Could Macedonia become "Russia's satellite"?

Macedonia is "increasingly a destination for the Kremlin’s political strategists," Voice of America in Serbian is reporting.

Source: Beta
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(Getty Images, file, illustration purposes)
(Getty Images, file, illustration purposes)

There are "ideologists of Russian exceptionalism and Moscow’s Orthodox mission in the Slavic world and in Eurasia," according to an article that originally appeared on Voice of America/Radio Free Europe joint "fact-checking" website polygraph.info.

The article - published under the headline, "Disinfo analysis: Macedonia - to be or not to be... Russia’s satellite" - states that, "as in Ukraine, Russia’s information warfare strategists identify the existing grievances in the target country portrayed in a way to promote Moscow’s interests."

"In Macedonia, Kremlin’s strategists highlight in their publications existing ethnic and political issues involving the Albanian minority, as well as issues accompanying Macedonia’s NATO/EU aspirations," the article said, and continued:

"According to Voice of America’s Macedonian service, the key strategist in Russia’s information warfare in Macedonia is Leonid Savin, who in late May provided training for 50 members of the far-right United Macedonia party, which opposes changing Macedonia’s name and views the country’s course towards NATO and the EU as the end of Macedonia’s statehood and independence."

The text further states that Savin is, "according to his biography, the 'Commissar of the Eurasian Youth Union' - a branch of Russia’s ultra-nationalist Eurasian Union, a movement created by Aleksandr Dugin and his ideological companions," while "The platform for Eurasian Union" includes, among others, a section entitled, "Our enemy" - one "entirely devoted to the United States."

"The section ends with a paragraph that states, in boldface: 'Our Union has an absolute enemy. It is the US that is the alpha and omega of our hatred'," VOA writes.

Along with his affiliation with Dugin, Savin’s other connections further identify him as a key figure in the Kremlin’s expansionist policy, the broadcaster continued, adding that he is "listed as the chief-editor of two agencies: Katehon and Geopolitica, and a regular contributor at the state-backed Strategic Culture Fund."

Katehon is a website "funded and owned by Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian multimillionaire sanctioned by the United States for his logistical, financial, ideological and material support of Russia’s operations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine," VOA said, and added:

"However, Ukraine is only a small part of Malofeev’s geopolitical interests. An investigation by the German newspaper Die Zeit in 2015 revealed ties that Malofeev and Dugin had with Greece’s top political figures, all leading back to Vladimir Putin."

"Malofeev, Dugin and co. were reportedly involved in the attempted coup in Montenegro in 2016 and several other shadow Russian operations in the Balkans," said the analysis.

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