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Monday, January 23, 2017

PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV’S PUZZLING PREACHING?




Practice what you preach?
PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV’S PUZZLING PREACHING?

by Sasha Uzunov

Bulgaria’s outgoing President, Rosen Plevneliev,  in a bizarre and some would say, hypocritical, parting shot has called for Macedonia to drop “Macedonianism” if it wants Bulgaria’s support for joining the European Union. see link here

At the heart of the matter is Bulgaria’s historical refusal to accept a Macedonian identity even though it was the first to recognise Macedonia’s independence in 1991 from the then crumbling Yugoslavia.

The Bulgarian formula is that the Macedonians are allegedly  “Western Bulgarians” and the Republic of Macedonia is like Kosovo is to Albania, Montenegro and Republika Srpska in Bosnia are to Serbia.

HISTORICAL MACEDONIAN HEARTLAND

Macedonia had fallen under Ottoman Turk occupation for five hundred years. Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria started the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Macedonia was then divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Albania took a tiny slice in 1919. Macedonians were then subjected to a brutal campaign of denationalisation and forced assimilation by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. Macedonian resistance broke out in the various divided parts of Macedonia. The territory that was annexed by Serbia was renamed Južna Srbija, “Southern Serbia".

A1926 report by British diplomat R.A. Gallop who spent a week in Macedonia (then under Serbian occupation), including the City of Skopje:

"Those of the latter that I met were equally insistent on calling themselves neither Serbs nor Bulgars, but Macedonians....There seemed to be no love lost for the Bulgars in most places. Their brutality during the war [World War I] had lost them the affection even of those who before the Balkan War had been their friends…” see link here

In 1944, Macedonia was elevated, mostly in part by its own efforts, to republican status within Marshal Tito’s Communist Yugoslavia. Though nominally the nation-state of the Macedonian people its autonomy was limited by federalist power in Belgrade. In 1991 that part became the independent state of the Republic of Macedonia.

BULGARIA’S NAZI PAST - a touchy subject !

Bulgaria remains very prickly about its collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II (1941-44) which saw a brutal Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia displace equally brutal Serb and Greek colonial rule; as well as Bulgaria’s role in the genocide of Macedonia’s one thriving centuries old Sephardic Jewish community. With the war lost, Bulgaria cynically changed sides - in fact it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in September 1944.

During World War II, a Macedonian partizan resistance movement - an uneasy alliance of communists and nationalist banded together to fight the Germans, Bulgarian, Italians and the quisling Albanian nationalist militia the Balle Kombetar. After the war, the Macedonian communists then turned on their erstwhile nationalist allies, jailing some  of ts prominent leaders such as the hugely popular non communist and businessman Metodija Andonov Cento, Macedonia’s President, during an infamous Stalinist style political show trial in Yugoslavist administered Macedonia. His conviction was overturned in 1990 - a year before independence.

1942 massive Macedonian resistence against the Bulgarian occupation. Nazi Germany sends in the dreaded Gestapo.

The Newcastle Sun (Australia), Monday, 14 September 1942,  Page 1. see link here


1942 - GET GABROVSKI - Bulgaria’s own Hangman Heydrich

American newspaper archives - Font page - The Daily Banner newspaper, Indiana, 14 September 1942. Macedonian guerillas (Partizans) attempt assassination.

7 September 1942 - the Macedonian Partizan operation that nearly removed one of Hitler's Holocaust Henchmen - the evil Petur Gabrovski, Interior Minister in the Bulgarian occcupation of Macedonia during World War II.

According to prominent Macedonan historian Dr Todor Cepreganov, Macedonian Partizans from the "Dimitar Vlahov" unit tried to assassinate the dreaded Gabrovski on a visit to occupied Macedonia.

Gabrovski collaborated in the rounding up of Macedonia’s Jews and in handing them over to the Nazis for extermination.


The attempt on Gabrovski failed and in revenge the Bulgarian occupation authorities launched a brutal campaign of reprisals and atrocities against the Macedonian partizans and civilians which was met with fierce resistance.

The Bulgarian press at the time labelled the Macedonian resistance as “Bulgarian communists” whilst in the some sections of the British press the Royal Yugoslav government in exile in London tried to take the credit for the failed assassination attempt.

In 1996, as an insult to Macedonian Jews and Gentiles alike, the Bulgarian High Court rehabilitated Gabrovski.
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For a short period, whilst Yugoslavia was still within the Soviet camp (1946-48), Bulgaria recognised a Macedonian nationality. After Tito’s split with Soviet leader Stalin in 1948-49, Bulgaria changed its tune over the Macedonians. Interesting to note that Bulgaria into the early 1960s kept official population statistics of ethnic Macedonians.

1965 US STATE DEPARTMENT SECRET REPORT ON BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER. - located in the National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au




The US report, quoting the Bulgarian national census of 1956, lists total population of Bulgaria as 7,613,709

Bulgars 6,506,541
Turks 662,018
Gypsies 197,865
Macedonians 187,789
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POST 1991 EVENTS 


Bulgarian nationalist propaganda has tried to make inroads into post independence Macedonia with “missionaries” such as Kressimir Karakachanov (pictured above) and his offsider Angel Djambazki attending commemorations in The Republic of Macedonia for the Ilinden Uprising of 2 August 1903 which unsuccessfully saw Macedonian rebels try to throw off centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation. Ilinden remains the foundation legend of the modern Macedonian state, as Gallipoli is for Australia, the War of Independence of 1776 is for the United States.

Karakachanov provocatively and wrongfully claims the Macedonian rebels in the Ilinden Uprising were Bulgarians. No counter protests have ever been held by leading Macedonian “internationalists” such as Borjan Jovanovski or Branko Geroski over deliberate Bulgarian nationalist activity in the Republic of Macedonia. Both major Macedonian parties, the nominally “Macedonian nationalist VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democrats, SDSM, have remained passive - perhaps fearing Bulgarian blackmail in blocking EU membership. Bulgarian nationalists have used this vulnerability - the desperate attempt to get into the EU by Macedonia.

So President Plevneliev’s comment is out of place…and out of line. Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski has reacted in a kind of warm and fuzzy manner, not wanting to disturb the grumbling Bulgarian political bear too much but letting Sofia know the President’s comments are not justified.  see link here 

The Bulgarian neo-Nazi Ataka Party, led by dangerous extremist Volen Siderov, also has staunch anti Macedonian views to go along with a hatred of Turks, Roma, Jews and Freemasons. see link here

There has been a marked rise in right wing extremism in Bulgaria - see link here  - as there has been in Greece with the advent of the Golden Dawn party, which also has an anti Macedonian, anti Turkish, anti Albanian and anti Semitic platform.
What is disturbing is that Siderov received nearly 25% of the Bulgarian presidential vote in 2006. That means at least a quarter of Bulgaria’s voters agreed with his fanatical views. see link here

As with Greece and Serbia, Bulgaria’s political landscape, both on the left and right, is underpinned by nationalism to varying degrees - a kind of sliding scale in fervour.

So even though the leftist Syriza in government and the ultra rightist Golden Dawn in Greece may hate each, on certain nationalistic issues they agree, namely the Macedonia issue. Likewise in Bulgaria, both left and right refuse to recognise a Macedonian identity.

It’s also no coincidence that Bulgaria has tried to undermine key events in Macedonian history, such as the partizan resistance movement and Bulgaria’s evil role in the Holocaust of Macedonia’s Jewish people and brutal occupation of Macedonia.

The Macedonian feature film, The Third Half, about Bulgaria’s wartime role in Macedonia, met with fierce opposition in Sofia, when it was released internationally in 2012. see link here



Ljubco Georgievski, the former Macedonian Prime Minister (1998-2002) and ex leader of VMRO-DPMNE, is seen as an advocate of “Bulgarianism” in Macedonia. Accusations were levelled against him in conspiring with Albanian nationalists in provoking the 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in order to defacto partition the country and leave it susceptible to Bulgarian subversion. see link here

Others, too, such as British academic James Pettifer, have warned of a Bulgarianist faction that set up within Macedonia’s VMRO-DPMNE party in 1997. - (Cited in Pettifer - “The New Macedonian Question,” Springer, 1999, page 145).

In 2013 - the US Senate Select Committee -intelligence assessment on global threats - US monitored growing tensions between Macedonia and Bulgaria. see link here 

2007 - EUROPEAN UNION ADMISSION - Political expedience ?

How Bulgaria got into the EU with one of the most corrupt judicial systems is beyond belief. see links here and here.

Plus the many international criticisms of Bulgaria’s mistreatment of its Macedonian minority… In 2006 “Bulgaria has stepped up its campaign of blatant racism and intimidation against its large Macedonian minority [and its organisation, UMO-Ilinden] only months before its acceptance into the European Union…” see link here and here.

“In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Bulgaria had violated Macedonians’ right to freedom of assembly by prohibiting commemorative activities of the previous incarnation of the UMO-Ilinden organization."

"In September 2007, the European Commission reminded Bulgaria of its obligation to respect the ECHR ruling, as well as the EU Directive that all EU citizens are protected from racial or ethnic discrimination.  Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini stated that the Commission would inquire whether that Directive has been adequately incorporated into Bulgarian legislation.

"Macedonians continue to face routine harassment.  In July 2005, members of a nationalist Bulgarian party disrupted a Macedonian commemoration in Razlog with violent intimidation, and police refused to provide protection.  In September 2007, police in Blagoevgrad, whose mayor has been virulently anti-Macedonian, prevented a rally by members of UMO-Ilindin-PIRIN by detaining participants and seizing posters.  Police in the town have previously gone door-to-door to question party members. In Bulgaria’s schools, there remains no mention of Macedonian ethnicity."

Bulgaria got into the EU because it’s ruling elite replaced the old Soviets for new US masters as well as allowing joint US military bases on its territory.

Bulgaria was one of the most loyal of Soviet satellite states during the Cold War (1948-89) with a rumoured plan to turn Bulgaria into a republic of the Soviet Union at the time. But out of its own self interest Bulgaria changed its masters at the end of the Cold War, aligning itself with the West. But it is a cynical marriage of political convenience to cut off Russian influence in the Balkans and not out of a shared belief in “Western values.”



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FEDERALISING ALBANIA - nasty rebound for Rama?




FEDERALISING ALBANIA? From a slam-dunk to a nasty rebound for Rama?

By Sasha Uzunov

The federation genie is now well and truly out of the bottle in the Balkans, in particular Macedonia, and driven hard by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Albanian Kosovar counterpart Hashim “the snake” Thaci.  This populist political platform could rebound on Rama and reopen cultural faultiness which criss-cross the Republic of Albania.

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BACKGROUND 

- Sunday 8 January, 2017 - previous post - link

SURRENDERING THE STATE Post-Macedonia ?

by Sasha Uzunov

The two year crisis in which Macedonia still finds itself in has only gotten worse. An indecisive election in December leaving no party from the Macedonian bloc able to claim a clear mandate to form government has left the ethnic Albanian parties in a huge bargaining position, so much so they are now going for broke. Their chance to push for federalisation of the country and with European Union and US backing.

In essence, the demands can never be met because they have no justification and are not intended to be met, and if they are met then they will simple lead to the federalisation of Macedonia and eventual partition and disappearance.

RAMA MELODRAMA ? - BAD KARMA?

Albanian Prime Minister Rama (right) bringing all four major Albanian political parties from Macedonia to Tirana to work out a joint strategy had created panic stations, justifiably so, of an attempt of “foreign influence” in Macedonia. No leader from the Republic of Macedonia has ever dared to bring leaders of Macedonian ethnic minorities from Greece, Bulgaria and Albanian under the one roof in Skopje to discuss joint strategy. The juxtaposition has been well and truly noted. Yet there has been no reproach from the EU or the US for Rama to stay out. see link here

It is ironic that Macedonia’s destiny as a unitary state is being decided in Tirana.

There are two Albanian states in the Balkans; there are three Serbian states in the Balkans - Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska in Bosnia.


There is barely one Macedonian state in the Balkans. Macedonia has bent over backwards to please the EU and US and appease ever increasing Albanian demands, despite Albanian extremists from Kosovo kick starting an uprising in Macedonia in 2001, which had its genesis in NATO’s war in Kosovo in 1999.
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- LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE?

Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie, rather than awaken them…. Albania is a dysfunctional state, riven by internal divisions and cultural fault lines between two warring Albanian sub groups - the Tosks and Ghegs and further complicated by religion - Islam and Christianity plus ethnic minorities…Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Aromanians (Vlachs), Roma, “Egyptians.” see links here and here and here

The figures vary but anywhere between 20 to 25 per cent of the population in Albania does not regard itself as Albanian.

