On the backdrop of the recent dramatic events in our neighboring country, it is more than urgent for the Bulgarian government to finally develop and adopt a clear and open policy towards our compatriots there. The decades of nihilism and renunciation of the Bulgarian ethnicity of the citizens of Macedonia are the legacy of the imposed by the Bulgarian Communist Party anti-Bulgarian policy of the Comintern for the alienation of the Macedonian Bulgarians, wherever they are located. Bulgaria continues to play the role of the evil stepmother and ignore our compatriots who, despite the violent repression of the Serbo-communism, did not lose their national identity.
The fact that all governments of Bulgaria until today invariably refuse to grant Bulgarians from the former Yugoslavia their priority and natural right of citizenship bluntly reveals their backstage commitment to the ideological perversions of the former Bolshevik-Communist dictatorship that designed and created the artificial political “Macedonian” nation and language. The end of the regime of Nikola Gruevski in Macedonia is close, and with it the challenges facing Bulgarian institutions regarding the fate of the Macedonian Bulgarians and their recognition by the Motherland are becoming more and more serious.
Why Macedonian Bulgarians have the right to be citizens of Bulgaria
Each one of us acquires certain citizenship at birth. What is citizenship? Citizenship is a sustainable political and legal relationship of the person (citizen) with the holder of public authority – the State. Seen as a legal status, citizenship is a set of rights and obligations governing the relations between individuals and the State. In political terms, citizenship is the right to participate in public life and governance. In a broader socio-cultural context, citizenship is a carrier of identity associated with membership in a society, differentiating oneself from others. Citizenship could also mean (prove) a belonging to a nation – an ethnic group, as only citizenship is granted on the grounds of ethnic origin in accordance with the law on citizenship of a country.
To make the above listed things more understandable for the readers, we will simplify them – citizenship means belonging to a country, society, nation – belonging in the sense that you belong to it, and the State belongs to you. Each State itself determines who its citizens are; who and how can obtain citizenship of the country. Most often this is governed by the Law on Citizenship.
The world’s most common ways of acquiring citizenship are:
Family relation (also can be called origin
“Jus Sanguinus” from the Latin – “right of blood”) which means that the citizenship of a newborn child is determined by the citizenship of his/her parents. In this case, it is sufficient for only one parent to be a citizen of a country for the child to be accepted as citizen of the country as well. In this case, the child is considered a citizen by birth. As far as the parents are citizens of different countries, the child will be considered a citizen of two countries at birth to the extent this is possible under law on citizenship of the respective countries. Today, this model is the leading and main one in most of the countries in Europe and the world.
Place of birth (“Jus Soli” from the Latin – “the law of the land”) which means citizenship of a newborn child is determined by the place of birth, country of birth, regardless of the citizenship of his/her parents (it is irrelevant). This model currently exists in the countries of the Americas such Canada, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and others. Thus, for example a child of a Bulgarian and a Croatian citizen born in Argentina is considered an Argentine citizen since birth and also obtains the citizenship of his/her parents – Bulgarian and Croatian, from which we can draw the conclusion that the child will be a citizen of three countries – Argentina, Bulgaria and Croatia. It should be reminded that many countries that use this model do not allow opting out of citizenship. Some allow it only for people whose parents are foreign citizens. These countries also use the model “right of blood” for the children of its citizens who were born abroad. The exception to this model is the children of foreign diplomats in the host country.
Naturalization – this means that an alien may be granted citizenship of a particular country as he/she fulfills certain conditions included in the law on citizenship. This model exists in every country and that is how a person who has no family ties with the country can become citizen. Most often, the latter requires permanent residence in duration of several years, speaking the local official language, passing an exam in history, political system, etc. Naturalization may be accelerated as far as foreign nationals enter into marriage with a citizen of that country.
Many countries across the globe grant citizenship to individuals who belong to certain people without having parents citizens of the country, without being born in the country, etc. Thus, for example Italy grants citizenship to people who have Italian origin which means that one of their ancestors was Italian national, whether through citizenship or perhaps their origin was from Italian territory. Ireland considers people born in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, as its citizens. So, everyone born in Northern Ireland, in principle, is a citizen of both Ireland and Britain. Furthermore, Ireland allows citizenship to be granted to a person who is of Irish origin regardless of the citizenship of his/her parents and of his/her place of birth. In these cases, we are talking about people who today have no Italian or Irish identity; do not perceive themselves as such; do not even speak Irish or Italian, but because of “historical ties” they are considered citizens.
Croatia and Serbia grant citizenship to ethnic Croats and Serbs no matter where they were born. Thus, many citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (a country where Croats and Serbs live in addition to Muslim Bosnians) are considered citizens of Croatia and Serbia only because of their ethnicity.
Hungary grants citizenship to people from its former territories whose grandfathers and grandmothers were citizens of Hungary regardless of ethnicity. The only thing required is a basic knowledge of the Hungarian language.
Macedonian Bulgarians – unrecognized on both sides of the border
Ethnic Bulgarians from territories that have remained outside Bulgaria can also be accepted as citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria over their Bulgarian origin. They are fully entitled to that and it is written in the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Bulgaria: “Under Article 15 of the Law on Bulgarian Citizenship persons of Bulgarian origin can acquire Bulgarian citizenship.” According to this article of the Law, persons of Bulgarian origin are considered to be Bulgarian citizens by naturalization without permanent residency in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of five years and giving up their foreign citizenship.
Unfortunately, on numerous occasions, this right of Bulgarians is challenged in Bulgaria, but also in the countries of residence of those who are applying for and are granted Bulgarian citizenship, especially in Macedonia. Here, Bulgarians who have decided to undertake this approach are called with offensive names; marked as traitors; insulted; cursed; dismissed from work. All this happens in modern Republic of Macedonia in the 21st century – a country that is hysterically denying the existence of ethnic Bulgarians on its territory.
In the early 20th century, when the region of Macedonia was under Ottoman rule, the majority of the population there was Bulgarian. Vasil Kanchov, a prominent Bulgarian politician and geographer, presents clearly the ethnic picture of Macedonia in his book “Macedonia – Ethnography and Statistics“. The book is the first comprehensive Bulgarian statistics of the population of the geographical region of Macedonia. The second part of the book contains a detailed description of all settlements in Macedonia under administrative districts and their population in absolute numbers, ethnicity and religion which clearly shows that the majority of them were Bulgarians. The book was translated in French by Leon Lamouche. According to the Russian scientist Timotey Florinski, the work of Vasil Kanchov “reproduces the most accurately the actual distribution of nationalities inhabiting Macedonia“.
Bulgarians from Macedonia participated actively in the fights against the Ottoman Empire, such as the struggle for religious independence, the Russo-Turkish War 1877-78, the Kresna-Razlog and Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprisings. They fought in the Balkan War in the ranks of the Bulgarian Army and the Macedonian-Adrianople army of volunteers for the liberation of our lands remaining under Ottoman rule. Our ancestors fought for Bulgaria against Serbia and Greece in the Balkan, First and Second World Wars as Bulgarian soldiers on behalf of the Bulgarian Homeland for the realization of the Bulgarian national ideal.
After the end of World War II, Bulgaria ended again on the side of the losers which meant detachment from its territory of primordial ethnic regions, one of which was the Vardar Macedonia. This area was returned to Yugoslavia, and there began the existence of the newly-established People’s Republic of Macedonia. According, to the forcefully imposed Comintern doctrine of “Macedonism”, the existence of the Macedonian nation and language other than Bulgarian was proclaimed there. A Law on Preserving National Honor was introduced. According to this Law, to call oneself Bulgarian was considered a crime against the State. Everything Bulgarian was deleted and destroyed, including documents of great importance, monuments, inscriptions in temples, schools and cemeteries. Church books and records for baptisms, weddings and death certificates were destroyed. This policy was also officially supported by the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, where the population of the Pirin region was forcefully declared by the Communist regime as non-Bulgarian and was forced to define itself as “Macedonian”; to study “Macedonian” language and profess identity different from the national one and the Bulgarian historical memory. During this period, a colossal in its scope replacement of the historical Bulgarian identity in Vardar Macedonia was made. Because of this, the vast majority Bulgarians in Macedonia today have no documents from their grandmothers and grandfathers with which to prove their Bulgarian origin which greatly obstructs their receiving of Bulgarian citizenship.
After the democratic changes in Bulgaria in 1989 and the declaration of Macedonia as separate from the Yugoslav Federation independent State, many Bulgarians from Macedonia decided that the repressive anti-Bulgarian Communist regime is gone forever. With the hope of historical justice many of them decided to acquire back the authentic citizenship of their ancestors – those who lived, fought and died for Bulgaria.
