Public Reacts to Zaev’s Statement on Macedonian History

A statement made by PM Zoran Zaev in an interview for the Greek TV Alpha that Macedonia attempted in the past to present the history of certain Balkan countries as its own was met with a series of negative reactions by the public. “In the past, we had attempts to alter and deviate our entire history by appropriating elements of the world, Balkan and foreign histories as ours, without regard how that would influence our neighbours and led to a situation that we are literally feuding with nearly all our neighbours and that the EU and NATO integration process is closed,” Zaev said in the interview. Reactions come from citizens on social networks, but also from current state officials and intellectuals. “Do you, Mr. Zaev, know of a single nation on the globe which has not appropriated anything? The greatest nations did the most appropriating, both of territory and history. What they couldn’t assimilate they chased away or purged,” said the director of the Open Society Foundation for Macedonia Vladimir Milcin. “Macedonians never appropriated land or history from others. It was the other way around because our neighbours were the first to create their independent states and procure powerful supporters,” MP Liljana Popovska wrote on Facebook. MANU member Bozin Pavlovski also commented on Zaev’s statement. “What you told the Greek audience is shameful, Mr. Zaev. In 99 percent of the Macedonian culture, science and art, we are impeccably correct toward our neighbours,” Pavlovski said. VMRO-DPMNE estimated Zaev’s statement as harmful for the Macedonian national interests, and demanded immediate resignation from him. On Monday, the government released an announcement regarding Zaev’s statement. “The PM Zoran Zaev spoke of this matter in numerous previous occasions, pointing out that it was former PM Nikola Gruevski and his policies of depicting other countries’ history as Macedonian the main reason for the deterioration of the relations of Macedonia with other countries,” writes the governmental announcement.