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Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14.2 (1996) 253-301

Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Balkans: Greece and the Macedonian Question

by Victor Roudometof

Abstract: The dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is a symbolic struggle concerning legitimate rights over "Macedonia"--the name, the territory, and the loyalty of its inhabitants. The dispute was created by two conflicting national narratives. In the Balkans, nation-building has emphasized particularistic over universalistic criteria. Local national narratives were instrumental in establishing the legitimate possession of a territory by a particular ethnic group. Historically, these narratives are tied to local nationalisms since their function is to designate a territory as the exclusive homeland of a particular nation. The Macedonian narrative views Macedonia as occupied by the Macedonian nation and suggests the existence of national minorities in Bulgaria and Greece. The Greek narrative does not acknowledge the existence of a Macedonian nation and considers the existence of a Macedonian minority within Greece to be a manifestation of Macedonian irredentism. The Macedonian narrative directly questions the Greek narrative's assumption of historical continuity. The strong Greek reaction against FYROM's declaration of independence is a response to this implicit threat to modern Greek identity.

In the following discussion, I attempt to analyze the controversy between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). My specific intention is to explicate the origins and character of the Greek response to FYROM's declaration of independence. However, the Macedonian Question is a complex political issue, and discussion of the origins and social construction of the Macedonian nation as such falls outside the scope of this essay. 1

Theoretically speaking, this political controversy is seen as a manifestation of Balkan nationalisms' elevation of the concept of nationhood as the essential element for nation-building, and their concomitant subordination of citizenship. In this context, I attempt to illustrate the importance of nationhood for modern Greek identity by [End Page 253] connecting the Greek popular response to FYROM's declaration of independence to Greek historiography's interpretation of the Macedonian Question. I should point out that most of the scholarship surrounding the Macedonian Question is strongly partisan, with opposing sides attempting to prove the righteousness of their own beliefs. The following discussion is an attempt to move beyond the partisanship of this debate in order to explicate why the interpretation of the historical record regarding Macedonia has become an issue of great political importance.

Nationhood and citizenship in the Balkans

The theoretical issue underlying this political controversy concerns the usage and construction of national narratives as a way of developing the "imagined community" of a nation. In turn, these national narratives must be interpreted in the context of the competing Greek and Macedonian nationalisms. Most scholars of nationalism consider this phenomenon to be a product of the last 200-500 years, although national narratives usually trace the history of a nation back many hundreds of years. 2 Since the issue addressed is that of nationalism as an ideology that facilitates the growth of a political movement, the rise of subjective national identification is seen as the outcome of a variety of social processes--economic, political, and ideological. The solidity of the concepts of "nation" and "national identity" is rendered problematic and the conceptual ground shifts from issues regarding a population's "nationality" to issues concerning the creation of a "nation" as a category that provides emotional and political identification for a given population. However, my intention is to address the impact of nationalism in the creation of the dispute between Greece and FYROM; hence, I will not attempt to provide a systematic account of the articulation of national ideologies within Greece and FYROM, or of the numerous factors (class, bureaucracy, international relations, etc.) that have shaped these ideologies in the course of the last two centuries.

National identity is seen as the outcome of conflicting claims that are generated by more or less selective references to, and interpretations of, written and oral historical narratives, a process that establishes collective beliefs in the legitimacy of claims to a territorial "fatherland." 3 Prevalent among the Southeastern European societies, this form of national identity stands in sharp contrast to the Western European and United States model of national identity, which emphasizes the importance of citizenship rights and the territorial nature of the state. Although it is tempting to juxtapose Eastern and Western European nationalisms, it should be emphasized that Western societies are by no [End Page 254] means immune to particularistic trends. In the post-1945 period, the rise of peripheral nationalisms in Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, and Great Britain has seriously undermined the proposition that ethnic nationalism is absent from Western European societies. This trend illustrates the rather simplistic nature of analyses--for example, Plamenatz's (1976)--that conflate the methodological differentiation between civic and ethnic nationalisms with the concrete historical and geographical differentiation between Western and Eastern European societies.

Still, Southeastern European nationalisms generally tend to emphasize a population's cultural heritage and its ethnic continuity (Stavrianos 1958; Jelavich and Jelavich 1977; Jelavich 1983). But this development has been the outcome of the historical process of nation-building in the region over the last 150 years. Early Balkan nationalists such as Rigas Velestinlis and the Balkan federalists of the 1850-1950 period offered an alternative to the model of the nation-state. Their goal was to divorce state organization from national groups in order to provide for a federation or a state where different nations could coexist peacefully. 4 However, these Balkan attempts did not materialize; indeed, with the 1913 partition of Macedonia among Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece, the ideology of the homogeneous nation-state triumphed over federalism. As a result of this historical contingency and of the post-1913 homogenization policies of the Balkan states themselves, nation-building in Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia has emphasized ethnicity and religion rather than citizenship as the major criteria for establishing a person's membership in the national "imagined community." The creation of the first Yugoslavia (1918) was a deviation from this trend. However, the new state had to deal with a multitude of problems that concerned the coexistence of multiple ethnicities (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and other smaller groups) within the boundaries of a single unit (Djilas 1991; Banac 1984; Ramet 1992).

An important feature of the Balkan pattern of nation-building (as it emerged in the post-1850 period) has been the systematic subordination of citizenship rights to the principle of nationhood. Citizenship and nationhood represent two historical discourses that provide for the foundation of an "imagined community." Citizenship does not simply imply formal membership in a state's political body; it also assumes that all citizens are members of the nation owing to their adherence to universal principles (the United States provides the "ideal type" of such a nation). Nationhood, as the basic foundation for the construction of a distinct national identity, implies the employment of particularistic criteria most often derived from a local culture. In most cases, this process involves the politicization of ethnicity as a means through which cultural characteristics (language and religion) become politically relevant [End Page 255] (Rothschild 1981). Although elements of citizenship and nationhood are to be found in almost every national culture, the two discourses are typically structured in a hierarchical manner. One of the two is selected as the normative standard that provides the foundational principle of social organization. For example, French membership in the nation is derived from membership in the state (signifying the subordination of ethnic particularism to civic universalism), while in Germany membership in the state (and the civic rights and obligations associated with it) is derived from a person's membership in the ethnic community of the German nation (for an analysis, see Brubaker 1992).

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Balkan nation-building has emphasized nationhood at the expense of citizenship. The origin of this trend lies in the Ottoman practice of granting collective rights to members of a confessional association (millet) rather than to individuals (Karpat 1973; Karpat 1982; Ramet 1989). In the millet system, collective rights were tied to particularistic rather than universalistic criteria (the latter being the case in Western democracies). As a result, Balkan nation-states claimed the loyalty of prospective nationals living within the Ottoman Empire on a similar basis, since this was the only way that prospective nationals could be legally identified. Membership in a state came to be viewed as the natural consequence of membership in a nation (defined in terms of an ethnic or religious group), yet state membership implied participation in the dominant ethnic or religious "imagined community." Thus little room was left for a genuine interplay between state and national membership, as the two had became closely intertwined.

In fact, during the 1923 Greco-Turkish exchange of populations, the definition of "Greek" and "Turk" followed religious criteria, a feature that testifies to the extent that particularistic criteria have been employed in defining membership in modern Balkan nations. In nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Macedonia, ethnicity was also employed as a major characteristic with which to decide a person's nationality. The foundation of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870) aimed specifically at differentiating the Bulgarian from the Greek population on an ethnic and linguistic basis, hence providing the conditions for the open assertion of Bulgarian national identity (Kofos 1964:13-16). In this case, however, the employment of language as a means to differentiate between Bulgarians and Greeks further complicated matters; a portion of the population that remained faithful to the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople was Slav-speaking. The identity of this (often bilingual) population constituted the centerpiece of the nineteenth-century Macedonian Question (Lunt 1984:108).

The employment of particularistic criteria for deciding the Balkan [End Page 256] peoples' national status has had serious consequences. Minority rights are articulated within a discourse of citizenship. Since in the Balkans nationhood and not citizenship provides for membership in the nation, concern for minorities implies irredentist activity. It should thus be noted that the issues of minority rights and irredentism are closely intertwined, and that the confusion between the two is not accidental (Roudometof 1996).

For inclusion into their respective nations, both Greek and Macedonian identities stress the importance of particularistic criteria at the expense of civic-oriented universalism. Greek national identity has been historically determined by Greek Orthodoxy (that is, membership in the Greek Orthodox Church) and, secondarily, by competency in the Greek language. Modern Greek identity is conceived as an integral, transcendent entity, a conceptualization that operates in an exclusive manner vis-à-vis nonethnic Greeks:

[N]on-Greeks are not--and cannot be--members of the éthnos [nation]; hence . . . they are not entitled to those rights that are available to members of the Greek éthnos. . . . Beginning with the founding of modern Greece, the conceptualization of the Greek éthnos as coterminous with the Greek state rejects, except for historic religious minorities, the existence of other ethnicities within its boundaries. (Pollis 1992:189)

Similarly, the definition of the Macedonian "imagined community" is also based on a religious criterion (membership in the Macedonian Orthodox Church) and a linguistic one (competency in the Macedonian language). But, contrary to Greek identity, both criteria are contested; the Macedonian Church is considered schismatic by the other Eastern Churches and the autonomous status of the Macedonian language has been similarly questioned. 5

In order to foster subjective identification with the principles of nationhood, the Balkan nation-states have developed historical narratives to help justify their irredentism and their historical rights in different parts of the Ottoman Empire. 6 The visions of a Greater Bulgaria, a Greater Serbia, and the Greek "Great Idea" each employed a historical narrative to justify irredentist claims. Such narratives aim at establishing a connection between the particular nation and the territory it occupies--or the territory it should occupy--thus legitimizing the possession of a territory by a particular collectivity. To a considerable extent, the international dispute between Greece and FYROM concerns a similar issue. What is at stake in this debate--as I hope the rest of this essay will show--is a collectivity's "power to nominate," which in this case is the power to obtain, via a particular national narrative, a past and thus an identity that legitimizes a group as an entity that has a "right" to a [End Page 257] territory as its "natural" habitat (Bourdieu 1989). The conflict that is played out in international conferences as well as in street demonstrations concerns, to a considerable degree, the official recognition of legitimate rights to Macedonia--the name, the territory that bears it, and the loyalty of the subjects living in it.

What's in a name? The symbolic struggle for Macedonia

On 17 November 1991 the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia declared its independence and asked for international recognition. On 4 December 1991, Greece declared that recognition of the new state depended on its constitutional guarantees against claims to Greek territory, cessation of hostile propaganda against Greece, and exclusion of the term "Macedonia" or its derivatives from the new state's name.

The first of the three conditions was a response to Article 49 of FYROM's new constitution, which states that "the Republic cares for the status and rights of those persons belonging to the Macedonian people in neighboring countries as well as Macedonian expatriates, assists in their cultural development, and promotes links with them" (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Macedonia, cited in Perry 1992:40). It should be noted that Article 49 is indeed similar to Article 108 of the Greek constitution; nevertheless, the reference to Macedonian peoples in "neighboring countries" was interpreted by Greece as an indirect reference to a Macedonian minority within Greece. In December 1991, the European Union, at the insistence of Greece, stated that it would not recognize the new state until it guaranteed that it had no territorial claims against any neighboring state and would not engage in acts against any such state, including the use of a name that implied territorial claims. In January 1992, the Macedonian parliament adopted two amendments stating that the republic had no territorial claims against any neighboring state, that the republic's borders could not be changed except in a manner consistent with international norms, and that it would not interfere with the affairs of other states. Following these amendments, a European Union arbitration commission issued the Batinder Report, which found that the republic had fulfilled all conditions for recognition (Danforth 1994:327-328). However, Article 49 remained in FYROM's constitution, causing considerable dissatisfaction in Greece. Of the two conditions set by the Greek state, the question of the republic's name has stirred the fiercest debates in the international press, with numerous journal and/or newspaper articles having addressed some aspect of this conflict during 1992-1993. Some commentaries argued for the right of the Macedonian people to self-determination, whereas dissenting voices considered the employment of [End Page 258] the term Macedonia by the new state to be a usurpation of Greek heritage by a small group of Slav nationalists. 7

Within Greece, but also among the Greek diaspora, the issue provoked a strong emotional response. Many of the reactions to this issue included an element of righteous indignation regarding FYROM's claim to be the homeland of the Macedonian nation. The Greek popular press reflected the general Greek attitude; it referred to FYROM as a mo/rfwma ("formation") and a krati/dio ("little state"), both expressions serving to belittle FYROM's status as a sovereign state. Moreover, in the Greek discourse, the new entity was always called "the Republic of Skopje" and never Macedonia (unless the word were placed between quotation marks). Macedonians were referred to as "Skopjians" (the equivalent of calling Greeks "Athenians"). Archbishop Serafim, head of the Greek Church, is on record as declaring, «*oi propagandiste/s twn *skopi/wn na ska/soun kai na mhn mas prokalou/n» ("The propagandists of Skopje should shut up and not provoke us"; interview in the newspaper *eleuqerotupi/a, 3 January 1993). This colorful statement is characteristic of the prevailing attitude among Greeks.

Throughout 1992, various rumors suggested the formation of a coalition between Turkey (Greece's traditional political adversary) and FYROM that could lead to war and the potential annexation of parts of Greece by both countries. The reaction to these potential threats was revealed in the Greek press by virtue of headlines such as «*h *tourki/a ste/lnei strato/ gia epe/mbash sta *balka/nia» ("Turkey sends army for intervention in the Balkans"; *to *bh/ma, 22 November 1992) or «*h axa/risth *du/sh xtupa/ thn *ella/da» ("The ungrateful West strikes Greece"; *oikonomiko/s *taxudro/mos, 19 November 1992). Such headlines reflected a general tendency to see "enemies" wherever disagreement was expressed. A growing nationalist fervor led to actions that violated the right of free speech. For example, members of a leftist organization were persecuted because of their dissenting views on the Greece-FYROM dispute. When 169 intellectuals aligned themselves with this persecuted leftist group in the name of freedom of speech, nationalist fervor led to the solicitation of more than 2000 signatures of prominent figures and intellectuals advocating the righteousness of the official viewpoint (for details, see Helsinki Watch 1993). 8 Additionally, other rumors suggested that the new state would not constitute a viable political entity and would most likely be partitioned among the neighboring states. In 1992, the Serb president Slobodan Milosevic proposed to the Greek government the partitioning of FYROM between Serbia and Greece. Greece, however, rejected the offer and reported the Serbian proposal to the European Union (Zahariadis 1994:663). 9

The reemergence of the Macedonian Question stimulated a strong [End Page 259] popular response. 10 Huge demonstrations were organized both in Greece and abroad. On 14 February 1992 and again on 31 March 1994 approximately one million people turned out in the streets of Thessaloniki to declare "Macedonia is Greek." In Munich, ten thousand Greeks took to the streets on 5 April 1992 to make the same claim. In the United States, a rally sponsored by the Hellenic-American Council reportedly drew twenty thousand people to Washington, D.C. Additionally, in Greece, private companies initiated advertising campaigns that aimed at "proving" the "Greekness" of (Greek) Macedonia. In the United States, Greek-Americans issued a plea to President George Bush through advertisements in the New York Times on 26 April and 10 May 1992. EU governments considered hostile to the Greek viewpoint--in particular, Italy and the Netherlands--were threatened with a Greek boycott of their exports. Following the recognition of FYROM by Bulgaria, Greece suspended a $50 million line of credit to that country, but Greek-Bulgarian relations were improved some time later (Zahariadis 1994:662). Within Greece, songs, pamphlets, and stickers declaring "Macedonia is Greek" proliferated in less than a year. In sum, there has been a plethora of material published or reprinted in the last few years arguing in favor of the Greek viewpoint. 11

In addition, the Greek and the Macedonian diasporas have both been an audience as well as an international agent in this international struggle over "Macedonia." In Canada and Australia, where large Greek and Macedonian diasporas live--many originating from Greek Macedonia--the issue became an explosive one with family members and community organizations coming into sharp conflict with each other. An especially acute conflict broke out between the two diasporas in Melbourne, where 113,000 Greek-speaking and 21,000 Macedonian-speaking immigrants reside (Danforth 1995). For these two immigrant groups, the competing claims are much more than symbolic; at stake is each group's right to call its local immigrant clubs and associations "Macedonian" and its denial of the other group's right to do the same. The involvement of diasporas in this dispute is a prime example of "long distance" nationalism (Anderson 1993). This was facilitated by the migration of Macedonian peasantry (Greek and Slavic) overseas during the late nineteenth century and also after World War II (Petrovski 1981; Gounaris 1989).

All this activity demonstrates that the Greek reaction vis-à-vis the new state is a genuine response that bears the mark of late twentieth-century nationalism. Talk of a Macedonian state is perceived as an insult by most Greeks. During the 1992-1993 period, this issue became a dominant theme in Greek politics. The attitude of Antonis Samaras, Greek minister of foreign affairs at the time, was a major factor [End Page 260] contributing to Macedonia's elevation as an issue of great political concern. The minister adopted a rigid position that denied the existence of a Macedonian nation and the recognition of the new state. Fears concerning Macedonian irredentism were instrumental in legitimizing this standpoint. In an attempt to pressure the new state into compliance, a trade embargo was put in place, causing serious economic dislocation within the republic (Petkovski et al. 1992).

On 4 April 1992, Constantine Mitsotakis, the Greek premier, forced Samaras out of the ministry of foreign affairs, but the ex-minister's strong political views remained influential in Greek policy. Samaras continued to voice his independent views on the matter until he was compelled to retire from both his seat in parliament and his membership in the conservative party (New Democracy) because of his opposition to the party's official policy regarding this issue. The presence of a right-wing critic within the party's ranks as well as the employment of the Macedonian issue as a political weapon by the socialist opposition (PASOK) were important obstacles in preventing the adoption of a more flexible attitude toward the Macedonian question.

During 1993, Samaras finally broke ranks with the conservatives and started his own party, called "Political Spring." When conservative deputies who had been allied with him withdrew their support of the government, new elections became necessary. The conservative government was forced out of office in the 10 October 1993 elections, and the socialist party (PASOK) was returned to power. The new government claimed that no negotiations could take place between FYROM and Greece; this led to the termination of any dialogue between the two sides.

In the diplomatic field, Greece initially appeared to be successful since the European Union, in its 27 June 1992 meeting in Lisbon, aligned itself with the Greek viewpoint, denying official recognition of the republic if it used the term "Macedonia" in its official title. The problem of the republic's official title remained unresolved as of June 1996, when this article went to press, with 60 states--including Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Russian Federation--recognizing the new state either as "Macedonia" (the majority of them) or as FYROM (William Dunn, personal communication). By early 1993, the new state was successful in gaining membership in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the title "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM). It applied for membership in the United Nations. Following strong Greek mobilization against FYROM's acceptance into the UN and a French recommendation for UN-sponsored mediation, the controversy surrounding the usage of the term "Macedonia" became the subject of international [End Page 261] mediation until the new Greek socialist government withdrew from the negotiating table. In the meantime, the UN General Assembly decided to admit the state into the United Nations under the provisional name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM). On 16 December 1993, six European Union states decided to recognize the new state as FYROM, a decision that was interpreted by the Greek press as a major defeat for the official Greek position. In early 1994, the United States and Australia were added to the list of states that had recognized the new state as FYROM.

Faced with these changes in the diplomatic field, the Greek government imposed on 17 February 1994 a strict new trade embargo banning the movement of goods from the port of Thessaloniki to the new state. The new embargo reduced FYROM's export earnings by 85%, while food supplies were dropped by 40% (Dunn 1994:19). 12 The Greek embargo against FYROM elicited criticism from the Western press and the international community at large; in fact, the EU Commission unsuccessfully challenged the embargo's legitimacy in the European Court. However, when the new embargo was announced, a reported 66.2% of Athenian Greeks supported the "hard line" adopted by the socialists (poll results published in *eleuyerotupi/a, 18 February 1994). Subsequently, after successful negotations with FYROM, the embargo was removed.

The Macedonian narrative and its implications

Given the nation-building efforts undertaken during the last fifty years within the Yugoslav federation, FYROM can make a strong case regarding its people's right to self-determination. There is a substantial amount of factual evidence that can be used to support this goal: a language, a literature, universities and other institutions, as well as an entire generation that grew up during the postwar period. By 1983, only 10% of FYROM's population had been born before 1923. This means that a considerable portion of FYROM's current population has been socialized into the Macedonian national culture (as it evolved through the course of the post-1944 period) and has no personal experience of the Macedonian Question as it was expressed during the interwar period (1918-1941) or earlier (Lunt 1984:114).

The origins of the official Macedonian national narrative are to be sought in the establishment in 1944 of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This open acknowledgment of the Macedonian national identity led to the creation of a revisionist historiography whose goal has been to affirm the Macedonian nation (Kofos 1986). 13 However, the legitimation of Macedonian national identity by the Yugoslav Republic [End Page 262] of Macedonia and the "affirmation" (as Macedonian authors call it) of Macedonians as a nation does not necessarily imply a "fabrication" or an "invention" by the communist regime. To argue for such a thesis it is necessary to assume that state agencies have the power to impose their will upon the people and to act without regard for the cultural and institutional context in which they operate. No one doubts the existence of a considerable number of Slavs in Macedonia during the course of the nineteenth century. Their national identity, however, was the object of fierce competition among Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Macedonian "separatists" (that is, nationalists). This was because

the majority of Slavs in Macedonia in the middle of the nineteenth century probably had no strong ethnic consciousness and were content with the label Christian, essentially meaning non-Muslim. The remaining minority included some, particularly in the south, who would accept the label Greek, others, particularly in the north, who allowed themselves to be called Serbian, then another--surely larger--group who as non-Greek and non-Serb would use the ethnonym Bulgar, and finally those who insisted they were non-Bulgarian as well and who, for lack of any better name, declared themselves to be Macedonians. (Lunt 1984:108)

Moreover, no clear distinctions can be made between Bulgarian and Macedonian intelligentsias during the first half of the nineteenth century, since the writers of that period were united in their opposition to Grecophone religious and cultural supremacy. For this period, "the distinction between Macedonian and Bulgarian is essentially immaterial" (Friedman 1985:33). Following the 1840s, there was a growing differentiation between northeastern Bulgarian and southwestern Macedonian elites regarding the standardization of their linguistic medium. Each side supported its own dialect. Eventually this growing gap led to the Macedonians publishing textbooks in their own medium. Between 1857 and 1880 a total of sixteen textbooks were published in the southeastern Bulgarian-Macedonian linguistic medium (Friedman 1975:90). Their publication serves as an indicator of the growing differentiation between the two Slavic intelligentsias.

