Sputnik: Bulgaria Might Be Seeking to Reannex Macedonia

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | May 20, 2015, Wednesday // 07:35
Bulgaria: Sputnik: Bulgaria Might Be Seeking to Reannex Macedonia Motorcycle passes by the tents of protesters camp in front of the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, May 18, 2015. EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's reactions to the situation in Macedonia raise suspicions about the country's "true intentions" about Macedonia, Sputnik News wrote on Tuesday.

In an opinion piece run on the English-language versions of state-owned Russia Today agency (formerly known as RIA Novosti English), the author argues "other developments and statements coming from the country appear to confirm what’s really behind their seemingly mystifying move."

Another claim is that Sofia is "possibly attempting to reassert its de-facto claims over the territory and people of the Republic of Macedonia as a means of further destabilizing the country, sidelining Russia’s Balkan Stream project, and distracting from its own domestic malaise."

The "Balkan Stream" is an offshoot of a pipeline project known as "Turkish Stream". Its idea is to provide supplies to central Europe using a route alternative to the South Stream project which Moscow ditched due to EU (and Bulgarian) resistance to unblock construction.

Earlier Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced a decision to send troops along the Bulgaria-Macedonia border as a means to react in case of any tensions after massive anti-government protests and especially after the developments in Kumanovo where an alleged "terrorist group" killed 8 police officers.

But this, according to Sputnik, raises "disturbing questions".

The fact that Sofia is "implicitly supported by the US and US" adds to the picture.

Historian Bozhidar Dimitrov, who heads the National History Museum and who is known for his staunch anti-Macedonian rhetoric, is quoted as hinting at reannexation in an interview with Focus News Agency. "It is feasible that this influential and well-connected academic and cultural personality may have had an impact on that decision," the text claims.

Another example is the presence of MEP and Party of European Socialists (PES) leader Sergey Stanishev in Skopje during the "Color Revolution inauguration" on Sunday, adding he didn't mention the word "Macedonians" and thus committing "a common racial slight by Bulgarians who refuse to recognize the existence of the ethnicity."

A move by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov to inform Bulgarians that drafting a common position on Macedonia is on the agenda is interpreted as a leading role for Mitov in announcing the forthcoming "unified approach" of the EU.

"This indicates that Brussels has made a conscientious decision to capitalize off of Bulgaria’s historically nationalist attitude to Macedonia in crowning it as the West’s Lead From Behind proxy."

Further on, Sputnik gives a retrospective about Bulgaria's attempts to "physically dominate Macedonia and erase any reference to the Macedonian ethnic group," and reminds of the Second Balkan War, WWI and WWII, when Sofia reasserted its claims to parts (or all) of Macedonia's territory.

"Bulgaria is currently in pretty poor shape, both economically and politically", Sputnik reminds, pointing to political instability, "various resignations" and PM Borisov's "dedicated anti-Russian course".

Pressured by the situation and also by the blame Bulgarians are throwing on him for the demise of South Stream, Borisov "felt compelled to safeguard his administration by channeling the public’s growing outrage away from the authorities and towards an external crisis that could easily distract them, ergo Bulgaria’s growingly assertive stance and increasingly vocal nationalism vis-?-vis Macedonia," the text claims.

A conclusion reads that "the combined threats of Greater Albania and Greater Bulgaria weigh heavily on the Macedonia’s political leadership, which now finds itself between two pseudo-expansionist powers that evidently have a nationalist stake in the multicultural and unified country’s collapse."

But it also suggests that Sofia might be aided by the West to prevent the "Balkan Stream" from being carried out.

The full text is available here.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Balkan Stream, Turkish Stream, macedonia, Bulgaria, Sputnik, Bozhidar Dimitrov

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