Boris Trajkovski

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Boris Trajkovski
Борис Трајковски
Trajkovski in 2002
2nd President of Macedonia
In office
19 November 1999 – 26 February 2004
Prime MinisterLjubčo Georgievski
Branko Crvenkovski
Preceded byKiro Gligorov
Succeeded byBranko Crvenkovski
Personal details
Born(1956-06-25)25 June 1956
PR Macedonia, Yugoslavia
Died26 February 2004(2004-02-26) (aged 47)
Berkovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Political partyVMRO-DPMNE
SpouseVilma Trajkovska (m. 1985; 2004; his death)
Alma materSs. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje

Boris Trajkovski (GCMG) (Macedonian: Борис Трајковски, pronounced ['bɔris 'trajkɔfski] ; 25 June 1956 – 26 February 2004) was a Macedonian politician who served as the second President of Macedonia from 1999 until his death in 2004 in a plane crash.[1]

Early life[edit]

Trajkovski was born into a Methodist family. His father, Kiro, who died on September 2008, was a landworker who had served in the Bulgarian Army and had been imprisoned for two years for feeding prisoners of war. Trajkovski graduated in 1980 with a degree in law from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. He subsequently specialized in commercial and employment law and made several visits to the United States, where he studied theology to become a Methodist lay minister.

After he finished his studies, the communist government confined him for a time to a remote village because of his religious activities. There he took care of Kočani, an impoverished partly Romani congregation of the United Methodist Church of Macedonia, connected to the United States' United Methodist Church. Following political liberalisation in the 1980s, he went on to head the legal department of the Sloboda construction company in Skopje. He served as Methodist youth secretary in the former Yugoslavia for over 12 years. Later he was President of the Church Council of the Macedonian Evangelical Methodist Church. From 1988 he took part in the ongoing Youth Exchange programme between the Methodist Church of Macedonia and the Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Methodist Circuit in England. In 1991, he studied English at a Christian language college in Bournemouth, England.

Career in politics[edit]

Trajkovski became active in politics following the Republic of Macedonia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in November 1991, when he joined the VMRO-DPMNE party. He played an important role in developing the party's relations with other European political parties and was appointed Chairman of the party's Foreign Relations Commission. In 1997, he became the Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Kisela Voda, a municipality in Skopje. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on 21 December 1998 but served in this post for less than a year.

Largely because of his reputation as a moderate reformist, Trajkovski was selected as VMRO-DPMNE's candidate for president in the November 1999 election held to replace the outgoing president, Kiro Gligorov. In the presidential election of 14 November 1999, Trajkovski defeated Tito Petkovski by 52% to 45%. He was scheduled to take office just five days later, on 19 November, but because the results were disputed, parliamentary chairman Savo Klimovski became acting president until Petkovski's supporters lost their last appeal a month later.

Trajkovski's term was marked by tensions between ethnic Macedonians and the republic's large ethnic Albanian minority. The aftermath of the Kosovo War led to months of violent armed clashes between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels,[2][3] supported by the Albanian National Army (ANA, AKSh),[4][5] seeking improvements on their status as a legitimate minority and generally better economical, administrative and legal conditions.[6][7] During the conflict, protests occurred due to the Macedonian assault on Aračinovo being halted, the evacuation of ~500 NLA insurgents,[8] and the involvement of the international community.[9] Protesters broke into the Parliament building and demanded to talk to the President shouting "treason" and "resignation."[10] Although his powers were limited and his role largely ceremonial, he presided over a NATO-brokered peace deal in 2001 that ended the violence and prevented a full-blown civil war in the Republic of Macedonia. He was seen as a moderate in the ethnic dialogue, arguing for greater inclusion of ethnic Albanians, and has been credited with being a key figure in resolving the conflict. Boris Trajkovski's friend and advisor was his chief of staff Zoran Jolevski, who was the Macedonian Ambassador in the United States of America and the negotiator of the state name in the Macedonia name dispute.

