The New Macedonian Question in Modern Greek Politics

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-2-66-74

Y. Kvashnin (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The Macedonian naming dispute was a peculiar case in the history of international relations. For more than 25 years Greece has been refusing to recognize the neighboring country under its constitutional name, asserting that it implies territorial claims over Greece’s own eponymous region. At the same time, the contradictions between the two countries, rooted in the second half of the 19th century, were not unique in the context of the modern history of the Balkans. Due to belated nation-building, interethnic and interfaith conflicts in this region were especially acute, the reminiscence of them is still fresh, and any attempts to reinterpret the common historical past are seen as a threat to national identity. The clash of historical narratives, lying at the heart of Greco-Macedonian dispute, has got some notable international implications. At the NATO Summit in Bucharest in April 2008, Greece prevented Macedonia’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, and in late 2009, blocked the start of its EU membership negotiations. Disappointed with the prospects for Euro-Atlantic integration, Macedonian authorities pursued highly controversial identity policies, i. e. the so-called antiquization of historical and cultural heritage, assuming that today’s Macedonians are direct descendents of ancient Macedonians. These policies have caused dissatisfaction in Greece and further complicated relations between Athens and Skopje. Though the current governments of Macedonia and Greece are extremely to resolve the long-standing dispute through compromise, the Greek public opinion is strongly against any concessions, as evidenced by the nation-wide protests held in Thessaloniki and Athens under the slogan “Macedonia is Greece”. Therefore, the path to compromise turned out to be longer and more complex than previously planned.  

Keywords: Macedonia, Greece, the Balkans, the Macedonian question, naming dispute, nationalism, historical narratives, identity 


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For citation:
Kvashnin Y. The New Macedonian Question in Modern Greek Politics . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 66-74.

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