We are publishing exclusive English translation of the interview given by our regular correspondent Andrew Korybko to the Macedonian edition “NetPress” on the failed coup d’etat in the country, US policy in the Balkans, Greek crisis and its regional implications, as well as alternative development models proposed by BRICS and other non-Western integration mechanisms to Macedonia and other states:
Now, after reaching the final agreement between the political actors in Macedonia, which was mediated by the EU and with involvement of the US (V.Nuland), we can finally say that the Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia has been crushed, together with the propaganda of the domestic and international elements involved in it. It seems that Macedonians chose their side and the ratings of VMRO-DPMNE led by Nikola Gruevski are now double the ones of the opposition SDSM led by Zoran Zaev. According to this agreement and considering the fact that their popularity is half as large as the one of the governing party, the opposition and their foreign mentors are now forced to go to elections where they will face the will of the Macedonian people. You have been following and reporting on the whole situation in Macedonia since the beginning of the coup d’état attempt, so according to you, who are the real winners and who are the real losers from this final agreement that leads to early elections?
The crisis appears to be defused for now, but that’s actually a misleading characterization. On the surface, yes, this has been a victory for the Macedonian people and their democracy since the Color Revolution didn’t succeed, but belowground, serious destabilizing undercurrents are still in effect. The deal gives Zaev, Soros, and their Color Revolutionary cadre time to regroup, rebuild, and reattempt their coup in April, but also, it gives Macedonia and her patriots the time to prepare in countering this, just as they brilliantly did back in May.
Therefore, the main uncertainty that I’m following until then is how effective will the next Color Revolution attempt be.
I don’t expect Zaev to have any chance whatsoever of winning, but if the elections are presided over by a transitional government that serves as an extension of his conspiratorial reach (and both are endorsed and recognized by the West), and if they produce a fraudulent result that hands Zaev the premiership, then what can Gruevski do?
More than likely, when the incumbent Prime Minister wins re-election by a comfortable majority in April 2016, the ‘opposition’ will stage some kind of large-scale destabilization. In fact, it might already be predetermined in Western capitals that if Gruevski wins, then they’ll automatically accuse the government of fraud. Think about it this way – so much time, resources, and diplomatic capital has been expended in overthrowing the government through both hard (Color Revolution, terrorism) and soft (upcoming election) means that the backers of this movement expect to receive some type of payback for their investment. They know that a Gruevski victory would give him the clear mandate to continue taking Macedonia along a multipolar path for the future, hence why if they can’t buy him off or reach some kind of ‘deal’ with him, then they need to politically take him out with a coup. I’m not saying they’ll succeed in this, but what I want to do is draw attention to their imperatives and how they’re assessing this entire situation.
Long story short – it looks like the crisis is solved and everything will be alright, but Macedonians need to brace themselves for any coming destabilization associated with this early election and be just as prepared to defend their homeland then as they were back in May. If they do that (which I have full faith they will), then Macedonian democracy and identity can be saved for the next generation.
The new Greek minster for Energy, Panos Skurletis, made it clear that Greece is still part of Balkan Stream Russian pipeline, while his predecessor Panayiotis Lafazanis emphasized that the EU, even at this moment, is making pressure aimed at stopping the project. Having in mind that the EU itself will benefit from supporting the realization of this project, it is not hard for one to conclude that they continue to act as a US proxy. So, how much of this servile attitude that the EU has taken is a result of the fact that the US is conducting massive surveillance (tapping phones and reading e-mails) of both French and German leaders and other officials? And what was Victoria Nuland actually doing on her Balkan tour?
There’s no doubt that personal blackmail is one of the key tactics that the US resorts to in order to retain control over the EU. By controlling the highest leaders, in this case Merkel and Holland, via wiretapping their private correspondences and undoubtedly coming across intimate, personal details, it keeps them in check and inhibits their ability to make independent policy decisions. But it actually goes much deeper than this, as I suspect that key individuals in the so-called ‘permanent bureaucracy’ are also being tapped. These are the people who stay in place within their respective ministries (be it the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, etc.) whenever the leadership cycles out. They’re supposed to be the reason that there’s political stability between administrations in a democracy, but at the same time, this tier can be exploited so that the US stabilizes its control over the country even if an independent candidate is elected to office. The wiretapping and personal blackmail touches all levels of the EU governments, and as such, none of them can truly be called independent. There might be some independent elements within them, but keep in mind that part of that structure is openly or secretly affiliated with the US (by choice or by blackmail) and will try its best to sabotage the patriots.
