Colour me a revolution
After Social democrat and Albanian parties voted for a new speaker of the parliament, protesters stormed the parliament building in Skopje, Macedonia, facing little opposition from the police. The leader of the Social democrats, Zoran Zaev, was badly beaten, so were some other members of parliament. Protesters, supporters of conservative VRMO DPMNE party, were latter evicted by special police forces, but they continued to gather in front of the building.
Thursdays violence scenes didn’t come out of nothing. Macedonia, a landlocked country of 2 million, is ethnically divided between Macedonians and Albanians and at the same time faces deep political crisis. Albanians staged an insurgency to gain more political rights in 2001 in which up to 250 people died and relations between them and the majority were always tense. They represent some 25 % of the population, bordering Albania to the west and Kosovo to the north and their presence alone, let alone wishes for more rights, make Macedonians nervous, as they fear, that a third Albanian state could be carved out of their country.
In 2015 mass protests against the government of Nikola Gruevski erupted, as the opposition accused them of wiretaping some 20000 Macedonian officials and plotting voting fraud. Tens of thousands participated in those protests and latter pro government gatherings were held as well.
Macedonia has enough inner tensions to cause such outbursts of violence, as we have seen in Skopje, but there are also outside forces with their own interests at play. After government in Skopje expresed interest in Russian South stream project and didn’t join anti Russian sanctions because of situation in Ukraine, trouble began. Only the naive would believe, that revelations about wiretapings and mass protests at the same time, as the government refused to tow the western line, were just a coincidence. Pressure was clearly put on the Macedonian government, to behave accordingly to western interests.
This lead to a predictable outcome, one which we have seen elsewhere as well. Western powers declare themselves as protectors of freedom and democracy, standing up for the opposition and demanding changes, western media follows with reports symphatetic to the opposition and soon what follows is, that government is portrayed somehow in the pay of the Russians. Although it is highly doubtful Macedonian VRMO DPMNE party ever had any profound symphaty towards Russia, except wishes for more trade. But what happens next, is that Russians really do see a chance to insert themselves into the picture. Like in Ukraine, where Yanukovich was no real friend of Russia, but was only seeking a way out of deep crisis, which was shattering the Ukrainan state, warnings about a staged revolution in Macedonia came out of Russia in 2015, as they do now as well.
So we end with the crisis in Macedonia made worse by outside meddling.
There is a lot of hypocrisy about it. Let us compare Macedonia to Ukraine. In both states you’ve got opposition trying to come to power, in both cases with pronounced support of western powers. In Ukraine that happened in 2014, in Macedonia an attempt was made in parliament few days ago. In Ukraine radical nationalists were on the side of the opposition, in Macedonia they are on the side of the strongest political party, VRMO DPMNE. In Ukraine those nationalists were, and still are, against usage of Russian language, in Macedonia they are against rights of Albanians. Basicaly, they are very similar. In their storming of the parliament as well. Both could be accused of being ready to deploy violence for political gains. But somehow, Ukrainian nationalists are portrayed as heroic freedom fighters, or simply thought away, as if they wouldn’t even exist, being more a product of Russian propaganda, than reality. In Macedonia, it is not so. They are condemned. Rightly so, of course, but the difference in attitude is nonetheless sickening.
Colour revolutions are nothing new and their technology is well known. They are a tool for deposing unwanted governments and replacing them with more submissive ones. It seems, Macedonia experienced an attempt in 2015, while now, in 2017, nationalist forces took a page out of the manual and tried it out themselves, staging mass protests and even storming parliament. What is to be feared is, that in the end Macedonia could become yet another battleground between the West and Russia, plunging it into violence.