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Macedonia (Macedonian: Μακεδονία, Greek: Μακεδονίας, Slavic Macedonian: Македонија) officially the Kingdom of Macedonia or The Hellenic Kingdom is a country in southern Europe. Macedonia's history is rather identical to that of southern neighbor Greece and eastern neighbor Bulgaria's and was formed in 1995 due to naming dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the modern day Macedonian province of Fyrom that was originally known as Macedonia. Although Macedonia is an independent country from Greece, many of the Macedonians living in southern and central Macedonia are proud their Greek and Hellenic heritage and even formed their own Hellenic language known as Macedonian. But many of the Macedonians living in northern Macedonia are Slavs, who speak Slavic Macedonian. Macedonia shares borders with Yugoslavia to the north, Greece to the south and Bulgaria to the west.
Like many countries. the modern day countries of Macedonia and Greece were inhabited by warring peoples. Eventually these tribes formed kingdoms within the area known as Greece and Macedonia. The main ethnicities emerged in the region, the Minoans, Bulgars, Thracians the Dorians and Myceneans. Today's modern day Greeks and Macedonians. Phillip II formed the Kingdom of Macedon, a northern Greek city-state. Alexander the Great was Phillip II's son, who conquered one of the largest territories in history defeating the Persians, one of the great rivals of the Greeks. To the further north, the Slavs began accumulating in the are about 680 AD. In 1014, the Macedonians defeated Bulgaria.
SR Macedonia of Yugoslavia
When Yugoslavia formed, Macedonia became part of Yugoslavia. Although Macedonia was a region, the area of the northern part of the region known as "Macedonia" was annexed by Yugoslavia while the southern part was annexed by Greece. When the Second Yugoslavia formed as a result of the Soviet Union's help, Macedonia existed as SR Macedonia, which was under Soviet control although Yugoslavia was an independent country.
Greek Claim to the Name "Macedonia"
Macedonia had been using the ancient Greek symbol which was a yellow sun-star. SR Macedonia had also been adopting ancient Greek symbols which the Greeks considered provocation and a fraud. The Greek government, as well as the people of southern and central Macedonian sued the Macedonian government as a result. In September 11, 1995 in New York City politicians and delegates from Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union met to discuss the naming policies. During the first meet on September 11, it was decided that SR Macedonia keep its name and be referred to as "SR Macedonia". In the second meeting on September 12, it was decided that Macedonia be annexed to Greece. On September 13, 1995 it was decided that Macedonia would become an independent country.The political capital was moved from Skopje to Thessaloniki, the capital of Macedonia as it was when it was a Greek province. The Soviet Union, Bulgaria and the United States paid a total of $120,000,000 to the Greek, Macedonian, Yugoslavian and Bulgarian governments to grant Macedonia its independence. The region known as Macedonia which had been divided amongst Yugoslavia, Greece and Bulgaria was now an independent country. Greeks were put into power and decided to restore Greece's old monarchy-system.
Under the Meurius Administration 1995-2000
Soon after Macedonian independence, the new government of Macedonia began a pogrom to Hellenize the country and purge it of Slavic influence. Macedonia's new Prime Minister, Chilon Meurius of the right-wing Macedonian Nationalisty (Greek: Μακεδονικό Εθνικιστικό Κόμμα) Party ordered that "Macedonian language" be officially used for the Hellenic language spoken in the southern and central parts, and banned Slavic Macedonian from being spoken in public the country. Meurius also ordered that all political candidates for any position, including military and law enforcement must be fluent in Greek.
In addition, Meurius ordered that the Slavic Macedonian language cease being referred to as "Macedonian", and ordered it to be labelled as Bulgarian, due to the identical similarities between the two languages. However, the Bulgarian government opposed the idea, recognizing Slavic Macedonian as a separate language.
Post-Meurius Era 2000-present
Protests became widespread in Macedonia to oust Chilon Meurius out of power. In 2000, the Macedonian Parliament held a voting referendum on whether to impeach Meurius, out of a voting body of 200. Members of the European Union and the United Nations also pressured Meurius to step down. On October 13, 2000, the results were in, Meurius was unable to get past 101 supporting votes, 154 votes were in favor of him getting impeached while 46 supported him to remain Prime Minister until the 2001 federal elections.
Chilon Meurius was officially impeached as a result. An emergency election was held to vote for an interim Prime Minister, an election which was won by Hyginos Linus, of the center-right Justice Party of Macedonia.
In the 2001 federal elections, Hyginos Linus was replaced by the victorious candidate Nereus Theron of the Macedonian Nationalist Party. Theron promoted Macedonian nationalism, and worked to "unite" both Greek Macedonians and Slavic Macedonians of the country under one national banner. Theron stated that both Greeks and Slavs are extremely important to Macedonia's history, and that both cultures shaped Macedonia under a common Orthodox culture.
