Interview with journalist and publicist Sveto Stamenov: At Radio Skopje, I experienced my stellar journalistic moments
The journalist Sveto Stamenov has devoted almost his entire professional life to work at the Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje, and in the last 25 years his journalistic activity has been extremely significant, publishing part of his radio broadcasts in literary form.
The announced promotion of the first and second amended and supplemented editions of the book "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian Mediator" is a concrete occasion for a meeting with Sveto Stamenov, one of the most prolific Macedonian publicists, political scientist and journalist of the Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje.
The promotion of the book will be held in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Macedonian Language Institute "Krste Misirkov" - Skopje and the 120th anniversary of the publication of the book "On Macedonian Affairs" by Krste Petkov Misirkov.
Stamenov's book contains radio interviews (conversations) with eminent university professors, Macedonian scholars, outstanding connoisseurs and admirers of the grandiose work of Krste Petkov Misirkov, which have been translated into literary form.
Professor Vera Stojchevska-Antic, about the book "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian mediator" points out that the author Sveto Stamenov "designed the work ideally, because he summarized in one book the most important and old and new knowledge about the values and work of Krste Petkov Misirkov". The updated edition presents a summarized encyclopedic reading about the life's feat and erudite scientific work of Krste Petkov Misirkov, which will be able to be followed consistently and worthy by numerous young and old consumers of Macedonian language history and culture.
In honor of the 120th anniversary of the publication of the book "On Macedonian Affairs" by Krste Petkov Misirkov, the Institute of the Macedonian Language will promote the latest edition of the publication "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian Mediator". What does the release contain and how long has it been in preparation?
- Exactly! On February 9, in the amphitheater of the Macedonian Language Institute "Krste Misirkov" - Skopje, there will be a promotion of the books "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian Interpreter" (first and second amended and supplemented editions). The promotion is in honor of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute and the 120th anniversary of the publication of the Macedonian "golden" book "On Macedonian Affairs" by, according to many, the most significant Macedonian of the 20th century and the first codifier of the Macedonian literary language, Krste Petkov Misirkov.
The first edition of the book "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian Mediator" was published in 2020 and is a kind of collection of 13 interviews that I conducted with eminent university professors, Macedonian scholars, outstanding connoisseurs and admirers of the magnificent work of Krste Petkov Misirkov on the Macedonian Radio program - Radio Skopje during 2016, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Misirkov's death, and in 2018 on the occasion of the 115th anniversary of the publication of his book "On Macedonian Affairs".
This new, second, amended and supplemented edition, which came after the exhaustion of the circulation of the first and which was published two or three months ago, in addition to the interviews from the first, also contains seven new ones, which I conducted during 2021 on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of his death of Misirkov.
Already with the very title of the book you define the significance of Krste Petkov Misirkov for the Macedonian national history, science and language. What challenge is it to study his work 120 years after the publication of his most important book?
- Is there a greater challenge right now, when we are once again exposed to an unscrupulous fierce anti-Macedonian campaign by some political and academic circles in neighboring Bulgaria who deny and even appropriate everything Macedonian, the Macedonian people, Macedonian history, Macedonian culture and, in particular, the Macedonian language, which they say is, I quote, the "regional norm of Bulgarian", let's not go back to, as I said, the most significant Macedonian of the 20th century, Krste Petkov Misirkov, and his Macedonian "golden" book "For the Macedonian affairs"!
For me, and I think for the huge number of Macedonians, it is his book "About Macedonian Affairs" that actually represents the most authentic Macedonian national program, which has lost almost nothing of its relevance even today, 120 years after its publication. Because in it, Misirkov gives the answers to the most essential questions that some even in this third decade of the 21st century shamelessly and persistently ask us: who we are, what we are, where we are, what we should be... and the answer is one and only - we are Macedonians, a special people with our own history, our own culture and our own Macedonian language, exactly as Misirkov says in "About Macedonian Affairs".
As a journalist, how do you select the interlocutors who speak on these important topics?
- There is no rule. Simply, the choice of the interlocutor, if you can say so, depends only on the topic that will be treated in the interview and guided by it, I try to find the best expert, regardless of whether it is a university professor, an expert, a politician, a diplomat, writer... Of course, the exception is the series of interviews that I realize on the occasion of various anniversaries, as in fact, for example, were: 15 and 20 years since the independence of the Republic of Macedonia, 1.100 years since the repose of St. Kliment Ohridski, the 90th and 95th anniversary of the death of Krste Petkov Misirkov, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Blaže Koneski, the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Macedonian army, etc., which lasted for several months, and some even for a whole year. And then, at any cost, I try to bring to the program of the Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje, if not all, at least most of the top connoisseurs of what or whom the series is dedicated to. All this eventually turns into a kind of radio symposium which, after all, ends between two covers.
