How we smashed
Golden Dawn

Issue: 169

Petros Constantinou

On 7 October 2020, following a trial lasting more than five years, a Greek court found the leaders of Golden Dawn guilty of forming and running a criminal organisation. Heralded as the biggest trial of Nazis since the post-war Nuremberg tribunals, in total 68 members of Golden Dawn faced prosecution. Seven former Golden Dawn MPs, including party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, were convicted of leading a criminal organisation. Others were convicted of participating in it.

Further guilty verdicts were given for the murder of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn members in September 2013, the attempted murder of Abouzid Embarak and three other Egyptian fishermen in June 2012, and a brutal attack on Communist Party trade unionists just days before the murder of Fyssas.

The outcome of the trial was a final devastating blow to Golden Dawn. In 2012, amid the huge economic and political crisis that gripped Greece after the global financial crash of 2008-9, Golden Dawn had made a dramatic electoral breakthrough in the two general elections of May and June 2012, winning 7 percent of the vote and 18 MPs. Yet by the 2019 general election Golden Dawn fell below the 3 percent threshold required to enter parliament, resulting in the loss of all its MPs.

However, even as the long history of complicity between the Greek state, the ruling conservative party New Democracy and Golden Dawn was being exposed, it was argued that the crushing of the fascists was a demonstration of the robustness of liberal democratic institutions. Mainstream political forces were celebrated for having seen off “extremists”.

The real story was very different. It was a mass anti-fascist movement that broke Golden Dawn. This movement was increasingly able to isolate Golden Dawn, driving it out of the public arena and thus denying it the opportunity to present a “respectable” face in the wake of its election breakthrough. Simultaneously, the anti-fascist movement placed huge pressure on New Democracy and the state to distance themselves from the Nazis and to launch a legal crackdown.

At the centre of the anti-fascist movement was the organisation Keerfa (United Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat). Petros Constantinou is coordinator for Keerfa and a member of the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK). Petros spoke to Mark L Thomas about the danger that Golden Dawn represented, Keerfa’s strategy and the lessons for the international fight against the far right.

MT: In the 1980s and 1990s we saw the growth of the fascists in France with Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National, the gains by the British National Party in Britain, the rise of the Freedom Party in Austria and so on. But there was an argument that Greece was immune to fascism due to its experiences of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War, the civil war between right and left that followed in the late 1940s, and the military dictatorship of 1967-74. This complacent view was destroyed by the dramatic breakthrough of Golden Dawn in the elections of 2012. What were the economic and political conditions that allowed this development?

PC: To understand what happened in 2012, you have to recognise that the fascist threat existed long before that. The Nazis were there from the 1990s in Greece as a very small group on the margin of politics that organised physical attacks. However, with the start of the economic crisis in 2007-8, we saw the Greek government and also the European Union scapegoating migrants and refugees, and implementing the European Pact for Asylum and Migration. This opened the space for far-right populist parties and the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn to try to push the political scene to the right. In this period, before the rise of Golden Dawn, we had an Islamophobic, far-right populist party LAOS (Λαϊκός Ορθόδοξος Συναγερμός, “Popular Orthodox Rally”) entering parliament.1 In fact, when Keerfa was launched in 2009 it was because of the rise of LAOS. LAOS tried to build committees of “citizens” against refugees and migrants. Golden Dawn was also there, involving itself in attacks on refugees and migrants.

In 2010, we saw the introduction of austerity in Greece with the so-called Memorandum imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The working class responded to these attacks with a series of general strikes. At the same time there was the start of a process of political crisis. In 2011, the neoliberal conservative party, New Democracy, and the social democratic party, PASOK, formed a coalition government, which LAOS also joined, to push through the Memorandum.

This was the moment when the scale of social polarisation and the use of racism by the government really opened a space for Golden Dawn. With LAOS compromised by its participation in the austerity government, the Nazis seized the chance to try to present themselves as the real opposition.

Golden Dawn sought to further radicalise existing racism by forming attack squads in parts of Athens. Of course, without the support of the police it would have been impossible for them to control even the first area in which they tried to build a base, the Athens neighbourhood of Agios Panteleimonas. Here, they were able to construct a first joint committee with LAOS members, trying to attract support from the local population to kick out foreigners.

But these developments took place in a general political situation that was shifting to the left. There was an escalation of workers’ resistance with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, striking and demonstrating. We saw the collapse of the traditional parties, both New Democracy and PASOK. In 2009, these two parties together won nearly 80 percent of the vote; in the elections of 2012, they won just 42 percent.

The left-wing Syriza party benefited from this. It won under 5 percent of the vote in 2009, but this jumped to almost 27 percent in June 2012. So what was taking place was a shift to the left, not to the right. However, there was also deep polarisation, and this meant that Golden Dawn was also able to enter parliament. The deepening economic crisis, the collapse of the traditional ruling parties and the government’s utilisation of racism opened the doors for the Nazis.

In 2012 a massive police operation was launched under the guise of checks on people’s immigration status. The state called this “Operation Xenios Zeus”; this was something of a euphemism as “Xenios” means hospitality and welcoming strangers, not attacking them with thousands of police. Over 100,000 people were strip searched and 6,000 ended up in an infamous detention centre. This whole process paved the way for a wave of pogroms and racist attacks, as well as the murders of Shahzad Luqman in January 2013 and Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013.

The electoral success of Golden Dawn was an escalation of the fascist threat in Greece. Having won parliamentary representation, Golden Dawn began to receive money from the state, and they used this to build across Greece, opening more than 50 local offices in different cities. They used these as bases to organise their attacks and campaigns of hatred against refugees.

Golden Dawn demanded that no children of refugees could attend municipal kindergarten; they demanded that local mayors give them the names of these children so that they could expel them from the kindergartens. They also tried to build a campaign around the slogan “Blood Only for Greeks”; groups of Nazis went into hospitals and made blood donations, then demanded that these only go to Greek patients. Of course, they were kicked out of those hospitals.

They also launched a campaign to hand out free food “only for Greeks”, focusing on the centre of Athens, and launched physical attacks, burning mosques and smashing up migrant-owned shops.

MT: If we look around Europe, many of the fascist parties that have made breakthroughs—the Front National (now Rassemblement National) in France and the Freedom Party in Austria, for example—are predominantly electoral organisations and try to appear respectable. Their efforts to build a paramilitary wing have been much more limited. So one of the dangers presented by Golden Dawn was that they were a paramilitary Nazi organisation that made a major electoral breakthrough—as Hitler and the Nazis did in the 1930s. And as you have brought out, Golden Dawn’s electoral success doesn’t mean they dropped their paramilitary orientation—instead, they sought to use gains at the ballot box to reinforce and deepen it. Unchecked, this could have meant Golden Dawn becoming a beacon internationally, encouraging a hardening up of other fascist currents and showing that you can use votes to build up street thugs and street thugs to build up votes. Can you say more about Golden Dawn’s strategy? How did it present itself? What was the message it promoted to try to attract support?

PC: They mainly presented themselves as Greek nationalists opposed to the transformation of the country into a debt colony for German bankers. They also used a lot of antisemitic rhetoric, attacking the left as agents of George Soros and NGOs, who they blamed for an “invasion” of Greece by migrants. This racism was combined with attacks on the “Islamisation” of Greece—their slogan was “Athens is becoming Kabul”. They attacked the political forces they held to have betrayed Greece by opening the borders to refugees and Muslims, and they attacked the left, claiming that strikes were destroying the economy and so on.

So the main way they tried to build their forces was through racism and Islamophobia. The use of paramilitary squads was targeted mainly at migrants and refugees but also, of course, the left. Their local offices were bases for these paramilitary forces. Take the example of Nikaia, in the Piraeus area.2 This is where the Golden Dawn squad that murdered Pavlos Fyssas came from. It had assembled with 20 motorbikes at the local Golden Dawn offices before heading off to kill him.

They used these local offices to build up their paramilitary forces—and did so right in front of the police’s eyes. The relationship between Golden Dawn and the police was a scandal. The police continually covered for their actions. It was impossible for a migrant to go a police station and say, “I want to sue the person who stabbed me.” The police would simply throw them out. They even attacked migrants’ lawyers outside police stations. Police were present at many Golden Dawn attacks but did nothing to stop them. Police were there during the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, and he was killed right in front of their eyes. So they were protecting Golden Dawn.

