SOS: An unregistered NGO, GONGO or PONGO?

“Stop Operation Soros” (SOS), was introduced to the public on January the 17th, whose only declared members so far, are historian Nikola Srbov, who often appears in the media as a “political analyst” and journalists Cvetin Chilimanov and Nenad Mirchevski, who received various descriptions by the media. For example, a national television station, classified the three as an “Initiative Committee for establishing a Civil Association, “Stop Operation Soros”. In some media reports they were presented as a “Civil Movement” and sometimes as an “Initiative Committee for establishing a Civil Movement”, and they were even described a “non-governmental organization”.

According to a legal expert “Meta” consulted with, in principle all forms of movements, as in this case, need to be registered. An interesting example of this, is the Besa Movement, which began as a movement and then registered as a political party, but the statute still stands as the name “Besa Movement” and was registered in accordance with the Law on Political Parties. The expert we contacted indicated that any form of movement for achieving political ends, in principle, no matter under what name, needs to registered, whether it be as an association or organization. This can all be found in the regulations determined by the Law on Associations and Foundations.


“Meta” requested information from the Central Registry to see if such an entity is registered under the name “Stop Operation Soros.” The answer we received was on February the 8th, around 14:30 pm which said “there are no records for the entity under the title of a ‘Citizens Association’ named “Stop Operation Soros”.

“Regarding your request, based on the records in the Trade Registry and the Registry of other legal entities submitted through the single window system in the Central Register of RM and transferred to the Trade Registry and the Registry of other legal entities, at the time of the preparation of this information in the electronic database, there are no records for a ‘Civil Association’ or ‘Civil Movement’ called STOP OPERATION SOROS”, reads the information we received.

The Facebook page for “Stop Operation Soros” describe themselves as a “Non-Governmental Organization”, or NGO. On the website “STOP OP SOROS”, which is a Macedonian domain, it says that they’re a “movement” or “global initiative”.

Associations and organizations close to the government in the world are known as GONGO (Government organized NGO / NGO organized by the government) or PONGO (Party organized NGO / NGO organized political party). They are sponsored by government or a political party to fight for their political interests, while at the same time, embodying the image of a common NGO, to present themselves as part of civil society and the territory of the country, but also on an international level.

The terms GONGO and PONGO were first used back in 1989 when it was discovered the unique position NGOs found themselves in. They could abuse their position for narrow political goals to meet the interests of small, but powerful special interests.

Therefore, GONGO / PONGO, are established to achieve internal politics or foreign policy objectives, and sometimes this is done so they are able to extract international aid, real humanitarian causes or corruption or other criminal purposes, during which GONGO / PONGO are a mask to hide the activities related to the underworld.

As for the financing of SOS, historian Srbov told “Pogled” that they’re are funded “by activists, and they are joining us everyday in large numbers”, and that they are “led by an idea, and not by financial motives.”

One of the three founders, Cvetin Chilimanov, is a journalist, and Vice President of the Macedonian Association of Journalists (MAN). He is also the editor of the English service of the Macedonian Information Agency (MIA), which is a joint stock company owned by the state, meaning it gets paid by the state budget. According to financial reports for 2015, submitted on July the 14th, 2016, to the Macedonian Stock Exchange, the total revenue for that year for the agency was 49.61 million denars. From the state budget or from the government, who owns MIA, 40 million denars were transferred that year to the agency, and the remaining 9.61 million denars were distributed for the other needs of the agency.

Mr Chilimanov was previously employed by the Cabinet of the President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, and then he was employed by MIA, where he was sent to Washington as a correspondent.

The other part of the “movement”, Nenad Mirchevski and Nikola Srbov, are connected to the magazine and website “Republika”, which until last year, it was unknown who the owner was exactly, as the issuer company “Iresine Limited” was registered in Belize, a well known tax haven, until July last year, when its owner became the then director, Done Donevski. Mirchevski, for many years has worked as a journalist and editor at “Republika” and Srbov is a columnist.

U.S. Navy SEALs provide training for Macedonian Army and Police Special Task Units

Skopje, 13 February, 2017 - 15:56 (META) 

Today, at the Rapid Deployment Unit’s base at the ‘Gjorče Petrov” army barracks, there was a final training exercise of the members of the special task units of the Ministry of Interior and the Army of Republic of Macedonia, that, starting from 31st of January until today, was carried out by members of the U.S. Navy SEALs.

The exercise was attended by the ministers of Internal Affairs and Defense, Agim Huhiu and Zoran Jolevski, including the US ambassador in Macedonia, Jess Baily.

Ambassador Baily stressed that today’s exercise presents a partnership in action between the two countries and that by the end of the year, American special forces will return three more times in the country, under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy and will continue with the training of Macedonian special forces.

– This is also a part of the joint efforts by Macedonia and the USA in the fight against terrorism which presents a domestic and outside threat – said Baily.

Otherwise, the theme of the training was dealing with terrorist threats and attacks by armed individuals and groups in an urban environment.

People are complaining on the SOS hotline that SEC and MIO are playing ping-pong with their applications

Skopje, 10 November, 2016 - 18:56 (META) 

From the day when the voters’ list was published publicly, the citizens are calling actively to point at problems in the voters list at the SOS-line used for reporting election irregularities (0800 88 888)  that is enabled by civic activists “We Decide” – as was reported by representatives of the civil initiative.

