Who Instigates Tensions to Explode Macedonia?
Georgy KOLAROV | 20.05.2015 | OPINION

Who Instigates Tensions to Explode Macedonia?

Squeezed between Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, the self-proclaimed region of Kosovo and Bulgaria Macedonia is facing an extremely explosive situation, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaking at the 125th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Brussels. The Russian Foreign Ministry has emphasized that Western organizers of extreme situations are trying to push Macedonia into the abyss of color revolutions. «I cannot judge with a final definition, but objectively it turns out that these events in Macedonia are developing on the backdrop of the Macedonian authorities’ refusal to join in the sanction policy against Russia, as well as on the backdrop of its active support that Skopje showed in regard to the planned construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which many in Brussels and those overseas are against», Lavrov said on May 15 during a joint press conference with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade.

On May 17, anti-government protests were organized in the Macedonian capital Skopje by Zoran Zaev, the political leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and the leader of opposition in the Republic of Macedonia. The protesters demanded the resignation of long-serving Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. After the massive protests representatives of the opposition and its supporters remained all night in tents which were set up in front of the government building in Skopje. The current President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Sergey Stanishev, spoke to protesters. As the head of Bulgarian government he was strongly opposed the idea of South Stream going through the territory of Bulgaria. Stanishev has joined Zaev to prevent Turkish Stream going across Macedonia. It is widely believed that Zaev gets money from George Soros, a Hungarian born American business magnate. The opposition – staged Macedonian Maidan got together the representatives of all minorities, including Albanians. 

The other day the Macedonian capital saw mass anti-Maidan demonstrations to support Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO – DPMNE). Gruevsky said he would not leave if such a move did not have the support of Macedonian people. According to him, he had no plans to make concessions or resign. 

It all started in Kumanovo. An armed group battling Macedonian police over the weekend (May 8-9) aimed to destabilize the country by attacking state buildings and public areas. The attacks left 8 policemen dead and 37 seriously wounded. It’s easy enough to destabilize the situation in the areas along the planned gas pipeline route going across Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. In 1987 I predicted that sooner or later Skopje would turn into a European Beirut with front line stretching along the river of Vardar to divide the city into the Bulgarian and Albanian parts. 

Krasimir Karakachanov is the leader of IMRO – Bulgarian National Movement or IMRO – BNM, a nationalist political party in Bulgaria that claims to be the successor to the historic Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, and the co-spokesman for the electoral bloc Patriotic Front electoral alliance. According to him, the events in Kumanovo could have taken place three days, two months or three months ago. And it could be repeated in three days. The action to undermine the pipeline project took place at the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia. Potential threats exist in the Eastern Rhodopes, the mountain range located in the north-eastern part of Greece and predominantly populated by Turks, and the Western Rhodopes mainly populated by Pomaks, the Bulgarian Muslims. Tensions may also exacerbate in the European part of Turkey where ultra-left terrorist groups operate (Devrimci (Dev) Sol, Devrimci Yol, and Devrimci Genc etc).

Washington has been using the Albanian factor as an instrument to destabilize the Balkans since George Tenet, an Albanian by origin, was appointed the head of Central Intelligence Agency (1997 – 2004). 

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The contemporary Macedonia (officially the Republic of Macedonia, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia from which it declared independence in 1991. The country was an ancient kingdom on the northern periphery of Classical Greece and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Today it is divided between Greece (Aegean Macedonia), Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia) and Vardar Macedonia (the Republic of Macedonia). With the population of over two million Macedonia is a country of many ethnic groups. The Macedonians (Slavs) account for 64% of population (Bulgarians believe them to be compatriots). The ethnic composition also comprises Turks, Romani, Bosnians, Aromanians, Meglon-Romanians (the last two speak Romance languages). Every fourth Macedonia is of Albanian origin. As the largest minority group Albanians are used by outside forces as a factor of internal destabilization. The first serious fighting in Kumanovo took place in 2001. It an armed conflict began when the ethnic militant group called the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) began attacking the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia at the beginning of February 2001. It ended with the Ohrid Agreement. The Albania minority got broad autonomy. The Ohrid settlement was reached under the auspices of the West. As a result, the conflict was frozen. Now the situation got exacerbated again to make the divisions come into the open. 

On should realize that the conflict may entail grave implications. The Ohrid Agreement actually made the country divided into two parts – the Macedonians of Bulgarian descent (in the south-east) and Albanian minority in the north-west. The government based in Skopje has little influence on the life in the Albanian part of the country. People speak Albanian language there with Albanian flags and mosques omnipresent. Emissaries of Muslim Brothers and such foundations as al Waqf al Islami and Irshad have settled down in Chair, a Skopje district. The Macedonian police and special services are not able to control this part of the city. Over 50% of Macedonian jihadists that have joined the Islamic State come from the Muslim community of Chair. Today they are returning to Macedonia. The neighbors of the country host terrorist organizations. The Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac operates in Serbia. It is an Albanian separatist militant insurgent group fighting for independence of three municipalities: Presevo, Bujanovic and Medveda, the home to most of the Albanians in south Serbia, adjacent to Kosovo. The National Liberation Army is based in Macedonia. It is logical to expect that the provocations to hamper the implementation of South Stream project will continue. The Kumanovo events may be the beginning of large-scale destabilization process. 

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