Although one can certainly come up with several fold more reasons why Skopje and Sofia have not been able to normalize their relations, here are ten that come to mind right from the start.
1. Macedonians at home spent majority of their WW2 fighting against Bulgarian soldiers. Macedonian partisans engaged the Germans mostly in major battles outside of Macedonia, in other parts of the then Yugoslavia.
2. In 1913 Macedonia was split in 3 parts (Vardar, Pirin, Aegean). Due to the split, the remains of one of the greatest Macedonian revolutionaries Goce Delcev (died 1903) found itself on the 'other' side, in present Bulgaria. Official Sofia in 1946 sent Delcev's remains to the rightful owners, the Government of Macedonia in Skopje. Today official Sofia claims him as "Bulgarian". Why give him up if he is your own, and equally important, why claim him 60 years later?
3. Bulgaria while protecting their Jewish minority, was responsible for rounding up and sending to concentration camps the Jewish population from Macedonia and Thrace (present Greece). Macedonia lost 98% of its Jewish population. All of the gold, art and jewelry was stolen by Bulgarian soldiers and sent to Sofia. Just a fortnight ago (October 7th), Jewish leaders from Israel told the Bulgarian Government in Sofia that "saving your own Jews but murdering others still makes you a murderer". There goes Sofia's hope that everyone has amnesia.
4. Official Bulgarian census in 1946 listed 252,908 Macedonians living in Bulgaria. Official census in 1956 somehow listed less, 187,789 ethnic Macedonians, concentrated in the Pirin region. In 2011, official Sofia counted 1,600 Macedonians! For the next census, Sofia will follow Athens and claim it has no minorities.
5. When visiting Bulgaria, in particularly major holiday destinations , one is able to view dozens of TV channels from all of Bulgaria's neighbors. The only channels missing (scrambled) are those from Macedonia.
6. Just like in Greece, Bulgaria too does not allow Macedonians to register a political party and take part in Parliament elections. The Macedonians have taken Bulgaria to Human Rights court in Strasbourg twice, won both times, but still cannot register their party.
7. Bulgaria first recognized Macedonia, at the same time did not recognize the language which automatically created tensions between the two countries.
8. Bulgaria wanted to help Macedonia during the Greek embargo and opened its port in Burgas to Macedonian companies. This nice gesture was conditioned - official Skopje must stop its communication with Macedonians in Bulgaria.
9. After 2000, Bulgaria decided to create a "minority" in Macedonia, Serbia, Moldavia (even Albania) by issuing passports and citizenships to Macedonians. According to Macedonians and Serbs who have received Bulgarian passports, the entire procedure was done in less than two months involving little to no documentation at all.
10. A typical court case of divorced parents seeking a custody of their daughter turned into a circus case because the mother (Spaska Mitrova) had recently received a Bulgarian passport. Mitrova's new passport meant the bombastic arrival of two dozen journalists from Sofia at a small court house in Gevgelija to cover the case and cheer on Spaska Mitrova.
Број 5 вистина ли е? Може ли во Бугарија да се следат македонски телевизии?