THE JORDAN MIJALKOV HIT - was the Macedonian Minister assassinated?
by Sasha Uzunov
Just before Christmas 1991, I got a phone call from two Melbourne based branch members, Andon Lazarevski and Vidan Zvezdakovski, from VMRO-DPMNE, now the governing party in Macedonia. They were faxing media releases about the unexpected death of Jordan Mijalkov, Macedonia's Interior Minister. One was sent to the BBC in London but with no response.
They asked if I, as an independent freelance journalist, was interested in the story? I said I was happy to talk to anyone from any political party, including Macedonia's Social Democrats (SDSM), or ethnic background for information. It is a hard business trying to steer an independent course amongst Macedonia's two major political parties.
In December 1991 Jordan Mijalkov, was killed in a car accident as he was rushing to meet with his Serbian counterpart. At the time there was speculation his death had been arranged by person or persons unknown. The other possibility was it was a genuine car crash. Link to story
A later story in the British magazine The Economist in 2011 had this to say on Mijalkov:
"Mr Mijalkov's memory is cherished by many. It was he who ordered the seizure of Yugoslav army documents, which meant that the army could not mobilise Macedonians to fight in Croatia. Soon afterwards, he was killed in a suspicious car accident in Serbia."
In 1991-92 I did some digging but could not find any further information and left it at that. However, in 1993 during my stay in Macedonia as a correspondent with the MILS news agency I was invited to dinner by a prominent Macedonian journalist in Skopje.
We devoured the tavche gravche (baked beans and meatballs) and then hit the dessert cakes and cleansed our palette with the customary Turkish coffee afterward. Then we got onto the subject of Jordan Mijalkov. To be honest I don't remember how we got onto the subject
Without any prompting, the journalist got up from the kitchen table, walked to a set of cabinet drawers and pulled out a map. It was hand drawn in black pen, detailing where exactly Mijalkov's car had crashed in Serbia, near the town of Vranje. He was adamant that it was driver error that caused the death. I kept an open mind. To this day I still don't know what to think.
What aroused my curiosity was the fact that the journalist had this map at the ready in his kitchen to show "foreign" journalists. I told a North American colleague about the story of the map, and he too had his curiousity aroused.
Jordan Mijalkov is the uncle of Macedonia's current Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Mijalkov's son and Gruevski's cousin, Saso, is Macedonia's Intelligence Chief. PM Gruevski and the Mijalkov's family have never bought the official version of the death.
A later story in the British magazine The Economist in 2011 had this to say about Gruevski:
"MACEDONIANS either love him or loathe him. To his detractors, Nikola Gruevski, who was confirmed as prime minister for a third term on July 28th, is corrupt, a populist, a ruthless Machiavellian and an enemy of a free media. “No, no, no,” say his supporters. He is as clean as a whistle, modest, the scourge of tax-dodging tycoons and a family-values man to his core.
Spy mania and conspiracy theories have always been popular past times in the Balkans region of Europe. It seems history has a tendency to repeat itself. A new spy mania has spread through Macedonia.
Without passing judgment, I am a firmer believer in innocent until proven guilty, days ago a number of high profile arrests have been made in connection to people allegedly working for foreign governments. We await the investigation, where the accused can through a proper and fair legal process either clear their names or the government can prove its case. Link to story