United Macedonia (Macedonian: Обединета Македонија, Obedineta Makedonija), or Greater Macedonia (Голема Македонија, Golema Makedonija), is an irredentist concept among ethnic Macedonian nationalists that aims to unify the transnational region of Macedonia in southeastern Europe (which they claim as their homeland and which they assert was wrongfully divided under the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913) into a single state that would be dominated by ethnic Macedonians but all individuals in all ethnic groups, such as Greek Macedonians and Albanian Macedonians, would have equal rights and protection under the law.[dubious ] The proposed capital of such a United Macedonia is the city of Thessaloniki or Salonika (Solun in the Slavic languages) in Greek Macedonia, which ethnic Macedonians and the Yugoslav leader Tito had always dreamed of incorporating into their own states (along with the hinterland of Greek Macedonia, which they came to call Aegean Macedonia).
History of the concept
The concept of a united Macedonian region appeared initially in the late 19th century as variant called authonomous Macedonia in the documents of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. The organization was founded in 1893 in Ottoman Thessaloniki by a small band of anti-Ottoman Macedono-Bulgarian revolutionaries, which considered Macedonia an indivisible territory and claimed all of its inhabitants "Macedonians", no matter their religion or ethnicity. The idea then was strictly political and did not imply a secession from Bulgarian ethnicity, but unity of all nationalities in the area. The term "United Macedonia" has been in use since the early 1900s, notably in connection with the Balkan Socialist Federation. In the aftermatch of the First World War the conservative (pro-Bulgarian) fraction of the IMRO developed an agenda for an autonomous Macedonia, as it was a way for an unification with Bulgaria. Ivan Mihailov and Alexander Protogerov, who assumed IMRO's leadership after Todor Alexandrov's death in 1924, changed the main task for an autonomous Macedonian state under Bulgarian control. By 1928, Mihailov proposed a new plan calling for unification of a pre-1913 Macedonia region into a single state, that would be autonomous from Bulgaria. Undergoing various transformations, the original organization was suppressed in the 1930s, at which time the territory of the current Republic of Macedonia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1944 the IMRO tried to create some form of independent state. According to Yugoslav communist Svetozar Vukmanović the slogan about a united Macedonia first appeared in the manifesto of the HQ of the National Liberation of Army Macedonia, at the beginning of October 1943. During the following operations of the National Liberation War of Macedonia the Communist combatants developed aspirations over the geographic region of Macedonia that continued during the Greek Civil War.
After breakup of Yugoslavia
In the modern era, ethnic Macedonian nationalists have called for a "United Macedonia" since 1989, reading "Solun (Thessaloniki) is ours" and "We fight for a United Macedonia". Several maps depicting "United Macedonia" as an independent country which constitute clear evidence of irredentist claims of Macedonian nationalists against both Greek and Bulgarian territory circulated since the late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. In one of those maps all of Mount Olympus was incorporated in the territory of "United Macedonia". The Macedonian nationalists break down the region of Macedonia as follows:
- Vardar Macedonia (Вардарска Македонија) which includes:
- Greek Macedonia (or "Aegean Macedonia", "Егејска Македонија"), northern Greece;
- Blagoevgrad Province (or "Pirin Macedonia", "Пиринска Македонија"), southwestern Bulgaria; and
- Mala Prespa and Golo Brdo (Мала Преспа и Голо Брдо), Albania.
Ethnic Macedonian nationalists describe the above areas as the unliberated parts of Macedonia and they claim that the majority of the population in those territories are oppressed ethnic Macedonians. In the cases of Bulgaria and Albania, it is said that they are undercounted in the censuses (In Albania, there are officially 5,000 ethnic Macedonians, whereas Macedonians nationalists claim the figures are more like 120,000-350,000. In Bulgaria, there are officially 1,400 ethnic Macedonians, whereas Macedonian nationalists claim 200,000. In Greece, there is a Slavic-speaking minority with various self-identifications (Macedonian, Greek, Bulgarian), estimated by Ethnologue and the Greek Helsinki Monitor as being between 100,000-200,000 (according to the Greek Helsinki Monitor only an estimated 10,000-30,000 have an ethnic Macedonian national identity). The Macedonian government, led by nationalist party VMRO–DPMNE, claimed that there is a Macedonian minority numbering up to 750,000.
The roots of the concept can be traced back to 1910. One of the main platforms from the First Balkan Socialist Conference in 1910 was the solution to the Macedonian Question, Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian Communist politician, in 1915 writes that the creation of a "Macedonia, which was split into three parts, was to be reunited into a single state enjoying equal rights within the framework of the Balkan Democratic Federation".
The concept of a united Macedonia was used by revolutionaries from the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) too. In 1920-1934 their leaders - Todor Alexandrov, Aleksandar Protogerov, Ivan Mihailov, etc., accept this concept with the aim to liberate the territories occupied by Serbia and Greece and to create an independent Macedonia. The Bulgarian government of Alexander Malinov in 1918 offered to give Pirin Macedonia to such a united Macedonia after World War I, but the Great Powers did not adopt this idea, because Serbia and Greece opposed. In 1924, the Communist International suggested that all Balkan communist parties adopt a platform of a "united Macedonia" but the suggestion was rejected by the Bulgarian and Greek communists.
The idea of a united Macedonia under communist rule was abandoned in 1948 when the Greek communists lost in the Greek Civil War, and Tito fell out with the Soviet Union and pro-Soviet Bulgaria.
