выход к морю. Бедной двухмиллионной стране было не до экспансии: ее славянское население все больше втягивалось в противостояние с врагом куда более опасным, чем шумные греки: с албанцами.

В 2001 году, после событий вокруг Тетовского ущелья, последовал новый всплеск македонского национализма.

The Slavic population rallied around the name of the country and the self-designation of the nation as opposed to Albanian expansion.

В то же время дипломатический тупик напрочь закрыл Скопье дорогу в ЕС и НАТО. Не все считали это проблемой: еще в прошлом году прозападный курс был всего лишь «идеей, которая витает в воздухе» и встречает серьезное противодействие со стороны части населения и партий, ориентированных на Сербию. Но с приходом к власти Социал-демократического союза Зорана Заева ориентация Скопье резко изменилась. Заев никогда не скрывал свою прозападную ориентацию и тесные связи с американским посольством в Скопье, которое неформально называют «настоящим правительством Македонии». При новом премьере влияние США на жизнь македонцев быстро вышло за грани разумного.

America first of all

Even during the election campaign, Zaev said that he will seek entry into the EU and NATO by all possible means. To begin with, he renamed the Skopje airport into something neutral, then the name of Alexander the Great was lost by the only strategic highway from Skopje to Thessaloniki. When the Greeks understood Zaev's intentions, closed consultations began at the level of the heads of the ministries of foreign affairs.

Переговоры проходили в атмосфере секретности: македонское общество не отказывается от стратегического курса на ЕС и НАТО, но не за счет унижения и потери идентичности. За этим процессом с нескрываемым злорадством наблюдала албанская Армия национального освобождения, а американское посольство в приказном порядке пыталось внедрить во властных структурах страны национально-пропорциональный принцип, по которому албанцы получат квоту в парламенте и правительстве, включающую пост министра обороны (на него претендует Али Ахмети – бывший командир АНО с позывным «Абаз Джука»). В перспективе это может означать распад Македонии и создание еще одного албанского государства.

Греция наставала на полном изъятии слов «Македония» и «македонец» из славянского языка. Представители Скопье в ответ объяснили, что пойти на это не могут, ссылаясь на главный фактор – албанцев. Внезапно греки стали понимающе кивать, поскольку у них тоже есть проблемная провинция Эпир с албанским населением, они уже утомились строить в Янине, Ларисе и Кастории новые тюрьмы для трудолюбивого албанского народа. Как говорилось в «Касабланке», подобные угрозы могут стать началом великой дружбы, тем более что Южный Эпир чуть ли не официально включен в расширенную программу создания Великой Албании, а на первом этапе – нескольких мелких албанских государств.

The result of the negotiations was 20-page document, which in fact is not satisfied by either side. In Athens, the opposition sharply opposed the treaty with Macedonia, calling it the "agreement of war". ("It is necessary only for the entry of Skopje into NATO." We need an agreement on peace, security, cooperation, "said Panayotis Lafazanis, former energy minister and one of the opposition leaders). In Macedonia itself, changing the constitutional name of the country can cause a completely unpredictable reaction. Judging by the reaction of President Ivanov, it has already caused.

According to Greek sources, Macedonia under the treaty not only changes its name, but also refuses any claims to antiquity and ancient Greek culture, and the terms "Macedonian" and "Macedonian" will be supplemented by certain definitions (most likely, the adjective "Slavic"), .

Zaev stressed that the self-identity of the Macedonian people would not suffer from this, but there is no faith: people over twenty years old were explained that they are descendants of the ancient Greeks, and now all this must be forgotten and abandoned. No country has changed its historical paradigm so radically for the sake of joining the regional blocs, as Ivanov said. The president's reaction clearly showed that this issue is much more emotional than it seems from Washington and Brussels. The same Albanians, for example, are sincerely convinced that they are the descendants of the ancient ores, that is, the only autochthonous population of the Balkans, and therefore can claim the entire peninsula, regardless of what the Americans think about this.

To give up their origin, even if it is based on ephemeral evidence, is like betraying a homeland.

The only gingerbread in such conditions is Greece's support for the decision to open negotiations on the accession of Northern Macedonia to the EU and the sending of an invitation by the NATO summit to join Skopje in the alliance. But even so, rallies of protest swept through Greece, the most noisy of which took place in Pella, the historic birthplace of Alexander the Great.

It is worth emphasizing once again: all this phantasmagoria would have been impossible without unprecedented pressure from the Americans. On the eve of the US ambassador to Athens Jeffrey Piett, well known to all of us in his work in Kiev, in an interview with the Greek television channel Skai TV, said: if no solution is found for Macedonia, it will have "geopolitical consequences". In Piette's mouth this is a clear threat.

And he is to blame for everything, from his point of view, of course, Russia.

«Мы видели злонамеренное влияние России в особо грубой форме в октябре 2016 года, когда была попытка переворота в Черногории, где были все отпечатки российского следа. И это заметно и по всему региону, – сказал посол. – Растет желание Кремля устроить сумятицу на предмет [геополитической] ориентации стран региона, как и всего процесса реформ и евроатлантического курса, который избрали граждане этих стран». Примерно в этом же духе высказался и комитет по международным делам палаты лордов британского парламента.

It is this threat that explains the rush with the change of name and the humiliation that Skopje and all Macedonian (now, apparently, "Slavic-Macedonian") people must experience. What gingerbread is promised to the Greeks is not so important.

Eugene Kroutikov
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