Blackmail and threats

Nikola Popovski

It is already clear as daylight that in 2019 the EU will not make a decision to start Macedonia’s EU accession negotiations due to France’s negative stance towards our country and that the issue will be re-examined in 2020, although we already know that in 2020 the Union will announce that the issue will be considered in 2021, and until we decide for ourselves what is our goal and realize what we want for ourselves in the future. We have been hearing the decision to delay the decision for 15 years now, and it will probably still be announced two or three days after the date Macedonia, and especially its government, swore that it would be historic and would justify any concessions it made to its neighbors who are already members of the European Union and are constantly threatening with their power to veto.
Frankly, France’s decision comes as no surprise. It is a result of the France’s frustrations of the history of this country in the previous century and its conviction that they are some great and an important force in the world that has to make big “no” decisions when everyone else is “in favor” and aware that they are not. You remember how that “great” France was trampled militarily and economically in World War II, and eventually had to be liberated by foreign armies, namely those of the United States and Great Britain, so that it would not be liberated by the Soviet Red Army and march into Paris? I’m sure you remember that.
You know that during last and the beginning of this century the size of France’s economy, measured by the volume of its GDP, was surpassed by the economies of Japan, Germany and the PR of China, and that they are on their way to be surpassed by four other economies in the world in the next 2-3 decades? These are frustrations that need to be healed.
Macedonia is a great opportunity for that. Along with Albania. And the best occasion was Brexit for which the French were and still are most interested. Without the presence of Great Britain, Germany is the only one left that is bigger and more powerful than France, and they dream of Napoleon’s unfulfilled dream that they will one day be the biggest in Europe. Russia, of course, is excluded from the analysis, although it is in itself sufficient for the dream to be impossible to have.
Moreover, France and its political elites now tell us that for them the “Prespa Agreement has nothing to do with it” and that “it is a historic agreement, but it is not directly related to the enlargement process, so it should not be expected that the agreement will unblock the enlargement process”. They probably think that the country’s name has not been changed to unblock Macedonia’s NATO and EU integration processes, but that Macedonia was unhappy with its name, and after the country changed its name it finally found happiness. I’m sorry I have to say it this way, but France is pitiful for thinking this. But let’s leave it to finish playing its game.
The only thing we should thank this country for is the fact that its move will protect us from the additional embarrassment that it has formally stated that Bulgaria wants to impose on us. Poor Bulgaria, as well. The country believes that it will erase all its past frustrations with blackmail towards Macedonia and especially towards the Macedonian people. In turn, they want us to start EU membership negotiations by apologizing for the dirty games they played during the Ilinden period and then their occupation and atrocities during World War II and that we will publicly deny our existence ourselves, announcing that from most ordinary Macedonians we want to become their second-class Bulgarians. The chance of that happening is highly unlikely.
On this occasion when we celebrated the day of our uprising against fascist occupation and fascism as a phenomenon we should remind ourselves that this uprising was neither accidental nor unexpected, and that it was not at all shocking that it was raised by a small group of young people organized within the party, which had no more than a thousand members, but with a clear purpose and an idea how to achieve it. Within just four years after the uprising, the small but significant number of Prilep insurgents by the beginning of 1945 had grown into a hundred-thousand Macedonian National Liberation Partisan Army and provided the foundations of the modern Macedonian state. It was then born to stay, not to be subject to daily blackmail of the defeated.
In a short, 80-pages long booklet published in 1979, the commander of the Macedonian Partisan Army, General Mihajlo Apostolski, responded to the memoir book of Bulgarian Tsola Dragoycheva, secretary of the BCP during World War II and later a long-time member of the Politburo of BCP. In the book, she outlines her Greater Bulgarian and nationalist attitudes toward Macedonia and Macedonians, but Apostolski reminds her in his reply: The main forge that Dragoycheva makes in her memoirs is the nation-wide armed uprising of the Macedonian people that began on October 11, 1941, a four-year bloody battle with Bulgarian fascism and the results of the uprising. There is not a word about it, because it is clear that all that the Macedonian people achieved in the National Liberation War, what they are achieving today is the result of their armed struggle. That is why Dragoycheva does not mention a word of the creation of the People’s Liberation Army, the people’s government, she does not mention the creation of the Communist Party of Macedonia in the height of the war, the decisions of the historic ASNOM First Session”. Apostolski’s response seems to be the only answer not only to the then negative position he calls Great-Bulgarian and not only to the misguided Bulgarian strategy during World War II, but to today’s Bulgarian policy that has not changedat all. Namely, today’s Bulgarian policy towards Macedonia is almost, if not completely identical to that of Bulgarian fascists and Bulgarian communists after 1948.
The problem is that these Bulgarian policies were then covered by Hitler’s Nazi Germany and later mentored by Soviet socialism in the form of Informbiro revenge, and today they are silently shamed by the EU. One in which everyone stands for human rights and democracy and in which France, in Britain’s already visible absence and defensive for Merkel’s health reasons, wants to be the chief political arbiter. But as such, it is closer to Marshal Philippe Pétain’s Vichy France than to the one of antifascist De Gaulle.
Probably the biggest burden in this entire problem is that we ourselves have failed to provide an adequate answer for ourselves and the world. An answer, for instance, in the form of fighting crime, fighting corruption, protecting the law-abiding state, rule of law and dignified institutions. Unfortunately, we deliver impunity for crime, combining crime of all party and ideological colors, booming corruption, top state officials (former and current) who have been dragged into criminal courts during their entire mandate and no visible progress. In such conditions, even without stupid blackmail, we will not prosper.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik