Counter spin: Gruevski’s parade represents disrespect to the system

From a system against natural disasters to “organizing help” on-site. Photo: Google; Collage: Truthmeter

Две работи се неспорни. Во РМ законски и во пракса постои СИСТЕМ за справување со кризи со институции во кои работат над 600 луѓе. Парадирањето и командите на Груевски врз институциите од тој СИСТЕМ, како и самата состојба на терен, покажуваат дека системот не е до крај функционален, за што пак, одговорност има и самиот Груевски, кој како претседател на влада во десетгодишен период имал обврска да се грижи и за оваа работа



Two things are undisputed. In the Republic of Macedonia there is legal and practical crisis management SYSTEM implemented by institutions with more than 600 employees. Gruevski’s parade and commands given to the institutions from that SYSTEM, as well as the on-site situation itself, show that the system is not completely functional, for which Gruevski himself is responsible, who as a Prime Minister for ten years has had the obligation to take care of this, among other things


Author: Teofil Blazhevski


A day after the disaster that struck Skopje and resulted with more than 20 casualties, Nikola Gruevski, as a president of VMRO-DPMNE, made several truth-spins on-site and we are going to present the following ones:


(1) So people, this is it, you are in a very difficult situation and we are all trying hard to help, we simply have to stay strong now. Today, the government held a session and made decisions to help. But, we cannot help urgently, in an instant. Even for an urgent assistance we need time, organization, urgent evaluations have to be made etc.

(2) Have you contacted the construction companies? (A question for the director of the Agency for State Roads) …No, the highway isn’t the most important, we’ll deal with it later, it’s not a priority right now…, mechanization for cleaning the yards, the military will arrive but they only have ordinary tools… we need construction companies with mechanization to deal with the debris, whachamacallit…

(3) Gruevski: Hello Shaban (Shaban Saliu, director of the Protection and Rescue Directorate)…

Saliu: Hello President, so I have secured around 23 trucks, around 15 excavators, big ones….

Gruevski: Shaban, are they allocated? Have they received precise commands where to go and what to do? Shaban, have they received precise priorities where to be headed?

Saliu: No, we don’t have precise priorities, and they are already headed there.

Gruevski: (Talking to Nikola Todorov – vice Prime Minister, in the presence of Emil Dimitriev – Prime Minister) Organize a government session, because it’s no good if he has organized mechanization without precise priorities… OK Shaban, the government will have a session at 9 o’clock… And one more thing Shaban, do you mobilize people via the Protection and Rescue Directorate… OK Shaban, how many people will you have mobilized tomorrow morning?

Saliu: Tomorrow morning we’ll have at least 120-130, with pumps and everything.

Gruevski: Can you mobilize more?

Saliu: Yes, yes, yes, we can.

Gruevski: (snickers) So if you can mobilize more, do so… You’ve told 150 to Nino.

Saliu: I can, I can, I can.

Gruevski: So Shaban, make them at least 150, and if you can more, make them more, that’s a first. Second, it’s highly important to give them tools and precise instructions, precise commands what to do and where.

Saliu: At what places, somebody from there to direct us…

[Source: Канал 5 – News, Date: 07 August 2016]


Counterspin: With only one de-spin, we are going to unmask all of these truth-spins made in front of the cameras by Nikola Gruevski, who has had his “one man show” in the late afternoon and evening of 7 August 2016, after the tragedy that occurred the night of August 6 in Skopje’s settlements, which resulted with 21 casualty.

Gruevski headed there after he and the Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev interrupted their summer vacations – the first returned from Turkey, the latter from Montenegro. In the presence of Dimitriev, the vice Prime Minister Nikola Todorov, the Minister of Interior Mitko Chavkov, the Mayors of Skopje and Gazi Baba, directors of agencies and public enterprises, Gruevski, as one web site wrote, acted as Commander in Chief, Prime Minister and President, and that opinion is shared by other journalists and newsrooms in their articles titled as Only the responsibility for the consequences from the flood is separated from the state, Political marketing instead of responsibility, or I came, I saw, I ordered and I took pictures, whereas the wider public expressed the dissatisfaction as well.

Kontraspin - foto Vistinomer



In order to explain Nikola Gruevski’s spin, first we are going to briefly introduce you with the crisis management in the Republic of Macedonia. Namely, this country has crisis management SYSTEM that relies on two key institutions with more than 600 employees.

Two laws, based on constitutional obligations, are key laws. One is the Law on Crisis Management and the other is the Law on Protection and Rescue. On the grounds of these two laws, in 2005, first the Protection and Rescue Directorate (PRD) was formed, followed by the Crisis Management Center (CMC), formed a couple of months later.

These laws and institutions were supposed to modernize and develop the former system for crisis, protection and rescue that was based on the Territorial defense and the Civil protection, which were under the wing of the Ministry of Defense in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and all other competent ministries, directorates, agencies etc.

Simpler explanation of these two institutions and the competences determined by law would be that the CMC is rather more important body and has the task to evaluate, plan and manage the crisis situation, whereas the PRD is the main operative body which ought to have the mechanization, material reserves, the fast response teams, but also it has to plan, evaluate and deal with crisis situation in a given moment.

These two institutions work according to laws and bylaws. Based on the Law on Crisis Management, the CMC has crisis management committee, plus Main headquarters, whereas PRD’s tasks are vertically divided by sectors and it is supposed to be in charge of planning, evaluations, resources, including the people that should receive orders from the Main headquarters.



Other two basic documents, besides the legal ones, are the Evaluation of jeopardy of the Republic of Macedonia from natural and other disasters and the National strategy for protection and rescue.

In the Evaluation, which by the way is a document from 2007, authored 9 years ago (!), the flood section on page 17 states:

…On the grounds of the aforementioned, it can be concluded that the taken infrastructural measures and activities regarding the flood protection are insufficient and do not secure efficient protection from floods which occur every year on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. In RM there is no fully built system for protection and rescue from floods (complete regulation of watercourses and rivers… completely functional flood control channels, plans for protection and rescue from floods in all areas…).

The water supply facilities in the country are insufficiently and inappropriately maintained, and this represents a huge impediment to the efficiency… to protection and rescue from floods.

The transformation of the public water supply enterprises worsened the already poor condition of the water drainage systems… The systems are not functional, meaning that even during drizzle the rainwater overflows and causes flood.

The decentralization of the authorities and the functioning of the local self-government regarding the competences for managing the water supply resources represent additional problem…. (Evaluation…. page 17)

Probably based on the findings from this evaluation, the National strategy for protection and rescue for the period between 2014 and 2018, adopted by the Parliament of RM, states the following priorities regarding the taking and the improvement of the protection measures:

Protection and rescue from floods

This measure shall especially organize and prepare:

– protection and rescue from floods and natural watercourses and

– protection and rescue from floods caused by demolished dams and artificial lakes

The same document, in the section Establishing strategic medium-term objectives, at the beginning, in the item titled as Status of protection and rescue, states:

The investing in the protection and rescue in the past period has been below the required needs, and because of that the system for protection and rescue is unable to follow the development and modernizing trend. This situation has had negative effect on the implementation of the measures and activities for prevention from natural hazards and other disasters and for efficient dealing with the consequences caused by natural hazards and other disasters.

The Strategy precisely states the ORGANIZING OF ACTIONS, ACTIVITIES AND HANDLING PROCEDURES FROM PREVENTIVE AND OPERATIVE NATURE which are implemented by the bodies and institutions, whereupon in the flood section it is clearly determined who is the activity-carrier and which are the institutions and bodies for cooperation:

Protection and rescue from floods

The Protection and Rescue Directorate as a carrier in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Crisis Management Center, Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia, the National Hydrometeorological Service, units of local self-government, trading companies, public enterprises, facilities and services.



Besides the basic laws and strategic documents, there are dozens bylaws, provisions, rulings, guides, internal acts such as the standard-operative procedures for different types of activities and handling procedures during disasters and rescue actions…

They precisely regulate who is in charge and who gathers the fast response teams, (the conversation between Gruevski and Saliu), but also the amount of the material and food reserves that are must-have for the institutions, in this case the PRD and not the Red Cross, whose representatives informed Gruevski over the phone, while he was in front of the cameras, about the amount of meals they can prepare and the ingredients they will use. Here’s what’s stated in one such bylaw called Provision of the type and size of material resources for protection and rescue:

Article 2

Type of the required resources needed as reserves of material resources for the affected population:

– viands (cereal, potatoes, beans, salt, sugar, cooking oil, animal source food, milk, dairy products),

– utensils (plate, knife, fork),

– drugs and medical operating supplies,

– sanitation products (hygiene and sanitation packages),

– resources for temporary stay and accommodation (tents, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows) and

– water cans (jerrycans and other smaller cans).


Article 3

The allocation of resources stated in Article 2 from this provision shall be done per person and family in quantity or size as following:

– viands no less than 2100 kcal per person,

– one utensil set per person,

– one personal hygiene pack for a month,

– one tent for accommodating 4-12 persons per one family,

– one blanket, sleeping bag and pillow per person,

– drugs in accordance with the needs determined by health service,

– one jerrycan per family and

– oil derivatives according to previous evaluation of needs.


Article 4

The reserves of resources from the Article 2 from this provision are secured for 5000 people for 30 days after the disaster has struck.

As we can see from the document adopted in 2006 from the previous government, not the one of Gruevski, the state has adopted Provision which precisely states the standards and needs of material reserves starting from the number of calories to the number of 5000 persons for 30 days, or approximately 450 thousand meals as permanent reserve! It remains unclear why the Red Cross or the PRD or other institution or body hasn’t fulfilled this obligation projected by a bylaw.



However, as we can see not only from this document, but also from the other aforementioned ones, two things are completely clear. The Republic of Macedonia has crisis management SYSTEM that relies on two key institutions with more than 600 employees. Gruevski’s parade and commands given to the institutions from that SYSTEM, as well as the on-site situation itself, show that the system is not completely functional, for which Gruevski himself is responsible, who as a ten-year Prime Minister has had the obligation to take care of this too. Moreover, we do not deny the evaluations and comments given by the public regarding the tawdry political marketing in moments of national tragedy.

So, on the grounds of the aforementioned, we can verify that Gruevski’s statements given on 7 August 2016 while being in the crisis area, quoted at the beginning of this article, are spins i.e. truth-spins because, neither most of what he says is correct, nor he is in the position to make expert evaluation without prior complete observation and evaluation of the situation done by the institutions. What’s more, neither the Constitution nor the laws allow him to give such commands to the institutions or the bodies managing those institutions (Shaban Saliu, Red Cross, Director of the General Staff of ARM, etc.).


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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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