Tsipras’ Macedonia Name Giveaway Brought Him Down

(AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

For many voters angry with Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, it wasn’t his reneging on anti-austerity promises that was end for them. Nor growing lawlessness in Athens, ranting ministers, blocking foreign investors or cozying up to the United States after denouncing America.

It was his deal giving away the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia, changing the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to North Macedonia, opposed by two-thirds of Greeks.

He persisted anyway, earning himself and North Macedonia Premier Zoran Zaev a Nobel Peace Prize nomination but at the cost of the Greek leader on a course to lose badly in July 7 snap elections he called, trailing far behind the major opposition New Democracy Conservatives.

The so-called Prespes Agreement, named after the lake bordering the countries where it was signed did Tsipras in, said France 24 in a report on the coming elections in which New Democracy is holding leads up to 9 percent.

“After the crisis, poverty, penury and unemployment, it was the last straw,” Christos Biglikoudis, a resident of Pella in northern Greece told the news agency.

“The government betrayed us. They’re selling out our homeland,” said the 39-year-old laborer, standing in front of the cafe he was forced to shut down because of the economic crisis.

Behind him, on the town square, stood a statue of Alexander the Great, the great conqueror to Greeks in his homeland, an area that had also been claimed by FYROM, along with Greece’s military hero before backing off under the deal.

Alexander was born in Pella, once the capital of the ancient Macedonian kingdom and just across the border from North Macedonia. What was ancient Macedonia today also includes parts of North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Albania.

But to many in northern Greece, Macedonia is just Greek.

“People here are very angry. I cannot understand how people voted for SYRIZA,” said Biglikoudis. The dissatisfaction was shown in May 26 elections for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament, won big by New Democracy candidates, leading Tsipras to call the snap polls.

In that campaign, Syriza lost voters across Macedonia, in some areas falling behind New Democracy by as many as 20 points, a killer for Tsipras and SYRIZA even as he tried to persuade Macedonian residents giving away the name was good business for them – but as North Macedonia companies call their products Macedonian.

New Democracy took all but two of Greece’s regions in local elections in a runoff a week after the May 26 elections and the rout was on.

Tsipras himself admitted earlier that the Prespes Agreement was “damaging,” but as an anti-nationalist who even said the stolen Parthenon Marbles belong the world and not Greece he went ahead anyway in the face of massive demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki, the seat of ancient Macedonia.

“There was political cost … there were repercussions nationwide,” he told state TV ERT in May.

Nikos Marantzidis, a pollster and professor of Balkan Studies at the University of Macedonia, told France 24 that the Prespes Agreement gave New Democracy a sorely needed “psychological and moral boost” after years on the defensive.

Ironically, it was then-Premier Constantinos Mitsotakis, father of current New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis who is poised to be Prime Minister, who agreed to let the new country emerging from the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991 to take the name of Macedonia in the acronym of FYROM, that was supposed to be a temporary arrangement.

But after successive FYROM goverments began claiming Greek lands, culture, history, identity and heroes like Alexander, Greece used a veto to keep its neighbor out of NATO and beginning European Union accession hopes, both lifted as well by Tsipras.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis has vowed to revisit the deal and even halt North Macedonia’s EU hopes without some changes, such as preventing North Macedonia companies from calling their goods and foodstuffs as Macedonian.

The fury against Tsipras and SYRIZA was unbridled and ferocious, made worse as he stood up for the deal and downplayed the opposition.

“They should be hanged,” Yiannis, a 70-year-old pensioner told France 24 of SYRIZA and its members and Cabinet. “Someone will be found to carry this out, they will not get away.”

Another beneficiary of the deal was the new Greek Solution (Elliniki Lysi) party, an ultra-nationalist, pro-Russia, super-religious group that’s on a course to get into Parliament and replace Tsipras’ former coalition partner, the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) as the flag wavers for Greece.

ANEL leader Panos Kammenos, a former defense minister for Tsipras, pulled his party out of the government over the name deal but hadn’t tried to use his leverage during the negotiations to do so, bringing him down to a 0.8 percent showing in May 26 elections, and deciding to not even run on July 7, just giving up.

