Skopje, Macedonia. The tiny nation has seen it’s share of violence since the collapse of Yugoslavia, now is yet again plunged into darkness with citizen rage over ineffective government in a land lost in time.
New tensions in Macedonia and the opposing views of powerful nations have led to concerns that the former Yugoslav republic, which narrowly escaped all-out civil war in 2001, could become another flashpoint for increasingly frosty relations between Russia and the West.
The country has been under a caretaker government since December elections.Local tempers boiled over Thursday night after disagreements about the election of a new parliament speaker, left more than 100 people injured.
On Friday, the previous night’s chaotic scenes had translated into a war of words between rival politicians despite calls for calm from abroad. In the evening, about 2,000 people held a protest outside the EU mission headquarters in downtown Skopje, demanding new elections.
Both the European Union and United States were swift to condemn the violence, and to recognize the new parliament speaker, Talat Xhaferi, a former military officer and defense minister.
The Russian reaction considered the local residents wishes, rather than strictly EU or American priorities,”The opposition, which lost the parliamentary elections, actually tried to seize power in the country by force, having deliberately elected the chairman of the parliament with a flagrant violation of the established procedures,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It noted the speed at which EU and U.S. representatives had recognized Xhaferi’s legitimacy as parliament speaker, and pointed out his past as a former rebel commander during a 2001 armed uprising by ethnic Albanian rebels seeking greater rights in Macedonia.
“Such a reaction, coordinated with lightning-speed, is undoubtedly evidence that the incident was planned in advance, with the tacit consent of the ‘external curators’ of the Macedonian opposition,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.