Živaljević and his boss settle in BiH, while Sarajevo fear their own April 27

Sarajevo, 10 December, 2018 - 19:40 (META) 

Goran Živaljević, the Serbian intelligence officer who photographed himself in Parliament during the brutal violence on 27 April, 2017, has been in Sarajevo since the beginning of November, this year, at the Serbian embassy.

The first position – ambassador – is carried out by his boss from May this year, former director of the Serbian security and intelligence agency – BIA, Aleksandar Đorđević, reports “Radio Sarajevo”. This media outlet who released statements regarding the involvement of the Serbian secret service in the violence in Parliament on April 27, recalls that the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office is considering interrogating Živaljević for his role in the attack.

“Is a Macedonian and Montenegrin scenario being prepared for BiH?” Asks the headline in “BH Vijesti”, reporting on the story.

Documents published by Macedonian “Nova TV”, Belgrade’s KRIK and OCCRP show that Živaljević had conducted propaganda activity aimed at promoting Russian policy ” under former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and activities against Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

In an article by “Radio Sarajevo”, dedicated to the relocation of Serbian intelligence agents who are in the field and are spreading Russian influence in the Balkans, it is said that another of their “associates” is in BiH.

It is about Miroslav Lazanski, a journalist and military-political analyst who, in the RTRS, the public broadcasting service of Republika Srpska, through a show called “Lazan Direct” continues with the same activities as in Macedonia under Gruevski’s reign, praising the then government.

“Politika”: Gruevski raises tensions between America and Russia

Belgrade, 19 November, 2018 - 15:24 (META) 

While it has been formally claimed that fugitive Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is in Budapest, some articles speculate that he had traveled to Russia or Turkey, reported Serbian pro-government daily newspaper “Politika”. The article points out that both Russia and Turkey maintain diplomatic relations with Skopje, but have clashed over pro-Western policies pursued by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Under the headline “Gruevski raises tensions between America and Russia,” the oldest daily newspaper in Serbia writes that “Russia will never accept Macedonia’s accession to NATO, and Turkey is not happy that Macedonia succumbed to the Greek demands for a change of the country’s name.” “Politika” also believes that Zaev will need “a lot, not just political, but also legal evidence, to explain to the people and the international community, especially to the East, that Gruevski is not a political victim of American red rule in Skopje, as VMRO-DPMNE claims, but rather that he escaped because he was going to prison.”

“At the moment, Zaev is the only optimist and believes that Gruevski will be returned to Macedonia. The question remains, if he really is in Russia, how Zaev will reach him, and if he is in Budapest, then Prime Minister Viktor Orban is most definitely in a awkward situation politically with respect to Russia, and legally and politically in relation to the EU,” concludes”Politika”.

Regardless of what is written in this newspaper, Gruevski was sentenced to two years in the “Tank” case. The hearings were open to the public and the media reported throughout the trial.

His lawyers attempted to appeal the final verdict, unsuccessfully, because the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict. Then a ruling was issued for Gruevski to surrender himself to prison, Gruevski filed a motion to postpone the serving of the sentence, but that too was denied it. Gruevski then disappeared.

Baily: I wasn’t at the Parliament as I was watching the voting on TV

Skopje, 25 October, 2018 - 10:24 (META) 

After the accusations from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the US Ambassador in Macedonia, Jess Baily, was present at the Parliament during the voting for the initiation of the constitutional changes, yesterday on TV21, he denied these claims, stating that he was watching the voting on TV, from his living room.

-That day I was working in my office, as I was attending an event in by the Embassy that evening and as most of the citizens in Macedonia I watched the voting on my TV from my living room – said Bailey for TV21.

As he said at TV21, the only thing that the US Embassy did was the statement that greeted the voting.

-It is clear that the accusations that the US is illegally involved and have improperly influenced the voting at the Parliament absurd. As we stated, we greeted the voting at the Macedonian Parliament to initiate the constitutional changes and the implementation of the Prespa Agreement – said Baily.

Two days ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused that the 8 votes from the opposition were secured by blackmail, threats and bribe.

