The territory that is now called the Republic of Macedonia has had the misfortune to be treated as a geostrategic plaything by the Great Powers ever since it was wrested from the Turks more than a century ago. The latest machinations began after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. On the one hand, the Western powers — the EU and the USA — seem determined to hand Macedonia over to its Albanian minority. On the other hand we have the Russians, who want to maintain solidarity with their Slavic cousins in the Balkans and prevent an unbroken chain of Islamic territory stretching from the Bosphorus to the border of Croatia.
The following essay discusses the Macedonian crisis in detail. The original German text was made available to Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who asked JLH to translate it. It was also posted by the Wiener Akademikerbund. A shorter version may be found at Andreas Unterberger’s website.
Many thanks to JLH for the full translation.
Final Solution for the Macedonian Question?
The 15% Albanian minority is holding the Republic of Macedonia hostage.
by Dr. Harald W. Kotschky, in Skopje
March 21, 2017
Just imagine, if:
Carinthia, 2017: The small Slovenian minority is demanding that Slovenian be the second language for official matters and everyday discourse, including bilingual place names and street signs in the entire province. On pain of draconian legal penalty, the innkeeper in Mallnitz has to speak Slovenian with his guest from Globasnitz. The state name and the national anthem must be bilingual and the state flag must include a Slovenian symbol. For years now on festive occasions in mixed language areas, there have been no red-white-red flags on the streets and public and private buildings — only the Slovenian national flag. 50% of all officials, of the executive authorities, of the military command must come from the Slovenian population.
Does that seem absurd? Well, exactly that is happening, mutatis mutandis (just exchange “Slovenian” for “Albanian”) a mere thousand kilometers from Vienna, in the Republic of Macedonia.
Mass Demonstrations for an Undivided Macedonia
Fomented by the USA and its Brussels helpers — helpers who may justly be called “quasi-governors” on the basis of their years of intervention in the domestic affairs of this sovereign state — the years-long political crisis in the Balkan Republic of Macedonia is reaching a climax, and may result at any time in violent confrontations. The fuse is lit.
Based on the results of snap elections in December, 2016, the foreign provocateurs want to pressure the president into creating a ruling coalition drawn from the ethnic Macedonian Social Democratic Party and all the ethnic Albanian parties. This would be a decisive step toward splitting the multi-ethnic land along linguistic boundaries.
For three weeks, on a daily basis, around 150,000 persons from all social classes and all ethnic groups, regardless of political preferences — excepting Albanians — have been demonstrating in all the larger cities and towns, for an undivided Republic of Macedonia. Peacefully, in contrast to the Soros network-instigated hooligan-like demonstrations of last year, from which the damage to public buildings may still be seen.
Today alone, in the capitol city of Skopje, more than 50,000 persons were on the street. The initiatives emanating from a non-partisan committee of citizens, artists and intellectuals are ignored or distorted by the mainstream media.
2002 Potemkin Census
The roughly 2.2 million population of the small, landlocked state in the center of the Balkan Peninsula includes more than a half dozen ethnic groups, outside of the autochthons (54% ethnic Macedonians). The political landscape is laid out according to ethnic criteria.
The largest minority is the almost exclusively Muslim Albanians, whose clearly marked territory is in the northwest, along the borders of Albania and Kosovo. Over the centuries they have trickled in over the mountains from the Adriatic area. The greatest influx was after the Second World War, when many ethnic Albanians moved from Kosovo and southern Serbia to the more liberal Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia.
Their present number is debatable. 25% is proposed, but the 2002 poll on which this is based was shadowed by irregularities. First, there was its “Potemkin” aspect — villages known to be abandoned were suddenly replete with life. Albanians came en masse over the Kosovo border, moved from village to village and played “resident population.” Furthermore, there was a long wait for the results of the census, which suggests “adjusted” numbers. Ethnic Albanian politicians (with the support of the quasi-governors) have successfully opposed a new census since 2012. Because a properly achieved result would reveal that the Albanian minority does not reach 20% of the entire population, and this would mean the loss of granted privileges. The number of Albanian speakers could hardly exceed more than 15-16%, as is seen through extrapolation from documents of the social insurance bureau and passport authority.
Albanian Chauvinism — Biblical Leavening in the Land
In the sense of the Huntington thesis, Macedonia is a classic “fault-line country” between two cultures — the Christian-Macedonian and the Islamic-Albanian. The significance of religious factors may be seen in the fact that the few Albanians who are willing to integrate into the majority society are almost exclusively from the Catholic or atheist (former Communist) environments.