In the political field, the first open proclamation of Macedonian separatism is found in Krste Misirkov's On Macedonian Matters (1974), originally published in 1903 in Sofia. The book was confiscated by Bulgarian authorities, and Misirkov was prosecuted. The issue of popular support with regard to Misirkov's "separatist" thesis is immensely complicated and perhaps will never be resolved since reliable assessments of opinion are almost impossible to obtain. 14 In Vardar Macedonia (FYROM's current territory), the Serb authorities in control during the interwar period proceeded to acculturate the population by force, [End Page 263] suppressing the local ethnic culture. This treatment caused considerable resentment. On the other hand, during the 1920s the pro-Bulgarian fraction of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Committee (IMRO--sometimes spelled VMRO) continued raids into Vardar Macedonia from bases in Bulgaria (Barker 1950; Kofos 1964; Shoup 1968). Pro-Bulgarian sentiments remained alive in Vardar Macedonia up until 1941, and the Bulgarian forces that occupied the region were greeted as "liberators." This attitude soon changed as a result of the Bulgarians' misrule: their heavy-handed treatment of the local population, and their condescending attitude. During the 1941-1944 period, in an ingenious move, the Yugoslav communists were able to appropriate Misirkov's "separatist" viewpoint to turn it into the foundation of the Macedonian homeland (see Shoup 1968:144-183 for a description). Undoubtedly, the success of this project was partly due to the alienation of the local population from Bulgaria as well as the bad memories of the Serb-dominated administration during the interwar period. Additionally, the Yugoslavs allowed the local communist party to assume an exceptionally nationalist position that was at odds with the party's general orientation toward the issue of nationalism in the Yugoslav republics.

The definition of the Macedonian nation's homeland has been similarly contested. According to Macedonian authors, the term Macedonia refers to a territory in the Central Balkans that in the early twentieth century (1912-1920) was partitioned among Bulgaria ("Pirin Macedonia"), Greece ("Aegean Macedonia"), and Serbia (the current territory of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, sometimes called "Southern Serbia" or "Vardar Macedonia"). More specifically,

Macedonia extends over a part of the Balkan peninsula, bordered to the north by the mountains of Shar, Skopska Tsrna Gora, Kozyak, Osogovo and Rila, to the east by the western parts of the Rhodopes and the River Mesta, to the south by the Aegean sea and the River Bistritsa and to the west by the mountains of Korab, Yablanitsa, Mokra and Pindus. Its total area is one of 67,741.2 sq. kms., of which 25,411 sq. kms., that is to say 37.51%, constitute the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, while the rest lies within the frontiers of Greece and the People's Republic of Bulgaria. (Apostolski et al. 1979:7)

From a historical standpoint and despite the presumed clarity of the above statement, it should be noted that the geographical boundaries and ethnological composition of this territory are not clear. To begin with, Macedonia was not an administrative unit of the Ottoman Empire; the Porte referred to the region as the three vilayets of Selanik (Thessaloniki), Manastir (Monastir or Bitola), and Kosovo, including [End Page 264] Uskup or Skopje (Adanir 1984-85:43). Throughout the course of the nineteenth century, the various sides involved in the Macedonian Question manipulated boundaries and ethnological data to such an extent that it is impossible to achieve consensus. Wilkinson's characteristic statement that "hardly two authorities can be found to agree on [Macedonia's] exact delineation" is revealing (1951:1). According to this same authority , the major causes of this diversity of opinion are the misrepresentation of the facts by nationalist scientists, the ignorance of the ethnographic situation, the changes brought by the passage of time, and the different methods of depiction and criteria employed by various scholars. 15

Keeping in mind the contested character of any definition of Macedonia and the recent establishment of the Macedonian Slav nation, let us proceed with the description of the "official" Macedonian narrative. According to this viewpoint, the Macedonians are a nation inhabiting, since a.d. 600-700 when Slavs first appeared in the Balkans, the geographical territory bearing the same name. That is, these people are called Macedonians because they have inhabited the geographical Macedonian territory since medieval times (Mojsov 1979; Tashkovski 1976; Apostolski et al. 1979). In other words, it is argued that Slavs occupied the Macedonian countryside during the Middle Ages. A significant part of what Bulgarians (and Greeks) consider Bulgarian medieval history, including the reign of Tsar Samuil, is considered by the Macedonians to be part of Macedonian history. Additionally, it is also claimed that the Macedonian nation was instrumental in developing, first among the Slavic people, a written language and alphabet--namely, the Cyrillic alphabet.

In terms of the modern manifestation of this consciousness, the Illinden uprising (2 August 1903) was a major turning point in the struggle for national independence, but Macedonian historians trace nationalist activity at least as far back as the Eastern Crisis of 1875-1878--and sometimes back even further to the 1821 Greek Revolution (Pandevski 1978; Katardzhiev 1980; Apostolski et al. 1979:110-111). The establishment of the short-lived Krusevo republic is seen as a premonition of the independent status of the Macedonian state. The activities of the IMRO, founded in Thessaloniki in 1893, represented the most decisive step toward national liberation.

The partition of Macedonia among Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 was a national disaster that divided Macedonians among three different states. Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs are accused of trying to assimilate the indigenous population, with heavy emphasis placed upon Bulgarian irredentism and the desire to create a Greater Bulgaria (Hristov 1971; Katardzhiev 1973; Lape 1973). [End Page 265] The Yugoslav communists were ultimately the champions of the Macedonian cause since they were responsible for making possible the creation of a Macedonian state within the Yugoslav federation. 16 Soon after the 1944 proclamation of the People's Republic of Macedonia, an attempt at unification was undertaken by Tito and Dimitrov, who suggested that a Macedonian state, encompassing all three parts of Macedonia, was to be created. The new state would be part of a broad Yugoslav federation that would include Bulgaria as well (for details, see Palmer and King 1971; King 1973). The plan failed when Bulgarian and Yugoslav policies collided and Tito was forced out of the pro-Soviet camp while Bulgaria also pulled out of the deal. The inhabitants of Pirin Macedonia were officially classified as Macedonians, and for a time the plan seemed to work (Korobar 1987). In April 1956, however, the Bulgarian Communist Party reversed its policy and decided to withdraw its recognition of a separate Macedonian nationality, even though the December 1956 census showed the presence of 187,789 Macedonians. By 1960 the official statistical record had ceased to have a separate entry for Macedonians (Cviic 1991:39-40).

Greek policy toward the Macedonians in Aegean Macedonia aimed to assimilate them to Hellenism. 17 This policy was followed more consistently than Bulgaria's own policy. The Greeks maintained that those Slavs who identified themselves as "Bulgarians" were part of the interwar Greek-Bulgarian population exchange, when approximately 30,000 Greeks left Bulgaria and 53,000 Bulgarians left Greece (Pentzopoulos 1963:60). The IMRO, however, opposed the implementation of the population exchange because it would weaken claims to Greek Macedonia (Barker 1950:30). For the Greek state, the remaining population was "Slavophone Greek"--that is, Slav-speaking but Greek in terms of subjective national identification. Yet the Greek state also took specific measures to force the Slav-speaking population to speak Greek and to assimilate into Greek society. The Greek government changed Slavic place names and personal names to Greek ones and ordered religious services to be performed in Greek. These measures entailed considerable force, especially during the Metaxas regime (1936-1941), when the use of the Slavic language was forbidden and education in Greek was enforced (Hristov 1994:6-7). Milder versions of these tactics remained in place during the 1950s and early 1960s.

The goal of unifying geographical Macedonia into one state was put forward by the partisan movement that led to the foundation of the People's Republic of Macedonia. The 1943 Report of the Organizing Committee of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) declares that "the fighting Piedmont of Macedonia has fiercely proclaimed that it will not stint on support or sacrifice for [End Page 266] the liberation of the other two segments of our nation and for the general unification of the entire Macedonian people." The manifesto issued at the ASNOM's first session also explicitly stated its aspiration "for the unification of the whole Macedonian people" (Kondis et al. 1993:36). The preamble of the 1991 FYROM constitution makes a direct reference to these proclamations, hence establishing an emotional (albeit not legally binding) connection with statements that directly challenged the sovereignty of the Greek state.

The implication, then, is that up to this day a large part of geographical Macedonia remains "unredeemed." In the official history of the Macedonian nation (Apostolski et al. 1979), the authors' assumption is that the geographical Macedonia is the national homeland of Macedonians. Since other ethnic groups (Albanians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs) are not included in the Macedonian nation, they are excluded--in an indirect but forceful manner--from any legitimate "historical" claim to the geographical Macedonia. In the 1993 book Macedonia and Its Relations with Greece, a publication by the Council for Research into South-Eastern Europe of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the authors argue that the Macedonian people are the product of an ethnic mixture between the Ancient Macedonians and the Slavs. The authors claim that the Macedonian people occupied the whole of geographical Macedonia beginning in the Middle Ages. Throughout the course of the nineteenth century, national consciousness also developed, and by 1900 the Macedonian people were already made into a nation. The occupation of Macedonian territory by Greece (1913) led to its colonization by Greek settlers. In 1926 the Greek government proceeded to change the place names of the Aegean part of Macedonia. The authors write that these changes were achieved through a policy of state terror. In fact, as early as the Balkan War of 1913, ". . . Greece had begun the ethnic genocide of the Macedonian people. The cruelty displayed by the Greek soldiers in their dealings towards the Macedonian people was merciless" (Council for Research . . . 1993:72). It is clear, therefore, that, in the eyes of the Macedonians, the occupation of Aegean Macedonia by Greece was an infringement upon their national right to self-determination and that the sole justification for the Greek occupation of the territory was the force of arms.

For these Macedonian authors, consequently, Greek rule over Aegean Macedonia lacks both a "historical" and a moral foundation. Greek Macedonia, for them, constitutes a segment of the Macedonian homeland. School textbooks reflect this mentality and encourage this perception. In the school texts issued by FYROM during 1992-1993, a crucial distinction is made between geographical-ethnic borders (geograftsko-etnitska granitsa) and state boundaries. The former include [End Page 267] the totality of geographical Macedonia while the latter include only FYROM's territory (Kofos 1994:14). Consequently, the homeland of the Macedonian nation extends beyond FYROM's state boundaries. The political reasons for the contested character of the Macedonian narrative become clearer at this point. According to this narrative, Greeks and Bulgarians attempted to satisfy their irredentist dreams by ignoring the rights of the Macedonian nation to self-determination.

This turn toward an irredentist stand is related to FYROM's domestic politics. During the elections of November-December 1990, the Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNU), which claims a membership of 150,000, adopted an irredentist program asserting its desire to "unite" geographical Macedonia under the auspices of a single state (Andrejevich 1990a; Andrejevich 1990b; Perry 1994a:85). The electoral success of the Albanian party pushed the electorate toward the nationalists, who were successful in capturing the plurality of seats in the new parliament (38 out of 120). The VMRO-DPMNU was excluded from government, however, and a coalition of parties (including the former communists and the Albanians) emerged as the new government. Ante Popovski, leader of the VMRO-DPMNU, has publicly made statements arguing that "two thirds of Macedonia is under foreign occupation and still to be liberated" whereas slogans like "Solon [the Greek city of Thessaloniki] is ours" have proliferated among Macedonian nationalists (Kaplan 1991).

The printing of maps including Greek Macedonia as part of the Macedonian state and the suggestion--unsuccessfully made by the parliamentary opposition VMRO-DPMNU--to print bills with the White Tower of Thessaloniki on them have been interpreted by the Greeks as clear indications of irredentism. Interpreted similarly has been the inclusion of the 16-ray star of King Philip II, a historical artifact of the ancient Macedonian kingdom discovered in Greek Macedonia, on FYROM's flag. On 16 February 1993, a law was submitted to the Greek parliament making the 16-ray star a national symbol for Greece as well. 18

Following FYROM's entrance into the United Nations, the secretary of foreign affairs, Risto Nikovski, reportedly asserted that, owing to the recognition of a new state in the Balkans, the Treaty of Bucharest (1913) had ceased to have any validity (Holevas 1993:14-15). Since this treaty guaranteed the boundaries of the neighboring states, Nikovski's statement was perceived as the first step toward the pursuit of an expansionist policy. Currently the military threat from the new state is practically non-existent. Greek foreign policy aspires to prevent a future coalition between FYROM and Turkey (Greece's long-standing adversary) since Greece is afraid that such a coalition would present a [End Page 268] formidable challenge to Greek strategic interests. Just as Turkey has a traditional concern for Muslim minorities in the Balkans, so FYROM has an interest in the plight of minorities throughout the region. Additionally, given its internal political and economic weakness, and its disputes with its neighbors, FYROM is expected to welcome Turkey as a regional benefactor and protector (Zahariadis 1994:664). Moreover, Turkey's Macedonian policy includes its traditional concern for the welfare of the approximately 100,000 ethnic Turks in FYROM, the use of FYROM as a counter force against Greece, and the desire to insure itself against a possible influx of Turkish refugees from FYROM into Turkey (Perry 1994b:54).

The minority question

It is in the context of all these geopolitical considerations that the matter of Macedonian minorities in Greece and Bulgaria has become a heated controversy. Greece and Bulgaria view the recognition of Macedonian minorities as an infringement upon their territorial sovereignty and as a basis for future Macedonian irredentism. Indeed the aforementioned proclamations, statements, maps, and textbooks serve as documentation of FYROM's latent irredentism. Descriptions of Greek Macedonia as a "colony" of the Greek South (Popov and Radin 1989), one that remains underdeveloped as part of a deliberate policy, should be seen as just as nationalistic as Greek attempts to convince the public that the Macedonian national identification is total fiction.

However, the minority question has been inflated by Greek and Macedonian nationalists to a level not justified by the actual demographic reality in Greek Macedonia. Following the 1923 Greco-Turkish exchange of populations, 354,647 Muslims left Greece and 339,094 Greeks arrived in Greek Macedonia from Anatolia (Pentzopoulos 1962:69, 107). The result was a complete change in the ethnic composition of Greek Macedonia. By 1928, Greeks accounted for 88.8% of the population in Greek Macedonia, totally altering the pre-1913 mixture of different ethnic groups and nationalities (Pentzopoulos 1962:127-137). In the aftermath of the population exchanges, the Slavic population was located almost exclusively in northwestern Macedonia. In fact, the interwar IMRO could not justify raiding eastern Greek Macedonia owing to the absence of a Slavic population there. In northwestern Greek Macedonia, the assimilationist policy of the Greek state was compounded by the conflict between the local Slavs and the--often Turkophone--Greek refugees. The conflict, typically involving possession of homes and agricultural lands, accelerated the cultural gap [End Page 269] between the local Slavs and the refugees. The Greek state's support of the refugees contributed significantly to the delegitimization of the state in the eyes of the local Slavic population (Koliopoulos 1994:45). 19

The growing alienation of the Slavic population facilitated the appeal of German, Bulgarian, and communist propaganda during the 1941-1943 period. 20 Of course not all Slavs supported the occupation forces or the communists; some of them enlisted in the right-wing partisan forces (Karakasidou 1993b:463). Gradually, as the occupation forces withdrew from the area, the communists were able to attract the Slavic population by forming separate units--Slovenomakedonski Narodno Osloboditelen Front (SNOF)--and promising equal treatment to the minority population. As a result, the Slavic population supported the communist forces during the Greek civil war (1944-1949), causing serious discomfort and embarrassment to the Greek Communist Party. The party had promised equal rights to the Slavic population but could not support the creation of a separate Macedonian state that would include parts of Greek Macedonia, as such an action would create an upheaval among the local Greek population. Finally, the victory of the nationalist pro-Western forces in the Greek civil war led to the restoration of the pre-World War II boundaries. But the situation remained complicated because part of the remaining Slavic population fled to Yugoslavia (Vardar Macedonia) and to other East European countries, while a considerable number of them emigrated to Western countries (mainly Canada and Australia), giving rise to a Macedonian diaspora. The creation of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1944 officially sanctioned the Macedonian identification and provided this population with a prospective national homeland.

Of course, some of the Slavic population chose to remain in Greek Macedonia. Macedonian sources have claimed that 300,000 Macedonians reside in Greek Macedonia (Popov and Radin 1989), while Macedonian human rights activists put the number at one million people (Hristov 1994:12). Third party sources estimate approximately 10,000 to 20,000 Slavic-speaking people in western Greek Macedonia. 21 Although these are more reliable estimates, Greek authorities deny the very existence of a Macedonian minority.

The issue of the human rights of this minority group is complicated by the desire of many of the approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Slavic refugees from the Greek civil war to return from FYROM to their homes in Greece. 22 In 1947 those who had fought against the government in the Greek civil war and had fled Greece were deprived of their citizenship and their property. When laws were enacted in 1982 and 1985 allowing the civil war refugees in the communist countries to return to Greece and reclaim their property, it was specified that only [End Page 270] those who were "Greek by ge/nos" (i.e., ethnic Greeks) would be allowed to benefit from this law (Hristov 1994:9). The Greek state rejects the applications of those who declare themselves to be Macedonians; as a result, family members continue to be separated almost half a century after the civil war. By preventing the return of these refugees, the Greek state avoids the consolidation of a Macedonian national minority in northern Greece. For Macedonian human rights advocates, the existing minority in northern Greece and the refugees who are not allowed to return to their homes are considered to be Macedonians whose rights are not protected. Recent political and cultural mobilizations by human rights activists aim at gaining recognition of the minority as a Macedonian national minority.

A similar movement developed among the Pirin Macedonians in Bulgaria during the post-1989 period. Their attempts to create cultural and political organizations were met with great hostility by the local authorities. Macedonian organizations were denied registration by the courts on the basis of constituting a threat to national security; Macedonian activists were persecuted, harassed by the police, and their passports were confiscated; the Bulgarian police raided a congress of the Macedonian movement. 23 Macedonian activists in Bulgaria stated that autonomy was a long-term goal of their movement. While some defined the desire for autonomy in cultural and spiritual terms, others (those associated with the Macedonian organization OMO-Illinden), expressed their goal to be that of gaining regional autonomy from the Bulgarian state (Zang 1991:83; Perry 1994b:50). Macedonian separatism within the Bulgarian state continues to be unwelcome. Bulgarians consider Macedonians to be Bulgarians; in fact, there are some thirteen mainstream organizations claiming descent from the legendary IMRO. Most IMRO groups consider the Macedonian organization OMO-Illinden as "illegal, anti-state, and anti-Buglarian" (Perry 1994b:51). In her research in Petrichi, Pirin Macedonia, Bonka Boneva reports that the local population frequently avoids expressing an open and honest opinion with regard to whether they consider themselves Macedonians or Bulgarians. Boneva (1994) suggests that, in Pirin Macedonia, unstable boundaries exist between the different identifications. Ethnic identities are in a state of flux and the choice of Macedonian or Bulgarian identity is more a matter of personal decision than cultural differentiation. She speculates that, in the future, Macedonian propaganda from within FYROM is likely to find fertile ground in Pirin Macedonia, which would result in the consolidation of a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

In Greece, similar attempts were made to gain cultural rights for the Macedonian minority through the formation of voluntary associations. The first major confrontation among Bulgarian, Macedonian, and [End Page 271] Greek sides occurred in the context of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), held in Copenhagen in June 1990. The confrontation had its roots in the utilization of the human rights movement by Macedonian activists, who sought to use the international organizations to pressure Greece into recognizing the Macedonian minority in northern Greece as a national minority. During the conference, Greek, Macedonian, and Bulgarian delegates presented radically different perspectives on the minority question. The mutually exclusive perspectives of the competing sides raised questions with respect to the very definition of Macedonians and made it impossible for the CSCE to subscribe to any particular side's viewpoint. Moreover, the entire debate raised important conceptual issues regarding the definition of a "national" minority as such. 24

In 1990 the Multimember High Court in Florina, Greece, refused to register a cultural association called the "Center for Macedonian Culture." In 1991, the court's decision was affirmed by an appellate court in Thessaloniki (United States Department of State 1991). The court's rationale was that the true goal of the association was to "affirm the idea of the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece, which contradicts [Greece's] national interests and the law" (quoted in Hristov 1994:21). It should be pointed out that competency in Slavic does not lead to discrimination; rather, only those individuals who refuse to be assimilated into Greek culture and insist upon maintaining their own separate status as an ethnic group face the sanctions of the local society. Clearly, this is only a segment of the Slavic-speaking population (Hristov 1994:17-18). It is debatable whether this group (although a vocal one) is numerically so strong as to warrant the creation of separate educational institutions; according to international standards, a minority population needs to be sufficiently numerous for such a demand to be justified (Stavros 1995:6).

Greece considers the political mobilization of the Macedonian minority to constitute propaganda against the territorial integrity of the Greek state. Given the small size of the minority and the shifting and fluid loyalties of many of its members, the possibility of representing a real threat to Greece's national security is minimal. But the issue of FYROM-based Macedonian irredentism does not have any necessary connection to the human rights of the Slavic minority within Greek Macedonia (although nationalists on both sides are eager to establish such a connection). Perhaps more important than Macedonian irredentism is Greek society's negative attitude toward this group, which is perpetuated by the systematic blurring of the differentiation between citizenship rights and nationhood. The absence of "civil culture" in the [End Page 272] Balkans has turned disputes over the human rights of linguistic, religious, and ethnic minorities into national disputes.

As Karakasidou suggests, the assimilationist policy of the Greek state in northwestern Macedonia has been counterproductive (1993a). It has politicized ethnic culture by turning the local Slavic culture into an undesirable element. Although this strategy was not in complete violation of the pre-World War II international norms, its continuation into the present puts Greece at variance with currently existing international treaties and norms concerning the status of minorities within particular states (see Stavros 1995). The state is meant to assume a proactive role and to treat nonethnic Greeks equally with ethnic Greeks. A possible solution could entail the recognition of cultural difference without the concomitant recognition of the Slavic minority as a Macedonian minority. Instead, this group's members could be considered Greeks with a special Greco-Slavic cultural heritage (analogous in this sense to other Greek ethnic groups like the Pontians or the Vlachs). Such a reconceptualization would necessitate the clear separation of ethnic from national identity.

However, such a solution raises important conceptual issues concerning the place of "civil society," individuality, and human rights within the Greek cultural context. Pollis (1965) argues that Greece's cultural heritage does not allow for the articulation of Western cultural constructs such as the individual or civil society. Although democratic forms might be implemented within the Greek polity, the substance and rationale that accompanies such forms in Western democracies remains absent. Particular manifestations of this trend may be found in the tendency of the judiciary as well as of the Greek Church to sanction Greek state authority uncritically. This tendency has greatly facilitated the operation of non-democratic regimes throughout modern Greek history. The judiciary and the Church have failed to offer adequate protection to dissenting voices, thus promoting state interests (defined in a strictly legalistic manner) over individual rights and liberties. 25 The Greek state is viewed as the guardian of the nation, and the Greek definition of the nation does not encourage the inclusion of linguistic, religious, and other minorities as equal members of the national "imagined community."

The foundation of modern Greek identity rests on the religious and linguistic unity of Eastern Orthodox and Greek-speaking Christians. Traditionally, Eastern Orthodoxy has not created a space in which the notions of natural law and individual freedom can emerge. The organic unity and spiritual character of the Ekklesia have remained primary characteristics of Eastern Orthodoxy. Contrary to the Western [End Page 273] conceptualization of the Church as an institution apart from society, Eastern Orthodoxy considers the Ekklesia to be synonymous with society at large. This lack of differentiation between public institutions and society has been duplicated at the level of Greek national identity. During the nineteenth century, the fragmentation of the Eastern Orthodox commonwealth--represented by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople--led to the creation of the modern Greek nation as a unit that inherited this organic conceptualization of society. As I will show in the last section of this article, this conceptualization emerged gradually during the 1830-1860 period as a result of an attempt to reconcile the secular Greek state with the Church's Byzantine-Orthodox tradition.

In such a cultural context, world views and value orientations serve to justify the exclusion of minorities from membership in the Greek nation. Thus, the issue of inadequate protection of minorities is closely related to the employment of cultural rather than civic criteria for such membership. Since Greek nation-building has emphasized national homogeneity, minorities that do not share the ethnic attributes associated with those who are legitimate members of the Greek "imagined community"--that is, with Greek-speaking, Eastern Orthodox Christians--face sanctions from the local society. 26 In the Greek context, citizenship rights are extended to an individual via the person's membership in the Greek nation. Exclusion from membership in the national community de facto justifies the curtailment of citizenship rights. For the Macedonian minority, these sanctions are compounded by the suspicion that their loyalty to the state is questionable. Ironically, the Greek attitude vis-à-vis the minority and the absence of strategies of inclusion are likely to compel many among this group to join the Macedonian nationalist extremists.

Greek arguments against Macedonian identity

As a rule, national narratives should not be accepted uncritically since they entail a considerable element of "myth-making." The Greek and Macedonian national narratives are no exception. With respect to the Macedonian narrative, both Greek and Bulgarian historiography have questioned its factual basis. Two points are especially controversial: first, that the word "Macedonian" was employed as a national (and not simply regional) identification during the second half of the nineteenth century; secondly, that the majority of the Slav population in the region identified with the separatist movement. 27

Given the strong and ambivalent relationship between Bulgarians and Macedonian Slavs, Macedonian national identity should probably [End Page 274] be understood in negative terms--that is, as a denial of Bulgarian identity. Such a relationship between national identities is not unique to this particular case: one finds a similar relationship between the Southern Cone countries of Argentina and Uruguay. Uruguay's identity rests on a negation of Argentinian national identity (John Markoff, personal communication). But no new nation can accept being a derivative of another nation (such a premise would negate the very purpose of nation-building). On the contrary, each nation needs a unique and honorable "myth" of ancestry. Hence, history becomes an instrument employed to foster national consciousness and create a sense of unity and loyalty. It is owing to these considerations that the relationship between Yugoslav Macedonia and Bulgaria has been clouded by the problem of the interpretation of the historical record. During the 1960s, the relationship between the two states was especially problematic since the proclamation of historical figures, events, and monuments as being Macedonian became a point of friction between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria (Rusinow 1968). The result was a political and cultural conflict among Greeks, Bulgarians, and Macedonians in which the appropriation of the historical record as part of a particular nation's past was bitterly contested by the other sides. In this context, historical record is of special importance since it provides a genealogy that demonstrates a particular population's cultural distinctiveness and identity. The employment of the historical record is political--an effort to embed particular conceptions of nationhood in a people's foundations in order to create cultural cohesion.

In the Bulgarian case, historical figures and medieval monuments constitute the points of friction between FYROM and Bulgaria. A good example is the case of Gotse Delchev, one of the central figures of the IMRO leadership. Kaplan (1991:99) offers the following contrasting views on this issue:

"Do not tell me about Macedonia," the Bulgarian diplomat I met in Greece told me. "There is no Macedonia. It is Western Bulgaria. The language is eighty percent Bulgarian . . . Gotse Delchev was a Bulgarian. He was educated in Sofia. Bulgaria funded his guerrilla activities. He spoke a Western-Bulgarian dialect. How could he be something that does not exist?"

"The Bulgarians are well-known falsifiers of documents. . . ," Odre Ivanovski, a state historian for the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, explained when I met him in his office at Skopje. "What can you expect of Tartars?" . . . Ivanovski went on: "The Bulgarians, you know, have specialized teams who invent books about Gotse Delchev. They bribe foreign scholars with cash and give them professorships in order to put their names on the covers of these books. . . . How could Gotse Delchev be [End Page 275] Bulgarian? He was born in Macedonia. He spoke Macedonian, not Bulgarian. How could he be a Bulgarian?"

The tone of the debate and the contrasting lines of argumentation indicate the strong emotional appeal of this issue. The fact that local historians and diplomats are greatly involved in these affairs does not help the situation, since historians and administrators often have professional reasons for adopting the most nationalist viewpoints. In such a case, they are awarded prestige and power because they confirm the collectively held beliefs supporting the righteousness of the national narrative.

In the Greek case, reactions center upon the name "Macedonia" and the relationship between Macedonia's modern inhabitants and the legacy of the ancient Macedonians. 28 Greece accuses FYROM of usurping the heritage of ancient Greece by constructing a national history that implicitly links its inhabitants with those of ancient Macedonia. Greek intellectuals present historical and archeological evidence in order to demonstrate that the ancient Macedonians were ethnically, culturally, and linguistically part of the ancient Greek world, and that non-Greek claims to Macedonia are therefore illegitimate. Greece does not recognize the Macedonians as a separate nation, insisting that they are of Bulgarian origin, and that the usage of the term Macedonia with respect to the new state's territory was part of a communist plot to annex parts of Greece to Tito's Yugoslavia.

The mixed demography of the new state is also utilized to put forward the thesis, frequently repeated in the Greek popular press, that only a minority within the new state is actually Macedonian. This issue is related to the ethnic heterogeneity of the republic's population. Table 1 reports the results of the 1991 Yugoslav census in the republic and notes the demographic changes since the 1981 census. To the extent that the table's figures offer a partial insight into the state's demography, one concludes that the Macedonians constitute the majority of FYROM's population. Greek claims that the Macedonians do not exist are, therefore, rhetorical exaggerations of the republic's ethnic heterogeneity. As Table 1 illustrates, during the last decade, the relative proportion of Macedonians fell from 67% to 64.6% while the Albanians increased their proportion. 29 Given the strong desire of the Albanian population to unite with neighboring Albania and their complaints regarding their oppression by the majority, whether FYROM is a viable political entity in the long run becomes an open question. In January 1992, ethnic Albanians, dissatisfied with their standing in FYROM, participated in a referendum on their status. Although the balloting was declared illegal by the government, 92% of all eligible voters participated, with 74% of [End Page 276] them voting for autonomy (Perry 1994b:36). During 1993, the threat of FYROM turning into another Bosnia led the U. S. government to deploy a small number of troops in FYROM to prevent the extension of the ethnic conflict in the Balkans (more troops were sent in the spring of 1994). 30 By 1994 the major Albanian party, the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP), fractured into a radical wing and a conservative wing, with the radicals appearing to gain control of the party organization. The new leadership seemed to be more demanding of the government and more likely to cause ethnic polarization within FYROM. The government, willing to compromise, provided for greater inclusion of the Albanians into the state mechanism and the army. But unless one believes that Macedonian national identity is a total fiction without any support from the local population, these issues (although very important for strategic and geopolitical reasons) do not pertain to the substance of the political disagreement between Greece and FYROM.

To understand the reasons why affirmation of Macedonian national identity caused such a strong reaction in Greece, one must examine the Greek discourse on Macedonia. In Greece, there is a long tradition of writing about the Macedonian Question. However, writing about the Republic of Skopje (as Greeks call the new state) has been less prolific. It should be emphasized that Greek historians are not ignorant of the activities of IMRO and the Macedonian separatist movement. But Greeks fail to differentiate sufficiently between Supremacists and Separatists (the two movements favoring an autonomous or independent Macedonia during the 1893-1913 period), tending to view both groups as Bulgarian nationalist organizations aiming at the annexation of Macedonia by Bulgaria. In effect, the Separatists' argument that the Macedonian Slavs are a nation of their own--the Macedonian nation--is not given serious consideration. 31 Historically, Greeks have insisted [End Page 277] that the Orthodox Slav population that remained faithful to the Orthodox Patriarchate during the 1870-1913 period was Greek in terms of subjective national identification. The same people were claimed by IMRO, however, as their own prospective nationals. Owing to these considerations, the national narratives of the two sides appear to diverge from one another. Yet, despite this apparent divergence, both sides agree on most of the factual events of the period.

