Official name1 Republika Makedonija (Macedonian); Republika e Maqedonisë (Albanian) (Republic of Macedonia)
Form of government unitary multiparty republic with a unicameral legislature (Sobranie, or Assembly )
Head of state President: Gjorge Ivanov
Head of government Prime Minister: Nikola Gruevski
Official languages Macedonian; Albanian
Official religion none
Monetary unit denar (MKD)
Population (2014 est.) 2,066,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 9,928
Total area (sq km) 25,713
- Urban: (2011) 59.3%
- Rural: (2011) 40.7%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2010) 72.9 years
- Female: (2010) 77.2 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: (2008) 98.6%
- Female: (2008) 95.4%
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 4,800
1Member of the United Nations under the name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Background of Macedonia
Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece's objection to the new state's use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols delayed international recognition, which occurred under the provisional designation of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, but the issue of the name remained unresolved and negotiations for a solution are ongoing. Since 2004, the US and over 130 other nations have recognized Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. Ethnic Albanian grievances over perceived political and economic inequities escalated into an insurgency in 2001 that eventually led to the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting and established guidelines for constitutional amendments and the creation of new laws that enhanced the rights of minorities. Although Macedonia became an EU candidate in 2005, the country still faces challenges, including fully implementing the Framework Agreement, improving relations with Bulgaria, carrying out democratic reforms, and stimulating economic growth and development. Macedonia's membership in NATO was blocked by Greece at the Alliance's Summit of Bucharest in 2008.
Macedonia, country of the south-central Balkans. It is bordered to the north by Kosovo and Serbia, to the east by Bulgaria, to the south by Greece, and to the west by Albania. The capital is Skopje.
The Republic of Macedonia is located in the northern part of the area traditionally known as Macedonia, a geographical region bounded to the south by the Aegean Sea and the Aliákmon River; to the west by Lakes Prespa and Ohrid, the watershed west of the Crni Drim River, and the Šar Mountains; and to the north by the mountains of the Skopska Crna Gora and the watershed between the Morava and Vardar river basins. The Pirin Mountains mark its eastern edge. The Republic of Macedonia occupies about two-fifths of the entire geographical region of Macedonia. The rest of the region belongs to Greece and Bulgaria. Most people with a Macedonian national identity also refer to the region that constitutes their country as Vardar Macedonia, the Greek part of Macedonia as Aegean Macedonia, and the Bulgarian part of Macedonia as Pirin Macedonia. In this article, unless otherwise indicated, the name Macedonia refers to the present-day state the Republic of Macedonia when discussing geography and history since 1913 and to the larger region as described above when used in earlier historical contexts.
The region of Macedonia owes its importance neither to its size nor to its population but rather to its location at a major junction of communication routes—in particular, the great north-south route from the Danube River to the Aegean formed by the valleys of the Morava and Vardar rivers and the ancient east-west trade routes connecting the Black Sea and Istanbul with the Adriatic Sea. Although the majority of the republic’s inhabitants are of Slavic descent and heirs to the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, 500 years of incorporation into the Ottoman Empire left substantial numbers of other ethnic groups, including Albanians, Turks, Vlachs (Aromani), and Roma (Gypsies). Consequently, Macedonia forms a complex border zone between the major cultural traditions of Europe and Asia.
Ottoman control was brought to an end by the Balkan Wars (1912–13), after which Macedonia was divided among Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Following World War I, the Serbian segment was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929). After World War II the Serbian part of Macedonia became a constituent republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The collapse of Yugoslavia led the Republic of Macedonia to declare its independence on December 19, 1991. The two major problems facing the Republic of Macedonia since its independence have been ensuring that its large Albanian minority enjoys the rights of full citizenship and gaining international recognition under its constitutional name and membership in international organizations in the face of strong opposition from Greece, which claims a monopoly on the use of the term Macedonia. (See Researcher’s Note: Macedonia: a contested name.)
