We cannot lie that Yugoslavia had a policy of separating one nation from another. All this historical intertwining until 1944 is a fact. This is the year of separation of all these intertwined ties. I agree with some of the critics of the Bulgarian position, who say that it cannot be cut with a knife and it can be said that on this date is the breaking point. Isn’t it time to confront this truth that there has been persecution, that people have been imprisoned for one word? Is it time to see the truth that there was a similar attitude not only towards the Bulgarians, but also towards the Albanians – because of a song, for example, people ended up in prison? Isn’t it time to face this truth face to face? Poor infrastructural connectivity also has to do with the Yugoslav period. You have such highways to the south and north, here that they are already being built to the west, and here you have literally a field path. It is also a policy of building a wall between the two countries. I think that we do not have enough will. But now you can see The anger in Macedonia comes from the proud descendants of the partisans. They refer to their bold anti-fascist and guerrilla family backgrounds. They have a reflex to be uncritical of their own origins. They demonstrated their conviction that they came from a pure anti-fascist nation. The perversion in all this is that if you claim the purity of the nation, it is already fascism. There was a similar low level / in relation to Bulgaria, editor’s note / some time ago in relation to Greece, when similar qualifications were used. This is another level of nationalism and hate speech. Science must be completely separated from politics. This is exactly what disturbs me in the Framework Position of the Bulgarian National Assembly and it is no coincidence that we remain misunderstood by Europe. There is too much history there – to make sure the history is not falsified, etc. The veto became an occasion for a very active benevolent dialogue between the intellectuals on both sides, which we have never had before.

This was said in an exclusive interview for BGNES Agency by one of the most famous Macedonian scientists in the country and the world, Prof. Katerina Kolozova. BGNES published the conversation with her without abbreviations.BGNES: There is a perception among the Macedonian public that Bulgaria denies the existence of the Macedonian language and nation. The Bulgarian government reiterates at every opportunity that this is not true, that Bulgaria does not deny its identity. What is the reason that this cannot be understood in Macedonia? Kolozova: I think there is a lot of noise from the different messages that come from both the Macedonian and the Bulgarian side. On the Bulgarian side, there are ill-considered statements by politicians who give the impression that [identity] is being denied. A feeling is created among the society, which is an amalgam of sporadic, semi-official statements and official statements of state representatives – depending on the quality of the statements. For example, Minister Zaharieva will repeat several times clearly that they do not deny us. Borisov will repeat, that it does not deny the reality of the existence of the modern Macedonian language and nation. On the other hand, however, statements were made by Dzhambazki and Karakachanov, who are representatives of the state. All this creates a “vague” feeling, a mixture of perceptions, which in the first place creates confusion in the average citizen and if he can not analyze, will not distinguish between the two statements. That is why both sides – the Bulgarian and the Macedonian, must be careful with the emotional statements caused by a specific situation. It’s usually a reaction to a celebration, someone saying something, a reckless Facebook post, and so on. In such a case, an explosive statement follows, which gives the impression that this reality is denied. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNoI8YRXdYs BGNES: Do the media use such statements in any way to create tension? Kolozova: In any case, the media do not help to distinguish one statement from another. I am interested in this issue after we wrote a letter – 8 intellectuals, four from Macedonia and one from Bulgaria, in which we appealed not to veto and not to politicize historiography and science. In this letter of good will, we insisted on overcoming the Bulgarophobia here and the prejudices in Bulgaria for us. It was not well received by either public. That’s how I came to this “front line”. Probably because of this letter from Bulgaria, invitations for interviews followed and so I started to follow the conditions and started to participate in various forums that we organized. The veto became an occasion for a very active benevolent dialogue