President Pendarovski’s address and decorations on the occasion of August 18 – the Day of the Army

18 August 2023 | Press Releases

The President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Stevo Pendarovski, addressed today the central celebration to mark August 18 – the Day of the Army.

Within the event, President Pendarovski awarded 13 members of the Army with the Medal for participation in humanitarian or peace operations outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, and awarded 60 members of the Army with the Medal for Bravery.

With the Medal for participation in humanitarian or peace operations outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, 13 members of the Army were awarded as a sign of public recognition and respect for the first peacekeepers from the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia who were sent to peace operations outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, and who contributed, with their sacrifice, professionalism, discipline and dedication to the assigned tasks, to the establishment of peace in the countries where they were engaged, at the same time affirming our homeland internationally.

The Medal of Bravery was awarded to 60 members of the Army for their demonstrated courage, readiness and superhuman efforts in the protection of human lives and material goods after the devastating earthquake in the Republic of Turkey, thus demonstrating their humanity, sacrifice and professionalism.

Below is the full text of President Pendarovski’s address.

Dear soldiers and officers, members of the Army,
Veterans of the Macedonian defense,
Dear Excellences,
Dear fellow citizens,

Today, on the Day of the Army, remembering the 120th anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising and the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the “Mirce Acev” battalion, we look back to the early stages when the Macedonian army and state were constituted.

During the World War II, your glorious predecessors, the fighters of the Macedonian People’s Liberation Army, fought for a free Macedonian state in a world freed from the evil of fascism. The Macedonian people and Macedonian citizens had a vision for the new world that was coming in this just dual purpose, and therefore became part of the global anti-fascist coalition.

At the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the bipolar world, the members of the Army defended the Macedonian independence, protecting the common good and the public interest of all citizens. In an extremely complex geopolitical and security environment, the Army shared all the challenges and dilemmas of the new state. Dozens of generations of army members were fully dedicated to the achievement of the supreme strategic goal that united the Macedonian society on all bases, namely – Euro-Atlantic integration. The long and arduous process of defense transformation culminated in the Macedonian membership in NATO, an act that, according to its historical significance, is right behind the independence referendum and membership in the United Nations.

Today, at this critical time for international peace and security, we see the effects of your commitment. At a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine plunged the world into a new era of global insecurity, it is NATO membership that allows us to more easily withstand the numerous, intertwined crises and geopolitical and geo-economic shocks. It is much easier for a small country when, together with over 30 allies, to deal with new cyber, hybrid and other asymmetric threats directed against countries with democratic values. Today, the Macedonian citizens are more secure precisely because of the security shield of NATO, and the most important part of that shield is you, the members of the Army.

In this context, from the very beginning, as a country, we contribute to the joint efforts to support Ukraine in its just struggle against the Russian invasion. Our solidarity with Ukraine is not only symbolic, but also very concrete. We are among the top five member states of the alliance according to the ratio of the gross domestic product and the military and material-technical assistance we provide to Ukraine during this critical period.
However, to respond to the radically changed security environment in Europe and the world, we must not dwell on old glories, which means we must continue to invest in our defense and security. The new security context has forced even states that have been militarily neutral for decades to allocate more resources to their own security, and some of them, for the first time since World War II, are even investing in offensive military systems.

Our goal is to have an Army that will be not only structurally improved, but also modernized with modern combat means and equipment for the defense of the homeland. In order to complete this important undertaking, it is necessary to implement the plans that envisage an investment of EUR 955 million for the next ten years for modernization and equipping and not to deviate from the set goal of allocating at least 2% of GDP to defense. Investing in defense is our real need not only because of the increased security risks, but also to deal with the consequences of frequent natural disasters and catastrophes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Military conflicts and natural disasters are acute threats to the security of people all over the world. For the past two decades, our Army has participated, and is still participating, in numerous peacekeeping missions led by NATO, the European Union and the United Nations, contributing to the establishment and maintenance of peace. Macedonian peacekeepers are a valued partner of our allies. It all started indeed on 8 September 2002, on the day of the Macedonian independence, when the first Macedonian peacekeepers in Afghanistan marked the beginning of our engagement and contribution to international peace and security.

That is why I made the decision to award the members of that contingent, for the first time in our history, with a Medal for participation in humanitarian or peace operations outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia. On behalf of all Macedonian citizens, I thank you for contributing to the safety of the people in that part of the world.

Esteemed Attendees,

The second major threat to human security comes from nature, from the vortex of natural disasters and catastrophes. As a systemic risk, climate change multiplies the danger of droughts, fires, floods, landslides and epidemics, which increase in frequency and intensity from year to year. In virtually every crisis situation, the Army is regularly engaged in supporting the institutions in order to provide assistance to the unfortunate Macedonian citizens. But the Army’s engagement is not limited to the Macedonian territory only.
Ten days ago I signed an order to send a contingent of soldiers to help friendly Slovenia deal with the consequences of the catastrophic floods. In February this year, friendly Turkey was hit by a series of catastrophic earthquakes in which more than 50,000 people lost their lives. At the same moment, a mass mobilization and solidarity of our entire society began. We responded without delay and immediately dispatched the Protection and Rescue Team from the Special Forces Battalion and trained search dog handlers.

Our army team was among the first five foreign contingents to arrive on site, practically only 24 hours after the earthquake. Shocked by the terrible scenes of destroyed homes and lost lives, in a mournful atmosphere of death and despair, they themselves say that although they participated in several difficult missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the humanitarian mission in Turkey, from a human perspective, was the most difficult for them. The world public witnessed that searching the terrain in search of survivors, our soldiers managed to pull out a five-year-old child from the ruins, and with that moment of joy in the middle of the general sadness, they brought a ray of hope.

Their mission in Turkey is a reminder of our moral obligation to do literally everything we can to save even one human life. Solidarity in times of calamity is the strongest bond of friendship between people and nations. Therefore, highly appreciating their superhuman efforts, I have decided to award the members of that army team with the Medal of Bravery.

Distinguished Guests,

The greatest recognition for the members of the Army is not the orders and medals, but the trust that the Macedonian citizens have in them. That trust, which is high in continuity, is not bought with money, nor is it extorted by force, but is acquired through dedicated work for what is most important for a country and its citizens. Namely, the Army is the guardian of everything that holds the Macedonian society together, from the protection of territorial integrity and sovereignty, through the contribution to peace missions and collective defense, until dealing with the consequences of natural disasters. With such behavior, the members of the Army remind us all of our individual and collective responsibility to take care of the common good, which is the survival of our common republic.

What we are faced with today is an extremely difficult mission. Decades of ethnicization of politics, partisanization of institutions and polarization of society pushed the public interest to the margins. Because of the culture of impunity, corruption, nepotism and crime have become the greatest threat to the common good. The widespread perception of the incapacity of the institutions to ensure equality before the law demoralizes citizens. So, instead of responsibility for the common good, we are often obsessed today with narrow party goals and personal interests.

In such conditions, to return the common good to the center of public life is a difficult, but not an impossible mission. We have the support of the vast majority of our citizens, but also of many of our friends from abroad. Among other significant events, this year the Army marks 30 years of cooperation with the Vermont National Guard. However, the Macedonian-American strategic partnership cannot be reduced only to the military dimension. It is also a relationship in which both sides share the same values, among which democracy and the rule of law are in the first place.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We need serious reforms, and in that direction, negotiations for membership in the European Union can only help us mobilize all resources and make politicians far more responsible in their work. A critical prerequisite for this is to overcome political differences and unite around starting negotiations that will help us implement essential reforms for the benefit of all citizens. At the same time, let us follow the example of the Army and get together and jointly dedicate ourselves to the supreme interest of this and all future generations – European Macedonia, safe, stable and prosperous.

Many happy returns to the Day of the Macedonian Army!

Decree Decorated Order / Medal
No. 41


Captain Zoran Janev

Lieutenant Marjan Nakov

Colonel Feto Bajrami

Sergeant Major Xhemail Demiri

Staff Sergeant Halil Bibic

Private 1st Class Spend Hamiti

Staff Sergeant Toni Trajkovski

Private 1st Class Dejan Sekulov

Corporal Marjan Markoski

Private 1st Class Goce Georgiev

Private 1st Class Stojanche Jankov

Private 1st Class Mirce Eftimov

Brigadier General Zdravko Popovski


Medal for participation in humanitarian or peace operations outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia


Awarded on 18.08.2023


Decree Decorated Order / Medal
No. 42


Major Driton Abazi

Lieutenant Mitre Krstevski

Captain Engin Kurtishov

Major Blagoj Naumov

Captain Ivan Stojceski

Sergeant Gjore Andovski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Aleksandar Antovski

Sergeant Dejan Anchevski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Boban Arsenovski

Sergeant Hristijan Arsovski

Sergeant Zoran Baliski

Sergeant Dalibor Bozinovski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Mome Bojkovski

Master Sergeant Stojan Gacov

Master Sergeant Dragan Georgievski

Sergeant Dalibor Dodevski

Master Sergeant Zorancho Donev

Sergeant Sashko Ivanov

Sergeant Aleksandar Igevski

Sergeant Zlatimir Ilievski

Sergeant Goran Janev

Sergeant Boban Jankovski

Sergeant Todor Jankuloski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Todorche Jovanov

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Zoran Jovevski

Sergeant Dushko Korunovski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Mite Kostadinov

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Oliver Markovski

Master Sergeant Predrag Masevski

Sergeant Miroslav Nachkov

Sergeant Aleksandar Petrushevski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Marjan Ravojski

Sergeant Daniel Spasovski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Gorancho Tasev

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Borche Todorov

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Zoran Trajkov

Sergeant Daniel Trajkovski

Master Sergeant Goran Cekovski

Corporal Bobi Milkovski

Corporal Slagjan Pavlovski

Corporal Dejan Jankuloski

Lance Corporal Dade Stankovski

Corporal Dragan Gjorgievski

Corporal Nenad Dimevski

Corporal Toni Monevski

Lance Corporal Daniel Videski

Corporal Stevcho Ichev

Lance Corporal Darko Teoharov

Lance Corporal Darko Davchevski

Lance Corporal Bojan Sandev

Lance Corporal Martin Tasevski

Lance Corporal Filip Stojkovski

Lance Corporal Tono Kochkoski

Lance Corporal Kirko Damjonoski

Lance Corporal Martin Spasovski

Lance Corporal Kosta Petrushev

Lance Corporal Hristijan Dojchinovski

Lance Corporal Nenad Stoilkovski

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Borce Kostov

Staff Sergeant 1st Class Sasho Ristovski


Medal of Bravery


Awarded on





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