Tuesday, October 17, 2017


OHMSS - On His Macedonian Secret Service - George “Lazenby” Lazarevski 

by Sasha Uzunov

EARLIER SERB SPY STORY casts doubts over new spy claims? - can Borjan Jovanovski / George Lazarevski’s claims be believed? 

Former Macedonian intelligence officer George Lazarevski says he was one of the spies who leaked the secret recordings which brought down the Macedonian government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, implying that he was acting on his own rather on the orders of a foreign intelligence service, according to a USAID funded news website, OCCRP.

USAID is the official US government run international aid agency. see link here for its recent operations in Macedonia…

The leaked wiretaps were later used by Macedonian Opposition leader Zoran Zaev to bring down the Gruevski government in 2016 and eventually take-over as Prime Minister during what became know as the Colour Revolution movement, largely funded by the West. 

The OCCRP story

"Lazarevski was one of the three Macedonian intelligence agents who helped topple the allegedly corrupt and authoritarian regime of the then-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski by leaking hundreds of thousands of audio files. The recordings had been made by regime loyalists from his agency while illegally wiretapping thousands of Macedonians over three years.

"Lazarevski had known about the massive interception of conversations -- which took place without court orders -- since 2008. But when he saw special forces raiding A1 TV, a station that had been critical of the government, he finally had enough.

"“It was a shock for us,” Lazarevski remembered.

““I did not expect to experience such a thing in Macedonia,” he told OCCRP.”

Surprisingly, in all the claims of corruption against Gruevski, probably true in some or most cases, his coalition partner from the Albanian nationalist party DUI, Ali Ahmeti, ended up smelling like a bouquet of roses. It beggars belief that somehow Ahmeti, a former terrorist who started the 2001 war in Macedonia, wasn’t involved in any of the action or taking a piece of the pie. It has been a very selective look at corruption, bypassing Ahmeti, the other Albanian parties as well as SDSM, the Social Democrats of Macedonia, Zaev’s party. Ahmeti has a powerful patron in the United States. That’s his trump card. 

The author of the OCCRP article is Borjan Jovanovski, a prominent Macedonian journalist of Serb background, who was part of Serb-Macedonian “collective team” involving Serb journalist Stevan Dojcinovic of KRIK, an affiliate of OCCRP based in Belgrade which “broke” a Serbian spy scandal story alleging Russian-Serb interference in Macedonia, allegedly inciting the 27 April 2017 attack in the Macedonian Parliament on Zaev and his deputy Radmila Sekerinska., who was violently assaulted by having her hair yanked. The culprit has since been quite rightly jailed (see photo below):

But the whole story smelled right from the start. Team Uzunov acting on a tip from a British source that something was being cooked in Macedonia, contacted Jovanovski about two weeks before the parliamentary attack asking if he was aware of possible Russian-Serb interference in Macedonia. He aggressively denied such a scenario. See link here

Jovanovski is also known for his aggressive anti Macedonian and pro Serb-Yugoslavist views, which the US Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, has not denied. see link here and here

A fortnight passed then all hell broke loose and Jovanovski was claiming Serb-Russian interference in Macedonia. How and why did he change his view so quickly? How was it possible to put together the story so quickly if only weeks before he was denying such a possibility? 

However, he refuses to back up his claims by holding or calling for a protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, even though he has called for protests against all Hungarian Embassies in Europe over Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s tough stance on illegal migrants.


But the story gets more interesting… the Zaev government has endorsed the man allegedly at the centre of the parliamentary attack, Serb President Alexander Vucic, whose embassy and whose intelligence officer are implicated. This remains very strange, almost sounds like collusion.

It’s no coincidence that this fear of “Russian interference” in Macedonia via Serbia was used as a pretext by incoming Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimtrov to get into NATO as quickly as possible, even if it meant changing Macedonia’s name to appease Greek nationalist demands; give in to the Albanian nationalist bloc in Macedonia over bilingualism which would mean federalisation and eventually partition; and giving up its ethnic minorities in neighbouring countries such Bulgaria with a so called but one-sided “Good Neighbourly Agreement.”


If the whole basis for the Serb Spy story is dodgy then it places a large question mark over the credibility of Lazarevski and his claims; that he hasn’t been put up to it by a foreign intelligence service to cover its tracks. Consider this: who would be the most likely candidate as the foreign intelligence service behind Lazarevski and the whole wiretapping scandal in Macedonia?

CLUES? - RENDITION OF EL MASRY- close US-Macedonian intelligence cooperation…

Macedonia is firmly in the Western camp. You might recall the Khaled El Masri rendition / torture scandal from 2003.

The innocent German Lebanese man arrested in Macedonia at the behest of the United States and handed over to the CIA. El Masri was taken to Afghanistan and “rendered" on the mistaken belief he was an Islamic terrorist. 

The European Court of Human Rights later awarded El Masri compensation when he sued the Republic of Macedonia and was scathing in its judgment of El Masri’s mistreatment. link here 

UBK is Macedonian intelligence and it regularly consults on counter-terrorism with the United States, namely the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Thursday, October 05, 2017

ZAEV & ORBAN - can they get along?

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s advisor Bojan Maricic.

by Sasha Uzunov

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the politician you either love or hate. It’s no secret that he has been very close to ex Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski and in response reviled by supporters of the current Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev. The question is can Hungary and Macedonia still work together in light of Macedonia wanting to join the EU and NATO, both of which Hungary is a member?

The very close relationship between Orban (left in photo) and Gruevski (centre) - see link here

PM Zaev’s closest advisor Bojan Maricic, back in his role in an EU funded NGO, attacked Orban by  demanding Orban return his Order of Macedonia medal, awarded by President George Ivanov, over the Hungarian PM’s “authoritarian” rule. see link to story

Joining the invective against the combative Orban has been very influential Macedonian journalist of Serb background Borjan Jovanovski. Jovanovski demanded that protests should be held outside every Hungarian embassy in Europe over Orban’s tough stance on illegal immigration.

Serb President Tomislav Nikolic’s tough stand on illegal immigrants

Orban also stands accused of conducting espionage against Macedonia. A former Macedonian intelligence officer Alexander Dinevski has levelled charges against him. Dinevski was convicted of espionage in 2014 and went to prison. He claimed he was a victim of then PM Gruevski. Oddly, the current Zaev government hasn’t overturned Dinevski’s conviction. background to Dinevski story here

The level of intense animosity aimed at Orban has been remarkably high in comparison to say Serbian politicians. For instance when Serb President Tomislav Nikolic called for exactly the same tough approach to illegal immigrants, there were no calls for protest outside all Serb Embassies in Europe by Jovanovski. In fact Jovanovski stubbornly refuses to call for any protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, despite claiming to be an internationalist. Likewise Maricic. (see below for more details).

Serbia is alleged to have interfered in Macedonia at Russia’s bidding. Jovanovski one minute says there is no Serbian interference, next minute says there is Serbian interference. It’s hard to know either way because of the inconsistency in Jovanovski’s views. see link to story for more here

In another example of inconsistency a protest was held in Skopje, Macedonia against Croatian MEP Marijana Petir for endorsing Nikola Gruevski last year. When Serb President Nikolic, who has been a strong supporter of Gruevski, arrived in Macedonia in the same year, no protests were held against him. see story here

TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Zoltan Kovacs, Orban’s spokesman, for a response over the appointment of Maricic as PM Zaev’s advisor. Kovacs has instead passed it on to the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry for comment. As yet no response has been forthcoming.

The question remains can PM Zaev have any working relationship with Orban, a critical NATO ally in Eastern Europe, if his supporters and advisors hold an animosity towards the Hungarian PM not displayed towards other politicians in the region who stand accused of similar if not worse transgressions?

Alexander Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister now elected as President, has locked up over 80 political opponents and journalists as part of a campaign to clamp down on dissent over his rule. see link to story here

Kosovo strongman Hashim Thaci presides over massive crime and corruption involving the vile trafficking of human organs (see link here), something which Orban is not known to have been involved in.
TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Bojan Maricic 2016 and received a response but he wouldn’t answer the questions we posed to him:

9 March 2016 

Bojan Maricic: Thank you for your message and I am sorry for the delayed answer. The questions you ask demand extensive elaboration, so please give me few more days to clean-up my schedule and write you back. By then, I need to tell you that you have very interesting approach analyzing the phenomenon of cultural hegemony in Macedonia. With some of your statements I agree while some I see as reductionist but let me elaborate on this in my answers.

