Saturday, October 15, 2011

Republic of Macedonia

Macedonia is a landlocked Balkan country. It shares borders with Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Greece. The country is a bit larger than Vermont and its capital is Skopje.

The country only has 2 million people. Macedonian Slavs make up about 66% of the population and ethnic Albanians make up around 23%. The rest is made up of Turks, Roma and Serbs.

Macedonia was one of the six republics of communist Yugoslavia. In 1991 it peacefully seceded and today it is a parliamentary democracy.

Macedonians are proud that their republic was the only one to peacefully leave Yugoslavia. There are a number of possible reasons. One reason is that there was not a sizable enough Serb population for Slobodan Milošević to fight over. The more likely reason is that Macedonia was the least developed of the former republics and only ever produced 5% of Yugoslavia's total output.

I had read in a Milošević biography that there were secret plans for Serbia and Greece to actually divide up Macedonia. Obviously, this never happened. Besides, if Greece had tried to annex part of the country it would have gotten in to trouble with both the EU and NATO.

The Republic of Macedonia. That's what most of the world calls the country. However, the United Nations (and the Olympic Games) still lists it as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). This is because of a long running dispute with Greece.

Macedonia shares a border with the Greek region of Macedonia. Greece thinks that FYROM is trying to take credit for Greek history (especially Alexander the Great) and may have aspirations on Greek territory. Greece didn't like independent Macedonia's first flag so they changed it to the current one. I think the current flag looks like the WWII Japanese Army/Navy flag but whatever. Clearly Macedonia doesn't want to give up its name. Who can blame them?

Here's an interesting video I found out on YouTube about the whole name issue.


Currently the two countries are still in a legal battle over the use of the name. Macedonia has been a candidate to join the EU and NATO. But guess who is blocking them from joining? Doesn't Greece have more important things to worry about? Perhaps their focus should be on not bringing down the Euro by defaulting on its loans. Things are so bad there now that all international train service, in and out of Greece, has been suspended indefinitely. Just saying...

Update: The craziest thing about Macedonia is their liquor law. In an effort to curtail drinking, especially among young people, the country has modified its trade law. Only licensed stores are allowed to sell beer, wine or spirits, and no sales are allowed between 7 pm and 6 am. WTH!?!? If you want a beer after 7 pm then you have to go to a restaurant or a bar where you may legally purchase it. I thought Atlanta's prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales was bad but dang. At least Atlanta has finally repealed its laws and people will now be able to purchase alcohol on Sundays.

Update:  In February 2019, the country ended its dispute with Greece and officially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia.  

Update:  North Macedonia joined NATO in 2020 becoming the 30th NATO member.

1 comment:

  1. Tnx for this text :) I like the part for the alcohol... now a days we have a new law about the smoking cigarettes, it is prohibited in all bars, restaurants and other public places.. :D
    And ofc that no one can blame us for our name.. :) Macedonia to Macedonians !

    Greets, I.K.