Geography of Macedonia
Geologically, Macedonia consists mainly of heavily folded ancient metamorphic rocks, which in the west have been eroded to reveal older granites. In the central region are found sedimentary deposits of more recent age. Traversing the country from north to south is a series of active fault lines, along which earthquakes frequently occur. The most severe of these in recent history occurred at Debar in 1967. Skopje was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963.
The mobility of Earth’s crust has also created two tectonic lakes, Prespa and Ohrid, in the southwest and has resulted in the formation of several mineral springs and hot springs.
Macedonia is largely mountainous, with many peaks rising above the tree line at 6,600 feet (2,000 metres) above sea level. The highest elevation is at Mount Korab (9,030 feet, or 2,752 metres) on the Albanian border. Near the Šar Mountains in the northwest, the country is covered with forest. Where this has been cleared (and often in the past overgrazed), the thin skeletal soils have been subjected to dramatic erosion and gullying. There are also several broad and fertile valleys that provide good potential for agriculture.
The greater part of Macedonia (about nine-tenths of its area) drains southeastward into the Aegean Sea via the Vardar River and its tributaries. Smaller parts of this basin drain into Lake Doiran (Macedonian: Dojran) and into the Aegean via the Strumica and Struma rivers. The remainder of Macedonian territory drains northward via the Crni Drim River toward the Adriatic Sea.
The convoluted and fractured geology of the area imposes upon many of these rivers erratic courses that frequently drive through narrow and sometimes spectacular gorges. Such formations facilitate the damming of rivers for electric power generation.
Macedonia stands at the junction of two main climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the continental. Periodically, air breaks through mountain barriers to the north and south, bringing dramatically contrasting weather patterns; one example is the cold northerly wind known as the vardarac. Overall, there is a moderate continental climate: temperatures average in the low 30s F (about 0 °C) in January and rise to the high 60s and 70s F (about 20–25 °C) in July. Annual precipitation is relatively light, between about 20 and 28 inches (about 500 and 700 mm). Rainfalls of less than 1 inch (25.4 mm) in the driest months (July–August) rise to nearly 4 inches (about 100 mm) in October–November. Because of differences in local aspect and relief, there may be considerable variation in the climate, with the eastern areas tending to have milder winters and hotter, drier summers and the western (more mountainous) regions having more severe winters.
- Plant and animal life
The mountainous northwestern parts of Macedonia support large areas of forest vegetation. On the lower slopes this is principally deciduous woodland, but conifers grow at elevations as high as 6,600 feet (2,000 metres). Some areas of forest have been cleared to provide rough summer pasture. The forests support a variety of wildlife, including wild pigs, wolves, bears, and lynx. The dry and warm summers result in an abundance of insect life, with species of grasshoppers much in evidence, along with numerous small lizards.
Demography of Macedonia
- Ethnic groups and language
The population of the Republic of Macedonia is diverse. At the beginning of the 21st century, nearly two-thirds of the population identified themselves as Macedonians. Macedonians generally trace their descent to the Slavic tribes that moved into the region between the 6th and 8th centuries ce. Albanians are the largest and most important minority in the Republic of Macedonia. According to the 2002 census they made up about one-fourth of the population. The Albanians, who trace their descent to the ancient Illyrians, are concentrated in the northwestern part of the country, near the borders with Albania and Kosovo. Albanians form majorities in some 16 of Macedonia’s 84 municipalities. Other much smaller minorities (constituting less than 5 percent of the population each) include the Turks, Roma (Gypsies), Serbs, Bosniaks, and Vlachs (Aromani). The Turkish minority is mostly scattered across central and western Macedonia, a legacy of the 500-year rule of the Ottoman Empire. The majority of Vlachs, who speak a language closely related to Romanian, live in the old mountain city of Kruševo.
The Macedonian language is very closely related to Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian and is written in the Cyrillic script. When Serbian rule replaced that of the Ottoman Turks in 1913, the Serbs officially denied Macedonian linguistic distinctness and treated the Macedonian language as a dialect of Serbo-Croatian. The Macedonian language was not officially recognized until the establishment of Macedonia as a constituent republic of communist Yugoslavia in 1946.
