On 14 July, the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia had planned to celebrate the opening of negotiations for it to become a member of Nato. For the Alliance, Macedonia’s membership is very important because the majority of Macedonians, like the Greeks, are orthodox and therefore their culture is close to Russia’s.
15 concerts along the theme “We love Nato” had been organized by the Socialist Party of the Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, and were going to be recorded and broadcast on public television. However, in the absence of the public, the concerts and broadcasts were cancelled at the last moment.
Fresh in the Macedonian mind, are two fragments of history: the war led by Nato against their neighbour Serbia in the province of Kosovar and the migratory wave, organized by the Alliance, that preceded and then justified the intervention.
Russia keen to build closer relations to the EU had in mind the construction of a pipeline to oil the EU’s economy. The CIA, under President Obama’s presidency, was keen to block this development and tried to organize a coup d’etat in 2015 that would advantage Zoran Zaev . This operation was a failure. However Zaev came to power in May 2017, à la faveur of the incapacity of the nationalists to form a majority government.
To ensure his country would become a member of Nato and the European Union, Zoran Zaev secured the support of his Greek homologue Tsipras (featured in the centre of the photo above). On 17 June 2018 Zaev promised him two things: first to change the name of his country to “North Macedonia” (although there was no reciprocal promise on the part of the Greeks to change the name of the Greek province of Macedonia to “South Macedonia”) and second, to eliminate all official reference to Alexander the Great. This would require for example renaming the airport at Skopje and destroying all statues of Alexander the Great). A ceremony was then organized in Greece by the United Nations (photo).
The nationalists of the VMRO-DPMNE (the coalition that supported the election of the President of the Republic Gjorge Ivanov (independent), had denounced a « capitulation ».