Miroslav Grcev, the former chief architect of downtown Skopje and the author of the current iteration of the Macedonian flag, has been receiving large payments from the Culture Ministry where he was hired as an adviser, Faktor reports. In less than three years, Grcev collected 17.000 EUR, the reports show.

Grcev is best known as a hyper-partisan supporter of the ruling SDSM party and has shaped its approach to national identity issues and the way they spilled over into the Skopje skyline. He was a strong opponent of the adoption of the neo-classical and early 20 century urban style of Skopje in the new official buildings in Skopje, put in place as part of the Skopje 2014 project by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE led Government. Grcev would initially insist on the preservation of the Communist era brutalist architecture that dominated the period after the catastrophic 1963 earthquake, when the city was rebuilt to a large extent.

As the emotions ran ever higher over the approach to the Macedonian history, the relations with Greece and the representation of historic figures and styles in the capital, Grcev became ever more unhinged and eventually took up the position that the Macedonian state is made up and would go on long rants praising socialist Yugoslavia. Under the SDSM regime, Grcev was also criticized for getting his son Dimitar hired at a well paid position in a public company.

While in opposition, the SDSM party was vocally opposed to the giving of public funds to outspoken supporters of their political opponents on the right and promised that it will end the practice of funding party media campaigns with state funds.

In response, Grcev confirmed the payments, but said that he “earned the money 20 fold” as part of a committee set up to “grapple with the consequences from the Skopje 2014 project” and as adviser to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.