It is astounding how many theories with hundreds of versions have come up in the interpretation of the developments in VMRO-DPMNE after their St. Bartholomew’s night last Friday in the Parliament. First Hristijan Mickoski finally took over the reins of the party, then his authority became inviolable in the leadership, then exclusions were tampered so the public won’t notice that the cousins’ duality is actually a trinity with the new leader, the exclusion of Saso Mijalkov from the party is only a facade, then Nikola Gruevski directs all of Mickoski’s moves and the people around him, and the whole drama with MPs is set up to provide freedom to all who were charged for the violence on 27 April… And who knows what else.
The usual empty phrases that the coming years will reveal the true essence of the events are not appropriate for the Macedonian political scene. There were never people here who had the courage and elemental imprudence to reveal what happened in dramatic moments in the two major parties. It always comes down to rumors, assumed actions, watching their backs about possible uncertainty in the future – simply, silence is the fool’s gold that needs to be carefully guarded.
The general public, the one that was stuck in front of their TVs, or on the Internet, while the Central Committee of VMRO-DPMNE decided to make the cut of party princes, then read the written statements of the removed ones, there is a simplified notion of what is happening between the “patriots”. That impression will then lead it to support in the polls, or support in the next elections.
That impression is basically clear. VMRO-DPMNE clears up with the future, instead of proclaiming that it made a dramatic cut with the past.
A few things explain the way the party has gone in these five-six months, and the purge is just the interim peak of the events. The basis is that VMRO-DPMNE is radicalized, moving towards to the end of the right-wing spectrum of political action. By doing so, it tries to attract a certain part of those hardline nationalists, who call themselves patriots. That figure is negligible in relation to those citizens whom the party can lose as supporters, which are traditionally conservative, but are just slightly to the right of the center, and not to the bottom right pole whose platform is always exclusivity. When VMRO-DPMNE came to power again in 2006, this return was ideologically ready. You may have forgotten, but a few prominent right-wing ideologues – from philosophers to sociologists, were involved in order to explain the platform of new governance and give it a European context. And it should be said that the explanation of this new conservative and Christian platform was successful. The party mobilized a broad supporters’ structure, which was looking at some new concept that was worthwhile giving it a chance.
Then, those who came to power because of the new ideology in both economy and politics, have easily stepped into nationalism, corruption, authoritarianism – the common tools for securing power. The end to this, in one way or another, with small or large scale disasters, had to come. Macedonian society was giving birth in installments and managed to deliver democracy.
The present leadership of VMRO has no ideological platform, no political concept, no strategy for acting in the future – there is only exclusive nationalism that presents itself as patriotism. Its idea-guide is an express return to power. It shows anxiety that it cannot wait for two years for regaining power. In this intolerance, this leadership sees a general conspiracy in the West and domestic “traitors” in the pillar which was a stepping stone for the VMRO nomenclature – the Prespa Agreement. Like some kind of Macedonian young Turks, Mickoski and the people around him outlined the whole party’s policy in his complete rejection, while trying to shame it even where it is not necessary (the least in the trauma with the adjective North) using half-truths, and very often fake information. The defeat of the government’s majority in the Parliament was supposed to be the stencil that was supposed to confirm the referendum, and the arrival of Mickoski in the prime minister’s office seemed only a matter of several months.
Therefore, the shock of voting of MPs turned into a natural disaster for VMRO-DPMNE. The party’s president said this openly in the recent celebration of October 23th. Basically, he was honest, that’s why someone broke his hopes and plans. But that honesty has also shown the lack of experience in politics.
“I will always regret the missed moment. I will be troubled by the fact that you who betrayed us did not give us a chance to defeat Zaev, you did not give me that chance! Why did you take away the opportunity to defeat him in elections, at a time when he was done? There was a quiet and excruciating pain in my heart that evening. It was quiet and uneasy at our headquarters. Our heart tore apart with each lifting of your hands in favor of Zaev’s proposal.
That is one excruciating pain,” Mickoski explained the horrific moment. Like the icons of the populists – Erdogan, Orban and Putin, he also identified with the people, trying to show his interest and his party as an interest of the people: “You betrayed me! You betrayed VMRO-DPMNE! And most importantly, you betrayed your homeland Republic of Macedonia.”
Those MPs who are now qualified as traitors and served the devil, only a week before the referendum, Mickoski called them vojvodi (dukes), komiti (rebels) and gemidzii (anarchists) in a speech in Ohrid. It’s the VMRO scene set back in 1918 – if you do not think like the party leadership then you’re a traitor to the organization and the work, and must pay a draconian punishment.
Announcing the conclusions of the Central Committee, the party’s vice-president, Aleksandar Nikoloski, compared it with a sort of triumph. “Starting today, nothing will be the same again. From now on, VMRO-DPMNE is clearing up with mortgages from the past,” he said. While announcing who was dismissed and proposed to be excluded, Nikoloski said that this past was incredibly close – just two weeks ago. And that the mortgages are related to the alleged attempts to bribe, blackmail and put pressure on the seven members of the party. Never before has this leadership made a one millimeter of distance from the party top that took Macedonia into authoritarianism, terrible violation of human rights and the country’s development. If the leadership had distanced itself from Mijalkov earlier because of everything that he did in the past years, along with Nikola Gruevski, that would have been a credible clearing with the past. The very explanation that Gruevski has no information whether he influenced the MPs makes this explanation of the party faulty, even fake. This whole drama simply comes down to bare frustration – a failed opportunity to come to power. Regardless of the election, they could show that this project does not usually have to end well for the party.
Mickoski’s “eternal suffering” and curses towards MPs got their confirmation from Moscow on Monday. The Russian Foreign Ministry, with the same vocabulary, also announced Kremlin’s frustration: “The October 19 vote in the Macedonian Parliament was organized following the canons of “contemporary European democracy” with an open violation of all norms both from the legal and from the moral point of view. The initiation of the constitutional changes initiative is ensured through blackmail, threats and bribery of the opposition MPs.”
Try to find the difference between the estimates of VMRO-DPMNE and Moscow – there isn’t any. The reaction of the excluded Nikola Todorov best explains this complete orbital transformation of the party: “They excluded me from the transformed faction of VMRO, transformed into an anti-Western, anti-EU and anti-NATO faction, governed by people who are guided and captured by their own vanity, who still bow to foreign anti-Macedonian and anti-Western propaganda and interests.”
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik