“The MOI has added you as a friend on Facebook. We need to confirm that you know the MOI in order for you to be friends.” Macedonian journalists now routinely receive such friend requests on the social networking website “Facebook”.
The Ministry of the Interior, MOI, opened its own Facebook profile two weeks ago in order to promote informal communication with citizens. Ministry officials have denied that the object is to abuse personal data which becomes available when an individual elects to become a friend on Facebook, local media report.

The MOI initiative does not constitute a violation of the Law on personal data protection according to the Directorate for Personal Data Protection.

The MOI insists that this is an informal profile which is not intended to monitor the activities of, for example, journalists.

Some journalists are not so sure.

“I can accept a friend request from a person who has a name and surname, but this is not the case when the friend request is coming from the Ministry of the Interior as an institution. My data and activities are visible to all of my friends, this is not secret, but still, this information belongs only to me. How could I be sure that an institution would not abuse this data?” one journalist who has declined an MOI friend request told Utrinski vesnik daily.

However, the MOI argues that it simply wants to promote informal communication, and the Facebook profile is only used as an additional form of contact between police and citizens.

“If anyone believes that the data could be abused, he can simply ignore the friend request,” said MOI Deputy Minister for Public Relations Ivo Kotevski “This is an informal activity, and we do not intend to monitor people’s activities online”

The MOI’s Facebook profile, which has now been active for several weeks, already has more than 300 friends, most of whom are journalists working on issues related to the police.

The profile is public and open to everybody, so anyone can post, whether he or she is a “friend” of the MOI or not. The page features photographs, for example, that are not available on the Ministry’s official website (www.mvr.gov.mk).

This is because the website is official but the Facebook profile is informal, an MOI official said. “People respond much better to informal methods of communication.”

After reviewing the MOI’s Facebook profile, representatives of the Directorate for Personal Data Protection said there is no violation of personal data.

“It is not legally determined whether state institutions can use these portals as their own PR. Citizens decide independently whether they should accept online friendship with the MOI or not,” a statement from the Directorate said. “Before clicking and accepting, people should be aware that the MOI will have access to their data, posts, blogs, their friend lists and all their other activities on Facebook. This is a method which the MOI chose to communicate with the public and we cannot control this.”

The Directorate advises users always to check their profiles’ privacy settings, and make their activities visible only to a select group of people.


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(name withheld for interviewee’s safety reasons)

(Because this interview was conducted by electronic means it has been left unedited)



1. I want to thank you for accepting to participate in this interview. I understand you could be prosecuted under article 179 of the Penal Code. Could you please tell me about this law?

Thank you. The article 179 of the Criminal Code of FYROM forbids derogation of the i.e. “Republic of Macedonia” without no further definition of both the concept of the RM as well as the scope of acts which may be considered a derogation in a judicial process. There exists a loose possibility that I may be persecuted by the Office of Public Persecutor on the basis of the statement, but that did not actualized conclusive to this moment. I do consider this law, in light of my Libertarian political beliefs, a repressive one since it protects a contraction i.e. “RM” in a manner that any serious discourse about how that particular manifestation of statehood came into being may be potentially considered derogation per se, regardless of the value of the presented thesis and arguments.

2. Why are you giving this interview risking your education, future, even your freedom?

Because of my desire to challenge indolence and nihilism motivated by however human, nevertheless wrong frame of mind: conformism, in spite of gross transgression represented by the ideology of Pseudo-Macedonism, omnipresent in the social fabric and generator of much confusion, both within academia and in the fields of politics. In recent several years there is certain marked liberalism with regard to exercise of speech, but unlike societies where historical/ethnological discourse represent nothing more and nothing less than a legitimate topic pursued for the enrichment of truth, in FYROM it is still at minimum an eyebrow-rising topic.

Thus certain risk exist with regard to one safety and professional prosperity, but neither living in society overwhelmingly saturated by extremely elaborated lie is free and safe, nor professionalism exist where truthfulness, that sacrosanct principle is rejected in favour of conformism.

3. I understand that you had hard time finding a notary public to notarize a document. Please tell me about the document. Did you translate it all?

That is true; several notaries rejected my statement after giving a glance at the statement. It is likely they all of them were “ethnic Macedonians”. The reason for their rejection remains unknown to me; I can only guess that perhaps some of them did not want to relate themselves with such document. That stands in contrast with the FYROM legislative regulating notary work, which explicitly rejects notary's responsibility for the content of the statement, its accuracy or the lack thereof.

The statement was notarized in the office of an ethnic Albanian jurist, which lend plausibility to my theory that the “Macedonian” notaries were appalled by its content and haven't performed this service due to this fact.

There is no “judiciary authorized translation” of that statement, which would be only valid in domestic legal conditions. Only my translation of certain paragraphs exists.

