by | 29 December, 2023

The only ones who are not tired are the thugs. Unlike us, they haven’t lost their form in the marathon toward the EU. They keep giving speeches about how they’d bring young people back home. Why would they come back? To rejoice at Kjoseto?

2023 ends the same way it started, not very optimistically. With the same news that serves as a testament to the ongoing disaster in the judiciary, justice, impunity, corruption, the tool for equity employment that favours ethnic background over professionalism…

But hey, let’s not assume things will be worse in 2024. It’s an election year, so it might be better.

These are excerpts of what I wanted to say during 2023.

I wish you joy during the holidays and good health in the New Year.



13 January

I’ve decided to carry out a social experiment. I’ll erect an improvised nylon construction in the middle of Macedonia Square in Skopje. In one section I’ll sell clothes. In the other section I’ll serve drinks, I might make some barbecue as well. Of course, smoking will be allowed, since we’re talking about a seating area covered from all sides. And I’ll park my car right next to the makeshift commercial building. I’ll use it for delivery of goods. I’ll be able to drive it in a pedestrian zone whenever I want, my business won’t suffer because of some uninventive pedestrians. I’ll play music as well. Let it blast, let it be known who’s in charge. At least I don’t have neighbours over there and since no one measures the decibels coming from the nylon-covered seating areas in the middle of neighbourhoods with thousands of tenants, surely they won’t measure the decibels in the middle of the Square. Mind your own business, don’t ruin mine.

The one thing missing will be for me to take a rifle and shoot strays that are chasing my customers in the square, but I’m a conscientious citizen, I respect the laws. Over here, “Everything is according to the law, boss”, isn’t it?

Do you think anyone would come to demolish my construction? That they’ll punish me? Maybe, someday. But first they need to agree who’s the competent authority for my building – is it the City of Skopje or is it Centar Municipality. And once they’ve determined who’s the competent authority, we’ll see whether they have inspectors, whether they’re on sick leave, whether they got down with the flu, if not, perhaps they took days off to join the New Year’s holidays with the winter break. Then, they’ll have to decide which inspection to send. Maybe market inspectors, for increasing the profit margin too much, I don’t think they’d come for the smoking, they don’t fine anyone for that. Maybe they’ll send environmental inspectors, since I produce a lot of rubbish but don’t feel like paying for a special dumpster, or for the chimney from the grill, there’s a lot of smoke, but it smells like barbecue, why would we measure PM particles. Maybe they’ll send construction inspectors, since I’m planning to put some pillars as well, an all-inclusive building… They just won’t let you be. In this country you can’t run a business. Inspections will run you down.

I’ll treat police officers to a cup of coffee, a glass of juice; let them have a drink, recover, warm up… If there’s no report, there’s no reason for them to intervene, since they only intervene when there’s a report. After some time, maybe inspectors will come and give you a solution how to demolish the building by yourself. And you say, no way, you do it. And they say – you’ll have to wait, we don’t have a tender for a demolishing company. Then they’ll announce a tender. Then they’ll wait for the deadline for the appeals to the tender. Then a new tender. Then a new deadline. In the meantime they’ll keep negotiating with you: Dude, you’re working illegally, you should demolish the building by this Friday. If not this one, then next Friday. And once I’ve failed to meet all the deadlines I’ll kindly ask the Municipality – let’s wait for the sale season to be over and then I’ll shut down the business. And there you go, you can run your business until April, May. Maybe there’ll be elections and there’ll be a new government. And by the time the government consolidates with new personnel policies, I’ll already have proved myself as a company with a long history.

That’s how our system works at a basic level. We’re not talking about high politics, about constitutional changes, about grand-scale corruption, about appellate judges who’ve shelved verdicts and as a reward become supreme judges. No. We’re talking about basic things, the right to public space, the right to passable streets and pavements, the right to regulated parking, the right to breathe. This is what our everyday life looks like. Our life is made miserable with things that don’t take much to work properly, but they don’t.

The people we pay to provide those basic requirements for a normal living aren’t doing their job. I don’t believe they’re simply incompetent. I’d rather say it’s incompetence and irresponsibility combined with corruption. At the end of the day, it all boils down to one thing – money.


27 January

Macedonia has successfully established good international relations, and in principle there shouldn’t be a problem to include Bulgarians in the Constitutions, as will be the case with Croats and Montenegrins. However, the problems that Bulgaria is causing us won’t stop with the change of the Preamble. All because Bulgaria simply doesn’t want to even see Macedonia, let alone see it as an equal in the EU.

The EU and the USA probably still don’t get that. However, with the drama Sofia made out of the incident when the secretary of the Bulgarian club was beaten up in a pub in Ohrid, the same club named after the tsar who was a fascist occupier in World War II, I hope the authorities see how things stand a little better now. Even if we change our Constitution ten times and list every single Bulgarian by name and surname in the Preamble, Bulgaria won’t stop hindering our progress towards the EU. We have to live with that realization and to try to find a solution. We have to change our strategy for joining the EU. Since, the humiliation we will suffer from Bulgaria will have no end.