For example, Greek historiography considers the Illinden uprising not a revolt by the Macedonian liberation movement but an attempt by Bulgarian agents to stir up revolt in order to force the Ottoman government to offer autonomy to Macedonia, autonomy being, in turn, the first step toward the annexation of the region to a Greater Bulgaria. The IMRO revolutionaries are considered responsible for starting the rebellion and then leaving the mainly Greek and Hellenized Vlach population of Krusevo to be slaughtered by the Ottomans. 32 Regarding FYROM's claim to represent the Macedonian nation, Greek authors have questioned this claim's literary and historical foundations. As early as 1960, the Greek linguist Nikolaos Andriotis (1992; 1st edition 1960) published a book about the artificial character of the Macedonian language. After a short historical account of the ancient Macedonians and the presence of Slavs in Macedonia, the book examines the relationships between the Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian languages, concluding that the standardization of the Macedonian language in the post-World War II Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was an artificial construction fabricated "from above" for political purposes. Andriotis's work has been severely criticized by other linguists. The general consensus is to treat Macedonian as a language and not as a regional dialect (de Bray 1980; Lunt 1984; Friedman 1975; 1985). The reason for the divergence of opinion is that Andriotis's critics believe that "language and dialect are in no way definite quantities" (Lunt 1984:91) and that "the decision as to whether a given transitional South Slav dialect belongs to one or another language is not a linguistic one but a sociopolitical one" (Friedman 1985:36). Given the fact that all South Slav languages are closely connected, it does seem that the task of differentiating a language from a dialect is a political, not a scientific one. In other words, the establishment of the People's Republic of Macedonia constituted a sufficient criterion for considering the local linguistic medium a language (and not, as Bulgarian scholars have suggested, a Bulgarian dialect). But Andriotis did not follow this criterion. Instead, he considered the creation of the Macedonian republic to be an artificial construction and proceeded to give an interpretation of its language that was highly tainted by his own particular value judgments. [End Page 278]

Defending the Greek narrative

The next important book espousing Greek nationalism was Nikolaos Martis's *h plastogra/fhsh ths istori/as ths *makedoni/as (1983; The Forgery of the History of Macedonia). 33 Martis, a Greek Macedonian from the city of Kavala, a former member of parliament, and a former minister of Northern Greece, writes that he was inspired to start his project by the ignorance of foreign audiences concerning the "realities" of the Macedonian Question. Like Andriotis, but at considerable length this time, Martis sets out to describe the history of ancient Macedonia and to trace the cultural and linguistic origins of the ancient Macedonians back to ancient Greece. He also insists that in antiquity the name Macedonia was applied only to the Western part of Greek Macedonia, where the ancient kingdom of Macedonia was located. Later on, during the reigns of Philip II (359-336 b.c.) and Alexander the Great (336-323 b.c.), the kingdom was expanded to include the Eastern part of Greek Macedonia as well as the Vardar region, and, later, to incorporate huge territories in the eastern Mediterranean. From this, Martis concludes that the name Macedonia is falsely used by the Republic of Macedonia, since this part of the Balkans did not have any relationship with ancient Macedonia. Martis's book (which also includes a summary of interwar developments) won a distinguished award from the Greek Academy of Athens. Its line of argument has been adopted in various instances by Greek officials and by the Greek press, thus becoming the foundation on which the Greek reaction to FYROM is based.

Martis's argumentation raises the question of whether the evidence that he puts forward does indeed support his conclusions. Although the Macedonian side has averred that the ancient Macedonians were not ancient Greeks, they have also emphasized the Slavic character of the modern Macedonian identity. Furthermore, Martis's argument does not pay sufficient attention to the modern character of subjective national identification. The fact of the matter is that the term Macedonia was applied during the nineteenth century to an ill-defined territory larger than the ancient kingdom (which existed 2,000 years ago). With respect to the Ottoman territory of the central Balkans, the term Macedonia surfaced in the nineteenth-century maps of the region concomitantly with the rise of Balkan nationalisms (Wilkinson, 1951). In fact, the very definition of Macedonia is directly linked to the national claims to this part of the Ottoman Empire by Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs.

But these objections are beside the point. Martis's argument is not about the historical record or the origins of national identity. Rather, it is based upon an ingenious manipulation of the repercussions implied [End Page 279] in the narrative of the Greek ethnogenesis. Therefore, its importance and its special weight for modern Greeks can be understood only in the context of the official version of Greek history. Modern Greeks consider themselves to be the heirs of ancient Greece. Putting aside for the moment the actual validity of the claim itself, the origins of this notion can be located in the period following the 1750s. The claim itself plays a central role in the development of the Greek national narrative and is closely related to the influence of the Enlightenment in Southeastern Europe (Kitromilides 1983; 1990; Dimaras 1977). During the eighteenth century, the West's preoccupation with a "mythical" ancient Greece conceived as the birthplace of Western civilization, and the neoclassicism that dominated the intellectual discourse of the period, influenced Greek-Orthodox intellectuals to develop their own genealogy that linked modern Greece with Hellenic antiquity.

Elie Kedourie (1971) considers Greek nationalism the antecedent of third world nationalisms in that the Western idea of the nation had a radical impact on transforming the Balkan theocratic social structure. The desire to "upgrade" the social and cultural conditions of the "backward" Ottoman state was seized upon by Balkan intellectuals to postulate the new idea of the nation as a concept that would enhance the modernization of their part of the world. In redeploying the Western idea of the nation in the Balkan context, these thinkers not only seized upon the heritage of the Enlightenment; they also connected the legacy of classical antiquity with the modern inhabitants of the region. Adamantios Koraes was the protagonist of this intellectual movement. He outlined a political program that mixed the ideas of Enlightenment with those of "national liberation," producing an explosive combination (Koraes 1971). The decline of the nation during the modern era was seen as the outcome of foreign domination. By adopting the knowledge of the ancients that had been preserved by the West, the moderns could rise again and reclaim their proper position in the world. Of fundamental importance in such a program was the assumption of continuity between the ancients and the moderns. Following the Greek commercial breakthroughs of the late eighteenth century and the impact of the Enlightenment on Ottoman Balkan society,

the Greeks raise their heads in proportion as their oppressors' arrogance abates and their despotism becomes somewhat migated. This is the veritable period of Greek awakening. Minds, emerging from lethargy, are amazed to observe this deplorable state; and that same national vanity which hitherto prevented them from seeing it, now increases their amazement and irritation. For the first time the nation surveys the hideous spectacle of its ignorance and trembles in measuring with the eye the distance separating it from its ancestors' glory. This painful discovery, [End Page 280] however, does not precipitate the Greeks into despair: We are the descendants of Greeks, they implicitly [tell] themselves; we must either try to become again worthy of this name, or we must not bear it. (Koraes 1971:183-184)

For Koraes, the claim to the historical continuity from ancients to moderns was a reason for modernizing the Hellenic world. As he says, the Greeks must become "worthy" of their name or cease to bear it. Koraes's modernist program was a mixture of nationalist aspirations and Enlightenment rationalism. However, its impact on the local society was to strengthen the moderns' claim to be heirs of the ancients through a process of revitalizing Greek cultural identity. This genealogical tie between the ancients and the moderns was soon to become divorced from the political context in which Koraes formulated it--that is, the Enlightenment's liberal doctrines and its ideology of progress and modernization:

By means of this neoclassicism, the modern Greeks came gradually to conceive of themselves as the descendants and heirs of the ancients whose land they inhabited and whose language they spoke. This conception of ethnic continuity between the classical and modern Hellenes, which was the direct product of the reception of Enlightenment neoclassicism into Greek thought, provided the basic ingredient of the self-definition of the modern Greeks. (Kitromilides 1983:59)

Although modern Greek identity has been based on this assumption of continuity, the "proper" geographical boundaries of Greece and the ethnic characteristics of the Greeks remained vague for some time. Only during the second half of the nineteenth century did the consolidation of the national narrative take place. As late as 1824, the Phanariot Theodore Negris identified Serbs and Bulgarians as Greeks, a definition that was closer to that of the Orthodox religious community of the Rum millet than to the definition of a modern secular Greek identity (quoted in Skopetea 1988:25). But between 1839 and 1852 an important ideological change occurred. The challenge to the historical continuity thesis by Fallmerayer (1830), the gradual rise of the Bulgarian national movement, and the religious revival within the Greek kingdom all collided, suggesting the need for a different evaluation of Greece's historical past (Politis 1993:36-39; Dimaras 1985). In the modern Greek Enlightenment, the ancients and the moderns were connected through a genealogical tie, while the Orthodox and Byzantine past had been undermined. Suppressing Orthodoxy and Byzantinism was a political necessity for people such as Koraes who aimed at transforming the religiously based identity of the Rum millet into a modern, secular national identity. But this project did not put down strong roots in the local "Romaic" popular consciousness. In a speech to the Greek [End Page 281] Parliament in 1844, Ioannis Koletis declared that the Greek nation's boundaries were not identical with those of the Kingdom of Greece. This is generally considered to be the first articulation of Greek irredentism, more widely known as the "Great Idea." Koletis's aim was to safeguard the public sector positions of the "non-indigenous" Greeks--that is, those not born in the kingdom (Dimakis 1991). Although he was not completely successful, his speech became a turning point for the development of Greek nationalism. Koletis supported Konstantinos Paparrhigopoulos, the future author of the History of the Greek Nation (1865-74), who was born in Constantinople and who, therefore, was not an "indigenous" Greek (Dimaras 1986:119-124). In 1857-1858, after the conclusion of the Crimean War (1853-1856), the economist Nassau Senior recorded the following revealing comments by an Athenian Greek:

Do not think that we consider this corner of Greece as our country, or Athens as our capital, or the Parthenon as our national temple. The Parthenon belongs to an age and to a religion with which we have no sympathy. Our country is the vast territory of which Greek is the language, and the faith of the Orthodox Greek Church is the religion. (Quoted in Clogg 1988:253)

Rectifying the Orthodox and Byzantine past was the task undertaken by the Greek Romantic historiography of the second half of the nine-teenth century. This Romantic historiography provided an ideological legitimation for the inclusion of the Rum millet in the Greek nation by constructing a history that aided the articulation of the "Great Idea." The official version of Greek history, published during the late 1860s by Paparrhigopoulos, was grounded in the notion of an unbroken historical continuity between ancient and modern Greece. His historical narrative bridged the "gap" between the ancient world and the modern era by reinterpreting medieval Byzantium as a manifestation of Hellenism during the Middle Ages. Thus, the narrative of Greek ethnogenesis now spanned a period of 3,000 years, assuming a fundamental continuity that transcended the different historical periods. The Romantic historiography's reinterpretation of Greek history has provided the official narrative for the modern Greek state. 34 Intellectually, it has remained largely unchallenged since its consolidation in the late 1870s. 35

An indispensable component of the thesis concerning unbroken historical continuity was the Hellenic character of the ancient Macedonian kingdom. In the early years of the Kingdom of Greece (1832-1844), the boundaries of modern Greece were conceived as identical to those of ancient Greece; the ancient Macedonians were viewed as conquerors of [End Page 282] ancient Greece and not as part of it. 36 Locating Romantic historiography's narrative in the context of nineteenth-century Balkan politics makes it possible to clarify the relationship between nationalism and historical narrative. Historical claims and nationalist claims were intertwined during the nineteenth century; Greek irredentism is a prime example of the close relationship between historical narrative and nationalist aspirations. Konstantinos Paparrhigopoulos was an ardent nationalist. Heavily involved in the political debates of his day, he was co-founder of the Society for the Propagation of Hellenic Letters (1869), one of the major nationalist organizations of the late nineteenth century (Dimaras 1986:241; Vergopoulos 1994:180-183). Paparrhigopoulos considered his duty to be twofold--"national as well as scientific" (quoted in Politis 1993:147)--, which was indeed the case. The gradual publication of his History of the Greek Nation during the late 1860s and early 1870s was a project partially financed by state agencies and national societies. Provisions were also made for copies to be distributed to municipalities and to Athens University (Dimaras 1986:227-234). In 1877, the Greek parliament appropriated 6,000 drachmas so that the work could be translated into French (1878). In 1879 a conference was held in Athens with participation by all Greek associations active outside the kingdom of Greece; Paparrhigopoulos oversaw the coordination of the associations' efforts to turn his *(istori/a tou= e(llhnikou= e)/qnous into a foundational text. In 1882, the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece was founded with the goal of "proving" the unbroken unity and continuity of Hellenism from antiquity to the present (Vergopoulos 1994:180-181).

