People in Skopje wave the Macedonian and European Union flags at a rally before a referendum in 2018 on whether to change the country's name to "Republic of North Macedonia."

North Macedonia’s turn to the West

A Difficult Passage

April 2020, Number 10.02

“In March 2019, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, then NATO supreme allied commander Europe, reported that Russian disinformation campaigns and support to anti-NATO factions had increased over the previous months. Appearing before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, he expressed concerns “about the Balkans and the increased malign influence over the past year.” Heightened Russian involvement and meddling has occurred in North Macedonia as the country of more than 2 million inhabitants has worked to achieve NATO membership, just as Russian activity was seen in other Western Balkan states as they moved toward joining NATO.

North Macedonia is located in a sometimes uneasy neighborhood in Southeastern Europe bordering Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Kosovo. While the citizens represent nine recognized ethnicities, Macedonian and Albanian are predominant, with Albanians residing mostly in the country’s western part. Since independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, North Macedonia has had to overcome many difficulties with NATO and European Union member states on its path to membership in those institutions. The major concern was the decades-long naming dispute with Greece...”

Excerpt from Bekim Maksuti and Sebastian von Münchow, “A Difficult Passage,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 10, No. 2, 2020: 42-45.

Dr. Bekim Maksuti, a graduate of SES 2016, serves as the Deputy Minister of Defense, Republic of North Macedonia Ministry of Defense.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.