A group of activists and professors from Macedonia have issued a joint statement strongly denouncing the Bulgarian demands for rewriting and redefining of Macedonian history and national identity. The group, which includes a number of leaders of the 2015 Colored Revolution, which installed the Zaev regime and forced Macedonia to accept Greek demands to rewrite its history and national identity, now warns that the Bulgarian demands amount to hegemonism and territorial claims and violate both human rights and the legacy of the anti-fascist struggle in Macedonia. They call on the future Kovacevski Government to refuse to accept blackmail from Bulgaria.

Macedonia can’t and must not accept a treaty with anyone, if its content creates a deep crisis and leaves a devastated identity as legacy to the future generations… Talks on the unique and the shared elements in our histories must not be held on the basis of cultural and historic hegemonism and least of all under political diktat and such rude blackmail that our homeland is exposed to. Macedonia is prepared to respect minority rights of all ethnic communities based on its own democratic model and experience, and in accordance with the highest European standards, which are mandatory for all EU member states. In this regard, any claims that Macedonian citizens who self-identify as Bulgarians by origin are being discriminated and discredited are baseless. On the contrary, there is an established practice of non-recognition and discrimination of the Bulgarian citizens of Macedonian ethnic origin, evident in the numerous European documents and reactions, and in numerous documents from the near Bulgarian past, when it recognized the cultural autonomy of Pirin Macedonia and its numerous Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. Bilateral relations shoud be led on the basis of reciprocity in resolving sensitive issues, the open letter declares.

The letter is published a day after Zaev’s outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov warned that the Government is preparing for major concessions to Bulgaria that would undermine the uniqueness of the Macedonian national identity.

On another thorny issue, the letter declares that Macedonia can’t be silent on the World War Two period and the “consequences of the fascist occupation”. Bulgaria demands that Macedonia thoroughly rewrites its historic narrative of this period and insists that any mention of the fascist character of the Bulgarian state during the war, when it occupied Macedonia, is removed. “We acknowledge that near the end of the Second World War Bulgaria aligned with the anti-fascist coalition and we express strong disagreement with the victimization of the post-war generations of citizens of the European states because their governments were on the wrong side of history, but we emphasize that Macedonia can’t adopt a rewritten narrative of this traumatic historic period”, the letter states.

The signatories call on the Macedonian authorities to resume communication with EU member states, for the purpose of removing the obstacles put before Macedonia by Bulgaria. The letter calls on the Macedonian state authorities to continue the process of European integration of Macedonia, but on the basis of “international conventions and UN declarations”, “with respect for the freely expressed will of the Macedonian people”, “without creating an atmosphere of conflict in Macedonia”.

The letter is signed by Bozidar Bozinovski, Ivica Bocevski, Mitre Veljanoski, Branko Geroski, Zidas Daskalovski, Aleksandar Dinevski, Slobodanka Markovska, Vladimir Milcin, Ivor Mickovski, Simona Spirovska, Ivica Celikovic and Katica Kulavkova – a group that includes professors, journalists, intelligence officers and actors, mostly coming from the left.