Friday, June 28, 2019



Guest columnist *Dr Chris Popov writes for TEAM UZUNOV Blog & Alternate Comms website:

The last week has witnessed a veritable avalanche of statements from Bulgarian officials such as Prime Minister Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister Karakachanov, Foreign Minister Zaharieva, Euro MPs Kovachev and Djambazki, and a panoply of Bulgarian “historians” serving on the Joint Macedonian-Bulgarian Historical Commission (set up as a result of the Agreement on Good Neighbourliness between Macedonian and Bulgaria signed on 1 August 2017 with the express task of revising Macedonia’s history to make it more palatable to the Bulgarian view that “ Macedonians are Bulgarians”) claiming that Macedonia’s greatest national hero and revolutionary, Goce Delchev, is Bulgarian and that the Ilinden Uprising (the foundation stone of Macedonian statehood) was a “ Bulgarian phenomenon”. Yesterday in an attempt to burnish his non-existent reputation as a statesman Borisov stated that “ Goce Delchev is the Bulgarian Che Guevara … who gave everything he had for the freedom of Macedonia” 

Not to be outdone Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski, in a feeble display of servility, stated that “it is indisputable that Delchev identified as a Bulgarian”, whereas Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov who is known for his slavish, pro-NATO/EU orientation, opined that “I am not a historian who is able to say how Delchev identified."  - More on Stevo Pendarovski at this link here 

Dragi Georgiev, the Macedonian historian leading the Macedonian team participating in the joint historical commission, stated last week that “Delchev had a Macedonian political identity”, leaving open the way for Delchev’s Macedonian ethnicity to be speculated upon so as not to anger Bulgaria which has the right to veto Macedonia’s accession to the EU and NATO.

The historical revisionism emanating from Sofia of late and its attempt to misappropriate indisputable Macedonian heroes and historical events are the result of its centuries-long denial of a distinct Macedonian ethnicity, identity and language and its desire to justify its annexation of Pirin Macedonia in 1913. It is also an attempt to stake a claim to territory in the Republic of Macedonia should it be dismembered in the future.

However, back to Delchev. What is indisputably indisputable is the fact that Goce Delchev (1872-1903) was an ethnic Macedonian patriot whose overriding goal was to secure the establishment of an independent Macedonian state by revolutionary means. He did not fight for its union with Bulgaria or subservience to that state. He was fiercely opposed to Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian attempts to subjugate the Macedonian revolutionary movement to the expansionist goals of those monarchies. It is true that Delchev studied at the Bulgarian Military Academy, however, he did not wish to obtain a rank as a Bulgarian officer. He wanted to obtain military skills to use in Macedonia but did not want to be used by the Bulgarians which is why he deliberately connived to be expelled once a month before being awarded his rank. In 1895, in a letter to Efrem Karanov, he wrote that he viewed Macedonian as a “ free little state”. Also in 1895, he stated the following to the Bulgarian Supremacist general Danail Nikolov:
 “Let it be known that we do not seek sponsors, and even less do we seek masters."

Moreover, in 1895, the so-called Bulgarian Delchev removed the word “Bulgarian” (as a noun and adjective, which had been included two years earlier) from the Constitution of the Secret Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation and replaced it with Macedonian and Odrinian ( Thracian).  The claim that Delchev is a Bulgarian because he wrote in literary Bulgarian is not only fallacious but bordering on the ridiculous. It is like saying that overseas Asian students in Australia become “Australians” because they study in (Australian) English. In addition, Delchev was born in Kukush in Aegean Macedonia (that part of Macedonia now within the borders of the Greek state) and his spoken language would have been informed by the local Kukush dialect of Macedonian. In addition, the literary Bulgarian language was not codified until 1899, 4 years before Delchev’s death.

Delchev was also concerned about the lack of literature in Macedonian. He would state in this regard: “Is there really no one to write at least one book in Macedonian?”. He encouraged authors such as Atanas Razdolov to write in that vein and Razdolov obliged by writing poetry opposing Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek propaganda and in favour of an independent Macedonian state.