14 Comments

  1. Prespa was a stupid agreement on multiple fronts.

    Tsipras’s and his foreign apologists (who support him because he’s an “antnationalist” (aka anti-Greek) have a fantasy narrative that the name issue was resolved with Prespa. The reality is half of Skopians already ignore the Prespa agreement, Groups like VMRO, UMD, MHRMI, AMHRC, MWC, and others continue to claim they are related to ancient Macedonians and insinuate Macedonia Greece belongs to them.

    The secondary issue the qualifier compromise was supposed to universal use. The current agreement calls the country “North Macedonians” but the people and language “Macedonian”. This is like using Africans rather than South Africians to describe the people of South Africa. It invites irredentism in Greece. Some Skopian irredentism are guaranteed to do things like open “Home of Macedonian Culture” centers in Greece — and Skopians will accuse Greeks of violating their human rights and Prespa Agreement if we prevent it.

    The other problem is the qualifier – North.. This implies a SOUTH Macedonia. Once again it creates the illusion of divided territory. This idea that Skopje and Macedonia in Greece are part of the same region is irredentist nonsense. Both Skopians and their foreign apologists confused ancient place names with modern. Ancient Macedonia, the homeland of Alexander, is in Greece not Skopje. Claiming it is part of the “region” of Macedonia is like claiming New Mexico USA is part of the region of…

  2. The issue now is once Syriza’s Marxist buffoons are kicked out of office what will ND do?

    We can’t withdraw from Prespa because Skopjians antihellenic foreign apologists would use it as an excuse to demonize us It’s clear now that many of Skopians foreign supporters are trying to hide their mistake of recognizing them as “Macedonians” by downplaying Skopian irredentism and change of context of Macedonian.

    Zaev/SDSM are moderates. ND needs work with them to enforce Prespa agreement both domestically within Skopje and globally to diplomatically isolate Skopian extremists like VMRO/UMD/MHRMI, et al that violate the Prespa Agreement. (i.e. they still call the country Macedonia, still claim to be ancient Macedonians and still promote irredentism)

    1. Enforce WIPO copyrights of Vergina Sun. Right now you can buy products from Skopians that use it. Our government should be suing any Skopian and foreign companies that illegally sell products that use the Vergina Sun on it.

    2. Document Skopian violations of Prespa and pass on the details (on an official level) to large media companies, human rights groups, foreign governments, and international institutions. This way if Prespa Agrement falls apart they can’t blame Greeks for it.

    3.Document any key foreigners that encourage any Skopian extremists like VMRO/UMD et al to violate Prespa. Lodge formal diplomatic complaints both to their governments and to international bodies.

  3. TSIPRAS, WILL BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE BECAUSE HE SURRENDERED THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GREECE TO US , NATO , EU, AND EXXON MOBIL AND LIED TO THE PEOPLE OF GREECE!

    IT IS THE SAME REASON THAT ANASTASIADES AND HIS RULING PARTY WILL BE REMOVED FROM CYPRUS!

    AND WHY THE MISTOTAKIS FAMILY LIES AGAIN TO WIN VOTES FROM MACEDONIANS…THAT HE WILL DO SOMETHING TO RECLAIM THE MACEDONIAN CULTURE TO ITS RIGHTFUL CULTURE!

    OF COURSE ,THERE ARE EXTREMIST ELEMENTS IN NORTH MACEDONIA WHO ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THIS NAME DEAL ..BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THE EU AND NATO ..HAVE PLANS FOR THE RATIONALIZATION OF TH E BALKANS WHICH INCLUDES ABSORPTION INTO A STATE OF BULGARIA AND ALBANIA!

    TSIPRAS LIED. TO COVER UP HIS REAL INTENTIONS WHEN HE TOOK OFFICE…WHICH INCLUDED A REFERENDUM VOTE WHICH REJECTED AN EU BAILOUT PACKAGE, WHICH tSIPRAS SAID HE WOULD HONOR THE VOTE ..BUT DID NOT!