Also, there were relationships between the New Democracy government and Golden Dawn.3 The secretary of New Democracy’s parliamentary group had discussions with Ilias Kasidiaris, Golden Dawn’s spokesperson at the time. New Democracy wanted the support of Golden Dawn for its legislative proposals in parliament. So when New Democracy claims today that it is part of the anti-fascists’ victory, it is a joke. After the murder of Pavlos Fyssas and the final crackdown on the Nazis, the Minister of Public Order said he was sending 32 cases regarding Golden Dawn to the prosecutor. Each case involved a violent attack by Golden Dawn, but they had sat on these for years and not sent them for prosecution. One part of the Greek ruling class in a period of crisis opened the space for Golden Dawn. They gave them money, they gave them the space to attack the trade unions, especially in the shipyard area where Communist party trade unionists were attacked.

MT: Shipyard bosses were involved in giving direct support and money to them?

PC: Yes, and so were some of the publishers. You saw stories in the media about how philanthropic Golden Dawn were. There was a famous photo in the media of an elderly woman taking money from a cashpoint while being escorted by a member of Golden Dawn who claimed that he was protecting her from migrants who wanted to steal her pension. In fact, the woman was the mother of the Golden Dawn member and it was all staged.

MT: Which sections of Greek society did Golden Dawn draw its votes and support from in 2012 and after?

PC: Politically, the vote for Golden Dawn came from traditional right voters. Golden Dawn inherited the votes of LAOS, whose support collapsed after they participated in government. So this was a large part of Golden Dawn’s vote. Another part of Golden Dawn’s vote came from New Democracy. I would say that they took only a small percentage of support from PASOK. On a social level, of course, parts of the petty bourgeoisie were destroyed, such as small shop owners in the central Athens, and some of these turned to Golden Dawn. And part of the state machinery voted for them—the military, the police and the police’s special forces all voted in separate centres, and so we know that Golden Dawn got 55 or 60 percent of their votes.

MT: So this was a radicalisation of part of the right-wing electorate?

PC: Yes, but Golden Dawn was also getting votes in working-class neighbourhoods in Athens and Piraeus, and this was dangerous. Not higher than the average, but still this was a significant political challenge for the left.

MT: So Golden Dawn threatened to get a foothold in working-class communities?

PC: They were trying to break out of central Athens and into places like Nikaia and Perama. This was the rise of the fascist threat to trade unions, I would say. Their strategy was to establish themselves as a political party, preserving the paramilitary branch, and to present themselves as the protectors of Greeks against migrants. In 2012-13 they tried to build a stronger Nazi party. They were already the third biggest party after New Democracy and Syriza. Before the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, they thought they could rise to 20 percent in elections, and leap over the rest of the right. The resistance was crucial in stopping this from happening. Workers’ resistance to austerity was not enough. We also needed a specifically anti-fascist struggle.

Table 1: Golden Dawn general election results
















May 2012





June 2012





Jan 2015





Sept 2015






165, 709




MT: There has been an attempt to portray Golden Dawn’s defeat as a vindication of the mainstream centre against the “extremists”. This narrative hides the complicity of New Democracy and the state, but it also erases the key role of the mass anti-fascist movement that targeted the Nazis and ultimately broke them. Could you talk about the dynamic of that movement, and about the role of Keerfa and its strategy of building a united front that targeted the fascists?

PC: This claim that anti-fascism is part of the DNA of liberal democracy is ridiculous. In reality it was the Greek courts that gave Golden Dawn the right to participate in elections. Golden Dawn was not some unknown group. In 2005, for example, the party had to suspend its activities in order to avoid prosecution after they shot at demonstrators from the balcony of their offices. During a trial in 1998 of Golden Dawn members who had physically attacked Socialist Workers Party (SEK) members two years’ earlier, a student activist was assualted and put into a coma for two months. Those responsible for that attack were sentenced to prison for many years, and there was a decision by Greek courts to condemn Golden Dawn as a gang. Amazingly, the leader of this attack escaped being captured by the police and eluded prison for years. So the political system knew very well that Golden Dawn was a Nazi gang. So how was it possible to give them a legal permit to participate in elections?

