The mass opposition protests on 17 May were joined by a lot of civil society organisations, said Anastas Vangeli, a #Protestiram activist, a Macedonian anti-government protest group that is demanding the immediate resignation of the current government on the grounds of corruption.
According to Vangeli, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement that Macendonia was the new clash point between East and West was a bit of an overstatement. He added that the Macedonian government had also tried to claim the Russian narrative that the protest movement was the work of foreign agents. According to Vangeli, however, this is a just a PR move on the part of the government.
Russia is not an alternative to the EU for people in Macedonia, said Vangeli. There are some converges between the Kremlin and the Macedonian governments but there is no basis for a lasting relationship, Vangeli told Hromadske. He believes that Russia has no strategic interest in Macendonia aside from adopting a strategy of attrition.
Vageli told Hromadske that the current discussion happening between politicians is taking place behind closed doors. He suggested that the current Prime Minister is hoping that the long and hot summer will help to disperse the crowds.
Vageli stressed, however, that this is not an inter-ethnic crisis. It’s a crisis between the government which is inter-ethnic and the broader opposition which is also inter-ethnic.
Hromadske International's Nataliya Gumenyuk and Ian Bateson spoke with Anastas Vangeli, via Skype on May 24, 2015.