In his letters to Nikola Malesevski, Delchev was emphatic about his Macedonian origin and ethnicity. On 22 April 1897, he would write to Malesevski: “Is there a people which has endured such hardship at the hands of its own sons and traitors as the Macedonian people.?” Bulgarians make much of Delchev’s letter to Malesevski of 5 January 1899 in which he wrote: “But what can we do when we are Bulgarians”. This letter was written at a time of serious conflict between the Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation led by Delchev and the Pro-Bulgarian Supremacists in Sofia and Salonica which included mutual death threats. His ironic use of the word “Bulgarian” was to highlight the  fact that his enemies were Macedonian pro-Bulgarian spies under the influence of Bulgarian Exarchist and Supremacist political propaganda  who wished to harm the movement; what he meant by this is- we are having problems because our people are acting in Bulgarian interests”, not that they were ethnic Bulgarians .

On 12 January 1903 Pero Javorov, Delchev’s fellow chetnik (member of his guerrilla group) recorded one of his (Delchev’s) last messages in his shorthand notes, namely: “We will tear away the black veil which hangs over us and the sun of freedom will shine upon us, but It WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE A BULGARIAN SUN”.

Delchev’s wish was for him to be laid to rest in the capital of free Macedonia and in 1946 his remains were handed over to the Republic of Macedonia by Bulgaria in 1946. He was laid to rest in the church Sveti Spas in Skopje, Macedonia after his remains had been kept for many years in a storeroom of an office of the Makedonsko Bratstvo (Macedonian Brotherhood) in Sofia. If he was “Bulgarian” why did he not request that he be laid to rest in Sofia and why did they Bulgarian authorities not afford him a dignified place of burial in Sofia before 1946 if he was a “famous Bulgarian son”?. 

The fact that they did not do so signifies that they wanted to keep the lid on Macedonian nationalism and pride.

If Bulgaria so reveres Delchev as one of their most eminent heroes why in 1991 did the Bulgarian authorities consider changing the name of the city named Goce Delchev in Pirin Macedonia to Nevrokop, the name it previously had?

Finally, Borisov’s claim that Delchev is the Bulgarian Che Guevara is ludicrous, anachronistic ahistorical and amateurish in the extreme. Che Guevara, unlike Borisov and the Bulgarian political establishment in the case of Macedonia and Macedonians, did not fight to change the identities and ethnicities of the nations of Latin America, their history, culture or to claim their territory. He fought for the triumph of socialism, true independence for Latin America free from American tutelage and social justice, in the same way, that Delchev, the socialist and anarchist, fought to establish a Macedonian, not Bulgarian, independent state in which the rights of all would be respected. Delchev was and still is the epitome of the Macedonian struggle for independence and statehood and for the rights of the Macedonian people to respect and dignity. Borisov is the antithesis of this. Che Guevara is rather the Argentinian Goce Delchev.    

The dispute over Goce Delchev’s ethnicity and national identity is not an obscure historical and diplomatic matter which is irrelevant to current relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s outrageous intervention has definitely made it so  In disputing Delchev’s Macedonian identity and ethnicity Bulgaria wishes to undermine the Republic of Macedonia’s independence, sovereignty and security by imposing its ultranationalist thesis that “all Macedonians are Bulgarians”, a historically fallacious claim which denies Macedonians their basic, inalienable human rights. This is why this outlandish claim and the current quisling Macedonian government’s accommodation of it must be resolutely opposed. It is literally a matter of life and death for the Macedonian people.

The New-York Tribune newspaper, April 06, 1903, Page 2, - link here 

US report spells out that Macedonians in the "interior" are not interested in Bulgaria nor Slavism but are "autochthonous elements" (native).

