Friday, August 26, 2016


Meet Macedonia’s Latest Controversial Statue

The opposition claims the government is rewriting Macedonia's history. (NOTE: poor photo quality)The opposition claims the government is rewriting Macedonia's history. (NOTE: poor photo quality)
The opposition claims the government is rewriting Macedonia's history. (NOTE: poor photo quality)
The opposition claims the government is rewriting Macedonia's history. (NOTE: poor photo quality)
The city of Skopje is undergoing quite the aesthetic makeover as part of the government-funded project “Skopje 2014.”

Bronze and marble statues already adorn the city center (their aesthetic incompatibility has raised a few eyebrows) and now a statue ambiguously called “Duke on a horse” has joined the ranks of Alexander the Great and King Philip II in Skopje’s Kisela Voda municipality.

Since 2010, when the “Skopje 2014” project was announced, it has drawn attention from critics who point to the lack of transparency regarding the contracts issued to the architects and the fact that, as opposition parties claim, the project has cost the government upward of 250 million euros ($304 million).

The 8 and 1/2-meter-high bronze duke is in fact Todor Aleksandrov, as Macedonia’s prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, told reporters last weekend. 

So why the latest controversy? As Balkan Insight reports, Aleksandrov was a member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) during and after the period of Ottoman rule. Even though the VMRO fought for Macedonia’s independence from the Ottoman Empire, there was a faction of VMRO which fought to see Macedonia absorbed by Bulgaria. Aleksandrov belonged to this pro-Bulgarian wing of the VMRO.

Aleksandrov’s historical ties to the VMRO and the fact that Prime Minister Gruevski’s center-right VMRO-DPMNE party claims to be its ideological descendent certainly clear up any questions as to why Aleksandrov is suddenly gaining prominence, with a street and a bridge already named in his honor.

The VMRO-DPMNE has been criticized by the opposition for portraying Aleksandrov as Macedonia’s historical figure. The opposition believes that Aleksandrov doesn’t deserve a monument because he fought against Macedonia’s independence.

But Gruevski is standing firm. “Obviously, we are talking about Todor Aleksandrov and I think that the artist did not make a mistake in becoming inspired by that character,” he said. The artist’s inspiration cost the government around 350,000 euros.

Earlier this year, Gruevski’s government faced a fresh wave of criticism over its decision to rename hundreds of streets, the first renaming since Macedonia declared independence almost 21 years ago.

Both the domestic and international press have been tough on the city’s new revamped look. CNN called the capital a “theme park,” and The Economist evoked the image of Asterix’s Mansion of the Gods.

-- Deana Kjuka
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Comment Sorting
by: Macedonian from: Rila
July 16, 2012 14:41
Alexandrоv does not deserve a monument. He killed hundreds of Macedonian freedom fighters. He was paid by bulgarian King
In Response

by: Vlado from: Skopje
July 22, 2012 17:04
Where did he kill hundreds of Macedonian freedom fighters? His crime was not agreeing with the communists and defending that IMRO remain independant. He was then mysteriously murdered. If you want to argue history - please learn it! this is a huge problem in Macedonia - people have learned their own history from rumours and tales told by friends and family. Here is a new concept - open some books, do some searching online and find out what you are actually supposed to know so well.

by: mitsos mitsou from: gr
July 16, 2012 15:29
The new 1991 ex-yugoslav republic has a "mania" with "equestrian statues" and "simulations" avoiding to give names to those figures but let the people having their imagination..... on what they are really representing.....!!! swinging between bulgarianism or ancient illutions !!! But to me it looks like the mirrors the Spanish colonists were giving to indians in order to trick them .unfortunatly for fyrom political elit the "macedonian" nation is a bulgarian artificial idea of 19th century , reconstructed by tito later in 1945. Today the decorations with "sarissa-falanga" battle formation!!!oh oh !! and ancient helmets with exotic feathers are not enough for identity certifications but only for carnival parades!!!!!
In Response

by: Sale from: Skopje, Macedonia
July 17, 2012 08:45
Well obviously you know everything. Why don't you look at your own cat-infested sandpit of a country.
In Response

by: Mamuka
July 17, 2012 11:11
Cat infested sandpit!?! Ouch! Sounds like a giant catbox.

by: Macedonian from: skopje
July 16, 2012 17:29
This Government is not crazy.
First : They will build the monument even to Devil if they can still some money. This is money laundry case.

