This week that is behind us on the public stage brought several key and concrete indicators of where the Macedonian ship of state is sailing and who is trying to steer it. I say “trying”, because no one really governs with the aim of bringing Macedonia into the EU. However, the main observation is that our politicians, through various forms of fraud and games, have brought the ship (the country of Macedonia) into the gray zone. That is, they deliberately did not make “a gazebo neither in heaven nor on earth”.

Our devious intriguers, posing as politicians, managed to turn the movie script into a reality. That is, to “write” us out of the West, and not to “write” us in the East. What exactly suits the East is to have a NATO member country (for the West), that actually does favors for the East, to the detriment of the West. Only by being in such a limbo state can Macedonia benefit Moscow the most. Only in a gray zone like this can Moscow create its own hybrid policies and regimes that will keep the region unstable. This means that instability will radiate from every aspect, especially when it comes to security. What more could Moscow want more than a gray area full of hatred and undefined political nomenclature; an easily bribed political “elite” and even more easily manipulated citizens who will hate each other and spread that hatred in the region. In the long term, it will make the EU unstable in its security space and make the USA, NATO and the EU distrustful of Macedonia.

This betrayal of our partners in the EU, NATO and our strategic partner the USA, came directly from the Ottomans. Very interesting, but not so much for those who know the Macedonian political scene in depth. It is interesting to ask ourselves: “Why did Osmani, as chairman of the OSCE (Osmani pointed out repeatedly that he, not Macedonia, is the chairman of the OSCE) invite Lavrov to come to the OSCE summit in Skopje”? The justification that it was impossible not to invite Russia as the founder of the OSCE is nothing more than a politician’s deception towards the citizens and especially towards our partners from the EU. In defense of the principles of the OSCE, that Osmani claims to uphold, political pragma tells us that the basic question that Osmani, should have asked before the international public is: “Why did Russia, as the founder of the OSCE, violate every principle of European security with its aggression against Ukraine”? And that’s all about why Osmani invited Lavrov and even asked our neighbors to allow him free access through their airspace. The excuse that he did it “in agreement” with our strategic partner turned out to be classic misinformation because both Blinken and Borrell didn’t leave until the moment Lavrov arrived. The timing of their departure sent a clear message to Lavrov, to all OSCE members, but the biggest message went to our politicians, especially to Osmani. Osmani tried to do justice with this as Chairman of the OSCE after various press conferences. However, unfortunately Macedonia will be hard put to justify itself. It is interesting that in connection with the arrival of Lavrov, Kovacevski also sought excuses and Mickoski decided to remain silent. Some defend themselves in front of the people, so to speak, while others do not interfere in the work, in order to be loyal to their bosses. No matter how you look at it, all three “sides” and SDS – DUI and VMRO-DPMNE have completed their roles- that which is also held in Moscow, Belgrade and Budapest. Not only was this behavior disloyal, it was rude to all of us, to our partners from the EU, NATO and the USA, but worst of all to our homeland, Macedonia.

So, “Why did Lavrov come”? He certainly did not come to support Macedonia, a NATO member applying for EU membership. It is quite simple. Russia doesn’t care about Macedonia at all, except as a springboard for its hybrid war against the EU and the USA. Lavrov came to implement Russia’s PR plan, which is very prosaic. First of all, Macedonia as a NATO member country, was most outrageously abused by our politicians (unfortunately for us), and Russia was able to brake through the diplomatic isolation that had been established for almost two years by the EU and the USA. This allowed Lavrov to appear at the highest diplomatic level in Skopje and use it for a widely seen propaganda video of self-promotion. Namely, during the performance of the OSCE summit at its highest level, Lavrov poured on poison, slanders and insults on the EU, the USA and NATO, portraying Russia as victim of God in order to justify the aggression against Ukraine. At another press conference, Lavrov again continued to pour his poison, repeating the same themes, but this time attempting to present Russia as a protector of international law and of the small states saying that the “bad” EU, USA and NATO humiliates and disenfranchises them by influencing the destruction of their identity, sovereignty and national honor. Moscow’s propaganda steamroller is clear and visible on the public stage. At the same time, Lavrov deliberately forgot to note that Russia is involved not only in the war with Ukraine, where according to all international laws and parameters it is the aggressor, but also that it waged a war with Georgia, and is also involved in Armenia.