Every year more and more people started to apply in mass in Sofia. Bulgarians from Macedonia want to be accepted as Bulgarian citizens because they themselves feel Bulgarians and have the right to belong to the Bulgarian nation as they also write it in their applications for citizenship. They want to be equal with their blood brothers from Bulgaria in their rights and obligations to the Motherland. As by the very nature, Bulgarians from Macedonia are nothing less than those Bulgarians in Bulgaria. The only difference is that those born and living in Bulgaria had the luck to be born on a free Bulgarian land, while we, in Macedonia, have to fight even today for our natural human right to be such as nature has created us and as we know it from our ancestors – Bulgarians.
The absurd anti-Bulgarian policy of Bulgaria
In 2014, the Bulgarian Minister of Justice Zinaida Zlatanova decided to introduce even more serious obstacles for Bulgarians abroad to obtain citizenship. The procedure was changed so that candidates for Bulgarian citizenship, in addition to a document issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad (SABA), are required to have an original document from 70 and more years ago, where it is written that one’s grandfather was Bulgarian. This frankly discriminating measure of the previous government was met with violent protests and requests for resignation by the Bulgarians from Macedonia and Serbia. Because there are no such documents and there is no way to have them after the alienating Communist pogrom on all these documents, as we already mentioned. In reality, one Bulgarian institution (the Ministry of Justice) refused to recognize the documents issued by another Bulgarian State institution (SABA). This absurd led to the fatal result – many files for Bulgarian citizenship to be put on hold and remain on hold until today. Once again, the question # Who has the most benefit from such actions arises? Perhaps the passport mafia that is entrenched in the respective institutions? The Russian influence on greedy Bulgarian politicians who are thus working for Serbian interests in Macedonia and for the Macedonism?
Assessment of historical justice
To refuse Bulgarian citizenship to a Bulgarian from Macedonia, who pays a large price to be such in the country from which they come, is equal to NATIONAL TREASON! Bulgarians in Macedonia have kept their Bulgarian identity, language, history, culture and Bulgaria is now administratively telling them “NO, it cannot happen”! Bulgarians from Macedonia were soldiers and heroes not only in the wars for national liberation and unification of Bulgaria. They were prominent participants in the construction of modern Bulgaria. Needless to mention the names of proven and respected individuals such as Gotse Delchev, Damyan Gruev, Todor Alexandrov, Ivan Mihailov, Simeon Radev, Andrey Lyapchev, Lyubomir Miletic and many others. Much of the Bulgarian national revival personalities, national heroes and intellectuals were born in Macedonia – Hristofor Zhefarovich Patriarch Evtimiy, Neofit Rilski, Yoakim Karchovski, Rayko Zhinzifov, Brothers Miladinovi, Grigor Parlichev, Kuzman Shapkarev, and in more recent times – Atanas Dalchev, Dimitar Talev, Nikola Vaptsarov, Venko Markovski, etc. Almost a third of today’s Bulgarians in Bulgaria originates or is ancestrally related to Macedonia.
The deletion of the Bulgarians from Macedonia from the Bulgarian present and future will cause not only a demographic, but also a severe historical damage to Bulgaria. The Bulgarian people will remain without its history and without future prospects. The hidden great resistance of the Bulgarian authorities against the natural origin recognition and the quick granting of citizenship to the Macedonian Bulgarians (as did Hungary with Transylvania and Romania with Moldova) is actually a continuation by other means of the Russian-Bolshevik strategy to defeat Bulgarian ethnicity. This entirely serves ideal foreign geopolitical interests in the context of demographic collapse; dooms the Bulgarian nation and State to extinction, i.e. the goal of the destruction of Bulgaria is carried out quite demonstratively and cynically by those who govern this country. Unfortunately, the deliberately imposed restrictions since the beginning of 2014 have not been abolished by the current authorities – the National Assembly and the government of Bulgaria. They are not even giving indications of such a reform.
The Bulgarian State must urgently arrange its positions and policies so that any ethnic Bulgarian who wants Bulgarian citizenship has the opportunity to immediately obtain it. Such a practice is widespread and is used in leading countries in the world today that are building prosperous nations. If current Bulgarian State institutions are working for the interests of Bulgaria, and not someone else’s, they are obligated to immediately adapt their legislation and practices so that they do not require unrealistic documents from 100 years ago. A facilitated speedy procedure for people from regions outside Bulgaria should be launched.
Our right is the duty of Bulgaria to us! Because we have the right to be Bulgarian citizens! Because we are Bulgarians!
This post is also available in: Bulgarian