Opposition supporters on Friday protested against plans to rename hundreds of streets in the capital, accusing the authorities of re-writing history – but the ruling party insists that most of the criticism is misplaced.Opposition Social Democrats say the move by the ruling VMRO DPMNE party is part of a bid to write off important figures linked with Yugoslavia’s anti-Fascist wartime struggle and replace them with controversial names that fit the party’s nationalist ideology.Opposition Social Democrats say the move by the ruling VMRO DPMNE party is part of a bid to write off important figures linked with Yugoslavia’s anti-Fascist wartime struggle and replace them with controversial names that fit the party’s nationalist ideology.One is Todor Aleksandrov, member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, VMRO, which fought for Macedonia’s independence from Ottoman rule but was in some periods closely linked to Bulgaria.
Although previously considered pro-Bulgarian in his beliefs and thus undeserving of hero status, the ruling party recently named one of the main bridges in Skopje and a street after him.
“I was a fellow fighter with Stiv Naumov who sacrificed himself for Macedonia. It is shameful that his name is now being scrapped,” Trajce Grujoski, a member of Macedonia’s association of Second World War veterans, said.
His association already condemned the renaming bid, saying in a statement that, “the goal is to erase the names of those who organized and led … the Macedonian people and who in the end formed the Macedonian state”.
VMRO DPMNE, which has a majority on the city council, says the attacks on the plan are unjustified and emotive.
“We are not revising history but only changing about 8 per cent of the street names that had nothing to do with Macedonian history,” Aleksandar Bicikliski, spokesperson of VMRO DPMNE, said.
The party insists that they are not erasing Stiv Naumov’s name from the city as another street will bear his name.