Former Prime Minister and President Branko Crvenkovski is a man of principles. And now that the former Intelligence head Zoran Verushevski has publicly said that the so-called”bombs” from the wiretapped conversations had been handed over to the then SDSM leader and then were “modified”, he has maintained his position not to comment on any of it. He simply does not make a statement to the media on any subject. It is his decision, and all we can do is respect it.
It’s a pity, because I’m sure that the public would’ve wanted to hear why he, while he was the SDSM leader, did not publish the wiretapped conversations that compromised the then-government. Was it the lack of courage, did he suspect that the recordings were “cut, glued and altered”, or did he estimate that they would not cause a political earthquake? Is it, after all, true what Verushevski claims, who shied away from the “bombs” during the “Target-Fortress” trial?
Well, if he continues talking, it would be nice of him to say what he thinks about the the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office’s term, Katica Janeva’s arrest, the negotiations on the prosecution law, DUI’s lightness of being, SDSM’s changes in staff, Nikola Gruevski’s flight from justice, Hristijan Mickoski and VMRO-DPMNE’s politics, etc.There are many interesting questions here, especially if we start digging into the past.
But, Crvenkovski chooses to remain silent. After retiring as president, and it’s been six years since, he has rarely come out in public to discuss politics. The last time in June this year he was speaking at a regional conference “EU Enlargement at Crossroads” held in Skopje. He then made it clear that if we do not get a date for negotiations now, that would be proof of his lack of leadership and vision in Brussels for the future of the Western Balkans. He added that the Prespa Agreement had eliminated the biggest obstacle to our Euro-Atlantic integration process. The very change in the constitutional name for overall use was painful and dramatic for many of our citizens, which was also confirmed during the referendum, which is why it’s about time for our country to receive the well-deserved reward in the form of a date for EU accession negotiations. In the end, he concluded that the people of this region were often not ready, nor willing to carry out serious and painful reforms unless we were not exposed to serious outside pressure.
Interestingly enough, in that same speech, Crvenkovski said that being a former president or prime minister meant speaking on his own behalf, not on behalf of the country’s official authority, but that it did not diminish responsibility, yet increased freedom of speech.
However, Crvenkovski rarely exercises his freedom of expression. And that might be fine if the former president returned to his previous job, or found another job, or maybe moved abroad. In a word, to step down from public life and politics.
But in his case, there is a catch. He uses the benefits of the controversial law that gives former presidents the right to receive a life-long pension, as well as an office, associates, and a security staff. All of this is paid by the country, i.e. each of us through the state budget. For him and Gjorge Ivanov, we allocate 300,000 Euros each year. Therefore, he cannot completely distance himself from what is happening in our society. Crvenkovski is one of the most important political figures since the country’s declaration of independence, and therefore his thoughts and opinions spark public interest.
I’m sure he is sick of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the country, ranging from criminal privatization, up to the fact that the national football team never competed in some major competition. But pensioner Crvenkovski must not behave as if he never met Crvenkovski, the politician.