Nikola Srbov from Stop Operation Soros – Macedonia published more details about how funding USAID provided to George Soros led NGO groups in Macedonia was used to bolster the SDSM party, its protests and affiliated media outlets. In a Facebook post, Srbov says that, in response to SOS disclosures, USAID Macedonia is begining to publish some selective details about its funding priorities, but is still not revealing the entire story.
“The amount of US funding for Macedonia is really impressive, and I’m happy that our country is recepient of such assistance. But, it is clear that lately, in at the least the past four years, this funding is direectly or indirectly used to support one political party in Macedonia”, Srbov writes.
He outlines how only in January 2015, a total of 27 grants grants were given to NGO groups, with 151 ones applying. It is notable that the select recipients soon afterwards entered into a formal coalition named “Citizens for Macedonia” with SDSM. The coalition helped organize protests in Macedonia. This includes the Civil NGO led by Xhabir Deralla, which was one of the strongest supporters of the protests. Civil received funding from the Foundation Open Society Macedonia, which in turn manages much of the USAID NGO programs, and this was happening at a time when Civil were open about their support of one side in the Macedonian political divide.
“On election day, Civil made a number of claims about election irregularities. In the end of the day, these irregularities were focused in election districts which SDSM targetted for its attempt to organize repeated voting”, Srbov said.
USAID direct funding to the Foundation Open Society Macedonia is disclosed in the post, and it amounts to between 1,2 and 1,7 millon USD per year, between 2013 and 2016. Additionally, the Macedonian Center for Civic Education, which is another significant recipient of NGO grants, received also between 1,3 and 1,8 million USD per year. George Soros Foundation proxy organizations that include media outlets, youth organizations, the Helsinki Committee, an association of lawyers etc, received additional grants, ranging from several hundred thousand, up to 1,6 mllion USD in 2015 and 2016.
One way through which USAID money were used to support SDSM is through the coordination in protest or media activities between SDSM and the Foundation Open Society Macedonia. But another, even more direct line, is the hiring of agencies for part time employment by the Foundation Open Society Macedonia. These agencies were later revealed to be direct SDSM donors.
“This opens the way to questions about whether funding which the United States have dedicated for the development of Macedonia, to advance our society and to bring the two countries closer together, was in fact abused to create a political crisis in Macedonia, that brought our country backwards in its economic, political and security development. We hope that the new US Administration will terminate these activities which have created a gap between the United States and its partner countries across the world. It is time to set things right”, Srbov said.