The Romans and Bulgars
The great city of Constantinople has long been a city of majesty. It was the envy of every Empire since its founding and the local saying is that it falls only to Romans (though this is often expanded to include Prussians for historical reasons). The city was devastated after the Second World War, left gutted and smoldering, the royal family forced to flee to Western Europe. During the period of the Roman Socialist Republic Constantinople was often referred to as just "Ople", because its name was constantly being changed to reflect the newest Communist leader. However, many think of it as a blessing that the capital of the RSR had been moved to Thessaloniki in order to detach the new Communist government from the "Imperial and Fascist" past. The people of Romania (the Roman Empire) and the neighboring Republic of Bulgaria have a long and intertwined history dating back hundreds of years. They represent the last few bastions of the Greek language, which was once one of the most widely spoken languages in the world: dominating almost all of the Eastern Mediterranean. Today the Greek tongue is politically split into two languages: Greek and Greco-Bulgar. Culturally the Romans and Bulgarians are similar, but have their own ways about things. Many would consider the two groups farther apart than the Serbo-Croats in Serbia, but closer than the cultures of ex-colonies and their old masters.
Linguists are divided on how to refer to Greek and Greco-Bulgar. In Romania and Bulgaria the division is clear as day: Romans speak Greek, Bulgarians speak Greco-Bulgar. The division occurs sometime after the Balkan War, when Romania and Bulgaria fought (and lost) together against Serbia. Some say that there was a significant backlash against Romania in Bulgaria, because Bulgaria lost so much more than Romania. Others point to the rise of nationalism throughout Europe during the XIX Century saying that it was only a matter of time before Bulgaria developed its own identity. What outside linguists can agree on is that all differences between Greek and Greco-Bulgar fall into one of two categories: trivial differences and those based on Slavic influence. Essentially, Greco-Bulgar has a higher retention rate of Slavic-based words than Greek. This is because of the native population of Bulgarians who speak Slavic Bulgar. Everything else is tit for tat differences based on preferred synonyms and slight changes in spelling.
Romania and Bulgaria shown with neighboring Kwihzihristan. Those three states encompass the core lands of the old Eastern Roman Empire.
Romania has had a tragic history, but it has managed to survive despite the hardships. The Imperial Throne in Constantinople is the oldest throne in all of Europe, the direct heir of the old Roman Empire. Vacant only for a half a century, maintained in exile, many consider the rule of the Roman Emperors unbroken. However, Romania is much smaller than it used to be. The name "Romania" only became popular in the West after the Balkan War, which the defeat of the Romans made many doubt the status of the dwindling state. Constantinople itself prospered on trade, but was perched precariously close to the edge of the Empire. After the fall of the Communist government, many of the government buildings remained in Thessaloniki, while Parliament and the Imperial throne were returned to Constantinople for political and cultural reasons. Culturally the nation is rather diverse for a country with only two main languages. Greeks make up the vast majority of the population (the term "Roman" refers to any citizen of Romania regardless of language or culture). Albanians make up the next largest population. The largest non-native group is the Kwihzihri refugees who remained in Romania after the civil war in neighboring Kwihzihristan. But given the geographical nature of Romania, hundreds of tiny islands scattered about, there are many dialects and cultural differences between even relatively close populations. One travelling from Athens to Constantinople through Thessaloniki might assume that they have, in fact, travelled through three countries. Romans take great pride in their history and their dogged resistance against all aggressors. The mere fact that Romania is still around is a testament to this attitude.
Bulgaria, on the other hand, is a bit more homogeneous: consisting of two main cultural groups that often keep to themselves. Most of the country is inhabited by Greeks, descendents of a time when the Roman Empire controlled great swaths of land in the Balkans. Bulgarian Greeks follow some of the same cultural divisions as their Roman counter parts, with the varied terrain of Bulgaria adding to this diversity. Greco-Bulgar is based on the Varna dialect of Greek, which is closely related to Thracian Greek with a lot more Slavic terms. Unlike Romania, which only has Greek as an official language, Bulgaria is officially bi-lingual. Along the banks of the Danube live the actual Bulgars. Bulgars speak a Slavic tongue and represent the last fringe of Slavic society in a nation that once was filled with them. Within Bulgaria, they have autonomy as the Republic of Dobruja, complete with their own parliament and president. However, they are not an independent state. The economy of Bulgaria as a whole is precarious, but in Sofia and Varna things seem to be picking up. In Dobruja, on the other hand, the economy is slumped and many people are migrating out of the Autonomous Republic and into Bulgaria proper, leaving their language and autonomy behind. The plight of Slavs in Bulgaria and Romania, whether just political propaganda or not, has always been a source of tension between the two Greek states and their Slavic neighbor, Serbia. However, Serbia is just as guilty as any other state in a region of the world where political divisions are more based off of Medieval political divisions than language or cultural ones.