The Role of the Albanian Parties in RNM in the Context of the Fight against Russian Influence (Part Two)
Although N. Macedonia is historically, but also geographically oriented towards Euro-Atlantic values, the government led by VMRO-DPMNE and DUI led by the former Prime Minister, now asylum seeker Nikola Gruevski, often “flirted” with Russia. The overthrow of this government was not so easy, it was made more difficult by the Russian agents, who had a part in organizing the events of April 27, who propagated against the Prespa Agreement and loudly opposed the country’s membership in NATO. For these events, the Albanian political parties in RNM were on the same line and constructive writes Portalb.mk
Russia’s “last” attempt to keep Gruevski in power, April 27, 2017
One of the darkest days for democracy in North Macedonia was April 27, 2017, when a large group of protesters, orchestrated by VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski and foreign (mostly Russian) forces, managed to enter the Assembly, injuring many MPs and the media workers.
It was later revealed that Russia had interfered in the orchestration of the event through Serbian diplomats, i.e. Goran Živaljevikj, an agent of the Serbian intelligence agency, who at that time was in Skopje as a diplomat and advisor to the Serbian Embassy since 2015. Živaljevikj was followed for a long time by the UBK, which concluded that he had regular communication with the Member of Parliament of the RNM of Serbian nationality, Ivan Stoilkovikj, and with the Serbian journalist Miroslav Lazanski. These three joined forces to spread propaganda in the media in order to provoke political destabilization in Macedonia.
According to the British “Guardian”, these three acted under the leadership of the Russian secret services and had only one task – to prevent Macedonia’s membership in NATO.
After the bloody events in the Assembly, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed support for Gruevski and the protesters who stormed the Assembly, saying that SDSM wants to elect a President of the Parliament by seriously violating the procedures. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the protesters rightly objected to this.
However, with a majority of votes and the support of all Albanian political parties in the country, as well as in an emergency, Talat Xhaferi was elected Speaker of the Assembly that day. The attack on the Assembly was condemned by all political parties, including VMRO-DPMNE, although it was its instigator.
The Prespa Agreement and the membership of RNM in NATO
One of the reasons that kept North Macedonia “hostage” from NATO membership was the name dispute that our country had with the neighboring country, the Republic of Greece. On June 17, 2018, North Macedonia and Greece signed an agreement to resolve this dispute.
This document envisaged the current name of the country, “North Macedonia” and it was signed in Prespa, in the Greek part, by the then Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kozijas, in the presence of the then Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras.
The United States welcomed the agreement
The United States welcomed the decision of the Macedonian Parliament to initiate the necessary constitutional changes to implement the Prespa Agreement with Greece, said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nuert.
The statement said the United States believes the agreement is a historic opportunity to promote stability, security and progress in the region.
This Agreement brought RNM closer to NATO, and Russia did not like it
Immediately after the signing of the Agreement, the Russian Foreign Ministry reacted, stating that the Agreement was signed against the will of the two peoples, Macedonians and Greeks and that it was imposed by the European Union and the United States.
The Foreign Minister of RNM together with his counterpart from Greece urged the Russian Federation not to interfere in the internal affairs of the two countries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets that the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, again in a negative context, emphasizes the authentic political processes between the two countries, which lead to resolving problems, strengthening trust and building friendship,” the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
We are convinced that Russia, which for years has recognized FYROM as the “Republic of Macedonia”, will respect the sensitivity of the Greek people in using the name Macedonia and will now refer to this country with the new constitutional name “North Macedonia”, and most importantly to refrain from such views, because such a thing is interference in the internal affairs of Greece, said in a statement the Greek Foreign Ministry.
However, there were political parties in the country that had the same views as Russia:
Gjorge Ivanov, the then president of North Macedonia, was one of the most vocal opponents of the Prespa Agreement. He said its implementation would have negative consequences. According to him, the name change is only in the interest of Greece. Ivanov boycotted the referendum on September 30, 2018, and held hostage the Law on the Albanian Language.
Hristijan Mickoski, the president of VMRO-DPMNE, has repeatedly stated that when they come to power they will terminate the Prespa Agreement.
“With a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, we will terminate the Prespa Agreement,” Mickoski said during a televised appearance in December 2019.
He made similar statements several times, often leading to constant clashes with the ruling party, SDSM. It is worth noting that Mickovski’s rhetoric on this topic has now softened.
- The Party “Levica”
If VMRO-DPMNE can be more flexible on this issue, “Levica” represented by two members of parliament, is adamant that the Prespa and Ohrid agreements should be annulled. This party led by Dimitar Apasiev and in the early parliamentary elections (2021), in its program in the field of foreign policy, in addition to the annulment of the Prespa and Ohrid Agreement and the review of the Agreement with Bulgaria, one of the main goals in the field of bilateral relations was the withdrawal of recognition of Kosovo, Israel and South Korea. In terms of multilateral relations, the party aims to immediately withdraw the country from NATO and unconditionally withdraw all security forces from foreign military missions that do not have a UN mandate.
Moreover, there were several smaller Macedonian parties that loudly opposed the Prespa Agreement, but most of them had no political power or influence to change the reality.
We remind you that US President Joe Biden issued an executive order to freeze property and ban entry to the United States, which included those working against the Prespa Agreement and the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and it is a clear message that international agreements will remain the points for which the US administration will not compromise and will fight all those who are against them. “Without such agreements, the country would have ended in disaster,” say experts from North Macedonia.
All Albanian parties supported the Prespa Agreement
All Albanian political parties that had representatives in the legislature, namely the Alliance for Albanians (AA), the BESA Movement, Alternative, the Democratic Union for Integration and the Democratic Party of Albanians, declaratively and by voting supported this Agreement.
Without exception, all the above-mentioned Albanian parties have stated that one of the reasons they voted for the Prespa Agreement is to pave the way for the country to join NATO and the European Union.
- You can read the full text of the Agreement: HERE
- For reaching this Agreement, Zaev and Tsipras were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
No Russian scenario has proved successful; North Macedonia has become a NATO member
The Protocol for Macedonia’s membership in NATO was signed at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on February 6, 2019, thus starting the final phase of the process for full membership. In the presence of the then Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the representatives of the member states signed the protocol one by one.
Dimitrov addressed the representatives of the member states and Secretary Stoltenberg, emphasizing that the country is ready to assume the obligations that come with full membership in the Alliance.
This has been a long road. Macedonia will soon be the Republic of North Macedonia, it is a matter of days. We have proved that we can solve the problems we face. This will send a message to the region where there is still uncertainty. We are ready, we are here, and we will take on the obligations arising from NATO membership. I hope for efficient implementation of the ratification, said Dimitrov.
Putin was unhappy about this, calling it a step taken under pressure
“When it comes to the Balkans, then the main serious destabilizing factor is the policy of the United States and some Western countries, which aim to strengthen their dominance in the region,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with “Politika” and “Vecerni Novosti”.
Putin also added that a year earlier, in his opinion, in order to speed up the process of Macedonia’s membership in NATO, it was agreed to change the name of Macedonia and the Constitution of Macedonia, completely ignoring the Macedonian people who in the referendum for name change spoke out against, which is not at all true.
The leader of VMRO DPMNE with controversial statements continued to oppose the Agreement that allowed the country to join NATO, but said he supported the membership in the Alliance.
Asked if he supported Macedonia’s NATO membership, Mickoski said “absolutely yes” and that he could not be against, it because the biggest reforms for NATO membership were made by the governments of VMRO-DPMNE. However, he said he was against the Agreement with Greece signed by the government of Zoran Zaev and which changed the name of the country, adding that he had strong objections to the approval of that Agreement and did not support it.
“Levica” is against NATO membership
NATO’s goal is one and the same: expanding economic dominance and expanding neoliberal doctrine, as well as preserving the status of the United States and its allies as imperial hegemony in the world, the party said.
Let us remind that “Levica” continues to demand that North Macedonia leave NATO and change its strategic partners. In addition to this, Janko Bacev’s pro-Russian non-parliamentary party, United Macedonia, was against the country’s NATO membership.
All Albanian parties were “FOR” NATO membership and welcomed this decision, click HERE to read the statement of the Alliance of Albanians, click HERE to read the statement of the Democratic Union for Integration, HERE to read the statement of the Movement BESA, HERE to read the statement of Alternative, and HERE to read the statement of the Democratic Party of Albanians.
Even after the country’s membership in NATO, using the public statements of former President Gjorge Ivanov, Russia tried in various ways to annul this Agreement, but without success. According to Euractiv, Russia’s last hope was to return to power a nationalist party that would not allow the country to join NATO and change the country’s name.