Levica Snatched Up Kremlin’s Megaphone
In a period when the war in Ukraine was gaining momentum, a delegation from Levica went to the parade in Moscow and met with the leader of the Communist Party of Russia. This year, a delegation from Levica, led by Dimitar Apasiev, bowed at the grave of one of the greatest dictators in Europe after the Second World War, Enver Hoxha
Representatives of Levica on the celebration in Moscow on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Soviet Pioneers Photo: Official Levica’s FB page
A large part of the public in North Macedonia already perceives Levica (The Left) as a pro-Russian party, deeply embedded in the Kremlin propaganda machinery. The party uses the Moscow terminology, calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine “а special military operation”. In March last year, the Members of the Parliament of North Macedonia from Levica, in the middle of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, organized a meeting with the Russian Ambassador Bazdnikin in the Parliament. In a period when the war in Ukraine was gaining momentum, a delegation from Levica went to the parade in Moscow and met with the leader of the Communist Party of Russia. This year, a delegation from Levica, led by Dimitar Apasiev, bowed at the grave of one of the greatest dictators in Europe after the Second World War, Enver Hoxha. The ideological motives of Levica for glorifying Hoxha are not quite clear, except maybe his liaisons with the USSR and China at the time
Тwo recent events involving the parliamentary party Levica caused a wave of scandals and manipulations. The public still remembers the ugly scenes of the incident in the Macedonian Parliament, when the two MPs of Levica poured out their rage because approximately 2,500 of their amendments to the Parliament Rulebook were not accepted. At that point, MP Borislav Krmov, first nervously hurled the bell and the plastic bottle of water that were in front of the Vice President of the Parliament, Goran Misovski, and then ripped out the computer monitor, threw it on the ground and started tossing the amendments at Misovski.
Poor version of Khrushchev
The tense atmosphere was boosted by the MP and leader of Levica, Dimitar Apasiev, who – with a shoe – “was stamping” Levica’s amendments to the Parliament Rulebook that were rejected with an explanation that they were not officially stamped. Apasiev’s performance in the Parliament had a poor resemblance to the 1960’s story about the former Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev. For decades now the incident has been told and retold, especially by the older population, about the shoe slamming fit during the plenary session of the UN General Assembly, when Khrushchev, angered by the address of the Philippines’ delegate, who accused the ”Soviet Union for swallowing Eastern Europe and depriving people of the political and human rights”, took off his shoe and started slamming the table with it, although it is still not quite clear whether that happened. Some see the clips of Khrushchev slamming with the shoe as authentic, others believe that they were excellently edited material.
The terrors of war and the false fighters against the Nazis
A few days before the disorder in the Parliament, with a manipulative press release, Levica, criticized North Macedonia for voting “against” the draft resolution on ”Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” in UN General Assembly. In total, 112 countries voted in favor of this draft-resolution, proposed by Russia, Belarus and Syria, “against” voted 50 countries, including North Macedonia, while 14 countries abstained.
Macedonia’s representative in the UN – Ljubomir Frchkovski – voted AGAINST this resolution. This vote, as an official position of the Government, is extremely distressing, especially bearing in mind the current situation in the country, where in the last few years we have witnessed the establishment of Bulgarian Culture Clubs named after prominent fascists, thereby rehabilitating dangerous ideas about the great states that existed before the Second World War, stated, inter alia, Levica’s reaction.
The statement, however, does not specify the reasons why our country voted against the resolution.
Interestingly enough, Levica reacted after the Russian Embassy did the same on its official page on Facebook.
North Macedonia is on the list of those that are against the resolution and are not against the condemnation of the racism and the glorification of Nazism and do not want to condemn the xenophobia, states the post of the Russian Embassy.
From such a position, which is in line with Levica’s response, one can get a completely false impression that our country supports fascism, and xenophobia and cherishes undemocratic values.
To get the full outlook, one needs to note that North Macedonia voted the same as the EU member states. The EU’s explanation of the vote “against” the draft resolution combating the glorification of Nazism, states that the EU strongly condemns:
We strongly condemn the politically motivated misuse of the anti-Nazism narrative, and unequivocally reject the inaccurate and inappropriate use of the term “denazification” to justify Russia’s inhumane, cruel and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine…
It also adds that:
Under the false pretense of fighting Nazism, Russia brought the horrors of war back to Europe, along with the reminder that peace cannot be taken for granted.
It is also important to note that Russia proposes such a resolution in the UN every year, but after it started the war in Ukraine, the democratic world does not support its proposals.