To talk about Nuland for a bit, I wrote a detailed two-part analysis on The Saker describing what she was up to in the Balkans. In sum, she came to spread threats and fear, and her message can be read not as one of victory and confidence in American control, but one of worry and trepidation that the region is on a trajectory to become independent of the US in the long run. Allow me to explain in brief. Although she doesn’t directly say it, she’s concerned that Republika Srpska’s expression of constitutional autonomy and their forthcoming referendum will keep all of Bosnia and Herzegovina out of the formal Euro-Atlantic sway. This is why she threateningly says that Bosnia might be “left behind for another twenty years” if it doesn’t “make crucial reform decisions now” (understood to be the destruction of Republika Srpska’s remaining autonomy and the whole country’s incorporation into the EU and NATO).
When it comes to Serbia, she hints that she wants the country to recognize ‘Kosovo’ as an independent state (which would force a constitutional referendum) in order for Belgrade to take the next step in its talks with the EU. Nuland specifies that this should happen by the end of the year, so one can expect even more pressure on Serbia in the near future as the US tries to force it to follow instructions. Looked at this way, the assassination attempt against Vucic in Srebrenica can be seen as a personal message telling him that he had better get in line with American objectives, or else…
It’s a bit similar with Macedonia, too. When she says that “the major political forces must stop squabbling”, she’s placing partial blame for the political crisis on the shoulders of the government, which isn’t an accurate depiction of reality. “The path to democratic reform sketched out by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn with US support” that she talks about is the upcoming early election, but it’s interesting she used the words “democratic reform”. A reform indicates some kind of change, so it demonstrates that the US expects there to be a degree of political change as a result of this election, which is what I spoke about in the earlier question. In Nuland’s view, Zaev’s victory (either by fraud or by coup) would be a so-called “democratic reform” that the US would immediately recognize, which is why Macedonians need to take care to prepare for another round of Color Revolution destabilization in April. Don’t forget that she ended her part about Macedonia by telling the country to “move on to settle the name issue with Greece” after the early election. Keeping in mind how she anticipates Zaev to be in power by then, it’s obvious that she’s betting on her proxy to sell the country’s identity almost right away as the ultimate price for entering the EU and NATO.
In Macedonia at the moment we have Soros activists, media, and journalists getting involved in this Syrian refugee crises situation and they are working really hard to spin stories that the state institutions are not doing well in handling the situation. But, it`s a well-known fact that where Soros is involved, there is some conspiracy that should raise the red alarm, so what is the real reason his mercenaries are now “defending” the refugees’ rights when it is well known that human rights are not even the last thing on Soros’ agenda?
The first thing that needs to be said is that Macedonia, a relatively small country with only 2 million people, is overwhelmed by the refugees that are passing through its borders. This problem is partially the fault of Greece, which is barely helping with its own border enforcement, but one must understand that it’s not doing this out of spite. Athens’ dire financial situation puts massive strain on the budgetary effectiveness of its border patrol and reorganizes the state’s immediate priorities, and the refugees are taking advantage of this as they journey northward towards the heart of Europe.
If Soros really cared about their well-being, he and his front organizations wouldn’t have supported the regime change operations in Libya and Syria that are the cause for their exodus in the first place. Even if he had a ‘change of heart’ afterwards, he should deal with the problem at its first point of entry (Greece) and not heave criticism on the states further down the line. Soros’ hypocrisy shows that he has some clever manipulations in mind by politicizing this issue in Macedonia.
The first thing to know is that this is all part of the information war against the government in the run-up to the early elections in April. Soros and his cronies want to tarnish the government in any possible way and mar its reputation at home and abroad, and using an easy and emotional target like the refugees that he himself helped create is thought to be one of the quickest ways in doing this. Their situation is easily exploited by his multimillion-dollar media companies in the country to craft tear-jerking sob stories devoid of meaning or context other than unjustifiably laying the blame for their suffering at the hands of the government. The implicit message being pushed is that Gruvski is somehow to blame (the audience isn’t supposed to ask how or why this is) and that life would be easier for the refugees if Zaev was in charge.
There’s another reason why Soros is exploiting the refugees, and it’s a lot more practical in terms of helping his regime change operation in the country. After propagating their plight and preconditioning the masses into expecting some form of response from them, Soros sets the stage for this demographic to directly participate in the Color Revolution attempt in April, either out of their ‘own will’ or as paid protesters. If the government detains them (either during the Color Revolution attempt or beforehand, simply because of their illegal status for example), Soros and his minions are prepared to allege discrimination in a bid to bait the Albanian Muslim minority into taking their side and turning against the government (which has been their long sought-after but failed plan).