During the nineteenth-century contest between Greeks and Slavs over Macedonia, the Greeks employed this national narrative as an effective weapon to counteract Bulgarian claims to the region (Kofos 1989a:238). The Greeks utilized the continuity between ancients and moderns to strengthen their "historical" claims to Macedonian territory. In this interpretation, "Macedonia" means the territory of the ancient kingdom in the era of Philip II. Operating under these assumptions, Greek historiography does not allow for the development of divergent views. In this respect, it is not accidental that works nearly one hundred years old have preserved their centrality in the Greek national narrative. 37

The Balkan Wars led to the occupation of most of this territory by Greece, satisfying national aspirations concerning the liberation of Macedonia. The complex Macedonian Question appeared to have been resolved, at least from the Greek standpoint. In the post-1944 period, following the establishment of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, this problem became the source of political strain in the Athens-Belgrade relationship; however, the difficulty remained in a subdued form as long [End Page 283] as the Yugoslav federation was preserved (for an overview, see Zahariadis 1994). Following the collapse of Yugoslavia, the problem surfaced once again and, with it, a considerable part of the controversies of the nineteenth century Macedonian Question.

In light of this short overview, the significance and emotional character of Martis's argument may be clarified. The stickers proclaiming "Macedonia is Greek" are not intended to state the obvious--that Greek Macedonia is Greek--but instead to proclaim a different and more abstract thesis: that the name Macedonia is an integral part of Greek identity and that no one can claim to be a Macedonian without being Greek. Needless to say, Martis's argument is meaningful only in this context. Since, according to that argument, the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, and since the modern Greeks are the descendants of the ancients, it follows that the name and the territory of ancient Macedonia are "legitimately" Greek. Any claim to the contrary impugns Greek identity (by claiming that the ancient or modern Macedonians were or are not Greek) and therefore impugns the integrity of the Greek nation. This, precisely, is the Greeks' accusation against FYROM.

The rallying of the Greek public to defend the "Greekness" of Macedonia serves not only the political goal of asserting that Greek Macedonia is populated overwhelmingly by Greeks but also the emotional goal of affirming the Greek people's sense of national identity. Of course, by doing so, Greeks claim exclusive rights over Macedonia, denying to Macedonian Slavs the right to employ this word for their own self-identification.


In the Balkans, nation-building efforts have focused traditionally on nationhood (ethnicity, religion, language) rather than on citizenship as the foundation for the construction of the local national identity. Historical narratives were constructed to justify the irredentist activities of the Balkan nation-states by defining particular historical spaces and outlining the national missions to be pursued. This form of nation-building has not offered any possibility for the creation of a space in which citizenship may be articulated as a universalistic criterion independent from the particularistic restrictions of ethnicity, language, and religion.

As a result, legitimate possession of a particular territory rests upon historical ties that bind a people to their homeland. In the case of the controversy between Greece and FYROM, two identifications have been developed with respect to one homeland (that of Macedonia). Consequently, two narratives have formed, each of which seeks to establish a [End Page 284] genealogical tie between a people and the land which that people inhabits. The mixed ethnography of the region has added to the tension arising from such attempts. Moreover, since citizenship rights are closely related to nationhood, the affirmation of minorities is interpreted, according to the nineteenth-century Balkan mentality, as representing the first step toward irredentist activity.

Both sides operate with the assumption that nationhood provides the essential component for nation-building. Both view national narratives as providing an essential ingredient for their national identity. The two national narratives, however, encroach upon one another, tending to claim Macedonia (the name and, for the IMRO irredentists, the territory as well) exclusively for their particular side. For Greeks, Macedonia is a name and a territory that is an indispensable part of the modern Greek identity. For Macedonians, it provides the single most important component that has historically differentiated them from Bulgarians.

The strong Greek mobilization against FYROM's claim to represent the Macedonian nation constituted a response to an implicit threat to modern Greek identity. Greek reaction centered upon the name of the new state more than any other issue because the name in itself raised important questions concerning the validity of the Greek national narrative. The question of Macedonian minorities in Bulgaria and Greece made clear that concern with national narratives was not an academic activity but one that carried with it significant political repercussions. National narratives help define a population and therefore provide the basis for claiming a particular population's loyalty.

The international political conjuncture of the post-1989 period has significantly aided the open assertion of Macedonian national identity. With the collapse of the Soviet bloc during the 1989-1990 period and the concomitant "springtime of nations" in eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R., FYROM's declaration of independence occurred in an extremely favorable international environment. Official Greece was therefore cast in the role of the "villain" that denies the right of a people to self-determination. The particular context of the Greek reaction to FYROM's declaration of independence was rarely articulated in a manner that made it comprehensible to agents unfamiliar with the history of the region. Instead, most Greek authors and politicians operated from within the Greek national narrative, hence making it difficult to communicate the gist of this issue to an international audience.

In the post-communist era, Greece's position in the Balkans would have been extremely favorable had it not been for the nationalist antagonisms vis-à-vis FYROM (and Albania). Attempting to create a [End Page 285] friendly environment necessitates recognition of the other's viewpoint. In the case of the dispute between Greece and FYROM, such a recognition entails the acknowledgment that the particular national narratives are the main source of tension between the two states. If peaceful coexistence is the ultimate goal, each side must revise its narrative so that it does not impinge upon the other's narrative. Although this goal may appear to be too distant or unrealistic, I believe it is the only recipe that can provide for the amelioration of ethnic and national rivalries among the Balkan peoples and aid the institutionalization of a civic culture throughout the region.

University of Pittsburgh


Acknowledgments. In preparing and revising this manuscript, the author would like to thank Dr. Loring Danforth, Dr. Dennison Rusinow, Dr. Anastasia Karakasidou, Dr. William Dunn, Dr. Adamantia Pollis, Dr. John Markoff and an anonymous reviewer of the JMGS for their useful comments. Special thanks to Melissa McGary and Rachelle Schaaf for their help in editing the manuscript. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 63rd Annual Conference of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts, 25-28 March 1993.

1. The term "Macedonian" is used throughout this article to refer to people who use this label for their own national self-identification. This is the standard international use of the word. However, people throughout geographical Macedonia use the adjective "Macedonian" for the purposes of regional identification. Greeks and Bulgarians can identify themselves as Macedonians without attributing a sense of national identity to the term. When referring to such individuals and groups, I have added the words Greek or Bulgarian as modifiers. It should be noted, however, that this is not consistent with local practice; within Greece, a Macedonian is a Greek from Macedonia (in the same sense that a Cretan is a Greek from Crete).

2. See Alter (1989), Anderson (1983), Gellner (1983), Hobsbawm (1990), Kedourie (1985), and Greenfeld (1991) for some of the best statements on the topic.

3. On national identity as a process, see Schlesinger (1987) and Connor (1990). The assumption that this form of identification is distinctly modern does not entail the conclusion that "identity" in general is a particularly modern phenomenon. National identity is seen as a modern manifestation of people's awareness of their membership in a group. Regarding the existence of collective identity in premodern times, see Armstrong (1982) and Smith (1986; 1991).

4. On Rigas Velestinlis see Vranousis (1957), Kitromilides (1978), and Todorov (1991). On federalist plans within nineteenth-century Greek society, see Todorov (1991). For federalist plans between Serbs and Bulgarians, see Shashko (1974). Two excellent general overviews of these projects are offered by Djordjevic (1970) and Stavrianos (1944).

5. However, an important difference between Greece and FYROM does exist regarding the relationship between state and nation. In Greece, the state operates as a depository of the nation; its policies aim at serving the good of the nation, and no distinction is made between national and state interests. According to Hayden (1992), FYROM's constitution is an example of the peripheral nationalism that caused the breakup of Yugoslavia; it clearly states that that the Republic of Macedonia is the "national state of the Macedonian people." Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Vlachs and other nonethnic Macedonian citizens belong to a separate "nationality" (Perry 1994a:83). Such an orientation is bound to cause severe disagreement from within the ranks of the large Albanian minority (see Table 1). Ethnic Albanians are dissatisfied with their constitutional status and demand greater educational and cultural rights, creating acute tension between Macedonians and Albanians. FYROM's government, however, successfully defused the tension and is generally recognized as having dealt skillfully with the task of establishing state authority over a multiethnic population.

6. See Kitromilides (1983). "Official" historical narratives postulate the existence of a nation back in time and then proceed to interpret the historical record as the continuous evolution of this "imagined community" from that particular point. Michel Foucault (1984) argues that this "quest for origins" is inherently arbitrary. As a comparison of Albanian, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Macedonian history textbooks demonstrates, the Balkan national narratives diverge from each other as they interpret historical events such as the 1821 revolution and the Balkan wars of 1912-1913 in quite a different light (cf. Katsoulakos and Tsantinis, 1994; Skoulatou et al. 1983). Historical facts are either deleted from the narrative or presented in a selective manner.

7. So far, there have been close to 100 articles published in the international press on the Greece-FYROM controversy. A good example of this controversy is the exchange between Malcolm (1992) and Leigh Fermor (1992). Also see the New York Times editorial of 23 November 1992 in favor of Skopje and the response by J. S. Regas and L. Z. Acevska (letters to the Editor, the New York Times, 7 December 1992). More comprehensive and careful accounts are offered by Kaplan (1991), Moore (1992a), and Perry (1992).

8. This issue had serious repercussions for Greece, which stood accused of denying the right of dissenting voices to air their opinions. Characteristically, a letter voicing these concerns was published in the New York Review of Books (17 December 1992, pp. 77-78) citing a number of prominent intellectuals as supporters and asking for more people to join a write-in campaign. The five members of the so-called Revolutionary Socialist Organization accused of the dissemination of "heretical" views were acquitted of all charges but the whole issue represented a major public relations disaster. The role of the intellectuals in nationalist mobilization is strongly criticized by Karakasidou (1992). But Karakasidou was attacked for adopting an anti-national viewpoint with respect to the Macedonian Question (Kargakos 1993; see also the review essays by Gounaris (1993), Hatzidimitriou (1993), and Zahariadis (1993) for a scholarly critique). The result was a protracted debate concerning academic freedom, a debate that exemplified in many respects the differences in political and scientific agendas between academics writing on Macedonia within the U.S. context and those working within the Greek context. For the latest twist to this debate, deriving from Cambridge University Press's cancelation of its contract to print Karakasidou's dissertation, see Mark Mazower's "Introduction to the Study of Macedonia" in this issue of JMGS.

9. See Giannakos (1992) for a policy analysis that raises the issue of the new state's viability. In August 1992, Slobodan Milosevic told Greek reporters of his offer to the Greek government to partition the territory of FYROM, and this information was confirmed by the Greek Foreign Ministry.

10. For brief overviews of the nationalist reaction, see Perry (1992:37-40) and Karakasidou (1993a). The conflict between the Macedonian and Greek diasporas in Australia is discussed by Danforth (1995) and Tamis (1994).

11. A good summary of the "official" Greek position in Greek, English, and French can be found in Mazarakis-Aenian (1992). See also Papakonstantinou (1992). Probably, the most notable and comprehensive publication is by Koliopoulos and Hasiotis (1992). This two-volume work attempts to document the Greek presence in Macedonia. Also, Holevas (1991) offers a typical Greek response to the issue of Slavic minorities in northern Greece. A dissenting and critical approach to the popular nationalist viewpoints of the Greek press can be found in Liakos et al. (1993) and Kirkos (1993).