"The Macedonian committees of the Interior are not composed of men who, having taken refuge in the principality, have derived ideas of a "great Bulgaria.' They comprise only autochthonous elements— schoolmasters, priests, and those of the people who have received some instruction. The interior committees do not care anything about Slavism; they are concerned exclusively with the interest of Macedonia and are opposed to outside intrusions. They believe that Macedonians only have the right to decide about Macedonia..."


* Dr Chris Popov is a long time Australian Macedonian activist previously involved in a number of international human rights conferences. He is a retired Australian public servant with service in the Federal Immigration Department. Dr Popov is fluent in many languages including English, Macedonian and Spanish and others. 
His previous story was on the controversial Prespa Agreement signed between Greece and Macedonia - link here 


More on the Ilinden Uprising of 1903 and Goce Delcev at this link here 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Photo credit: Vecer newspaper 
Hypocrisy without End- the West’s Disgraceful Treatment of Macedonia and Albania 
By Sasha Uzunov 
As readers know, Macedonia was plunged into a political crisis in early 2015 after then opposition leader (and since 2017, prime minister) Zoran Zaev started publishing wiretapped ‘bombs’ allegedly implicating the government of VMRO-DPMNE’s Nikola Gruevski in acts of corruption. The Western media ran with the story, demonising the government and heaping praise upon Zaev as a pro-Western reformer visionary, while youth activists from the USAID backed Colour Revolution filled the streets in 2016, leading to a new government in December of that year.
Fast-forward three years, and Macedonia under Zaev has voluntarily given away its name and identity to Greece (the Prespa Agreement) and seen the economy sputter to a halt while crime and corruption are at an all-time high.
Yet curiously enough, at the same time, neighbouring Albania has been in political crisis for months, with street protests against the long-time rule of Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Socialist Party. As was the case in Macedonia, wiretaps revealing corruption – this time, leaked to the German newspaper Bild – have fuelled the anger of the Albanian opposition, which threatens to boycott the upcoming elections. Rama defiantly threatens to hold despite the decision of President Ilir Meta to postpone them. In fact, Rama’s parliament seeks to impeach the president out of spite.
Yet unlike the case in Macedonia, Western diplomats and media are not screaming for Rama’s head- quite the opposite. The visible signs of protests led by Rama’s arch-enemy, Lulzim Basha are too big to ignore, so they are reported on- as was the case with this Deutsche Welle footage from the middle of May. It revealed protesters outside Rama’s office, lobbing Molotov cocktails and demanding Rama resign immediately- a spectacle far beyond anything seen in Macedonia.