“The MPs were closed in their offices, the mobile phones were taken away from them, which it seems is in the spirit of the European democratic practices. it should be mentioned that the US Ambassador was at the Parliament by the end of the session, something that puts doubt about who was managing this process” said the press release issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russian news agency “Sputnik” calls country “N. Macedonia”

Skopje, 24 October, 2018 - 15:56 (META) 

Russian news agency “Sputnik News”, formerly known as “RIA Novosti” and “Voice of Russia”, has already renamed the Republic of Macedonia to North Macedonia.

Under the headline “Greece, N. Macedonia have “started talking” despite “identity conflict”, the Russian agency that is part of the government’s media consortium “Rossiya Segodnya”, published an interview with Professor Neophytos Loizides from the University of Kent, UK, on Monday regarding the latest developments in the deal with Greece and the decades-long dispute between both countries, and called the country “N. Macedonia” in the headline.

Given the fact that it is a state news agency, which is directly under the head of the Russian government, the renaming could be understood as a signal of official Russian policy, that the constitutional changes in Macedonian Parliament are already ready in place, and Macedonia will accept the name North Macedonia, as the main segment of the Prespa Accord.

USA: Russian claims that we interfered in the vote in Parliament are disinformation

Washington, 24 October, 2018 - 12:30 (META) 

The US State Department assessed Russia’s accusations that the United States was involved in the recent vote in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, which gave the green light to start constitutional changes in the country, as unreasonable as an attempt to misinform and propaganda

“Any allegation that representatives of the US Embassy were involved in the voting process in Parliament are unreasonable and false. The United States welcomes the decision of the Macedonian Parliament to begin the constitutional changes necessary for the implementation of the Prespa Agreement with Greece. The United States believes that the Prespa Agreement is a historic opportunity to promote stability, security and prosperity throughout the region, ” said a State Department spokesman at a briefing in Washington answering a Greek journalist’s question, reports ANA-MPA.

The State Department suggests to those who want to explore how Macedonian MPs made their decision to do so in consultation with the MPs themselves, instead of using Russian disinformation and propaganda.

As Stavreski and Janakieski treated Russia on Stip pipeline, Macedonia picked up the bill

Skopje, 15 October, 2018 - 14:42 (META) 

With the agreement with Russia, to cover its share of the debt of the former USSR through the construction of the Klechovce-Stip pipeline, former Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski and former Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski wrote off the entire debt while Macedonia paid for its gas pipeline alone.

This was the conclusion from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in its explanation in their new investigation “Podarok” (Gift), which, together with five others, was launched last week.

According to the investigation, Stavreski, Janakieski, together with Krste Miladinov, the Director of Macedonian Energy Resources (MER) AD Skopje, in the period between January 2012 – July 2014, claimed an illegal property benefit for the Russian company OAO Stroytransgas from Moscow, in the amount of two billion and nine million denars , ie close to 33 million euros. These are the losses in the state budget, state the Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPO).

Stavreski and Janakieski, as representatives of the then Macedonian government, on June 19, 2010, concluded an agreement to repay Russia’s debt to Macedonia in the amount of 60.56 million US dollars through the delivery of goods, works and services. Then they agreed to include all the debt to build the Klechovce-Block Station 5 gas pipeline for a total amount of 75.7 million US dollars, or 55.64 million euros, with Russia participating in 80% of the construction and Macedonia with 20%.

According to the SJO, the ex-ministers made the deal despite a previous feasibility study that deduced it would cost between 30 and 35 million euros for the construction of the Klecovce-Stip pipeline, which is 36 kilometers longer than planned.

Despite having prior knowledge, they concluded the deal on the Russian debt, which made the Russian company a profit of 32.66 million euros due to the unfavorable agreement, and in fact, Macedonia paid for the pipeline alone, says the SPO.

Zakharova: Western countries want to bring Macedonia into NATO at any cost

Moscow, 4 October, 2018 - 15:11 (META) 

The West, as before, is trying to drag Macedonia into NATO, even after the referendum on the name change, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova at a weekly briefing in Moscow.

Zakharova said that “the obvious goal of the Western countries is to bring Macedonia into NATO at any cost”.

According to Zakharova, Russia’s position remains principled and unchanged, and that it is a long-term solution to the problem that the countries themselves can come to, without interference and pressure from the outside, because it turned out that this does not work.

“If we are talking about non-interference in internal affairs, then we must not agitate “for” or “against” if we talk about referendums. If we talk about non-interference in the internal affairs and respect of the law, including international ones, then the head of a bloc of states must not speak about a decision that should be passed by the Parliament of a country,” said the spokeswoman for the Russian MFA.

She also said she was surprised by the findings of the OSCE commission, which monitored the referendum in Macedonia.

“The great propaganda campaign by the West is presented in a positive way. It’s not normal. What would happen if it was Moscow urging the Macedonians to vote? It would immediately be understood as interfering in the interior affairs of a country. These are not just double standards, but abuse of social rules and norms,” added Zakharova.

Russian MFA: In the referendum, solutions imposed from the outside were boycotted

Moscow, 2 October, 2018 - 12:00 (META) 

The result of the referendum in Macedonia shows that voters have decided to boycott solutions imposed from outside, said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Leading politicians from NATO and the European Union were directly involved in the propaganda campaign, not refraining from interfering in the country’s internal affairs. Despite the fact that two thirds of the citizens of Macedonia did not support the Prespa Agreement, the results of the referendum were immediately welcomed by EU and NATO leaders, as well as from Washington. They are determined to include Skopje in NATO despite the opposite attitude of Macedonian citizens,” the Russia Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow, as they point out, continues to advocate a principled position that a long-term solution can be found only between the two countries, without interference from outside, and exclusively within the legal system and with broad public support.

“It is clear that the Prespa Agreement does not meet these criteria. It is contradictory to international law and the Macedonian Constitution, which was repeatedly emphasized by President Gjorge Ivanov, including his address to the UN General Assembly. Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is closely monitoring the situation. We think that in accordance with paragraph 3 of UN Security Council Resolution 845, the results of the negotiations between Skopje and Athens should be considered in the Security Council,” reads the statement.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Bazdnikin said in an interview with “Sputnik” that the fact of the matter is that the results of the vote confirmed that the referendum was void, given that only 36.9 per cent of the voters voted in the referendum, to get 50% plus one voter.

Stoltenberg: Russia is obstructing Macedonia’s accession into NATO and EU

Washington, 17 September, 2018 - 13:17 (META) 

NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, accused Russia that it obstructs Macedonia’s accession into the Alliance.

-Russia is trying to prevent Macedonia’s accession into NATO, similar to the situation in Montenegro where we saw an unsuccessful coup to overthrow the government – said the Secretary General during his speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

According to Stoltenberg, there are many examples of Russia trying to interfere in the political processes in various NATO countries and partner countries.

Mattis arrives in Skopje over possible Russian interference in referendum

Skopje, 17 September, 2018 - 13:17 (META) 

US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis landed at the Skopje International Airport this morning and was welcomed by Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska and US Ambassador Jess Bailey.

According to the announced agenda, Mattis is expected to meet Radmila Sekerinska, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and President Gjorge Ivanov today.

Yesterday, Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the Pentagon said that Mattis will urge Macedonian citizens to vote in the referendum and will also emphasize the five million dollars provided annually by the United States for security support.

“Russia seeks to convince the Macedonians that the West is going to abandon them, that Russia is the stable influence in the region. That is just not true. Changing Macedonia’s name and bringing the country into the alliance, would reduce Moscow’s influence. Macedonian accession to NATO is one of Russia’s worst nightmares,” Pahon told the New York Times.

The article by the American newspaper on Mattis’s visit quotes various Western diplomats, who say 40 new sites appear daily on Facebook to encourage people to boycott the referendum. These sites, which originate outside the country, fit into the pattern of Russian influence seen in other elections, say diplomats.

When Mattis announced the visit to Macedonia last week, he said he is coming to support Macedonia ahead of the upcoming referendum on the name and EU and NATO membership, but also to express concerns over possible Russian interference in the vote.

“It worries me … That kind of hardship that Russia is practicing from Estonia to the United States, from Ukraine and now to Macedonia, always adapts to a specific situation and has always been unacceptable,” said Mattis, when announcing the visit.