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Foreign Affairs: Will Macedonia’s Nationalists Bring the Country to Ruin?

SKOPJE - Sharp polarization brings protesters onto the street. A formal investigation looms over the most powerful figure in the nation, who acts to thwart the process. Moscow watches the situation with glee while attempting to sow doubt about the country’s institutions—indeed, about the very concept of democracy –writes the American magazine “Foreign Policy” in an extended analysis of the situation in Macedonia, Meta reports.

Skopje, Macedonia; Photo: WikiComons/Raso mk

“Although the parallels are striking, the above description does not refer to the United States but to Macedonia, a small Balkan country that is rapidly proving to be an example of what happens in democracies when leaders can disregard the rule of law. As Macedonia’s stability hangs by a thread, Republican senators in the U.S. Congress have irresponsibly entered the fray—and in doing so have abetted intensified meddling from Russia. The country’s autocratic former Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, is the subject of several investigations that were launched last year by a special prosecutor” writes the magazine.

According to “Foreign Affairs,” the crisis will not end now when Zaev takes over power but it will move into another phase.

“Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE will continue their efforts to destabilize the government and force new elections in order to avoid jail time. Once again, outside actors such as the United States, the EU, and Russia will have a critical, even decisive, influence on the tiny country, which has just two million inhabitants and is no bigger than the state of Vermont. In this volatile situation, it is critical for Washington to lead. As ever, European capitals pay only intermittent attention to the Balkans. As a start, the United States should press Berlin and Brussels to join it not just in providing aid and incentives, but in isolating, blacklisting (denying visas), and freezing the assets of actors who foment crisis and subvert democracy to gain or hold political power,” analyzes “Foreign Affairs.”

The magazine concludes that only pivotal heads in Washington, working urgently with their European counterparts, can avert the worst situation in Macedonia and the region.

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