Last year Russia also proposed such a resolution in the UN General Assembly, and North Macedonia also voted ”against” together with 51 other countries, opposed to 15 countries that voted “abstain” and 105 “in favor”. Levica also criticized the government then, as well, calling it a Quisling government that did not oppose the “glorification of fascist ideas”, which was covered by Truthmeter in this Counterspin.
And the context was once again omitted, without saying why our country together with other countries did not support Russia’s proposed resolution. The official website of the European Union explains why the EU voted against this resolution:
Today under the false pretense of fighting Nazism, Russia has brought the horrors of war back to Europe, along with the reminder that peace cannot be taken for granted.
In 2020, all EU member states voted “abstain” on Russia’s draft resolution. North Macedonia followed suit.
Every year since 2005, the USA has voted “against” this resolution.
When Levica defends Moscow down to the ground
All these are not isolated cases of Levica’s alignment with Russia. Many times this party has used the Russian megaphone and defended the Kremlin down to the ground, as presented by Truthmeter in several articles (here, here and here).
Apasiev’s party, for example, disseminates fabrications about the war in Ukraine and uses the terminology of Moscow calling the Russian invasion ”a special military operation”, trying to change the impression and justify Russian military aggression over its neighbor.
Such Russian narrative can be seen in the announcement about the meeting (16.03.2022) of Apasiev and Krmov with the Russian Ambassador to North Macedonia, Sergey Bazdnikin, published on party’s website and on the official Facebook page of Levica. As announced, during the 90-minute working meeting with the Russian Ambassador ”special attention was given to the special military operation in Ukraine”, and that attention was paid to the process of ”denazification and elimination of the threats from the extreme-right and radical neo-Nazi political movements that present danger to any modern democracy”.
Interestingly, the MPs from Levica met the Russian Ambassador Bazdnikin in Parliament in mid-March last year, in the middle of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Otherwise, this was the second meeting of Apasiev and the Russian Ambassador Bazdnikin. The first official meeting took place in April 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, also in the Parliament).
It should also be noted that at the beginning of March 2022, when the Macedonian Parliament adopted the Declaration condemning military attacks threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Apasiev, Krmov, and Ivan Stoiljkovikj from DPS were the only ones who voted “against”.
Levica on a parade in Moscow, then went to bow at Enver Hoxha’s grave
In May 2022, in the period when the war in Ukraine was gaining momentum, a delegation from Levica traveled to Moscow to a meeting with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) upon the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Soviet Union Pioneer’s Organization. The party then announced that their delegation participated in the main celebration organized by KPRF on the Red Square in Moscow. The representatives from Levica met with the leader of KPRF, Gennady Zyuganov, the management of the party and some of the deputies of the State Duma.
A year later (April 2023), Levica’s delegation led by its party leader, Apasiev, bowed at the grave of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. Concerning this event upon the occasion of the anniversary of Hoxha’s death, several photographs and an announcement were published on the official Facebook page of Levica in an attempt to justify the visit of the grave of one of the biggest dictators in Europe after the Second World War. That man who is remembered in history as a Stalinist, kept Albania isolated from the world for more than 40 years, and gave orders for thousands of people to be tortured, persecuted, and killed, leaving the country a legacy of more than 170,000 bunkers.
Hence, Levica’s ideological motives for glorifying Hoxha are not quite clear, except for, maybe, his relations with the USSR and China at the time.
On the wave of the Russian propaganda
A large part of the public already perceives Levica as a pro-Russian party. On one occasion, during a briefing with journalists, Foreign Affairs Minister Bujar Osmani accused Levica of working in favor of the Russian propaganda:
I have my own opinion about Levica – they are not a Macedonian party, but a party operating for the Russian propaganda aiming to turn the Macedonian people against the EU and the USA.
Osmani then, without giving more details, mentioned that the analyses of Macedonian institutions proved that Macedonian politicians were influenced by the funding of political parties by Russia.
The Centre for the Study of Democracy from Sofia came to the same conclusions. In its study on spreading disinformation and destabilizing South-East European democracies by Moscow, as reported by the portal ”Nezavisen” (March 2023), claims that about six billion dollars from Russian sources have been invested secretly and illegally in financial dealings in Macedonia between 2000 and 2020. The study also stresses that leading media and influential political parties in the region have not been immune to malign Russian influence. Such examples are: Levica in Macedonia, Prerodba and BSP in Bulgaria, SNS and SPS in Serbia, Bulgarian National Television BNT, and RTRS in Bosnia-Herzegovina.