In the third part of VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski’s mega interview with Republika, you will read about the question of bilingualism, cantonal division and change of the Constitution, about why there are differences over the understanding of patriotism, as well as Soros’ manipulation with this term globally and the parallels of those circumstances with the domestic political scene.
Still, the impression that you are nationalists was enhanced during the last election, when you opposed the notion of bilingualism throughout the whole territory, cantonal division and change of the Constitution in that regard …
At the last elections, SDSM went with an offer to the Albanians that will not help improve their lives, but it sounds attractive at first glance, especially when someone else says no. Albanians in Macedonia make up around 25 percent of the population, while Macedonians 65 percent. 25 and 65 is not the same, not even close. In order to have bilingualism throughout the whole territory, the percentages must be equal or approximate, which is not the case.
Secondly, the population should be mixed across the entire country and across all major cities and towns, which is also not the case in Macedonia. What benefit would the Albanians have if there bilingualism is introduced in Delcevo, Gevgelija, Strumica and Kavadarci. There is bilingualism where it is necessary and useful. And so it should be. It is a correct concept.
If something is missing in that concept, it can be debated and improved, but to enforce a law to make more than half of the country learn Albanian, which has no common ground with the Macedonian is an unreasonable request. Language is learned if one needs to learn it. Why would someone in Berovo, Kriva Palanka or in Demir Kapija learn Albanian when there is not a single Albanian, or there are very few. As politicians we would have to explain the citizens that decision. And it is also very expensive. Let’s put it this way, let’s imagine the politicians in Macedonia make a decision that all Albanians will have to learn Turkish or Vlach. Whether they like it or not, need it or not, just because someone wants to win more votes in that way, or someone told them so. Generally, learning a language is a positive thing, and voluntary everyone can do it, and the state should encourage it, but it is quite otherwise when it must be learned. Behind the idea of bilingualism throughout the whole territory is the next idea and plan, the plan for cantonal division, which not only was recognized by Zaev’s performances in Switzerland, but also in their program, using vocabulary that is vague, but the essence is the same.
What scares you the most in the concept of cantonal division?
Disintegration of the state.
Why, how come Switzerland, Belgium did not break up?
There is a huge difference between them and us. First, we live in a turbulent region, with many radical structures and many conflicts in the past. Some of the neighbors, through the history, as well as today, see Macedonia as a possible prey in the future. It is no accident that the Macedonian issue has not been resolved yet. A canton is a state within a state, which can include the right to self-determination and secession. And this is the Balkans. We do not have a GDP of EUR 60,000 per capita to be our cohesive factor. Look at Bosnia, and it is a country divided into cantons. Imagine if Belgium and Switzerland were down to 5-6.000 EUR of GDP per capita and let’s see how their cantonal system works. So my position, and VMRO’s position is not against Albanians, but it is aimed at preserving the integrity and unitary character of the country. And every Albanian who wants to live in this country should know that we are with them, not against them. Federations and cantons in the Balkans and Eastern Europe have not had a history of success – in fact they frequently ended with much violence, such as in Yugoslavia and Bosnia. This is why we want Macedonia to have a unitary system and territorial integrity, like Estonia or Latvia, countries that are democratic, are part of NATO and the European Union, and offer human rights for all. Macedonia has shown it can go beyond the minority rights offered in these countries and can even be used as a positive example for EU member countries. We want to continue to develop our model of multiculturalism and tolerance, but without resorting to federalization or cantons, because that can cause fragmentation of the country. But, let’s go back to the initial question. It is unlikely that we are part of the concept and ideology of Soros, because we are nationalists. Those who love and care for the unity of their country are not nationalists. They can only be good patriots.We might have ideological differences with Soros.
Why do you think you have differences in terms of patriotism?
Because one of the activities of the Soros NGO’s is recruitment of capable young people across universities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds, and their indoctrination through lectures, among other things, the concept of state and national origin, and in the direction that they should not feel as Macedonians but as citizens of the world, a utopian idea which does not work, and we should be an experiment and lose the country with such an attitude towards it. Some of those people who have gone astray to such lectures, attracted by offers of free travel around the world and easy money for organizing student lectures, have told me in detail about this indoctrination. Citizen of the world sounds good, but it is not reality. Soros would do well to first try and explain to Americans that they are not Americans, or that Britons, French, Germans, Italians, Russians.. are not what they are, and if this idea works there, then he should come to Macedonia and experiment on us. While his network is pushing this idea in Macedonia, some people in our surrounding are licking their chops. At a time when there are criminal and terrorist groups entering our territory with weaponry more advanced than that of our armed forces, when we have daily reports from former intelligence officers that have served in the Balkans about how the region’s borders should be redrawn in a way that leaves Macedonia reduced, when there are nations who don’t recognize our identity or our name, the Soros NGO groups are propagating that it is a shameful act to have a firm position on your national interests. And they fight with all their might to bring VMRO-DPMNE down, declaring us to be nationalists, a non-democratic regime, bad people, knowing that dealing with SDSM in charge would be all that easier.
Our concept is that we belong to the world of humanity, and that we have equal rights like everyone else, but that also, at the same time, we belong to our people, our city, our state. The global identity is undeniable, but it shouldn’t exclude the national identity.
Basically, what makes us different from what Soros and his servants are advocating is not the position that the people are citizens of the world, something we completely agree with, but the reality in which his agenda wants to wipe off and relativize states, state and national identities that have existed for centuries and are linked to many emotions, feelings and traits.
You know, in a sense, portraying us as nationalists greatly reminds me of what was happening to the new US president Donald Trump. These days I read his book, which is fresh in my mind, and I will draw a parallel. Throughout the campaign in America, many media reported that Trump is against Mexicans, that Trump is against the Americans from South and Central America that speak Spanish, that he is against immigrants, against black people, etc. Given than not everyone has the time and opportunity to carefully read and analyze, I guess a lot of uninformed voters voted against him believing that he really said that. Having carefully read the book Great Again, I am convinced that Trump does not say so. He says that illegal migration should be curbed, which in America is huge and for the most part comes from Mexico and South and Central America countries. But, at the same time he says, I paraphrase, that the influx of immigrants coming to live and work in America should not stop, on the contrary the annual quota of immigrants from all countries should increase, be simplified, be issued more quickly and more efficiently, including Mexico and South and Central America, but in la legal way, not illegally because that’s how, usually, besides honest and hardworking people, many criminals, ex-prisoners for drugs, theft, murder, rape and the like come into America.
And the media said that Trump is against Mexicans, against immigrants, that immigrants are rapists and murderers etc. So, totally taken out of context from a good and noble idea, something that every sound person would support, if it is conveyed as it is said.
What is the parallel with us?
The parallel is in the alleged nationalism which VMRO-DPMNE is said in these media outlets to harbor toward ethnic Albanians. Not only it’s not ture, the truth is actually quite contrary to what these media outlets are saying, as well as from SDSM, which in the past proved to work against the Albanians. So, the parallel are the spins, the lies of the media and the political opponent without a single fact…