Counter-spin: Mickoski Manipulates with the 1990-ies Transition Period – 25 Years Ago fmr. PM Zoran Zaev Was Not a SDSM Member
Biography of the SDSM leader Zoran Zaev shows that at 21, in 1995, he wasn’t a SDSM member, but joined the party in 1996. Party’s vice president Radmila Šekerinska, on the other hand, has been a member of SDSM for many years, but during the period Mickoski mentions she didn’t held a party or state office from where she could have abused the power to get involved into corrupt scandals.
Author: Olivera Vojnovska
In a post on Facebook from 22. January, 2020, VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski reacted to SDSM leader Zoran Zaev’s address claiming that “the current VMRO-DPMNE leadership continues to talk about the annulation of the Prespa Agreement “. Mickoski spins the truth and says:
Spin: SDSM has a video that says “beware of VMRO-DPMNE 25 years ago !!!”
To be precise, 25 years ago SDSM was in power, that is the time of Radmila Šekerinska, the rise of the Zaev clan in the town of Strumica, the first criminal actions of many now at the top of the party.
25 years ago SDSM was in power and corruption was booming, Radmila was the party’s youth leader and responsible for cigarette smuggling, the first racketeering cases, perfected today, Gligorov’s assassination, protests, factories closing, inflation, poverty. It is the time of the collapse of Slavija, Centro, Železara, the robbery and the collapse of TAT. Average farming Zaev family started a cartel worth millions today. That was their time 25 years ago.
But nowadays is no different. The same criminal figures are pervading today. That is why the last remnants of transition in Macedonian politics must be defeated in these elections. 12 April is the day when this can be defeated.
[Source: Hristijan Mickoski’s Facebook profile, date: 22 January 2020]
Counter-spin: VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski replies to his political opponent, the ex-Prime Minister, Social Democrat Zoran Zaev, and distorts the thesis, deliberately shifts the period context and manipulates the public. Mickoski twists Zaev’s statement and focuses on the fact that “SDSM was in power 25 years ago.” But Zaev does not talk about who was in power 25 years ago. He talks about the damage we would suffer as a state if the Prespa Agreement were annulled – as Mickoski’s party advocates:
The annulation of the Prespa Agreement would take us back at least 25 years, would restore FYROM, a term which was our international name at the expense of the constitutional name. It will mean an automatic abolition of our membership in NATO, loss of EU prospects, loss of billions of euros in foreign investment and destruction of the future of new generations. Without the Prespa Agreement, the support of our strategic partners will surely weaken, and perhaps disappear, it will inevitably worsen political and economic relations with Greece, it will cause new blockades by Greece, new internal instability, risks of conflict on a variety of grounds, and will increase instability in the region…
Abolishing the Prespa Agreement will not be “a step backwards”, as Mickoski suggests, but a return to at least 25 years of old conflicts, divisions, ethnic tensions, poverty and international isolation.
Expressing this position, Zaev publicly called on the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE “to cease the dangerous and manipulative theses for the abolition, annulment or modification of the Prespa Agreement that jeopardize our full membership in NATO and internal and regional security.”
Now, in this address by Zaev, Mickoski does not listen to the warnings about the consequences of the abolition of the Prespa Agreement, but “hangs on” to the fact that 25 years ago the governing power belonged to the Social Democrats, and then makes a manipulative construction:
It is the time of Radmila Šekerinska, the rise of the Zaev clan in the town of Strumica, the first criminal action of many now at the top of the party…
This is a classic spin. Yes, it is true that SDSM had the ruling power at that time and the party carries the burden from the transition period. But in that period – 1995, neither Zaev nor Šekerinska were in the structures of the nomenclature of the Social Democrats, that is, they were not assigned to positions that would influence relations and developments in the state. This can be checked in their biographies, and those who remember a little further back and have followed the events of that time know this to be true.
Zaev’s biography shows that when he was 21, in 1995, he was not a member of SDSM, but joined the party in 1996. In 1997, he graduated at the Faculty of Economics in Skopje on the University “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” and immediately started working for the family-owned company “Trgoprodukt”. He made the breakthrough in politics in 2003 when he became a member of Parliament, and in 2005 he became the Mayor of Strumica. He obtained the party post in 2006 when he was elected Vice President of the Central Committee of SDSM. In 2008 he became Acting President of SDSM, and since 2013 he is the leader of the party. He became a Prime Minister after the parliamentary elections held in December 2016, and after many vicissitudes about the handover of power by VMRO-DPMNE (in April 2017 the “bloody Thursday” happened), on 31 May 2017, he was elected Prime Minister. He held this post until 3 January 2020, when Oliver Spasovski was elected as the technical prime minister.
Šekerinska, on the other hand, has been a member of SDSM for many years, but during the period Mickoski mentions, she was not in party or state office from where she could abuse the power mechanisms to get involved into scandals of corruption.
She was born in 1972 and graduated at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Skopje in 1995. During 1996 she worked as a public relations assistant at the Open Society Institute Macedonia. From 1997 to 2002 she worked as an assistant at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
She obtains her first public role in 1996, when she became a member of the City Council of Skopje, until 1998 when she was first elected as a Member of Parliament. Šekerinska, in fact, was elected as an MP four terms (1998-2002, 2006-2008, 2008-2011 and 2011-2014) when SDSM was in opposition.
She entered the executive power in 2002 and until 2006 is the deputy prime minister in charge of European integration and foreign aid coordination. Following the change of power in 2017, on 31 May, she was elected Minister of Defense.
As for the party career, she became a member of the Board of the Central Committee of SDSM in 1995 and for the next two years – until 1997 she was the president of the Social Democratic Youth, and in 1999 she was elected vice president of the Central Committee of SDSM and an international party secretary. In the period 1997-98, she was a spokesperson of SDSM. She was later elected vice-president of the party, and on 5 November 2006, she became president. She was the leader until 2008 when she resigned over the defeat in parliamentary elections.
There is no doubt that Mickoski is familiar with all of this, but it is probably more suitable for him to twist the facts, manipulate with the truth, and accuse her:
Radmila was the party’s youth leader and responsible for cigarette smuggling, the first racketeering cases, perfected today, Gligorov’s assassination, protests, factories closing, inflation, poverty. It is the time of the collapse of Slavija, Centro, Železara, the robbery and the collapse of TAT. Average farming Zaev family started a cartel worth millions today. That was their time 25 years ago.
Unlike such accusations of Zaev and Šekerinska related to the transition period, Mickoski does not even say a word about the military conflict that took place in 2001 during VMRO-DPMNE’s rule. He also makes no mention of the wiretapping scandal, crime and corruption issues from 2006 to 2016, when Nikola Gruevski headed the government and his VMRO-DPMNE. After all, in these two years as VMRO-DPMNE leader, he did not disassociate himself from Gruevski’s actions and rule.
Last but not least, Mickoski, now, before elections, is boasting the intention of annulling the Prespa Agreement, but does not reveal how will he annul an international agreement, what would the consequences be and what is the “magic” formula for the future of the country.