Second: Todor Aleksandrov at first was Macedonian patriot, but then he took money from Bulgaria and become a traitor.

by: mitsos from: gr
July 17, 2012 18:20
A passionate debate is ongoing in FYROM ! Was Todor Alexandrov a Bulgarian consience "macedonian" ?or he was a slavomacedonian Bulgarophile ? The same can be said tomorrow for Misirkov,Sandanski ,Delchev ..ect , But the best answer has been given by Gotse Delchev in a letter to Nikola Maleshevski 1899 ,declaring that both simply ....are bulgarians !!!
In Response

by: Sale from: The Republic of Macedonia
July 18, 2012 02:51
Mitsos, it seems that you could stand to learn more about post-modern identity. What does it mean to be Bulgarian? Or Greek? Or Macedonian? It means what you choose to identify as. According to your logic, we are all African, since, evolutionarily, this is where we all came from. What's the cut-off? Are Americans American, or do you insist on calling most of them Europeans?
As long as Greece is in the proverbial toilet, the masses (I hope this doesn't include you) will grasp on to nationalist rhetoric. It seems you are hopeless.
In Response

July 18, 2012 13:21
i wouldn't progress my post to the humman evolution,or post-modern identity of a person , i prefer the Aristotelian view about the humman identity .However,in my post i simply underline, the contradiction with today modern fyrom's slavs, that all of their famous ancestors historically were Bulgarians in conscience

July 17, 2012 19:30
The next passionate debate in fyrom will be if the Slavs come to the Balkans from behind the Carpathians or did they cross the Carpathians fleeing north to avoid the Roman invasions?but the answer is already be given by professor (!!!!) Tome Boshevski .you know ...(rosetta stone demotic epigraphy is the "pro-slavic macedonia language"!!!!.so ....After five Macedonian-Roman wars fought in the second century BC with Philip V and his son Perseus, a large number of Macedonians including most of the elite and ruling class, fled Macedonia and headed north away from the conflict. Fearing a slaughter from the Roman armies descending on Macedonia from the south, from Peloponnesus, they fled the Balkans and resettled north as far as Siberia....but after 4-5 centuries the .Ancient Macedonians over time, returned to their ancestral lands in the Balkans!!!!!!!! conclusion the today "macedonians" of fyrom are the children of king perseus champion in running away from Romans!!!!!UNBELIEVABLE

by: Kris from: Austrlia
July 22, 2012 08:30
Its funny that radio free europe cant report anything positive. There are much bigger stories like a 300 million euro investment by a turkish company in mixed use housing and retail plus the many western companies moving production to macedonia making for new jobs and investment. Yes also the relative lower debt them many counties at 35 percent of gdp to fund these projects as well as plenty of social projects. Its just another reporter who dose not report just repeats somthing some one else wrote because they dont want to look into writing a new story. Lests see if i get pass the censors and this gets posted and how "FREE" radio free europe is.
In Response

by: Vlado from: Skopje
July 22, 2012 18:33
Well Kris, since I actually live in Skopje - this is a big issue. The Government should be more focused on building infrastructure, schools and administrative reform than wasting the people's money on statues. This is 320,000 euro that could have been much better spent. Skopje now looks like a kitsch version of Disneyland! The government is borrowing huge amounts of money from the IMF and World Bank in order to pay adminsitrative expenses - but it will not reveal the actual figures for the Skopje 2014 project - Hmmm... can we say there is a good reason - they are stealing money through all the contracts. Tell me this would be OK in Australia - the government wants to spend almost 1 Billion Euro on some project, but they won't tell people the actual costs? They would be thrown out on the streets by the voters. Yes, the Turks invested in a huge project that already has everyone asking how much did the political hacks earn or will earn out of this deal? The Government is subsidizing the foriegn companies with millions of Euro in order to attract investment here - with return on investment in 20+ years do you actually think this is sustainable? Please don't try to defend something you know little about. I am getting tired of the Diaspora defending the "idea" of a great Macedonian homeland when in fact all the politicians are doing is ensuring their own and their families future on the backs of the people who pay them.
In Response