The short lived civil war in Albania in 1997, caused by a pyramid scheme scandal, revealed the intense hatreds of the north (Gheg)-south (Tosk) divide of ethnic Albanians. Prime Minister Edi Rama, in his sponsorship of a defacto Greater Albania as a political project is taking a big gamble. His intentions, we can only speculate, is to paper over these fault lines in Albanian society with “ultra nationalism.” But the question remains, could it backfire on him? Others will be watching in the Balkans and taking note.

Federalising Albania - an idea whose time has come?

A Greek Republic of Northern Epiros? Macedonian, Aromanian (Vlach) and Montenegrin cantons? More rights for Tosk Albanians?

There is large restive Greek minority in Southern Albania, which no doubt, as would Athens look upon developments in Macedonia with a keen eye. The Greek authorities would welcome the Macedonian issue being “settled” in their favour by the Republic of Macedonia disappearing. But it could unleash a ripple effect in Albania itself.

If the Albanians can pull off federalisation in Macedonia, why can’t the Greeks in Southern Albania?

A 1994 CIA report about the simmering tensions between Tirana and Athens of the large Greek minority in the Epirus region which borders Albania and Greece.

Greek nationalists claim half of Albania… Whilst Albania nationalists counter claim a large chunk of “Greek” territory in the Epirus…

After Macedonia, is Epirus the new flashpoint of Albanian nationalism as it collides with Greek nationalism? Which side will the US take, as both Albania and Greece are US allies?

Does ex UK diplomat Timothy Less advocate partitioning Albania or does this only apply to Bosnia and Macedonia ?

HISTORICAL MACEDONIAN HEARTLAND

Macedonia had fallen under Ottoman Turk occupation for five hundred years. Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria started the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Macedonia was then mostly divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Albania took a tiny slice in 1919. Macedonians were then subjected to a brutal campaign of denationalisation and forced assimilation. Resistence broke out. The territory that was annexed by Serbia was named Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia". In 1944, Macedonia was elevated, mostly in part by its own efforts, to republican status within Tito's Communist Yugoslavia. Though nominally the nation-state of the Macedonian people its autonomy was limited by federalist power in Belgrade. In 1991 that part became the independent state of the Republic of Macedonia.

THE FORGOTTEN MACEDONIANS OF ALBANIA:


NGO Minority Rights Group International - Profile - Macedonians in Albania. see link here

The Albanian government recognizes as Macedonian only the minority living in the Prespa area and excludes Macedonians living in other areas, especially those in Golo Brdo who are mainly Muslim. Elementary schooling in Macedonian is provided. A radio and TV programme in Macedonian was broadcast by the Korca state radio and TV station. The areas where Macedonians live are extremely poor and many survive as day labourers in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonians in the Prespa region are Eastern Orthodox Christian and those in Golo Brdo are predominantly Muslim.

Historical context
The part of Macedonia known as Mala Prespa was given to Albania by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Albania is the only neighbouring country which recognizes the status of the Macedonian ethnic minority, but restricts it to the region of Mala Prespa. There has been instruction in Macedonian in this region since 1945 in elementary education up to the fifth form, for which textbooks have been issued by the state. It is expected that the right to instruction in their mother tongue, according to international standards, will also be extended to pupils of Macedonian ethnic affiliation in the other parts of Albania. The introduction of instruction in Macedonian in secondary education is also expected. Albania must respect the cooperation agreements in the field of education signed four years ago.

There are several organized and active associations of Macedonians in Albania, but the opportunities for political activity are small because the state does not financially support their organization. It was as late as 1993 that the first periodical in Macedonian, the journal Mir (Peace), appeared.

Current issues
The four Macedonian organizations in Albania, Mir (Peace), Gora, MED (Macedonian Aegean Society) and Prespa, boycotted the 2001 census in Albania because there was no option for Macedonian in the census list. In 2003, the Association of Macedonians in Albania (consisting of the four organizations) conducted their own census of the number of Macedonians in Albania. It estimated a population of between 120,000 and 350,000, while the Albanian state only officially recognises 5,000.

In its 2005 report the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recorded complaints by ethnic Macedonians that not all sections of their community had access to mother tongue education. This was due to the fact that they live outside of areas previously categorized as ‘minority zones’ during the communist era. ECRI notes that, under Albanian law, minority-language schools are only established if a sufficient number of parents must request such a school and they must be recognized as belonging to that ethnicity. The Albanian authorities indicated to ECRI that they check the civil registry in order to determine ethnicity. However, members of minority groups living outside of areas previously categorised as ‘minority zones’ have difficulties registering their ethnic belonging in the civil registry.

ECRI furthermore recommends that the Albanian authorities ensure that people are not denied the possibility of having their ethnic identity officially recognised simply due to their geographic location in the country outside of areas previously categorised as minority zones.

In 2005 most of the Macedonian organizations united into the political party Macedonian Alliance for European Prosperity, which participated in the 2007 elections.

- Minority Rights Group International profile on Macedonians in Bulgaria. see link here.

- Minority Rights Group International profile on Macedonians in Greece. see link here

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Ethnic Macedonians from Albania were forced to flee their ethnic heartland for Australia before World War II looking for a better life… they remain the forgotten Macedonians.


When Stalinist Enver Hoxha came to power in 1945 in Albania, some of these people were cut off for forever from relatives.

Here is Koli Ylo, who wrote down Macedonian as his nationality but from the village of Shulin in Mala Prespa region of Albanian. This is an Australian immigration document, amongst many others, in the National Archives of Australia, which proves a Macedonian consciousness prior to World War II.






1937 - NESTOR KOLE - of Macedonian nationality born at Globocani, ALBANIA (Mala Prespa). Nestor KOLE, born 1888 in Mala Prespa, arrived in Australia in 1928 and becomes a “naturalised” Britiish Subject or AUSTRALIAN citizen in 1937. 
Published in the The West Australian newspaper, (Perth, WA), Wednesday 16 June 1937 & The Western Mail newspaper (WA), Thursday 17 June 1937. 

1974 - US IGNORANT ABOUT MACEDONIANS IN ALBANIA !

Wikileaks cable - 1974 - 6th Congress of the League of Communists of Macedonia. Party President Angel Cemerski (pictured below) takes the US by surprise by expressing concern for ethnic Macedonians in Albania. He also expresses concerns for ethnic Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria.






US diplomats, bizarrely, admit they had no idea of the existence of ethnic Macedonians in Albania !


APRIL 1991 - THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS - 50,000 Macedonians in Albania, according to "Yugoslav" estimate.

The Canberra Times newspaper (Australia), Monday 8 April 1991, page 14. see link here

Quote: 

"Meanwhile, informed diplomatic sources here said that almost 4000 Albanians of Macedonian origin were planning to cross illegally into Yugoslavia yesterday to celebrate Orthodox Easter with relatives.

"Albanian authorities were planning to prevent them crossing in the southern Prespa region, the sources said.

Three weeks ago, border guards shot and seriously wounded four people when 1200 ethnic Macedonians crossed the border near the northern town of Debar, the sources said. Macedonians form a community of 50,000 in Albania, according to Yugoslav estimates."

"An organisation they formed to promote their cultural and national rights, Prespa, was legalised last week."

THE UNDOCUMENTED & THE OVERDOCUMENTED - “They do the jobs that Americans and Macedonians won’t."

The Undocumented are largely Mexican illegal immigrants in the US trying to eke out a living.
The Overdocumented are ethnic Macedonians in Mala Prespa, in Albania who, to a large extent, have out of basic survival grabbed at whatever political party in the Republic of Macedonia has thrown at them, as in the scraps from the table. That has been VMRO-DPMNE, the current party in power. In return for such “help,” these Macedonians are expected to vote for VMRO-DPME, the nominally Macedonian “patriotic” party, which has been in power for a decade in coalition with Albanian nationalist party, DUI, lead by ex insurgent/terrorist Ali Ahmeti. An odd political marriage, to say the least.

Еx Interior Minister Gordana Jankukovska, herself from VMRO-DPMNE, was found to have been patronising towards the Macedonians from Albania, treating them as mere political assets to be wheeled out during election time. They have become a political football. As a result of the political cross-fire between VMRO-DPMNE & SDSM, the Social Democrats and main opposition party, they could become innocent victims as SDSM seeks its revenge.

Many of these Macedonians from Albania do the jobs in the Republic of Macedonia and in neighbouring Greece that Macedonians in the Republic, and ordinary Greeks won’t do, as in work in the fields or as stone masons or as labourers.