Question 1: I have noticed you haven't said much about the Serbian nationalist antics of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and his Prime Minister Alexander Vucic. Any reason why?

Question 2: You haven't for instance called for demonstrations outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the 14 May 2015 rehabilitation of ultra nationalist Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic who was anti Macedonian, Croat and Albanian, nor the provocative comments from Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic over Macedonia's support for Kosovo's UNESCO application. Could you explain why? 

Question 3: It would appear both major parties in Macedonia, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM still view BELGRADE as a powerful influence in Macedonia. You have a controversial US-Serb businessmen by the name of Veselin Jevrosimovic who owns a large chunk of the Macedonian media (newspapers and one tv station) and is pro PM Gruevski and you had SDSM recently use on "trial" a controversial Belgrade PR company called Ruskin & Hunt, whose managing director Miljan Skecic was connected to indicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj.

Are you concerned that the Serbian tabloids which spin such virulent anti west sentiment have enormous influence in Macedonia and Macedonian politics? In your opinion what can be done to counter the hostile propaganda from BELGRADE?

Question 4: On New Years Eve 2016 all four commercial TV stations in Macedonia played hour after hour after hour of Serbian turbo folk music and I have received many complaints from Macedonian artists who say the Macedonian entertainment industry is being deliberately strangled by the government who have a vested interested in importing the likes of Ceca etc. Your thoughts on this "re-Belgradisation of Macedonian culture?"

Question 5: It's very rare in any modern democratic state for the President or the Prime Minister to appoint a sibling (brother / sister) or a cousin as the Chief of Intelligence. Isn't it outrageous for PM Gruevski to have had his first cousin Saso Mijalkov as Intelligence boss? Your thoughts on the so called "putsch?"

Question 6: Nothing from you on Greek governing party Syriza trying to block Croatian MEP Marijana Petir from establishing a Euro Parliamentary group, Friends of Macedonia. Any Reason? Croatia and the Croatian communities abroad took an active role in lobbying for diplomatic recognition of Macedonia in 1991-92 whilst SERBIA opposed it.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


by Sasha Uzunov
Skopje, Macedonia

A high ranking British source has given Team Uzunov leaked emails from USAID, a US government aid agency, detailing the funding of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Macedonia obsessed with attacking so called Macedonian nationalism but deliberately ignoring Albanian nationalism and Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia. One of the leaked emails is from Delina Fico, the ex wife of controversial Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, the man behind the Tirana Platform, which aims to federalise and partition Macedonia.

Ms Fico is with the East West Management Institute, a US thnk tank closely linked to USAID and responsible to handing out millions in US tax payer dollars in “aid.”

The emails involve discussions between Ana Piskacheva of USAID office in Macedonia, and Ivona Krstevska from National Youth Council of Macedonia (NYCM) - an NGO obsessed with attacking Macedonian nationalist monuments as part of the controversial Skopje 2014 project started by the previous Nikola Gruevski government.

The emails reveal the close collaboration between USAID and NYCM. In one of the emails Ms Krstevska reveals meeting some very serious players involved in some very serious games and getting an undertaking to be funded by USAID.. In one of the emails, Ms Krstevska reveals that during a meeting with USAID individual questions were not able to be asked. In another comment she jokingly admonishes a colleague for being interested in the money rather than the activism.

Pavle Bogoevski (above), one of the leading Colour Revolutionaries in Macedonia, later elected to the Macedonian Parliament at the December 2016 election. Falsely accused by Serb Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic of fomenting trouble in Serbia and in response Bogoevski revealed he was of Serbian heritage who doesn’t protest againt Serbian nationalism.

"Малку познато за мене, јас сум четвртина Србин. Баба ми е родена во прешевскиот крај, имам роднини и често одам таму.”

If Bogoevski is an “internationalist” why does he feel the need to tell people about or to advertise his part ethnic Serb heritage but attacks others for being proud of their ethnic Macedonian heritage? That’s a contradiction - in fact its chauvinistic. 

The Colour Revolution, a “civic” movement in Macedonia, funded by USAID in part, began in 2015 ostensibly to protest against corruption within the then Macedonian government (2006-16), a coalition of the conservative Macedonian party VMRO-DPMNE and the Albanian nationalist party DUI, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. A series of leaked secret recordings alleging corrupt behaviour by PM Gruevski were released by Opposition Leader Zoran Zaev from SDSM, the Social Democrats, which gave the European Union and the US an opening to intervene, forcing Gruevski to resign and for new elections to be held. But interestingly no secret recordings involving alleged corrupt behaviour from DUI leader Ali Ahmeti were ever released.

In December 2016 elections were held with VMRO-DPMNE gaining the most seats but unable to form government - straight after the election on 7 January 2017 - Macedonian Orthodox Christmas - the various Albanian parties, including DUI,  from Macedonia congregated in Tirana, the Albanian capital, proclaimed what became known as the Tirana Platform, a deliberate list of unjustified nationalistic demands that could not be realistically met without the eventual dissolution of the Macedonian state, as the price for giving its support to any Macedonian party in forming a coalition government. Eventually SDSM formed government with Albanian support and with an undertaking in making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia, the first steps in formal federalisation and partition of Macedonia. see link here

The Zaev government later signed a “good neighbourly agreement” with Bulgaria, a US ally and member of both the EU and NATO, which in effect surrendered Macedonian identity and history to Bulgaria and gave up concern for ethnic Macedonians in that country. This was the price for gaining Sofia’s support for Macedonia in joining the EU and NATO, which has been blocked by Greece. see link here 

On 27 April 2017 a violent confrontation broke out in the Macedonian parliament with alleged Russian interference via Serbia but oddly no protests were ever held outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital. Ironically, some pushing this claim of Russian interference via Serbia hold Serb nationalist views despite being pro US. see link here

Talat Xhaferi, a Macedonian Army officer who deserted to join the ethnic Albanian terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army offshoot in Macedonia during the 2001, was controversially elected as Parliamentary Speaker by SDSM. In 2013 he became Defence Minister under the Gruevski government.

The Russian scare became the pretext for newly appointed Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov to get Macedonia into NATO and the EU as quickly as possible even if it meant surrendering Macedonia’s name and identity to do so.

2016 - Porta Macedonia in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, under 
attack from the Colour Revolution. Photo: BBC


Macedonian monuments, depicting Ancient Macedonian history, were targeted with paint but Albanian nationalist monuments were untouched. Many of the leading activists are of Serbian background, Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovic, and current Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska who have attacked Macedonian nationalism but have refused to protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over rising Serbian nationalism and alleged interference in Macedonia.

Jovanovic, a Serb from the Macedonian town of Kumanovo, is one of the founders of the Levica (Leftist) Movement which purports to be a Marxist movement though its name and ideas have been ripped off from the Yugoslav Levica - set up by the wife of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic in the early 1990s. Jovanovic has since become an economics advisor to the current Macedonian government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, heavily endorsed by the United States.

In an official statement from the US Embassy in Macedonia (which you can see below at the end of the story), the spokeswomen doesn’t deny that the individuals mentioned above are racist but says they have a right to their identity or view. It’s an odd statement to make. Perhaps a Freudian Slip? An inadvertent admission of the US Embassy and USAID using people with a genuine hatred of Macedonians?

In 2016, a visiting Croatian politician Marijana Petir, a Member of the European Parliament, was hit with a protest organised by Jovanovic’s Levica  against for endorsing Nikola Gruevski but Serb politicians such as the then President Tomislav Nikolic who have endorsed Gruevski were unmolested during visits to Macedonia. see link here 

Some Macedonians see this as a form of racism and point to examples in Australia where white Australians who attack Australian Aboriginal identity are liable to racial vilification charges.


The Colour Revolution’s rationale was to protest against corruption and nationalism in Macedonia but it deliberately focused on so called Macedonian nationalism, which in 2,000 years has not started a war. Some critics see this as a deliberate plan to force Macedonia to change its name and federalise the country to satisfy Greek, Bulgar and Albanian nationalist demands.

Macedonians have historically been the victims of brutal Greek, Bulgar and Serb colonialisation beginning in 1912-13 with the partition of their country after 500 years of Ottoman Turkish occupation.

In 1991 Macedonia broke away from Serbian dominated Yugoslavia and declared its independence and has been blocked by Greece at every stage - touchy about its mistreatment of its Macedonian minority.

When Macedonia broke away from Yugoslavia, the traditional pro Serb-Yugoslavist grouping in Macedonia split into two factions - one remaining aligned with Serbia and anti US and the other throwing in its lot with the US. Both factions are opposed to an independent Macedonian culture and deliberately use the mis-label of “nationalism” to describe any assertive Macedonian behaviour. This faction tries to present itself as “internationalist” and pays lip service in criticising Serb, Albanian, Greek or Bulgar nationalism. Criticism usually amounts to a Tweet or an article only but no protests. Protests are directed at Macedonian “nationalism” instead.

Prominent media and political individuals such Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovski, and Radmila Sekerinska belong to this latter faction.

A monument to an Albanian nationalist and Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa in the ethnic Albanian village of Simnica in western Macedonia has remained immune from any paint balls or protests. Nor have there been any complaints from the EU or the US for that matter.

Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa

Likewise monuments to the Kosovo Liberation Army in Macedonia prior to 2006 have also been given a wide berth by “activists” and silence from Brussels and Washington.

Below photos taken prior to 2004 show a KLA monument on the Slupcane-Matejce road, outside Skopje, the capital.

In 2001, the KLA together with its local offshoot in Macedonia the National Liberation Army of Macedonia (NLA) led by Ali Ahmeti led an invasion of Macedonia to take territory in creating a Greater Albania. Initially the Macedonian security forces, including Army conscripts and reservists, where on the back foot and suffered casualties but managed to regain the initiative and were poised to destroy the KLA at the battle of Aracinovo, just to the north of Skopje. By then the US and NATO intervened to save the KLA as both a military and political force. The KLA evolved into the DUI political party led by Ahmeti.

The narrative then changed to cover Western duplicity in creating and funding the KLA. The Ohrid Framework Agreement was signed in 2001 which in effect created a de facto Albanian state within Macedonia; in 2004 territorial reorganisation of Macedonia took place which confirmed the ethnic division of Macedonia. Macedonian majority cities in the west such as Struga and Kicevo were handed over to the Albanian bloc by combining the surrounding Albanian villages, thereby creating artificial majorities.

The KLA which wanted to create a Greater Albania with a large chunk of Macedonian territory, was then transformed into “freedom fighters” and civil politicians who were later given a controversial amnesty by the Gruevski government (2006-2016).

The actual percentage of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia remains unknown as no census has taken place in over a decade. Figures range from 12 to 20%.

Ms Shannon Martinez from the OTS, a branch of USAID in Macedonia and cc’d in the above mentioned emails, was contacted for comment but as yet no response has been received by TEAM UZUNOV blog.

The OTS remains in charge of the overall USAID campaign in Macedonia and is situated inside the US Embassy in Skopje. 

Ms Ivona Krstevska of NYCM was also contacted for comment but is away from the office.

Critics of the US’s role in Macedonia are concerned that Washington might unduly influence critical local elections set for mid October this year by handing out money to activists and NGO to ensure an SDSM victory which would then facilitate making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia and change Macedonia’s name to appease Greek demands, all of which would lead to Macedonians losing their identity, their country becoming federalised and partitioned amongst Kosovo, Serbia and Bulgaria as a result. see link here 


Response from Shannon Martinez - will not comment and has left it to the US Embassy in Skopje to respond…


US Embassy declines on camera interview but responds to our questions:

We decline your request for an on-camera interview.  Please find answers to your questions below.  You may attribute these responses to me:  Laura Brown, Spokesperson, U.S. Embassy Skopje.

Thank you,
Laura Brown

Official - SBU 

From: Sasha Uzunov [mailto:@hotmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:36 AM
To: Skopje Embassy Press; Baily, Jess L;
Subject: Seeking media response to questions

Attention US Embassy in Macedonia

I am seeking a formal response on camera from the US embassy spokesperson relating to the following questions. I am available to come to the US Embassy with my camera gear to record - 

1.      Why does the United States fund or support people of Serb background in Macedonia (ie. Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovic, Radmila Sekerinska etc.) who attack Macedonian identity? Is the US Embassy and USAID aware such attacks are racist? 

We fund organizations, not individuals.  We recognize a person’s right to articulate their identity. 

2.      The US Embassy and USAID have remained largely silent about Albanian nationalist monuments in Macedonia in particular a statue to a Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa erected in the village of Simnica near the town of Gostivar. Why? 

We have not commented on monuments in Macedonia.  Those are sensitive issues for the people of this country to decide among themselves.  

3.      Many of the USAID funded civic groups in Macedonia have deliberately focused on Macedonian monuments but ignored Albanian monuments. Why? 
See above.  We will let groups speak for themselves.

4.      Many of the USAID and US funded or supported activists in Macedonia are of Serb background refuse to protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje over rising Serb nationalism but attack so called Macedonian nationalism? Isn't this blatantly biased, chauvinistic and downright racist? 

We will let groups speak for themselves about issues of identity. 

5.      What role is USAID playing in secretly settling illegal migrants in Macedonia via the Young Lawyers association of Macedonia?

We know of no program to secretly resettle migrants in Macedonia.  Our funding to MYLA is a matter of public record.

6.      Controversy still exists over the election of Talat Xhaferi as Parliamentary speaker. It has been alleged that US Ambassador Baily had a special detachment of US Marines guarding his residence prior to the parliamentary incident on 27 April 2017 this suggests or implies some kind of complicity. Is this allegation true? 

Ambassador Baily was not in Skopje on April 27 but in the United States.   Marines do not guard his residence.

7.      It has been alleged that US Ambassador Baily and some Western diplomats were gathered and waiting in the foyer of the Marriott hotel in Skopje just as Xhaferi was elected and rushed to recognise him, suggesting beforehand coordination and planning. Is this true?

Ambassador Baily was not in Skopje on April 27.   Many diplomats that evening were attending a reception for Dutch National Day (Birthday of King Willem-Alexander) at the Marriott Hotel.

8.      The local elections of 15 October in Macedonia remain crucial as they are seen as giving the current government of SDSM, if it wins, the green light to make Albanian the second official language which would lead to inevitable federalisation and eventual partition of Macedonia and the name change to satisfy Greece. Allegations have been raised that USAID and OTS will be funding civic groups during the election for SDSM to win. Is this true? 

We support the unity and territorial integrity of Macedonia, and have for 26 years.  Here is Amb Baily’s most recent statement on the law on languages.  For more info on our assistance programs, please see https://www.usaid.gov/macedonia.

9.      The US has been supportive of a Bulgarian agreement with Macedonia which clearly negates Macedonian identity. Why?

Here is the State Department statement explaining our support for the agreement:  


10.  Croatia was pressured by the US and the EU to remove its veto against Serbia joining the EU but the US hasn't done the same in pressuring Greece to remove its veto against Macedonia. Why the blatant biased policy?

The United States supports the UN process for Greece and Macedonia to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of Macedonia’s name.  We would like to resolve that issue so that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia can realize their ambition of joining NATO and the EU.  It’s not for us to comment on issues between Serbia and Croatia.


From Sasha Uzunov
Fri 22/09/2017 9:13 PM
Skopje Embassy Press (usembskopjepress@state.gov)

Clarification - that should be OTI not OTS - would the US Embassy comment on OTI role in the lead up to the local elections in Macedonia on 15 October ? 

I'm unable to find the link to Ambassador Baily's statement on languages in Macedonia. Can you please provide the link?


