Republic of Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia1, officially known by most international organizations and foreign states as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), is an independent state on the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. It is often called simply Macedonia, although this can cause confusion with the wider geographical region and the Greek provinces of Macedonia. The Republic contains roughly 38% of the area and nearly 44% of the population of the geographical region.
The lands governed by the Republic of Macedonia were previously the southernmost part of Yugoslavia. Its current borders were fixed shortly after World War II when the socialist Yugoslavia established the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, controversially recognising the Macedonian Slavs as a separate nation. Renamed the Republic of Macedonia in 1991, it seceded peacefully from Yugoslavia without any further territorial changes.
Following the Republic of Macedonia's independence, the Greek government raised objections concerning:
As a result, the United Nations recognized the state in 1993 under the temporary reference of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and other organizations soon followed. As part of an agreement to lift a Greek embargo imposed in February 1994, the Republic changed its flag to an eight-ray sun and amended its constitution to renounce territorial ambitions.
The state's name remains a source of local and international controversy. A permanent agreement on how the Macedonian republic should be referred to internationally has not yet been reached. Most diplomats are accredited to the republic using the FYROM designation. The United Nations and all bona-fide international organizations use the name FYROM. At the same time, at least 40 countries refer to the country by its own constitutional name — the Republic of Macedonia, rather than FYROM. Given the long name, the state is often casually referred to as Macedonia by most non-Greeks despite the ambiguity of the term with the Greek region of Macedonia. Greeks typically use the metonym Skopje (the name of the country's capital) to refer to the entire country, but this has not caught on outside Greece.
See also: Naming dispute between FYRoM and Greece
Main article: History of the Republic of Macedonia
The lands governed by the Republic of Macedonia started to form into a country when they were part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918-1929) and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941, as most of Vardarska banovina). Between 1941 and 1945 the teritory of the Republic of Macedonia was divided between Bulgaria and Italian-occupied Albania. Between 1945 and 1991, they were part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as Socialist Republic of Macedonia after 1963.
The Republic peacefully seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991. The conflict over its official name arose soon after the declaration of independence, and as of 2004 it still persists.
The Republic remained at peace through the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, but the influx of an estimated 360,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from the neighbouring Kosovo in 1999 threatened to destabilize the republic. A brief armed conflict in March 2001 involving Albanian rebels in the west of the country ended with the intervention of a small NATO ceasefire monitoring force and government undertakings to concede greater rights to the Albanian minority.
On February 26, 2004, President Boris Trajkovski died in a plane crash. The results of the official investigation revealed that the cause of the plane accident was procedural mistakes by the crew, committed during the approach to land at Mostar airport.
Main article: Politics of the Republic of Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy with an executive government composed of a coalition of parties from the unicameral legislature (Собрание, Sobranje), and an independent judicial branch with a constitutional court.
Local government functions are divided between 123 municipalities.
Main article: Geography of the Republic of Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia does not nearly encompass the whole of Macedonia: the remainder of that region is divided between neighbouring Greece (with about half of the total) and Bulgaria (with under a tenth).
The area is seismically active and has been subject to destructive earthquakes in the past.
Main article: Economy of the Republic of Macedonia
The Republic was the poorest area of the former Yugoslavia, and was faced with considerable economic difficulties until the late 1990s due to economic and political problems with some of its main export partners. It has since made a sluggish recovery, though the extent of the unemployment and gray market continue to be of grave concern.
Main article: Demographics of the Republic of Macedonia
The mother tongue of some 1.3 million of the state's inhabitants, the Macedonian Slavs, is Macedonian, a south Slavic language which is mostly mutually intelligible with Bulgarian. Albanian is spoken by around 500,000 people and Turkish by 80,000. There are an estimated 120,000 Romany speakers.
Main article: Culture of the Republic of Macedonia
Official government sites
Other, unofficial web sites
¹ The title of this article is not meant to imply an official position on this naming dispute. See also the discussions about this.