Two things are odd about this. One, Albania’s street protests, unlike the US-backed Colour Revolution, seem to have a local flavour. Western interests have staunchly supported Rama and his rivals have to know that by protesting against him, they are also going against the will of Albania’s historic puppet-master, the United States. Yet they protest anyway.
Second, unlike the case with Gruevski, who was chronically depicted in the Western press as a ‘Balkan strongman’ and sort of ‘mini-Putin,’ Edi Rama is depicted by the same media as an ‘unconventional’ prime minister, and an ‘artist’ and former basketball player by the Guardian.
Possibly appealing to the newspaper’s centre-left readership, the article even lets slip that Rama considers Tony Blair to be his political role model. Of course, the article dutifully mentions that there have been allegations of corruption against Rama, and that these pesky protests are continuing, but all in all it’s hard to see how this isn’t a political whitewash, an obvious attempt to keep up the cult of personality for Rama who is possibly facing his political demise.
The Guardian goes further, though, in quoting Rama’s peculiar take on history. According to the Albanian leader, he is a staunch anti-Communist (while ironically also leading a party that has close cooperation with far left elements like George Soros), representing a country that was the most persecuted such state in the Cold War. Rama states that joining the EU means “finally having the possibility to place ourselves in a safe zone from the curse of history”.
One has to wonder- what does Rama mean by that? Perhaps, finally coming clean on the role of Albanian Nazi collaborators in Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo during WWII?
The answer of course, is no.
Indeed, at the same time that the rest of the world is commemorating D-Day’s 75th anniversary, Rama and his sidekick in Macedonia (and perennial governing coalition partner) Ali Ahmeti are erecting statues to Nazi collaborators and holding elaborate ceremonies to commemorate them.
In fact, just last November Rama also rehabilitated notorious WWII Albanian Nazi collaborator Midhat Frasheri with an elaborate state funeral in Tirana- reburying the leader of the Balli Kombetare, a Nazi quisling militia that ran roughshod over Albania and Macedonia, murdering innocent civilians and clashing with Partisans. After the war, Frasheri escaped to New York, where he lived out his days and was buried.
This leads to an intriguing question- why was it deemed necessary to reinter Frasheri in Albania? Who was behind the logistics of this process, and why did it have to happen when it did?
Balkan Insight reported about the state funeral at the time, noting that while many supported Rama’s rehabilitation of Frasheri, “others argued that the ceremony represented the rehabilitation of a Nazi collaborator.”
Nevertheless, “Aurel Plasari, an Albanian historian, gave the main speech during the ceremony and condemned what he called the “lies” spread about Frasheri in the Communist era.  Prime Minister Edi Rama said Frasheri was a great Albanian who helped create the modern Albanian alphabet and founded the country’s Institute of Albanology, the predecessor of Albanian Academy of Sciences, but “has a problem in his biography”. 
That last phrase is surely one of the oddest ways anyone has yet come up with to say ‘Nazi collaborator’. One has to wonder what exactly Rama meant- surely, he must know deep down that the burial stunt is a historical hoax of epic proportions, and deeply offensive to all victims of the Balli Kombetare and Naziism in general. link to Balkan Insight article 
TEAM UZUNOV has also reported extensively on how Rama’s allies in Macedonia, Albanian nationalists Ali Ahmeti and DUI, have gone out of their way to erect statues to Frasheri’s direct Balli Kombetar commander in Macedonia during WWII, Xhem Hasa Gostivari. So, at the exact moment that the West has been busy overseeing the complete and total destruction of any trace of the Macedonian identity, history and culture, it has been silently complicit in the Albanian creation of a new historical narrative based on nationalist Nazi war quislings. -More on Ali Ahmeti's Neo-Nazi ideology at this link
Western diplomats are surely aware of the hypocrisy, and they have unsurprisingly failed to tackle the issue at all. On 19 November 2018, a few days after the reburial, we rang up the US Embassy in Tirana asking if they would be commenting on the allegations of Frasheri as a Nazi collaborator. At that time, the embassy said that an answer would be forthcoming. Eight months later, and still no response.

Reburying Albania’s top Nazi collaborator while erecting statues in Macedonia to his local commander Xhem Hasa Gostivari who was a proven Nazi collaborator- it just adds insult to injury, but the West doesn’t seem to care. Western diplomats either avoid, or carefully dance around the question, as was the case with the US Deputy Consul in Melbourne, when asked about why the US supports Nazi collaborationist historical revisionists in Macedonia, at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Assistant Consul General in Melbourne Megan Douglas could probably be forgiven for not being up on her Albanian history. But one woman who has no excuse for keeping quiet- and who surely knows the local reality all too well- is Victoria Nuland, one of the most important US diplomats overseeing the ‘Colourful Revolution’ in Macedonia. She has also refused to comment for our request for clarification. Readers can hear the specific questions we left in this phone call to Anna Newby spokeswoman of the Brookings Institute, where Nuland is now employed.

The boundless hypocrisy concerning Edi Rama and his political rivals, as depicted in the Western media and diplomatic behaviour, has also been abundantly on display in how they have treated events involving both countries’ heads of state.
On 8 June, the AP reported Albanian President Ilir Meta was postponing local elections that are scheduled for late June, in order to reduce political tensions in the country, due to the ongoing protests and political crisis.
Despite the President’s intervention, the West has not stepped in in his defence of stability, allowing Rama to intimidate and attempt to overthrow President Meta through an impeachment procedure, which the government is trying to do. In fact, Western officials threw their weight in behind Rama by issuing veiled threats to the opposition. As the AP reported about the anti-Rama protesters:
“The United States and the European Union urged them to disavow violence and sit in a dialogue with government representatives to resolve the political crisis.  In an interview with private TV station Top Channel, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mathew Palmer warned opposition political leaders “if there are acts of violence in future protests, we will consider them responsible.”
Meta is Rama’s political rival, of course, but his stated rhetoric about putting the state’s interests first was oddly reminiscent of how former Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov announced a blanket pardon for all implicated in the wiretap scandal in Macedonia, in April 2016, as a way of calming tensions.
Of course in the latter case too, the West wanted nothing to do with that idea as it needed Zoran Zaev as the preferred puppet for future use in changing Macedonia’s name. But it did use Ivanov’s decision as a convenient pretext to launch its ‘Colourful Revolution’ of USAID funded demonstrators- which had already been planned and funded months in advance. 
As TEAM UZUNOV has exclusively reported, Edi Rama’s tentacles extended deeply into that operation as well- his ex-wife, Delina Fico, being on the board of directors of a shady New York-based State Department-funded group, the East-West Management Institute. The EWMI was part of the larger US-led coup plot to not only overthrow the Gruevski government but also flesh out the incoming Zaev government with ‘new faces’ (some of whom, like former Colour Revolutionary Pavle Bogoevski have since been disgraced and have been forced to resign from parliament -which is still pending !). - Go to Unmasking OTI story 
As we recounted in the above article, Rama “unleashed several months of political crisis in Macedonia in early 2017 by inviting ethnic Albanian politicians from Macedonia to his office, where they created the so-called ‘Tirana Platform’ of aggressive ultra-nationalist demands that were not part of the December 2016 election, that was frantically organised by Western powers to drive the name-change process faster.”
A detail that has been overlooked from that period, which may help explain why the West has been steadfast in its support for Mr. Rama while the proverbial castle walls seem to be falling down around him, is his probable role as a CIA asset in the crucial weeks after the December 2016 Macedonian elections. It is interesting to remember that was also the period of transition in the States between the Obama and Trump administrations. Surely, at such a sensitive time, senior intel officials would have more important things to do than fly out to the Balkans?
Apparently, not. On 7 December, just days before Macedonia’s crucial vote, Obama’s powerful CIA director, John Brennan, visited Albania on what the Tirana Times dubbed an “unannounced visit.” America’s top spook travelled all the way to Tirana to discuss “regional security, counter-terrorism cooperation, intelligence sharing, and other bilateral affairs,” according to a statement released by the United States embassy.” Did interfering in Macedonia’s election and ethnic affairs count as one of those “other bilateral affairs?” - Tirana Times story 
Still, despite his CIA ties and role in the Macedonian ethnic meddling and subsequent government formation, Edi Rama is damaged goods and has, one would think, lasted long beyond his expiry date. After all, the situation in Albania is worsening by the day and if the upcoming elections take a turn for the worse, the country might be back to the situation it was in in 1997, when state arsenals were raided and anarchy prevailed briefly.
The answer for why Rama is still indispensable for the West is probably because his mission is not yet finished: that is, the mission to bring Macedonia down to the Albanian level, which is the lowest in every respect in the region. While one might criticise the former VMRO-DPMNE government for any number of reasons, the fact is that while it was in power, Macedonia was the fastest-growing economy in the region and starting to build an industrial base, increasing its distance from other would-be EU members.
This situation was highly alarming for Greece, but not only for them, because it meant that Macedonia could look forward to a brighter future and let other countries to make do as best they could. It appears, looking in the rear-view mirror, that a large part of the Zaev-Tsipras-Rama romance was not just about changing Macedonia’s name and giving ethnic Albanians more rights- it was actually about reducing the Macedonian standard of living, economy, reform progress, and bringing it in every way in line with Albania- even if that process means glorifying Albanian Nazi war collaborators while deleting Macedonian history to please the Greeks and Bulgarians.
The Macedonian media recently reported on this by citing an interview with VMRO-DPMNE Vice-President Aleksandar Nikoloski. According to Nezavisen, Nikoloski recounted it thus
“Last year, at the beginning of April, I informed the Macedonian public that there is an agreement between the governments of Zaev and Edi Rama - operationalised through Bujar Osmani and then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Ditmir Bushati, which aimed to create a group Macedonia - Albania. Part of the deal was to slow down (Macedonian) reforms with the goal of not getting a date for (EU) negotiations in 2018… despite the fact that Zaev and Dimitrov decided to sign the embarrassing Prespa deal, (Macedonia) did not get a date and did not start negotiations in 2018! Now Macedonia is not getting a date this June and will not start negotiations in 2019“.
Whether or not this was the plan from the beginning, as Nikoloski alleges, it was picked up on recently when the recently elected Macedonian president, SDSM’s Stevo Pendarovski, briefly made waves by suggesting that Macedonia should not be coupled up with Albania in the long and probably fruitless quest to join the European Union. 