The role of the police in protecting Golden Dawn’s actions was crucial. Without this, the anti-fascist movement would have smashed them from 2007. It was impossible for them to stand before the anti-fascists; we would outnumber and defeat them. But the police always defended them. There were many anti-fascists who were attacked by the police and brought before the courts.

When Golden Dawn entered parliament in 2012, we faced tough arguments: “Why do you say they shouldn’t have a platform on Greek TV? They are a political party. Why shouldn’t they have seats in the parliament or in the municipalities?” We opposed these arguments, but the neoliberal system did not. It took a political fight to isolate the fascists, and this started with naming Golden Dawn as Nazis. It was crucial that the SEK started building an anti-fascist movement against Golden Dawn long before its big breakthrough. We didn’t wait until they were making huge gains; we started 20 years before that in the 1990s.

I remember in 1992 when there was a big nationalist campaign over Macedonia, with the Greek state insisting “Macedonia is Greek”—and only Greek.4 There is a Macedonian minority in Greece and we supported them, as well as the Turkish minority, against nationalist attacks. There was even prosecution of five of our members for the publication of a book, The Macedonian Question, the Balkans and the Working Class. The Nazis attacked our party, then called Socialist Revolution Organisation (OSE), particularly because we supported the right of Macedonians to call themselves Macedonians. Throughout all this period, we organised against the fascists.

In 1998 SEK organised a campaign called “Stop Haider”. We saw the rise of Jörg Haider and the Freedom Party in Austria as a threat that could boost the fascists here in Greece. There were few fascists but we knew, given the atmosphere of racism, that they could grow. So we had a tradition of organising against the fascists stretching back for many years before theiy made a big step forward.

Why? Firstly, our analysis of fascism meant identifying the fascist threat not when they get to the point of entering parliament or controlling whole areas, but when they launched the first attacks against trade unionists, the left, migrants, refugees and so on. We built with this approach.

Secondly, we looked to the tradition of Leon Trotsky, who wrote about the need for a united front to beat Hitler’s Nazis. This tradition has great lessons for revolutionaries today. Keerfa was this kind of united front. It united activists from trade unions and left-wing parties such as Syriza and from migrant, Muslim and LGBT+ communities. This approach was crucial to outnumbering the Nazis. Between 2007 and 2012, much of the left underestimated the fascist threat. SEK was even criticised by some on the left who said we were advertising the Nazis.

MT: So this approach was contested on the left?

PC: Yes. Some were very critical when we began to organise anti-fascist actions such as a counter-demonstration to the Nazis’ first racist protest in Agios Pantelemonias. We were alone on the left, with just some of the anarchists supporting. But the Pakistani community was always there with us from the first moment. Without the Pakistani community we couldn’t have made it in a lot of areas. But the most important force was the organised working class—teachers, hospital workers, doctors, the public sector workers’ union and so on. Building in the trade unions took a lot of effort because we combined the fight against fascism with the fight against racism and Islamophobia.

We built on the successes of the anti-capitalist movement in Greece from the period of the great protests in Genoa in 2001 and the anti-war movement in 2003. We organised resistance to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we fought Islamophobia. Anti-racism was part and parcel of the huge anti-war movement. I would say that we brought all these political achievements from the past into the anti-fascist movement. That is why it was possible for SEK, an organisation of the revolutionary left, to build a united front like Keerfa, which was able to attract trade unions, migrant communities and others in order to outnumber the Nazis.

MT: After the breakthrough of Golden Dawn in 2012, the challenge facing Keerfa was to root out Golden Dawn from each of the localities that it tried to build in. So a movement that could drive down into every area across Greece was needed. Did Keerfa expand as a united front in this period? Did new forces begin to gravitate around Keerfa?