Freudian Slip? Racism towards Macedonians -

In the US Embassy's answer to questions 1 and 4 the US Embassy does not deny that these people are racist but says it's a question of their identity...or their individual view. That's an interesting and odd admission to make... perhaps a Freudian slip ! It's like saying that the Ku Klux Klan's racist behaviour towards African Americans is a matter of white identity or an individual opinion or view. Shocking.

Would such behaviour be tolerated in the US or in Kosovo by the US authorities? And what does it tell you what they really think about Macedonian identity when they fund and defend these people’s behaviour towards Macedonians which they don't deny as being racist !


Related story - UK RANCOUR OVER MACEDONIA NAME CHANGE -  link here 

Sunday, September 17, 2017


By Sasha Uzunov
Skopje, Macedonia

A high ranking British source has told Team Uzunov that there is some rancour within British diplomatic circles in regards to pressure being placed on the Republic of Macedonia to change its name to appease Greek nationalist demands.

With Britain poised to leave the European Union, some in London are questioning the need for British diplomats being covertly used by the United States to push Washington’s foreign policy agenda in the Balkans.

The source, an old Balkan hand with decades of experience, has provided Team Uzunov with a copy of a declassified 2004 US State Department letter issued in response to complaints by 70 US Congressman and woman, led by by Greek-American Congressman Michael Bilirakis

The US State Department letter reveals the real reasons for the US recognising Macedonia in 2004: to kill off a referendum that would if successful would oppose the territorial reorganisation of Macedonia - the objective of the reorganisation was to lead to municipalities with artificially constructed Albanian majorities and place the country onto the path of de facto federalisation.


The letter also calls into question the impartiality of US mediator Matthew Nimetz, responsible for finding a solution to the name impasse,  by stressing the US would never harm Greek interests and would not lobby the European Union to accept Macedonia under its constitutional name.

In 1991 Macedonia declared its independence from Yugoslavia and Greece has been opposed to the use of the name of Macedonia on spurious grounds that the name usage implies territorial claims on Greek territory. There is a sizable Macedonian minority in Greece. In 1995 Macedonia, after nearly being strangled to death by Greek economic sanctions, signed an “interim agreement” in which it changed its flag and gave up concern for ethnic Macedonians in Greece. It also accepted the humiliating Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) reference in order to join the United Nations.

In 2001, the extremist Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army’s local offshoot in Macedonia, the National Liberation Army, launched an invasion of Macedonia in order to carve out territory for a Greater Albania. Macedonian security forces, initially on the back foot, managed to regain the initiative against the terrorists. NATO and the US then intervened to stop the destruction of the NLA as a military and political force. NLA leader Ali Ahmeti then created his own political party, DUI, and was given an amnesty for any possible war crimes he may have committed in starting the 2001 war. He has become a political king maker, forming coalition governments with both of the major Macedonian political parties, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM.

The Ohrid Framework Agreement was imposed upon Macedonia which in effect created an Albanian state within Macedonia. The 2004 territorial reorganisation with artificial Albanian majorities in certain regions, such as the important western Macedonian town of Struga, has solidified a defacto Albanian state within the Republic of Macedonia.

Just after the December 2016 elections, held after a political crisis which paralysed the country over  corruption claims against the VMRO DMPNE coalition government, of which DUI was a member, and led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the so called Tirana Platform was foistered upon the Macedonian people during Orthodox Christmas (7 January 2017), calling for a long list of nationalist demands including making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia. Macedonians see this as leading to federalisation of the country and eventual partition.

Thursday, July 27, 2017



Team Uzunov has invited Dr Chris Popov, a long time Australian-Macedonian human rights activist who has attended a number of international conferences on minority rights and a retired senior public servant with Australia’s Immigration Department to run his expertise over the controversial agreement, being forced upon by Macedonia as condition for Bulgarian support in joining the European Union and NATO, of which Bulgaria is a member. (earlier story at this link). The Agreement, Macedonian version, can be read here in full at this link.

Dr Chris Popov:

“On 26 June 2017 Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev (SDSM party) revealed the contents of the proposed Agreement on Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation between Macedonia and Bulgaria which will be signed on August 1 in Skopje by PM Zaev and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov. In many ways this is less an agreement than a set of conditions that Bulgaria has imposed on Macedonia as the price to be paid for Bulgaria’s support for Macedonia’s ‘Euro-Atlantic Integration’, given Bulgaria’s membership of NATO and the EU. It is an asymmetric agreement between a weak Macedonia and a relatively powerful Bulgaria--powerful only to the extent that Macedonia is willing to accede to its demands--which is prepared to use its muscle to achieve its foreign and internal policy goals. While many of the articles of the Agreement are unremarkable and deal with issues such as trade, commerce, investment and infrastructure, there are several articles which, if implemented in the way that Bulgaria obviously intends, will create the framework for a full-frontal attack on Macedonian identity, statehood, history, culture and language.

"The controversial articles are the following: 

"Article 8, clause 2 talks about the formation of a joint multidisciplinary expert commission on historical and educational issues whose goal will be to contribute to an academically based interpretation of historical events which is to be based on “authentic and fact based historical sources”. Given the eagerness of Zaev to appear cooperative, it is hard to imagine that the Macedonian historians serving on this commission will be persons who are willing to vigorously oppose articles of faith of Bulgarian history; namely that Macedonians are Bulgarians and that Macedonian and Bulgarian history are inextricably intertwined. Will this now mean that Macedonian history books for students will be “modified” to exclude language and events which “hinder the new spirit of good neighbourliness?” Will the Bulgarian thesis that Macedonians are in essence ‘‘Bulgarians who are unaware of their Bulgarian roots” or the “product of the Comintern and Tito” now feature prominently in such texts? Will Saints Kiril and Metodij, their disciples (Kliment and Naum etc) and the Old Church Slavonic language be proclaimed as Bulgarian?”

"Article 8, clause 3 prescribes the organisation on the basis of mutual agreement of joint celebrations of historical events and individuals which will contribute to the strengthening of good neighbourly relations in the spirit of European values. Once again given the Macedonian government’s servility and its often expressed belief that “our neighbours can’t be solely to blame for our bad relations” (leaving aside the fact that all of them deny or dispute the existence of Macedonians as a distinct ethnic group), it is quite obvious that Macedonia will be accommodating in this regard as well. Will the Ilinden Uprising be celebrated as a Bulgarian uprising? This will become known in a matter of days with Bulgarian PM Borisov’s presence in Krusevo. Will VMRO [the Ilinden era VMRO], the Ilinden rebellion and the Ilinden leaders and revolutionaries ( Goce Delchev, Nikola Karev, Jane Sandanski, Pitu Guli) also be celebrated as Bulgarian? What of Nazi ally, fascist Bulgaria’s occupation of Macedonia during WWII, during which it committed numerous atrocities and rounded up Macedonia’s Jews and sent them to the Nazi death camps? Will that also be relativised and presented as some form of liberation in order not to prevent the development of “good neighbourly relations

Article 11, especially clauses 3 to 6, represents a dagger in the heart of Macedonia. Clause 4 speaks of the right of each of the parties to defend the rights and interests of its citizens on the territory of the other party, in accordance with international law. Unremarkable enough you would say. However, the so-called “Bulgarian citizens” whose rights are to be defended are overwhelmingly ethnic Macedonians who took out Bulgarian citizenship for economic reasons (and were only granted Bulgarian citizenship if they admitted that they were of Bulgarian ethnic origin). However, in so doing they created a perfect excuse for Bulgaria to meddle in Macedonia's internal affairs and advance the chauvinist thesis that these people are "Bulgarians" who have come back to their roots and, by extension, that all ethnic Macedonians are Bulgars. The trap was set years ago and now Zaev has activated the mechanism whereby Bulgaria will be able to meddle directly in Macedonian affairs by merely defending “its citizens”. 

