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.