by Saso ORDANOSKI
It is striking that until now we have mostly heard about all of these changes from the VMRO-DPMNE deputy president Marjan Gorcev. Ljupce Georgievski seems to be spending more time outside than inside the country. Also, it is striking that none of VMRO politicians we have recently contacted could tell where their leader was traveling and what exactly he was doing on his travels. On the other hand, it is difficult to figure out from the statements of VMRO-DPMNE spokesperson Vlatko Gorcev what the true policy of the party is: his statements are so extreme that a long time is needed, simply due to inertia, to slow them down and turn them in the opposite direction.
Other previously eloquent party leaders (Ljube Boskovski, Ganka Samoilova, Tomislav Stojanovski, Aleksandar Florovski, Nenad Novkovski etc.) are so quiet that one could get the idea that they are busy packing their suitcases and getting ready to leave the country, or are stuck in meetings with their attorneys. And regarding those like Ace Milenkovski, Valentina Bozinovska, Aleksandar Pandov, Gulistana Markovska and other, it's hard to tell whether they are still members of the party?! Perhaps now, after his deportation from New York after all the scandals he caused there, Fili Petrovski will "liven up" the political scene and together with pathetic Slobodan Casule at least work on the formulation of the new opposition Macedonian foreign policy with emphasis on improvement of hotel and restaurant bills.
On the other hand, those knowledgeable about the situation inside the VMRO-DPMNE claim that Marjan Gorcev (and especially Gruevski) do not have either political or personal charisma to independently and without consultation with Georgievski articulate so dramatically different policies from those hitherto customary in the weepy VMRO's political mantra. That would mean that the main culprit for the moral-political catastrophe that has struck the VMRO-DPMNE, Ljupco Georgievski, has decided to "play a new song" but has no courage to openly announce the switch. Thus, Gorcev was forced to take the plunge.
That would not present a risk for Georgievski since the VMRO-DPMNE cannot boast with any individuals courageous enough to question the responsibility of the leader - to take his "corset" off - for the politically hazardous and legally criminal direction with which he led astray this party structure.
This decision by the VMRO to "lay down guns" also has an international dimension. It is clear that Crvenkovski has open support from several international centers, especially from Washington, for a campaign against criminals linked with the VMRO-led administration. One would not say that this support is based (only) on their desire, and especially of the USA, to finally see the rule of law in Macedonia. That support also contains a long-term dimension: Washington and Brussels cannot again permit the "luxury" that in either near or long term future a new administration appear in Skopje that would be as uncooperative and irrational as the last Georgievski's administration. The crisis in Iraq and its consequences, regardless of the way it develops, will go on for years, and from the military-political point of view Macedonia is covered by the same command operations center that covers the southern wing of the NATO employed in that crisis region. On the other hand, both European and American political interests and military forces deployed in the Balkans will continue to demand more stability, rather than instability, in the region. They cannot permit - after some early, and even regular elections - to reenter unproductive discussions with some unstable, capricious, irrational and controversial Ljupco Georgievski, surrounded by criminal interests or other unintelligible political motives (for example, division of Macedonia!).
All public appearances of SDSM representatives, including those of Crvenkovski, indicate that the new authorities have not made and do not intend to make such a deal regardless of the talks they have had with the opposition on different levels. On the contrary, in seems that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police), prosecution and courts have so far pretty methodically and without mistakes carried out their jobs, without indications that something is blocking their efforts.
On the other hand, there are several noticeable trends that make it plausible that some sort of agreement, somewhere, with someone's mediation, was attempted, and perhaps even made...
First, until the timid arrest of Besnik Fetai on criminal charges, the DPSh and ethnic Albanians were excluded from the anti-corruption and anti-crime campaign of the new authorities. The BDI seems to have lost all enthusiasm for a fight against ethnic Albanian crime and criminals although that was one of the most important justifications - if not the most important one! - for their armed uprising and killing all over Macedonia. Today, the BDI seems more disorganized and more fearful of the opposition power of the DPSh than it was while Xhaferi and his lot were in power.
On the other hand Crvenkovski seems to be showing understanding for this BDI's despondency. He will probably seek "payback" for that concession later, which is typical of old Crvenkovski. However, his approach is an unmistakable recipe for a deeper, although postponed crisis. True, the BDI say that "the Ohrid Agreement is more important for us", but this country has experienced many important political agreements and processes that failed, provoking deep crises, all because of tolerance and "forgetting" of crime.
Secondly, it is obvious that all suspicious criminal or corruption related cases linked to Greek capital invested in Macedonia - starting with OKTA and so forth - will not be addressed by Crvenkovski's government. Moreover, after the news that Mr Manoli had allegedly recently lost Greek citizenship, certain circles in the SDSM lobbied to find again a place for him close to the top of the party hierarchy. The role Greeks played in corrupting Georgievski's government, due to international implications, is a very delicate topic for investigation. However, it will be amusing to see how Crvenkovski will explain his reluctance to open investigations of that set of problems.
Third, smuggling of cigarettes - one of the most profitable criminal activities in Macedonia - is at the very bottom as far as the interest of state authorities is concerned, even though evidence in connection with this particular criminal activity is plentiful and easily accessible. Yes, the privatization of Macedonia Tabak (Tobacco) will be investigated, there will be other numerous propaganda moves, but there is no serious investigation on the horizon.
Does anyone in this country still wonders why these authorities are so benevolent when it comes to tobacco related crime?
In any case Branko Crvenkovski seems sobered up. He wants to stay in power longer than his previous tenure or 6-7 years, and in the meantime it seems that he has realized that his only obstacle on the path to accomplishment of that goal are "naughty boys in his own ranks". This time true troublemakers, and not those with doctoral degrees.
Ljupco Georgievski, on the other hand, is awaiting a party congress where he will expel from the party those who can oppose him. Then, with another transformation into a cooperative and constructive leader, he will try to get up on his opposition feet. It is clear that in that effort, if he does face problems with personnel and ethical and political values, he will not lack the necessary financial resources, especially his own. He has become rich with arrogant and reckless speed. Consequently, while the police is arresting his collaborators, he is shopping with his wife (perhaps buying new hats?) in Dubai, Munich or Monaco.