What is happening in Kumanovo, Macedonia, is continuation of the ethnic and religious armed conflict between the Bulgarian majority and Albanian minority in the Republic of Macedonia. The conflict grew in a full-scale war in March 2001, when Albanian militants took Tanusevci bordering with Kosovo, then Tearce and other settlements and reached Skopje taking Aračinovo (a village outside of Skopje established by Armenian settlers in the Middle Age, now populated by Albanians only). Tetovo city appeared in the center of the military actions. After the war in Yugoslavia, Kosovan Albanians settled in Tetovo and the city has become larger than Bitola - "the city of the consuls” – and is currently the country’s second city after the capital.
In the spring of 1999, many Albanians from Kosovo fled to Kumanovo to escape battles and bombardments. However, they behaved then more and less seemly, as Kumanovo is located not far from Serbia unlike Tetovo that is bordering with Kosovo. After all, they had already felt the power of the Serbian army and police. But for the NATO “peacemakers,” there would be no Republic of Kosovo. The Serbian Third Army under Command of General Nebojsa Pavkovic was put on full combat readiness to destroy the Albanian armed gangs (and NATO land-based contingent if they were deployed there for Belgrade’s capitulation). Nevertheless, the latent religious and ethnic tension in that region continued. It was evident even when traveling in transit via Kumanovo – the local car station is located in the Albanian quarter. The city is located along Sofia-Skopje motorway. The Serbian side of the border is also densely populated with Albanians.
In 1999, after the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) gained victory with the support of NATO, the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (UÇPMB) emerged. It operated in the territories densely populated with ethnic Albanians on the northern part of the border.
In 2001, the National Liberation Army (NLA) unleashed war in the Republic of Macedonia, later a more radical Albanian National Army (ANA) separated from it. Inherently, those armies had the same commanders and the most experienced fighters often shifted from one army to the other. They adhered and still adhere to the Maoist strategy of the partisan war: local detachments operate at nights, and try to keep a low profile at daytime and help the local population. The best fighters differentiate themselves from others in the regional detachments that fulfill a wider range of tasks. Best of them are concentrated in the national troops that fulfill only strategic tasks throughout the country or in the disputed zone.
In 1999, the defeat of the Serbian army and police became possible as CIA Director was George Tenet, an ethnic Albanian. He ensured the victory for the terrorists also in the war in Macedonia in 2001. Since then, by tradition, the United States supports the Albanian national idea and use the Albanian terrorists for its own goals. They proved close at hand again now when it turned out that the right-wing Conservative Government of Macedonia decided to join the Turkish Stream and start cooperating with Moscow. The ruling elite in Macedonia have many disadvantages, especially when it comes to observation of the democratic norms and principles and propensity for corruption. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski had occupied the position of the finance minister for a long time and accumulated wealth quickly. However, it is the oppositional party Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) that has ties with George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. Earlier Chairman of the Foundations in Macedonia was Vladimir Milchin. Now, Soros’s representative in Skopje is SDSM leader Zoran Zayev. Both them are anything but poor.
As the right-wing and left-wing forces in Skopje are squabbling, Albanians in the province slowly and surely create ethnically pure areas expelling the Bulgarian population to the east and south. The way things are going – at such rate and aggression – sooner or later the northwest part of Macedonia will join the Great Albania the U.S. is building at the heart of Europe. The southeast of the country will have no alternative to a versatile integration into Bulgaria. By the way, Macedonian Bulgarians wait for years to receive Bulgarian passports. Then the youth leaves to study in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna and remains there.
This smoldering armed conflict can have no other solution but Macedonia’s collapse into two self-determined religious and ethnic communities.
Georgy Kolarov, lecturer at Moscow State Institute of International Relations