Religious affiliation is a particularly important subject in Macedonia because it is so closely tied to ethnic and national identity. With the exception of Bosniaks, the majority of Slavic speakers living in the region of Macedonia are Orthodox Christian. Macedonians, Serbs, and Bulgarians, however, have established their own autocephalous Orthodox churches in an effort to assert the legitimacy of their national identities. The majority Greeks in the region of Greek Macedonia, who also identify themselves as Macedonians, are Orthodox as well, but they belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. Turks and the great majority of both Albanians and Roma are Muslims. Altogether, more than one-fourth of the population are of the Islamic faith.
- Settlement patterns
Successive waves of migration, as well as economic and political modernization, have left their mark in a diversity of settlement patterns. The inhabitants of the highlands are generally shepherds. In more fertile areas, small-scale subsistence and market-oriented agriculture are practiced. Several small market towns are of great antiquity. In Roman times Bitola was a commercial centre known as Heraclea Lyncestis. Ohrid became a major administrative and ecclesiastical centre in the early Middle Ages. The coming of the Ottoman Turks in the 14th century promoted the growth of Skopje as a governmental and military centre and created large agrarian estates, which were later socialized by the communists and given over to extensive mechanized cultivation. This latter process was responsible for the growth, beginning in 1945, of Kavardarci and Veles.
Industrialization in the second half of the 20th century had a dramatic impact upon population distribution. The population of Skopje grew to nearly one-fourth of the population of the republic, its attractiveness as a pole for migration having been enhanced both by its location at a transcontinental transportation route and by its status as the republic’s capital. Acting as a reasonably effective counterforce to the pull of Skopje is the growth of tourism around Ohrid. At the beginning of the 21st century, about three-fifths of the population of Macedonia was urban.
- Demographic trends
Historically, the Balkans have experienced high rates of natural increase in population. The rate declined remarkably in the 20th century in response to industrialization and urbanization. The rate of natural increase in Macedonia at the end of the first decade of the 21st century was about three-fifths less than it had been in the mid-1990s. Birth rates for the same period declined relatively steadily by about one-fifth, to about three-fifthsof the world average. Movement from rural to urban areas in Macedonia in the early 21st century was much more common than the reverse. Emigration to other parts of Europe, as well as to North America and Australia, has also had a significant influence on demographic trends in Macedonia.
Economy of Macedonia
Along with the rest of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia underwent an impressive economic transformation after 1945—in this case within the framework provided by Yugoslavia’s system of “socialist self-management.” Even so, Macedonia remained the poorest of the Yugoslav republics and was included throughout the communist period in the list of regions that merited economic aid from wealthier parts of the federation. While this status undoubtedly brought much investment, several projects were placed without adequate attention to the supply of materials or access to markets. A prime example was the choice of Skopje as the site for a steel industry.
Although socialized production dominated industrial and commercial life after the communists’ rise to power in 1945, the private sector remained important in agriculture, craft production, and retail trade. About 70 percent of agricultural land was held privately, accounting for some 50 percent of output. However, privately owned enterprises were typically traditionalist in structure and outlook, and, even after the liberalization of the communist system in 1991, they were unable to develop a dynamic economic role.
Following the onset of the Yugoslav civil war in 1991, the economic position of Macedonia became very precarious. The republic had previously depended heavily on Yugoslav rather than foreign markets, and its participation in Yugoslavia’s export trade was heavily skewed toward the countries of the former Soviet bloc, which were concurrently undergoing economic crises. United Nations sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia (the federation of Serbia and Montenegro) added to these difficulties by throttling the transport of goods through Macedonia. Also, an acrimonious dispute with Greece over the name of the republic frustrated Macedonia’s quest for international recognition, thereby deterring foreign investment and delaying economic reform. By the mid-1990s, however, Macedonia had begun to find new trading partners, and the economy began to prosper. Though gross domestic product (GDP) dipped at the turn of the 21st century, it rebounded quickly, and the country weathered the worldwide economic downturn that began in 2008 better than many other countries. Nevertheless, unemployment remained high, exceeding 30 percent for much of the first decade of the 21st century.