It doesn’t stop there, however, since the ultimate intent is for some of the tens of thousands of refugees that transit through Macedonia to be recruited into terrorist organizations opposed to the government. Hungary stated that at least 90,000 people have illegally entered the country so far this year, and that they expect a total of 300,000 by year’s end. Most of them likely came from the southern route, meaning that they passed through Macedonia at some time or another. Taking into account an extremely conservative estimate that 1% of them could be terrorists, then that calculates to nearly 1,000 terrorists so far (and up to 3,000 by the end of the year) coming into Macedonia for an unspecified amount of time. To put it another way, that’s about 100x the number of terrorists that were killed during the Kumanovo attack. If just a handful of these highly trained and extraordinarily violent individuals remain in Macedonia and/or train their affiliates there before leaving northward (perhaps for permanent deployment in Serbia or Bosnia), then that could have a disastrous impact on the country’s security situation, to say nothing of the tantalizing possibility that the Color Revolutionaries would link up with such elements in order to work together in destabilizing the government.
At the end of the day, the sad reality is that the refugees are nothing more than human shields and cannon fodder for a potential Color Revolution and Unconventional War, and this threat affects Macedonia just as much as it does Greece, Serbia, and Bosnia at the moment.
From everything that was happening this last period in Greece regarding the referendum and the EU`s attitude towards it, there is a large impression that instead of respecting it, Brussels in fact despises democracy. The EU officials and the Greek pro-European opposition took a firm stance against the referendum, while pressuring voters with the fear that the NO vote would mean getting kicked out of the Eurozone. The media propaganda was very much active, too, as one survey published by part of the Greek press proved that all the Greek TV channels, except for the public broadcaster, were incredibly biased towards the EU and the YES vote. This was proven by counting the time that the 6 national TV channels had dedicated to the YES and the NO rallies that were organized before the referendum. The results were 47 minutes of coverage and reports about the YES rally vs. a disappointing 9 minutes for the NO rally. What kind of European “values” can we talk about today when the EU is so opposed to democracy and so dedicated to propaganda, pressure, and of course, their banks?
All of its rhetoric aside, looking at its substance, the EU isn’t about democracy whatsoever. As we see from the Lisbon Treaty saga last decade, if something doesn’t pass the democratic vote of the people, they keep repeatedly pushing it and scaring the people until they capitulate. The end game is already predetermined, but they use the ‘democratic’ vote as an unquestionable ‘rubber stamp’ to ‘legitimize’ their decisions afterwards. Democracy is thus reduced to nothing more than a manipulatable tool to be used when Brussels needs a façade of outside support for whatever controversial measure it may be.
In the latest case of Greece, they did their best to intervene in the country’s sovereign affairs by influencing the democratic vote, and when they failed (which they were surprised had happened), they came down with vengeful wrath against Tsipras and humiliatingly forced him into accepting most of the measures that the YES vote would have brought anyhow. But still, the Greek vote of resistance and the population’s understanding of Tsipras’ impossible situation (the latest polls show he’s retained a majority of political support and that most people don’t want to leave the EU) give hope to those who believe in using democracy as a weapon against autocracy, and actually, there are a couple other recent examples that show how ironically scared the EU is of the very thing it purportedly claims to espouse.
Look at the EU’s reaction to the Crimea referendum, for example. Brussels immediately imposed sanctions on Russia and to this day refuses to recognize the democratic will of the people there, who are clearly happy with their choice. Or how about pro-Macedonian rally held in Skopje in late May? The nearly 100,000 people that actively came out to patriotically show their support for Macedonian sovereignty and independence vastly outnumbered the 10,000 or so anti-government Color Revolutionaries that lazily loitered in the square the day before. This unexpected expression of democracy shocked Brussels, which then scrambled to postpone the embarrassing failure of a Color Revolution that it had miserably launched and frantically push it back until April, just enough time for it to hope to regain some of the enormous ground that it lost and recruit more supporters (and refugees) for the second round. Finally, we see Nuland, Mogherini, and Sarajevo’s hysterical reaction to Republika Srpska’s planned referendum on whether it will recognize the illegal anti-Dayton Court and Prosecutor’s office being planned by the High Commissioner. The EU knows that the locals will resoundingly vote against it, hence why they don’t want the vote to take place, or if it does occur, they want to use it as a trigger for blaming the autonomous republic for the rest of the country’s instability and failure, and find a way to punish it afterwards.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that democracy is a threat to the EU and US’ power over the people of Europe, and that Macedonia and Serbia are the only two places in the Balkans that can reverse the tide of Western domination. Neither of them are fully integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures (Bosnia is occupied because of Dayton and Montenegro will likely join NATO this year), so they have a real chance of setting a vibrant and democratic example for the rest of Europe to follow. Grassroots citizen promotion of multipolarity, BRICS, and the advantage of a balanced geopolitical policy can go a long way towards influencing each country’s respective government to make a solid step in that direction. In fact, Prime Minister Gruevski has been leaning towards such positions for the past couple of years, and the EU knows that if he wins the next election with a clear mandate, he’ll have the support he needs for a more robust geopolitical pivot. It’s for these reasons that Brussels fears democracy in Macedonia and why they wanted to overthrow Gruevski to begin with, and hence why there’s a real risk they’ll try to interfere with the upcoming elections.
