A series of links between Zoran Zaev and business people close to the Serbian opposition, as well as a recent meeting in Skopje, are at the fore-front of Serbian official allegations that Zaev’s Government is involved in the unruly protests in Belgrade over the past several days.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic drew a direct parallel between how Zaev was anointed Prime Minister of Macedonia – given illegal wiretaps, international backing to appoint a partisan special prosecutor and staged a “colored revolution”, apparently in order to sacrifice long standing Macedonian positions on the name issue with Greece and redefine inter-ethnic relations with the Albanian minority.

There is a group of criminals from Belgrade who want to work in Skopje. These are bandits which we threw out from here, Sasa Mirkovic, Basanovic, all mere thieves, one of them was caught stealing panties in a shopping mall in America and now he is a very important adviser to Zaev. Don’t worry, we will protect all the people in Serbia, Vucic said in his address following the violent protests over the weekend in the Serbian RTS public radio-television, and in front of his office in Belgrade.

Zaev surrounded himself with several businessmen tied to the opposition parties in Serbia during his Colored revolution. One of them, Zoran Basanovic, is a Serbian folk music producer who was active in Vucic’s SNS party, before being thrown out of it for alleged corruption. In 2012 he and his wife were detained in a mall in Miami after trying to get away with clothes and linens worth 5.000 USD. After Zaev took over the Government of Macedonia, he appointed Basanovic his adviser, and he recently organised a meeting between Zaev and Serbian opposition leader Dragan Gilas who took part in the storming of the RTS building. Eric Burns, American media consultant from the far left wing Media Matters from America organisation, who has been working with Zaev over the past several years, was also present at the meeting, said Serbian journalist Dragan Vucicevic.

My friend Ramush Haradinaj (the Prime Minister of Kosovo) is prepared to partially finance the downfall of Vucic if you pledge to recognise the independence of Kosovo as soon as you take over, Vucicevic claims that Zaev told the Serbian opposition leader during the meeting.

Vucic himself raised this comment, half-jokingly saying that “I did not take Haradinaj’s threat to depose me seriously, I thought he was joking, but now I see he was serious and has serious supporters in the plan”, lumping Zaev with the Kosovan Prime Minister and accusing them of a plot against the Serbian Government. The style of the protests in Serbia, with youth posing in dramatic fashion against the backdrop of riot police officers, while protest organizers seeming desire a confrontation, drew immediate parallels to the protests Zaev staged against the conservative VMRO-DPMNE led Government of Macedonia. At one point, a nationalist politician allied with Zaev similarly tried to storm the Macedonian Radio Television building – now renamed into the nondescript “National Radio Television” as part of Zaev’s deal to remove all mention of the Macedonian national institutions.

Following the imposed “solution” to the Macedonian name issue, through the Prespa treaty which renames and redefines the country, its national identity and history, Zaev has frequently said that this solution should be used to resolve other disputes in the region. The main such issue is the status of Kosovo, which claims independence but Serbia refuses to acknowledge its secession. Following the meeting in Skopje, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said that Macedonia is now the base of operations to fund and organize opposition protests in Serbia, much like Budapest was used to prepare the protests against Milosevic in the 1990-ies.