In the early 21st century the agricultural sector contributed about one-tenth of Macedonia’s GDP and engaged about one-sixth of the country’s workforce. The main crops are tobacco, fruits (including apples and grapes), vegetables, wheat, rice, and corn (maize). Viticulture and dairy farming are also important.
- Resources and power
Although there are deposits of zinc, iron, copper, lead, chromium, manganese, antimony, nickel, silver, and gold in Macedonia, the country’s mining industry is focused on the extraction of lignite (brown coal). More than three-fourths of Macedonia’s power is produced from fossil fuels (principally lignite). The remainder comes from hydroelectricity.
Manufacturing constituted less than one-fifth of GDP in Macedonia in the early 21st century and accounted for between one-tenth and one-fifth of employment. Because of the presence of mineral resources such as nickel, lead, and zinc in Macedonia, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy have long been linchpins of the country’s manufacturing sector. Among the principal products associated with this industry are ferronickel, flat-rolled sheet steel, and seamed pipes. Automobile parts, electrical equipment, household appliances, and clothing are also produced, and there are wood- and plastic-processing industries
Macedonia’s national currency is the denar. The National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia is the bank of issue, authorizes bank licensing, and oversees a system composed of banks (some of which are permitted to conduct only domestic business) and “savings houses.” A large portion of capital in the banking system comes from foreign investors.
By the first decade of the 21st century, Macedonia’s principal trading partners were Germany, Serbia, Russia, Greece, and Italy. The country’s main exports were iron and steel (especially ferronickel and flat-rolled products), clothing and accessories, and food products. Imports included machinery, petroleum, and iron and steel.
- Transportation and communications
The location of the republic along the Morava-Vardar route from Belgrade, Serbia, to Thessaloníki, Greece, has endowed it with reasonably modern road and rail links on a northwest-southeast axis. Macedonia’s historic rail link with Greece passes through Bitola. The development of tourism in the Mavrovo-Ohrid area ensured new road building in the west. Airports at Skopje and Ohrid serve international destinations. By 2010 more than half of Macedonians had Internet access, a 35-fold increase in a period of just 10 years.
Government and Society of Macedonia
Macedonia is governed under the constitution of 1991 as amended. The president, who is the head of state, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is elected by the Assembly, as is the cabinet. The 120 members of the unicameral Assembly ( Sobranie ) are elected from party lists by popular vote to serve four-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 85 municipalities.
Culture Life of Macedonia
Great effort has been invested in the support of Macedonian language and culture, not only through education but also through the theatre and other arts as well as the media of mass communication.
- Daily life and social customs
As a result of the long presence of the Ottoman Turks in the region, the traditional cuisine of Macedonia is not only based on Balkan and Mediterranean fare but also flavoured by Turkish influences. Among the country’s dishes of Turkish origin are kebapcinja (grilled beef kebabs) and the burek, a flaky pastry often stuffed with cheese, meat, or spinach. Macedonians also enjoy other foods that are common throughout the Balkans, including taratur (yogurt with shredded cucumber) and baklava. Macedonian specialties include ajvar (a sauce made from sweet red peppers), tavce gravce (baked beans), shopska salata (a salad combining sliced cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes with soft white cheese), and selsko meso (pork chops and mushrooms in brown gravy).
In addition to Orthodox Christian and Islamic religious holidays, Macedonians celebrate a number of holidays tied to the country’s history, including Independence Day (September 8), marking the day in 1991 when Macedonians voted for independence from federated Yugoslavia.
