Sunday, October 14, 2018


Macedonia’s most powerful woman...
DESPERATELY SEEKING SEKERINSKA - who is the real Radmila? A woman of many faces, identities...

by Sasha Uzunov
Skopje, Macedonia

One of Macedonia’s most controversial politicians is under new scrutiny following the failed referendum of 30 September- Radmila Sekerinska, the current Defence Minister and onetime protégé of Branko Crvenkovski, SDSM’s (Macedonian Social Democratic Union) founding leader way back in the 1990s.

Although a darling of the West for many years, Sekerinska has long been heavily criticised and even mocked at home. Many of her foreign admirers seem, ironically, unaware of this.  The US sees her as more competent than Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev; a safer pair of hands so to speak. (see link here).

Now that the 30 September referendum on the Prespa Agreement has failed (link here), it is time to take a look in the mirror – is it possible that Radmila Sekerinska’s unpopularity among Macedonians would have something to do with the referendum’s failure?


Now, TEAM UZUNOV can report that the knives are out for Sekerinska within her own party. A former apparatchik from the SDSM’s 2002-2006 government, who has knowledge of the current goings-on in SDSM, told TEAM UZUNOV that “if Zaev and Sekerinska fail to push the constitutional changes through parliament to please their Western backers, both of them may be replaced:

"It is common knowledge among Macedonians that the unpopular prime minister, Zoran Zaev, may be risking his political future with the failed name-change referendum. But until recently, the continued rise to power of his defence minister – who many believe is the real leader of the country – was ‘safe’ from any fallout of the referendum’s failure.

Nevertheless, the old political apparatchik tells TEAM UZUNOV, “no one is safe, there are new generations coming up, and a lot of people in SDSM intensely dislike or are jealous of Rada for how specially she is treated by Western diplomats.”

However, another Macedonian source with close ties to the US Embassy also tells TEAM UZUNOV that “the Americans were happy to let her become defence minister when Zaev came to power, but they were irritated that she did not hire two or three specific people into that ministry, who are under American patronage.” 


There may be something to this, as TEAM UZUNOV clearly touched a nerve by simply asking her a simple question at a government press conference on the night of the failed referendum. The revealing footage reveals the two-sided nature of Sekeinska- going in mere seconds from smiling diplomat to angry politician.

In the clip, which received over 8,000 views on YouTube in one day alone, Sekerinska piles on the charm with select foreign journalists, while refusing to answer a fundamental question about who wrote the Prespa Agreement- the basic document on which the Macedonian voters were voting that Sunday. Bizarrely, the defence minister lashed out to the camera that ‘you’re threatening me’ and that ‘this is the third time’ you have asked the question. Of course, neither of these claims were true.

While TEAM UZUNOV has asked the question about Prespa’s authorship to Minister of Justice Renata Deskoska and US Ambassador Jess Baily, we had never until that moment addressed this key question to Sekerinska. Her infuriated and out of protocol remarks indicated that Macedonia’s ‘golden girl’ may be becoming a giant liability.

Crucially this is occurring at a moment of great controversy- as the government continues trying to thwart the public will by pushing through legislation that would see a majority of MPs vote through constitutional amendments in order to railroad through the same Prespa Agreement concessions to Greece that was rejected at referendum by a resounding 63 percent of Macedonian voters. The voters followed the logic of a new protest group Bojkotiram. The group claims on social media that a British company called Stratagem is trying to bribe the vital few MPs from opposition VMRO-DPMNE, to the tune of 250,000 euros each, so they will vote yes on the SDSM government’s amendments.


Sekerinska’s mother worked for the state electricity company ELEM, during the post-Yugoslav transition period when it was divided up partly sold to foreign investors. Macedonians have dubbed these kind of shady privatisations as ‘bonbona business’ (hinting at the massive kickbacks and bribes the 1990s privatisations brought). 

Sekerinska’s husband, Bozidar Jankovski, has long had the nickname ‘Bobo Diners’ for his longstanding role as director of Diner’s Club Macedonia. Bizarrely, he was one of the many politicians and others briefly pardoned by President Gjorge Ivanov in April 2016. It is still unknown why he was on the list with politicians like Nikola Gruevski and Zoran Zaev but according to media reports, like most of those he made a written request to the president to be un-pardoned.


Radmila Sekerinska gained altitude as a leading politician faster than an astronaut launcing into orbit. The meteoric rise in power of the admittedly clever and talented Sekerinska was thus hardly accidental-being part of the Yugoslav communist elite has been a ticket to luxury living for many Macedonians with ties to Tito’s former regime, political functions, companies, UDBA secret service and so on.