Practically all other members of the Albanian minority in Macedonia have a twofold lack of allegiance to the state, and live in parallel societies. They see both their ethnic and national identity as Albanian and are inclined toward one of the two “motherlands” — Albania or Kosovo.
In this way, they are hindering the country from settling down and developing further. In 1991, after the country’s founding, Albanian extremists were trying to accomplish a splitting off of the areas of Macedonia settled by Albanians. Since then, all the Albanian parties have been working toward a bi-national state, in which the titular nation would make the Albanians and ethnic Macedonians equal — at any rate only as a way station on the path to a complete split from the Republic of Macedonia. The strength of their loyalty to the unitary republic can be measured by the fact that in the entire Albanian linguistic area, on official buildings, in the streets, in public squares, there is no Macedonian flag to be seen. For twenty years, and quite legally, there has only been the Albanian flag. Justified by its being an ethnic emblem.
In the winter of 2000-2001, as a delayed consequence of the Kosovo war, Kosovo fighters — with the permission of the US-NATO troop contingent — infiltrated Macedonia “to insert themselves into the governing coalition.” As the “national Liberation Army of the Albanians” (UCK), they established military control over the parts of the country situated on the Kosovo border. The West prevented the legitimate government of Macedonia from ending this organized violence by use of security forces, and forced the national leadership to sign the pre-formulated “Framework of Ohrid” and accede to the participation in the government of the UCK, now mutated to the “upright” political party, DUI. As a quid pro quo, the UCK declared itself ready to disarm, but never really surrendered its ancient weapons.
The basic premise of this “peace agreement” was the preservation of a — to be sure — unitary Macedonian state, but with a strong multi-ethnic component: specifically, the introduction of an ethnically proportional system favoring all minorities. In fact, this was really only to the advantage of the Albanians. Every minority language was from this point on allowed as an official second language for the corresponding ethnic group that was more than 20% of the population. The logical consequence was a flood of incoming communities and changing of community boundaries according to ethnic criteria, to artificially create the necessary strength in the Albanian minority, in Skopje and in the applicable towns of western Macedonia. That was the real beginning of inter-ethnic strife in Macedonia — even in everyday life — and remains so today.
“Platform of Tirana”
What is infuriating the majority population, and indeed not just the ethnic Macedonians? After December’s parliamentary elections, the USA in particular, but also naïve, leftist-dominated Europe, prevented the previous governing coalition of the strongest ethnically Macedonian party and the strongest ethnically Albanian party from continuing. In Zoran Zaev — chair of the Social Democratic Party of Macedonia (SDSM), they see the means of overcoming alleged nationalism in Macedonia. However, this man is driven by only one thing — the driving desire, after more than ten years, to finally arrive at the trough of power. And for that, he is willing to “sell his soul to the devil.” With the aggressive cooperation of the “quasi-governors,” he has managed a coalition agreement for a parliamentary majority with all ethnically Albanian parties, the core of which is the “Platform of Tirana.” Because it has been constitutional practice since the country became independent to include at least one Albanian party in the governing coalition, Albanians have effectively always tipped the scales in the formation of a government.
This “Platform” is a list of demands drawn up in December, 2016, at a conference of all the ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia, called by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The representatives of the Albanian minority intend to use this list to effect the long-desired upgrade of their folk status to equality with the ethnic Macedonian majority. Reading between the lines, the intent is for Albanian to become a country-wide language, officially and in everyday commercial speech, even where not one Albanian resides. In prospect are bilingual topographical inscriptions as well as corresponding alteration of state symbols (name, flag and national anthem). There will have to be parity (probably 50-50) between the country’s two ‘“nations” in governmental posts and permanent positions with state-related concerns and institutions The borders to Albania and Kosovo shall be open. And of course, swift entry to NATO and the EU are desired.
With the goal of creating a bi-national state, the Tirana Platform signifies the Albanians’ putting an end to the Ohrid Framework agreement, the creation of which was the pride of the international community.
The Macedonian president considers this coalition accord to be directed against the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Macedonia, and thus as a breach of the constitution. Despite massive pressure from the quasi-governors, he is refusing — thus far successfully — to authorize the head of the SDSM, Zaev, to form the government.
EU’s Double Standard
It behooves us to take note of the EU’s double standard. Here in the Balkans there is approval and demand for the “appropriate” influence of a foreign head of state on the domestic politics of a neighboring country. At home, there is great upset, when Turkish politicians want to campaign among their own diaspora. Expansion commissar Hahn, who has just invited himself to negotiation talks in Skopje, showed his democratic attitude by refusing to receive the emissaries of the folk movement. State Secretary Ivanov, too, found no time for them. 50,000 demonstrators sent the EU emissary the message that he should — the idiom in Vienna would be — “slither on home”; neither he nor the EU was needed.
And as Ever, George Soros
The dulcet, velvety multiculti-gobbledygook of the plan of action gives a hint that the actual authors of the Platform are to be found in the devil’s workshop of the Soros network, if not right in Washington. Didn’t CIA director John Brennan, a few days before in Tirana, hold talks about combatting terror as well as other bilateral and international questions? Pure coincidence?
Hungarian-born stock exchange speculator and billionaire, George Soros, notoriously operates — with his own money and as a clearing-house for others’ money (e.g., USAID) — the One Society Network, which is active on all continents, with the purpose of anchoring “liberal and democratic” (actually leftist) thought in the governments and civil societies of developing countries, and manipulating them in the direction of globalization and a future unitary plutocratic world government.
Long-Term Objective: Division of Macedonia and the Creation of a Greater Albania
It is obvious to objective observers and those who know the country that the noble words of the Tirana Platform do not describe the ultimate goal, but rather an intermediate step via federalizing the country, on the way to cutting loose the Albanian areas, and joining them to Kosovo and/or Albania. It is not clear what will be considered “Albanian territory” after the introduction of a bilingual system. Everywhere there are bilingual place-name signs? Such a wide claim on territory could be advanced by the claim of “genocide” on the Albanian people in the last 100 years. The argument would be that, without genocide, the Albanians would now be the majority.
The Majority Population is Fighting for its State — The Red Line Has Been Crossed
One thing is clear — what remained of Macedonia would not be capable of survival and would be at the mercy of its neighbor states. First in line is ethnically related Bulgaria. Through generous bestowing of citizenship to probably more than100,000 residents of eastern Macedonia in the last two decades, Sofia has created a Bulgarian population in the neighbor-land, so claims on territory do not seem unrealistic.
That is why non-Albanian residents are hitting the streets, including many Social Democratic voters who feel deceived. After all, the party chair did deny during the election campaign that he would enact the maximum Albanian demands in his governmental program. They know that, with the enactment of the Tirana Platform, their national sovereignty, which they first bought dearly in 1944, is over and will in the future be determined by others — as under the Turkish yoke for 500 years and thereafter as a part of Yugoslavia. Many, both men and women, declared their readiness to do armed battle for their freedom, since the Tirana Platform would overstep the red line.
The example of Kosovo — where the non-Albanian population has been driven out in droves since 1999, or guarded militarily by NATO — demonstrates for the other minorities in Macedonia how Albanians respect the human rights of other ethnic groups.
Regime Change — By Destabilization and Massive Electoral Intervention
The national-conservative government in power since 2006 has long been a thorn in the side of the quasi-governors. President Gruevski does not hold to their guidelines: no participation in the Russia embargo, a positive attitude toward Russia’s planned “Turkish Stream” gas pipeline, not adopting “Brussels values” in the form of non-traditional family make-up and lifestyle. Also, Macedonia’s leading role in closing the Balkan route for migrants is not appreciated in Brussels. It stands athwart the EU’s efforts to facilitate the immigration of 70 million culturally alien and uneducated people from Asia and Africa in the next twenty years. The EU immigration commissar Dmitri Avramopoulos recalled this goal at the beginning of December 2015 at a meeting of the EU Committee on Regions (AdR). It had already filtered into some media that the EU is planning recruiting stations in several African states, to enlist 50 million black African guest workers in coming years.
The blackmail by Greece after the state’s name change was also resisted, leading to Greece’s veto of NATO membership. This prevents strengthening the defense alliance on its southern flank.
That is why the USA and EU have been trying for years to shake the justifiably successful Macedonian regime. In May 2015, several dozen Kosovar UCK fighters near the town of Kumanovo on the Serbia-Kosovo border readied armed attacks in several directions. Their intention was discovered in time and neutralized in exemplary fashion by security forces — with no civilian casualties. There are many indications that this UCK attack was orchestrated by CIA and company to emphatically point out to the regimes in Skopje and Belgrade what may come of “insubordinate” behavior. The foreign agents could use this action to give the governments the appropriate hint.
In the same year, the “post-communist” opposition unsuccessfully tried to organize the fall of the government. In April, 2016, the Soros network tried a “rainbow revolution” on the streets, but the crowds stayed home. Hooligans came in bunches and raged through public buildings.
The darlings of the West are the “post-communist” parties, passing as social democratic. They have been against an independent state from the start, and clung to the end to the remnant of Yugoslavia. Ever accustomed to taking direction from outsiders, they were and are the wiling stooges of Washington and Brussels. Their election campaign in the fall of 2016 was extremely professional and elaborate and far more costly than officially admitted. The help must have come from the outside. When a party loses disastrously at all levels for ten years and then suddenly grows by 153,000 votes (+54%), that cannot simply be attributed to a well-run campaign. Rudimentary voter transition analysis indicates the origin of perhaps 70,000 votes from regions in which traditionally the (Albanian) clan chief decides how the tribe must vote. So it was only necessary to convince these chiefs, by whatever means.
New Strategic Goals for the USA in the Balkans Since 1989
The disintegration of Yugoslavia gave the USA an opportunity to correct a mistaken WWII decision by General Eisenhower — ceding the Balkans to the Soviet sphere of influence (Conference of Tehran, 1944). A strong US presence in the central Balkans — historically Russia’s area of influence — is of significant importance in the long-range geostrategic planning of Washington for establishing a new world order, with the goal of primacy as the only world power.
- Monitoring the planned oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to the EU;
- Monitoring transportation routes from the EU to the Black Sea;
- Surveillance of the crisis regions in Central Asia and the Middle East;
- Encircling and containing Russia.
The irredentist activities of the Albanian population in ex-Yugoslavia, especially in Kosovo, were conveniently available for the USA. Support for the insurgents and the aggressive attacks of NATO in Kosovo were not about “protecting the poor oppressed Albanian minority from the evil Serbs.” The actual goal was to secure the gratitude of the Albanian minority for assuring their independence — in the form of a military base (400 hectare Camp Bondsteel).
In addition, the largest US embassy in the Balkans was built in the Albanian sector of the Macedonian capital, Skopje. On eleven hectares, it stands on a strategic height, with the size and appearance of a fortress. With 5 upper floors and at least 6 subterranean levels, it no doubt serves as the regional CIA headquarters; as logistics central for US or NATO military bases in Kosovo, Bulgaria and Romania; for supervision and control of events in the Middle East and deep into Eurasia; and last but not least, as one of the CIA’s notorious secret prisons.
Condemned by the West to Be a Trouble Spot
In 1991 Macedonia separated peacefully from the organization of states that comprised Yugoslavia. Thereafter, for a decade, due in no small measure to its generous, constitutionally guaranteed rights for minorities, it was regarded as exemplary in the Balkans. Nonetheless, the country has received varying acceptance from its neighbors, and is also the plaything of foreign policy interests of the major powers.
Bulgaria recognizes the state, but not the nation and language; Serbia — and thus the patriarchate in Istanbul — does not recognize Macedonian Orthodoxy, which declared itself to be autocephalous (autonomous) in 1967; the ethnic Albanian part of the population is itself shaking the foundations the state.
Greece imposed a three-year embargo on Macedonia in 1993, and not a word was heard from the EU. Greece then opened diplomatic relations with Macedonia, to be sure, but recognizes neither its constitutional state name nor Macedonian ethnicity, language and culture. This state of uncertainty stemming from the Greek-Macedonian name conflict has not only had a deleterious effect on domestic political affairs, but has hindered Macedonian attempts to join the EU and NATO. This entry is delayed by other, often unpredictable conditions for entry. Entry to the UN is available only under the humiliating designation “former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.”
The Kosovo war did the rest. The USA/NATO complex opened Pandora’s Box and let the Albanian irredentists out. The EU followed in the wake of USA/NATO, and was also not an honest broker in the Albanian-Macedonian conflict of nationalities. The international players exerted themselves not to foster an honest balancing of interests, but to support, directly or indirectly (through one of their deployed ‘international intermediaries”) the Albanians’ maximum demands. Their participation did not contribute to conciliation, but rather reinforced the antagonism between the two ethnicities.
The players in Western capitals must ask themselves whether they are even capable of judging the consequences of their actions. Or is there a purpose behind this? Perhaps to introduce a measure of instability which would require a thorough “surgical treatment.”
A prerequisite for accomplishing the USA’s long-range strategic goal is political stability of the “host countries” under its complete control. In Kosovo this has already been accomplished. In Macedonia, the nationalist-conservative majority of the population is opposed.
Redrawing the borders by creating a Greater Albania that reaches to the Bulgarian border — wherever it may be — would be a logical step. Such an ethnically pure vassal state allows US troops to be stationed for a lifetime, and the US fortress in Skopje would be in no danger. Much more important — NATO’s southern flank would be strengthened by a broad alliance stretching from the Adriatic (Albania) to the Black Sea (Bulgaria, and the encircling of Russia would be complete. As an added bonus, areas of the Balkans will be de-Slavified and so the last barrier to the “green corridor” removed. The concept of this corridor envisions a seamless line of Muslim-settled territories from the Middle East, through Turkey, Bulgaria’s Pomakenland, Greater Albania, Sandjak to Bosnia. The purpose being to further the Islamization of Europe.