4. What would you characterize as roots of instability in the FYROM?
The primary root of instability of FYROM lies in the desire, coupled with various form of might and strong social cohesion, of the ethnic Albanian element to secede from FYROM as a result of the aforementioned factors plus Balkan and macroglobal circumstances which allow such strategic projection by their leadership.

While extremely ravaging economic situation in FYROM (technological obsolescence, degraded basic infrastructure, high unemployment) are contributing factors to the general state of insecurity, even energetic palliative measures cannot override the ethnic instability.

The lack of genuine identity proliferated by the ideology of Pseudo-Macedonism is also a generator of tensions which official Skopje tends to project abroad.

5. I assume that in the Department of History of the University they teach you that the ancient Macedonians were not Greeks. What is it that made you think otherwise?
Your assumption is correct. The demagoguery that ancient Macedonians were not Greeks is strongly promoted at the University I attend. The entire curriculum about ancient Macedonia is carefully crafted in order to instil compliance. For example, publications by non-Balkan authorities are not allowed in the library of the aforementioned Department. ”Hammond” is a taboo name, as well as many other authors whose names students may dare to mention only if they polemically “challenge” their points. The only trend observable during recent years in local historiography is improved level of openness about the Bulgarian aspects of the past.

I had the privilege to have access to a much wider materials than most of my colleagues, having even before my academic studies began, serious doubts on the official version of the history which in its entirety is post-1992 fabrication loosely related to the post-1944 dogma. After exploring archaeological material, historiographic and paleo-ethnologic works regarding the ancient Macedonians, my picture of them was complete in sense that I had certain outlines of their genesis and ethnological features. At a latter stage it become evident that Macedonians after the defeat by Romans passed through variety of cultural evolutions which in light of some general trends predating the invasion of Slavs, consolidated them further within the wider Greek world, to which they belong with their inception.

Alternative theories like “Illyrian”, “Illyro-Thracian,” ”Pelasgian” have been discredited with arguments and cannot be longer held relevant. Ancient Macedonians represented a stock of people with all typological characteristics relevant for their categorization into the wider Hellenic world. Minor cultural syncretism, certain instance of historically attested apparent antagonisms with the rest of the Greece and several decontextualized sources do not undermine the authenticity of Macedonian's Hellenism.

6. How do the people of the FYROM feel about the Greek people?

In general, they consider the Greek state as foe No 1, as attacker on the sacrosanct character of their imagined identity, with rare attempt to give second thought to what are serious arguments from official Athens. There is no hostility in its direct form against Greek people and among many Slavs of FYROM there is a rational understanding that ethical, mutual based interests. Greece, regardless of the complicated administrative procedure, remains very popular tourist destination. But the genuine reconciliation, in my opinion, should come via broadening of cooperation, while the main problem: existence of pseudo-ethnic identity coupled with unjustified irredentism is a issue which awaits major internal social transformations, dictated both by academia and politics.

7. What name do you think would be appropriate for the FYROM?
“ Republika Vardar”/”Republic of Vardar”

The deficit, which is negligible, is that Axios/Vardar passes also through Northern Greece (Greek Macedonia). Also, it is somewhat reminiscent of “Vardarska Banovina,” briefly lasting subdivision of Royal Yugoslavia, a period disliked by many Slavs of FYROM.

The River Vardar, its very name, is a proverbial part of the local folklore and it is not only ethnically neutral, but a preferred way to call what many of them perceive as the “Liberated Macedonia”. Of course, the name Macedonia should not under any circumstances figure into the name of this state, not even with descriptive part of the name which would (in vain) distinguish from Greek Macedonia.

8. How do the people of the FYROM feel about the name of their country and their ethnicity?

The totalitarian system instilled into many people of older and mid-generation a cult of the state. That vestige of the communist past still follows its own path determined by inertia and popular negligence to radically challenge the dysfunctional habits and patterns of mentality. Therefore, what are natural feelings towards a name of one's own nation is augmented by the cult of the state in case of general population of FYROM. Their feelings, often expressed with marked affect when challenged by arguments are indicative of the lack of internal opposition to the Pseudo-Macedonism. The only individuals who act in according to reason are those who, mostly on private genealogical basis, opt for a draft-out from this fake ethnicity, by far most commonly by affiliation into Bulgarism. The only possible way to challenge the dogma of Pseudo-Macedonism is individual-based reconsideration of one's own identity which would provide person's true place in space and time. This, however, asks for initiative from inside and from the top. Regardless of what the dynamics of real political relationships in the Balkans brings, Pseudo-Macedonism may be defeated only by sound implementation of assertive academic stance. Only in this manner FYROM will cease to be a forgery-based bastion of totalitarianism.

9. Thank you very much for this interview and good luck with your studies.

You are welcome.

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February 27 2010:


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