    TSIPRAS LIED TO NOT ALLOW THE U.S. AND NATO TO TAKE OVER GREECE, BY CLOSING THEIR BASES ..;WHICH HE DID NOT DO..AND SIMPLY HAS GONE ON TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE IS MERELELY NOW THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF GREECE!

    TSIPRAS LIES EVEN NOW IN LYING TO GREEKS…THAT IT IS IMPORTANT FOR EXXON MOBIL TO PUT OIL POLLUTING FACTORIES IN THE PRISTINE WATERS OF CRETE..WHICH ARE BANNED IN AMERICAN COASTAL WATERS. DUE .TO THE CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE IT CAN DO TO THE ENTIRE COASTLINE OF CRETE AND THEIR PEOPLE !

    NICE TRY TNH… TO DEFLECT BLAME FROM YOUR PAY TO PLAY AHEPA MASON .ROBERT MENENDEZ AND GEOFFRY PYATT!..

    1. You are like a broken record Giannis.

      Earth to your brain. neither Americans nor the Russians you obsess over are pro-Greek. They put their own national interests first. I don’t believe you care about Hellenism. I have serious doubts you are even Greek. You seem to be a false flag trolling us..

    2. Your fixation with philhellene Menendez seems more related to your pro-Turkey pro-Russian stances “Gianakos”.Although you claim to be Greek, I doubt you are Greek.

    3. Hey Greek., could you tell the readers how you injected the Pro Russian, and Pro Turkey false narrative into an article and posts which make no mention of Russians or Turks!

      Which should be more than enough evidence for the readers to conclude, that Greek is a state department SS officer defending one of the major operatives of the C.I.A and Mossad ..Robert Menendez who is currently with John Bolton and Mike Pompeo attempting to “Oliterate” 80 million Iranians on behalf of their financial benefactors from the Pro Israeli Jewish lobbies and Sheldon Adelson ..the mob connected Jewish Cansino Mongrel who have publically states that they want Iran destroyed…and have even payed of it ..to the tune of 259 millions dollars to Trump and Menendez!

      Imagine what this guy can sell …even the genocide of 80 million Iranian people …BECAUSE THEY CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF AN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT SIGNED BY THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES…AND VERIFIED BY THE iNTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION WHO INSPECTS iRAN EVERYDAY OF THE YEAR, WHICH PROHIBITS iRAN TO DEVELOPE NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

      MENENDEZ..CALLED THE GREATEST HELLENE BY “GREEKS” SECRET SOCIETY OF MASONS..EMBARRASES HIMSELF IN CONTINUING TO DEFEND ..WHAT I CONSIDER THE GREATEST TRAITOR REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF TSIPRAS AND ANASTASIADES

      SO GREEK, YOUR FALSE ILLUSION OF SUPPORT OF GREEK NATIONALISM..IS MERELY A COVER TO SUPPORT U.S FASCISM! NOT AMERICA!

    4. @Giannis (aka non-Greek troll pretending to be Greek)

      Any actual Greeks that follow this website has seen you obsessively supporting Russia over the Ukraine in Crimea. Most Greeks no more care about Crime than the Russians that ridiculously claim Skopians are “Macedonians” care about Greece..

      In another earlier post you supported Erdogan in purchasing Russian s400- – rather than condemn Erdogan for endlessly violating Greek waters.

      You continue to attack Menendez, whose critical of Russia, despite him being one of the few foreign politicians that have supported Greece in both the name dispute and Turkish violation of our waters.

      As for myself, I have no idea where you come up with your fantasies of “Greek Masons”. I am as Greek as they come. I can’t stand Tsipras for calling Skopians “macedonians”. And to be blunt I feel a sense of hostility to not only to any Americans that supported Skopians in the name dispute but to all the foreign nationalist governments did.

      I doubt you are “Greek” as you claim. Everything you argue really seems motivated to serve the interests of another country rather than protect Hellenism.. If you happen to be Greek, you are an extraordinary irrational one.