It seems we’re very gullible. There’s a French proposal, it’s not very good, but it’s good enough, let’s hurry because the EU is in a hurry, let’s do it because it’s the best proposal we can get, the next proposal might be even worse, let’s do it now in case they separate Albania, then a war in Ukraine, fast, no time to waste, accept whatever they offer, even if it leads to internal destabilization. And now – it is what it is.

I’m tired of debating the question: Do we have an alternative? No. We don’t. Our goal is the EU. And the real question isn’t whether we have an alternative. It’s how to reach our goal. Since, it’s obvious that the path our government has chosen is not yielding results.  We need to change our approach. We should be persistent in seeking help from our true friends. And we should use the entire domestic brainpower, and not to accuse people criticizing this subservient approach of being anti-European. In any case, the alternative mustn’t mean self-humiliation.

Even now we can see that after changing the Constitution there’ll be a new Bulgarian veto. That will remove SDSM from power, VMRO-DPMNE and Levica will compete with each other with populism and with hardcore nationalism, whereas DUI and the other Albanian parties will go back to their warlike rhetoric of 2001.

The EU will get an unstable Macedonia advancing a pro-Russian influence. Is that what the EU needs?


3 March

There’s no Euro-scepticism in Macedonia. There’s Euro-realism. As opposed to Euro-opportunism. That Euro-realism stems from our disappointment with both the EU and our own country. Our disappointment initially came from Bulgaria imposing its San Stefano dreams in the EU enlargement agenda, then it was made worse with the silence of the other 26 member states, it eventually turned into a feeling of despair and helplessness because of the incompetent Macedonian political elites who hide their corruption behind the EU integrations and don’t put European values into practice. They ramble on about the EU not because they care about European values, but because they want to get access to European funds. They grabbed the story of European integration so they’d grab larger commissions.

The reason why the quality of our life is bad isn’t because we’re not in the EU. It’s bad because corruption and crime are deeply rooted into our party elites, and our citizens are so resigned that they don’t mind being robbed by the ones they voted into power. Parties are stealing as if there’s no tomorrow, stealing vertically and horizontally, they don’t even bother hiding, let alone be ashamed of it.

We’re all sick and tired. Sick and tired of Bulgaria and of the unfulfilled European promises, but mostly of our country being held captive and being robbed by the parties. The only ones who are not tired are the thugs. Unlike us, they haven’t lost their form in the marathon to the EU.


31 March

We’ll put the whole country in debt just so they can cater to their electorate. Who’ll pay off the loans? Will the officials pay off the debt with their increased salaries? Or perhaps the administration they buy for votes before every election? Yet again the private sector will pay off the debts of the state. The same private sector that the Government bullies at every turn.

However, the day will come when there’ll be no more money to give. Not only will there be no one to pay, but there’ll be no one to vote. They’ll be left only with the administration, so they’ll have to start taking from it as well.

Over here there are no strikes in private companies. The only ones going on strikes are the employees in the state administration. They’re the only ones who are complaining about everything and anything, the only ones whose salaries are low, the only ones who are constantly unhappy and dissatisfied. And the only ones who keep finding ways to pressure the government to raise their salary. Because they’re not part of the labour market. They’re part of the party market.


7 April

To top off this regression, we have to note the initiative to return the monument to Andon Lazov Janev – Kjoseto, which was removed from its location in front of the Court by the Skopje local government while Petre Shilegov was mayor. Mayor Danela Arsovska now wants it back. Since the Municipality of Centar didn’t let her return it to the previous place and instructed her to seek permission from the Assembly, Levica called from the Municipality of Aerodrom and together with VMRO-DPMNE voted an initiative to put Kjoseto in Aerodrom. Now that initiative will be brought before the Assembly.

The SDSM government has managed to remove only one monument out of the hundreds Gruevski had commissioned, but didn’t have the courage to melt even that one. To make sure it was gone. So the Kjoseto would not exist, in case someone decided to look for it. We were optimists they’d demolish the eyesore Gruevski and Subrata Roy presented as a monument to Mother Teresa, which still blocks the exit from Macedonia Square, a building which is not only illegal but not safe as well, and they’ve failed to remove a single galley.

It’s like we’re back in 2013. We’ll now look for Kjoseto, just like when we used to look for the monuments that popped up all over the centre of Skopje, we wondered where they’d bring them from, which depots they hid them in, where they were cast. It’s been ten years since that madness. Looking back over the last decade, I realise this is how far we’ve come. From Kjoseto – to Kjoseto.

Meanwhile, we’ll focus on having debates and theorising how to bring back Macedonians who study in Slovenia. Why would they come back? To rejoice at Kjoseto? Should they come back for Kjoseto?


14 April

The Government says: Don’t ask us questions about money. Our eyes are set to the future.

It’s more like your eyes are set to your pockets. And your eyes are set to whatever you can grab before you fall from power, so you’d be able to buy yourself a nice stay when you’re in opposition.

There are no longer any dilemmas about what future awaits us with this SDSMDUI government. We’re already in the tunnel. However, the light we see at the end of the tunnel is not the exit. It’s the light of the VMROLEVICA train which is coming from the opposite direction on the same track and will leave us stuck in this tunnel. There’s another, parallel track, which apparently goes towards the EU, but even that light is not the bright European future. It’s the light of the train coming from Bulgaria with such force that it wants to run us over. For us to be gone.

