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The Deceased Founder of fYROM Slandered by his Successors.

April 26, 2012

By Stavros Tzimas, Kathimerini, 03.01.2012

One of the most powerful leaders of the post-communist Balkans, the last of the great actors of the Yugoslavian crisis, Kiro Gligorov, the former President of fYROM dies on the night of New Year’s Day in Skopje at an advanced age.

The founder of the state of the “Republic of Macedonia”, as was vested constitutionally the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), the name with which it became a member of the UN, he served two ties as its President, a position from which he handled with great skill the wheel of the battered ship in the turbulent west Balkans of the ‘90ies.

For the Slavomacedonians he was the politician who created their own state and secured it on the world map, the politician who with his manoeuvres kept them away from the Yugoslav bloodbath, achieving the “velvet divorce” from Milosevic.

Who he was

For the international community he was a far-sighted and experienced leader, a stable and trusted interlocutor in a flammable area, who created a state where for as long as he himself governed, Slavs, Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Vlachs and others lived harmoniously together.

Kiro Gligorov defended with vigour and effectiveness the interests of his country in difficult times, without ignoring the delicate balances in the unstable surroundings, and without provoking beyond certain limits the national sensitivities of the neighbours, as is the case with today’s leaders of the state that he created and who at the sunset of his life tried to reduce his importance.

What did he really believe that he was? A Macedonian, certainly, but what kind of Macedonian? He himself had the habit of recounting – it is recorded in his memoirs – on this an incident in the margin of the General Assembly of the UN in April 1993, to which his country had been accepted as fYROM. The actors where himself and a group of “Macedonians of the Diaspora”, who had hurried from Australia to show their support:

“During the reception I saw them sitting silently in a corner, and I asked them what they thought of everything that had happened today. “You spoke well”, one of their number answered “but you did not say the most important thing, that we are the descendants of Alexander the Great. We interpret this, that you deny our Macedonian origin”. It was hard for me to find an answer immediately, and in the end I said to him: I respect your thoughts and beliefs, it is your right. But according to our History, the Macedonian people believes that we are Slavs. We arrived in the Balkans during the 6th and 7th century, we established ourselves on the territory that was called Macedonia and since then we live on it. I do not know to what extent some drop of the blood of the Ancient Macedonians flows, but even if this is so, it is not this that gives its identity to our people”.

Kiro Gligorov, as is obvious from this incident as well, belonged to a different school of thought which today’s leadership under Nikola Gruevski is trying to deconstruct, in its effort to construct a new historical theory for the nation, that of “pure macedonism”.

He believed, as did the greatest part of the political elite that emerged in Skopje after the fall of Yugoslavia and during the formation of the “Republic of Macedonia”, that it is not possible to remove from the people its Slav characteristics and this is precisely the reason why the propaganda mechanisms of today’s authorities have given themselves these last years to an operation of his deposition, aimed especially at the younger generation that does not know, skilfully cultivating his profile as being almost a traitor to the nation!

They Downplayed His Role

This is why in the festivities in September for the twenty years from the creation of the state the governors hurried to downplay his leading role in the creation of today’s state…

Independently from the hostility with which we faced Jiro Gligorov or the meanness of the Macedonists of Nikola Gruevski, History will record him in its pages as one of the most important political personalities of the Balkans, who in critical moments functioned as a factor of stability.

And maybe for this there were those who tried to eliminate him in October 1995, blowing up the car that carried his in the centre of the town of Skopje, in a dark assassination attempt that remains unsolved.

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