by | 3 November, 2023

It’s truly incredible that in this country, which is rushing towards the EU at an unstoppable pace, those who are prosecuted are the ones who expose corruption, not the corrupt themselves.

1 When the president of the Supreme Court is urgently summoned to a hearing in the Judicial Council because she stated in an interview that there was political pressure on supreme judges, that means that “it’s truly incredible what North Macedonia has achieved so far,” as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, tends to say. Supreme Judge Besa Ademi will face questioning for expressing suspicion that corruption cases against high-ranking officials are dragged on for years until the statute of limitations expires.

It’s truly incredible that in this country, which is rushing towards the EU at an unstoppable pace, those who are prosecuted are the ones who expose corruption, not the corrupt themselves.

2 It’s truly incredible that both corruption and impunity for corruption are legalised in the name of the EU. First, SDSM and DUI used the European flag to fast-track the Criminal Code, while VMRO-DPMNE remained silent on the matter, and now the statute of limitations expires faster for cases in which politicians are accused of corruption. The latest European flag, this time with SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE uniting forces alongside with the inevitable DUI, has been attached to the law on advertising for state campaigns on television.

This has nothing to do with the media, journalism, and least of all, the accountability and transparency the government uses to justify the need to reintroduce the same law with which Nikola Gruevski spent 38 million euros of state money to bribe television stations in just seven years.

When they put a European flag on it and voted for the need to pass a law to bribe television stations, it reminded me of an exchange from the wiretapped conversations that Zoran Zaev made public. Martin Protogjer, Nikola Gruevski’s second-in-command and the head of the ideological control, calls the owner of Kanal 5, Emil Stojmenov, and requests that a certain programme he doesn’t like be broadcasted with interference in the signal, and the owner’s response is even more radical: “I even thought of cutting off the power in the entire TV studio, fuck them.” So Martin, still taking a moderate approach, suggests:”No, no, just play it with interference, distort the sound, people won’t be able to watch it and they’ll be forced to change the channel.”

We’ve come full circle. Back then, people from SDSM were whining that their electricity was being cut off and their programmes were being disrupted. They promised that there would be no state campaigns on television – and for a while, there were none. Now they’ve returned to the old practices. The two parties that can’t agree on anything have found common ground in how to bribe the media when they’re in power. They use our money to buy the favour of those who were once on the same team with the government led by VMRO until 2017 and participated in their crimes, they received money from the state budget to lead witch-hunts against the differently-minded, they used chyrons to mobilise people in defence of Gruevski and his gang, they hid events that the government didn’t want publicised, they stuck nails to the faces of their political opponents, they threatened with tombstones…

The SDSM government is doing exactly what it promised to fight against, the very promise that brought them to power. After they released all those who illegally wiretapped us, after they joined those who had been already robbing us, after they pardoned their electoral fraud and the wrongdoing they committed with the people’s money, after they continued to ruthlessly sell off state land for a trifle and to deepen the construction frenzy according to the principle “It can’t be a No! It has to be a Yes,” the only thing left for them is to use the European flag to legalise bribing the media and endangering democracy.

Instead of prevent it, SDSM and DUI only finalised the project that VMRO-DPMNE and DUI initiated to turn the state order into a criminal order.

While the EU and the USA can see what they’re doing and say to them “you’re great, now you should just include Bulgarians in your Constitution”, and while they’re diverting our attention with the successful screening process of the chapters and clusters, the threats “you’ll get what’s coming to you when VMRO comes back” are ridiculous…

It turns out we’ve been living under the delusion that VMRO-DPMNE is not in power. Their way of ruling has never truly disappeared. SDSM has simply kept their seats warm for the past six years. Just like the heated seats in the luxury cars that Bujar Osmani arranged for the OSCE summit, whose rental will be covered by us at three times the regular price.

3 First Vice Prime Minister Artan Grubi has proposed the initiation of criminal proceedings regarding the improperly designed Kichevo-Ohrid motorway, after the Government itself realised that even after ten years, the Chinese company “Sinohydro” won’t complete it by the end of this year. “Whether it’s the contractor, whether it’s the project designer, whether it’s the supervision, let the public prosecutor determine that, and let politicians carefully consider whether they’ll extend the contract in December,” said Artan Grubi.

Then, let’s not focus on the dubious dealings done by DUI officials. Let’s focus on the Chinese.

We listened to Gruevski, Vlado Peshevski, Mile Janakievski, Zoran Stavreski discussing the deals they were planning with the “ching chongs”.  We listened to them haggle over the commission – “Is it too much”, “five percent of the total”, “deal-oriented”… And? What happened? The “Trajectory” case, under the Special Prosecutor’s Office, went to waste with the amendments to the Criminal Code. This Government, with Artan Grubi as a Vice Prime Minister, first of his kind no less, released all those who were accused of having taken bribes for the project and the motorway. It turned out they weren’t the ones to blame because even after ten years, the motorway still hasn’t been built, although its price is constantly rising.

More often than not, there will always be someone to blame for the crimes and the incompetence of the government. The ones they blame now are the Chinese. And when they lose in elections, they blame the people.

4 The Assembly didn’t pass the proposed amnesty law, which was supposed to free up room in prisons. Next time Minister of Justice Krenar Loga proposes such a law, let him be more specific. Not to release all prisoners. To release only thieves. Or, to be even more precise: to release the thieves who didn’t hold state office. Because those accused of high-profile crime have already been released. And those who will commit high-profile crimes in the future won’t end up in prison. Why would anyone even go to prison for stealing?

Release the bandits who are not politicians. While they were in prison, they must have realised that you can steal without using violence. Let them join a political party, they might even become MPs, mayors, directors of public enterprises. Even those who previously burgled into apartments, banks and shops may have come to understand that it’s possible to do that in a more subtle way.

Here’s how that would go: Good evening, please give me your money. Thank you for being my partner in crime. How kind of you that you trusted me and gave me your precious money so that I could get rich and you could get poor. Just please be careful, follow the strict procedures and standards, put your money in a bag, I don’t wear gloves, I don’t want to leave fingerprints.

Everything must be in line with the laws on our way to the EU.


Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski