The Bulgarian Cultural Club "Ivan Mihailov" in Bitola should change its name

The Bulgarian Cultural Club "Ivan Mihailov" in Bitola should change its name

North Macedonia’s Justice Minister Krénar Loga signed a decision rejecting the request for approval of the use of the name Ivan Mihailov within the "Ivan Mihailov" Cultural Centre Association in Bitola.

In practice, the Bulgarian private club, which opened last April in the presence of the then Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, former and current foreign ministers and the Bulgarian community in the Republic of North Macedonia, has to change its name and request a new registration.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs follows with concern the developments in the case of the Bulgarian club "Ivan Mihailov" in Bitola

The reason for the minister's decision is the negative opinion of the Commission on Names of Associations from March 16, according to which the name Ivan Mihailov is linked to fascist ideology.

According to the Commission, the use of the name Ivan Mihailov is a provocation to the national feelings of the Macedonian people because of his constant and blatant denial of the existence of a Macedonian identity, language and culture.

The glorification of his personality and work provokes intolerance and hatred in Macedonian society, the Commission's decision further states.

In a social media post, the chairman of the "Ivan Mihailov" cultural club in Bitola, Ljupco Georgievski, said that "they will not give up and will go to Strasbourg, they will fight for their rights, for the removal of the falsified history and for the opening of the files of the UDBA (Yugoslav secret police) and no one can stop them".

Commission for the Use of Names in North Macedonia is expected to rule on the case of the Bulgarian club in Bitola

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