Serbs in North Macedonia Do Not Justify the War in Ukraine, But Some of Them Support Russia
Serbs as well as some members of the Serbian-Macedonian associations in Polog are against the invasion of any country and are in favor of preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. But some of them, despite condemnation from many countries and organizations, as well as indications that misunderstandings should be resolved through diplomacy, still believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have had the right to intervene militarily in the territory of his eastern neighbor, because, as they say, the western world interfered in his backyard, so for self-defence Russia launched the invasion
Author: Zoran Dimovski
Primislav Stanojevikj, president of “KUD Sveti Sava 1” Tetovo, an association that is part of the Serb community in Macedonia, regardless of Macedonian politics and interests, told “Truthmeter” that he, and according to him, many Serbs living in Macedonia as well, agree and have the same position with the Serbian state leadership, i.e. the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučikj.
“We are not blind followers of Vučikj, but we see and understand world politics,” Stanojeviкј added.
He was born in Prizren, he says he knows what war is and what suffering is like. He wants all this to end as soon as possible, because it is a fratricidal war between two Slavic Orthodox peoples.
So, we do not want aggression, because we are Serbs, we know what aggression means and what it means to be bombed for 79 days by 19 large countries. We as Serbs who live here, love this country very much. But we do not support the sanctions against Russia imposed by Macedonia, because this is a fratricidal war between Orthodox peoples, Stanojeviкј said.
He hopes that the war will end after an agreement is reached at a joint table. The sooner the better for everyone, because the economic consequences are great all over the world, taking into account the large granary in Ukraine, but also the dependence on Russian derivatives. We should pursue a neutral policy and economy looking at our interests, and not listen to some of the politicians, who are anti-Russian, adds Stanojeviкј, who according to the answers for “Truthmeter” takes pro-Russian views.
In Macedonia, politics is run by the wrong people. Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, can not tell us not to buy fuel in “Luk Oil”. I will buy fuel wherever I want. This is a disaster, prices have risen, it is chaos! May God help us!
Inflation kills everyone. Now the conditions are bad because there is a war, you can not predict anything, we do not know what will happen. God forbid that the war should end as soon as possible, because no matter how long the war lasts, it should end with an agreement on the table. However, it does matter if you sit down at that table as a winner or as a loser. But Russia will not withdraw, Stanojevikj is convinced.
Moreover, Bujar Osmani, in March, told the debate show “Click Plus” on TV21 that the purchase of Russian oil finances the Russian army, and thus the invasion of Ukraine.
Stojanovikj, however, believes that the Serbian president is pursuing a clear, wise policy, a policy of good neighborliness that helps. He hopes that the concept of open borders through the Open Balkans Initiative will contribute to bringing nations closer. With that, the risks of wars will be much lower, the economy larger, and our activities, which are stalled due to the Covid-19, but even now due to the war, will be richer internationally.
The Association of Serbs and Macedonians “KUD Branko Čajka Tetovo”, on the other hand, has built an official position not to comment on the latest political developments, although, as they say, it affects and will affect their activities.
When writing projects, there is an item – “risks”, due to which that event would not take place, such as floods, earthquakes, and even war. The war is not here, but it will be felt here like a domino effect. We just got out of the pandemic, we are not recovered and now this war has somehow created anxiety and discomfort, and we feel it in the economic part as well. We have received funds from the Ministry of Culture for a visit to Tuzla in BiH, we hope that this year we will not return the funds. The end of the pandemic is somehow in sight, but we do not know what will happen with the new crisis, and for us this trip to BiH will be an excellent opportunity and it would be refreshing to have a performance because we have been standing in the same place for three years, said Sonja Andonov, president of the Association of Serbs and Macedonians “KUD Branko Chajka Tetovo”.
Marin Najdov, as the secretary of the Association “KUD Branko Čajka Tetovo”, told us his personal position regarding the war in Ukraine. He himself took part in the military conflict in 2001 in our country on the side of the Macedonian security forces. “War is cruel,” he said, “and now it is not easy for soldiers on either side, or for civilians, or for those who are leaving their homes.”
Although there are bigger attacks that Russia is to blame for what is happening, I think the exact opposite. My opinion is unrelated to the Association, no matter how much they attack the Russians because of their activities, I think they are right, because every single one, even a small animal, if you enter an area that is its territory or feels that it is its territory, it will defend it. The Russians have warned both the EU and NATO and the world public that it would be dangerous if NATO approached, and it proved to be dangerous.
Naturally, not every war is justified, but the Russians have clearly warned NATO not to get too close to their borders, Najdov said.
