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Macedonia

Macedonia

The relationship between Macedonia and Russia has been friendly and special concern is given to Russian investment—particularly in oil and gas—with the 2016 construction of the Klecovce-Stip pipeline between the countries.[1] Russia, however, involved itself in the country’s affairs during a 2017 constitutional crisis, ascribing blame for the issue on Western interference and pushing its disinformation operation into high gear with both official statements and propaganda publicized by Sputnik exploiting tensions and resentment with Albania.[2] There may be further risks of Russian interference on the horizon with Greece dropping its longstanding veto against Macedonia joining NATO over resolving the dispute reagrding the country’s name in 2018. The Kremlin will seek to detach Macedonia from Western influence by using the media and propaganda to further exploit local ethnic tensions within the large Albanian population and make appeals to those sensitive to Russian Orthodoxy and the pan-Slavic identity discourse.[3] This has been evident in the sponsorship of Orthodox churches and the publication of articles on both Russian and Serbian websites (such as Pravda) attempting to cast doubt on the EU and NATO and accusing the West of trying to promote the secession of Albanian-majority areas.[4] Macedonia is continuing to move towards joining NATO and has opened an investigation into Moscow-backed figures in the Conservative party, such as former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.[5]

  


[1]http://balkanenergy.com/construction-of-klecovce-stip-gas-pipeline-completed-macedonia-1-august-2016/ 
[2] https://euobserver.com/foreign/137100
[3] http://balkanist.net/russia-macedonia-pan-slavism/ 
[4]https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2017/11/14/russian-influence-macedonia-credible-threat/ 
[5]https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/04/russia-actively-stoking-discord-in-macedonia-since-2008-intel-files-say-leak-kremlin-balkan-nato-west-influence 

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