by: Kris from: Australia
July 23, 2012 08:11
I'm glad you benefiting from my money which is sent to Macedonia and my grandfathers pension for 40 years work in Australia too. What do you think other countries are doing to get jobs for their people so they can have food in their mouths. The country needs this for development there is no such thing as a free lunch in Macedonia or Australia. What they are doing now will set up Macedonia for the next 20 years or you can do nothing and Macedonia falls behind other countries which are doing even more then this Government is doing. I think you are paranoid about the whole thing. The government is fighting for the people if you want the country to move forward you have to do somthing its been 20 years its only the last few years some one is doing somthing and you complain. If this was in australia the people would be thinking how can i make the best of this. I can study somthing, Can i supply somthing to the projects or investments, can i open up a shop near the factories. The government hass been doing everything you say more, Railways, Roads, Refurbishing Schools, buses, supporting local farmers and companies, the airport and so on. Take responsobility!!!
In Response

by: mitsos from: gr
July 23, 2012 13:46
solution to name issue with greece has not yet been found ,because of the slavomacedonian diaspora illusions like the megalomania "antiquization" project "skopia 2014" with pharaonic-style statues erection after Alexander the great and his father Philip .Also the inspirations for "united macedonia" and Revision of 1913 Bucharest treaty ,the rhetoric for "occupied agean macedonia" by greek since 1913 or "solun" Thesaloniki will be the capital of macedonia again,, ect . Those people can not even think that such hate ideas and recomendations will drive the balkan's countries to a new war,Ofcourse ,the slavomacedonian diaspora will be safe in Australia with full stomach fabricating new projects, how can persuade its self its own people and rest world that the slavomacedonians are not the slavs of kriste Misirkov that all world knows, but the "lost" children of aristotle and the "big prove" is the second text on rosetta stone ,,,,with "macedonian pro-slavic" language !!!!amen!!!
In Response

by: Vlado from: Skopje
July 23, 2012 18:32
@Kris. You really are delusional! How can you sit in Australia and actually have any concept of what this Government in Macedonia is actually doing? You, like most of the people in this country have bought into the propoganda of Gruevski and his clowns. The fact is there are no politician from any party that aren't more interested in looking after themselves. People here say SDSM just stole money, at least Gruevski is stealling but they are building something. Who is getting the contracts - friends and families of the Government. A report last year from an international watchdog organization exposed that there are more and more contracts being awarded by the Government outside of the legal procurement process - what does that tell you Kris of what a great job the present adminstration is doing? Hmmm... it's called corruption! Yes they are building - but guess what - it is easier to steal money with construction projects than any other form of investment - did you know that? The Government opened up the Macedonian Gate last year and now guess what - there needs to be an additional 800,000 euro of work done on it. If they want to promote tourism - then start by repaving the main roads around the country - not waiting for the EU to give handouts or putting bad statues in Skopje. A poll released last week said that 81% of the population do not want anymore statues - is the Government listening - No! There are people in this country trying very hard to move things forward, but due to the Government doing nothing for small local businesses they are failing. I own a business in Macedonia and due to the fact that the Government is doing nothing to reduce the number of incompetant people working in the Adminstration, we are paying for idiots to have jobs. If the Government was trying to have some actual legacy they wouldn't be pissing money out the window on grandiose schemes like statues and bad architecture! All of this money should be going into overhauling of the education system and reform of the Government adminstration that presently has 128,000 dead people working in it! It needs around 40,000 people. Don't tell me about people begging for handouts or not trying to move things forward. Everything that you mentioned the Government has done has involved a lack of transparency during the procurement process - I know my friend - I live here and see this every single day! If you think this country is filled with people sitting on their butts waiting for handouts then I suggest you should share whatever it is you are smoking. There are many people here who want this country to grow and develop, but they are not connected to the party and despite the good ideas they are left out of the plan. Here's an example Kris of how wonderful things work here - if you go to a bank for a loan one of the questions on the application is "Which political party do you suppport" boy that sounds like a real democracy doesnt Kris. I am taking responsibility Kris - am sharing my opinion with everyone I meet so that when the time comes to repay the debt that is now being incurred help corrupt politicians and their families everyone will know that they are responsible for it. You think people would learn a lesson from watching Greece - but no, everyone just thinks isn't it wonderful we are getting statues that will not create one single job. 13 million euro for 1 silly statue Kris! 13 million! How many schools could that have built, how road could be paved? You talk about taking responsibility - that's exactly what this Government needs to start doing - take some responsibility for the stupidity that they have engaged in. If you really want to do something for Macedonia Kris, you should pack your bags and move here and bring some great ideas and Westernized mentality, instead of hanging out on forums supporting stupidity.
In Response

