During an interview with Panagiotis Sabides of Proto Thema (ΠΡΩΤΟ ΘΕΜΑ) the former (and first) president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) stated “we are Slavs and we came to the area after Alexander the Great”.
The former president was asked to comment on the recent win by the socialists in the Greek general elections and whether this creates new conditions for the solution of the name dispute. Gligorov said he was pleased about the win as he is part of the same ideological area but that he was not optimistic about a solution as the new Greek Government has also drawn lines in the sand.
The reporter referred to a 1993 statement of the former president in which he said that his people are of Slav decent, that they have no connection to Alexander the Great and that they settled in the area in the 6th century AD. Gligorov responded that he is still of the same opinion and continues to support this.
The reporter then asked why there was such an anti Greek sentiment in FYROM and why so many in FYROM are trying to prove that they are direct descendants of the ancient Macedonians. The former president responded that serious historians are laughing with what has been happening in his country these last few years. “Greeks think that we are trying to take away part of their historical and cultural inheritance. I am not saying that these fears are without reason as there are exaggerations also on our side. There are historians who claim we have been in these lands for 2,000 years before Alexander the Great. This is laughable. I was saying to a friend of mine that at the rate we are going we will say we are direct descendants of Adam and Eve and Paradise will be proven to be “Macedonian” and thus ours.”
Hellenic Defence News note: The first signs from the new PASOK government are that it intends to have continuity in several foreign affairs issues, including this one. We hope this will ultimately be the case and that there are indeed “lines in the sand”. Time is on our side and the only pressure that can be exercised on Greece regarding the Macedonian issue is a historical revisionism only seen during Europe’s darkest days. History has been written and it changes for no one.