1972 CIA report testifies oppression of Macedonians in Bulgaria

Modern history1972 CIA report testifies oppression of Macedonians in Bulgaria

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A 1972 CIA report testifies the suppression of Macedonians in Bulgaria. As can be seen from the document, the current policy of the neighboring country of Macedonia is a legacy of “the Bulgarian communist regime”.

We should not forget that Bulgaria is today a member of the European Union, and according to this CIA document, the positions towards Macedonia have not changed since 1972 until today. Seen in this way, Bulgaria represents outdated foreign policy positions inherited from the old regime, as today’s EU member …

A key message of the CIA report is, we quote:

The Bulgarian regime forbids all political activity associated with Macedonian nationalism and suppresses cultural activity which is uniquely Macedonian, i.e., songs and folklore. Moreover, unlike the Turkish minority, the Macedonians are not permitted to have schools in their native language.

Part of the report is an overview map that graphically shows the distribution of ethnic minorities in Bulgaria. According to the Bulgarian census mentioned in the report, the demographics of Bulgaria were made up as follows:

85.3% Bulgarians, 8.5% Turks, 2.6% Roma, 2.5% Macedonians, 0.3% Armenians, (and others).

Figure 16: Geographic distribution of Turkish and Macedonian minorities, 1965

In section C./Population we find more detailed information about the ethnic Macedonian minority as well as the other minorities. According to the CIA report, the capture of the Macedonians in Bulgaria is being made difficult by the Bulgarian regime. Quote:

“Any estimate of the Macedonian population is very tenuous and is complicated by the official Bulgarian claims, espoused since 1958, that Macedonians are not a separate national group but instead are a subgroup of the Bulgarian nation”

C. Population

Size, composition, and distribution

Bulgaria’s last official census, taken in December 1965, recorded the population at 8.227.869, an increase of 614.070 persons or about 8% since the 1956 census, averaging slightly less than 1% per year. According to U.S. Census estimates the Bulgarian population numbered 8.601.000 as of 1 July 1971.

The ethnic composition of the population in 1967 was approximately 85,3% Bulgarian, 8,5% Turkish, 2,6% Gypsy, 2,5% Macedonian, 0,3% Armenian,…

Footnote 1: Any estimate of the Macedonian population is very tenuous and is complicated by the official Bulgarian claims, espoused since 1958, that Macedonians are not a separate national group but instead are a subgroup of the Bulgarian nation. The official Bulgarian census of 1956, the last one to list separately the Macedonian population, asserted that 187.789 persons (2,5% of the total population) were Macedonian.

In section D./Structure and characteristics of society-Ethnic composition and languages, we find more detailed information from the CIA on the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria in the post-war years. As well as how they were systematically suppressed. The idea of a united and independent Macedonia was also widespread among Macedonians in Bulgaria.

Quote:

A significant number of Macedonians live in the bordering areas of neighboring Yugoslavia and Greece, and some Macedonians are still hoping for a unified Macedonia made up of areas from all three states.

D. Structure and characteristics of the society

Ethnic composition and languages

Bulgaria’s population is overwhelmingly ethnic Bulgarian, with Turks, Gypsies, and Macedonians, the last named concentrated in the southwest corners of the country, the only significant minorities (Figure 16). On the whole, the minority groups are outwardly quiet and submissive to the regime. Longstanding prejudices still exist, however, especially against the Turkish minority, and create a divisive element in Bulgarian society.

Read also: Half of the Bulgarian population are Macedonians

Macedonians, (or, as the Bulgarian regime would have it, Bulgarians from Macedonia) are about as numerous a minority as the Gypsies, but there all analogy ends. Concentrated in the Rhodope Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, the Macedonians adhere to the beliefs of eastern Orthodoxy and speak a language closely related to Bulgarian. Significantly large numbers of Macedonians live in contiguous areas of neighboring Yugoslavia and Greece, and some Macedonians still hope for a united Macedonia composed of territory from all three states. Yugoslav contentions that the Macedonians are a separate nationality have been answered by Bulgarian claims that the Macedonians are a political and geographic subgroup of the Bulgarian nation and therefore not a separate nationality. Both sides interpret the other’s position as a threat to its territorial integrity because of the sizeable Macedonian population on both sides of the border. Vituperative exchanges between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria over the Macedonian issue flare up periodically, often for little apparent immediate cause. The issue, although real, on occasion has become something of a red herring, exploitable from time to time by both sides for a variety of internal and external political reason.

The Bulgarian regime forbids all political activity associated with Macedonian nationalism and suppresses cultural activity which is uniquely Macedonian, i.e., songs and folklore. Moreover, unlike the Turkish minority, the Macedonians are not permitted to have schools in their native language. The regime considers Macedonian a dialect of Bulgarian rather than a separate language. Signifying the hardening attitude against the Yugoslav position, the 1965 Bulgarian census mentioned far fewer Macedonians than had been reported in 1956.

Source: CIA Report 1972, CIA-RDP01-00707R000200110035-5

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