Divisive Statue of ‘Assassin’ May Return to North Macedonia

The new mayor of North Macedonia's capital Skopje, Danela Arsovska, has raised eyebrows after announcing she had tracked down a bronze statue of Ottoman-era rebel Andon Lazov Kjoseto, which was removed by her predecessor in 2018, and might call a referendum on the statue's reinstallment.

"Now, after four years [since its removal] finally, Arsovska … during [Orthodox] Easter, has decided to bring back to life, into our lives, this symbol of death and self-destruction of Macedonians," the analyst and columnist Zlate Lozanovski wrote in his Wednesday column, "Kjoseto Returns to the Crime Scene".

The bronze staue of Kjoseto, 1855-1953, an Ottoman-era assassin and executioner for the clandestine Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation, VMRO, popped up in Skopje overnight in 2014.

Whether he was a hero for resisting Ottoman oppression over Macedonia, or just a killer, remains a moot question among Macedonians.

Kjoseto "was not a revolutionary! He had not a gram of schooling, no idea in his head! He was the executor of the secret organization VMRO, an executioner who carried out assassination orders and at the same time killed with pleasure, without orders, a bodyguard occasionally hired to be an escort of the great Macedonian 'revolutionaries. Do you know any country where a monument to an executioner and bodyguard was built?" the journalist and a commentator Brank Geroski asked on Wednesday.

Arsovska, who became mayor at the last autumn's local elections, in an interview published on Sunday - Orthodox Easter - told the local Infomax news portal that after three months of strenuous detective work, she and her team finally located the discarded statue in a warehouse in Skopje.

She said that despite rumours that the bronze...

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