  4. Fair question , John…and it is simple to answer!

    It must be a candidate that will do what Tsipras did not do…as promised…and fulfill the mandate of the people , by the people and governed for the interests of the citizens of Greece, not the” made in America Glory to America” Greeks..who promote the interests of a country so completely corrupt, that they see nothing wrong in their President AND ROBERT MENENDEZ ..stating that THEY WERE prepared to “Obliterate” 80 million Iranian citizens..because “THEY WERE COMPLYING WITH AN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT SIGNED BY THE MAJOR POWERS OF THE WORLD .WHICH PROHIBITS IRAN FROM DEVELOPING NUCLEAR WEAPONS..AND WHICH THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION HAS CERTIFIED THAT THEY HAVE BEEN LIVING UP TO ,DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE U.S TO END ECONOMIC WARFARE TO STRANGLE THE PEOPLE OF IRAN TO REMOVE THEIR LEADERS.LIKE VENEZUELA!

    BY NUREMBERG TRIBUNAL STANDARDS…THESE ARE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND ..PEACE, PUNISHABLE BY THE SAME SENTENCES OF FASCIST NAZI’S AFTER WW 2…WHICH IS HANGING!

    THE ONLY WORTHY OR IN GREEK ..OXIOS..WHO IS PREPARED TO FULFILL, FINALLY,
    TH E MANDATES OF THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED TSIPRAS.IS MY FRIEND FROM PELOPONNESE
    .PAVLO SERRITAS ..WHO HAS CLEARLY STATED IN THIS NEWSPAPER..EXACTLY WHAT HE WOULD DO WITH THESE PERSIANS DEMANDING THE LAND AND WATER OF PELOPONNESE AND SPARTA!

    ALL GREEKS SHOULD BOYCOTT THE JULY 7TH ELECTIONS, SINCE, THEY MERELY VOTE FOR MENENDEZ OR PYATT TO BE THEIR GOVERNOR

    1. Historically, in Greece, the US, or any other country, did anything good ever result from a large number of people boycotting an election? I doubt it, but I will wait for an answer from Michael or anyone.

  5. Why would anyone want to vote in this toxic and ignominious GREEK. US presidential election?
    Participating in a democratic process is a privilege that must restore one’s trust in public good. This particular election is the epitome of a disgraceful public spectacle of corruption on one side, and neo-fascism on the other.

    Why would any self-respecting human being want to have anything to do with it?

    Tthis particular election I consider a nasty confrontation between a rising fascism and an embattled liberal imperialism WHICH WILL SUBJECT THE PEOPLE OF GREECE TO EITHER THE RULE OF AMERICAN HEGEMONY, OR EU COMMUNISM OF THE PEOPLE OF GREECE!

    BASED ON POLLS..LESS THAN 13% OF THE GREEK POPULATION TRUST THERE LEADERS, PARLIAMENT AND MEDIA!

    DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD VOTE FOR ANYBODY ..OFFERED UP THE RULING PARTIES OF GREECE AND MEDIA LIKE TNH…WHO OFFERED UP A CORRUPT PAY TO PLAY POLITICIAN TO THE GREEKS OF NEW JERSEY!

    ALL GREEKS SHOULD BOYCOTT THESE ELECTIONS AND DELEGITIMIZE ANY ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH ONLY SERVE THE INTERESTS OF FOREIGN ARISTOCRATS AND COUNTRIES NOT GREEKS!”

    ALL GREEKS SHOULD GET A MULLIGAN.TO VOTE AGAIN FOR A CANDIDATE WHO PROMISES NOT TO LIE, AND FULFILL WHAT TSIPRAS WAS ELECTED TO DO AND RENEGED ON !.

    THIS IS A VETTED ELECTION TO ELECT MENENDEZ AND PYATT.AND TWO GREEKS CANDIDATES WHO HAVE BEEN CONNECTED TO ACTS OF TREASON IN COLLUDING WITH U.S ENVOYS TO GIVE AWAY THE MACEDONIAN CULTURE

    1. My question in which I asked for a historical example of anything good resulting from an election boycott was NOT answered.

  6. George Šoroš and CIA-sponsored cultural genocide in Macedonia shammed as “political” whatsoever. Some levels of extreme hypocrisy…

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