The City of Skopje government announced Wednesday it is planning to change the names of streets, public squares, bridges and other infrastructural objects in and around the city. The decision is aimed at replacing names of important figures of Macedonian history from around the city.
A document containing all of the street names to be changed shows figures who were crucial in the struggle for Macedonian independence are replaced with figures that have little to no bearing in Macedonian history or are in opposition to it.
The list contains few names from the Prizren League which drew plans for a Greater Albania – including nearly half of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia.
Other irrational names include communist dictator Joseph Stalin.
Skopje’s mayor Petre Shilegov has signed the measure that will replace street names like:
Boris Sarafov – Shilegov has also erased Boris Sarafov street from the map. Sarafov was one of the three members of the Revolutionary headquarters of the Ilinden uprising in 1903.
Pavel Shatev – one of the famed Gemidzii who was persecuted for his Macedonian patriotism by the communist government;
Teodosij Gologanov – A boulevard in the city center dedicated to an educator, revolutionary, and proponent for the return of the Archbishopric of Ohrid will no longer be called that. Gologanov fought against Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek influence in Macedonia.
Vasil Chakalarov – a boulevard dedicated to the revolutionary hero who fought against Greek brigand invaders and the Ottoman army;
Petre Piruze – Majski – Macedonian patriot, member of ASNOM, Minister of Jurisprudence of Macedonia and an internee in the Goli Otok forced-labor camp, Piruze’s street is also removed from the face of Skopje.
Dozens of other Macedonians who contributed to the nation are being erased in a move that serves the interests of neighboring countries that deny the existence of a Macedonian nation and repress their ethnic Macedonian minorities.
The decision has been publicly criticized and called “shameful”, “insulting” and a “cultural genocide”. This is one of the latest moves by the Government in eroding the foundation of the Macedonian identity in a series of events which the President of the Sciences Academy has called “an experiment”.
The lawyer Janaki Mitrovski who is of Vlach origin has called on the government not to name a street according to someone who was “an executor of the Vlach people”. Mitrovski is referring to Ali-Pasha of Ioannina (Janinski) who had robbed and set on fire the city of Moskopole in Albania, forcing thousands of Vlachs to move to neighboring regions, with some settling in Macedonia.