12. For FYROM, the embargo came on top of an already deteriorating economic situation. During the 1991-1994 period, GNP dropped by 37% and unemployment reached 28% (or 173,000) by 1994. Additionally, FYROM absorbed approximately 60,000 refugees from Bosnia, an element adding to the financial constraints (Zografos 1994:94). As a result of its economic collapse, FYROM was forced to freeze payments to international organizations. By the end of 1992, the public debt was $846 million and by the end of 1993 inflation was estimated at 350%.

13. Macedonian historiography is revising a considerable part of ancient, medieval, and modern histories of the Balkans. Its goal is to claim for the Macedonian peoples a considerable part of what the Greeks consider Greek history (ancient Macedonia) and the Bulgarians Bulgarian history (the reign of Tsar Samuil). Additionally, it suggests that the Macedonian nation was victimized by the irredentist policies of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria in the post-1850 period. The claim is that most of the population of Macedonia in the nineteenth century were Macedonians, not Serbs, Greeks, or Bulgarians. See Apostolski and Polenakovich (1974), the official history of the Macedonian people by Apostolski et al. (1979), and various articles in the journal Macedonian Review. The Macedonian Review and its related publications have provided considerable elaborations of the Macedonian viewpoint in English and have made them available on a global scale. Of course, since the Greek and Bulgarian narratives emerged during the course of the nineteenth century, the Macedonian narrative is "revising" narratives that were themselves "revisionist" when they first appeared.

14. The "separatist" thesis was appropriated during the interwar period by the communists in an attempt to use the Macedonian Question as a means of gaining popular support. Since the events associated with this affair have been repeatedly analyzed, there is no need to reiterate them here (see Barker 1950; Papapanagiotou 1992; Shoup 1968; Kofos 1964). Suffice it to say that this plan turned out to be a failure since it alienated voters in Greece and Serbia from the local communist parties. Additionally, the Greek and Serbian governments used this issue to prosecute communists in the two countries. However, in the interwar period, Misirkov's viewpoint began to gain acceptance among intellectual circles; Banac (1984:327) remarks that the Macedonians "were Bulgars in struggles against Serbian and Greek hegemonism, but within the Bulgar world, they were increasingly becoming exclusive Macedonians."

15. Zotiades (1961) has argued that the geographical definition of Macedonia is meaningless in the sense that Macedonia is a term that should be properly applied only to the territory of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. No consensus among the different sides involved in this controversy has resulted from the employment of statistics to decide the national identification of the peoples living within Ottoman Macedonia. This is because the Ottomans recorded religious and not national identification (which means that national identification has to be deduced). Moreover, the bitter conflicts of the 1890s and 1900s turned national identity into an issue of international importance. Since statistics cannot help resolve Ottoman Macedonia's ethnic composition, I have refrained from using statistical estimates of the Greek and Slavic populations.

16. Following 1990, and as a result of the utilization of Serbian nationalism by the Milosevic regime, attitudes have changed. Now, the rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) is referred to as "Serboslavia" (Loring Danforth, personal communication).

17. On the cultural assimilation of the Slavic minority, see Pribichevich (1982:237-247), Karakasidou (1993a), Kirjazovski (1990), Poulton (1991), and Peyum (1988).

18. FYROM's government's position was that the Macedonian Slavs just happened to settle in part of the territory of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Therefore, the use of the sixteen-ray star was inappropriate as a symbol of present-day Macedonia. This viewpoint, however, was opposed by Ljupco Georgievski and IMRO (William Dunn, personal communication).

19. The Greek Communist Party's position (from 1924 to 1935) in favor of a "united and independent Macedonia" led many young people to identify with the party and hence turn themselves into boulgarokommouniste/s, a "special" category of communists (Koliopoulos 1994:46-47) oddly combining a pre-1913 enemy (Bulgarians) and a 1930s enemy (communists). To be a communist and a Macedonian Slav implied--almost automatically--that one would be classified as a secessionist, as a local informant told Karakasidou (1993b:453).

20. Koliopoulos (1994) suggests that the collaboration of the peasants with the Germans, Italians, and Bulgarians was determined by the geopolitical position of each village. Depending upon whether their village was vulnerable to attack by the Greek communist guerrillas (ELAS) or the occupation forces, the peasants would opt to support the side in relation to which they were most vulnerable. When the Greek communists created the SNOF, many of the former collaborators enlisted in the new unit. In both cases, the attempt was to promise "freedom" (autonomy or independence) to the formerly persecuted Slavic minority as a means of gaining its support. Karakasidou (1993b) also considers the policy of the Greek communists vis-à-vis the minority population in the 1930s and 1940s as being opportunistic.

21. The 1991 U.S. State Department's Country Report on Human Rights estimates 10,000 to 20,000 people, a figure corroborated by Poulton (1991) and the Minority Rights Group (1990). Poulton (1991) considers the Macedonian minority in Greece as one that has been practically assimilated into Hellenism (Greek Macedonia has more than 2,000,000 inhabitants). Since the Greek censuses do not offer information regarding ethnic affiliation, these numbers are to a considerable extent speculative. The 1991 Report was contested by the Greek government, which claimed that such a group (i.e., the Macedonians) does not exist.

22. According to Perry (1992:36) there are 80,000 to 100,000 refugees from the Greek civil war in the territory of Skopje. Another estimate gives a more conservative number of 30,000 to 40,000 (Karakasidou 1993a:12). Writing more than three decades ago, Kofos (1962:384) also estimated the number of refugees at 30,000 to 35,000.

23. See Zang (1991) and Poulton (1991). The Minority Rights Group (1990) estimates the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria at 2.75% of the population.

24. For a description and analysis, see Danforth (1994). It should be noted that there is no standard international definition of the term "national minority."

25. Also see Pollis (1987; 1993) on Eastern Orthodoxy's relationship to human rights and the role of the legal system in failing to become a counteracting force to the state's pervasive domination over Greek social life.

26. Pollis (1992) has addressed the issue of religious minorities (Protestant sects, Catholics, and Jehovah's Witnesses) who face the sanctions of the Greek state as well as those of the local society. Her description of the general attitude concerning minority rights is directly relevant to the issue of minority rights for linguistic and cultural groups as well.

27. See Kofos (1964; 1989a), Perry (1988), Slijepcevic (1958), and Pundeff (1969) regarding views opposite to the "official" Macedonian standpoint. On the linguistic differentiation between Bulgarians and Macedonians, see Friedman (1975; 1985). On interwar and post-World War II developments, see Fischer-Galati (1973), Papapanagiotou (1992), Palmer and King (1971), Vasiliev (1989), Kofos (1974; 1989b), Karakasidou (1993b) and King (1973). In 1978, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences published a volume (Macedonia: Documents and Materials) containing documents aiming to prove that the Macedonian Slavs were Bulgarians.

28. Following Foucault (1984) one could argue that the appropriation of historical legacy is inevitably an arbitrary act. This "strong" thesis might be disputed. But whatever one's position, the substantive issue does not pertain to the ethnic classification of ancient Macedonians, but rather to the beliefs people have on this matter. W. I. Thomas's dictum concerning the "definition of the situation"--that is, if people define a situation as real it will be real in its consequences--is relevant here.

29. The numbers in the 1991 census as well as all statistics in this region of the world are contested by various sides. Albanians claim that the census underestimates the size of the Albanian population--allegedly 700,000 (Perry 1992:35); Serbian nationalists claim 300,000 (Perry 1994b:38), and the Greeks claim 250,000 (Vakalopoulos 1994). The issue of a Greek minority within FYROM is related to the presence of an unspecified number of Vlachs within the new state. Greek sources consider them Greeks (historically the majority of Vlachs in the southern Balkans have identified themselves as Greeks).

30. On the conflict between Albanians and Macedonians, see Poulton (1991), Perry (1992; 1994b), and Moore (1992b). Initially, 700 UN peace-keeping troops were deployed in FYROM. On 11 May 1993, the United States unilaterally declared its desire to send U.S. forces into the republic's territory. In an interview on the McNeill-Lehrer News Hour (PBS, 13 May 1993), Stevo Crvenkovski, FYROM's Minister of Foreign Affairs, denied any prior knowledge of the United States' intentions. Finally, on 10 June 1993, the United States and FYROM reached an agreement allowing the deployment of the troops in the new state's territory. In addition to the American troops, there are 1,000 UN Protection Forces (UNPROFOR) troops (Perry 1994b:31).

31. From the Greek standpoint, historians consider all Slav-speaking inhabitants of the region to be "Bulgarians" or "Slavophone Greeks." See Dakin (1966), Vakalopoulos (1986; 1987), and Zotiades (1961). Perry (1988) offers an authoritative description of IMRO activities during the 1893-1903 period. He argues that IMRO was striving to create an independent state but that the majority of the Slav population did not display a strong national identification comparable to that of IMRO leadership.

32. The July 1993 issue of the journal *makedonikh/ *zwh/ includes a collection of papers by a number of Greek scholars elaborating on the Greek interpretation of IMRO.

33. Chronologically speaking, however, Kofos (1964) constitutes the next major work on this issue. Although the book is certainly biased and is heavily influenced by the mentality of the cold war era (Koliopoulos 1994:xiv-xv), I think it should be considered a scholarly work and not nationalist propaganda, as Kofos's discussion of the role of communism in the legitimation of Macedonian identity converges with that of other researchers (Barker 1950; Shoup 1968; Palmer and King 1971; King 1973).

34. For an overview of Greek historiography, see Augustinos (1989). The consolidation of the Greek national narrative is also discussed by Dimaras (1985). Perhaps the most comprehensive and explicit analysis of the social construction of modern Greek identity is the one by Herzfeld (1982).

35. The most notable deviation from the official line is by the Marxist historian Yannis Kordatos (1991) who argues that the Greek nation was the creation of the eighteenth-century Greek bourgeoisie. The historian Apostolos Vakalopoulos (1961) asserts that the origins of the modern Greek nation are to be sought in the 1204-1453 period, where one can observe the emergence of a "proto-nationalist" sentiment among Byzantine elites. But his argument remains confined within the traditional paradigm since it refers to the origins of the modern Greek nation and not to those of the Greek nation itself. Traditionally, Greek history has been divided into ancient, medieval, and modern. Vakalopoulos's thesis aims to shift the "traditional" date of the modern period from 1453 (the fall of Constantinople to the Turks) to 1204 (the conquest of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade). For an overview of the 1960s debate on this issue, see Vryonis (1978).

36. See Dimaras (1985:338-339) and Dimakis (1991). The appropriation of the legacy of ancient Macedonia by the modern Greeks belongs historically to the second half of the nineteenth century. Politis (1993:40-42) cites fourteen examples from the Greek literature of the 1794-1841 period in which the ancient Macedonians are not considered to be part of the ancient Greek world. Prominent intellectuals like Ioannis Rizos Neroulos and Adamantios Koraes were among those who shared this viewpoint.

37. In a recent selection of articles dealing with the linguistics of Macedonia (Babiniotis 1992), 110 out of 275 pages are reprints of two works by G. N. Hatzidakis (dated 1896 and 1911) arguing that the language of the ancient Macedonians was a Greek dialect. The contemporaries' work is based on the same assumptions and repeats the same or similar arguments. This mode of argumentation is meaningful only within the context of the Greek historical narrative; it is of limited value when addressing a non-Greek or an academic audience.

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