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Thursday, October 05, 2017

ZAEV & ORBAN - can they get along?

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s advisor Bojan Maricic.

by Sasha Uzunov

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the politician you either love or hate. It’s no secret that he has been very close to ex Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski and in response reviled by supporters of the current Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev. The question is can Hungary and Macedonia still work together in light of Macedonia wanting to join the EU and NATO, both of which Hungary is a member?

The very close relationship between Orban (left in photo) and Gruevski (centre) - see link here

PM Zaev’s closest advisor Bojan Maricic, back in his role in an EU funded NGO, attacked Orban by  demanding Orban return his Order of Macedonia medal, awarded by President George Ivanov, over the Hungarian PM’s “authoritarian” rule. see link to story

Joining the invective against the combative Orban has been very influential Macedonian journalist of Serb background Borjan Jovanovski. Jovanovski demanded that protests should be held outside every Hungarian embassy in Europe over Orban’s tough stance on illegal immigration.

Serb President Tomislav Nikolic’s tough stand on illegal immigrants

Orban also stands accused of conducting espionage against Macedonia. A former Macedonian intelligence officer Alexander Dinevski has levelled charges against him. Dinevski was convicted of espionage in 2014 and went to prison. He claimed he was a victim of then PM Gruevski. Oddly, the current Zaev government hasn’t overturned Dinevski’s conviction. background to Dinevski story here

The level of intense animosity aimed at Orban has been remarkably high in comparison to say Serbian politicians. For instance when Serb President Tomislav Nikolic called for exactly the same tough approach to illegal immigrants, there were no calls for protest outside all Serb Embassies in Europe by Jovanovski. In fact Jovanovski stubbornly refuses to call for any protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, despite claiming to be an internationalist. Likewise Maricic. (see below for more details).

Serbia is alleged to have interfered in Macedonia at Russia’s bidding. Jovanovski one minute says there is no Serbian interference, next minute says there is Serbian interference. It’s hard to know either way because of the inconsistency in Jovanovski’s views. see link to story for more here

In another example of inconsistency a protest was held in Skopje, Macedonia against Croatian MEP Marijana Petir for endorsing Nikola Gruevski last year. When Serb President Nikolic, who has been a strong supporter of Gruevski, arrived in Macedonia in the same year, no protests were held against him. see story here

TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Zoltan Kovacs, Orban’s spokesman, for a response over the appointment of Maricic as PM Zaev’s advisor. Kovacs has instead passed it on to the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry for comment. As yet no response has been forthcoming.

The question remains can PM Zaev have any working relationship with Orban, a critical NATO ally in Eastern Europe, if his supporters and advisors hold an animosity towards the Hungarian PM not displayed towards other politicians in the region who stand accused of similar if not worse transgressions?

Alexander Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister now elected as President, has locked up over 80 political opponents and journalists as part of a campaign to clamp down on dissent over his rule. see link to story here

Kosovo strongman Hashim Thaci presides over massive crime and corruption involving the vile trafficking of human organs (see link here), something which Orban is not known to have been involved in.
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TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Bojan Maricic 2016 and received a response but he wouldn’t answer the questions we posed to him:

9 March 2016 

Bojan Maricic: Thank you for your message and I am sorry for the delayed answer. The questions you ask demand extensive elaboration, so please give me few more days to clean-up my schedule and write you back. By then, I need to tell you that you have very interesting approach analyzing the phenomenon of cultural hegemony in Macedonia. With some of your statements I agree while some I see as reductionist but let me elaborate on this in my answers.

Question 1: I have noticed you haven't said much about the Serbian nationalist antics of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and his Prime Minister Alexander Vucic. Any reason why?

Question 2: You haven't for instance called for demonstrations outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the 14 May 2015 rehabilitation of ultra nationalist Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic who was anti Macedonian, Croat and Albanian, nor the provocative comments from Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic over Macedonia's support for Kosovo's UNESCO application. Could you explain why? 

Question 3: It would appear both major parties in Macedonia, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM still view BELGRADE as a powerful influence in Macedonia. You have a controversial US-Serb businessmen by the name of Veselin Jevrosimovic who owns a large chunk of the Macedonian media (newspapers and one tv station) and is pro PM Gruevski and you had SDSM recently use on "trial" a controversial Belgrade PR company called Ruskin & Hunt, whose managing director Miljan Skecic was connected to indicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj.

Are you concerned that the Serbian tabloids which spin such virulent anti west sentiment have enormous influence in Macedonia and Macedonian politics? In your opinion what can be done to counter the hostile propaganda from BELGRADE?

Question 4: On New Years Eve 2016 all four commercial TV stations in Macedonia played hour after hour after hour of Serbian turbo folk music and I have received many complaints from Macedonian artists who say the Macedonian entertainment industry is being deliberately strangled by the government who have a vested interested in importing the likes of Ceca etc. Your thoughts on this "re-Belgradisation of Macedonian culture?"

Question 5: It's very rare in any modern democratic state for the President or the Prime Minister to appoint a sibling (brother / sister) or a cousin as the Chief of Intelligence. Isn't it outrageous for PM Gruevski to have had his first cousin Saso Mijalkov as Intelligence boss? Your thoughts on the so called "putsch?"

Question 6: Nothing from you on Greek governing party Syriza trying to block Croatian MEP Marijana Petir from establishing a Euro Parliamentary group, Friends of Macedonia. Any Reason? Croatia and the Croatian communities abroad took an active role in lobbying for diplomatic recognition of Macedonia in 1991-92 whilst SERBIA opposed it.
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TEAM UZUNOV SPECIAL REPORT FROM MACEDONIA - Inconsistent Internationalism?


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