Even as the governments in Sofia and Skopje keep hidden their recent exchanges on a number of historic demands, PressingTV reports that the Bulgarian demands include an attempt to write the narrative on the Communist era persecution of dissidents in former Yugoslavia, and to declare all who were arrested and killed by the Communist regime as Bulgarians.

The Zaev regime reportedly sent its replies to a number of Bulgarian demands, but these are kept secret. According to PressingTV, some of the demands are focused on the estimated murder of 23,000 people and expulsion of 120,000 people in Macedonia under Communism. These figures, put forward by Bulgaria, seem somewhat inflated, but also importantly, Bulgaria wants to have all of them “declared as Macedonian Bulgarians and nothing else”.

The attempt is to declare that the Macedonian national identity was forcibly imposed in the country and that the Macedonians are a genocidal nation. That the Macedonian Bulgarians were exposed to constant repression from the Communist secret police, even after Communism, and that all tried for participating in VMRO or for aligning with Vanco Mihajlov were exclusively Macedonian Bulgarians, PressingTV reports.

The site notes that the Communist police did go after numerous dissidents, but that the Bulgarian narrative would completely disregard the persecution of people who fought for an independent and sovereign Macedonia, outside of Yugoslavia. The way the narrative is constructed, all these dissidents would be declared as Bulgarians and would be taught as such in Macedonian schools. The news site sees the influence of the Bulgarian intelligence in this process and in the management of Bulgarian associations in Macedonia who are raising these issues.