- The arts
Despite the refusal of Macedonia’s Serbian rulers to recognize Macedonian as a language, progress was made toward the foundation of a national language and literature in the early 20th century, especially by Krste P. Misirkov in his Za Makedonskite raboti (1903; “In Favour of Macedonian Literary Works”) and in the literary periodical Vardar (established 1905). These efforts were continued during the interval between World War I and World War II, most notably by the poet Kosta Racin. After World War II, Macedonia—freed to write and publish in its own language—produced such literary figures as poets Aco Šopov, Slavko Janevski, Blae Koneski, and Gane Todorovski. Janevski also authored the first Macedonian novel, Selo zad sedumte jaseni (1952; “The Village Beyond the Seven Ash Trees”), and a cycle of six novels dealing with Macedonian history. After World War II, Macedonian theatre was invigorated by a wave of new dramatists that included Kole Čašule, Tome Arsovski, and Goran Stefanovski. Among the best-known fiction writers of prose are ivko Čingo, Vlada Urošević, and Jovan Pavlovski. (See Macedonian literature).
Macedonian popular culture is a fascinating blend of local tradition and imported influence. Folk music and folk dancing are still popular, and rock and pop music are ubiquitous. Icon painting and wood carving both have long histories in Macedonia. Motion picture making in Macedonia dates to the early 20th-century efforts of brothers Milton and Janaki Manaki and includes Before the Rain (1994), which was directed by Milcho Manchevski and was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film.
- Cultural institutions
Located in Ohrid, the National Museum features an archaeological collection dating from prehistoric times. Ohrid itself is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, and the natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid region was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980. Also of note are the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje and the Museum of the City of Skopje.
Throughout the country, annual festivals are held, including the Skopje Jazz Festival, the Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances in Ohrid, the Ohrid Summer Festival, and the pre-Lenten Carnival in Strumica. An international poetry festival is held annually in the lakeside resort of Struga.
- Sports and recreation
A modern sports culture was slow to develop in Macedonia. In the post-World War II era, football (soccer) emerged as a popular sport, encouraged, along with basketball and volleyball, by the larger industrial firms, which often fielded their own teams. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, tennis began to grow in popularity in the larger urban centres. The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., marked the first Games at which Macedonia was represented as an independent state.
During the 1970s, winter sports gained considerably in popularity in Macedonia, as the country’s mountainous terrain facilitated the creation of several ski resorts, especially in the Šar Mountains, and near Mavrovo and Krushevo. There are also active mountaineering societies, maintaining huts in the Babuna massif south of Skopje, the Šar Mountains, and on Mount Pelister. Macedonians generally seem to prefer to take their fresh air and exercise in the form of mountaineering and hunting. On the other hand, chess has a wide and enthusiastic following in the country.
- Media and publishing
The Macedonian Information Agency (MIA), which provides news and public information, was originally chartered by the parliament in 1992 but did not begin operation until 1998. In 2006 the government transformed the MIA from public enterprise to joint-stock company. Founded in 1992, Makfax was the region’s first private news agency. Although private competitors exist, the major provider of radio and television service is the government-operated Macedonia Radio Television, which began life as Radio Skopje in 1944..
History of Macedonia
After the elections of 1990 that put in place Yugoslav Macedonia's first non-Communist government, the Yugoslavian federation began to disintegrate. Macedonia declared its independence in Sept., 1991. However, the new nation's sovereignty was not immediately recognized by the international community, largely due to Greek protests over the name Macedonia. Greece, fearing future territorial claims, wanted to further the distinction between Macedonia and Greek Macedonia. There were also tensions with Bulgaria, which recognized the new nation but had historically regarded the area as Bulgarian.
In 1993, Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations under the provisional name of "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM). The United States recognized the new nation under the provisional name in 1994. Greece, however, imposed an economic blockade on the landlocked country, which already was suffering from international sanctions imposed on its biggest trading partner, Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Greece lifted the sanctions in 1995, after Macedonia had agreed to certain conditions, including a modification of its flag and a renunciation of any territorial claims against Greece. By the end of the decade, relations with Greece and Bulgaria had improved, and in 2001 Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and Macedonia signed an agreement demarcating the border. The lack of a resolution of the name issue, however, continued to be a source of tension with Greece, which opposed NATO and European Union membership for Macedonia until it was resolved. In 2011 the International Court of Justice ruled that Greek opposition to Macedonian membership in NATO and the EU was in breach of the 1995 agreement.