What are the reasons for the Western great powers’ supporting Albanian revanchism so transparently and massively?
The new Cold War fomented by up to and including the Obama administration is pressing Russia, which is reviving its interest in the Balkans to breach the encirclement policy of USA/NATO. The centuries-old drive to the Mediterranean, energy policy and strategic interests are now joined by the growing importance of Southern Europe with the build-up of the Eurasian integration project.
Tempus fugit. The transatlantic elites — still dominated by the Obama-Clinton-Soros insiders’ network, who grandly style themselves an “international community of states” — must therefore hasten to finish Project Greater Albania before Moscow can lay mines to protect its interests in the Balkans. Time, things to do, are so much more pressing, since it is not possible to know whether there could soon be a paradigm shift under the Trump administration. Or, after the upcoming elections in Europe, this or that partner may disappear.
The Greater Albania project threatens more than Macedonia. The Albanian population in the Balkans is divided among several states. Besides the “motherlands” Albania and Kosovo, they are found as a minority notably in Macedonia, but also in south Montenegro (vicinity of Ulcini), in southern Serbia (Preservo Valley) as well as northwest Greece (south Epirus-Cameria).
So, powerful centrifugal forces can be freed in the direction of Tirana or Pristina which will not leave Turkey and its Ottoman interests in the Balkans untouched.
The Final Solution to the Macedonian Question
When historians speak on the “Macedonian question,” there are several questions they can address. The first “Macedonian question” arose as a result of the Berlin Congress of 1878 — the conflict between Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs over the division of the region Macedonia after its successful liberation from the Turks — and fed into the two Balkan wars of 1912-1913. Except for the new state of Kosovo, the boundaries agreed upon for the west Balkans in the 1913 Peace of Bucharest have lasted until now.
The start of WWII brought the second edition of the Macedonian question. The Axis Powers divided the region of Macedonia among themselves. Bulgaria received large parts of Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. Albanian-settled western Macedonia and Kosovo were added to Albania, which had been annexed by Italy.
The third chapter was initiated when the Republic of Macedonia became independent, and is still evident in the previously mentioned neighborly conflicts.
Since 2001, there has been a sub-variant of the Macedonian Question — the problem of the chauvinist Albanian minority in Macedonia. Because of its own, self-written history and differential ethnic and national identity, it has formed an uncrossable fault-line in the agreement for a common state.
With the creation of Greater Albania, this variant of the Macedonian Question, too, will be disposed of.
Macedonia Left in the Lurch — Except by Russia
Former German ambassador Klaus Schrameyer predicted in 2005: “The ethnic Macedonians will see all their prejudices — indeed justified fears — about the Albanians (maximalist, uncompromising, etc.) confirmed. The Albanians will never be satisfied and always want more than their share… the discord will grow and scarcely allow for fruitful cooperation.”
He was unfortunately correct, and Macedonia will — as before in 2001 and on other occasions — again be left to its fate by its Western “friends.” Only Moscow condemns the calls from Brussels and Washington and demands that the Macedonians decide their own fate — without any intervention from outside. This actually a principle of peoples’ rights that the protectors of “European values” should observe.
|1.||As a little leavening introduced into dough may “spread” and make the whole mass rise, so the Albanian push may affect the whole of Macedonian politics.|
|2.||The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel P. Huntington|
|3.||“Wendekommunist” — combination of post-communist and nationalist precepts, i.e., after the Wende.(“Die Wende [‘The Turn’ or ‘The Turnaround’] is a German term that has come to signify the complete process of change from the rule of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and a centrally planned economy to the revival of parliamentary democracy and market economy in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) around the years 1989 and 1990.”)|
|4.||Hectare, ca.100 meters by 100 meters
|5.||Pomaken = Bulgarian-speaking Muslim minority in southwest Bulgaria.|
|6.||Sandžak is the name given a region in Serbia and in Montenegro between the borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. The name Sandžak is based on the Ottoman word fo an administrative district.|
Dr. Harald Kotschy served from 1973 to 2011 in the foreign ministry for Europe and overseas, inter alia, representative of the Austrian embassy in the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia (1988-1992). observer in Kosovo for the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (1993) and Austrian ambassador in the Republic of Macedonia (1997-2002).