But though this family background would be enough to enter politics (firstly, as protégé of Branko Crvenkovski, SDSM founder and heir to the communist legacy). Indeed at the tender age of 26, she became Branko’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and Coordination of Foreign Assistance, serving until the SDSM was booted out of power by VMRO-DPMNE in 2006.

It’s therefore not puzzling in the slightest that Sekerinska was specifically chosen as an American pet- a role she has held for well over a decade. This is clearly obvious from her key position when SDSM was in opposition both before and after the political crisis that started in 2015, coinciding with the arrival of the highly unpopular American ambassador, Jess Baily. In fact some of the clearest indications of this come from the American official documents themselves as revealed in leaked Wikileaks cables.


The fact that Sekerinska was on the State Department and CIA radar is confirmed by none other than Wikileaks. A US Embassy Skopje cable dated 10 January 2007 lists Sekerinska as one of the ‘five most influential women in Macedonia.’

The cable recalls that the then-34 year old Sekerinska, an electrical engineer by training, had until 2006 been Crvenkovski’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration. Many Macedonians put Sekerinska in the category of those loathed politicians who have ‘never worked a day in their lives.’ Indeed the cable states that “she has been prominent in politics since 1998, when she was elected an SDSM Member of Parliament and served as the SDSM Spokesperson.” In other words, this descendent of prominent communist-era officials had a path to power ready and waiting for her, being elected to parliament at the tender age of 25.

The main reason that Sekerinska was on the American radar at the time of the cable was because she “was elected in November 2006 as the leader of SDSM, the largest ethnic Macedonian opposition party, and remains an MP.” - see link here 


Another Wikileaks cable, written by then Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic on 14 November 2006, discusses Sekerinska’s victory at the SDSM’s party congress held days before. It lays out in plain writing what many Macedonians have long known. It says that Sekerinska had “long been considered the heir apparent and who enjoyed the strong support of President Crvenkovski.” In typical communist style, she was the only candidate for party leadership: Sekerinska “won easily, receiving 456 votes of the 516 ballots cast.” One of the SDSM vice-president’s elected at the congress, Jani Makraduli, remained a party apparatchik through the recent crisis and was already very close to Sekerinska at the time she became SDSM president in November 2006. Indeed the US cable states that Makraduli was so closely aligned with Sekerinska that “he was her witness at her recent marriage. (As of 2018, Makraduli is deputy minister of environment in the Zaev-Sekerinska government). see link here 

In revealing language about SDSM’s future stepping ‘out of Crvenkovski’s shadow’ the US ambassador writes that  “although Sekerinska's rise to power in the party owes much to  Crvenkovski's support, that does not necessarily mean she  will repay the favor with blind loyalty to him and his  circle. “Indeed the cunning politician, the Americans estimated, was “likely to work to escape Crvenkovski’s shadow in order to strengthen her own control over the rank and file and implement the party reforms she has advocated.

All in all it’s clear that the US focused its efforts on building up the career of the new opposition leader to make a break with the past- something that insiders today have told TEAM UZUNOV the US is cynically prepared to do as well- but with Sekerinska this time getting the “Branko treatment.” In fact, this is what the former SDSM official had to say: “if Zaev and Sekerinska fail, she will probably be removed in a ‘nice’ way, by getting some important post in NATO or the UN as a compensation for losing the referendum.”

The US cable of November 2006 also showed high hopes for the newly elected prime minister from VMRO-DPMNE, another American puppet, Nikola Gruevski. It says that he “likely would jump at the chance to  widen any gap between Sekerinska and Crvenkovski, given his long-standing disdain for the President and refusal to recognise Crvenkovski's election as legitimate. Sekerinska  may therefore find a more flexible, compromise-ready  government ally will give her the leverage she needs to increase the distance between her and Crvenkovski.” Ironically, while Gruevski later became Enemy Number 1 of the US for his independent minded stance and nationalist views, Sekerinska became ever closer to Western ambitions for Macedonia’s future.


Part of the reason why many Macedonians consider Ms. Sekerinska a hypocrite is because she is now going back on former ‘red lines’ the SDSM set almost a decade ago, in talks with US representatives, with the Prespa Agreement concessions.

Much of the controversy over the recently failed Prespa Agreement was the SDSM government’s agreement with the Tsipras government on renaming the country ‘North Macedonia,’ and the ethnicity as ‘citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia’ rather than ‘Macedonian.’ This is a clear and cynical attempt by SDSM, as many have pointed to blur the lines between the definitions of the words ‘citizenship and ‘nationality.’