In 1994, Kiro Gligorov was reelected president in an election boycotted by the nationalist opposition; he was gravely injured in an assassination attempt in Oct., 1995. In June, 1996, the parliament suspended the constitution and repudiated opposition calls for a referendum on holding new elections. Following elections held in 1998, a center-right coalition government was formed that included members of the Albanian minority. In the presidential election in late 1999, the center-right candidate, Boris Trajkovski, won, but the result was tainted by fraud in some areas and was denounced by his opponent. The election was partially rerun in December, and vote-rigging again occurred, but it appeared irrelevant to the outcome, as it occurred in areas strongly supportive of Trajkovski.
Macedonia has been shaken by tensions between ethnic Macedonians and the Albanian minority, which were aggravated by the influx of Kosovar Albanian refugees in 1999 (see Kosovo). Isolated incidents of violence in 1999 and 2000 became sustained battling between Macedonian forces and Albanian rebels in 2001. Although the fighting was limited, it threatened to polarize further the nation's two main ethnic groups.
An accord ending the fighting was brokered by the European Union and the United States and signed in Aug., 2001. It called for NATO troops to disarm the Albanian rebels and for the parliament to establish Albanian as a semiofficial language and guarantee the political, cultural, and religious rights of ethnic Albanians. The rebels were disarmed, the constitution subsequently amended (although some Macedonian Slav politicians opposed the changes), and an amnesty enacted for ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
Elections in Sept., 2002, resulted in a near majority in parliament for the Slav-dominated center-left Together for Macedonia coalition and a sizable vote for the Democrat Union for Integration (DUI), an Albanian party dominated by the disarmed rebels. A coalition goverment including both groups was formed, and Social Democrat Branko Crvenkovski became prime minister. In Mar., 2003, European Union forces were deployed as peacekeepers in Macedonia, replacing the NATO force. President Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash in Feb., 2004. In April Prime Minister Crvenkovski was elected to succeed him, and Hari Kostov became prime minister in June.
Legislation redrawing municipal boundaries and giving more power to local councils, actions that were regarded as favoring ethnic Albanians, sparked riots in July, 2004, but was passed the next month. In Nov., 2004, a referendum on overturning the laws failed when too few Macedonians voted; the government had called for a boycott of the vote. Kostov subsequently resigned, asserting that minority rights issues were overshadowing needed reforms; Vlado Buckovski succeeded him as prime minister in December.
In July, 2006, the center-right Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) won a plurality of seats in parliament, ousting the Social Democrats from power, but necessitating a coalition with the Democratic Party of Albanians and other parties. Nikola Gruevski, of the VMRO-DPMNE, became prime minister. The election was marred by some intimidation and ballot-stuffing, but was mainly free and fair. In 2007 the DUI, unhappy at being excluded from the governing coalition despite being the largest Albanian party, boycotted parliament until the end of May. The boycott ended when the government agreed that certain laws would not be passed unless they had Albanian support.
In Apr., 2008, the continuing dispute with Greece over Macedonia's name led Greece to veto an invitation from NATO to Macedonia to join the alliance; in 2011 the International Court of Justice ruled that Greece's veto had been contrary to the 1995 agreement. The June parliamentary elections resulted in a victory for the VMRO-DPMNE but were marred by violence between rival Albanian parties in ethnically Albanian areas. The VMRO-DPMNE and DUI formed a governing coalition; Gruevski remained prime minister. Former Prime Minister Buckovski was convicted in 2008 of abuse of office when he was defense minister; the case arose out of a 2001 defense contract for tank spare parts. Buckovski denounced the verdict as politically motivated, and an appeals court ordered a retrial, but he was convicted again in 2013.
