The prank conversations between Zoran Zaev and Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus include a moment when Zaev agrees to the request to pay a bribe to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of 100.000 EUR.
The two Russian jokers called Zaev pretending to be Ukrainian President Petro Porosenko and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and managed to establish a relationship with him. Over months, Zaev had a number of conversations with “Porosenko”, and at one point he agrees to a proposal from the Russian comedians to pay 100.000 EUR in bribes.
During one of the conversations, “Porosenko” inquires about the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and explains how he was able to receive the recognition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from Patriarch Bartholomew. “Porosenko” tells Zaev that he had to pay 150.000 EUR for the recognition, and tells him that he should do the same, but for a discounted price.
It’s no problem, it’s ok. There will be a donation in cash, normally. We’ll do it, Zaev replies to the Russian comedian.
“Porosenko” tells him that he can get him a discount with Bartholomew and he only needs to pay 100.000 EUR for the recognition of the Macedonian church by the Patriarch.
Zaev insists that he was promised help from Alexis Tsipras to secure the recognition, and frequently cites that the Patriarch is Greek and therefore the then Greek Prime Minister will help in the matter. But, “Porosenko” names a number of American diplomats he says helped Ukraine receive its recognition, advises Zaev to go to them, but also to not forget the “donation”.