The latest announcement from Zoran Zaev that he will have the Government rewrite history books to remove any mention of the Fascist character of the Bulgarian state during the Second World War and its occupation of Macedonia, will completely undermine efforts of the joint committee on historians.

In the process of Europeanization of our country, it is not acceptable to give Fascism an ethnic designation. In European countries, Fascism doesn’t have an ethnic designation. We also had Nazi collaborators here in Macedonia in that period. You can’t say that we were all with the partisans and that another nation was all Fascist, because there were other collaborators of the Fascists, Zaev said while announcing his intention.

This committee was formed under the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty and was meant to work to prepare a mutually acceptable historic narrative. Unhappy with its slow progress and the unwillingness of Macedonian historians to accept the positions of their Bulgarian counterparts, Sofia blocked Macedonia’s EU accession talks in 2020. And with his promise to do the work of the historians for them, Zaev relieved them from any agency.

The announcement is also unnecessary – even at the height of the war, Macedonian partisans made sure to draw a distinction between the Bulgarian people and their wartime regime. It will also put Macedonian history books on a collision course with leading international history books and museums, including the Holocaust museums, which detail how Bulgaria adopted laws “for the protection of the race” and other elements inspired by Nazi Germany, even while leading statesmen in the country tried to resist these tendencies.