Professor Ivo Hristov is one of the most famous Bulgarian sociologists and political analysts. He’s been a member of the Bulgarian Parliament since the elections in 2017. SouthFront’s Viktor Stoilov sat down with him to talk about the situation on the Balkans and the Chinese interests in Syria and the Middle East which you’ll be able to read in the second part of the interview.
Professor Hristov, let’s talk about the situation on the Balkans and more specifically the anti-government protests in Albania. Who is behind those protests? They seem to be very well-organized which rarely happens without an external help.
First, there is ground for such protests. The people there are protesting against the corruption in the government and its connection with organized crime groups. These reasons can be easily used for instigating protests in every Balkan country because the problems are similar almost everywhere there. I can’t say who’s behind them but there’s surely objective reasons for them.
In addition, a lot of “easy money” flowed in Albania especially from the Albanian diaspora from outside, mainly in sectors such as tourism which might be a reason for such protests. But again, there are objective reasons for such protests.
We’re seeing that Western Macedonia and especially the area around Ohrid is literally being bought out by Albanians. Can we expect a new ethnic conflict there?
No, the ethnic conflict in the past was instigated from some external forces mainly from the West and the objective was to remove Macedonia from the sphere of influence of Serbia and to turn Macedonia [the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] in the country which it is today – a Western political, military and economic protectorate.
There’s a historically planted conflict between the expanding demographically Albanian population and the so-called Macedonians which, I think, might end up with an ethnic cleansing and a complete removal of the Slavic elements west of the Vardar. The process is in an advanced phase and that’s why the situation is such – former Bulgarian towns like Tetovo, Debar, Gostivar, Struga and others are completely Albanized. Struga, the town of the Miladinovi brothers, is now completely Albanian. The villages around the Ohrid Lake are also Albanized, only with the exception of some in the South-Eastern part of the lake. The Albanian factor doesn’t need an armed conflict, they’ll achieve their goals in a natural demographic way. The same could be said for Skopje which is now in half Albanian. The Albanians are officially stating the Skopje will be the capital of Albanian Macedonia.
Here we should probably mention Serbia. Not even 20 years have passed since NATO bombed Belgrade, and yet it seems like they are heading towards the EU and the so-called Euro-Atlantic values.
They don’t have a choice. Even though it is believed that Serbia is the main Russian ally on the Balkans (there are just no other left), due to the weak foreign policy of Moscow, including the one on the Balkans, Russia lost traditionally pro-Russian countries and nations such as Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria where it all started. This is just the outcome of the ongoing process. The reality is such that Serbia will enter the Western sphere of influence, not in NATO due to the still recent trauma of the aggression against them. But it’s just a matter of time for them for them to enter the sphere of influence of the West.
Does Russia, right now, have the necessary resources to counter the US influence on the Balkans?
Most probably not. Russia has taken a defensive stance and is forced to defend its own territories and interests. It’s obvious that the Western elites have made a decision to execute the “Final Solution” (referring to the German one) to the Russian problem. They’ve declared war on Russia on every possible direction – economic, political, cultural, ideological and, as we see now, even in sports and so on. The only thing stopping the West from starting a direct military confrontation with Russia is the fact that they have a vast nuclear arsenal.
It’s a public secret that the Balkans are a center of Al-Qaeda-linked groups. What’s their purpose and who is behind them? For what purposes can they be used for?
First, I’m not sure if there are groups linked to Al-Qaeda as I don’t know what’s in reality Al-Qaeda as strangely as it may sound. Al-Qaeda is a very convenient label for any kind of Islamist groups and creations, and with a very unclear and interesting origins. Therefore, it’s most probably a lab-created structure with a goal of being a scarecrow for the ordinary Western people in order for them to be trained in the “right” direction.
As to if there are Islamist groups on the Balkans, it’s more than obvious that there are, and especially in the ex-Yugoslavian region – Bosna, Kosovo, Sandžak, and Western Macedonia. However, that’s not the case in Albania where the religion is not so strong and cannot be used for the mobilization of large masses of people, contrary to the Albanian population in the other former Yugoslavian countries. There are serious cultural differences between the Albanians in Albania and the ones outside of the country.
To be continued in Part 2 of the interview where we talked about the Chinese interests in Syrian and the Middle East.