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Semper solum veritas!

International Institute for Macedonia
 
Sofia 1000, P.O.Box 990, Bulgaria, Telephones: (+359 2) 80-05-32, 88-05-66, 980-25-82, (+359 350) 76-49, Fax: (+359 2) 980-25-83
e-mail: iimspas@bulnet.bg, mimsoft@mail.cyberlink.bg
5   Years   of  Independence
Human Rights in the Republic of Macedonia
1991- 1996
 
 
1. Introduction 2. Violations of  Human Rights of Macedonian Citizens with a Bulgarian Ethnic Consciousness 1990-1997 3. Infringement of  Rights of Citizens of Other Countries in Connection with the Issue of Macedonian Ethnical Character 4. Conclusion



1. Introduction

On September 8th, 1991 the citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a referendum, expressed their desire for independence. On December 19th, 1991 the Macedonian Parliament passed a written declaration calling for international recognition of the Republic of Macedonia.

Ljubco Georgievski, chairman of VMRO-DPMNE [1], the largest opposition party in the Republic of Macedonia points out:
"The Macedonian people in its long history had only twice the right of a free self-determination by a referendum: in 1991 when we voted for an independent Macedonia and in 1871 when with a decree the (Ottoman) sultan allowed an equally free referendum and when the Macedonian people with a majority of over two thirds accepted the Bulgarian Exarchy as their own."[2]

The referendum of 1991 was formulated deviously: Voters were asked to declare whether there were for an Independent Macedonian Republic which would have the right to enter into (a possible future) Union of Sovereign Yugoslav States. According to the recently adopted constitution [3] the:
"Republic of Macedonia is constituted as a national state of the Macedonian people with established complete equality for its citizens and permanent co-existence of the Macedonian people with the Albanians, the Turks, the Vlahs, the Gypsies and other nationalities living in the Republic of Macedonia" .

Apparently, the authors of the constitution did not regard the Albanians, the Turks, the Vlahs et c. as parts of the 'Macedonian people' whose national state the Republic of Macedonia was supposed to be, but as only minorities who have the right to co-exist with it.

To understand better the current situation in the Republic of Macedonia, it is necessary to analyse the meaning given by the authorities to the term 'Macedonian people' and the processes that are developing among the main ethnic group - the descendants of the people who by the first free referendum of 1871 seceded from the (Greek) Patriarchy of Constantinopol and adopted the Bulgarian Exarchy as their own national church.

The present Republic of Macedonia was established as an autonomous state within the boundaries of Tito's Yugoslavia in 1944. Communism was proclaimed to be the dominant social ideology while the adopted national doctrine was supposedly derived from the ideas of the left-wing fraction of the Macedonian liberation movement (if the so-called VMRO(united) could be considered to be a part of the Macedonian liberation movement). Nevertheless a number of deviations even from the Macedonian left-wingers' party line were made. For example, according to VMRO (united):
"the Macedonian people" consists of "all the nationalities that used to live and still live there, and in behalf of whom we speak of: Bulgarians, Albanians, Turks, Jews, Vlahs, Greeks, Gypsies."[4]

If we compare the definitions given even by the most leftist fraction from the early XX century and that of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia we shall see that the political and the geographical content of the meaning to the term 'Macedonian people' was replaced with an invented ethnical one.

The concept of the Macedonians as an ethnic group, approved by the Comintern in the 30s and adopted by the Yugoslav regime in Macedonia after 1944 was NOT a home grown one! It was first formulated by the 19th century Serbian politician Stojan Novakovic. In a report to the Serbian Ministry of Education he wrote in 1887:
" Since the Bulgarian idea, as it is known to everyone has grown deep roots in Macedonia I think that it is almost impossible for us to shake the believe in it by opposing to it only the Serbian idea...That is why the Serbian idea could use an ally, which could be sharply opposed to the Bulgarianness and could contain the elements that could attract the people and the peoples' sentiments while deviating them away from the Bulgarianness." [5] Such a policy he called Macedonism.

The Yugoslav authorities in Macedonia after 1944 spent much more efforts to promote Macedonism as an anti-Bulgarian and a pro-Serbian ethnical doctrine, than for the imposition of communism as a social ideology. Unless we keep this fact in mind, the nature of the processes going on at the moment among the people in the Republic of Macedonia will remain obscure.

As in all emerging communist states the 'class enemies of the people' were brutally persecuted, but in Macedonia the 'enemies of the people' were invariably accused of being Bulgarophils, Vanchovists' or 'Mihailovists' [6] and 'vrhovists'[7]

The policy of spreading Macedonism did not change in any fundamental way after the proclamation of the Macedonian Republic as an independent State in 1991. Some Orwellian practices continue to be implemented. Presently in the Republic of Macedonia we can find schools named: Miladinov Brothers, Rajko Zhinzifov, Kuzman Shapkarev etc., while the students who study in them do not have the access to the literary works of the patrons of their schools in original, for the simple reason that those people not only wrote in literary Bulgarian, but also participated in the codification of the Bulgarian literary norm on the basis of dialects spoken all over the Bulgarian lands, including of course the Macedonian region.

The main political party in Macedonia that sought and brought about the Republic's independence was VMRO- DPMNE (Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity). The drive for independence was opposed by the former communists and by a group known as the Union of Fighters from the War of Liberation (UFWL).

For example, on March 6, 1991, the structures of UFWL in Bitola, Tetovo, Ressen and other areas, declared that the demands for independence launched by VMRO-DPMNE were "in service of the plans for assimilation made by the neighbouring States". At a 'protest' meeting held in a pensioners hall in Kichevo, a declaration which branded the statements of VMRO-DPMNE as "positions of Vanchovism and Bulgarianism" was promulgated.

Nevertheless VMRO-DPMNE did not officially declared itself as an ethnic Bulgarian organisation.

On August 11th, 1991, that party organised a memorial service in Strumitsa for five students from that town who were killed in 1951 by the Communist regime. This students had declared that they were ethnic Bulgarians (Liuben Topchev, the brother of Stefan Topchev, one of the executed students, today is a political emigrant in USA and as a member of the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation (MPO) is active in supporting the Bulgarian ethnic consciousness in Macedonia [8]). In the memorial service, however, the students were presented as 'Macedonians'. Why this was so remains unclear, and is not an object of our analysis.

 
 


2. Violations of Human Rights of Macedonian Citizens with a Bulgarian Ethnic Consciousness 1990-1997

There were many manifestations of Bulgarian ethnical awareness in Macedonia in the recent years, but those sentiments were brutally persecuted.

On June 2nd, 1991, Mr.Ilia Ilievski, chairman of Human Rights Party in Macedonia was arrested by the Yugoslav authorities at the Bulgarian - Yugoslav border. His party was registered on December 14th, 1990 in accordance with decision No 23-4029/ 1-90.

Bulgarian literary language books and other Bulgarian materials were confiscated from him. In the beginning of September, 1991, he was deprived of his passport. In this way he was prevented from taking part in the International Conference on Human Rights in Moscow. According to a memorandum promulgated on September 12th, 1991

"The Party for Human Rights has gathered, relying only on its own sources, information for over 23000 people killed or missing and over 150 000 cruelly repressed, most of whom were people with Bulgarian sympathies".

At the time of the referendum for independence, the Bulgarian national television showed an agent of the secret service beating up a Macedonian citizen merely because he had declared in an interview that there was no difference between Bulgarians and Macedonians.

On November 29th, 1991, the secretary of the Municipal Committee of VMRO-DPMNE in the town of Veles, Georgi Kalauzarov, burned an Yugoslav flag hanging from the terrace of an office building of the Socialist Party of Macedonia. He declared that his act was "a protest against the fact that Macedonian soldiers were decaying for the interests of Great Serbia"[9]. Meanwhile, on December 19th, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence and less than a month later, on January 15th, 1992, Bulgaria became the first country in the world to recognise the new state. The government of Macedonia officially began to regard the Yugoslav army as an occupying force. Despite of all that, on June 12th, 1992, the so called Veles trial was set up against G. Kalauzarov and eleven of his followers for the burning of the Yugoslav flag.

In order to prepare the public opinion for the outcome of the trial which was decided in advance, the defendants were branded as Mihailovists and Bulgarophils[10]. In New Macedonia, a newspaper close to the regime , in an anonymous article it was announced that the defendants could not be Macedonians, since they possessed Bulgarian and 'vrhovist' literature, found with them during their detention[11]. G. Kalauzarov was deprived both of his identity card and of his passport. One night the windows of his house were broken with stones. He also received an anonymous threatening letter with a warning that he would be punished because of his struggle for the disintegration of the (already non-existent) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The families of the arrested were not informed for more than 10 days that the detained had been taken to a prison in Skopje. During the preliminary inquest the defendants suffered physical and mental torment. The indictment was handed to them only few days before the beginning of the trial. Although the trial was declared open to the public, the Macedonian police did not allow several buses carrying members of VMRO-DPMNE, who intended to offer moral support to the defendants to arrive. In front of the court house hundreds of citizens gathered, but none was admitted to the trial. During the first recess, the two journalists from Bulgaria attending the trial were evicted. At the trial the group was accused of being Mihailovists and Bulgarophils. During the questioning the prosecutor called the defendant Zhivko Petrushev from Tetovo, by the family name Petrushevski. The defendant objected: "My name is not Petrushevski, my name is Petrushev and I am a Macedonian Bulgarian[12] ". (IIM has a taped record with the statements of one of the defendants). One of the defendants, sent a letter to the Bulgarian president Zhelio Zhelev, signed with the alias K. Veleshki, (His name is known to IIM) where he stated:
"In Macedonia the cause of the Bulgarian ethnic awareness is not lost. On the contrary - it is reviving again now, and we want this revival to be felt by all of the Bulgarian people". [13]

The campaign against the defendants continued during the following years. The only accusation was that the activity of the group:
"could have caused great bloodshed at the hands of the then Yugoslav National Army, especially when the dangerous terrorist, in the face of SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) burned the Yugoslav flag on 29.11.1991". [14]

In fact this charge was made three years after the secession of the Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia. The methods used in the propaganda campaign were similar to the ones used by the frequent anti-Bulgarian propaganda campaigns during Tito's times: "Krum Chushkov (one of the defendants) as a student and as a disciple of the occupying royalist Bulgaria, entered the 'Brannik' organisation, in about 1945, with a group of intellectuals he was under trial for allegedly preparing to commit acts of terrorism. Later he became friends with Kalauzarov".[15] The devious deviousness is evident from the fact that in 1945 the 'Brannik' organisation was already disbanded, and so could not have been active in Macedonia.

On June 22 Th., 1992, another defendant, Gotse Chushkov, made a statement in front of Radio Free Europe's correspondence post in Belgrade about "the most cruel methods of physical tortures, beatings and maltreatment's", suffered by the detained during investigations.

On October 20th, 1995, the trial in Veles was re-opened. The defendants had to spend 43 months under investigation. The main prosecutor in the trial was an ex-officer with 30 years of experience in the Yugoslav secret services.

It is still a common practice of the Macedonian police to confiscate all kinds books and other materials written in Bulgarian literary language from Macedonian citizens.

According to protocol N 239-01/339 from December 28th, 1991, many documents and photocopies in Bulgarian literary language were taken from Slavtcho Cekovski.

What is ironic is that in the supposedly independent Republic of Macedonia, these confiscations are carried on the grounds of article 14 of the Yugoslav Law for Import and Dissemination of Foreign Mass Media, passed in 1974 (see appendix No 1). In 1992, Slavtcho Cekovski tried to establish an association of the Bulgarians in Republic of Macedonia. He even managed to publish one issue of a bulletin called "All- Macedonian Movement for the Rights and Freedom of the Bulgarian Christians and Muslims in the Republic of Macedonia". The authorities banned is activities.

According to protocol 71-01/91 from March 18th, 1992, many Bulgarian literary language books, booklets and badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov printed on them, were confiscated from the Macedonian citizen Angelko Mitrev (see appendix No 2). On November 16th, 1992, the police conducted a search of his home and according to the protocol, found booklets with the image of Ivan Mihailov, issues of the Bulgarian newspapers "Macedonia" and "Zora" (Dawn), issues of "Macedonian Tribune", published in USA, and the book "VMRO" (IMRO) - written by Ivan Mihailov, published in Brussels, Belgium; all were taken from him. Specifically in the police protocol was written: "REMINDER: all the magazines are printed in Bulgarian" (see appendix No 3). As if using Bulgarian is a horrendous crime! Of course by the term "Bulgarian" the Macedonian police understands the Bulgarian literary norm, which for the displeasure of the Skopje regime remains easily legible and understandable even for Macedonians who come in touch with it for a first time and who by no stretch of imagination could honestly regarded it as a completely foreign language.

That is how the victim describes the reasons for the search:
"Few days earlier I met with some friends. We talked about Macedonia. I took out one of the badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov and told one boy: have it and wear on your chest the image of Todor Alexandrov because he is the eagle of Macedonia. These words were heard by a man who used to be an officer in the Serbian Army. We began to argue. Later he went to the police office and told them about me. So they cane home". [16]

Angelko Mitrev handed to the government of the Republic of Macedonia a written objection, protesting the confiscation of his materials. But according to decision 28/11- 409/ 1-92, his complaint was rejected because: "As he admitted, he was going to spread them among his friends" (see appendix No 4).

The Macedonian authorities have taken some measures in order to prevent their citizens from visiting Bulgaria. For that reason on April 26th, 1992, it was decided to charge with a fee of 30 DM every Macedonian citizen who was leaving Macedonia for Bulgaria. No such fee was asked from the Macedonian citizens who visited other neighbouring countries.

All attempts of ethnic Bulgarian organisations to obtain legal registration register continue to be brutally suppressed in the Republic of Macedonia.

On June 7th, 1993, documents for the registration of organisation called VMRO were launched in the branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid. According to article 1, of the proposed party statute, the organisation was defined as a "democratic, independent, national and political organisation of the Macedonian Bulgarians". According to article 11 of its proposed statute: "VMRO will strive to save the traditions and to revive Bulgarianness (the Slavic traits of the Macedonian Bulgarians) in Macedonia".

A protocol describing the events of the constituent assembly that took place on June 5th, 1993 was produced. From the conference protocol it is evident Vladimir Paunkovski was elected as chairman and that the constituents rejected the ethnic implications of the term "Macedonian people". They declared:
"We consider that all the nationalities that inhabit Macedonia have a consciousness that they belong together, so that all of them share the common name "Macedonian people".

However, the authorities in Skopje refused to register the newly created organisation. After a decision of the Supreme Court of Macedonia in the same sense, the organisation self-disbanded, but entrusted the members of the Central Committee (CC) to continue with the attempts to obtain a registration.

The leader of VMRO, V. Paunkovski, has left Yugoslavia for political reasons in June 1986 and settled in Switzerland. Optimistic about the democratic processes going on in the Republic of Macedonia, he returned in December 1991. In 1995, V. Paunkovski became a chairman of a committee, which on August 2, intended to conduct a commemorative service at the grave one of the voivodas (leaders) of the historical VMRO - Toma Davidov in the Village of Ozdoleni near Ohrid. For the occasion the committee printed posters and sent invitations to sympathisers in the Republic of Macedonia and abroad. Invitations were also sent to the ambassadors of the USA, Germany and Russia, to the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov and to the Human Rights Office in Skopje. Notice of the commemoration, along with copies of the posters, were handed by the organisers to the office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid on July 18, 1995. On July 25th, 1995, two policemen went to V. Paunkovski's apartment and personally let him know that the conducting of the commemoration was forbidden. All the posters were seized. At the same time they refused to present a written decision of that prohibition and a confirmation that the materials had been confiscated.

On July 27th, 1995, Vladimir Paunkovski was called by the telephone to come to the police office and was detained there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. He was made to sign a declaration that he had been informed about the prohibition of the commemoration service, but he was not given a copy of it. He was told that every attempt to visit the grave of Toma Davidov will trigger a ruthless reaction of the police. Paunovski was beaten by the ethnic Serb Atsa Chancharevich, an officer in the MIA in Skopje. Because of all that, Paunkovski's Action Committee decided to commemorate the event in a motel called 'Kotsare' near Ohrid. On August 2nd, Mr. Paunovski was arrested in his apartment and detained by the police at 8 p.m. and kept in the police until 9 p.m. He was told that they had to hold an 'important conversation' with him but no conversation took place. At the same time his lawyer Savo Kotsarev from Skopje, inquired at the police office about Paunkovski but he was told that they didn't know anything about him.

On the same day the Macedonian police prevented the Bulgarian Member of Parliament Evgeniy Ekov (an co-chairman of VMRO-SMD) from visiting Ozdoleni by car, in spite of his diplomatic immunity. He was told that he might go there only alone and on foot. At the same time his car had to be returned to Ohrid, because as it was parked by the road it supposedly hindered the traffic.

On October 25th, 1995, Mr. V. Paunkovski was arrested at the Skopje Airport and his Macedonian passport was confiscated. He was detained for 5 days and cruelly maltreated. All these steps were taken to impede his visit to Austria, at the invitation of professor Otto Kronsteiner from Salzburg University. There he was to read a report about the Bulgarian character and on the dialectical basis of the literary norm used in Skopje called Macedonian language. While Mr. Paunkovski was detained, his apartment was robbed. There were no signs that the door had been forced (at that time Mr. Paunkovski's keys were held by the police). Signs written in a non-standard Macedonian dialect with a mixed Serbian Latin and Cyrillic script: "Bulgarians get out of Macedonia", and "All Bulgarians that live here will die" appeared on the wall. The losses from the theft and the stolen plane ticket amounted to more than 10 000 DM.

On that occasion, on November 8th, 1995, professor Otto Kronsteiner sent the following open letter to the president of the Macedonian Academy of Science - Professor Bozhidar Vidoeski, to the rector of Skopje University, and to the dean of the Philological Department of the same University:
" We just learned that a Macedonian scholar, who did not refuse to participate (in the Slavistic dabates in Salzburg university), was detained by the authorities at the airport in Skopje, just before his departure for Salzburg... If you consider it imperative by such measures to save and inspire live into the Macedonian nation and assert the Macedonian as a national language , then your actions only confirm that in your Republic, there is a reign of terror over the convictions of the citizens and that a suppression over the open expressions of their opinions is exerted. This way, your Republic and your Macedonian language will only become a symbol of injustice. You counter the struggle for spiritual and intellectual freedom, waged by scholars and students from other countries with a meaningless old ideology, which you try to preserve by pseudo-scientific means".

In order to turn the public opinion against Mr. Paunkovski, the Macedonian authorities accused him of not paying alimony for his daughter Natasha. According to decision No 9/96 of the City Court in Ohrid, Paunkovski was imprisoned for 30 days. The execution of the sentence began on March 4th, 1996. After he was released from prison, a representative of the International Institute for Macedonia met V. Paunkovski on April 5th, 1996. During a walk along Ohrid's quay, around noon, the group met by chance with one of Paunkovski's interrogators, who told him: "For one thing or another you will be back in prison".

Because of those brutal repressions, Paunkovski presented his grievances to the Minister of Internal Affairs at that time, L. Frchkovski, and renounced his Macedonian citizenship. He declared:
"I, who by ethnical origin am a Macedonian Bulgarian, a citizen of Republic of Macedonia, in a clear conscience voluntarily renounce my Macedonian citizenship. The reason for my denouncement is the violation of my human rights on the part of the country" (appendix No 5).

In an interview to "Fokus" newspaper Mr. Paunkovski decleared:
"I accept the concept of a Macedonian nation but only in its implication of statehood. According to us, Macedonia is a territorial unit inhabited by ethnic Bulgarians, Serbs, Vlahs, Albanians, Greeks, Turks and Gypsies, but with no ethnic Macedonians. That is a category fabricated by the communists...I confirm that everything that the official history or literature promotes throughout the country is false and is a robbery of the cultural and historical inheritance of Bulgaria... I guarantee that in Ohrid alone there are from 10.000 to 15.000 people who privately admit that they are Bulgarians and feel like Bulgarians, but they are afraid of saying so in public".[17]

On December 21st, 1995, at 7.30 a.m., another member of VMRO-Ohrid - Riste Manev, was arrested. He was taken away by a police car, but the police denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the arrested man in front of his family. Furthermore, such repressive acts were taken against Georgi Nastevski, Stavre Temelkovski, Pipilevski and others, all members of VMRO-Ohrid.

On May 1st, 1996, V. Paunkovski addressed the Bulgarian president Z. Zhelev with a request for a Bulgarian citizenship, since his own Macedonian identity documents had been confiscated the previous year and he could not leave the Republic of Macedonia. In his request he emphasised that as a patriot, he would continue to live in Ohrid. Mr. Paunkovski also requested to restore his surname to Pankov - the surname used by his forfeitures before they were forced to alter it to 'Paunkovski' after 1944.

On November 8th, V. Paunkovski was detained at the Ohrid airport for a sixth time. The Macedonian police took away his new Bulgarian passport, on the grounds that they "suspected that it was forged."

During that period, the activity of other legally registered organisations was also hindered. The chairman of the Party for Human Rights, Ilia Ilievski, was not given a new passport so he could not visit the Conference for human rights that took place in Vienna, Austria. On that occasion, the party, in its own memorandum No 180 from June 17th, 1993, while defending the rights of the Bulgarian ethnic nationality, declared that notwithstanding its new name, in power was still the old communist party. Because of this action and the statements of its leader published in some Bulgarian newspapers, the activities of the Party for Human Rights in Macedonia ware forbidden at a session of the Regional Court in Shtip on December 9th, 1993. As reasons the court stressed that:
"In fact, the chairman Ilia Ilievski, taking advantage of the name of the party, often acts against the interests of the Macedonian nation and country, renounces the existence of the Macedonian nation and statehood and insists on the "Bulgarian" character of the Macedonian Republic" (see appendix No 6).

It is significant that articles and statements of Mr. Ilievski published in Bulgarian newspapers were presented as evidence against his party. These materials used in court were not rewritten to conform to the Macedonian written norm. This way the Shtip court and after that the High Court of Macedonia admitted that the literary Bulgarian was totally understandable to them. [18]

After the attempted assassination of the Macedonian president K. Gligorov on October 3th, 1995, a wave of arrests swept over the Republic of Macedonia. Mainly persons showing interest in Bulgaria, were prosecuted. Dragi Karev, one of the defendants of the trial against the Veles Bulgarians (Veleshki Bugarashi) in 1992, was arrested by the police in Veles.

On January 18th, 1996, the Macedonian journalist Stefan Sharovski was badly beaten by an army officer in Skopje. He adds to the picture of the arbitrary misrule of the Skopje regime:
"In that context I would like also to mention Dimitar Delevski. He was a journalist for the Bulgarian newspaper "Macedonia", an organ of VMRO-SMD and irrespective of his deposition and positions of the newspaper, the fact remains, that he was prevented from corresponding from Macedonia. In Ohrid Delevski was beaten in a similar way".[19]

The case of Dimitar Delevski and its repercussions is indicative of the nature of the Macedonist regime in Skopje. In 1992. Delevski addressed the Macedonian president with an open letter:
"This attack launched by the MVR (Ministry of Internal Affairs), against my personality and my journalistic activities, will cease, I hope". [20]

On December 11th, 1992, the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation based in USA and Canada wrote a letter of support of Mr. Delevski's activities, to the president K. Gligorov:
"It comes to our attention that the human rights of those who consider themselves Bulgarians are often violated. This is true, despite of the fact that Bulgaria is the only neighbouring country showing an amicable attitude and which immediately recognised Macedonia... We are disturbed about Dimitar Delevski, a Macedonian correspondent for a newspaper published in Sofia, whom the police has ordered not to write for the Bulgarian newspaper any more". [21]

In spite of that interference, the circumstances of Delevski did not improve. He asked for Bulgarian citizenship and such was granted to him by a decree of the Bulgarian president Dr Z. Zhelev in 1995.

According to protocol n. 71-01/127 from March 27th, 1993, two calendars with inscriptions "100 years VMRO, with images of turn of the century revolutionaries and cover of the statute of the historical Bulgarian Macedono-Odrin Revolutionary Committee of VMRO" printed on it, were confiscated from Delevski ( see appendix No 7).

In Bulgaria, Delevski studied journalism and continued to publish articles against the excesses of Macedonism. On November 13th, 1996 in the well in his own property, the corpse of Gerasim Delevski, the father of D. Delevski, was found. A number of facts indicate that he was first killed and then thrown there. The medical authorities refused to make an autopsy or offer a medical conclusion. Close friends of the Delevski family insist that the murder of Delevski was intended to frighten his son.

The repressions over Mr. Vancho Veskov, leader of the United Macedonians Party were closely connected with his friendship with Delevski In the summer of 1992 Veskov gave an interview to Delevski, which due to the difficulties in passing the information to Bulgaria, was published at last on November 20th. Says Veskov:
"The biggest mistake at the moment is that the help of the Macedonians from all over the world and especially of those from Bulgaria, whose consciousness is Bulgarian has been eliminated, I think that in the Republic of Macedonia a discrimination is practised against those people due to their Bulgarian identity. Even the people who feel themselves Bulgarian in Vardar Macedonia are persecuted. The Republic of Macedonia has to respect the rights of those Bulgarians living on its territory".[22]

Right after that interview the police began to terrorise Vancho Veskov. On September 15th, 1992, his two-year-old son was killed with a hunting gun in front of his house. The father declared that he was anticipating such an incident to happen to him. The police did not find the killer and the attacks on Veskov continued. He was forced to leave Macedonia and now he lives in Australia.

Beside the cases with Delevski and Veskov, some other death cases happened in Macedonia, for which it is supposed that pro-Serbian circles of the police, have something to do with. These are the murders of Minister of Internal Affairs Jordan Mijalkov, the officer of MVR Mile Milevski, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE in Kumanovo Mile Ilievski and the journalist from the editorial office of "Glas", organ of VMRO-DPMNE, Ljupcho Atanasovski[23].

On March 8th, 1995 the chairman of VMRO-Tatkovinska Party (VMRO-Motherland Party) - Dr Dimitar Tsarnomarov was arrested for more than three days and nights in Bitola. After a search, all the documents of his party, literature in Bulgarian literary language have been confiscated. The police refused to give any information to his wife Marina, as to the reasons for his detention and about his physical condition. During the detention he was interrogated again and again about his contacts with some Bulgarian social circles. He was beaten with a butt-stock of an automatic gun over his head and as a result of that his eyesight was non durably injured. In the press close to the regime Dr. Tsrnomarov was continually accused of being a "Bulgarophil" . As a result of all the harassment, on January 3th, 1996, Dr. Tsrnomarov suffered a heart attack.

On October 18th, 1995, Dr Tsrnomarov and the active members of VMRO-Motherland Party - Hristo Petsev and Grigor Tsurev were detained in the prison of Strumitsa.

On March 6th, 1996, the 25 years old Trajan Godev - a member of -the VMRO-Motherland Party, was also detained for examination. On the same day, he was taken home, under police escort, where literature in Bulgarian literary language was confiscated. Godev complained to his close friends that he had suffered cruel mental torment while in custody.

On the following day, the 30 years old Tihomir Jajnaliev and the 36 years old Dimitar Nicolov were arrested in Strumitsa. The latter was also sacked from his work, all because of his Bulgarian consciousness. The independent Macedonian press described the occasion
"In a classic Stalinist style they were put to mental maltreatment for many hours (from 6 o'clock am, to 2 o'clock p.m.) by the police, while being injured and threatened. However, apart from treating them as enemies of the state, they all were threatened with regard to their rights of free travel, religion and political determination"[24]

On November 6th, 1996, the Macedonian citizens Liljana Stoimenova and Traian Godev were called to the police office for an "informative conversation" and were detained for more than 10 hours. They were interrogated about their contacts with Bulgarian citizens and organisations, and at the same time they were maltreated.

A number of Macedonian intellectuals were put to particularly humiliating harassment. On March 1st, 1996 Professor Dimitar Galev was arrested. He is an author of a number of books containing unfalsified historical documents about Macedonia. Two of them : "Beliot teror vo Jugoistochna Makedonija" (The white Terror in south-east Macedonia)" (Shtip 1991) and "Todor Aleksandrov - od avtonomija do samostojna drzhava" (Todor Alexandrov - from an autonomy to an Independent State)" (Skopje 1996) were really outstanding. He is also a chairman of the Agrarian Party and of the unregistered for almost two years Movement for Friendship and Co-operation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria. On that occasion he addressed the Macedonian public, whit an open letter containing the following:
"I was called to the police for an official conversation, which according to me, was an examination of the loyalty for the Macedonian cause, and by the way I was asked about the book about Todor Alexandrov, about the memorandums addressed to the European Union and to the Organisation of the United Nations in 1992 and 1993, about my stay in America for the congress of MPO (Macedonian Patriotic Organisation) in 1993, about my conversation with the secretary of the Russian embassy in Sofia, about my participation in the session of a forum in R.of Bulgaria in 1993, where the topic "Macedonia today and tomorrow" was discussed."[25]

In a panoramic interview, professor Galev, in an very discreet way, expressed his views on the language spoken in the Republic of Macedonia:
"It is true that at the congress (of the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation in USA and Canada) they were speaking in English and in Bulgarian. But we, who were from Macedonia excused ourselves and said: let us speak the language that our mothers speak, because we understand Bulgarian but we can not speak literary Bulgarian".[26]
As a result of his activities, professor Galev was fired.

Another intellectual, who was put to an enormous mental harassment, was the Macedonian writer Mladen Srbinovski. The reason for the campaign against him were his brave articles in which he openly maintained the idea of the Bulgarian ethnical nature of the Macedonian people. The following are some examples of the qualifications of him written in a single article in a supposedly respectful newspaper:

"On Bulgarian payroll; an alienated Macedonian; Srbinovski (read Bugarinovski); incurable patological case and an oathbraker; proved to be paid by the Bulgarians and callous fighter the for spread of Bulgarian vrhovist ideas; vrhovist of a high rank in his native country; callous Bulgaromaniac; Srbinovski the Macedonophob; one of the most reliable Bulgarians; mad Bulgarian dog;...his occupator-like macedonophobia and distorted spirituality..."[27] This quotations are indicative of the atmosphere in which the Macedonian intellectuals have to work.

A very interesting case was the arrest on October 6th, 1995 of the Skopje resident Marija Stoimenova and her husband Georgi Stoimenov. She had the courage to describe the methods of maltreatment used by the Macedonian police (appendix No 8). The reason for her arrest was that she was a relative of Alekso Stoimenov from Strumitsa who at present is a political emigrant in Belgium and a chairman of MPO "Todor Alexandrov" there. At the time of her arrest she needed to go to the toilet. M. Stoimenova describes the behaviour of the police officers in the following way:
"We stopped and I went to the WC. At the same time a woman went in together with me and stood there next to me while I was performing my most intimate and natural functions. At that very moment I began to ask myself if I was a human being and if I had any human rights.

The interrogation went on:
They began making threats. They wanted me to tell them about the first arrival of Alekso Stoimenov; to remember when did he cone? Who did he come with? Why? Through which border did he come? With whom did he meet? What did he talk about? How long did he stay in Macedonia? Whom had he phoned? What were his ideas? What was the aim of his presence in Macedonia? Why did he come here? Whereabout did he go in Macedonia? And if I didn't tell all that, and all my life during the last 3- 4 years for each day and if I didn't confess that I have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, I was going to be finished. They were going to change my outlook and I would stay in prison for about 20 years.

Than a conversation began like this:
Come on, tell us when did Alekso Stoimenov come to Skopje for the first time and whom did he meet with? And what did he talk about? What places do I visit? Where do I work? How many times I have been to Bulgaria? What have I brought from Bulgaria and what has Alekso asked me to bring to Skopje"

Than one of the inspectors told me: "if you don't want to confess that you have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, in a gentle way, we can try a ruder one. We don't have the nerves to wait for you". He went out and five minutes later he came back with a stick. Firstly he began to boast and to hit the wall and the desk with the sick, crying to me "Do you see what will happen to you?" Then he began to push me to the wall and to beat me against it. He was saying: "you are very strong, stronger than the wall. Let me see if you are stronger than the stick ..." All that happened to me, the way I was maltreated and humiliated, happened also to my husband with the only difference that he was also mercilessly beaten. On the sixth day I collapsed, being entirely exhausted of hunger and sleeplessness".

After she was released from the police office, her problems did not finish:
"We called for an ambulance by the phone and when we said who is phoning they answered: we cannot come; go to the nearest hospital, we can not send you an ambulance. We went throughout Skopje to get a doctor's certificate for our injuries but none of the doctors wanted to give us a certificate saying: We do not dare. They will imprison us too".

In the summer of 1996, dozens of Macedonian citizens, who were students in Bulgaria, were called to the police office for an informal conversation. They had been asked if they knew particular persons from VMRO-SMD. If they denied such acquaintances, the inspectors would show them photos of meetings of VMRO-SMD. The students were put under the pressure to drop their studies in Bulgaria.

In the physical repressions against people with preserved Bulgarian ethnical consciousness, the following officers from the State Security Service have taken part: Itse Damtchevski and Igor Galovski from Bitola; Alexander Tsancharevich from Skopje; Stefan Buzovski from Ohrid. No one has ever held them accountable for their actions.



 
 

2. Infringement of Rights of Citizens of Other Countries in Connection with the Issue of Macedonian Ethnical Character

In its struggle against the Bulgarian consciousness, the Macedonian authorities often encroach upon Citizens of other countries.

On January 21st, 1991, in Skopje, the Bulgarian citizen Nedka D. Ivanova was arrested, only because she announced that ethnical Macedonian Nation did not exist and in fact the Macedonians were ethnic Bulgarians. At the moment of her arrest she was physically maltreated by the Security authorities.

From August 18th, to 22nd, 1992, two Albanian citizens of Bulgarian origin (their names are well known to IIM) visited VMRO-SMD. When they were passing over the Albano- Macedonian border at Kafasan, they told the Macedonian authorities that they were ethnic Bulgarians. The authorities charged them with an unusually big fee 110 DM for the car and 25 DM for each of them for a transit visa valid for 5 days. Usually transit visas are issued for one month. The aim was to prevent the visit of the two Albanians to Bulgaria. The sum of 160 DM was equal to one year payment at that time in Albania.

According to protocol No 1 from January 26th, 1996, an album called "Kiustendil and the Liberating Fights in Macedonia" had been confiscated from Andrea Shtika, an Albanian citizen of a Bulgarian origin (See appendix No 9).

According to the Macedonian authorities, the Slav minority of Albania consisted only of ethnical Macedonians and not Bulgarians. Each attempt for a declaration of a Bulgarian ethnic consciousness in Albania is pursued in a very brutal way by the authorities in the Republic of Macedonia. Very indicative is the following article in the independent Albanian newspaper "Koha Jone" for destruction of Albanian passports by the Macedonian frontier authorities:
"The rage of Macedonia perhaps was caused by the reporting of the Bulgarian National Television, made with the participation of the residents of 10 villages with Macedonian national minority in the region of Likenas. The citizens of this zone declared in front of the cameras of the Bulgarian Television that they should not be called Macedonian, but Bulgarian national minority. Among those, who took part in the interview was the ex- headmaster of the Town Hall in Likenas, George Kaslari, who said that the population calls itself Bulgarian and asked for the help of the Bulgarian state for it to acquire a status of a minority. The sharp reactions of Skopje about the national minority in Likenas became stronger after the reporting was shown by the 1st channel of the State Macedonian TV... The Macedonian national minority is a victim of this position. One of its representatives declared in front of "Koha Jon": Now we have got a lot of problems with the (Macedonian) Custom Office and we were told that as long as we call ourselves Bulgarians, we should take visas from the Bulgarian Embassy. The Macedonian authorities made invalid the visas of those who have been caught in various cities in Macedonia and took them back to the border". [28].

The Macedonian police encroached on the rights of the political emigrant of long standing in Belgium - Alekso Stoimenov. From the protocol No 3 from May 17th, 1996, it shows that his Belgian passport was temporarily taken in (see appendix No 10).

The authorities meet with hostility the Macedonian emigrant from Bitola Metodi Dimov, and many times have worn him to leave the Macedonian Republic. M. Dimov living also in Belgium, together with A. Stoimenov published a number of books about the Macedonian Liberation Movement in Bulgarian literary language. M. Dimov is an ex-speaker in the broadcasts of Radio Madrid, intended for Macedonia.

The Macedonian Secret Services show a particular interest in the activity of emigrant organisations such: VMRO- SMD in Bulgaria, MPO in USA and Canada, the editorial office of "Macedono-Bulgarian Review "Vardar" in Toronto, Canada and others that stand up for Bulgarian ethnical positions. A person, wished to be anonymous but known to the editors of "Macedonian Tribune" newspaper, announces:
"Knowing the history and the character of MPO and its strong position for many years, I know that people from the Macedonian UDBA (Secret Services) have infiltrated MPO and even its governing body. I know a case when an UDBA officer from Skopje during his visit in Columbus was boasting that: "UDBA had its own people in MPO and knew everything that happened there". Each step of Ivan Lebamov (ex-chairman of MPO) had been followed at the time of his visit in Macedonia. The activity of MPO in Fort Wayne, no doubts was under surveillance".[29]

On September 18th, 1992, a member of the Central Committee of MPO Pando Mladenov and his brother Georgi Mladenov a chairman of MPO "Liuben Dimitrov" in Toronto, met the Macedonian president K. Gligorov and made a request for a permission to publish a Bulgarian literary language newspaper in Skopje. After K. Gligorov's refusal, they declared:
"We do not intend to waste money (investing) in such unsafe situation in the country".[30]

