The Macedonian Tendency: Stevo Pendarovski on Trajkovski

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Stevo Pendarovski on Trajkovski

I liked Trajkovski. He will be missed.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Trajkovski - A Leader who Crossed the Divide

The tone was typical of a man whose faith impacted strongly on his politics, urging him constantly in the direction of forgiveness even when it was not always the surest way to survive politically. Trajkovski’s political career involved taking big risks. He used all his authority to push for a peace agreement with Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian rebels. The result was the 2001 Ohrid peace deal, which paved the way for the creation of a multi-ethnic state and rescued the country from all-out war. Trajkovski taught his fellow Macedonian politicians to understand that nationalist rhetoric was not the way ahead. He introduced a new model for politicians that had hardly been seen in Macedonia. He was a real people’s man, direct, easy to approach, honest and above all human. If those attributes are now expected of all politicians, that is part of his legacy. What, then, is the rest of the legacy of a president whose political ideas will surely outlive the brief time he spent in office, and which were not always hugely popular at the time. For one thing, he put his small country on the world map. In May 2001, he prayed together with President George Bush. Alongside the most powerful man on earth, he knelt in a small chapel in the White House. This was an event that Macedonia, with a population about a fifth of New York City’s, is unlikely to witness the like of again. The same year he met Russian president Vladimir Putin three times, including a meeting in the Kremlin that ran to three times the length envisaged in the protocol.

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