The statements of the new leadership of VMRO-DPMNE about turning to the West and clearing with the East come at a time when Macedonia takes a solid side with Euro-Atlantic allies in the diplomatic war against Russia. The coordinator of the VMRO-DPMNE Parliamentary Group, Dragan Donev, yesterday confirmed the words of Vice-president Aleksandar Nikoloski that London, Washington and Berlin, and not Moscow, are Macedonia’s partners, which brought unrest in the Russian ambassador to the country, Oleg Shcherbak said: “That’s the inconsistency of the leadership of the party that led to its shift from power.”
“Many Macedonian sons were tried, and have given their lives for an independent Macedonia, and in their sentences carried out during communism, in all of those without exception, it is written that they were for an independent Macedonia with a western orientation. It’s VMRO! Our goal is membership in the EU and NATO, because we share the same values. Any other policy does not bring good to Macedonia and is not aimed at stable Macedonia, it is aimed at restlessness and settling others’ accounts. We should be wise and stay strongly in this position,” said Danev.
Despite the declarative efforts to join the EU and NATO, former VMRO-DPMNE leaders did not mind flirting with Russia, and even today, there are wings in the party that are favorable to “Orthodox brothers”, as well as to the authoritative rule of the Vladimir Putin, and the public is openly talking about the presence of Russian citizens in the unrest in parliament on April 27 of last year.
“I know many members of VMRO-DPMNE who are strongly interested in deepening relations with Russia. As for the events in the Assembly, Russia has never interfered with the internal affairs of Macedonia. I assume that neither I, nor any of the employees of the Embassy were in, or around the parliament building,” assures Shcherbak.
The drastic change in the course of the main opposition party follows the change of Nikola Gruevski and the arrival of Hristijan Mickoski in the presidency. In the first few weeks, the attempts by the new leadership to get closer to the authorities in Brussels and Washington, which for years has had strained relations with Gruevski, have been visible because of the deviation from the path for the Euro-Atlantic organizations. Visits were organized in the world’s largest power centers, and it is not hidden that regular meetings are held in Skopje with the most influential ambassadors in the country.
Mickoski’s internal party opponents feel that it becomes clear that the new leadership cooperates with SDSM, and that they are controlled from the same place, and the quarrels are merely a mask for the public. Comparisons are made with the VMRO-DPMNE’s favorite sister party, the Croatian HDZ, where hard-line Ivo Sanader, who is suspected of looting the country, was replaced, and in turn his Brussels counterpart, Andrej Plenkovic, was installed.
Despite the visible Euro-orientation of the Macedonian political parties, the Russian ambassador once again “begs” to think twice before breaking down and entering the “aggressive military-political alliance”. Shcherbak believes that Macedonia will become a base of NATO, because the security situation will not improve, pointing to the example of the two countries members Greece and Turkey and the division of Cyprus, asking who will attack our country when all of our neighborhood are members of NATO, Serbia has a partnership with the organization, and the Macedonian sky is controlled from the West?
“If you become a member of this alliance, and NATO attacks Russia, then Macedonia will become the target of a retaliatory attack,” Shcherbak warned yesterday. Such a warning was broadcast by all the media in the country. However, he stressed that he was not threatened, but acted as a friend who wants to pinpoint the consequences of joining NATO. When it comes to the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from the country due to the “Skripal” case, that is, his spy activities, the ambassador says that the Macedonian MFA originally said that it was a matter of solidarizing with London and Washington, and nothing else.
“Macedonia will not, or does not want to give us evidence where and how he overstepped the diplomatic activity,” the head of the Russian Embassy said.
He says officials in Skopje have decided to take this hostile step under influence from outside, but adds that this does not free the Macedonian authorities from the negative consequences of bilateral relations. He pointed out that this hasty and short-cut decision is contrary to the declared official positions for the development of constructive and mutually good relations with Russia. In terms of what steps Russia will take in response, Shcherbak said that Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and has an old tradition in diplomacy, and will therefore carefully consider what and how to do.
“In diplomacy, the expulsion of a diplomat is a serious and hostile step, and in our time we will return with our answer. But this answer will be adequate,” stressed Shcherbak.
He asked London to cooperate in the investigation of the Skripal family’s nerve agent poisoning, and to provide evidence of Russian involvement, otherwise it would be considered that Russian citizens were assassinated in order to provoke tensions.