Macedonian Anti-Bulgarian Journalist 'Kicked Out of Govt Workgroups'

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | October 4, 2016, Tuesday // 16:12
Bulgaria: Macedonian Anti-Bulgarian Journalist 'Kicked Out of Govt Workgroups' Print screen

The controversial Macedonian journalist who claimed the desecration of a Bulgarian memorial plaque in September became a member of a number of governmental workgroups earlier this year, Macedonian media report.

However, he was expelled from all of them last week, the development coinciding with the outrage sparked by his viral Facebook pictures of a desecrated Bulgarian memorial plaque.

Milenko Nedelkovski, known for close ties to the main ruling VMRO-DPMNE party, was added to eight workgroups at a cabinet meeting held on July 06, Macedonian websites PlusInfo and Libertas write.

The workgroups were initiated by Timcho Mutsinski, a member VMRO-DPMNE, under the so-called National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership 2016-2018.

Some of Nedelkovski's groups are named "Open Sources", "Freedom of Information", "Effective Governance of Public Resources", "Preventing Corruption and Presenting Practices of Good Governance", etc.

Nedelkovski was sentenced to imprisonment (later turned into a suspended sentence) for forging US visas in 2008.

"There were reactions from some of the members who had worked on the action plan until then, [who said] that it was not serious and that Nedelkovski did not belong there. Reactions also came from both non-governmental and [institutional] members," according to Libertas.mk.

The controversial journalist arrived to a workgroup meeting for the first time only on October 03, Monday, the website adds.

He sparked controversy after posting on Facebook images claiming to show the destruction of a memorial plaque honouring the death of soldiers in the Kaimakchalan battle which was lost to the Serbian troops.

Nedelkovski enflamed Bulgarian-language social media users by using violent anti-Bulgarian rhetoric, issuing offensive remarks, and referring to Bulgarians as "Tatars", with some of his supporters calling for "death" to their neighbors.

The plaque, however, was likely not smashed into pieces by him, but was removed earlier, before the arrival of a Serbian delegation which also paid homage to the victims earlier in September.

Macedonia claims the plaque was placed illegally, since Bulgarian authorities had not issued a request to do so. These, for their part, insist the plaque was put up by a group of Bulgarian volunteers and that could not be deemed an official act of a state. Later on, despite condemning the volunteers' actions, VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski stated that Bulgaria must be allowed to have its own plaque at Kaimakchalan. Gruevski added he did not approve either the actions of Bulgarians or those of Nedelkovski.

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Tags: Milenko Nedelkovski, Kaimakchalan, macedonia
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