Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Who is to win, who is to lose?

After Zaev's bomb, Macedonia entered a new phase in terms of both internal and external affairs. Regardless of the contents of the documents he traded with and threatened with for months, SDSM leader cannot hope the planned explosions will take him to his goal - taking over the prime minister's cabinet on "Ilindenska" boulevard. Beside him, there are also other losers in the entire story, but there are also such who can gain a lot from it

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Columnist: Goran Momiroski

The newsflash that traveled across the globe was that there is a putsch in Macedonia, and everyone who heard the news imagined tanks entering the Parliament, the Government building and the presidential residence. That, undoubtedly, means Macedonia is the one that lost the most. The lack of political dialogue, which threatens to cause us to lose the recommendation for start of accession negotiations, is no longer a question. Even the name row is no longer a priority, because even the persistent Nimetz would find it hard to schedule negotiations date under such difficult conditions, even more so when – according to speculations that reach to him – part of the negotiations could be part of the bomb of Strumica mayor. Right after the fatherland, Zoran Zaev is next on the list of losers. Unless his goal is taking Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski down with him when he goes down, it makes no sense at all why he got involved in a scenario we have been watching for days. In a country in which he has four times less supporters than Gruevski does, in a country in which political support is often extended for personal gain, but, above all, due to traditional ideological assumptions, Zaev cannot hope that those information, as terrifying as they might be, will make him trade places with the prime minister. Even if the prime minister’s rating drastically drops, it can only sink to a certain level, but it can in no case drop below Zaev’s rating, neither can he hope to have the public trust Branko Crvenkovski enjoyed, which is anyways insufficient to form a government. Unless the prime minister and the minister have been participating in bloody cannibalistic saturnalia, like King Bokassa of Central African Republic did in the 1970s, Zaev cannot hope to take over Gruevski’s spot. Mostly because Macedonian citizens will know how to punish those who did illegal acts – if proven they really did, but they will not reward those who, except for lacking a clue on how to run the country, have no alternative for current policies, have no structure, although they have announced a ‘shadow government’. The other reason is clear – you do not reward those who believe they have a powerful weapon in their pockets and went to negotiate and bargain for something no normal politician must ever bargain. The fact he openly denied certain acts several times, than admitted he was lying, is an old story.

Winners

Unlike Macedonia and Zaev, who have already lost, and Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE, who are yet to be seen if they are going to come up as losers from this entire situation, there are also such who have already won or will win.

One of the political factors, which are currently staying to the side and repeating in their own way messages of the most influential western countries, is DUI. Ali Ahmeti is wisely keeping silent and waiting for an even bigger conflict between biggest Macedonian parties. The lower Gruevski’s rating is, the easier it will be for Mala Recica to dictate political processes in the country and put them on the ‘legit political goals’ list. The fact that Macedonian politicians could let Ahmeti be in a position from which he can blackmail and, for instance, win bilingualism on the entire territory, is not DUI’s problem, but a problem of other people, who are easy to be recognized.

The biggest winner in the whole situation is, definitely, Greece. Regardless if its spies were the contact when delivering the documents Zaev is talking about, the new government in Athens and the entire Greek state, is convincingly the biggest winner of the internal Macedonian battle. In times when Tsipras enters a direct fight with Merkel and a dozen of other EU member states which are upset with SYRIZA’s “socrealism”, Macedonia scores an own goal and instead of wisely pressing the wounded interlocutor in the name dispute, it is supposed to justify itself for the scandals we became known for lately worldwide and for those to follow. Judging by Brussels’ rhetoric, odds for positive annual EC report and recommendation for starting accession negotiations, are minimum. Indeed, who would want to negotiate with a country whose opposition leader is holding a bomb in his drawer for months, while negotiating with the prime minister for taking out a detonator.

Unlike the EU, the USA, Britain and Germany, which have nothing to win or lose in the latest Macedonian schemes, we might have a potential to win something in the case with Russia. Judging by its reaction, Russia has sent a strong signal it won’t give up on the Balkans, as it seemed it will do just two months ago when it reduced gas distribution to Serbia, and than stopped “South Stream” project, which was supposed to reach to Macedonia. With it’s last reaction, regardless of how balanced it was, Russia has confirmed the fears of German analysts who believe it has a specific strategic goal to gain bigger influence on the Balkans, mostly in non-NATO and non-EU countries, and naturally, in Bulgaria, where it has never lost its old position. Uninvited by anyone, Russia has managed to make an impression it supports Gruevski, thus making a stand regarding future developments on the Balkans, which its western opponents have information on, too. It is peculiar that Bulgaria is among those countries which did not make a lot of noise, although there were times when it would make a mess due to far less significant political processes in Macedonia. Is Sofia lying in ambush prior to future mishaps or does Boyko Borisov honestly wants to be constructive by applying silence?! It cannot be concealed on medium-term track, but it is relevant that Bulgaria did not even try to win points on Macedonia’s account.

Why isn’t Zaev publishing the documents?

One sentence in Zaev’s explanation regarding the reason he is not publishing the documents is extremely indicative. He says they will be published when it works best for SDSM. Hence, it is unclear how can such important state and national documents become prisoners of party interests. Therefore, it can be guessed that Zaev, in order to destroy his political opponent, could publish the documents or part of them before possible agreement with Greece or before EU accession negotiations kick off.

The second question, just like in the “Big Ear” affair, refers to documents quantity, or that part of the documents will not remain unpublished so that others cannot be blackmailed. Who can guarantee there are no documents hidden under somebody’s pillow already? Zaev cannot be the one t close the process, since he admitted himself he has been lying on several occasions already. And it is clear to everyone that without complete reveal of all documents – or partial reveal at given time periods – Macedonia will not be able to exit the political crisis for year.

“WikiLeaks”

Fame spread by Macedonian commentators that the Government will try to stop publishing of Zaev’s documents is absolutely fake. Gruevski and his collaborators were not born yesterday and know that in the era of the Internet, especially in the era of “WikiLeaks”, there is not a chance something can remain hidden. If nothing else, there are still printing shops and copying machines in Macedonia, where hundreds of thousands of copies of the alleged evidence of the historic damage to Macedonia can be made. It’s an easy maths: 70.000 SDSM members in one month can meet with all Macedonian citizens and explain them “Gruevski’s crimes”. Is this fame being made to find an alibi for bad public reception of the documents? “Macedonian Bank” case, which Zaev was convinced will destroy Gruevski, showed the people believe what they want to believe and that film scenarios in politics, especially in Macedonia, do not always bring extra points to the director.

Anyways, Macedonia, except for being a loser, can also become a winner in the entire story, but only if all matters are truly settled and if, after the truth is being determined, all who have really made a mistake became part of the political history.