Clause 5 indicates that nothing in the Macedonian Constitution can be in interpreted to represent a basis for meddling in Bulgaria’s internal affairs in order to defend the rights and status of those persons who are not citizens of Macedonia. This clause directly violates article 49 of Macedonia’s Constitution and represents a formal commitment not to say or do anything to defend the rights of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. No such commitment is required of Bulgaria which will continue to arrogantly assert that it has a duty to protect the rights of “Bulgarians” in Macedonia, once again allowing it to pursue the chauvinist thesis that all Macedonians are Bulgarians. It must be noted however that Macedonian authorities since independence have done precious little to defend the rights of the Macedonians in Bulgaria, so this point merely formalises that reality. Nevertheless, the Macedonians in Bulgaria have now been formally left to the mercy of the Bulgarian authorities with the express agreement of Zaev’s government.

"Point 6 is arguably one of the most damaging parts of this agreement. Namely, the parties are to undertake effective measures to prevent ill-intentioned propaganda by state institutions and agencies and will discourage activities by private persons directed towards the instigation of violence, hate or similar activities which may damage their relations. Hate speech towards Macedonians in Bulgaria is an everyday occurrence as evidenced by the phrase “Macedonians are Bulgarians” which forms the bedrock of Bulgarian political and social opinion regarding Macedonia. There is no definition in the agreement of what constitutes “instigation of violence, hate or similar activities” and this very loose formulation leaves the door wide open to arbitrary interpretations which can be used to censor any type of criticism in Macedonia of Bulgarian policy towards the Republic of Macedonia or the treatment of Macedonians in Bulgaria. It is inconceivable that Bulgaria will take measures to prevent the hate speech represented by the constant denial of Macedonian ethnicity in that country, which has become a mantra of Bulgarian foreign and internal policy or that Macedonia will ask it to do so, given that it is actively courting Bulgaria’s support. So the only logical conclusion is that the Macedonian authorities will use the nebulous definitions in this clause to censure and crack down on opinions by historians, politicians, academics and individuals which Bulgaria finds “offensive”. When asked about this at yesterday’s press conference, Zaev evasively stated that his government would not be engaging in censorship, but would publicly “distance itself” from such opinions. Given his desire to accommodate Bulgarian demands, I suspect such “distancing “may involve something a little stronger than mere statements of condemnation and may include harsher sanctions such as dismissal from work, denial of promotions, fines etc.

"Finally, the Agreement is to be published in the “Macedonian language, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia”. The same formulation is used for the Bulgarian language (i.e, Bulgarian language in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria). One may justifiably ask what type of Macedonian is spoken outside of the Macedonian Constitution? While such a formulation would appear unremarkable to those not conversant with Macedonian‐Bulgarian relations, it is striking that rather than stating “…in two originals, each in the official languages of the two countries-Macedonian and Bulgarian….”, it was deemed necessary by Bulgaria to insist on the qualifying phrases “......in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, and…in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia...”

“The reason for this was that it allows Bulgaria to continue to refuse to recognise the Macedonian language by in effect being able to state that the language used in the Agreement is Macedonian according only to the Macedonians (or should that be “wayward Bulgarians”?) and their constitution, but not in Bulgarian eyes; all in keeping with their traditional doctrine that Macedonian is merely a Western Bulgarian dialect. Despite the inane and threadbare protestations of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Zaharieva that Bulgaria by using this formulation recognises the Macedonian language, it does not and has no intention of doing so, however this time with Zaev’s (and previously Ljupco Georgievski’s  - Macedonian Prime Minister 1998-2002, VMRO-DPMNE party) official acquiescence.”


The current agreement about to be signed by Bulgaria and Macedonia is based on a 1999 joint declaration signed by then Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and his Bulgarian counterpart. At the time It met fierce resistance from SDSM, current PM Zaev’s party, for “negating the Macedonian nation and language and giving up concerns for the persecuted Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.”  (Article located by Macedonian journalist and researcher Goce Pangovski).
Dr Chris Popov:

"This Agreement, if ratified with the current reported content, will represent a dagger at the heart of Macedonian identity, language, culture and history and contribute to the weakening of the Macedonian character of the Republic of Macedonia which is under enough pressure as it is from Albanian separatism and Greek nationalist calls for a name change. Nowhere in the Agreement does Bulgaria acknowledge the existence of a distinct Macedonian people, language and identity. Indeed, when Bulgaria recognised Macedonia in January 1992 it explicitly stated that it does not recognise the existence of a separate Macedonian people and language. It will effectively leave the Macedonians in Bulgaria completely defenceless and without any legal protection at all. It will give an emboldened Bulgaria licence to meddle openly in Macedonia’s internal affairs.

"Moreover, given that it represents a shameful capitulation to the interests of Bulgaria, it will embolden Greece, Kosovo and Albania and eventually possibly Serbia to seek further concessions from Macedonia until the state has been reduced to a vassal which compliantly implements the agendas of its USA/EU/ NATO masters and the regional “good neighbours”. 

"I have no doubt that this Agreement will be ratified in the Macedonian Parliament, with the active support of VMRO-DPMNE, which has been brought to heel. However, given the vehement opposition of certain Bulgarian extreme nationalist forces which participate in Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov’s coalition government, there is a chance that Bulgaria may not ratify it. However, once they realise the concessions that Zaev and his government have acceded to and are subjected to arm twisting by the EU and NATO, even these extremist forces may come to the party. Macedonians can no longer rely on any of the major parties and many of the smaller ones to defend their vital national interests. I sincerely hope that they find the strength within themselves to defend their country and identity, as it appears that those internal and foreign forces who wish it ill are preparing to deliver the coup de grace.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

BATTLEFIELD MACEDONIA-have the Bulgarianists made their move?

By Sasha Uzunov

A controversial "Agreement for Good Neighbourly Relations" being pushed by Bulgaria and accepted in principle by Macedonia's new Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has raised concerns about a hidden agenda with the aim of undermining Macedonian identity and statehood under the guise of Euro-Atlantic integration. TEAM UZUNOV surveyed some influential figures about the Agreement:

Do you wish to comment publicly on the following: Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s alleged policy of “Bulgarianisation ?” The Agreement for Good Neighbourly Relations” between Bulgaria and Macedonia, the joint Ilinden commemoration, Bulgaria’s World War II legacy and the Genocide of the Jews in Macedonia, and the status of ethnic Macedonians in the Pirin region of Bulgaria. What will be the consequences of Macedonia signing this agreement?

Dr Chris Popov, longstanding Australian-Macedonian activist:

"PM Zoran Zaev’s agreement on 20 June 2017 with Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov to jointly commemorate Ilinden- the foundation stone of Macedonian identity and statehood-in Macedonia this year and to sign an Agreement on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria on 2 August (the ultimate insult) is a new low point in Macedonia’s short post-independence history. His capitulation effectively means that Bulgaria has achieved many of its foreign policy goals in Macedonia and cemented its claim that “Macedonians and Bulgarians are one people”, as they are wont to tendentiously, incorrectly and ahistorically claim. Macedonians have never claimed that Bulgarians are Macedonians, so the claim “Macedonians are Bulgarians” and the lack of opposition to such a formulation by Zaev, who in May this year stated that Macedonians and Bulgarians are “brotherly peoples, the same people”, in effect means that he accepts or at least does not oppose this Bulgarian chauvinist thesis. Whether Zaev truly believes that we are one and the same people or not is irrelevant as his capitulation has one goal, dictated to him by his EU/USA backers: to get Macedonia into NATO and then the EU as quickly as possible by making the necessary concessions to those who hold the key in the region to such membership-Bulgaria and Greece. 

"While the content of the proposed Agreement has not been made public as yet, enough details have leaked out to allow us to conclude that it is a serious attack on Macedonian identity, history, culture and language, based on the long-standing tenets of Bulgaria’s policy of complete denial of Macedonians as a distinct ethnic group and nation. Some of what has been reportedly proposed is truly scandalous. While the Macedonian language has been internationally recognised and codified, it is being reported that the Bulgarians will insist on the formulation “the language indicated in the Constitution” to avoid mentioning that the agreement will be written in the Macedonian language as well as Bulgarian. In addition, it is being reported that Macedonian history books for students will be “modified” to exclude language and events which “hinder the new spirit of good neighbourliness”. Will this mean that the Bulgarian thesis that Macedonians are in essence ‘‘Bulgarians who are unaware of their Bulgarian roots” or the “product of the Comintern and Tito” will now feature prominently in such texts? Will Kiril and Metodij, their disciples (Kliment and Naum etc) and the Old Church Slavonic language be proclaimed as Bulgarian?”