In the 2009 presidential election, Gjorgje Ivanov, the VMRO-DPMNE candidate, was elected following a runoff in April. Snap parliamentary elections in June, 2011, led to losses for the VMRO-DPMNE, but it nonetheless gained a plurality; the DUI won sufficient seats to guarantee the ruling coalition a majority, and Gruevski remained prime minister. In Dec., 2012, political conflicts over the budget and scuffles in parliament led to the ejection of opposition legislators before the passage of the budget, which had been blocked in committee, leading Crvenkovski to call for a parliamentary boycott and civil disobedience campaign. The government accused the Social Democrats of an attempted coup.
The earliest Macedonian literature, in the medieval period, was religious and Orthodox Christian. Under Ottoman Turkish rule (c. 1400 to 1913), Macedonian literature suffered an eclipse, but in the 19th century there appeared original lyric poetry written by Konstantin Miladinov, who, with his brother Dimitrije, compiled a notable collection of legends and folk songs that contributed to the development of a nascent Macedonian literature.
When Turkish rule was supplanted by Serbian rule in 1913, the Serbs officially denied Macedonian distinctiveness, considering the Macedonian language merely a dialect of Serbo-Croatian. The Macedonian language was not officially recognized until the establishment of Macedonia as a constituent republic of communist Yugoslavia in 1946. Despite these drawbacks, some progress was made toward the foundation of a national language and literature, in particular by Kosta P. Misirkov in his Za Makedonskite raboti (1903; “In Favour of Macedonian Literary Works”) and in the literary periodical Vardar (established 1905). These efforts were continued after World War I by Kosta Racin, who wrote mainly poetry in Macedonian and propagated its use through the literary journals of the 1930s. Racin’s poems in Beli mugri (1939; White Dawns), which include many elements of oral folk poetry, were prohibited by the government of pre-World War II Yugoslavia because of their realistic and powerful portrayal of the exploited and impoverished Macedonian people. Some writers, such as Kole Nedelkovski, worked and published abroad because of political pressure.
After World War II, under the new republic of Macedonia, the scholar Blaže Koneski and others were charged with the task of standardizing Macedonian as the official literary language. With this new freedom to write and publish in its own language, Macedonia produced many literary figures in the postwar period. Poetry was represented in the work of Aco Šopov, Slavko Janevski, Blaže Koneski, and Gane Todorovski. Janevski was also a distinguished prose writer and the author of the first Macedonian novel, Selo zad sedumte jaseni (1952; “The Village Beyond the Seven Ash Trees”). His most ambitious work was a cycle of six novels that deals with Macedonian history and includes Tvrdoglavi (1965; “The Stubborn Ones”), a novel articulating the Macedonian people’s myths and legends of remembering and interpreting their history. Prewar playwrights, such as Vasil Iljoski, continued to write, and the theatre was invigorated by new dramatists, such as Kole Čašule, Tome Arsovski, and Goran Stefanovski. Čašule also wrote several novels. A main theme of his work is the defeat of idealists and idealism. His play Crnila (1960; “Black Things”) deals with the early 20th-century murder of a Macedonian national leader by other Macedonians and with the characters of both executioners and victim.
Among the best-known writers of prose is Živko Čingo, whose collections of stories Paskvelija (1962) and Nova Paskvelija (1965; “New Paskvelija”) are about an imaginary land where clashes and interactions between old traditions and revolutionary consciousness are enacted. His novel Golemata voda (1971; “The Great Water”), set in an orphanage, shows the grandness and sadness of childhood. Other notable writers include Vlada Urošević (Sonuvačot i prazninata [1979; “The Dreamer and the Emptiness”]) and Jovan Pavlovski (Sok od prostata [1991; “Prostatic Gland Juice”]).
by: Gordana P. Crnkovic
Macedonia: a contested name Macedonia The names “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” have long been the subject of ongoing controversy and debate. About 700 bce a people who called themselves Macedonians ...>>>Read On<<<
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