by: MITSOS from: GR
July 23, 2012 13:58
The projekt skopje 2014 is for "the de -slavization" and to divide the people to patriots (ancient macedonians) and the traitors (slavic origin)!!!!!!!!!!!!1111
In Response

by: Kris from: Australia
July 23, 2012 20:09
Why dont you look in the mirror about 60% of Greeces pupulation is made up of non Greeks with government imposed Greek names. This is the only reason Greece makes a claim in regard to Macedonia. It's not Macedonia that lies its the Greek government. I thought Greeks would know that becuase your in a financial crises becuase of lies but I guess not. some people just cant learn.
In Response

by: Kris from: Australia
July 23, 2012 20:43
Vlad, There is no such thing as democracy its all a illusion in Macedonia and every country in the world. The people never get what they want. All politicians are corrupt all around the world. The past governments have done nothing as I said before. What you will find is that this government will go and a new one will do all those things you talk about it’s a cycle. If the government cant build private capacity to generate private employment then when all those people lose their administration jobs what are they going to do!. This is the long term plan of any government that will come in. That’s why they are looking for investment and they are privatizing “doing everything you want”.
Let this government run it’s course they are doing some good things and when a new government gets in. You will get what you want more people out of work, less money in the economy and harder times. If the next government dose all you want and you don’t get harder times then its because of the foundation of the previous government.
I still don’t get your argument about roads, schools and infrastructure these types of projects are going on around the whole country if anything the whole country is a construction site. I know there is problems there, this is the market based economy not socialism its every one for them self’s sadly. I here you and understand you! All I can say there is a lot of change going on and you can benefit.
In Response

by: mitsos from: gr
July 24, 2012 08:34
Kris@ you live in australia or on mars? if your claim was true that 60% of Greece's population is made up of non Greeks,!!! How do you explain that on major national interest issues ( foreign policy ,Turkey -Cyprus,Aegean,FYROM ,Albania .Balkans ..ect ,the common national line on polls Has approval on public opinion more than 93%? who are those 60%people we did not know?
In Response

by: MITSOS from: GR
July 24, 2012 09:04
Kris@@ what the Australian's school books are saying about ancient macedonians,and Alexander the great ? were they slavs ?as you are ?Did they have any link with your nation? maybe they spoke your bulgarian dialect? or spreaded in the ancient world the slavic -bulgarian civilization? i am asking you to see if you live in australia or in other planet however in greece we still having the same alphabet and language from the first millenium bc we carry our culture from Ethiopia since we are africans is that you have been told by your diaspora "historians"? you are talking for greece's financial crisis but you forget that greece is the first investors in fyrom!!!!
In Response

by: Vlado from: Skopje
July 24, 2012 19:29
@Kris - You really have bought into the party line - sad considering you do live in a Democratic country. I also grew up in Democratic countries - The US and Canada, so don't preach to me about no democracy in the World. You are full of crap. I am all for privatization, but that means in a open transparent fashion, not behind closed doors with no information to the public. Do you think that everyone thinks that socialism is a wonderful thing? Get real - it has destroyed this country and worse the mentality of the majority of the population. This is why everyone thinks statues are such a great thing - just like chickko Tito used to do! You obviously have no clue what is actually going on here in Macedonia - so for that reason, please stay out of Macedonia's politics. I really hope you do not have the right to vote in Macedonia's elections. Reforms that should have happened 20 years ago - didn't and now the country needs to catchup. The present Government has added over 20,000 people to the Government administration since it took power - these are unqualified party members who are now filling new jobs - like envelope licker. You really do not get it. There already is less money in the economy - you know all those wonder projects that the government has going - well here's some news for you - it doesn't have the cash to pay for it - so it has gone back and changed the contracts so payment might happen within 2 years. So during a time when the Government could be stimulating the economy, it's not because it is not paying out the millions it owes to the companies who have been building silly buildings and statues. Therefore at a time when the economy really needs cash - there is very little to go around. Infrastructure projects around the whole country - Skopje is where the money is going - period! Drive to Ohrid, Bitola, Dojran, Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka - the roads are falling apart. Where do you get the impresssion the whole country is a construction site? You are totally misinformed. Skopje is the only construction site - except of course for statues being built in other cities. By the time this Government has done the damage then we should be ready for the Albanians to run everything - hopefully they will do a better job. Kris, people like you scare me- particularly the fact that you are sitting in a foriegn country, buying into propaganda from here and thinking that its great.

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