Friday, April 28, 2017

Russia blames the U.S. after protesters storm Macedonia's parliament

Masked protesters stormed Macedonia's parliament in Skopje, the capital, Thursday evening in order to attack opposition lawmakers.  This event left more than 100 people, including the head of a small Albanian party and the leader of the Social Democrats, injured.  Russia's foreign ministry is placing the blame on the United States and the European Union for the political turmoil in Macedonia.  Moscow made a statement on Friday, accusing the West of "gross interference" in Macedonian politics with the aim of manipulating the citizens and removing the government from power.  Political observers, however, believe that Russia is simply trying to reframe the debate in their favor since it's more likely that the recent clashes in Macedonia are a result of a simmering domestic crisis.  There is also concern that Moscow is backing politicians and parties that are more friendly towards the Kremlin.  On top of that, Macedonia has been divided between supporters of the repressive conservative government and opposition groups.  The divide widened after the ruling conservative party, VMRO-DPMNE, was accused of repressing journalists and conducting illegal wiretapping operations to monitor up to 20,000 people.  The European Union attempted to calm tensions at one point, but the U.S. embassy in Macedonia has denied any involvement or support in the political tensions and debates.

Shannon McDonald

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