BFF-52 Moscow slams Macedonia’s ‘forced’ name change vote





Moscow slams Macedonia’s ‘forced’ name change vote

MOSCOW, Oct 1, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Moscow on Monday said low turnout in the
referendum on Macedonia’s name change renders it invalid, adding that lack of
interest means that the population has boycotted a decision “forced” upon it.

“The turnout of 36.8 percent does not permit to call the vote successful
and unequivocally shows that Macedonian voters preferred to boycott the
decisions roughly forced upon Skopje and Athens,” a statement by the Russian
foreign ministry said.

It said European politicians had “participated in a propaganda campaign and
meddled in domestic affairs of this Balkan country without shame”.

Macedonia held a referendum on Sunday on a plan to rename the country to
North Macedonia — a move that would end a decades-long row with Greece,
which promised in return to drop its objections to Macedonia joining the
European Union and NATO.

While over 90 percent of those who voted supported the plan, which has an
advisory status, only a third of the electorate showed up to vote.

Despite the low turnout, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev vowed to push ahead with
the name change on Monday.

The Russian foreign ministry condemned the move: “There is a clear drive to
ensure Skopje’s entanglement in NATO despite the will of the Macedonian

Moscow is traditionally wary of NATO’s enlargement in eastern Europe. The
alliance’s 1999 bombings of its ally Serbia caused a major rift in Russia’s
relations with the West at the time.