“The citizens that contacted us have complained that after they reported oversights in the voters list at the State Election Commission (SEC), they were directed to contact the Ministry of Interior. In addition, MIO had asked them to submit estate documents for their homes, sale contracts, print-screens of the voters’ list and other documents, and in accordance with the law, citizens are not obliged to provide this information in this case”, said Sibel Amet from the civil action “We Decide”, who are responsible for the obligations of the SOS hotline. 

She also said that the citizens were discouraged from reporting irregularities at the SEC because the whole procedure falls on the back of the people. According to the law, said Amet, Act 2, Article 50 of the Electoral Code, the request for evidencing, deleting or additions to the list are submitted in a written form to the SEC.

Soros: I am not involved in the events in Macedonia

Brussels, 9 June, 2016 - 20:28 (META) 

Boban Nonkovic, who reports for the state new agency MIA, today in Brussels caused a stir when he and other journalists began asking the Hungarian Billionaire, and sponsor of the “Open Society Foundation”, George Soros, whether he wants to destroy the country through the crisis and unrest.

Nonkovic retorted that during the reign of the VMRO-DPMNE, the country had become a “champion in promoting Roma rights, during elections for Ministers, Mayors, MPs and executives in public institutions”, and claimed that some of those protesting in the country are self-proclaimed “Sorosoids” and openly support the opposition, the SDSM.

“I’m afraid that I have already answered the question on Macedonia. I’m not actually the personally involved in the foundation in Macedonia. I have a foundation there consisting of Macedonian trustees. And they are the ones to decide the course of the foundation. They have to answer your question”, said Soros.

The working groups have agreed to make a change in MRTV, MIA and Media Agency

Skopje, 9 November, 2015 - 14:31 (META) 

Political parties at today’s meeting with the working group agreed a framework where they can make reforms in the media and have agreed to achieve this by the 20th of this month.

The working groups have said that they’ll discuss the issues for the Media Agency, MRTV, the Law on the Media and the Macedonian Information Agency. (MIA)

“We will explain our position to the working group, but with the fulfilment of this obligation under the agreement, I expect the media will report in accordance with the legal structure and based on journalistic ethics and standards. This must be achieved as the basis for free and fair elections”, said Robert Popovski, a member of the working group from the SDSM.

Political parties are expected to agree on a new structure for the Council of the Media Agency, to change the management of MRTV, as well as the MIA, because with these bodies they will be free from the influence of the ruling party, and probably one of the hot topics will be the ban on political advertising.

In the last 3 months, 60, 421 certificates have been issued to migrants passing through

Skopje, 5 September, 2015 - 13:49 (META) 

In the past 24 hours, police issued 1,462 certificates expressing intent to file an application for asylum , most migrant are Syrian nationals, announced the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

Since June 19, when they were adopted amendments to the Law on Asylum, the Interior Ministry say a total of 60,421 immigrants have passed through Macedonia.

Over the past day and night, despite issuing certificates for intent for asylum, no-one has actually applied asylum status.

Since they started issuing  the certificates, as of today, a total of 49 requests for asylum have been registered in the country.

In the past 24 hours, more then 2000 confirmations were issued for asylum seekers

Skopje, 3 September, 2015 - 12:23 (META) 

In the past 24 hours, the Ministry for Internal Affairs (MIA) issued certificates for people who have expressed intentions to seek asylum. In total 2,093 immigrants, and from that number 1830 are from Syria, confirmed the MIA.

Since June the 19th, amendments were made to the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, to date, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs they have issued a total of 57,151 confirmations to foreign nationals. Most of them are nationals of Syria (46 453), followed by Afghanistan (3156), Iraq (2,622), Pakistan (1,673), Palestine (711), Somalia (564), Bangladesh (381), the Congo (323), Nigeria (196), Cameroon (159), Eritrea (142) and Ethiopia (109).

According to the MIA, in the last 24 hours, no-one has followed through with their asylum applications, but from when confirmations began to be issued until today, 49 people have sought asylum

Yesterday at the Immigration Centre, eleven people were recorded to have applied for asylum. Four of the asylum seekers, a man, woman and two children, of which one of them has no legal guardian were cared for at accommodation allocated to them by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, in accordance with the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection.



“Koha”: From the 600 new police officers, 46 will be Albanian

Skopje, 3 September, 2015 - 12:15 (META) 

From the 600 new police officers to be recruited, 46 will be Albanian, The process for the selection of candidates who will offered positions as officers for the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) is in its final phase of being prepared. Meaning, that very soon 600 new officers in police blue uniforms, reported the Albanian daily newspaper ‘Koha’ today.

Sources from the newspaper, say that of the 600 new police officers, and from the 46 Albanian officers, 42 will be assigned to the capital, Skopje. The remaining 20 new officers will be allocated to various police stations across the country.

The MIA announced the recruitment of the new police officers at the beginning of July. The Ministry stated that it had placed two public advertisements, which were worded, ‘Required, 652 new members of staff.’ While the second one said, ‘Required, 600 members of staff to take up positions as Police Officers, plus 50 applicants for positions at the Ministry for Internal Affairs. All applicants required must be of a High Education standard.’

At the beginning of August, the MIA announced that 2,633 applications had been received for the positions of police officers.

Regarding ethnicity, 1,080 were of Macedonian descent, while 542 applications came from those of other ethnic communities


Passports can be picked up today

Skopje, 17 July, 2015 - 11:12 (META) 

MIA informs the citizens that due to increased interest, the administrative services in all cities will work on Saturday from 8.30 to 16.30, for issuing passports that are already prepared.