Pendarovski, a longtime US asset who knows on which side his bread is buttered, quickly changed his mind when Albanian politicians reminded him that he had only been elected because of them. Although hitching Macedonian wagons to the dead horse that is Albania had not previously been a precondition, Pendarovski quickly walked his idea back, and now the secret plan Nikoloski alluded to is the reality.
To add insult to injury, the head capo of this farcical film, Edi Rama, announced that the Macedonian stooge statesman is again in his good graces during an appearance in the beleaguered ethnic Macedonian enclave of Pustec, in Mala Prespa. Ironically enough, it was on a campaign stop for the controversial upcoming elections. Rama “praised” Pendarovski, and “contrasted him to his political opponent, the Albanian President Ilir Meta.”
According to the pro-VMRO-DPMNE newspaper (more like a mouthpiece) Republika, now that Pendarovski has gone back to the single-track model for EU accession, Rama is even referring to him as “my good friend.” This smacks of the kind of lines uttered in mob films and Macedonia is now clearly under the complete control of Albania- which is apparently how the West likes it.
As the protests continue in Tirana however and as the Zaev government continues to disappoint Macedonians, one has to wonder what will happen if the ‘experiment’ goes wrong. If Rama is toppled before delivering the goods, or if something goes wrong with the Prespa Agreement after Greece holds elections in July- which will likely see the political demise of Zaev’s own “good friend,” the leftist PM Alexis Tsipras- the whole carefully constructed house of cards could still come crashing down.


The EU / US combination has blatant double standards - it's dismantled Macedonian identity, imposed name change, in order to lower enough Greek and Bulgarian opposition to Macedonia inorder to sneak Macedonia into NATO for US strategic needs. Both Greece and Bulgaria are EU and NATO members and have used their power to veto Macedonia's membership of both as powerful leverage. More on the Prespa Agreement and the Goodneighbourly Agreement with Bulgaria at this link and link.

But the EU/US combo has at the same time endorsed Edi Rama the Prime Minister in Albania & Ali Ahmeti ex Albanian terrorist turned political kingmaker in Macedonia who venerate notorious WW2 Albanian Nazi collaborators Midhat Frasheri and Xhem Hasa Gostivari and the fascist ideology that these two historical figures espoused. 

Moreover, Rama and Ahmeti are corrupt and no better than any other Balkan leader for that matter. But they serve a purpose- and morality, democracy have nothing to do with it ! It's pure strategic self interest for the US. Nothing more. 

FEDERALISING ALBANIA - an idea whose time has come? 

In 2017 I broached the idea of Federalising Albania: granting the large Greek minority in the south it's own "republic" & giving ethnic Macedonians, Montenegrins, Aromanians (Vlachs) etc equal rights. Maybe that could help Albania get into EU quicker & tackle its endemic corruption problem? Food for thought!
please donate at this link