The interviews are carried out within the radio program of Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje. What is the reason for your dedication to radio throughout your professional life?
- The love for radio as a medium was born in my student days in the early eighties of the last century, when I combined my studies at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade with practical work at Radio Belgrade. Then, after two years of freelance work in the foreign policy editorial office of the then Television Skopje, in the early nineties I got a job at Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje, to which I have remained loyal to this day. In the past three and a half decades, I have gone through all the steps in the profession - from desk assistant, military reporter from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreign policy journalist, executive editor of the News section to editor of the Foreign Policy Department of the Macedonian Radio - Radio Skopje.
At Radio Skopje, I experienced my stellar journalistic moments. After all, I was twice the winner of the "Mito Hadji Vasilev - Jasmin" State Award (2005 for journalism and 2012 for journalism) and the "Krste Misirkov" award of ZNM (2004) and the Plaque of the NATO Liaison Office in Skopje (2020). . But unfortunately, I also experienced disappointments (fortunately, not professional ones) that still sting like a living wound. But that's life, isn't it?!
In your opinion, to what extent have new technologies and media managed to take away part of the informational function of radio as a medium? Or, does radio manage to keep its influence in the new times?
- That they took away - they took away, but still the radio is held as a medium. And it's not a matter of technology and new media, but of the radio people themselves.
In addition to radio journalism, you are engaged in another extremely important activity - journalism. How many books as an author and publisher have you published so far and for what purpose?
- Since 1998, when, together with Iskra Čolović and Horbaj Drasko, we published the monograph "A view of the Old Skopje Bazaar", which in 2005 experienced the second edition, until today as an author, co-author and editor I have published more than 50 books in the field of international politics, defense and security, literature and the Macedonian language, as well as intercultural, intercivilizational and interreligious dialogue, etc.
Among them, I would single out: the tetralogy "Macedonian Security Labyrinths", the two-volume "Power of the Ohrid Spirit", "Ohrid Talks", "Macedonia in NATO" and "Language - our only complete homeland", as well as "Saint Clement of Ohrid and the Macedonian cultural context", "Religion and culture - an unbreakable bond between nations", "Quo vadis, Macedonia?", "Krste Petkov Misirkov - the Macedonian middleman", "For the Macedonian XIX century", "Danica Ruchigaj: Song of Songs", "The Literary criticism of Danica Ruchigaj", "Skopski talks", "Political vivisections on the air" and the latest "From Klimenta to Blazheta". Of course, a special place in my bibliography belongs to the collections "A return to Koneski" and "Another return to Koneski", which were published on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the founder of modern Macedonian culture, Blaže Koneski, as well as to "Indistinctness, oh cursed yes si", an anthology of poems dedicated to the first Macedonian poet Danica Ruchigaj, and "July 26, 1963 – Fateful Day", an anthology of poems dedicated to the Skopje earthquake.
Who are all these releases for?
- I will look for the answer to this question in some of the reviews of my books. Namely, for some reviewers, most of my books represent a kind of chronology of events and a kind of picture of Macedonian society in the last decade of the last and in the first three decades of this century, as well as a kind of "immersion" in the rich Macedonian history. Well, maybe the books will be interesting to those who are engaged or interested in it.
How is the promotion of the book "Krste Petkov Misirkov - Macedonian Mediator" at the Macedonian Language Institute on February 9 planned?
- The promotion is planned to start at 11 am and will be held in the amphitheater of the "Krste Misirkov" Institute in Skopje. It is planned to be opened with the welcoming address of the director of the Institute, prof. Dr. Elena Jovanova-Grujovska, and after her, prof. Dr. Vasil Tocinovski, prof. Dr. Lidija Tanturovska, prof. Dr. Ljudml Spasov and Prof. Dr. Dimitar Pandev, who were actually also reviewers of the book.
In the end, it will remain for me to thank the attendees and the promoters, and to present to the library of the Institute, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute, two copies of my publications dedicated to our Macedonian language.
(The interview was published in "Cultural Press" No. 165, in the print edition of the newspaper "Free Press" on February 4-5, 2023)