Current events in Macedonia pose a danger to Bulgaria’s national security: Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov9 May 2015 | 21:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov, a historian and director of the National History Museum in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with recent events in Macedonia after a gunfight today in Kumanovo.
FOCUS: Prof. Dimitrov, what is your comment on the latest developments in Macedonia after today’s gunfight in Kumanovo?
Bozhidar Dimitrov: The latest developments in Macedonia were expected long ago. Moreover, ten days ago my friends from Macedonia, who are members of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) told me that they prepare such things, that Americans are on their side and they owe a large part of the records [of wiretapped state officials] that have and intend to play the role of information bombs. They told me the whole scenario, they told me that they plan to invite specialists from Kiev - from the Maidan, and will enact Skopje Maidan.
The government of Gruevski, who established a one-man dictatorship where democracy is only a facade and where even Bulgarian democracy, which is not the most perfect, looks like an emanation of the Western democracies, it was impossible to avoid these invents which sooner or later should happen in this way, as it was impossible to happen in normal, democratic way. Because even if the opposition to receive more votes from Gruevski’s party in elections they will never win, as there is no real procession of ballots. Therefore the government of Gruevski, can be toppled only with violence - street powerful demonstrations and fighting. "Unfortunately, yesterday I predicted that in evening, as it happened at the Maidan [in Ukraine], someone will shoot in demonstrators’ back. Something similar happened in Kumanovo and I see no turning back. There will be a civil war with unimaginable consequences. The country [Macedonia] can hardly return even to the Ukrainian model - calming the situation after the expulsion of the dictator, early parliamentary elections and the winner to take the helm. This would hardly happen in Macedonia because of a third factor - Albanians in the country. They are many in number – one-third, or even 40% of the country's population. Most of them have other ambitions and unfortunately do not see their future in Macedonia, and in a big Albania, which the Albanian President spoke recently about. He insisted it is possible perspective for Albanians on the peninsula - Albania, Kosovo and Western Macedonia to form a common Balkan country. It is therefore difficult to predict what will happen after the expulsion of the dictator.
My fears come not from the very events in Macedonia, but whether there is an action plan depending on the situation development. I am afraid there isn’t.
From my personal experience I know that many of those in power and the opposition [in Bulgaria] do not know the real Macedonia and that some 30-40 km from Sofia, live around 1.5 million Bulgarians by origin, and more than 100,000 of them are Bulgarian citizens. They [Bulgarian institutions] do not know that our country is responsible to them and have to protect and preserve, but also to fight for the rights of those who are called Macedonians by force. The other problem of Macedonia is that it is not a regular state and nation. It has no historical past; this is a country invented in 1944. Macedonia is the last Museum of the Communist International in the European territory. We need to know what to do in any situation.
If everything follow the usual line, Gruevski will step down and will run somewhere - possibly even to Bulgaria, having worked in the former Multigroup Company [a business conglomerate in Bulgaria mostly known for its alleged involvement in various scandals and organized crime]. But what if Albanians intervene? Events in Skopje were launched by armed Albanian groups, feeling the shaking of power might have begun to peruse their goal.
Some say Gruevski himself ordered them to do this in order to declare a state of emergency and taking advantage of his powers to crush the opposition, which on May 17 was about to storm the parliament.
What would Bulgaria do if that Ukrainian scenario repeats and a region, say Strumica, where the population is almost entirely populated with Bulgarian citizenship, demanded independence and accession to Bulgaria? Strumica completely can be likened to the Donbass or Crimea - what do we do, what decision we will take?
These are my fears and concerns - will we again abandon the Bulgarians in Macedonia, as we have done more than once in our history? We abandoned them in periods of national catastrophes in 1918 and in 1944, but now Bulgaria is an EU member. We are a relatively prosperous country, there is no national catastrophe now. I worry because I am sure almost 100% that we have no plan. Moreover, many of those in power simply do not know the problem. Evidence of this is the recent Consultative Council on National Security (CCNS), where was discussed the situation in Ukraine and across the world, but not what is happening in the territory some 30-50 km from Sofia, two meters from our border.
FOCUS: You say Bulgaria has no plant by the moment, but what steps can be taken?
Bozhidar Dimitrov: The steps to be taken are depending on the situation. After today's events in Kumanovo it is clear that Gruevski will remain in power for another week. What comes next? Extraordinary parliamentary elections? And if Albanians think otherwise? For them there is no problem, they already practically sealed off the western and northern Macedonia from the rest. They could just say, "We go to Albania" and no one can not stop them. Macedonia, like us, has no army. It is even worse than us. It can not cope with the Albanians if mobilized anew.
FOCUS: You said that it is difficult to predict what might happen. However, what triggered the internal conflict?
Bozhidar Dimitrov: The conflict is triggered by the dictatorship established by VMRO-DPMNE. It is a complete dictatorship – they write the necessary protocols to win the elections. There is another thing - the entire government, the heads of all secret services, and heads of customs, all they are relatives of Gruevski. Since there is no law on conflict of interests, there is no control - first, second cousins, nephews, brothers and sisters occupy high state posts. This is something unprecedented even globally.
FOCUS: Is there a risk to our national security?
Bozhidar Dimitrov: Yes, there is a danger to national security, in the sense that armed groups can cross our border that is hardly being secured. Probably tens of thousands of refugees may be directed to Bulgaria. I hope it will not go to refugee camps, and will stay with relatives, since almost all have relatives in Bulgaria. Few people know that during the Yugoslav conflicts young Macedonians fled to Bulgaria not to be mobilized in the Yugoslav army and fight the Croats. Nevertheless, 40 young Macedonians died. Now there is same danger, but it is about a lot more Macedonian refugee as the conflict is in Macedonia.
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