In its first resolution, VMRO–DPMNE, the nationalistic governing party of the Republic of Macedonia, adopted the platform of a "United Macedonia", an act that has annoyed moderate ethnic Macedonian politicians and has also been regarded by Greece as an intolerable irredentist claim against Macedonia, its northern province.
Before and just after the Republic of Macedonia's independence, it was assumed in Greece that the idea of a united Macedonia was still state-sponsored. In the constitution of the newly independent Republic of Macedonia, adopted on 17 November 1991, Article 49 read as follows:
- (1) The Republic cares for the status and rights of those persons belonging to the Macedonian people in neighbouring countries, as well as Macedonian expatriates, assists their cultural development and promotes links with them.
- (2) The Republic cares for the cultural, economic and social rights of the citizens of the Republic abroad.
On 13 September 1995, the Republic of Macedonia signed an Interim Accord with Greece  in order to end the economic embargo Greece had imposed, amongst other reasons, for the perceived land claims. Amongst its provisions, the Accord specified that Macedonia would renounce all land claims to neighbouring states' territories.
- Macedonian nationalism
- Macedonians in Albania
- Macedonians in Bulgaria
- Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia
- Macedonia naming dispute
- Macedonia (terminology)
- Demographic history of Macedonia
- History of the Republic of Macedonia
- Greek Macedonia "not a problem", The Times (London), August 5, 1957
- A large assembly of people during the inauguration of the Statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje, the players of the national basketball team of the Republic of Macedonia during the European Basketball Championship in Lithuania, and a little girl, singing a nationalistic tune called Izlezi Momče (Излези момче, "Get out boy"). Translation from Macedonian:
"Get out, boy, straight on the terrace
And salute Goce's race
Raise your hands up high
Ours will be Thessaloniki's area."
- The Balkans. From Constantinople to Communism. Dennis P Hupchik, page 299
- The Macedoine, "The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics", by Ivo Banac, Cornell University Press, 1984.
- "Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question," Victor Roudometof, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0275976483, p. 99.
- Svetozar Vukmanovic, Struggle for the Balkans. London, Merlin Press 1980, 1990. Page 213
- John Phillips, Macedonia: warlords and rebels in the Balkans, I B Tauris Academic, 2002, p.53
- Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries, The Balkans: a post-communist history, Routledge, 2006, p. 410
- Loring M. Danforth, The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, Princeton University Press, 1997, pp. 178, 182
- Janusz Bugajski, Ethnic Politics in Eastern Europe: A Guide to Nationality Policies, Organizations and Parties, Sharpe, M. E. Inc., 1994, p. 114
- Lenkova, M. (1999). Dimitras, P.; Papanikolatos, N.; Law, C., eds. "Greek Helsinki Monitor: Macedonians of Bulgaria" (pdf). Minorities in Southeast Europe. Greek Helsinki Monitor, Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe — Southeast Europe. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
- "Report about Compliance with the Principles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (along guidelines for state reports according to Article 25.1 of the Convention)". Greek Helsinki Monitor. 18 September 1999.
- "Macedonia erases 'irredentist' claims as Commission tables report". euroactiv. 17 April 2013.
- Dimitrov, Georgi. "The Significance of the Second Balkan Conference". Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of South Eastern Europe, Central Europe Studies, Professor Bernd J Fischer, Purdue University Press, 2007, ISBN 1557534551, p. 127.
- Gerginov, Kr., Bilyarski, Ts. Unpublished documents for Todor Alexandrov's activities 1910-1919, magazine VIS, book 2, 1987, p.214 - Гергинов, Кр. Билярски, Ц. Непубликувани документи за дейността на Тодор Александров 1910-1919, сп. ВИС, кн. 2 от 1987, с. 214.
- Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Praeger, 2002 p.100
- Alan John Day, Political parties of the world, 2002
- Hugh Poulton, Who are the Macedonians?, Hurst & Company, 2000
- Loring M. Danforth, The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, Princeton University Press, 1997
- Christopher K. Lamont, International Criminal Justice and the Politics of Compliance, Ashgate, 2010
- Human Rights Watch World Report, 1999
- Imogen Bell, Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004, Routledge
- Keith Brown, The past in question: modern Macedonia and the uncertainties of nation, Princeton University Press, 2003
- Michael E. Brown, Richard N. Rosecrance, The costs of conflict: prevention and cure in the global arena, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999, p.133
- Alice Ackermann, Making peace prevail: preventing violent conflict in Macedonia, Syracuse University Press, 2000, p.96
- Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia Archived 2006-06-16 at the Wayback Machine., adopted 17 November 1991, amended on 6 January 1992.
- "Interim Accord between the Hellenic Republic and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", United Nations, 13 September 1995.
- Simons, Marlise (February 3, 1992). "As Republic Flexes, Greeks Tense Up". New York Times.
- Danforth, Loring M. How can a woman give birth to one Greek and one Macedonian?. The construction of national identity among immigrants to Australia from Northern Greece. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
- Facts About the Republic of Macedonia - annual booklets since 1992, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Secretariat of Information, Second edition, 1997, ISBN 9989-42-044-0. p.14. 2 August 1944.
- Macedonianism: Macedonia's expansionist designs against Greece after the Interim Accord (1995), Society for Macedonian Studies, Ephesus Publishing, 2007