What remains interesting is this zealotry of some Macedonian “internationalists” to expose this “relationship”of ethnic Macedonians and the Republic of Macedonia; the same level of zealotry doesn’t exist in exposing the thousands upon thousands of illegal Kosovars in Macedonia; the patronage that exists. Moreover, despite Albania being a dysfunctional state and ethnic Macedonians having genuine grievances, they have never taken up arms nor engaged in any “separatist” behaviour - yet there is an obsession with “Albanian rights” in Macedonia, where aggression and starting a war in 2001 in Macedonia has been “rewarded.”

In a Wikileaks US cables - both ALBANIAN parties in Macedonia, DUI & DPA, were importing toughs or thugs from Kosovo to intimidate local Albanians at election time in Macedonia in 2006. see links here and here and here

There are some who want to help Syrian immigrants transit Macedonia for a better life in Germany but Macedonians in Albania are not allowed to seek a better life in Macedonia. It’s strange logic.

Moreover, this picking on ethnic Macedonians from Mala Prespa has another agenda - and that is to knock them out as a factor in the Republic of Macedonia - they act as a protective wall against a Greater Albania in Western Macedonia and they are an emergency ace to play on the Albanian nationalist bloc if it gets out of control.

You don’t have to be a chess grandmaster to see or read or anticipate the moves !

IN THE US:

Approximately 11 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States. Estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center show the number of illegal immigrants has declined to 11.1 million in March 2009 from a peak of 12 million in March 2007. The majority of the illegal immigrants are from Mexico. Illegal immigration has long been controversial.

In 2007, President George W. Bush called for Congress to endorse his guest worker proposal, stating that illegal immigrants took jobs that Americans would not take.

The Pew Hispanic Center notes that while the number of legal immigrants arriving has not varied substantially since the 1980s, the number of illegal immigrants has increased dramatically and, since the mid-1990s, has surpassed the number of legal immigrants. Penalties for employers of illegal immigrants, of $2,000–$10,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment, go largely unenforced.

Political groups like Americans for Legal Immigration have been formed to demand enforcement of immigration laws and secure borders. ALIPAC has also called for “safe departure” border checkpoints, free of criminal checks. Sources: see links here and here

Sunday, January 08, 2017

SURRENDERING THE STATE - Post-Macedonia ?

SURRENDERING THE STATE Post-Macedonia ?

by Sasha Uzunov

The two year crisis in which Macedonia still finds itself in has only gotten worse. An indecisive election in December leaving no party from the Macedonian bloc able to claim a clear mandate to form government has left the ethnic Albanian parties in a huge bargaining position, so much so they are now going for broke. Their chance to push for federalisation of the country and with European Union and US backing.

In essence, the demands can never be met because they have no justification and are not intended to be met, and if they are met then they will simple lead to the federalisation of Macedonia and eventual partition and disappearance. To borrow the Henry Ford’s urban legend quote: “you can have any colour car you want, as long as it it black.”

see links here and here and here for more background.

A NEW SUDETEN CRISIS?

You might recall the Sudeten crisis in Czechoslovakia of 1938, where a sizable German minority, were allegedly persecuted at the hands of the ‘evil Slav’ Czechs and Slovaks,  were making all sorts of demands which in essence were used by Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany as a pretext to dismember the Czechoslovakia. Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim “the Snake” Thaci are not Adolf Hitler but the technique is the same in ganging up on Macedonia. see link here

RAMA MELODRAMA ?

Albanian Prime Minister Rama (right) bringing all four major Albanian political parties from Macedonia to Tirana to work out a joint strategy had created panic stations, justifiably so, of an attempt of “foreign influence” in Macedonia. No leader from the Republic of Macedonia has ever dared to bring leaders of Macedonian ethnic minorities from Greece, Bulgaria and Albanian under the one roof in Skopje to discuss joint strategy. The juxtaposition has been well and truly noted. Yet there has been no reproach from the EU or the US for Rama to stay out. see link here

It is ironic that Macedonia’s destiny as a unitary state is being decided in Tirana.

There are two Albanian states in the Balkans; there are three Serbian states in the Balkans - Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska in Bosnia.

There is barely one Macedonian state in the Balkans. Macedonia has bent over backwards to please the EU and US and appease ever increasing Albanian demands, despite Albanian extremists from Kosovo kick starting an uprising in Macedonia in 2001, which had its genesis in NATO’s war in Kosovo in 1999.
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THE “EVIL SLAV” TEMPLATE?

"In the broadest terms, Macedonia is characterised in the "Western" as a nation where the nationalist party, VMRO, sometimes ruthlessly suppresses the Albanian minority and aggravates tensions between ethnic Albanians and Slavic Macedonians. Nothing, in reality, could be further than the truth – but the perception of the "West" is, unfortunately, far more important than reality. The task to challenge and to reverse this perception may well come to represent the major security issue for Macedonia in the future."

- P. H. Liotta, Ph.D. - National Security Decision Making Department, U.S. Naval War College, 1999.
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Albanians form about 15 to 25 % of Macedonia’s population, depending which figures you quote. An up to date census has not been held in over a decade, deliberately so by all political parties across the board - Macedonian and Albanian. A new census is urgently needed. Albanians in Macedonia enjoy more rights than those of their compatriots in Greece, a EU and NATO member, which still denies the existence of its Macedonian ethnic minority and mistreats the Turkish minority. Bulgaria, another EU and NATO member, still refuses to recognise the existence of a particular Macedonian ethnicity. There are also large pockets of ethnic Macedonians in Albanian, namely the Mala Prespa and Golo Brdo areas which straddle the border with the Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonia was partitioned in 1912-13 between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria after five hundred years of Turkish Ottoman rule. All three countries began a policy of brutal de-nationalisation and apartheid.  In 1944, the part under Serbian colonial rule managed to raise itself on par with Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina as an “equal” republic in Tito’s Yugoslavia but with Belgrade still pulling the strings.

In 1991 with the collapse of Yugoslavia, Macedonia became independent for the first time in over a thousand years and Greece immediately began a campaign to destabilise the new state - at one stage ganging up with Serb rule Slobodan Milosevic with threats to Macedonia’s existence.

Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians as well as the small ethnic Serb minority refused to accept Macedonia’s independence and boycotted the independence referendum in early September 1991.


These are the demands of the Albanian bloc - we’ve broken them down and reordered them and explained the practical effect if they are implemented - assuming this is an accurate list of demands. 

GROUP A demands:
Albanians to be considered a statehood nation;
The Albanian language to be in use in all levels of Government;
The Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia should confirm that “the Macedonian language and the Cyrillic alphabet and the Albanian language and its alphabet are the official languages of the Republic of Macedonia”;
A complete debate on the flag, anthem and coat of arms in order for “state symbols to reflect social multi ethnicity and ethnic equality”;
Formation of a state commission on municipal financing, decision-making eligible for government grants in favour of municipalities;

Team Uzunov: It’s a strange way to support multi ethnicity when you are calling for a bi-cultural state. It’s simply a vehicle for federalisation; the creation of an Albanian canton or republic in Western Macedonia, which will then lead to ethnic Macedonians moving out. And after that secession. The intention is to create a Greater Albania.

GROUP B demand
Adoption of a resolution in Parliament condemning genocide of Albanians in Macedonia from the period 1912-1956;

Team Uzunov: Macedonia was under brutal Serbian colonial rule from 1912-41, savage Bulgarianist occupation 1941-44, and then under Yugoslavist rule from 1944, if anything that should be addressed to Serbia and Bulgaria. Macedonians suffered under the brutal colonial period and those Macedonians who opposed the communist system were made to leave via economic measures. Many more Macedonians suffered than Albanians. see link here

During World War II - from 1941-44 - Nazi Germany and its allies, Italy and Bulgaria, carved up Macedonia amongst themselves, with Bulgarian occupation rule being particularly nasty, leading to massacres of ethnic Macedonians and Albanians as well as the genocide of Macedonia’s Jewish community. A Macedonian partizan resistance movement, loosely consisting of Macedonian communists and nationalists joined forces to fight the fascist occupiers and collaborationists, including the Albanian Balle Kombetar (Ballists). In Albania, then an Italian protectorate, communist Enver Hoxha began his own anti fascist partizan movement.

GROUP C demand 
Fair representation in the security, military, intelligence and justice services;

Team Uzunov: a loss of sovereignty over defence, policing and intelligence. The term “fair” is deliberately loaded.

GROUP D demands:
Solution of the name dispute in accordance with European values and principles of international law;
Adopting a common and binding resolution in Parliament which will insure that the Government will be committed to be actively involved in resolving the name dispute;
Inclusion of Albanians in the working group for direct negotiations with Greece;
Inclusion of Albanians in the working group for direct negotiations with Bulgaria;

Team Uzunov: In effect Macedonia giving up its name over Greek objections. No other way to put it.

