Bulgarian President Rumen Radev granted citizenship to the heads of the two Bulgarian clubs recently opened in Macedonia, which caused serious controversy and deteriorated relations between the two countries.

The clubs in Bitola and Ohrid are named after former VMRO leader Vanco Mihajlov and Bulgarian Tsar Boris III – both of whom cooperated with Nazi Germany. In response, the Macedonian Parliament adopted amendments to ban the use of names evoking Nazism and the two clubs are being forced to change their names. The club in Bitola faced an arson attack, while the one in Ohrid was shot at and its activist Hristijan Pendikov was beaten in a serious incident.

Pendikov was recently awarded Bulgarian citizenship in a grand ceremony and now Ljupco Georgievski and Blagoj Satorov, heads of the two clubs, were also given citizenships, in a ceremony led by Radev and attended by Vice President Iliyana Yotova and Foreign Minister Ivan Kondov.