The study comparatively examines the student protests that took place in Macedonia, Serbia, and Bulgaria in the winter of 1996/1997, with regards to the interplay between liberalism and nationalism. It compares the three similar post-communist countries with non-consolidated democracy through the instances of liberalism and nationalism that could be found in the student protests that happened in a parallel time-period. Specifically, the study tries to find out how liberalism and nationalism coexist in a protest movement, on one side, and in which instances nationalism is present in pro-democratic movements, on the other side. The study shows that in the cases of Macedonia and Serbia the lining of liberalism and nationalism is inverted – while liberalism is in the front side in Serbia, nationalism is dominant in Macedonia. Furthermore, it shows that nationalism is present in Macedonia and Serbia, but not in Bulgaria, because Macedonia and Serbia have issues of contested statehood and unresolved inter-ethnic problems, which are absent in Bulgaria.