In your last interview with Luciano Coutinho, The President of the Brazilian Development Bank, you asked if the BRICS Development Bank could also assist some of the Balkan countries who are not in the EU, such as Macedonia and Serbia, and his answer was positive. Can you tell us more about the possible future of this cooperation?
I think this is the most significant news story of the year to be ignored by Macedonian mainstream media, and every citizen needs to know about it. I conducted an interview with Luciano Coutinho for Radio Sputnik while in Ufa for the BRICS Summit, and he said that Macedonia could definitely receive funding from the New Development Bank in the future. This is monumental because it means that the country finally has an economic alternative other than the EU, and that Euro-Atlantic integration isn’t the only form of integration in the world. Working alongside the BRICS countries can be many times more profitable for Macedonia, and not only that, but it would preserve the country’s sovereignty and identity since the non-West won’t ever force it to change its name as a prerequisite for equal cooperation. Macedonia already has two inroads with BRICS as it is, and that’s through its potential cooperation with Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline project and China’s high-speed rail project from Budapest to Piraeus that goes through the country. It would make sense to capitalize off of these two opportunities and carry them even further into the future, since both can combine to form a super corridor of investment that would allow Macedonia to fulfill its destiny as the geopolitical interconnector for the entire region.
The New Development Bank stated that it plans to announce its first projects around April 2016, but that it wants to focus on its five core members first before branching out to other countries. Realistically speaking, it might take the organization a year or two to get the hang of things and learn how to most efficiently utilize its resources, so it could perhaps begin working with Macedonia and others around 2017 or 2018. It must be said, however, that Mr. Coutinho was adamant that the New Development Bank assist developing economies, not those in the EU, so if Macedonia is incorporated into that structure by the time BRICS looks for external development partners, then it would be ineligible for such cooperation and lose out on this amazing chance.
One needs to remember that in order for Macedonia to even join the EU (and as pointed out once more again by Nuland), the country needs to “move on to settle the name issue with Greece” (i.e. change its name and identity as the ultimate sacrifice), and this isn’t going to happen with Gruevski, who patriotically supports all things Macedonian. Zaev, however, is another story, and if he seizes power, he wouldn’t lose a moment’s time in trading Macedonia’s identity for membership in the EU. That’s not exactly a wise economic idea right now as anyone can see, since the Union is in the midst of an existential crisis over Greece, and even if it survives intact, it’s incapable of helping any of its newer members as it originally promised to do back in the early 2000s. Looking at how modern Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia have turned out, Macedonia doesn’t have anything to hope for other than having its economic growth siphoned off by Germany to help pay for any losses Berlin might receive from Greek debt. It’s therefore in the country’s absolute best interests to hold out as long as possible in the present conditions and stay outside of the EU so that it doesn’t get caught up in the financial, political, and social contagion associated with the bloc (which will only intensify in the coming future before it recovers, if at all).
Being out of the EU is precisely what Macedonia needs in order to receive the benefits of BRICS financing, and given that the EU likely won’t begin to show solid signs of political and economic recovery until 2018 anyhow (when BRICS is likely to begin looking for external partners), Macedonia has nothing to lose by remaining outside of the bloc until then. If the EU isn’t back on track by then (and it’s doubtful it will be, or if it is, it may no longer be attractive to most Macedonians), then Macedonia can work with BRICS, and if BRICS for whatever reason isn’t an option by then, Macedonia could also continue its European integration tract. The country literally has nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by working with BRICS, but by prematurely jumping into the EU by selling its identity and entering the bloc amidst its worst crisis ever, the risks could greatly outweigh any potential dividends, and of course, such a decision would forever preclude BRICS cooperation.
Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives in Moscow.