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Macedonian student: We want Bulgarian passports back

Date: 19.12.2005

Iliya Stoyanovski was born in 1985 in Skopje, in 'Cair' square, still known as the "Bulgarian neighborhood." He is a student in the University for National and World Economy (UNWE) in Sofia majoring in international relations. Stoyanovski is a member of the Macedonian Students' Association 'Vardar', which was established in 1925, banned in 1944 and restored in 2004.

- Mr. Stoyanovski, why did you decide to study in Bulgaria?

- Because I am a Bulgarian in the first place and secondly because the education in Bulgaria is on a much higher level than the education in the Macedonian universities. My coevals quickly realized that and they are coming to Bulgaria to get a university diploma that would ensure them a better future. In Bulgaria we can also learn our country's true history because in Macedonia we are taught distorted history.

- What are the goals of the MSA Vardar?

- Our goals are raising cultural and educational level of the Macedonian academic community and of the Macedonian immigrants' community. We also want to develop a spirit of solidarity and mutual aid among our members and to develop the educational and sociopolitical relations between Bulgaria and Macedonia. The Macedonian students in Bulgaria need to know their true history.

- Do you have any problems with the police in Macedonia?

- I, myself, have not had any problems, maybe because I have a Bulgarian citizenship. Some of my friends from MSA Vardar did have problems. They are summoned for the so-called "informative interviews," where they are asked about the activities of the MSA Vardar, etc. The members of MSA Vardar should not have to be seen as troublemakers, because we are not a terrorist organization and we do not threaten the stability of the Macedonian state. Our goals are clear-cut.

- In your opinion, does Bulgaria support the MSA Vardar and defend the Bulgarian cause in Macedonia?

- We are being helped by different people and organizations. Bulgaria also gives scholarships to Macedonian students. But we have one very unpleasant problem. We have to wait for 3 years to get a Bulgarian citizenship. That's why I am appealing to the Bulgarian cabinet to shorten this term. We, the Bulgarians in Macedonia, were deprived of our Bulgarian citizenship in 1945. So, it is a matter of restoring, not obtaining a Bulgarian citizenship.

- What do you think about the future of Macedonia?

- The borders between Bulgaria and Macedonia have to be opened as soon as possible. This is the only way to save the integrity of our Motherland - Macedonia.

Virginia Stayanova

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