Whichever way we decide to go, we’ll remain stuck in the tunnel. And the light is getting close and closer.


19 May

In fact, I have the impression that whoever comes from the EU and whatever they say is in vain. Out of all the European leaders we only trust Radev’s words. He’s the one who accomplished everything he promised.


23 June

It turns out that Merko having been put on USA’s black list is the least of our problems. It’s a much bigger problem that we are all on the black list of our own country. We were put there by our own politicians, whom we elected at our own elections, the parties that make our heads spin with promises of fighting corruption, the judges and the prosecutors that we pay to deliver justice, the police officers that we expect to protect us from criminals and thugs.

Our lives have been put on a black list.


7 July

I no longer feel like listening to Kovachevski, or Osmani, or Marichic when they speak about how nice things will be once we change the Constitution. Mickoski, on the other hand, had seven years to find the courage to apologise for the evil his party committed, but he didn’t, so whatever he says is totally irrelevant to me. And with the current Constitution, no one’s stopping politicians from providing us with better living conditions. Neither the central government of SDSM and DUI, nor the local authorities of VMRO-DPMNE. On the contrary. That’s exactly what we expect from them. That’s why we elect them. And we pay them for it. Who’s stopping them from making our lives better now?


18 August

It’s not that there’s no alternative. There’s an alternative no one offers. The alternative is honest governance. And what are they doing in a situation when we find ourselves backed into a corner? They’re scaring us with isolation and telling us that this is a historic moment and that time is of the essence to use the last chance, while plundering whatever remains to be plundered. Since, not a single chance to plunder must be last or missed, especially now when the end of their mandate is near.

And let’s put an end to this discussion whether there is or there isn’t an alternative.


8 September

It’s not that horrible that by changing the Criminal Law, the Parliament voted for reduced sentences for officials who steal money from the budget. Look at it as a pro-European move. We’ll improve our statistics in successfully combating corruption. Regardless of whether it’s a chapter or a cluster, whatever it is – it’s been successfully completed. Even before the EU accession talks begin.

With this inventive solution, passed in a hurry, fast-tracked under the European flag so we’d catch the fast lane leading to the EU, the fastest lane of the multi-speed EU, we find ourselves adapting our laws to the criminals, instead of criminals adapting to our laws. Instead of punishing the corrupt judges who were experts in dragging out trials against politicians under the old law, we’ve now adapted a new law that facilitates the expiration of statutes of limitations.

In our country, it’s easier to change the law than to secure a final verdict against a politician. And we’ll change our Constitution faster than the officials who stole our money will go to prison.

Does impunity bother you? Well, from now on, impunity will be legal. At last we’re offering the EU a unique solution that will contribute to the perception of honest governance. No verdict, no crime. No convicted politicians, no corruption.


13 October

So, this time it really is time for a civil uprising. With a pen, of course. But with quality ink this time. Not with the one Zoran Zaev used, which started to fade as soon as SDSM and DUI came to power. But also not with the ink of VMRO-DPMNE, because even after seven years, we’re still living with the devastation in the institutions left by their rule. As for Levica, aside from slurs and curses, they don’t even have any ink to offer.


27 October

After 30 years of fatigue and disappointments, we’re no longer interested in what the EU will provide in some distant future. What matters to us is what the Government provides now? – Nothing. What do local authorities provide now? Nothing. Not only do they not provide, but they also take from us.

They took away our justice and our rights.

They took away our public spaces, pavements, streets, parks, forests, mountains…

They took away our water and clean air.

They took away our quality of live by corruptly changing urban plans, without infrastructure that would support their rampant construction.

They took away our peace and quiet because bar owners are more important to them than the citizens who are oppressed by the blaring music of thugs.

They took away our public healthcare, they took away our education…

Simply put, it feels as if they’ve taken away our hope and faith that things could even improve. We don’t need to discuss European values. Here, we don’t respect any values. Here, even life has no value.

And when we tell them all of this, they immediately accuse us of being Eurosceptics.

That’s not the case. We’re not Eurosceptics. We simply don’t allow them to underestimate our intelligence.


24 November

Was it a mistake to stay here? And are we making a mistake by trying to find a way for our children to hit the road in time?


8 December 2023

Impunity is becoming endemic. Starting from parking illegally, all the way to racketeering. From slapping a political opponent two or three times, all the way to kidnapping a child. From “let the fool go, we know him, he’s one of us,” all the way to killing a child.

And if we find it that difficult to understand the dangers of the impunity that kills our society every day, we should constantly be reminded of the image of the 14-year-old girl who was dumped into a bag, thrown into a boot, and shot. Why did they kill the child? Because they could. Because they felt powerful. Because people feared them. Because they were encouraged by the likes on social media. Because they felt protected. Because they weren’t punished and were untouchable.

Impunity isn’t an abstract concept or an empty phrase. Impunity is the murder of a child. Impunity in Macedonia now has a face and a name. Its name is Vanja. If we continue to live with that realisation without it bothering us, then we’re beyond saving.



Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski