The Name’s Macedonia. North Macedonia.

Can the Country Overcome Its Identity Crisis?

A man casts his ballot for the referendum in Macedonia on changing the country's name in Skopje, Macedonia September 2018.  Marko Djurica/REUTERS

What’s in a name? Enough to hold a referendum on it. Thus, some 1.8 million voters in the Republic of Macedonia were asked on Sunday, September 30, to cast a vote on their country’s name. The question on the ballot: “Are you in favor of European Union and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?” The accord in question is known as the Prespa Agreement, provisionally signed by the Greek and Macedonian prime ministers earlier this year. In it, Macedonia agrees to change its name to “the Republic of North Macedonia.” The change holds the potential to end a decades-long deadlock between the two countries over Macedonia’s name, language, and national identity—and also over competing interpretations of history. For Macedonia in particular, the stakes are high: resolving the dispute would allow it to join NATO and, further down the

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