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.
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.