It is not clear what kind of entry “into an area that is its territory” Najdov is talking about. Ukraine did not enter Russian territory, and neither did NATO. On the contrary, the opposite happened. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, nor does it have the opportunity to become a member in close future.
However, adds Najdov, we as an Association do not pursue politics and we are interested in the things we promote, and that is the language, folklore, customs. Macedonian politics, he says, has no choice – its path is towards Europe, which insists member states, but also those who aspire to be part of it, to have the same line in politics, which in a way is a natural thing, he added.
Serbia has separated from this direction, because its relations with Russia are different, compared to the relations between Macedonia and Russia. Its interest in Russia does not give it the right to take a stand against it, as other European countries have. Everyone defends their own and is guided by their own interest, says Najdov.
If we analyze the views of some members of the Serbian associations regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, it can be seen that they are similar to the Serbian state leadership, i.e. those of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučikj. And the president of the Association “St. Sava 1”, Primislav Stanojevikj, openly says that for “Truthmeter”.
Serbian President, Vučikj, said earlier this month that Serbia would join all UN General Assembly resolutions on violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the conflict with Russia, but would reject all those related to sanctions against Russia.
We had nine votes, we did not join in eight, and we joined in only one vote. For everything related to the demolition and violation of territorial integrity, Serbia is joining, for everything in terms of sanctions, Serbia will not join, at least as long as we can endure this, a few more days while I am de facto President of the Republic. Now, after you elect someone else (in the elections), that is another story, Vučikj said.
Moreover, the largest party of Serbs in Macedonia was not part of the vote on the document by which the Macedonian Assembly condemned Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. The MP and leader of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, Ivan Stoiljkovikj in the Assembly on March 4 gave his rather vague and unsustainable explanation why he did not vote for the document.
Sorry, I’m still not ready to admire the fictitious puppets who chant the dirty empty words from the western arsenal of anti-Russian hysteria like crazy, and have not even started looking for an alternative markets for peaches from Kavadarci, apples from Resen, tomatoes from Strumica and cabbage from Kumanovo. We were brought to the Parliament by our villagers and our workers to protect their interest, and not by the dirty capital of the globalist oligarchy. Therefore, you should not be surprised by the dominant mood of our people, but you should be afraid that you are on the other side of your people, and history will tell the end. I choose the hard way this time as well. In fact, Actum est, ilicet, someone will have to open the door to Macedonia in the new reality, which will inevitably come, said Stoiljkovic.
Macedonian exports to Russia last year, for example, amounted to only $ 57 million, compared to exports of almost $ 8.2 billion to the European Union. So the consequences for the Macedonian economy from the sanctions on Russia are very small. And when it comes to the “dirty capital of the globalist oligarchy,” the Russian oligarchs are the ones who keep large sums of their not-so-honest money in the West, which means they are part of that alleged “dirty capital.” This is quite clear today if we take into account the Western sanctions against them and the amounts of frozen money in the western banks, as well as the numerous frozen properties in their name or their heirs, which must not be sold, as well as the number of confiscated yachts and other luxury products, which belong exactly to them.
University professor of multiculturalism Agim Poška says it is clear why Serbs, no matter where they live, do not have a pro-Western stance on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. The fact is that both Serbia and its people, no matter where they live – in this case in Macedonia, have historical ties with Russia and they are clear. On the other hand, Serbs owe a lot to Russia, especially because of the Kosovo dispute.
Regardless of the historical ties with Russia, Serbia and its people, regardless of where they live, they should not be on the side of the aggressor in this conflict, which is not provoked in the least by the Ukrainian side, where, unfortunately, there are many victims, he said.
University professor Maja Muhikj, on the other hand, believes that the reasons why some members of Serbian associations identify with the Serbian state leadership, but also refuse to lean toward the pro-Western position are multifaceted, i.e. have a pragmatic geopolitical and strategic background.
One of the main reasons for the refusal to side with the pro-Western position I think lies in the fact that NATO bombed Serbia in 1999. At the same time, the West, and especially the United States and Britain, have strongly supported Kosovo’s independence. Serbia, on the other hand, was fully supported diplomatically by Russia in not recognizing Kosovo’s independence. The result of these turmoils is amplified Euroscepticism, as no chapter on EU accession is open to Serbia due to the unresolved issue of Kosovo recognition. In that sense, Russia supports Serbia in disputing what is perceived as an extremely emotional point for Serbia, namely Kosovo’s independence from international institutions. On top of that, Serbia is dependent on Russian energy, and cooperation is present militarily, namely through the purchase of Russian weapons, says Professor Muhic.