PC: It was amazing that when we started Keerfa in 2009, very quickly we had local groups in more than 70 areas. Many were in the area around Athens, but it was a national network from the very beginning. That was very important. This national network was able to cooperate with other anti-fascist coalitions and local groups that developed in parallel in that period. Until 2012 and 2013, the left underestimated the danger, but after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, they joined the movement. On this part of the left, there was panic that it was not possible to defeat the Nazis, so the confidence that Keerfa had in its strategy was very important. Keerfa was the heart of that movement, but also its mind. We understood how to make the big political decisions that were necessary. It was necessary after Golden Dawn’s electoral successes not to panic but to build locally and to fight back with counter-demonstrations. This worked. Golden Dawn couldn’t have an open demonstration to attract people, and it was impossible for them to build their electoral campaigns in 2012. We prevented the electoral campaign of Golden Dawn everywhere. It was amazing. Even when they had entered parliament, it was impossible for them to hold open meetings.

MT: So you were able to push them out of the public space, despite their claims that being in parliament meant that they were respectable?

PC: Yes. We also demanded that the municipal authorities that are responsible for giving political parties spaces for events during elections—halls, squares, election kiosks and so on—refuse these to Golden Dawn. We won some decisions to deny these spaces to Golden Dawn, leading it to cancel its annual “festival of youth” in Athens.

What happened with the trade unions was also very important. When the Nazis tried to stop the children of refugees going to the schools, the teachers were there to register them. In the hospitals, it was the doctors in the health workers’ union that kicked the Nazis out. Battle by battle, the power of the working class was there in the war against the Nazis.

We demanded that Golden Dawn be stopped from appearing on ERT, the state-run broadcaster. We ran a big campaign on this issue and got the support of the journalists’ union. The manager of ERT claimed that this issue was not his responsibility but that of a committee that monitors the media for hate speech. They kept passing the responsibility between one another. The solution came from the trade union. They simply said, “every time you put the Nazis on a programme, we will strike.” Finally, the Nazis took the union to court—and lost. So we won a court decision that meant the Nazis would not appear on TV.

The anti-racist campaign that took place in parallel with all this was also very important. There were huge mobilisations against racism. When the bosses of a strawberry farm in Western Greece shot 30 Bangladeshi workers in 2013 for demanding their back wages, it stirred a huge mobilisation. We organised a strike, which was the first strike and mass mobilisation of these workers. It ended the terror in the area. The Communist Party and the trade unions hadn’t been able to operate in this area. We broke all that.

We made both the anti-fascist and anti-racist struggles central. Three things were crucial. The first was the united front tactic, which I have already talked about.

The second was the central role of the organised working class. This was more than just left-wing militants putting on helmets and physically confronting the fascists on their own. We said no to this tactic. We said we needed mass workers’ action—and we got it. There was a general strike when Pavlos Fyssas was murdered and this gave us the ability to organise a mass anti-fascist demonstration of 60,000, even without the agreement of the leaderships of the big trade unions. They said they were going to organise a concert. We said, “OK, hold the concert. Have the music in Syntagma Square. But we will march to the headquarters of Golden Dawn.” And we marched with 60,000. This forced the government to start the crack down against the neo-Nazis three days after the general strike.

We had a strike on the first day of the trial of Golden Dawn in 2015. We occupied the public spaces in the court—no supporters of Golden Dawn could get in. We had 3,000 demonstrators outside the prison at 8am in the morning in a remote area of Athens. And on 7 October 2020, the day the court finally announced the decision in the trial, hundreds of thousands gathered at 11am in the morning after a call for a general strike from the public workers’ union and many others. So mobilising the trade unions to break the Nazis worked 100 percent.

The third crucial part of the anti-fascist struggle was to prosecute the Nazis every time they attacked the left, trade unionists and migrants. The trial of Golden Dawn was built on three big cases—the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the attack on the trade unionists of the Communist Party and the attack on Egyptian fishermen. The case argued that Golden Dawn was a criminal organisation and that its members were involved in over a hundred other violent attacks.

Keerfa proposed that there should be a civil action by the anti-fascist movement as part of the trial. This is not natural in Greek trials; usually the state would be the prosecutor, but we demanded and won a civil action in this trial. Keerfa had four lawyers in the trial representing the Egyptian fishermen.

It was very important to prosecute the Nazis. There was a big argument about this, with some saying, “come on! What are you doing Keerfa? Going to the courts, the state—this will open the space for the state to attack the left”. But that was wrong. The state was already attacking the left and the trade unions, and the state was already protecting the Nazis. So we had to be there to expose all these links between the Nazis, the police and the state.