On August 26th, 1996, the Macedonian border authorities did not permit the Bulgarian citizen Andon Traikov Spasov from the village of Rupite (Pirin Macedonia) to visit the Republic of Macedonia because he was carrying Bulgarian Literature. In his passport seal: "Forbidden to enter Republic of Macedonia on the basis of article 17" was placed. On September 22nd, and October 28th, 1996, again he was not allowed to visit Macedonia. The mother and the sister of A. Spasov were Macedonian citizens and were living in Skopje. His father Trajko Atanasov, died in 1990, was from village of Gabrovo, Strumitsa region (of Republic of Macedonia). Among his neighbours in Skopje he was well known as Trajko Bugarinot (the Bulgarian). In 1996 his grave was desecrated. As a result of that outrage, on October 31st, 1996 Andon Spasov addressed an appeal to the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria:
"I am writing these lines with pain and outrage because these actions were typical for former Yugoslavia. In my capacity of a Bulgarian and a Bulgarian citizen, I had been declared "persona non grata" three times".

During my previous visits to my family I had to undergo humiliating and illegal treatment in the hands of the Macedonian authorities. I was forced by the police authorities at the time of my arrival to go to the Regional administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for address registration and then again for disregistration at the time of my departure. Twice, being late for two or three hours, uniform police-officers came home and forced me immediately to go to the police office for registration. In my visits to the Republic of Macedonia, I was regularly followed by civil officers of the Macedonian police, at the time of my travelling and my stay in Skopje. During my last visit on November 8th, 1996, after I was denied for 3 consecutive times to be allowed in the country, while the house of my sister and my mother (Davcha Spasova and Ilinka Atanasova) was surrounded and watched over by civil persons for some hours at the time of my departure... With the present request I address you as a Bulgarian and citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria, hoping that my human and citizen rights would be defended, as well as those of my relatives".


Conclusion

At the moment some very complex processes of identity search are occurring among the main ethnic group of the Republic of Macedonia.

Right now, in the Republic of Macedonia
"On the pages of the newspapers, on the TV screens, every day we come across with the condemnation of at least one fascist Bulgarophil enemy of Macedonia.[31]

As one of the well known Macedonian authors, Alexandar Bonev sais, the period of 1988-1989:

"was called the Macedonian spring, but it turned out to be more of a Macedonian variety of a Hrushchev-like charade, rather than an honest, objective and unprejudiced dismantling of the fabricated cult of Tito".[32]

According to professor D. Galev
"By the end of 1989 and throughout 1990 there was more democracy than now, because in 1990 (when we were lying the first stony fundaments of the independent Macedonian state) we did not face any obstacles".[33]

If the authors of these statements are to be believed it means that in the already established independent Republic of Macedonia, the civil and political rights are violated more often and more brutally than during the last months of the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
By promoting the theory of Macedonism in a most brutal way and by not permitting a free and open discussion on the complex and contradictive questions about the origin and the ethnical character of the Macedonians, the former communist authorities of the Republic of Macedonia create the preconditions for future destabization of the entire Balkan region.

The honest attempts made by the chairman of VMRO DPMNE to begin a national reconciliation between the Macedonians with preserved Bulgarian ethnical identity and the Macedonians that have developed a Macedonian ethnical identity, was interpreted by the regime as an act of treason .
Yet the reconciliation between those two groups has no alternative, if Macedonia is to become a free and democratic country.

The reconciliation is also needed to the people with Macedonian ethnic identity, because they themselves are also deeply divided on 'Slavic Macedonians' and 'Descendants of the Ancient Macedonians'.

Unfortunately, some circles of the regime still believe that they could eradicate an ethnical consciousness that has existed in Macedonia for more then one thousand years. In a interview on Channel 1 of the Macedonian Television on July 22th, the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov expressed the opinion that the Bulgarian consciousness was preserved only by:
"...few individuals who for family or other reasons still carry some heritage from the past...those are just few people...and few parties that are trying, unclearly and indecisively to find room for doubt if we could view differently those key questions on which depends the existence of this nation as a Macedonian one "

THIS IS A DANGEROUS SELF-DECEPTION.

In order to overcome the inevitable conflict, an efficient international pressure and control must be exercised in order to make the Macedonian government respect the human rights of the Macedonians with preserved Bulgarian ethnical consciousness.

Now it is impossible to tell what percentage of the main ethnic group supports one or the other view since no freedom of expression is allowed. Also it must be kept in mind that between the Macedonians who feel as ethnic Macedonians and the Macedonians feeling as ethnic Bulgarians, there are no ethnic or cultural differences. They speak the same variety of dialects; they have the same folk songs, traditions and customs. Often members of a same family disagree on the issue! Within the two groups we can find both Orthodox Christians and Moslems. The relation between those two groups could not be compared with the relation between them and the minority groups - Albans, Serbs, Greeks, Turks, Gypsies with whom they TOGETHER form the people of the Republic of Macedonia.

Since the concept of what is Macedonian is a very flexible one and has geographical, political and only to some people ethnical aspects and is understood differently by the different citizens, there is not real problem for the people with a Bulgarian ethnical consciousness to identify with the Republic of Macedonian as far as the statehood is concerned.
By no means the people who have preserved their Bulgarian ethnical identity could be regarded as traitors or renegades.

Since they are not territorially concentrated and since Bulgaria first recognised the independence and the territorial integrity of Macedonia, only paranoid minds could consider the very existence those people as danger to the peace, security and stability of Republic of Macedonia and the region.

 
Vladimir Paunkovski, Spas Tashev, George Mladenov

 


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