During the Cold War, Bulgaria and Macedonia belonged to two strikingly different communist entities: Bulgaria was a loyal part of the Soviet bloc, while Macedonia was a constituent republic of the Yugoslav federation. For about forty years, the preservation of Yugoslav unity and independence in the face of Soviet pressure was a major Western concern. Yugoslavia, with Macedonia, was considered part of 'the Free World', while Bulgaria was viewed as belonging to 'the Other'. Yet, despite diverging Cold War histories, Sovietized Bulgaria and Yugoslav Macedonia shared deep-rooted common traditions that went back to the Ottoman and pre-Ottoman periods of their history. These similarities became more pronounced once Soviet and Yugoslav controls were lifted. Under the Ottomans, the contemporary territories of both countries were part of a single linguistic and ethnographic area, and, between 1870 and 1912, the religious and educational affairs of these territories were directed by a Bulgarian Exarchate based in Istanbul. As a result of these experiences, both countries remain intimately connected (and often divided) by common history, traditions, and language. 1 'The Macedonian Question' was a charged emotional issue in pre-1944 Bulgarian politics, although it is very much a minority preoccupation at present (none of the major Bulgarian dailies has a permanent correspondent in Skopje, and news from Macedonia appears only episodically in the Bulgarian media). On the other hand, the Bulgarian factor (the so-called 'Macedonian B-complex'