Bulgarian President Rumen Radev honored Goce Delcev as “an old Bulgarian revolutionary who planted the flag for liberation of the Macedonian soil”. Radev and Prime Minister Nikola Petkov attended a gathering in Blagoevgrad, in the province of Pirin Macedonia, which was one of the centers of the VMRO liberation movement which Delcev led.

Both countries mark 150 years since the birth of the legendary VMRO leader, and the anniversary comes at a time when Bulgaria is blocking Macedonia and demands that Macedonia accepts the Bulgarian reading of history, including on Delcev.

Radev pointed out that Delcev was a teacher in a school in Stip that was operated by the Bulgarian church and that he was a Bulgarian army cadet.

Prime Minister Petkov, who is taking a more moderate approach to the dispute, called out that the legacy of the hero is not used to divide Macedonia and Bulgaria. “Is it normal that someone tries to use the person of Goce Delcev to divide the people of the two sides of the border.