Tug of War in Macedonia

Will Skopje's Wiretap Scandal Drive It Closer to Russia?

A protester holds up a sign reading "resign" during an anti-government demonstration in Skopje, Macedonia, May 17, 2015. Marko Djurica / Reuters

Macedonia is embroiled in a deep political crisis. Since February of this year, over 500 wiretapped recordings of alleged conversations of various officials, including the sitting Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and some of his cabinet members, have been released in 36 installments by Zoran Zaev, the leader of the main opposition party, who is claiming that he obtained them from a whistleblower within Macedonia’s secret police. The recordings include more than half a million conversations that took place between 2007 and 2013. If authentic, these information “bombs,” as Zaev calls them, portray shocking abuse by the ruling party in Macedonia.

For starters, they reveal control, or attempts to control, the judiciary and other branches of the government by the prime minister’s close circle. In one conversation, Filimena Manevska (wife of former justice minister Mihajlo Manevski) and Vlatko Mijalkov (cousin of the prime minister) discuss whether Ljupka Arsenievska, the president of the court

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