While Waiting for Better Times

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The artist in her studio (photo from a newspaper feature on the artist, in ‘Nova Makedonija’)

Ink paintings
Coloured ink on paper, 30×20 cm each.
April 2015 – ongoing

The project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ is a growing archive of A4 sized coloured ink paintings by Nada Prlja, depicting the most prominent protagonists (international and local politicians, political analysts, freedom fighters, activists and journalists) and the events of the political scene in Macedonia, since the so-called media ‘Bombs’ were ‘launched’ by the opposition party, in April 2015.

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Watch the brief info about the scandal in English, source Aljazeera, 17 May 2015 14:51 GMT

The ‘Bombs’ are a series of secret recordings of private discussions between various government ministers of  VMRO DPMNE (the right wing party), the leading party in government at the time. The wire-tapping scandal, released and revealed at the time by Zoran Zaev (the political leader of the largest opposition party, currently the new prime minister), claimed that there was widespread interference by the government and secret services with the judiciary, media and urban-planning processes in the country, as a means of maintaining power, manipulating the media and public opinion, as well as protecting widespread corruption, allegedly undertaken by various party members.

The ‘Bombs’ were announced through regular press conferences, where Zoran Zaev publicly emitted the audio recordings of private conversations that allegedly proved the recent wrong-doings of key figures of the political establishment in Macedonia at the time, many of whom have since been ousted from their positions as a result of the information contained in the ‘Bombs’. The public was shocked by the content of the wire-tapping, which revealed manipulation of most of the processes related to governmental institutions and the notion of good governance.

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TV Screen shoots showing media coverage of some of the events related to the so-called political ‘bombs’ (the wire-tapping political scandal) in Macedonia.

In the same year (2015), Macedonia requested international assistance for the resolution of the ongoing crisis and resulting political stalemate in the country. A series of mediated talks between the leaders of the various political parties, guided by a team of mediators led by Johannes Han, resulted in the so-called ‘Przino agreement’, which amongst other things, requested for a special judicial body to be formed, whose task it was to independently examine and prosecute the individuals involved in the political manipulations and corruption. Even today, in 2018, this process of investigation into the allegations and the related prosecutions is still ongoing, thus the project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ is likewise continuing.

During the time of the ‘Bombs’, the whole nation was ‘numbed’ with shock at the revelations, eager to understand the complex and disastrous circumstances into which the whole nation had been lured.

The paintings which comprise the project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ are simple and fast drawings, made in front of the TV, while the artist watched the news or other related programs on the TV screen. Some of the later drawings in the series, are based on selected screenshots from the above mentioned news programmes, interviews and public debates screened in the media. The content of the paintings focus on scenes depicting politicians campaigning or engaging in public debate with regards to the specific circumstances contained within the political ‘Bombs’, including the reaction of the media, the reflections of political analysts or the ensuing public gatherings (be it for or against the government of the time).

Most of the paintings portray the faces of individuals appearing in the media, scenes which in certain ways reflect the political situation and circumstances in the country, often including short texts (referring to quotes from the relevant media programmes). The texts which the artist found to be particularly relevant, or otherwise revealing, have been written onto the paintings. They range from sentences essential for understanding the political climate of the time, to statements that are utterly absurd and which serve to illustrate the levels of manipulation and wrongdoing that came to characterise the political climate at the time.

Some of the paintings were published, with regular time intervals, on informal media (facebook, etc.) during the announcement of the ‘bombs’, with the intention of easing peoples’ fear that was caused by the political instability and the ongoing repression characteristic of the previous regime, which held society in its clutches for over a decade.

In the meantime, the leading party VMRO-DPME lost its position in the recent elections (2017) and the opposition leader Zoran Zaev, the initiator and the public face of the incendiary ‘Bombs’ affair, has been named Prime Minister of Macedonia.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 1.

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The Red telephone used during the TV News by the TV presenter on the ‘Telma’ channel, intended as a symbolic statement that TV Telma would not accept their news to be manipulated or censored by the government or any other institution. Text: ‘…ring…ring…ring…’, 2015

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 1, 2015

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Painting 1: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in an interview on Telma TV about the students’ strike and ‘Student Plenum’, which urged citizens, students, teachers and members of political parties to join the second student march against the reckless recent reforms in higher education. 2015
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Painting 2: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in an interview on Telma TV about the students’ strike and ‘Student Plenum’, which urged citizens, students, teachers and members of political parties to join the second student march against the reckless recent reforms in higher education. 2015
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Painting 3: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in an interview on Telma TV about the students’ strike and ‘Student Plenum’, which urged citizens, students, teachers and members of political parties to join the second student march against the reckless recent reforms in higher education. Text: (quoting unrelated words from the news-reel): ‘…flight in place…objective responsibility…bombs go away with the wind…’. 2015

 

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Painting 4: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in an interview on Telma TV about the students’ strike and ‘Student Plenum’, which urged citizens, students, teachers and members of political parties to join the second student march against the reckless recent reforms in higher education. 2015

 

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Painting 1: The building of the national TV in Skopje, where General Stojance Angelov (a public figure, active as a general in the national army during the 2001 Macedonian civil conflict) and his supporters, protested for free speech and the freedom of the media in Macedonia. 2015
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Painting 2: General Stojance Angelov (active as a general during the civil conflict in Macedonia in 2001) and his supporters protesting. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…As citizens, we deserve to hear the opposition leader on National TV…’ 2015.
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Painting 3: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the supporters group called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’; the painting shows a scene when they were stopped by the police, in front of the door of the TV station. Text (taken from the news-reel): ‘…Stop…stop… ladies, mothers – they will not let us in…’. 2015
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Painting 4: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the group of supporters called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’; the painting shows a scene when one of the protesters faces up to a policeman in full protection garment. Text (taken from the news-reel): ‘…You are our children…’ as shouted by the protestant. 2015
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Painting 6: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the support group ‘Mothers of Macedonia’; the painting shows a scene of one of the protesters being pushed by police shields. 2015
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Painting 6: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the support group ‘Mothers of Macedonia’; the painting shows a scene a protester shouting. Text (taken from the news-reel):  ‘…They are our children, they will not hurt us…’. 2015

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 2, 2015

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Zoran Zaev, the opposition leader (currently Prime Minister), with a group of his collaborators and bodyguards, walking toward the Law and Justice Courts in Skopje. 2015

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 3, 2015

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Newly proposed design of the park in the city center, as proposed by the Gruevski government, as an extension of the Skopje 2014 project. The design comprises of planting palm trees in the park. Due to the climate in Macedonia (inadequate for palm trees) and the large costs involved in the transport, planting and maintenance of the trees, they were seen by the citizens as absurd and undesirable, an unnecessary strain on the budget – as well as being the basis for potential institutional money laundering. Text (taken from the news-reel): ‘…Palm trees will be planted in the ‘Women’s Park’ in the city centre, between the sculptures of male heroes in the park…’. 2015.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 3, 2015

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Painting 1: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party at the time), where the Party leader Nikola Gruevski and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. Gruevski, addressing the supporters of the party from the middle of the stage. 2015.
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Painting 2: The first major public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (the leading party at the time), organised in response to the alleged ‘bombs’, where the Party leader Nikola Gruevski and most of the governmental ministers were present. Gruevski, addressing the supporters from the stage, wth a large screen in the background, featuring the Macedonian flag. 2015.
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Painting 3: The first major public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (the leading party at the time), organised in response to the alleged ‘bombs’, where the Minister of Culture ,Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska, and the Minister of Defence, Gordana Jankulovska, are also present. These two where amongst the most strongly criticised ministers during the wire tapping scandal. The text is from the Minister of the Culture’s speech (as taken from the news-reel):  ‘…I do not know why MP B. is not proud of the artistic values of her own country, … cultural values, for which we should all have a common respect. I will say that the projects have been implemented, it has been done a lot and the numbers and the facts speak for all those successes by our artists. As the Ministry of Culture we will continue, as we have done in the past, to provide serious, great support to our artists….’. 2015.
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Painting 4: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering was organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. The audience, with the flags of individual cities and villages, apparently representing the support of the citizens of those cities for the leading Party. 2015.

 

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Painting 5:The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (the leading political Party at the time). The gathering was organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. The Party leader Gruevski is talking to the crowd and the governmental ministers, most of whom were also present. The Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska and the Minister Defence Gordana Jankulovska as well as Gruevski’s wife, are in the first row. Text (taken from the news-reel): ‘This is Macedonia, we are not afraid. This is Macedonia and we fight for it with our actions, people see our work, it is our true face…’. 2015.
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Painting 6: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering was organised in response to the alleged ‘bombs’. The painting depicts the multitude of Party flags, covering the roof of the sport arena, where the political gathering was held. 2015.

 

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Painting 1: One of the Press Conferences,  in which the audio ‘bombs’ are announced, while members of the opposition party stand stand next to Zaev, the leader of the opposition party, while listening to the broadcasting of the audio material. ‘Bombs’ 2015.
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Painting 1: One of the Press Conferences, in which the audio ‘bombs’ are announced, while members of the opposition party stand next to Zaev, the leader of the opposition party, while listening to the ‘Bombs’ audio material. 2015.
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Painting 2: Portrait of Radmila Sekerinska, a high representative of SDSM, the main Opposition Party. She is now the Minister of Defence in the recently elected new governement. The Portrait is made from a screenshot from the TV screen, during a press conference when the wire tapped audio material was publicly broadcast and exposed. 2015.

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Painting 1: Stevo Pendarovski, high representative of the opposition party at the time (currently National Coordinator for Macedonia joining NATO), from a TV interview for TV Nova. 2015.
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Painting 2: The interviewer Biljana Sekulovska, a journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired points of view of the Opposition Party. The Nova Internet TV channel which was not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but therefore presented news and interviews online. Text (taken from the news-reel):  ‘…Why does your political party refuse to participate in the protests in front of the National TV station…’. 2015.
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Painting 3: The interviewer Biljana Sekulovska, journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. 2015.
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Painting 4: The nail-polish of the interviewer from the TV Nova Biljana Sekulovska. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…How the saga with printing of the fake passports will end? The passports printed in the private homes..!. 2015.
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Painting 5: Stevo Pendarovski, member of SDSM, opposition party at the time, says (text taken from the news-real):  ‘…There are two ways in this catastrophic situation: 1. The street 2. Political agreement. and clearing of the election lists…’. 2015.

 

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Aivo Orav Head of the EU Delegation to the Macedonia. Text on drawing (taken from the interview): ‘We are here to help your country on the path to EU, but we must see that you truly want that’. 2015.

 

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Amdi Bajram, Member of Parliament, leader of the largest Roma Party, publicly discussing in an interview with SITEL TV about the alleged audio ‘bomb’, in which Gordana Jankulovska, the Interior Minister of the Government of Macedonia, openly refers to the Roma citizens with the derogatory term ‘Gypsies’.

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Text on drawing (taken from the interview):
‘90% of Roma Parties are in collaboration with the leading Party’
‘TV interviewer Dragan Pavlovic Latas: Minister Jankulovska addressing Roma citizens as ‘Gipsy”, Mr Bajram, are you ‘Roma’ or ‘Gipsy’? Bajram: until 1971, we were called Gipsy….since then we are called Roma…Referring to us Gypsies is not that derogatory…Minister Jankulovska was voted by 25.000 Roma citizens…’ 2015.

 

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Ramadan Ramadani, political analyst, representative of the Albanian minority. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Albanians will protest if SDSM do not share any audio recorded material that reflects them…’. 2015.

 

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Iskra Gesoska, cultural worker and face that was appearing in the media as direct opposition to the governmental doings. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…There is a tendency of a threats and it has become our manner, we live under blackmail, we give a power to other to govern …’. 2015.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 8

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Zoran Stavrevski, ex-minister of Finance, a day before his proclamation that he will resign from position of Minister of Finance, due to the health problems. 2015.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 6

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Painting 1: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters of the VMRO party, including the TV SITEL, station that he works for.
Opening scene of the TV News before the beginning of the news, when the light are of. 2015.
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Painting 2: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters and promoters of the VMRO party, starting the TV News on TV SITEL, station that he created, and that supported the leading party, avoiding to screen any other news than promotional of the leading party.2015. Portrait of Latas, always wearing stripy tie and coloured shirts.
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Painting 3: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters and promoters of the VMRO party, starting the TV News on TV SITEL, station that he created, and that supported the leading party, avoiding to screen any other news than promotional of the leading party. 2015. The portrait of Latas, as the News starts and the studio is lit by the lights.
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TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, in the trial named ‘Total’, accused of tax fraud. 2018.
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Trial named ‘Total’ is prosponed until May 2018,TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, the accused of tax fraud wakes away. 2018.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 7

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Painting 1: Borjan Jovanovski,  journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Within 30 days the case should have been started. That is a rule, every case is started within 30 days, it the time is prolonged, it is questionable…’, referring to the time passed since the first ‘bombs’ have been aired  in which number of criminal actions have been pointed out and there is not judicial answer to those allegations. 2016.
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Painting 2: Borjan Jovanovski,  journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. 2016.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 8

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Painting 1: ‘Democratic Union for Integration‘ party leader Alia Ahmeti, as he arrives to the door of the American embassy. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘Arrived… did not made any comments… at the American embassy…’ 2015.
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Painting 2: Albanian minority party leader Alia Ahmeti, as he arrives to the door of the American embassy. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…and he left without giving any comments…’ 2015.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 9

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Singing the A B C D of democracy. The protests in the front of the National TV station in Skopje Macedonia, supporting the freedom of speech and freedom of the mediums, where number of TV, film, music celebrities were part of the demonstrations. Singing Ana Kostovska and Irena Ristik. 2015.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 8

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Painting 1: Uranija Pirovska, Director of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in a TV discussion. Text (taken from the news-real): The Government should be example for the citizens.  You hear from the Ministers, how they address people, calling them Gipsy, Shiptar… that can not be accepted. Do not tell me… private talks… They are Governmental officials, from the way they talk we see they attitude toward vulnerable groups. So just because they are vulnerable and weak, lets abuse them. You can not think ” I have an attitude, I was broth up like this…” – You are a President or Commissioner.. you are Ombudsman of Republic of Macedonia…’. (Pirovska referring to the content of the bombs ‘Bombs’ and how in them the officials are referring to minorities.) 2015.
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Painting 2: Uranija Pirovska, Director of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in a TV discussion. 2015.

 

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The image of the House of Parliament in Skopje Macedonia, the interior, showing empty seats, as during the announcements of the bombs, the quorum was difficult to reach. 2015.

 

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Nikola Gruevski, in the front, in the back Mile JanakieskiMinister of Transport and Communications in the cabinet of Prime Minister Gruevski. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…Those are totally false and fabricated allegations. that I have apparently bought building lots and that I suposedlly own any plots…’  (Gruevski referring to the content of the bombs ‘Bombs”.) 2015.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 9

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Painting 1: Nikola Gruevski, ex Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE leader (leading party at the time), walks toward Przino Villa, place where the agreement about the future of Macedonia was made in 2015. 02.06.2015.
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Painting 2: Nikola Gruevski, ex Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE (leading party at the time) leader in the middle, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner at the The Juncker Commission, on the right and other Ministers and journalists, in the press conference at Przino Villa, moments after the the agreement was made. 02.06.2015.
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Johannes Hahn,  during Przino agreement, Jun 2, 2015.

 

 

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Painting 3: Johannes Hahn, Commissioner at the The Juncker Commission, in the press conference, moments after the meeting at Przino Villa. Text (taken from the news-real) Journalists asks: ‘…Does everything you asked for, must be implemented?’. 02.06.2015.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 15.37.31.pngEU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn. Macedonia receives recommendation for the opening of European Union (EU) membership negotiations, while presenting the European Commission Progress Report of Macedonia to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. 18.04.2018

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Painting 4: Petre Silegov, Member of the opposition Party, now new Mayor of Skopje, publicly presents point of view by opposition Party SDSM. 2015.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 13

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Nikola Gruevski, Ex Prime Minister addressing the nation in one of the numerous TV screenings from the House of Parliament. 2015.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 11

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Painting 1:
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Painting 2: The NGO CIVIC initiator Xhabir Derall addresses different mediums in relation to

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 12

TV NOVA discussion ‘Justice on the street’ screened on 06.03.2017

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TV NOVA discussion between Aco Stankovski (artist, taking part at the protest ‘Zaednicka Makedonija’), Durlovski (MNT director, one of the organisers of the protest ‘Zaednicka Makedonija’), Nikola Naumovski (activist, one of the organisers of the protest ‘Colourful revolution’) and Filip Petrovski (member of political party VMRO_DPMNE and one of the organisers of the ‘Student’s protests’).

 

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///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 13

TV NOVA news ‘Zaev accepts ‘Tirana Platform’

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Gruevski at TNT court case

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Episode 15

 

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Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, surrounded by different ministers, announces the clean recommendation Macedonia to enter the EU. 18.04.2018
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Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, surrounded by different ministers, announces the clean recommendation Macedonia to enter the EU. 18.04.2018
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Press statement by Federica MOGHERINI, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, following her meeting with Zoran ZAEV, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on 18 April 2018, in Skopje.

 

 

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