between the intellectuals on both sides, which we have never had before. This is one of the positive effects of the veto. We have never been so united on one side of the “front line” that we have to criticize the manifestations of nationalism on both sides and that there is no need to attack the other side – there is someone there to do it. We must criticize only our own country, because only in this way is a constant practice of goodwill built and we can overcome the mutual phobia. As I began to look closely at the statements, I noticed that there was a difference between official positions and informal statements, which could be confusing. This means that confusion is normal, probably among some journalists, who do not try to understand the details. Of course, such a thing cannot serve as an excuse, as it is the job of journalists to study issues responsibly and to inform accurately. So yes, the media also contributes to this general confusion. BGNES: Former Prime Minister Lyubcho Georgievski has said several times that the “deep state” is doing everything possible not to build normal relations between Skopje and Sofia. What do you think about this? Kolozova: I do not understand this concept of the “Deep State”, so I take it as a metaphor. You have certain groups of people with some political and public power – mainly in the public sector – who will never openly oppose the Prime Minister or a speech that seems promising from a European point of view. They are extremely careful there. On the other hand, insidiously doing everything possible to undermine things. I am left with the impression that the methods are more propaganda. I remember the interview from BGNES for October last year, in which Zoran Zaev said nothing that would provoke the anger of the proud descendants of the partisans. Then the entire social elite was outraged by his statement, all referring to their bold anti-fascist and guerrilla family backgrounds. I was impressed by two things: First, they have a reflex to be uncritical of their own background. They demonstrated their conviction that they came from a pure anti-fascist nation. The perversion in all this is that if you claim the purity of the nation, it is already fascism. On the other hand, anti-fascism was, in a sense, the face of their fascism. This is a kind of nationalism, national self-sufficiency and arrogance – you, your national existence is created from pure fabric. A nation without flaws, a nation born of the anti-fascist struggle. So we are cleaner than France, of course, than Germany – so it turns out. Therefore, I believe that there is an unconscious reflex in the reaction. These people take this very seriously and do not understand that it is a form of nationalism, of Nazism. I know these are very harsh words, but in any case it is a matter of arrogance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYUgZCVZUZ4 BGNES: There are accusations that the Bulgarians are fascists, heirs, collaborators of the fascists, and on the other hand you say: “You are Tatars and we cannot be one people, because you are Tatars. ” The Bulgarian family presents itself as something of little value, which again goes to fascism. Kolozova: Yes, there is this. There was a similar low level some time ago with regard to Greece, when similar qualifications were used. This is another level of nationalism and hate speech. Personally, I find it interesting to analyze others because they behave. They would never say “Tatars”. But respected intellectuals do not consider at all how they speak for themselves. First for his own nation, which has such a pure anti-fascist origin without any flaw. They themselves are descendants of guerrillas who come from such a pure lineage. On the other hand, they do not notice that they reduce an entire nation to just a certain historical period, and they think that it is okay to look at them that way. This is completely unconscious. In my opinion, at one point there was a propaganda mobilization of this whole intellectual elite. If you tell them something reasonable, for example, that Zaev never denied any historical period, but made a gesture to say about a neighboring people that these people there can not be equated to only one particular period. On the one hand, you explain this, and on the other hand, something else is persistently repeated. If there is such a refusal for a reasonable discussion, then there is some propaganda. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1KkspRnOKM BGNES: One of the things Zaev was accused of was his statement that Yugoslavia had built a wall between Macedonia and Bulgaria that divided these two peoples. Why is this topic taboo in Macedonia and no one wants to talk about it? Kolozova: It is strange that there is a refusal of a rational discussion on this issue. We cannot lie that Yugoslavia had a policy of separating one nation from another. All this historical intertwining until 1944 is a fact. This is the year of separation of all these intertwined ties. I agree with some of the critics of the Bulgarian position, who say that it cannot be cut with a knife and it can be said that on this date is the breaking point. There could not have been no social conditions to reach this stage of building a new nation. No nation is built from scratch, ie. there was a basis for this. But there was also a lot of intertwining, as I said a while ago. Yugoslavia has taken care to separate these two identities, and repressive measures have been used – these are facts. There is a story of repressed people who claimed to have a similar identity or shared identity or had pro-Bulgarian attitudes. There are archival materials for this period and even during Gruevski’s time a whole series was published from the Archives of Macedonia. Ethnic Macedonians were persecuted for their closeness to Bulgaria or for declaring Bulgarian identity or for pro-Bulgarian statements. For example, a man from the theater was deprived of his passport for five years, just because he said that the Bulgarian theater is not worse than the Yugoslav one. Isn’t this a systematically cultivated Bulgarophobia during Yugoslavia? So Zaev was right. What’s so scary about saying that? Why was he crucified for these words of his? What was that hysterical reaction? Why not have a normal sensible discussion? BGNES: And behind this hysteria is not the attempt of the system, built after 1945, not to face the truth that violence was used in this process of division of the two peoples? Kolozova: I do not know how conscious it is, given the narrative of self-idealization of the nation built within Yugoslavia. I believe that there is no awareness of persecution. BGNES: Isn’t it time to confront this truth that there was persecution, that people were imprisoned for one word? Is it time to see the truth that there was a similar attitude not only towards the Bulgarians, but also towards the Albanians – because of a song, for example, people ended up in prison? Isn’t it time to face this truth face to face? Kolozova: Time has long passed. The other communist countries did the lustration, ending the legacy of the past much earlier. I think our train is gone. I am afraid that Gruevski has made senseless the understanding of the lustration process. Lustrating still doesn’t make sense anymore, and it doesn’t have to be the only way. I believe that the only way is to start a free and uncensored debate on the topics. No lustration, litigation or political proceedings are required. It is enough to start a free debate, especially in academia. That is why I believe that science must be completely separated from politics. This is exactly what disturbs me in the Framework Position of the Bulgarian National Assembly and it is no coincidence that you remain misunderstood by Europe. There is too much history there – to make sure the history is not falsified, etc. Too often, the word “history” is used as a politically relevant issue. In interstate and supranational relations, such as the EU, history should not be a serious, legitimate issue. We all know that history is a kind of intellectual product, conditionally speaking. There are all sorts of positions, there is not a single fact on which there are no different opinions. And to claim in parliament that he needs to know exactly what the facts are, and to have a monolithic unanimity in the position on this issue, is not common from a political point of view. This complicates relations between us and the understanding of their position by the EU. I understand what motivates them, I read the framework position. In fact, they are affected by hate speech in the education system, in the textbooks, and therefore they demand that this be stopped. But a political formulation must be found for this. The theses that sound in “politically” correct language need to be reformulated. and the EU’s understanding of their position. I understand what motivates them, I read the framework position. In fact, they are affected by hate speech in the education system, in the textbooks, and therefore they demand that this be stopped. But a political formulation must be found for this. The theses that sound in “politically” correct language need to be reformulated. and the EU’s understanding of their position. I understand what motivates them, I read the framework position. In fact, they are affected by hate speech in the education system, in the textbooks, and therefore they demand that this be stopped. But a political formulation must be found for this. The theses that sound in “politically” correct language must be reformulated.

Take, for example, the Prespa Treaty. It is clear that he is resolving a cultural-historical conflict. But it does not use terminology that mentions the “indisputable truth” about one nation or another. There is simply articulated art. 7, which reads: “When the term“ Macedonian ”is used for one country, the Hellenistic era will be taken into account, and when used for the other country, the South Slavic heritage will be taken into account. We agreed to call a spade a spade. ” And that’s it! That is why the Prespa Treaty was praised for its brilliant diplomacy to resolve a conflict related to historical identity in political terms. It is illogical to put history as a political topic in a parliamentary document. This should be eliminated and other ways to solve the problem should be sought. There are other platforms. No confrontation should be sought. BGNES: How do you explain the fact that the intellectual elite in the two countries has never shown concern about the poor infrastructural connectivity between the countries? Why are those who are called to say that if we really want these peoples to be connected, they must do so first through infrastructure so that they can get to know and remove these prejudices and stereotypes about each other? Kolozova: I think that the poor infrastructural connectivity also has something to do with the Yugoslav period. This is not accidental. You have such highways to the south and north, here that they are already being built to the west, and here you have literally a field path. A German commented that the paths between the fields look like this, and here they connect two countries. It is also a policy of building a wall between the two countries. This is not only because of the distinction of the Macedonian identity, but there are ideological bases. Anyway, the wall is a fact and I don’t understand why everyone reacted so hysterically. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ShEqzRoJc BGNES: It’s been 30 years since independence and there is no prospect of change? Kolozova: That surprises me. I tend to be more self-critical, I realize the Bulgarophobia and the wall we are talking about. I think that we do not have enough will. But now it is clear that the Bulgarian side does not have enough will. Minimal initiative in terms of infrastructure, because they focus on history instead of present and future. If Bulgaria wants to overcome Bulgarophobia and convince our society that there was once a natural historical closeness, it must choose other methods. The stick method instead of a carrot is unproductive. You can’t “pour” the truth into someone’s head with a stick or a veto, which is perceived as a gesture of aggression. We need to be open to each other, to accept ourselves as we are, to work for the development of infrastructure, for cultural exchange. We must listen to each other’s languages ​​- it is unacceptable to understand Serbian better than Bulgarian, given that Macedonian and Bulgarian are linguistically closer. We should work for mutual warming of relations, instead of exchanging accusations on both sides. In such an environment, multidisciplinary commissions should work in an academic way, not under political pressure. BGNES: Historical decisions are made by courageous politicians. In your opinion, what should the leaders of the two countries do? Kolozova: In my opinion, first Bulgaria must make sure that the statement does not deny the modern Macedonian language and nation to be included in a document that does not sound like the declaration. On the other hand, our country must stop repeating the mantra “we do not negotiate the language, we do not negotiate the identity.” Our country must accept that this agreement be specified in an additional act. I know it is a heresy to speak like that and I cannot explain to our country that it is good for us. It is rumored that this would be an annex to be put on the table and we would just sign it. No! You must be an active person involved in the creation of this annex and you can contribute to this concretization in your favor. If we sit and wait for things to pass, this will not happen. It’s not 1992 now, when someone Holbrooke will press Bulgaria. We need to sit down and negotiate with them, and this agreement needs to be specified. The declaration of the Bulgarian parliament is not favorable for both sides. Someone is already making additional documents. Why does Macedonia refuse to prepare any document or participate in its preparation, where it will be able to formulate its demands? Sit down now, review this document, which is just a vague declaration of goodwill, and recreate it in 4-5 steps. No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES We need to sit down and negotiate with them, and this agreement needs to be specified. The declaration of the Bulgarian parliament is not favorable for both sides. Someone is already making additional documents. Why does Macedonia refuse to prepare any document or participate in its preparation, where it will be able to formulate its demands? Sit down now, review this document, which is just a vague declaration of goodwill, and recreate it in 4-5 steps. No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES We need to sit down and negotiate with them, and this agreement needs to be concretized. The declaration of the Bulgarian parliament is not favorable for both sides. Someone is already making additional documents. Why does Macedonia refuse to prepare any document or participate in its preparation, where it will be able to formulate its demands? Sit down now, review this document, which is just a vague declaration of goodwill, and recreate it in 4-5 steps. No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES Someone is already making additional documents. Why does Macedonia refuse to prepare any document or participate in its preparation, where it will be able to formulate its demands? Sit down now, review this document, which is just a vague declaration of goodwill, and recreate it in 4-5 steps. No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES Someone is already making additional documents. Why does Macedonia refuse to prepare any document or participate in its preparation, where it will be able to formulate its demands? Sit down now, review this document, which is just a vague declaration of goodwill, and recreate it in 4-5 steps. No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process. / BGNES No one has put a knife to your throat to accept only the solutions that Bulgaria offers. Suggest yours! We just wait to sit and wait for it to pass. I’m sorry, but this is an infantile position. This will not go away on its own. We need to become an active participant in the process.