In 2002, he was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II. In the same year, Trajkovski was awarded the World Methodist Peace Award by the World Methodist Council for his role in promoting peace and political stability.[11]


Trajkovski plane crash
Date26 February 2004
SummaryControlled flight into terrain likely caused by inclement weather
SitePoplat, Berkovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Aircraft typeBeechcraft Super King Air 200
OperatorRepublic of Macedonia

Trajkovski died on 26 February 2004 in a plane crash en route to an economic conference in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1] The aircraft crashed in thick fog and heavy rain on a mountainside in southeastern Herzegovina, near the villages of Poplat and Vrsnik eight miles (15km) south-south-east of Mostar. He is the only President of North Macedonia to die in office.

Eight other people were also aboard but none survived the impact, which broke the aircraft into three pieces. It came down in an area that had been heavily mined during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, which significantly hampered the rescue and recovery efforts; being difficult to handle, and as the runway is not equipped with precision landing systems, it is especially challenging in inclement weather.

After his death, there was a state funeral in his honour. On his gravestone in Strumica is the verse Matthew 5:9 from the Bible which states "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God."[12]

His family continue his legacy through the Boris Trajkovski Foundation.[citation needed]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • Hungary Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary-Grand Cross with chain[13]
  • Poland 1st class Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland[14]
  • United Kingdom Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St.Michael and St. George[15]
  • World Methodist Council - Peace Award for 2002[16]


  1. ^ a b Simon Jeffery (26 February 2004). "Macedonian president killed in plane crash". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  2. ^ Pugh, Michael Charles; Sidhu, Waheguru Pal Singh (2003). The United Nations & Regional Security: Europe and Beyond. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-58826-232-5.
  3. ^ Rafael Reuveny; William R. Thompson (5 November 2010). Coping with Terrorism: Origins, Escalation, Counterstrategies, and Responses. SUNY Press. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-1-4384-3313-4.
  4. ^ "Macedonia - defense: Buckovski: "Let tragedy be the beginning of the end of the war"". Relief.web. 10 August 2001. Archived from the original on 26 June 2022. Retrieved 26 June 2022. "ANA" CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR KILLING OF TEN MACEDONIAN SOLDIERS Skopje, August 10 - A new armed group of ethnic Albanians on Thursday claimed responsibility for the killing of ten Macedonian army reservists in a highway ambush a day earlier. The "Albanian National Army" (AKSH) e-mailed a statement to several media in the region, on Albanian-language, saying a combined unit of its fighters and of the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA) carried the attack out "in revenge" for the killing of five NLA members by Macedonian security forces.
  5. ^ "Rebels kill three policemen in Macedonia". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2022. In a statement yesterday, a dissident ethnic Albanian group calling itself the Albanian National Army claimed responsibility for the killings, saying: "The Skopje government is restarting its terror and sees war as the only response to Albanian demands."
  6. ^ "Macedonia timeline". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  7. ^ "BBC News – EUROPE – Who are the rebels?". 20 March 2001. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Macedonia: Uneasy Calm Follows Late-Night Protests". RadioFreeEurope. 26 June 2001. p. 1.
  9. ^ Terzieff, Juliette (25 June 2001). "Macedonia president flees protesters". CNN. p. 1.
  10. ^ "Полицајци и граѓани гневни од "предавството во Арачиново" протестираа пред Парламентот". Дневник Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Boris Trajkovski". The Telegraph. 27 February 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  12. ^ A Peacemaker President (2004) by Alex N. Grigorev
  13. ^ "Утрински Весник". Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  14. ^ "VEST - Macedonian daily newspaper". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  15. ^ "I declare open the Commemorative Session on the occasion of the death of Mr. Boris Trajkovski, President of the Republic North of Macedonia, who lost his life while performing his duty in an airplane accident near Mostar, together with his closest associates and the crew of the airplane" (DOC). Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Утрински Весник". Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by President of North Macedonia
Succeeded by