Ilinden, or St. Elijah’s Day, 2 August 1903, the day that Macedonia attempted to overthrow the Ottoman Empire after 500 years of brutal occupation. The uprising was brutally suppressed by the Ottomans and with Bulgaria sabotaging it even before it was launched. link here

In 2014, there was an attempt to hold a joint Macedonian-Bulgarian commemoration of Ilinden but it met with fierce resistance. The idea was first proposed by a then Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski over a decade ago.

Dr Chris Popov:
“Will VMRO [the Ilinden era VMRO], the Ilinden rebellion and the Ilinden leaders and revolutionaries ( Goce Delchev, Nikola Karev, Jane Sandanski, Pitu Guli) also be deemed Bulgarian? What of Nazi ally, fascist Bulgaria’s occupation of Macedonia during WWII, during which it committed numerous atrocities and rounded up Macedonia’s Jews and sent them to the Nazi death camps? Will that also be relativised and presented as some form of liberation in order not to prevent the development of “good neighbourly relations? It is also being reported that Macedonia will once again have to commit to “not defending the rights in Bulgaria of persons who are not citizens of the Republic of Macedonia” which is code for the Macedonians in Pirin Macedonia and the rest of Bulgaria. This formulation was also used in the Declaration of Good Neighbourliness signed in 1999 between the two countries; however being a declaration it did not have the force of law of the current agreement which will have to be ratified by the respective parliaments of both countries.”

Macedonia’s World War II Partizans marching through the liberated city of Bitola, November 1944. From 1941-44 the Partizan resistance fought the Germans and its allies, Fascist Italy, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and Albanian Balle Kombetar, who had occupied Macedonia.

Dr Chris Popov:
"This Agreement, if ratified with the current reported content, will represent a dagger at the heart of Macedonian identity, language, culture and history and contribute to the weakening of the Macedonian character of the Republic of Macedonia which is under enough pressure as it is from Albanian separatism and Greek nationalist calls for a name change. It will effectively leave the Macedonians in Bulgaria completely defenceless and without any legal protection at all, although it must be said that since independence the Republic of Macedonia has done next to nothing to date to protect their rights. Moreover, given that it represents a complete capitulation to the interests of Bulgaria, it will embolden Greece, Kosovo and Albania and eventually possibly Serbia to seek further concessions from Macedonia until the state has been reduced to a vassal which compliantly implements the agendas of its USA/EU masters and the regional “good neighbours”. I sincerely hope that this ant-Macedonian “agreement” is not ratified in the Macedonian Parliament, however no one should expect a breaking of ranks by the MPs of the “reformist government”.”

Dr Popov's 2014 article on the controversial "Agreement" can be read in full at this link here


Mark Branov, Canadian-Macedonian activist, former media director of the United Macedonia Diaspora lobby group and one of the editors of a popular Social media page on Macedonia - link here

"Zaev's orders seem clear - to confirm and make permanent Macedonia's status as a Kosovo-like protectorate territory, fully subservient to foreign interests. Firstly, Macedonia’s political system has been undermined with the violent installation of UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army] Komandant Forina [Talat Xhaferi] as Speaker of the Parliament of Macedonia, via a sham election process pushed through without a constitutionally required consensus. The terrorists of the UCK, other Albanian separatists, and their George Soros Organisation activist allies have been installed in all the various ministries, with the shared agenda of turning Macedonia into a state of anonymous citizens that have no shared culture, history or identity.

"Secondly, the country is being undermined diplomatically, with Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s grandstanding for the cameras in Athens, where he has signalled a new willingness to surrender Macedonian sovereignty, sparking a loud campaign to re-baptise the country, once again against the will of the vast majority of Macedonians, including those who live under the domination of Athenian bigotry, as second-class citizens in the Aegean region. And thirdly, in Bulgaria, Zaev has undermined Macedonia culturally, by acquiescing to a public humiliation spectacle, where Macedonian dignitaries will celebrate the St. Ilija's Day Uprising alongside dignitaries of the country that historically sabotaged that uprising in the first place, and which continues to violate the human rights of its Macedonian ethnic minority in the Pirin region. Zaev's overall role is to weaken Macedonia's position in the world by siding with the interests of every country except his own, and working to eliminate what is left of Macedonia's sovereignty and independence. And all of this is based on the false narrative that entering NATO and the EU must proceed at all costs.”

Borjan Jovanovski, leading pundit in the Republic of Macedonia, asked by TEAM UZUNOV for a comment but declined.

Monday, June 19, 2017


PREFACE: The revelations of a Serbian Intelligence officer under formal and open diplomatic cover inside Macedonia’s parliament during a violent showdown kicked up enormous controversy in the international media with allegations of Serb-Russian collusion against “pro West” Macedonian leader Zoran Zaev.

But what of Serbia and its traditional ally Greece and their history of joint intelligence operations in destabilising Macedonia? Was the failed assassination attempt on Macedonia’s President Kiro Gligorov in 1995 one such example?


by Sasha Uzunov

On 3 October 1995, in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, a parked car filled with plastic explosives detonated by remote control exploded as the official limousine of Macedonia’s president Kiro Gligorov drove by, killing his driver and wounding his bodyguard and passersby. President Gligorov sustained serious head injuries, losing his right eye and was lucky to survive. To this day, no one knows who was behind the failed hit. TEAM UZUNOV research has uncovered some interesting circumstantial evidence pointing to a Greek connection with possible with Serb intelligence links.

THE BASIC FACTS OF THE CASE -the attempted hit on President Gligorov- modus operandi: 

A parked car--a French Citroen Ami 8 purchased in Macedonia by a still unknown person--packed with plastic explosives, believed to be PETN, and weighted down with something heavy in order to push the blast in a particular direction, namely towards the oncoming Macedonian Presidential limousine, and detonated by remote control.

The shrapnel, flying pieces of deadly metal, produced by the explosion, would do the actual killing or maiming, much like, a US Army Claymore mine operates - it uses a plastic explosive to push out numerous ball bearings within a “killing zone” which shred a target to pieces.


The plastic explosive, PETN, was not produced in Macedonia in 1995, and was believed to have been obtained from outside the country. PETN is manufactured in Serbia and is also available in Greece, which produces another plastic explosive C4. PETN can also be used as a detonating cord for high explosives such as C4.

After the attempt on Gligorov’s life, a statement was issued by the Macedonian authorities:

“…security chief Blagoja Nikolovski told journalists on Wednesday that forensic experts from the United States, Britain and Germany were on their way to Skopje to help their investigation.

"Early police reports said that the kind of explosives used in the attack were not produced in Macedonia. Nikolovski told journalists that over 150 people were questioned during the investigation, but no arrests have been made."


The Republic of Macedonia declared its independence from rump Yugoslavia in 1991 after Slovenia and Croatia had earlier decided to secede from the federation leaving only Serbia and Montenegro to remain in the rump. In 1992 Serbia’s ruler Slobodan Milosevic after negotiations with President Gligorov decided to withdraw the Yugoslavia Army from Macedonia, taking, in fact stealing, anything that wasn’t bolted down in terms of military hardware and leaving Macedonia defenceless. Milosevic was at the time waging a ruthless war in Croatia and Bosnia to carve out a Greater Serbia from the wreckage of Yugoslavia and could not afford to open up a third front in Macedonia. Milosevic refused to recognise Macedonia until 1995.

Milosevic and successive Greek governments conspired to destabilise Macedonia and have it either “return” to defacto Serb-Yugoslavist rule or partition the country between Serbia and Greece. A joint intelligence operation named “Samaras’s Pincer was formulated that would involve all sorts of destabilisation tricks, just short of full scale war. (see link here). Greece still refuses to recognise the existence of a Macedonian ethnic identity and has waged a long diplomatic war to block the country from being recognised under its constitutional name. There is a sizeable Macedonian minority within Greece that Athens has denied basic human rights to.


According to Gligorov’s autobiography, “Macedonia is all that we have," he, President Gligorov had been offered a bribe by Greece if he agreed to change Macedonia’s name.

Neighbouring Bulgaria, despite rushing to recognise Macedonia’s independence in 1991, has long held the view that Macedonians are “Western Bulgarians” and that a Macedonian state should eventually gravitate towards Sofia. Bulgaria, too, has since 1991 been busy trying to infiltrate into the political affairs of Macedonia with the aim of taking over Macedonia. Accusations were made that Bulgaria together with Albanian separatists provoked war in Macedonia in 2001 in order to partition the country (see link here). There is also a sizeable Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

Killing President Gligorov would have plunged Macedonia into a crisis, perhaps even a war.

Above photo - Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou- PASOK (Greek Socialist Party) -1981-89 and 1993-96


In 1994, according to the Washington Post, Greece planned for war in The Republic of Macedonia:

"The contingency planning parallels Greek moves that increase the chances for upheaval in Macedonia. The Greeks are pursuing a slow-motion military buildup on their northern frontier. And an economic blockade of Macedonia ordered by Papandreou on Feb. 16 is depleting Macedonia's scarce foreign reserves.
"Papandreou's brinkmanship has revived suspicion that Greece and Serbia have already agreed to carve up Macedonia if the conflicts of the other ex-Yugoslav republics spill over there. Both Belgrade and Athens strongly deny these suspicions, initially passed on to Washington by European governments.

In 1993, British Foreign Minister (Foreign Secretary) Douglas Hurd, whilst on a visit to Skopje, proposed to Gligorov that Macedonia should “return” to Serb Yugoslavist rule once the wars were over, meaning once Milosevic had quickly wrapped up his objectives, which never came to pass.

Gligorov didn’t take up the British “proposal.”

MODUS OPERANDI - Following the evidence…?

MODUS OPERANDI - Greek calling card? 1988 William Nordeen assassination - exactly the same as 1995 Gligorov hit?

A number of terrorist groups/insurgents/rebels have used car bombs to devastating effect - the Provisional Irish Republican Army (aka PIRA, The IRA, the Provos) in Northern Ireland against the British, Basques separatists in Spain (ETA), and even various foreign intelligence services the world over. But we can discount the IRA, the Basques and a multitude of others, for the simple reason there is no motive to attack Macedonia, a tiny country and itself a victim of colonialism and imperialism by neighbouring states.

A shadowy Greek terrorist group by the name of 17 November sprung up in the mid 1970s after the collapse of the right wing military dictatorship (1967-74). The group was said to be extreme leftist, Trotskyist but later became extreme nationalist though opposed to American “imperialism” and the capitalist system.

17 November, in a reign of terror lasting nearly 30 years murdered over 20 people, namely Greek political figures, and some US intelligence officials and diplomats. The last assassination was of the British attaché in retaliation for the US and NATO war in Kosovo against Serbia.


The 1988 assassination of US Naval Attaché, Captain William Nordeen, by Greek terrorist group 17 November resembles the attempted Gligorov hit in 1995 almost down to the finest details, such as Gligorov’s route by car, timings, etc.

The Los Angeles Times story on the Nordeen hit:

"A police explosives expert who refused to be identified said the bombing was "perfectly planned and very well executed. . . . They thought of every detail.

“The expert said bags of cement were piled against one side of the booby-trapped vehicle so the explosion’s full force would be directed toward Nordeen's car."

And this from the US Defense Department - link :

"After weeks of surveillance the terrorists made plans. They stole a blue Toyota, put counterfeit plates on it, and placed 50-pounds of high explosives in the trunk with a radio-controlled firing device. They lined the left side of the trunk, which would be nearest the curb, with bags of cement to direct the blast to the roadway.

"On the morning of the attack, Captain Nordeen left for work in his lightly armoured Ford Grenada and turned left onto a one-way street as he always did. At 6:00 AM, as he passed the blue Toyota on his left, the terrorists detonated the bomb, throwing the armored car 18 feet, flipping it onto its roof and lodging it in a steel fence. The blast threw the Toyota 25 feet up the street. Nordeen died only 100-yards from his residence as his body was thrown 30 feet from his car.”

But 17 November did not take part in any “foreign operations” and stayed in Greece, the experts have all concluded. Was the Gligorov job the group’s first external venture? Or did someone simply copy the group’s method? Any terrorist group in the world has probably used the same method of bombing but not all terrorist groups have motivate in killing a President of a tiny Balkan nation in South-eastern Europe. However, 17 November was fanatically anti Turkish over the Cyrpus issue and pro Serb and regarded the US and NATO involvement in Kosovo as “Western Imperialism.” In 2000, the Greek terror coup assassinated the British Defence Attaché in Athens, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, in retaliation against NATO over Kosovo.

Accusations were raised about possible collusion between the Greek government of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou- PASOK (Greek Socialist Party) - and 17 November but were dismissed as outright wild conspiracy theory. Papandreou was Prime Minister from 1981-89 and 1993-96. His rival, Conservative, Konstantin Mitsotakis was Prime Minister from 1990-93. Both pursued anti Macedonian policies and colluded by Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Former US diplomat,  E. Wayne Merry was the Deputy Political Counselor in Athens from 1987-1990. and raised some important points - link:

"I said then and later that Greece did not have the world’s worst terrorism problem or anything like it, but Greece did have the world’s worst counterterrorism problem. It became quite clear to me and to others that not only were the Greek police lacking in modern constabulary competence, but politically there was almost no motivation to stop the terrorists. In fact, they were tolerated by the PASOK government, which regarded them as fellow comrades from the struggle against the colonels’ regime who had simply not yet given up the armed struggle, but would in time.

"The Greek police were not very competent. For example, on a number of cases, the officer in charge of the scene of a political assassination would give expended shell casings to his journalist friends as souvenirs. Basic ballistic evidence, shell casings on the scene after somebody had been shot, would be given away as souvenirs.

"One of the senior uniformed police officers held me back so that he and I would be the last. As we were going down he hit the button to bring the elevator to a stop so we could talk but nobody could hear us. He proceeded to unload on me.

"He said, “Look, we’re not Sherlock Holmes here, but we’re not idiots. We can catch these bastards. But we’re handcuffed.” And he put his hands in front of him as if his hands were in handcuffs. “The political leaders don’t want us to get these guys. The only way we’re ever going to get these bastards is if you Americans get our political orders changed. We’re not complete idiots here. We can do the job if we’re given an opportunity.”

The very technique in the bomb making would exclude any domestic group or individual in Macedonia as being beyond their capabilities. This then leads to a disturbing conclusion that the group or individuals who did carry out the attempted murder of President Gligorov would had to have had “inside information” from high ranking Macedonians as to the President’s routine. There would have to have been helpers, accomplices.

There is the purchase of the vehicle in Macedonia itself and used as the bomb. Hiding it presumably somewhere in Skopje, the capital, rigging it up and so on before parking it into place until President Gligorov’s car drove by and then detonating it. Smuggling the explosives into Macedonia would not have been difficult considering Macedonia’s government and its Interior Ministry, which runs the country’s police, border guards, and intelligence services, was heavily corrupt and involved in busting UN sanctions for Serbia, which had as the rump Yugoslavia waged war in the Balkans. -see link here

All of this, a combination of hard and circumstantial evidence and speculation on the part of TEAM UZUNOV, points to a joint Serb-Greek operation. The Macedonian Interior Ministry-- with German assistance--constructed a “dummy” or mannequin (left) believed to be of the buyer of the Ami 8. It is alleged he spoke in Serbian. Moreover, Serbia inherited the federal structure of Yugoslavia including its army (JNA) and the federal intelligence service (SDB or UDBa), which had a ferocious reputation in liquidating opponents abroad. UDBa had the technical expertise to mount the assassination attempt upon President Gligorov.

ODD STATEMENTS: After the failed attempt to murder President Gligorov

"One Macedonian official said that even if a culprit is found the person's identity or origin may never be released."  - (The question is why?).

Then another odd statement (and generalisation), 'this one from journalist Vladimir Petreski:

"A lot of people don't want to know as they are scared of what might happen."

- (Scared of what happening?).

