journalist in Macedonia has called for a controversial monument to a hard core 1930s Serb colonial Mayor/architect Josif Mihailovic of Skopje, now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, to be built in the centre of that city in the place of Alexander the Great.
Mr Goce Trpkovski, who writes for a number of publications including Balkan Insight, has posted on social media a call for a monument to Mihailovic.
Mihailovic was an architect and loyal monarchist handpicked by the then Serb King Alexander I in 1929 to become Mayor and Chief Architect of Skopje, the major city of Macedonia then under brutal Serbian colonial rule (lasting from 1912 to 1941).
The Macedonian language and identity were banned under Serbian colonial rule and a policy of forced Serbianisation was in place.
A 1941 British Foreign Office report on “colonialism” in what it's now the Republic of Macedonia -
His Majesty's British Minister to Belgrade, R.I. Campbell writing to Lord Halifax, Her Majesty's British Foreign Secretary, in 1941:
"Since the occupation by Serbia in 1913 of the Macedonian districts, the Government has carried out in this area, with greater or lesser severity, a policy of suppression and assimilation. In the years following the Great War land was taken away from the inhabitants and given to Serbian colonists. Macedonians were compelled to change their names and the Government did little or nothing to assist the economic development of the country…"
Citation: British Foreign Office document - FO371/29785, Campbell (Belgrade) to Halifax, 6 January 1941.
The purpose of building up Skopje in the 1930s would have been to attract Serb colonialists to Macedonia and to turn Skopje, referred to as Skoplje in Serbian, into a Serbian city.
Mihailovic was Mayor of Skopje (1929-36 and 1939-41) during a brutal crackdown on Macedonians seeking independence from Serbian rule. He was immensely loyal to King Alexander I, later assassinated in France in 1934. (pictured below).
Mihailovic does have a street named after him in present day Skopje despite his past controversial role in a colonial regime which brutally repressed Macedonians.
A 1926 British Foreign Office report on Macedonia -
British Diplomat RA Gallop:
"The most striking thing to one familiar with North Serbia [Serbia proper], who has been accustomed to hear Macedonia described as Southern Serbia and its inhabitants as Serbs, was the complete difference of atmosphere which was noticeable almost as soon as we had crossed the pre-1913 frontier some miles south of Vranje. One felt as though one had entered a foreign country. Officials and officers from North Serbia seemed to feel this too, and I noticed especially in the cafes and hotels of Skopje that they formed groups by themselves and mixed little with the Macedo-Slavs. Those of the latter that I met were equally insistent on calling themselves neither Serbs nor Bulgars, but Macedonians.... There seemed to be no love lost for the Bulgars in most places. Their brutality during the war had lost them the affection even of those who before the Balkan War had been their friends."
Citation: FO371/11405, Kennard (Belgrade) to A. Chamberlain, 21 April 1926, Enclosure, R.A. Gallop, “Conditions in Macedonia,” 19 April 1926. - link
-This 1930 newspaper article reports on the harshness of Serbian rule towards Macedonians and Croats. link here
Macedonia had been one territory under Ottoman Turkish Imperial rule for close to 500 years when it was partitioned by Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria in 1912-13 during the Balkan Wars which saw the Turks expelled from Macedonia. The new occupiers of Macedonia began their own brutal colonisation.
The part under Serbian rule was occupied by fascist Bulgaria in 1941 until 1944 during World War II. A native Macedonian partisan resistance movement sprung up consisting of an unofficial alliance of Macedonian communists aligned with Marshal Tito and Macedonian non-communists led by Metodija Andonov Cento. Macedonia was elevated to republican status in Tito’s Yugoslavia but a ruthless clampdown on former non communist wartime allies followed in 1946 with the imprisonment of Cento on trumped up charges during an infamous show trial.
CIA Archives - US Presidential memorandum
1944-45:- Macedonians don’t want return of Serbian King nor colonialism.
US Presidential memorandum - World War II - Stalin urges Macedonia receive representation in post war Yugoslavia:
"You have not the territory of Russia nor the people of Russia. You are a small country of small landowners in the heart of Europe. You will have to build your state upon democratic principles with equal representation for all the national groups of Yugoslavia. You will have to seek economic assistance from America the way we here in Russia are planning to do after the war is over.' Stalin, according to Subasic, spoke in ‘very warm terms about the United States.
“Discussing the monarchy, Stalin wanted to know from Subasic what the people’s feelings are about [Serb] King Peter, II. [ex Yugoslav royalist politican Ivan] Subasic confided in me for the first time that the King is not popular in Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia but that he has some following, of course, in Serbia, and that he told this to Stalin...” link here
In September 1991 Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia but has had Greece as a constant thorn in its side; Greece and Bulgaria refuses to recognise the existence of Macedonians.
Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria have fared worse than their ethnic kin in the Republic of Macedonia, which now faces an existential threat to its very existence over its name and identity - which are being used as blackmail by Greece and Bulgaria in order for Macedonia to join the European Union and NATO, of which Greece and Bulgaria are both members of.