2014 | 4(30) | 123-131
Article title

Being Macedonian: Different types of ethnic identifications in the contemporary Republic of Macedonia

Selected contents from this journal
Title variants
Languages of publication
The article reviews different forms of ethnic Macedonian (Macedonist) identities in the contemporary Republic of Macedonia. The classic model elaborated in the post‑war Yugoslavia – postulating that Macedonians are a separate Slav nationality forged in the medieval period and marked in its genesis by the influence of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their pupils – after 2006 was substituted by a different paradigm making the nationality a thousand years older and deriving it from ancient Makedones and the state of Alexander the Great. The focus of the contribution is on a third little known variety of ethnic Macedonian identity that claims that the distinct Macedonian nation is a comparatively recent phenomenon forged in the years around the Second World War. Such views are spread among two wider groups: firstly, those of the elder Macedonians, contemporaries of 1940s that personally experienced the national transformation at the time, and, secondly, that of the younger educated citizens that respect the imperatives of reason and search for the rational resolution of different societal problems including the nation‑related ones. Since the current environment in the Republic of Macedonia strongly discourages the articulation of such viewpoints they have a semi‑dissident statute. Nevertheless, some prominent members of the intellectual elite have the courage to disclose their views, most consistent among them being Prof. Denko Maleski, former foreign minister and permanent representative to the UN and the son of the creator of the text of the Macedonian national anthem, as well as the journalist Branko Trichkovski. Both stem from the old left‑wing Yugoslav‑Macedonian elite. On the other hand, figures from the right‑wing political spectre, including the former prime minister Lyubcho Georgievski, though departing from a different starting point, are coming to similar conclusions on the recent naissance of the Macedonian nation. These identifications are in harmony with the dominating concepts in the European historiography affirmed and developed in the later decades by authors such as Hugh Poulton, Jan Rychlík and Ulf Brunbauer. The contribution limits its scope to the three different types of identifications within the Macedonist framework and does not study the Macedonian Slav identities that remain beyond its range – those of Macedonian Bulgarians and of Macedonian Serbs.
  • Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
  • Brunnbauer U. (ed.), (Re)Writing History. Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism, Münster 2004 (Studies on South East Europe, 4).
  • Бугарски културен клуб, at <>.
  • Демократска Партија Срба у Македонији, at <>.
  • Dimova R., Ethno‑Baroque: Materiality, Aesthetics and Conflict in Modern‑Day Macedonia, Oxford 2013.
  • ‘European Parliament resolution on the 2009 progress report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, 10 February 2010, At <‑TA‑2010–0024&format=XML&language=EN>.
  • Георгиевски Љ., ‘За националното помирување по втор пат. Кој со кого ќе се помирува?’, Пулс, 7‑14 July 1995.
  • Graan A., ‘Counterfeiting the Nation? Skopje 2014 and the Politics of Nation Branding in Macedonia’, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2013), at <–1360.2012.01179.x>.
  • ‘Груевски: Во Македонија нема антички и словенски Македонци, има само Македонци!’, Вечер, 19 February 2009.
  • Herold S., Langer B., Lechler J. (eds.), Reading the City. Urban Space and Memory in Skopje, Berlin 2010 (Sonderpublikation des Instituts für Stadtund Regionalplanung Technische Universität Berlin).
  • ‘Историските личности не се пинг‑понг топчиња. Интервју со Тодор Чепреганов, директор на Институтот за национална историја’, Утрински весник, 19 June 2012.
  • ‘Иванов: да се смени политиката кон соседите’, Дневник, 7 March 2009.
  • ‘Иванов: “Доста се поделби на народот”’, Вечер, 7 March 2009.
  • Janev G., ‘Narrating the Nation, Narrating the City’, Cultural Analysis, Vol. 10 (2011).
  • Капсаров Х., Погледи кон минатото, Скопjе 2009.
  • Киселиновски С., Историскиот детерминизам и македонскиот јазик (ХХ век), Скопје 2009.
  • Кузман П., ‘За идентитетскиот земјотрес во Македонија’, Утрински весник, 31 March 2012.Brunnbauer U. (ed.), (Re)Writing History. Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism, Münster 2004 (Studies on South East Europe, 4).
  • Малески Д., ‘Дилемата на македонското национално единство’, Утрински весник, 3 March 2007.
  • Малески Д., ‘Порака до ЕУ: достоинство за Македонците’, Утрински весник, 3 February 2007.
  • ‘Ние сме во напредната фаза на исчезнување како нација’, интервју со Бранко Тричковски, Утрински весник, 21 July 2013.
  • Петрова‑Митевска Е., Поповска H., Античка Македонија: критички приод кон интерпретацијата на историјата и историографијата, Скопје 2011.
  • Poulton H., Who are the Macedonians?, London 1995.
  • Rychlík J., Kouba M., Dĕjiny Makedonie, Praha 2003 (Dějiny Států) (Macedonian edition: J. Рихлик, M. Коуба, Историja на Македониjа, Скопjе 2009).
  • ‘Со Бугарите разговараме само за 19 век, со Грците за ништо’, интервју со Драги Ѓорѓиев, директор на Институтот за национална историја, Плусинфо, 28 October 2013, at <‑Bugarite‑razgovarame‑samo‑za‑19‑vek‑so‑Grcite‑za‑nishto>.
  • Спасов Ѓ., ‘Во потрага по изгубениот идентитет’, Утрински весник, 12 November 2008.
  • Сърбиновски М., За македонистките работи, София 2011.
  • Тричковски Б., ‘Вистинското лице на лагата’, Глобус, 19 June 2012, at <http://www.globusmagazin.>.
  • Трифуноски Ј., Македонизирање Јужне Србије, Београд 1995
  • Vangeli A., ‘Nation‑building Ancient Macedonian Style: The Origins and the Effects of the So‑called
  • Antiquization in Macedonia’, Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, Vol. 39, No. 1 (2011), at <>.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.