 PERSONS OF INTEREST - those who might be able to throw more light on the attempted assassination of President Gligorov:

1. Ljubomir Frckoski
- the controversial politician, “public intellectual,” was Macedonia’s Interior Minister during the Gligorov assassination attempt. His portfolio included the Police, Border Control and Intelligence Services. He was a senior member of the then SDSM (Social Democrats) government of Macedonia led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski. A government that was one of the most corrupt in recent Macedonian history, heavily involved in illegal smuggling in breaking United Nations sanctions imposed upon the Slobodan Milosevic regime in Serbia. That corruption reached the very top, the Prime Minister Crvekovski himself,  as this declassified 1995 CIA report shows:

Frckoski was very close to Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic during the UN sanctions busting era of the early 1990s as Serbia kept its war machine ticking over in Bosnia and Croatia. 

British academic James Pettifer writing in the Wall Street Journal, 1994 

BULGARIAN RED HERRING - Multigroup affair?

Frckoski was one of the first to push the view that a Bulgarian company with links to former Bulgarian Communist Intelligence Service (KDS) was behind the attempted murder of president Gligorov. This line of “investigation” led nowhere, into a dead end street, pardon the pun. The result was the suspected “suicide” of Ivo Jancev, Multigroup’s representative in Macedonia.

This photo and the one above of the Police mannequin are from the book “Atentat” by Zoran Petrov, Nova Makedonija, Skopje, Macedonia, 1996. The book is in Macedonian and is an excellent summary of the details then known about the assassination attempt. 

It includes the lines of enquiry pursued, various theories then circulating about the attack on President Gligorov.

In an interview for a US think tank, ex Macedonia President Gligorov slammed the then Interior Minister Frckoski for poor investigation into the attempted assassination and for deliberately indulging in fruitless speculation - see link here 

International Affairs Forum: Mr. President, in 1995 you survived an assassination attempt. The initial investigation failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Do you have any new information about who may be responsible for this terrorist act? 

President Gligorov: There is still no real progress in the investigation, only speculations in the press. Before the assassination attempt, I was insisting on less guard protection. I often traveled with minimal security. It was my fault, in a way. I should have been better protected. When the interior minister gave a speech about the progress of the investigation, he had no facts to present. He said that one multinational organization operating from a neighboring country might have been involved. Another speculation was that the Serbian ultranationalist Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan) was involved. Our Interior Ministry was presenting only speculations, but speculations are not facts. The interior minister should have resigned at that time. You can not prosecute anybody based on speculations. Ten years have passed since the assassination attempt and there is still no progress. 

IA-Forum: Did the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) or other foreign intelligence agencies help with the investigation? 

President Gligorov: During one of my meeting with the (former) CIA Director George Tenet, I decided to ask him if the CIA has any new information regarding the assassination. He told me that he had no information but said: "I will call you and let you know about any new information we may have". He never called me. He resigned recently over Iraq. The European intelligence agencies were also not helpful. 

IA-Forum: Mr. President, right after the re-election of President George W. Bush, the U.S. decided to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name. In your opinion, what were the reasons for this decision? 

President Gligorov: The U.S. decided to recognize us under the constitutional name primarily for two reasons. First, we are one of the countries in the "coalition of the willing". Second, we complied with the U.S. request to sign a bilateral agreement that exempts them from the International Criminal Court. Nowadays, our politicians follow and comply with almost everything the Americans request. I don’t think this is good, despite the fact that we are a small country. 

Frckoski in an act of high political theatre tendered his “resignation” after the assassination attempt but it was not “accepted” by the then Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and so he remained Interior Minister. The whole charade, going by the comments above, the ex President did not buy.


2. Jovica Stanisic - Stanisic was Slobodan Milosevic’s intelligence chief and also the United States CIA’s man inside. If Serbia was involved then he would know. Furthermore, as a high level CIA informer, it raises the disturbing possibility did the US know before hand of the attempted hit on President Gligorov? If it did, why did it allow the attack to play out and not warn the Macedonian President in advance? Was this to protect Stanisic as a source or something more sinister?

Dr John Schindler, ex National Security Agency analyst, explains:

"One of the facts which may complicate the new trial is Jovica Stanišić’s longtime relationship with American intelligence. Throughout the 1990s, when he headed Serbia’s sinister secret police, The Iceman was an agent of the CIA, as Langley has admitted. His CIA case officer maintains that having such a valuable back-channel to the very top security circles in Belgrade “did a whole lot of good” at preventing ugly Balkan wars from getting even worse. That may be true, but one hardly need be a congenital skeptic to have questions about what Washington knew about war crimes as they happened in something like real time…

"[Stanisic began his career in]…Communist Yugoslavia’s secret police, the notorious UDBA. Although Marshal Tito and his renegade Red regime got good Western press during the Cold War, when Yugoslavia was valued by NATO for its usefulness in blunting Soviet aims in Southern Europe, UDBA was every bit as unpleasant as the KGB.
"Indeed, Yugoslav spies were in many ways even nastier than their Soviet counterparts during the Cold War. When the KGB got out of the assassination business abroad in the late 1950s—what Kremlin spies termed “wetwork”—because the associated political risks were too great, UDBA went into that sinister field with gusto.
"Between the mid-1960s and the collapse of Yugoslavia a quarter-century later, UDBA assassinated about a hundred Yugoslav émigrés in the West. Most of these hits took place in Western Europe, but they spanned the globe, including a dozen assassinations in the United States (none of which were ever prosecuted). Western intelligence services, including American ones, averted eyes to this unpleasantness since Tito was strategically useful in the Cold War.
"In a nasty innovation, UDBA outsourced much of its wetwork to Balkan mafiosi, who were skilled at murder and were perfectly content to kill for Belgrade in exchange for leniency about other crimes. Tito’s secret police thereby created cadres of career criminals experienced in state-sanctioned murder—a development which would have fateful consequences when the country fell apart a decade after Tito’s death in 1980.”

3. Steven Lalas is an American of Greek ancestry and a former US State Department communications officer. Charged with espionage-related offences in connection with passing sensitive military and diplomatic information to Greece, he was arrested in northern Virginia in 1993 - two years before the Gligorov attack.

Lalas pled guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Later paroled, Lalas immigrated to Greece to serve out the remainder of his parole.

During his active years as a spy, Lalas passed an estimated 700 highly classified documents, that included U.S. gathered intelligence information of Turkish military strategy in the Aegean Sea and Cyprus, and U.S. diplomatic assessments and views on the Republic of Macedonia. see link here and here 

US top secret information that Lalas was feeding to his Greek intelligence handlers about the Republic of Macedonia would have been invaluable in formulating an assassination attempt. Whoever his Greek handlers were may point to the alleged assassin or assassins.

GENERAL GRYLLAKIS - the last piece of the puzzle? 

Greek General Nikos Gryllakis - Was he the operational brains behind the attempted Gligorov hit in 1995?

The former Greek General, a military intelligence specialist trained by the CIA, has passed away at age 91. A controversial figure who fled Greece and sought “sanctuary” in the Republic of Macedonia in 1993 to avoid prosecution in a wiretap scandal involving Greek politicians.

General Gryllakis was close to then Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis and was the go-between Athens and Skopje.

When the Mitsotakis government fell the General came running to Macedonia with allegedly suitcases full of “documents” relating to Greece’s position on Macedonia’s name and other tantalising intelligence tidbits.

According to a report in a Macedonian website, expres, Macedonian President Gligorov had a falling out with his then Interior Minister Ljubobmir Frckoski, who unbeknownst to the President, had given General Gryllakis “sanctuary” in exchange for intelligence.

A Greek report in 2001 claimed that President Gligorov had named the General as the man who had tried to bribe him over Macedonia changing its name. 

General Gryllakis eventually returned to Greece and was never prosecuted for his alleged role in the wiretapping scandal nor for subsequently passing secret information to the Macedonian government after he fled in 1993. 

This raises the possibility of him being a double agent and the man on the ground in Macedonia --together with assistance from Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and local helpers in Macedonia --who could have orchestrated the unsuccessful assassination attempt on President Gligorov in 1995.

He had the know-how, the motive, and the means to pull it off… But we will never know now!