Theron also increased military budget-spendings, and collaborated with Russia, seeing Russia as an important ally, a move highly supported by Slavic Macedonians. While Theron participated in the Iraqi War on the side of the coalition against Saddam Hussein, he stated that his anti-Israel stance, claiming that the Israeli government was persecuting Orthodox Christians. This led to the Skopje Bombings of 2004, committed by Jewish extremists. As a result, political relations between Israel and Macedonia turned sour. Macedonian tourists in Jerusalem and Palestine's various Orthodox monastaries underwent frequent harrassment by Israeli authorities.
Due to this, Theron placed the Jewish communities in Macedonia under strict military supervision, enacting curfews and punishments for those who violated the curfews. In addition, a total of five Jewish temples across the nation were reported to have been shut down, after being raided by Macedonian soldiers and police.
Cities across Macedonia began banning Jews from running for any public positions.
In 2007, Gjorge Ivanov won the federal elections and became the first Slavic leader of the country ever since Macedonia's days as a Yugoslav state. Under the Ivanov Administration, the Macedonian government worked to develop closer ties with Russia. This led to suspicions that Ivanov was going to try to destroy the Hellenic culture of Macedonia, and replace it with Slavic influence. However, Ivanov stated that his strong allyship with Russia was for military means, and not anti-Hellenic sentiments.
Modern Day Administration and Politics
Today Macedonia is ran under a constitutional monarchy. While the King is the Head of State, the Prime Minister assumes the role of Head of Government, as well as Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The Prime Minister's term lasts for six years. An influence from Ancient Greece, Macedonia is divided into provinces known as polis, plural form: poleis. A unique trait of Macedonian politics, is that local poleis are given independence on their local elections, therefore, election laws in every city in Macedonia differ.
Military and Law Enforcement
The Macedonian Armed Forces form the armed wing of Macedonia's government. After Macedonia's independence, the country favored an allyship with NATO. However during the leadership of Nereus Theron, the Macedonian Parliament favored an allyship with Russia, after losing trust with NATO. As of today, Russia supplies over 85% of the military supplies and equipment for the Macedonian Armed Forces.
This relationship was further strengthened in 2011 under the leadership of Gjorge Ivanov, with the Macedonian Air Force purchasing Sukhoi Su-35s from Russia.
The three main languages of Macedonia are Greek Macedonian, Standard Greek and Slavic Macedonian. Despite being an independent country from Greece, the Macedonians living in southern and central Macedonia strongly hold tight to their Greek heritage. The Standard Greek language is one of Macedonia's national languages and belongs to the Hellenic family of languages. The Greek language had historically been the only language in the Hellenic family. Greek and Macedonian linguists worked to develop and form a Macedonian language, also known as Greek Macedonian. This language would be a Hellenic language. This, along with Standard Greek were considered national languages since most Macedonians are still holding to their Greek heritage. The Macedonian language contains heavy influence from ancient Hellenic language of the same name, as well as other Ancient Greek dialects. It is considered a living descendant of the Ancient Macedonian language and contains heavy influence from the ancient Attic and Koine dialects. When northern Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia, the language spoken there was previously known as Macedonian. This "Macedonian" was a South Slavic language closely related to Bulgarian. When Macedonia was declared an independent country, the language became officially designed as Slavic Macedonian, and bears identical resemblances to Bulgarian. Slavic Macedonian is spoken in northern Macedonia, the region that was once Yugoslavia's. The name Macedonian was switched and given to the Hellenic language language that developed in the newly-independent country of Macedonia.
Turkiah and Albanian are spoken as minority languages.
Religion and Ethnic Groups
The government of Macedonia declares Macedonian an ethnicity and a nationality. The people of central and southern Macedonia often refer to themselves as Greek and Macedonian. The naming dispute still exists, the people of northern Macedonia still continue to refer to themselves as the "true Macedonians". The Macedonian government simply refers to the peoples of the northern region of Macedonia as Slavs. These people do not follow Greek culture, and retain their South Slavic culture. Currently the Macedonian government has no demonym for the people of northern Macedonia other than Slavs. Currently the Macedonian government declares than an ethnic Macedonian is one who is from Macedonia, a majority of descent from Macedonia and one who speaks any of the three languages as a native language and adheres to any of the cultures within Macedonia as a native culture. So even the Macedonians from the north are considered Macedonian by ethnicity by the government. Previously ethnic Macedonians had be referred from those in FYROM but this has changed. The Macedonian government also uses Greeks and Slavs. There are also ethnic Albanians living in the country. The government of Macedonia says that the Albanians are only Macedonian by nationality. The majority religion in Macedonia is Eastern Orthodoxy. This divides into two distinct groups of followers. The Macedonians from the central and southern part of the country follow the Greek Orthodox Church. The Muslims in Macedonia are the Albanians and Turks.