GROUP E demands:
Cooperation with Kosovo and Albania for integrated border management;
Opening of new border crossings;

Team Uzunov: integration with a quasi Greater Albania and loss of central control over Western Macedonia where the ethnic Albanian community is concentrated.

OTHER demands 
Fair representation in all levels of the central government and in public offices or enterprises with public actions;
Complete clarification on issues and court proceedings such as “Sopot“, “Brodec“, “Monster” and “Kumanovo” by an inquiry or an international independent body;

Meeting these goals to be monitored by organising a roundtable of Albanian parliamentary parties in accordance with the principle of rotation, which will serve as a platform for the harmonisation of political action and transparent communication with international partners of Macedonia. see link here
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Mark Branov, a Canadian Macedonian activist and former Editor of United Macedonian Diaspora’s (UMD) official publication, gave this response to the list of Albanian demands:

"The leaders of the Albanian parties - despite being populated by terrorists - seem to have the maturity to discuss common policy positions, whereas the Macedonian parties seem to think of democracy as not pertaining to cooperation, even on vital issues of national interest. It is little wonder that the Albanian minority is implementing its agenda steadily over time, with the assistance of outside forces. The Macedonian parties seem more interested in ripping each other to shreds at the expense of the country. Rama is coordinating his people’s cooperation openly from a foreign capital, and that is somehow considered perfectly ok.

Meanwhile, some Macedonian leaders take the bizarre view that discussing Aegean Macedonian [ethnic Macedonians within Greece] human rights is out of bounds, and it mustn’t be mentioned in deference to the internal affairs of other countries. In some cases, Macedonian parties don't seem to have any coherent policy positions, even on issues as fundamental as the identity of the nation."
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BREAKDOWN BOSNIA?  An omen for Bosnia-Hercegovina - with its own restive Serb population led by hard case nationalist Milorad Dodik? Should Macedonia be federalised that could give Dodik the pretext to call for Republika Srpska to take the next step and secede from the Bosnian federation. Or will it give Dodik time to reflect and pull back? Dodik has played off the US and Russia nicely: one minute indulging in anti American rhetoric but employing a team of expensive lobbyists to promote Republika Srpska in the US and at the same time supporting the Russians…. 

A lot is riding on what happens in Macedonia and for the Balkans, and for Macedonians and Bosniaks alike. Ex British diplomat and “strategic analyst” Timothy Less has made his thoughts clear on the issue - saying that Macedonia and Bosnia should be the big losers whilst Albanians will be further rewarded with a chunk of Macedonia and Serbs compensated for the territorial loss of Kosovo… see link here and here 


It is no coincidence with the Albanian deal going down in Tirana, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who has a history of making racist comments about Macedonians, issued a recent statement about Serbia making a “mistake” in recognising Macedonia under its constitutional name in 1995 despite the bullying and colluding with Greece by Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic. see link here.

Dacic has also told a blatant lie in referring to Royalist Yugoslavia as treating non-Serbs fairly. Serbia’s colonial rule in Macedonia beginning in 1912 was tantamount to a brutal colonial occupation on par with South Africa’s apartheid regime. The Dacic outburst has been interpreted as Belgrade cutting off its support for a former ally, Gruevski and further isolating him and his VMRO-DPMNE party. Some are saying it is at the behest of Washington; whilst some believe it’s a deliberate Russian provocation. But it could be just down to Serbian nationalist demands. Time will tell. Serbia traditionally is a Greek ally.

SERBIA’S SHEIKH DOWN !Moreover, Serbia and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) have excellent relations despite the latter supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army’s fight for Kosovo breaking away from Serbia’s rule in the 1999 NATO war and also recognising Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. see link here 


His recent dummy spit is that he is upset that Macedonia recognised Kosovo in 2008. But it’s an odd statement to make considering Serbia and Macedonia signed an agreement to share embassies, which took some by some surprise. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic had endorsed now deposed Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for years and years.

Photo: Dacic (right) and Gruevski (left) in “happier times” in 2014 over the “joint embassy deal” which came as a surprise from a Macedonian government playing the patriotism card for the electorate.

In hindsight, it may have been better for Macedonia to have drawn closer to Croatia, a mutual friend of both Macedonians and Albanians as a way of taking the sting out of the Albanian nationalist stereotype of “evil Slav” template used unfairly against Macedonians in the international media. see link here