Counterspin: Only Gruevski can tell where he pulled out the numbers about the donations to the civil sector from?

 

When justifying the fight against the “sorosoids”, Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE oftentimes have repeated the same untruth – that more than 90 percent of the civil society organizations have been financed by Soros which have had a monopoly which then started working against them…

 

Author: Teofil Blazhevski

 

On 11 February 2017, VMRO-DPMNE’s leader Nikola Gruevski gave the following statement, among other things, which we consider as truth spinning or a spin:

Spin: The main problem is that there hadn’t been any other nongovernmental organizations in our country in the near past. Practically, the impression is that 90 – 95 percent of the nongovernmental organizations are financed by Soros, but also in many instances by other countries which have been influenced by him to co-finance, especially if the ruling parties are close to him, and the state funds of those countries, the tax payers of those countries, part of that money, is put in a pile alongside with his money and that money is used for ideological, political and party objectives, as it has been done in the Republic of Macedonia… NGOs financed by Soros use the monopoly and recruit cadres that are later indoctrinated in order to be abused for the NGOs’ objective

[Source: ТВ НОВА/интервју (од 60-64 мин.), Date: 11 February 2017]

Kontraspin - foto Vistinomer

Counterspin: In his first public appearance after he failed to form the government as a mandatary, Nikola Gruevski, in his lengthy interview for Nova TV station, talked about the reasons for, what he and his party named, the process of desorosoization, and while doing so, he gave false data which were abused for a war against a segment of the nongovernmental sector.

While introducing the public to the topic, Gruevski came up with claims that the American billionaire George Soros has been operating in many countries politically, and that he has done exactly that in Macedonia, contexting it with fights against him and VMRO-DPMNE’s policies. Furthermore, Gruevski spent some time talking about the civil society organizations in Macedonia, emphasizing that 90 to 95 percent of them are financed by Soros, and from other countries as well… and because of that they have a monopoly! These data have nothing to do with the reality and people from the NGO sector prove that, and the correct data can be found in journalistic or scientific and publicist-style research.

 

“SOROS’ NGOS” – AROUND 5% MONEY FROM THE SECTOR

About a month ago in the Top Theme on Your Side show, which saw the debate about the “desorosoization”, invited the directors of probably the biggest nongovernmental organizations in Macedonia as guests, that call themselves roof organizations and that have been operating for more than 20 years. They were of Aleksandar Krzhalovski from the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) and Fani Karanfilova Panovska, executive director of the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia (FOSM) or the so called “Soros’ organization”.

Krzhalovski from MCIC gave numbers twice in the show, which were later consulted with other sources and appear to be rather accurate. The first time (around the 11th minute), Krzhalovski said that it is true that nearly 70 percent of the money in all of the nongovernmental organizations in Macedonia come from foreign funds, countries and donors, whereas the money from FOSM, alongside with the money that the government separates from the budget to finance civil society organizations are around 5 – 10 percent of that annually.

Later in the show, Krzhalovski was even more precise:

The financing of the civil society sector is around 80 – 90 million euro annually and this goes to all the organizations in Macedonia combined, nearly 4500 organizations that receive some kind of assets and it is correct that the biggest revenue has been reported by the Foundation Open Society, approximately 5 – 6 million USD, which is pretty much the amount of the state financing. So, along with the assets from the budget and from Soros… (F.K. Panovska intercepts and says that “all of our money is not for nongovernmental organizations, to which Krzhalovski agrees). So both sides roughly agree to 10 percent of aforementioned

Immediately afterwards, Krzhalovski explains that the real revenue is around 50 to 60 million EUR regarding the entire civil society sector annually, because the first 80 – 90 he mentioned are the total revenue that enters Macedonia, which is later divided to civil society organizations.

Previously, Fani Karanfilova Panovska explained that on average, the civil society sector receives less than half of the annual revenue, whereas the other part goes to various state institutions (around 31st minute):

Out of one average budget of 5.8 million USD annually, less than two million USD are assets that we have been investing – I am talking on average – in civil society organizations. The difference of 5.8 million USD is due to projects and cooperation with state institutions, no matter if they are educational, health care institutions, municipalities etc. Hence, the thesis that FOSM finances massively or 99 percent of the civil society sector is absolutely incorrect, especially if you take into account the budget that the government uses to finance the civil society sector. According to the projections for 2017, it will surpass 6 million EUR.

Krzhalovski and Karanfilova Panovska know the numbers best because they have been working in the civil society sector for decades and there is no reason not to be trusted, and they weren’t disproven afterwards.

 

THE MEDIA ARE FAR FROM THE SPINNERS’ NUMBERS TOO

The spin regarding this topic imposed by Gruevski and his officials, but also by other pro-government media and especially by the new “anti-Soros” informal association SOS, oftentimes uses the thesis that huge amounts of money are invested in the media too, which afterward inform about Gruevski, VMRO-DPMNE and similar things in negative manner.

According to Telma’s research published in the aforementioned show (around 22nd minute), these are the following assets given by foreign sources and invested in the media from 2011 to 2016:

  • FOSM – 1.6 million USD
  • USAID – 1.100.000 USD
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands – 1.000.000 EUR

The researcher’s comment was that the amount of government’s money for the same period, spent on various grounds, is multiple times higher.

The check of this assertion shows that the abovementioned is correct. For instance, if you take a look at the annual budget investments only for the needs of the Macedonian Radio Television (MRT), you will notice that it is a matter of 4.5 million EUR on average. Of course, great deal of this amount goes to financing films, music shows and documentaries, the coverage of the festivals on all languages, maintenance and development of the technological process, digitalization etc., but fact is that the government invests millions in MRT, although the main financing ought to be through the broadcasting fee and the advertisements. 4.6 million EUR are projected for MRT for 2017.

Besides, until a year ago, via the public policies advertising system or in other non-transparent manner (through the obligation for co-financing the Macedonian motion pictures or music production of TV stations), millions of euros have been spent, and the government was transparent and announced the numbers for the period 2012 – 2013 and part of 2014 only once. Regarding this period, the government has spent 18 million EUR, directly or indirectly. Advertisements of public enterprises or municipalities aired by all media that are known as pro-government in the public remain and still are grey zone.

***

Because of the stated arguments, it is clear that the part from Gruevski’s statement related to the claim that 90 – 95 percent of the civil society organizations are financed by money of Soros or other countries and funds he has influence in, as well as that it is a matter of a monopoly that later indoctrinates, is undoubtedly truth spinning or a SPIN.

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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