Macedonians Criticize President Ivanov's Surprising UN Speech

Macedonia President Gjorge Ivanov and his wife, Maja Ivanova, with U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2009. Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson. This photo is public domain.

Macedonia President Gjorge Ivanov and his wife, Maja Ivanova, with U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2009. Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson. This photo is public domain.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov kept silent and out of the public eye during the several months of ethnically charged clashes in Macedonia. Then, in September 2014 he presented a speech before the UN Security Council, which touched on ethnicity in the Balkan region and even attempted to connect this to the blocked process of Macedonia's NATO integration, as well as with current global anti-terrorism efforts.

While many social media users commented and followed the conversation that was raised by the speech using the satirical hashtag #Хорхе, legal and political analyst Gjakush Kabashi elaborated on the topic in a more in-depth comment on his blog:

Ivanov opened his speech by saying that “Balkan fighters are grouped in ethno-national units”, contradicting the mission proclaimed by the terrorist groups alike ISIS, that have stated the objective of creating a state based exclusively on the specific religious identity. Western intelligence agencies are on the same page – recruits come from many countries, led by the joint cause of establishing a religious-based state. Therefore, this quote in the highest global forum indicates ignorance of great proportions, but also the tendency of blaming specific ethnic groups by identifying them with terrorism.

Another invention comes later on: the country is under the threat of a “Balkan Caliphate”. It again proves the lack of information – there is no such thing as “Balkan Caliphate”. Those led by caliphate ideas have launched their miserable campaign in order to occupy large and compact territories, paying less attention to the current geographic carving.

The key message was the trickiest, as it linked the foreign terrorists’ issue with the problems faced by Macedonia. It doesn’t suit allies to use blackmails, by saying that keeping Macedonia out of NATO constitutes a vacuum waiting to be filled sooner or later; this also lessens Macedonia’s evident contribution to global security.

Twitter user Andreja Bogdanovski also commented on this part of Ivanov's speech that many social media users from Macedonia have said begs commentary:

Cvetin Cilimanov, a journalist who had served as President Ivanov's public relations aide before working for several years as a US correspondent for the state-owned Macedonian Information Agency and who has always openly expressed his right-wing tendencies, opined without irony that the speech was “historical”, in terms of being the first addressing such issues. Cilimanov also added that it would not contribute greatly to worsening US-Macedonia relations, because at the time of the speech, Obama had already left the UN session and would, even having heard the speech, not care too much about “the reprimand” issued by President Ivanov toward the US and its allies that underlined several parts of the speech.


  • […] (This article was originally published on Global Voices.) […]

  • Filip Stojanovski

    “Ivanov found jihadists” – another article about the same issue –

  • Maria Sevastos

    #macedonia is #greece
    #propaganda is alive and well…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It needs to STOP!

  • Maria Sevastos

    #propaganda — All of Alexander the Great’ coins, art, have GREEK writing Not SLOVIC, foolish indeed Slavs rewrite history – FYI, Alexander conquered 7 kingdoms and there are 7 tombs… the one in Amphipolis has his lover and the one in the Ancient “Greek/Pontus” Macedonia which is now Skopje where you Slavic people live – there is a tomb that has yet to be opened and looted – there lays Alexander along with a long table and chairs, treasures of the past in Gold, a fortune of artifacts and written scripture – said to be guarded by an electromagnetic field – this has been known for over 40 years, they have been constructing propaganda against all written history known to mankind – scientists, scholars, professors, historians and the like all over the world… Sept 1991 Papa Bush, Kissinger, Karamanlis and the United Nation – since they themselves are not historians – we were bought and sold…! The truth is in Museums and in books, text, etc. etc. We are guilty of complacency since we did not see a need to argue or defend such a ridiculous demand from Yugoslavia FYROV to FYROM and now to their ultimate goal “M” for Macedonia – that is what they wanted!!!!! Appling that much propaganda effort, energy and monies there is a treasure trove and they want to keep it!!! The other graves that were looted by Germans and the English have gone unnoticed in the news – but this one is the HOLY GRAIL and NO IT DOES NOT BELONGS TO YOU – IT BELONGS TO THE WORLD… MACEDONIA was/is/will be POTUS GREEKS and HELLAS!!!!!!!

  • Maria Sevastos

    @barackobama – Greek is the language on all Greek art and artifacts and Coins…!!!!!
    certainly not Slovic…!!!!!

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