Even the leader of Golden Dawn had to admit this during a conference, I think around 2017, when Donald Trump’s election had given a boost to the far right around Europe. He was asked a question—why isn’t Golden Dawn rising when the far right all around Europe is growing? And their leader said there were two reasons. First, the trial meant that they had to show that they were a legal party and couldn’t use their paramilitary forces. Second, the anti-fascist movement meant that every time they tried to act in public, they were stopped. We won the trial decision because of the mass campaign and because we mobilised broad forces, including local mayors, politicians from Syriza and even some from the social democrats.

The role of SEK was very important. Compare the record of Syriza in government—how they treated Golden Dawn was an institutional failure. Zoe Konstantopoulou, who became president of the Greek parliament in 2015 following Syriza’s victory, argued that the decisions of the Greek parliament were not legal because Golden Dawn MPs were in prison. That was really shameful. You could see Golden Dawn MPs standing with left-wing MPs on symbolic national days at state events. We were right to be very critical of this approach from Syriza.

The campaign around the trial gave us the opportunity to speak to a mass audience and to put pressure on the voters of Golden Dawn. We said, “What you are doing is voting for a criminal. You are voting for a murderer. This is not a party that you can use to show your anger against the system.” All these tactics worked—the anti-fascist movement, the anti-racist movement, the workers’ resistance and the activity around the trial. This is how we came in the 2019 election to see Golden Dawn kicked out of parliament. That defeat opened the way for the court to find them guilty and to send them to prison. It would have been harder if they had still been in parliament. After that, we saw the splits in Golden Dawn. They lost the strength to maintain a collective strategy to defend themselves and, importantly, they no longer had money. They originally had more than 60 lawyers, who were paid by the Greek parliament. But the success of the campaign meant that the Greek parliament decided to stop giving them money.

MT: Do you have any final thoughts on the international significance of the defeat of Golden Dawn? What are the key lessons for socialists elsewhere facing a fight against fascist and far-right forces?

PC: There is something to add to what I have said already. One of the reasons that it was possible for us to win this fight was the power of the left in Greece. The left is huge in Greece. Without that environment it wouldn’t have been possible. It is very important how you relate to the rest of the left, even if they are getting into government. It is very important how you approach working-class people on the left. For me, it’s all about the united front and the action of the organised working class. You can win by showing that the Nazis are not a normal political party but a paramilitary gang. And you have to pursue them—even into the courts.

Finally, in this period of great crisis, this is not the end. Even with the biggest victory, we cannot be complacent that this is the conclusion of the story. This is what we are arguing now. We have moved to the next stage for the anti-fascist movement. Another far-right populist party, Greek Solution, has managed to enter parliament. This is a split from LAOS, led by Kyriakos Velopoulos, and is nationalistic, Islamophobic and so on. And there are still active groups of Nazis in the Greek islands, where the government is closing the borders. These Nazis are murdering refugees and attacking the left and the refugee solidarity movement.

So we are not at the end of the story. We have to keep building the anti-racist movement. Otherwise a space will open again for the Nazis. The New Democracy government is using the rhetoric of Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban. It talks about the replacement of the Greek population by migrants, claiming that Muslims are “invading” and that the refugees are spies of Turkey’s president, Recep Erdoğan. Greece and Turkey are in competition over control of gas resources in the Mediterranean and this is driving vitriolic, nationalist and racist rhetoric. So it’s very important that we continue to build the anti-racist movement.

But it’s also important to build the socialist alternative against the fascists, because the roots of fascism are in the system. When the system is afraid, it becomes very open to the Nazis. We have to continue to build decisively on the big success that we had on 7 October 2020.

Petros Constantinou is a member of the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK), a councillor in Athens municipality and coordinator of Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa).


1 LAOS took 3.8 percent of the vote in the 2007 general election, gaining 10 MPs. Two years later it increased this to 5.6 percent and 15 MPs.

2 Piraeus is a major port on the edge of Athens.

3 Following the 2012 elections, New Democracy formed a government led by Antonis Samaras.

4 Following the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991-2, the Greek state opposed the right of one of the newly independent successor states to call itself Macedonia. For years it was referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but today it is called North Macedonia.