The Chairman and Secretary of the Closed Bulgarian Club in Bitola will receive Bulgarian Citizenship
The chairman and secretary of the "Ivan Mihailov" Bulgarian cultural center in Bitola, closed by the authorities in North Macedonia, will receive Bulgarian citizenship. President Rumen Radev will present Bulgarian passports to Lyubcho Georgievski and Blagoi Shatorov at a ceremony in the "Coat of Arms" Hall of "Dondukov" 2 street.
The Bulgarian club in Bitola, named after the last historical leader of VMRO (IMRO) Ivan Mihailov, was established by the local Macedonian Bulgarians three years ago. Representatives of the Bulgarian authorities participated in its official opening in April 2022.
A month later, the door of the club was set on fire, and the arsonist, Lambe Alabakovski, received a suspended sentence.
In March, the authorities in Skopje decided that the center could not be named after Ivan Mihailov on the grounds that it was a "provocation to the national feelings of the Macedonian people" and demanded that the club be renamed.
After this did not happen and after adopted amendments to the Law on the names of associations and foundations, the Bulgarian center in Bitola was closed.
The prosecutor's office filed a charge of inciting hatred against the chairman of the association.
Today, Lyubcho Georgievski and the secretary of the Bulgarian club, which was erased by the authorities in North Macedonia, Blagoi Shatorov, will receive their Bulgarian passports personally from President Rumen Radev at a special ceremony on "Dondukov" 2 street. Vice-President Iliana Yotova signed the decrees for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of their Bulgarian origin.
This week, the president again expressed concern over the lack of progress on the subject of changes to the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia and the inclusion of Bulgarians in it. This is a mandatory condition for the start of negotiations between Skopje and the European Union. Radev also commented on the frequent cases of repression and hate crimes against Bulgarians in our southwestern neighbor:
"The leadership of the Republic of North Macedonia can claim to be building a modern multi-ethnic society when it finds the strength to include Gotse Delchev's compatriots in its constitution. The negotiation framework has an integral part and this is the protocol signed between the two countries. There is no progress there. For this I'm talking to all the leaders, that's why I'm talking to the European institutions - that there should be movement according to this protocol, because that's where the textbooks are, that's where the language of hatred is, that's where the opening of the archives and the apology for the ethnic repression against the Bulgarians over the years is." Last week, the secretary of the Bulgarian club 'Tsar Boris III' in Ohrid, Hristiyan Pendikov, also received Bulgarian citizenship. He was severely beaten in January and was transported to Sofia for treatment. Pendikov is still recovering from the attack and continues to receive threats against his life.
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