Friday, February 23, 2018

COUNCIL OF EUROPE - Macedonians concerned over extremism

by Sasha Uzunov

The Council of Europe, the continent’s top human rights body, has reacted to concerns from indigenous ethnic Macedonians from the Republic of Macedonia over what they say is a ferocious attack on their native identity and rising neo-Albanian fascism.

TEAM UZUNOV BLOG initially contacted Ms Dunja Mijatovic who is in the process of leaving her old position with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to assume the top job, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe (COE).

“The new Commissioner takes up office in April and, as the previous ones, she will continue to follow closely the situation of media freedom and extremism in all our member states,” said Mr Stefano Montanari, an official COE spokesman.

Concerns have been raised in the Republic of Macedonia over the rise of neo Albanian fascism over the past decade with the build of statues to controversial Albanian leaders who collaborated with Nazi Germany in western Macedonia during World War II. The Balli Kombetar, a Nazi German quisling militia which murdered Macedonians and Albanians opposed to fascism, was led by Xhem Hasa. A statue was built in to “honour” Hasa by the Albanian political bloc within the government coalition in 2006. That statue and a second more recent one to another Balli Kombetar commander are both situated near the town of Gostivar, in western Macedonia.

The Balli Kombetar under Italian Fascist and later Nazi German patronage established a short-lived “Greater Albania” which sought to ethnically cleanse native Macedonians from western Macedonia. It is an extremist ideology that is widely supported by current day ethnic Albanian leaders in Macedonia such as Ali Ahmeti of the DUI party, who in 2001, started a war in Macedonia but was “pardoned” after strong arm twisting from the US in the background.

Macedonia has a Holocaust Museum in Skopje, the capital city, dedicated to the Jewish victims deported to Nazi death camps by Nazi Germany’s then ally, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, which in 1941 had occupied what is now the Republic of Macedonia. It also has numerous other monuments which specifically highlight the resistance to fascists like the Balli Kombetar.

And yet, a deliberate silence has fallen over the Albanian Nazi statues in Macedonia. In other parts of Europe, such as Austria, there has been quick condemnation of any neo Nazi activity. The Deputy German Ambassador to Macedonia commented on the Balli Kombetar statues, while the US Ambassador Mr. Jess Baily has declined, as have a number of organisations. link here

The Albanian political bloc is seen as staunchly pro-US and there has been a reluctance to openly discuss any controversial statues that put them in a negative light.
Indigenous ethnic Macedonians also have been alarmed by the ferocious attack on their native identity by some prominent Serbs in Macedonia’s media and political circles. Journalist and “human rights activist” Borjan Jovanovski (pictured left), Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska, Skopje-area suburban Mayor Sasa Bogdanovic, the so-called “Colour Revolutionary” Pavle Bogoevski, and a host of others. They regularly attack Macedonian patriotism under the banner of “anti-nationalism” - but it is an “anti-nationalism” which ignores the Albanian Nazi statues or incidents of Serb nationalism over the past three decades, including the 1999 attack on the US Embassy in Macedonia by Serb extremists.

UPDATE: Good Serb, Bad Serb routine !

The “bad guys” template is collage of Russians and Serbs who are Interchangeable and the “good guys” are the Serbs who are pro NATO in Macedonia even though they might actually share some of the views of the former group. It’s really nasty ethnic baiting from the West - which aims to create confusion and hatred.

News website Balkan Insight’s hilarious and contradictory “Good Serb, Bad Serb” routine in Macedonia ! 

Controversial Russian “philosopher” Alexander Dugin was in town recently, Skopje, the Macedonian capital to offer his thoughts to a new pro Russian party called Edinstvena Makedonija (United Macedonia). see link here . He stands accused of whipping up anti West sentiment in Macedonia.

The story outlines Dugin’s Pan Slavist views and his calls for close ties between Russia, Serbia and Macedonia as well as his controversial links to Serbian monarchist groups. The reporter of the Dugin story, Goce Trpkovski, bizarrely and paradoxically on social media calls for a statue to be built to a controversial Serbian Colonial Mayor of Skopje and architect, Joseph Mihailovich. see link here 

BALKAN INSIGHT’S OWN SERB MONARCHIST FAN? Reporter Sinisa Jakov Marusic. - see link here 
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s court philosopher Dugin is the “Bad Serb” in this scenario but the “Good Serb” - though not mentioned in the story is Borjan Jovanovski (pictured above) who shares some of the same views of Dugin such as the Tsarist Russian inspired Pan Slavism but he goes “one better” than Dugin in terms of “Slav union”- at one stage calling for Macedonia to return to defacto Serb Yugoslavist federal rule. A move that would probably spark civil war in Macedonia. see link here and here

Jovanovski and his supporters have stubbornly refused to protest against “Serb-Russian interference” in Macedonia outside the Serb Embassy. This is strange. see link here  The only “protests” are tweets on social media - that’s the extent.

But you have to ask why are some who hold Serb chauvinist views in Macedonia but who have cleverly hidden behind the pretext of so called “anti nationalism” never called to account? It might have to do with supporting NATO and US foreign policy. The US Embassy in Macedonia doesn’t deny the chauvinistic views of its supporters such as Jovanovski. see link here

If anything the unrestrained chauvinistic behaviour of Borjan Jovanovski, Sasa Bogdanovic-Srpce etc towards ethnic Macedonians has created enormous anti west sentiment in #macedonia. You don’t need a so called “Russian philosopher” Dugin to light the fuse on that... you can thank US Ambassador Jess Baily & co for that ! see links here and here

Macedonian governing party SDSM’s Bogdanovic, the Mayor of the Skopje municipality of Centre (Opstina Centar) even invokes Serb nationalist hero Gavrilo Princip with relish, cleverly inferring or implying that “Gabriel Principle” (a pun or word play on Gavrilo Princip) is needed in Macedonia. Princip is known in history as the assassin of Austrian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 which triggered World War I. see link here 

There seems to be a deliberate schizophrenic policy confuse and polarise Macedonians and create hatred between Macedonians, Serbs, Russians, Albanians and so on.

THE SOROS CLICHE - racist stereotype of Macedonians retweaked?

The Soros cliche used is an old idea re-tweaked many times- it revolves around mislabelling any kind of independent Macedonian behaviour as “nationalist” or “extreme” or lumping Macedonians in with Serbs and Montenegrins in an “evil Slav” template against Albanians.

It is in fact a racist stereotype of Macedonians, which enlightened people including Serb, Greek intellectuals and westerners in general don’t accept these stereotypes.

Ironically, this is a legacy of Serbian colonial rule in (Vardarska) Macedonia (1912-41). This concept was heavily modified and used in Tito’s Yugoslavia where people who didn’t toe the Communist party line were attacked as “nationalist” regardless if they were or were not.

It is puzzling me why young Macedonians who work for these NGOs are not aware of the racist origins of the mislabelling technique. Didn’t they ever teach them post Balkan Wars & pre World World II history about all three parts of Macedonia in schools in SR Macedonia and later in Republic of  Macedonia? (1912-41).

Likewise with Greek colonialism in Macedonia but with a slight difference - Macedonian “nationalists” are “communist inventions” of Tito and Stalin in 1944.

Bulgarian nationalists uses the Greek template - Macedonia is a “communist invention” and Macedonians are nothing more wayward “West Bulgars”.... etc etc.

This mislabelling technique is a deliberate strategy in order to paint ordinary Macedonians standing up for themselves as “extremists” and thereby satisfying Greek, Bulgar and Albanian nationalist demands and to a lesser extent some Serb extremists. 

Photo Credit: OSCE/Curtis Budden ID 97672 Date 29 November 2012

Original Questions emailed to Ms Dunja Mijatovic:


You are an expert on human rights and media freedoms. I wanted to draw your attention to matters in Macedonia. A number of prominent Serbs in Macedonia - journalist & “human rights activist” Borjan Jovanovski, Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska, Skopje city suburban Mayor Sasa Bogdanovic, Colour Revolutionary Pavle Bogoevski, and a host of others have attacked native ethnic Macedonian identity as well as Macedonian statues but have paradoxically never protested against Serb nationalism or “interference” in Macedonia.

This has raised concerns amongst Macedonians of deliberate chauvinism, favouritism, prejudice by the above named individuals who are alleged to be hiding their true motives behind “anti nationalism.”

Mr Jovanovski stubbornly and angrily refuses to protest outside the Serb embassy in Skopje, Macedonia.


Mr Bogoevski, has admitted, that he too, doesn’t protest against Serb nationalism.


Mr Bogdanovic has invoked Serb nationalist icon Gavrilo Princip and has threatened to demolish Macedonian monuments in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia.

Question 1: In the past you have been very quick to jump to Serb journalist Mr Borjan Jovanovski’s defence when he has alleged that he has received death threats from angry native ethnic Macedonians. Ms Mijatovic, in your new role with the COE, can you give a public undertaking to monitor closely and fairly events in Macedonia and give an assurance to native ethnic Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia that they will be given equal treatment?

Question 2: Are you concerned with the rise of neo Albanian fascism and extremism in Macedonia? Albanian politicians have over the past decade or so built a number of controversial statues to Albanian World War II Nazi collaborators in Macedonia. The issue has been brought to the attention of the German Deputy Ambassador to Macedonia, Mr Marco Acquatacci, who has given a statement.


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