Then there is Maria Zakharova, Lavrov’s PR official, who just ten days ago attacked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for provoking military actions and instability in the Balkans during Stoltenberg’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that is not a member of NATO. It was Zakharova who claimed before coming to Skopje that there were “many” requests for a meeting with Lavrov on the sidelines of the summit from which Moscow would not run away. In the end, we saw that the “many” were reduced to the “few,” namely Hungary and Armenia. For Armenia, a meeting is clear and understandable to me. Those poor people have a big regional problem, squeezed from all sides, they have no choice but to try and achieve balance in the extreme. It is not clear to me about Hungary. But, then again, it is still clear to me. Hungary, as a NATO and EU member state, set a precedent beyond other EU states and the common foreign and security policy of the Union. Here we can list many reasons why Hungary acted like they did. However we will not deal with the issues of Hungary’s role in our internal Macedonian and party issues in VMRO-DPMNE in this column. It is important to note that neither Blinken (official Washington), nor Borrell (official Brussels), nor any of the EU or NATO countries even met Lavrov casually. They all avoided any meeting with him. It is safe to say that the environment at the OSCE summit was polarized and unpleasant. Especially for Macedonia, due to the fact that Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States canceled their presence at the highest level, because of Lavrov’s invitation, and rightly so. As a reminder, we are talking about EU member states on which our path to the EU depends. But I don’t worry too much. Our Doctor, the political “prodigy” Bujar Osmani, surely has a strategy prepared. This discomfort, which was continuously floating in the air, in addition to Osmani’s attempt at justifying press conferences, could not be reduced even by the statements of the high-ranking guests repeatedly saying that the summit was “well organized.”

Thanks to the frustrated and infantile Osmani (we will debate the reasons on another occasion) and the inactivity and confusion of Kovachevski (and we can debate this “sloppiness”, but not now), and the expected silence of the hypocrite Mickoski (which we don’t need to explain, because it is well known, and was visible from the bilateral meetings at the summit). Lavrov, in the most rude, vulgar and direct way managed to achieve his PR plan in the end. One could feel that Lavrov was inciting a war in the Balkans, both between the Balkan peoples and between the states. He even confirmed Volodymyr Zelenski’s statement that Russia is preparing a war in the Balkans (Bosnia, Kosovo or Macedonia). In that context, Lavrov poured out a strong poison, while persistently presenting Russia as the innocent protector of international law and a victim in international relations, which is forced to defend itself from NATO and the EU. Lavrov even brought into question the very survival of the OSCE, of which Russia is a founder. Consequently, we need to return to the initial lie that Osmani used to invite Russia in the first place. In his speech for PR purposes, Lavrov speaking for Russia as a founder specifically attacked the OSCE for being an instrument of EU and NATO policies and questioned the reason and survival of this international organization for security and cooperation. Russia’s most visible attack was to question the role the OSCE and to so reduce it to the point that it is merely an organization for solving personnel issues. Russia succeeded in doing so by not voting on the organization’s budget for the next year. This was done in order to destroy the organization or in some way place it under the control and in the interest of Russia. In the context of propaganda, Lavrov even directly and most vulgarly insulted Blinken, Borel and others. All this done on Macedonian soil, and with Macedonian permission. So much for Russia’s constructive role in the OSCE as a founder as well as the visible unity of the EU and NATO (with minor exceptions) in relation to Russia’s behavior on the international stage. The attempt at fraudulent behavior and political games played by the Ottomans and the government of Macedonia in two days thanks to Lavrov and his behavior fell into the water, and it was discovered that “the king is naked.” Not that Lavrov is concerned about the fact that someone remained naked in front of our partners from the EU and NATO, but he can be satisfied with the successful PR campaign. Even more with the reduction of Macedonia as a NATO member state in the gray zone under the influence of Russia.

From this experience now after the OSCE summit in Skopje, is it clear why as an intra-party faction we warned a long time ago that the SDS also does not want us to be in the EU and that Mickoski is just a good excuse with his anti-EU and anti-USA policies hidden behind outdated national romanticism, and that the constitutional amendments are just an excuse for Macedonia not to continue towards the EU and to be a gray zone-semi-state, Transnistria 2.0. We also warned, some time ago, that Russia wanted to place a wedge in NATO’s southern flank. It becomes even more clear that there is a group in DUI that does not want Macedonia to be part of the EU. This is already a problem for the EU itself and for our strategic partner the USA. It is also concerning as to what their reaction will be and what their position towards us as a country might look like in the future. Even more so when it comes to our political fraudsters and their games.

The second key event of the many events that took place last week, which deserves attention in this column, is the meeting of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, James O’Brien with Mickoski. Mickoski, after being invited to the US embassy, went to meet with Mr. O’Brien. However, he did not go to offer a solution, but to do PR. This with the PR seems to me somewhat similar to the previously mentioned PR. After all, we can note that it is from the same school of political-manipulative and propaganda. Predictably, Mickoski posted pictures with his own comment on the FB profile, to which the US Embassy replied and issued a statement with an opposite position regarding the content of the conversations. After Mickoski, through his bots, tried to show on social networks that he is not irrelevant and isolated but instead a key factor in Macedonia, O’Brien granted an unusual interview for MTV. (We, as an internal party faction, expressed our official position regarding these messages to Mickoski and his clientelist leadership). However, the main point of O’Brien’s interview is the call to all of us citizens to think carefully about voting in the elections. An interesting and unusual way of communicating with citizens and pointing out Mickoski’s wrong and disastrous policies towards the party and Macedonia. O’Brien made an appeal and alluded to our civil democratic capacity to clearly show whether we are for EU membership or we are for retrograde policies through the dark Balkan alleys are even more significant.

However, while it is not the first time that Mickoski has had different interpretations of what he discussed with the international representatives and embassies in Macedonia, it is the first time that we have had such direct messages from high representatives of our strategic partner. Not only all our fellow party members should think about this, but the citizens should think even more.

Mickoski’s main argument that he protects the national identity of Macedonians is a stupid argument. The survival of the Macedonian people, their Macedonian identity and culture is guaranteed within the EU. We can give endless arguments for that, but for all those who refer to and complain about Yugoslavia, I have one question: “Did the Macedonian identity experience its state-building, linguistic, cultural and church definite formation in the Yugoslav community after the Second World War”? The answer is undoubtedly YES. In that geopolitical context and under the protection of all the peoples of Yugoslavia at the time, the Macedonian identity was protected on the international stage, which even then was contested by some. Today, for Macedonians, the replacement for the Yugoslav state is the EU. That is how we should look at the Union. Within this framework, the Macedonian identity will be completely protected from any nationalist, negative outburst against the Macedonian people and the Macedonian state. It is a principle of the EU, and under that principle, we can endlessly talk about the advantages that we will have as Macedonian people in the promotion of the Macedonian identity among and among our compatriots in the neighborhood, in the EU and in the world. Thus, this fraudulent and political game of Mickoski that by not entering the EU, Macedonia will protect the Macedonian identity is just another of the most mundane and lucratively motivated scams. The public claim that the Macedonian people, the Macedonian nation, all Macedonian citizens will support his disastrous policies in the next elections is just a loser’s political game that VMRO-DPMNE will introduce into a repeated political defeat after Mickoski has usurped the party for his own lucrative purposes. But if we fall for fraud and political games, the responsibility for the damage caused by the loss of the Macedonian identity, which Mickoski is defending, and the fact that we will be a country in a gray zone, will be borne by us as citizens, and above all by us Macedonians as the pivot of the Macedonian statehood. We Macedonians have the greatest responsibility not to fall for the frauds and political games of false patriots. Let’s resist these attempts to be played with.

The events of last week, no matter how difficult, numerous and as confusing as they were, represent a clear, correct picture and the consistent attitude and path of the intra-party faction for the democratization and revitalization of VMRO-DPMNE. Unfortunately, in the hybrid quasi-Macedonian and quasi-political quasi-scene in which, through no fault of our own, has many Macedonian citizens running in circles, chasing their tails, while many are just fake.

Yet, a logical conclusion can be drawn. Someone tried to “put it on Roger Rabbit” and apparently it worked. And Roger Rabbit? Roger the rabbit is Macedonia – this is so that there is no speculation about what I want to say and help you to not succumb to the fraud and political games. Whether they will get away with it, whether they “will go all the way,” depends only on us, as Macedonian citizens. On this point, Secretary O’Brien could not have been clearer.


Oliver Andonov

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