VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski said that he will attend the opening of the first Macedonian cultural center in Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad today, to show his support for Macedonians living in Bulgaria.

The center is being opened by the OMO Ilinden – Pirin association, which has faced decades of pressure by the Bulgarian authorities, and the move comes after Bulgarian organizations opened two clubs in Macedonia which they named after Nazi collaborators.

This is an excellent opportunity to give our support to our people in the Pirin part of Macedonia, in Bulgaria. To give them more confidence, to tell them that we haven’t forgotten about them and that, on the contrary, we plan to suppor them much more strongly. We care about the Macedonian people, the Macedonian identity, and it’s not just empty words, Mickoski said.

He pointed out that the club will be named after poet Nikola Jonkov Vapcarov, who was killed by the Bulgarian authorities in 1942, as a leading socialist writer at the time. “You can’t equate the Bulgarian clubs with fascist names with what the Macedonians are doing in Bulgaria. Vapcarov fought to unite and bring together people, while here in Ohrid there is a local club of a verified collaborator with the Nazi regime and the fascists in World War Two”, Mickoski said.

The recently opened Bulgarian club in Ohrid is named after Tsar Boris III, who had Bulgaria join the Axis and cooperated in the Holocaust in the Macedonian and Thracian territories Bulgaria occupied during the war, while preventing the Holocaust in Bulgaria proper.

Bulgarian nationalists are calling for protests against the opening of the club, and are accusing OMO Ilinden – Pirin of separatism.