A 2008 cable (from the Athens US Embassy, the then Greek PM Karamanlis indicated that the idea was already being floated. Karamanlis blamed the Macedonians for the usual “intransigence” but said that: “a mutually acceptable solution -- which could include a composite name of "New, Upper, North, whatever Macedonia" for use in international fora and another name (i.e., the constitutional name) for internal use -- had to be found now before the NATO Bucharest summit or Greece would not approve FYROM's entry into Euro-Atlantic institutions.” These Greek demands violated Macedonia’s (until Zaev) red lines. see link here 

All together it is scandalous enough in that it indicates Washington was officially considering the current Prespa Agreement name formulation almost 10 years ago with both sides. 


The West has propped up and sponsored a politician, in Radmila Sekerinska, who knows just what to say and how to say it to Brussels bigwigs and Washington head honcos, but is mostly mocked and reviled in her home country. The fact is, the average man on the street sees her as dismissive, often arrogant tone, superiority complex, and attempts to curry favour with foreign luminaries through artificial politeness. She is considered a political cynic who would sees benefit when her own party colleagues are criticised (most recently, Zoran Zaev with his high-profile role in the political crisis) to advance her own interests indirectly. This is possibly because she learned the hard way that her own lack of charisma and popularity were negatively impacting her ambitions.

This was seen when as party president in the 2008 elections, she came up with the disastrous campaign advert that literally states the Macedonian phrase, ‘posle ebenje, nema kaenje.’ (a vulgar term meaning ’no regrets after f**king.’ The video clip of 27 May 27 2008 aired in television, bewildering older voters.

In the spot, a young woman is depicted waking up next to a young man, looking in apparent horror at him as if wondering what she had done the night before. When the girl tells him to leave, the young man says he will spend the next four years with her. The point Sekerinska was cynically trying to make was that voters would regret it if they voted to re-elect VMRO-DPMNE. But for critics the whole concept just reaffirmed the popular view of Sekerinska as a cold and cynical politician, and her party was decisively defeated at the election.

In another video from her election campaign of 2008, Sekerinska made the odd claim that in six months she would start the EU negotiation process. Does this hint, as the Wikileaks cable reveals, that the specially-groomed American pet had already a plan in shape to change Macedonia’s name- 10 years before her current attempt through the Prespa Agreement? We may never know, since no one has asked.

A much more recent video that seeped into the Macedonian popular culture is of Sekerinska’s August 2016 visit to the village of Stajkovsi after torrential flooding. Sekerinska’s treatment of a weeping village women was captured in a video clip, and made her the butt of jokes when the TV and later video spot aired, with people seizing on the trip as a cynical attempt to show a ‘human side’ to a disinterested politician out to score popularity points.


The fact of the matter is that the West, and Branko Crvenkovski before that, groomed this heir to communist patronage from a very early age to become Macedonia’s main international power broker. But despite all the rhetoric and free rides, she has failed to deliver.

This was seen in the above mentioned 2008 elections, where she failed to unseat Gruevski. The results for SDSM were so bad that Branko Crvenkovski took over (after stepping down from the national presidency) for the 2011 elections, with SDSM also lost. When Zaev became SDSM president, and also lost the 2014 elections in humiliating fashion, Sekerinska got a second chance to prove her value to the Western powers with the political crisis and name change.

That opportunity hangs in the balance now, with the name change referendum failure marking the possible end for the Macedonian ‘golden girl.’ In her heart of hearts, Radmila Sekerinska already knows that all Macedonian politicians are inserted by the US, and all are removed when they have served their purpose or fallen out of favour- as is seen by the fates of the like of Branko Crvenkovski, Ljubco Georgievski, Nikola Gruevski and so on. 

At the end of the day, the failed referendum of 30 September- itself based on name issue ideas at least a decade old- may also prove to be a referendum on the politicians who made the deal with Greece. The US and its European allies have spent millions and lavished all sorts of favours on making Sekerinska Macedonia’s most powerful politician. But America’s patience does not last forever. Should SDSM fail to deliver, it’s likely that none of its leaders will be safe. But someone like Sekerinska, with longtime international contacts, she will probably have a soft landing- continuing her charmed existence in an international organisation somewhere outside of Macedonia.


In 2010 during a heated and emotional debate between Sekerinska and Serbian nationalist politician Ivan Stoiljkovic, a Macedonian MP, Stoijlkovic accused Sekerinska of being anti Serb. In reaction to the accusation, Sekerinska, a social democrat who publicly criticises nationalism, deliberately played the Serb nationalist card on Stoijlkovic by emphasising her Serb background and gave a pledge not to harm the interests of the local Serb community.

In over 20 years of political life she has never held a protest against Serbian nationalism outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, not even when the US Embassy in Macedonia was set a light in 1999 by Serb extremists linked to the Milosevic regime.

In protests dubbed the Colour Revolution two years ago, Sekerinska was photographed hurling an object at a Macedonian statue in the capital.

You could argue her behaviour is racist towards ethnic Macedonians. see link here 


One of the questions that TEAM UZUNOV posed to US Ambassador to Macedonia, Mr Jess Baily, was the US deliberately using ethnic hatreds as a political weapon to attack native ethnic Macedonian identity. It was a question the Ambassador declined to answer. see link here 

The West’s “Good Serb, Bad Serb” routine:

Then Serb Prime Minister and now President Alexander Vucic was pelted with rocks and bottles at Srebrenica during the massacre remembrance ceremony. Angry Bosnians were not labelled as “nationalist.”

On 27 April 2017, Sekerinska who has attacked native Macedonian statues is attacked in Macedonian Parliament by angry native ethnic Macedonians. Macedonians are labelled “nationalist.”

Strange paradox. in fact hypocrisy. The man who attacked her was justifiably jailed for assault.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate violence and both incidents of violence are wrong. But note the selectivity by the West.

FRENCH DUPLICITY - Thimionier’s Timing ! 

The French have also invested heavily in Radmila Sekerinska, so much so they have decorated her with a high state award amongst deliberate fanfare.

But you’ll note in the story below from earlier this year how the French Ambassador to Macedonia Mr Charles Thimonier waited many weeks until he had decorated Sekerinska first before responding to questions about her and then declined to comment. see link here

THE WOMAN OF MANY FACES: one minute she is the consummate “internationalist,” next playing the Serb nationalist card, now a firm supporter of the controversial and so called “Good Neighbourly Agreement” between Bulgaria and Macedonia, which in effect means the end of a separate Macedonian identity as a the price for Bulgarian support for Macedonia to join NATO and the EU. (link to Good Neighbourly Agreement story here). She is pictured below with Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Kressmir Karakachanov (left), a right wing nationalist who denies the existence of a separate Macedonian identity, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose coalition government includes neo Nazi leader Volen Siderov of the notorious ATAKA party.

And not to mention her support of the outrageous Prespa Agreement...(link to Prespa Agreement story here) which turns Macedonia into a de facto Greek Hellenic Hong Kong.

TEAM UZUNOV contacted Ms Sekerinska a number of times via email to her officer and text message to her advisors with questions but has never received a response:

 From: Sasha Uzunov
Sent: Thursday, 4 January 2018 9:30 AM
Subject: Media query - Defence Minister Sekerinska

Subject: media questions for Macedonia's Defence Minister Ms Radmila Sekerinska

Dear Minister Sekerinska

My name is Sasha Uzunov, an Australian journalist who was recently in Macedonia. I have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am also a former Australian soldier.

See link here:

I wanted to ask you some questions:

1. In 2010 you made a bizarre statement during a heated debate with Serb Nationalist MP Ivan Stoijlkovic where you declared your Serbian background. Isn't this strange or contradictory  for someone who claims to be a social democratic and who campaigns against "nationalism?" Why was it important for you to boast of your Serbianess if you as a politician criticise so called Macedonian nationalism?

2. On your official Defence Ministry website, your biography makes no mention of your Serbian background. Why is that?

3. There is a public perception amongst many Macedonians you are a Serb chauvinist who attacks native Macedonian statues and who is culturally insensitive. What is your response to this?  You have never protested against Serb nationalism outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje yet you throw paint at Macedonian statues? Do you have a conflict of interest?

4. In South Africa white politicians are very carefully or sensitive in their criticisms of native Black African identity for fear of being branded a racist. Bearing in mind that Serbia was the former brutal colonial ruler in Macedonia (1912-41) and played a hegemonistic role in Tito's Yugoslavia, should you being of Serb background refrain from attacking Macedonian statues in case you are accused of racism, chauvinism against native ethnic Macedonians ?

5. The German Deputy Ambassador Mr Marco Acquaticci has responded to concerns over controversial Albanian Nazi collaborator statues in western Macedonia. You have remained silent instead attacking Macedonian statues. Why is that?

Yours sincerely
Sasha Uzunov
Journalist / filmmaker

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


Sasha Uzunov
Skopje, Macedonia

REFERENDUM FARCE - the flop being hailed as a “success’
- we’ve all had over 24 hours to digest the outcome of Macedonia’s failed referendum held on Sunday 30 September, which is what it was despite the deliberate spin from the Zaev government and its foreign backers, namely US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily.

By the Macedonia criterion for referenda, it did not reach the required 50% threshold of eligible voters needed but fell far short. The non-binding referendum question posed to voters was “are you in favour of the European Union and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?”

If you do a break down of the figures - 36.9% of eligible voters turned out and 94.18% voted in favour. Rough arithmetic that’s about 25 to 30% of all eligible voters voted in favour of the referendum. Simply put the vast majority of Macedonians and even a sizeable number of ethnic Albanians don’t want to change Macedonia’s name.

Regardless of how people voted or didn’t vote, what can’t be ignored is there was a movement/s dedicating to boycotting the referendum. If a large number of people didn’t turn out then that must be attributed to this movement. Obviously, regular voting patterns in Macedonia can’t be ignored.

According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, whose reporting has been skewed in favour of the Prespa Agreement:

“Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said the result is enough indication of support from the electorate for him to continue to push for implementation of the deal”

“MPs now have an obligation to make Macedonia a better place for all of us,” Zaev told reporters late on Sunday” - see link here 

So it’s now hard for PM Zaev to claim a moral mandate over the main Opposition party VMRO-DPMNE led by Christian Mickovski to support the Prespa Agreement through a parliamentary vote.

Zaev needs a two-thirds majority - 80 out of 120 MPs to vote in favour. At the moment he doesn't have the numbers. But has stubbornly vowed to push on and change Macedonia’s name and backed by the EU and the US who have hailed the referendum flop a “success.”

2004 MACEDONIA REFERENDUM JUXTAPOSITION - The US State Department letter reveals the real reasons for the US recognising Macedonia in 2004: to kill off a referendum that would if successful oppose the territorial reorganisation of Macedonia - the objective of the reorganisation was to lead to municipalities with artificially constructed Albanian majorities and place the country onto the path of de facto federalisation. see link here 

We’ve seen enormous contradictions over the Prespa Agreement, the basis for the referendum on 30 September 2018. This controversial deal aims to change Macedonia’s name and identity to appease Greek nationalist demands in exchange for Greece removing its veto over Macedonia’s NATO and EU membership. It’s simply for US strategic needs - meaning to keep Washington's longtime ally Greece happy but it’s been dressed up as being favourable to Macedonia. see link here

The standard mantra from the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who immediately after the referendum flop broke a promise that he would resign if it failed, is the Prespa Agreement was the best possible deal that Macedonia could get and was the result of Greek and Macedonian compromise.


One of his senior cabinet ministers, Justice Minister Renata Deskoska doesn't even know who wrote the agreement, which is an incredible and embarrassing admission to make.

Macedonia’s Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska, when asked if an American academic and ex US State Department official Dr Amanda Sloat was the real author, exploded with inexplicable rage.

The woman who is alleged to have put the agreement together, Dr Sloat, has remained silent despite being contacted and asked to set the record straight.

What is telling is the US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily after also being asked to comment more than a month go if there was any US involvement behind the scenes declined at that time until he was confronted at a doorstop interview yesterday where he gave an answer after an OSCE post referendum media conference. The OSCE was tasked in monitoring the referendum for any irregularities.

Ambassador Baily was asked at point blank about Dr Sloat’s involvement. In an amazing display after deliberately walking past in an attempt to ignore the question he decided to comeback and stand his ground and answer the question in which he maintained the mantra of it - the Prespa Agreement - being the product of Greek-Macedonian negotiations.

It would have looked horrible if the man who has staked his diplomatic career on the Prespa Agreement was seen to run away from it.

This isn’t Ambassador Baily first time to dodge a question over the controversial agreement.

If it takes all of this effort just to get a response over the Prespa Agreement - using pliers to extract words out of key people’s mouths figuratively speaking - despite all the positive spin placed on it then this suggests there is clearly something wrong with it.

The US is riding roughshod over Macedonia’s sovereignty by Ambassador Baily taking such an “active” role in now pushing the Prespa Agreement through the parliament after the failed referendum.

Support for the US Macedonia was historically high especially amongst the diaspora - that has dropped remarkably because of the antics of Ambassador Baily and without Russian strongman Putin needing to lift a finger.