The Macedonian Tendency: Stop the Lustration NOW!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Stop the Lustration NOW!

By David Edenden
Macedonia needs a "peace and reconciliation" process using the South African model rather than the current witch hunt model. Lustration only serves to divide ethnic Macedonians at a crucial time when we need unity.
Stop Lustration now!

Macedonia makes progress on lustration (

The latest uncovered spy for the once dreaded Yugoslav secret police is the Open Society Institute director Vladimir Milchin.
By Misko Taleski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 10/08/11

Lustration Commission President Tome Adziev. [Courtesy of the Lustration Commission of Macedonia]
Macedonia advanced the lustration process by announcing the file of a third person who freely collaborated with the Yugoslav secret police in the 1970s and 1980s.
Initially the Lustration Commission did not offer any personal details about the informant except the file name "dramaturg" (theatre director).
However, recognising himself in the file, theatre director Vladimir Milchin -- better known as the director of George Soros' Open Society Institute -- hastily organised a press conference proclaiming himself a victim, not a collaborator.
"In a political lynching, the procedures, law, democracy, even the people suffer. My dignity is not protected because I have been labeled [guilty] before obtaining confirmation about the file," Milchin said.
He also insisted that procedural rules had been violated, given his request in 2000 to keep the file secret until 2047. The then government granted his request.
"The request ... concerns protection of his secrecy in relation to the public, not the institutions which are required to act according to the law. In fact, he introduced himself to the public at the press conference, while we consistently protected that person's identity," Lustration Commission President Tome Adziev told SETimes.
He said that given the sensitivity of the subject matter, the commission is particularly keen to follow all laws and procedures. "Not a single case is politically motivated or instrumentalised. If we make a mistake somewhere, the courts are here to correct us," Adziev said.
Furthermore, the Commission determined that Milchin's claim is untrue. His 217-page file contains information he supplied to secret police operatives. They classified him as having "anarchist-liberal views" which, like other such informants, provided fertile ground for spying on dissidents such as actor Risto Shishkov.
Political analyst Biljana Vankovska welcomed the lustration of Milchin and explained it is not a punitive but preventative measure. However, she also argued the case serves more to counter the negative public reactions stemming from the recent amnesty given to four Albanian war crimes suspects.
"It clearly has to do with defocusing [public attention], having in mind that Milchin had created much antipathy on the part of the public," Vankovska told SETimes.
She is referring to Milchin allegedly financing his political party's campaigns with Soros foundation money, as well as the activities of A1 TV owner Velija Ramkovski, for which he is criminally charged.
Journalist Sashe Ivanovski says society at large supports the continuation of the lustration, which it views as a positive and necessary process that is pre-emptive in nature.
"Macedonians were sent by the hundreds to infamous gulags like Goli Otok because of their stated national and political ideals, and their families' accumulated hurt and anger are understandable. Only by continuing to conduct the lustration correctly will we cleanse society of those [structures] that poison it," Ivanovski told SETimes.
Adziev explained that by law, anyone who holds a public function must submit a written, notarised statement that they had not collaborated with the former secret services. The law stipulates a three-year jail sentence for a false claim.
Like Milchin, the previously uncovered spy and constitutional court president Trandafil Ivanovski also denied being a collaborator. Ivanovski, however, announced he will appeal his case at the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
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