Ivanka Vasilevska’s interview for a Serbian news portal is full of spin and falsehoods

Ivanka Vasilevska, a member of VMRO-DPMNE’s Executive Committee and a professor at the Law faculty in Skopje, attracted the attention these days with an interview she gave for the Serbian news portal “Stanje Stvari” provoking fierce reactions from the general public

 

Ivanka Vasilevska, a member of VMRO-DPMNE’s Executive Committee and a professor at the Law faculty in Skopje, attracted the attention these days with an interview she gave for the Serbian news portal “Stanje Stvari” provoking fierce reactions from the general public

 

Written by: Olivera Vojnovska

 

In this voluminous interview that is full of manipulations, spin, and falsehoods, Vasilevska talks about several subjects among which are the happenings at the Parliament on the 27th of April 2017, the Prespa Agreement, the potential federalization of Macedonia and some sort of future alliance with Serbia including Macedonia’s Orthodox Church autocephaly.

Even from the very start, when she talked about the circumstances contributing to the change of power in Macedonia, Vasilevska stated a falsehood:

According to our Constitution, the second-ranked political party has no right to form a government. New parliamentary elections were supposed to be called for.

This claim is untrue. According to Article 90 of the Constitution defines that:

The President of the Republic of Macedonia is obliged in a period of 10 days from the Parliament’s constituency to give the mandate to the political party i.e. the parties that have a majority at the Parliament.

The Constitution isn’t mentioning either first ranked nor second ranked political party, but a candidate that will secure a majority. In this case, the then-president Gjorge Ivanov granted the mandate to VMRO-DPMNE’s party leader Nikola Gruevski, but since he wasn’t able to achieve a coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) on the 30th of January 2017, after many turnovers, finally, on the 17th of May 2017,  Ivanov gave the mandate to the future Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Regarding the events on the 27th of April 2017, Vasilevska said that these were “manipulations” and a “Hollywood scenario” that was apparently created in order for the government led by VMRO-DPMNE to be removed from power and she even tells another lie:

On that day, during the Parliament’s regular session, Zoran Zaev arrived accompanied by 15 armed personnel…

This is untrue. The whole general public saw who entered the Parliament in a violent manner and during the trial, it became known who opened the doors and allowed the protesters to enter the Parliament. It is even ridiculous when one reads that Vasilevska is wondering why the attacks were dubbed as “the bloody Thursday” and she is even wondering that “if the displeased angry mob had an intention to kill someone whether anyone of them would have come out of the Parliament alive? Who might have stopped them?”

It is a well-known fact that during this bloody incident the one who was most badly injured was the MP and party leader of the Alliance of the Albanians, Zijadin Sela, who barely survived and among the injured were other MPs among whom was also Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

In this interview, Vasilevska also talks about another dubious thesis about the Prespa Agreement and is accusing foreign diplomats of interference in the country’s internal affairs:

The Prespa Agreement was made under an ultimatum. It was presented to us as the only way for NATO membership and the start of the EU accession negotiations. It was made in circumstances that can be described as direct interference by Western diplomats into the Republic of Macedonia’s internal affairs which is contrary to the Vienna convention and the principles of diplomatic behavior for foreign embassies. The former US Ambassador Jess Baily had a leading role in this agreement, said Vasilevska.

In the same manner, Vasilevska again spoke falsehoods or is spinning the truth:

With this agreement, the Macedonian nation will be turned into an amorphous civil mass belonging to the North Macedonia state, unlike the other national minorities, which are keeping their right to having an identity.

No one with a sane mind would have accepted conditions such as these. What we see here is ethnocide and wiping out a sovereign democratic national state from the world’s geopolitical map.

It is without a doubt that the citizens are unhappy because of the change of the country’s name into Republic of North Macedonia, but it is a fact that this was the compromise that had to be done as a condition for the NATO membership and an important condition (not the only one) in order to continue to the country’s euro-integration. Regarding the identity, Vasilevska’s theses are completely untrue. Even with the Prespa Agreement the ethnic Macedonians will remain to be ethnic Macedonians while the term statehood is defined as “Macedonians – citizens of Republic of North Macedonia” and the language is “Macedonian.”

Therefore, neither ethnocide was done nor was the Macedonian nation turned into an “amorphous mass”. Also, it is not possible “all of the decisions that were made during the rule of Zoran Zaev to be undone when VMRO-DPMNE comes to power one day,” as Vasilevska promises. Because this is a matter of an international agreement and for such a decision to be made a two-thirds majority is needed at the Parliament.

Further in the interview, she falsely concludes that “unfortunately, Macedonia has no real and sincere friends among the international community” as the country during this period is joining the ranks of NATO. It’s interesting that Vasilevska is mentioning some sort of alliance with Serbia if, by her own words, we get to be forced into federalization. Why would we be “forced into federalization” remains unclear, since no one is asking that nor it is mentioned in the programs by any political party. Also, an interesting part of the interview is when she admires the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, due to his “policy of neutrality” which, according to her, has to be practiced by North Macedonia.

I admire Vuchic for his policy of neutrality. This is a true example of how one state should act when it comes to international relations. It is a pity that Macedonia didn’t adhere to Serbia’s example. For a start, we have to gain a legal authority and then to build functional institutions. We should change certain things that slow us down and then to decide how we shall proceed forward and how to preserve the regional and global interests of our nations – said Vasilevska.

These opinions have met with fierce criticism from a segment of the party’s membership. The former Minister of Education and Health, Nikola Todorov and Petar Bogojeski, one of VMRO-DPMNE’s reformers qualified her thesis as opposite of the party’s and the state’s strategic goals and have demanded that she should be removed from all of the party’s organs.

We should mention that in the interview Vasilevska also addresses the dispute with the churches stating that the project for “independent Macedonian church hasn’t been successful” and that the politicians should not interfere in this dispute. But she also said:

Personally, I find it all the same, but as long as we adhere to the Bible and the spirit of the Orthodox religion…

When she stated her opinions during the interview given for the Serbian portal which was titled as “The Serbs are our brothers, the Macedonian church project wasn’t successful”, she angered the domestic public including the people from her own party (VMRO-DPMNE). Vasilevska later issued a disclaimer where stating she didn’t give any interview, but that she had “a free conversation, an academic analysis of the situations in the Balkans” and she also said that the published version is “a complete twist over of her opinions”. She explained that the “unsuccessful Macedonian church project” stated in the title referred to Jovan Vranishkovski’s splinter church and not the established MPC-OA.

Even if this part of the disclaimer is correct, the complete interview is full of disinformation and truth twisting, both regarding the history and the interpretation of contemporary and current events. The narratives Vasilevska uses in order to illustrate her points come from wrong assumptions and untrue information leading to wrong conclusions with no basis and support in the public, because most of them were never expressed and interpreted in such a manner neither by experts nor by people close to her political party.

 

 

 

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