15:11 GMT30 May 2020
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    Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia's Federation Council international affairs committee, said that while Macedonia and the Balkans in general are very important to Russia, on the whole, it is difficult to imagine that Russia would start meddling in all Macedonian affairs, risking its reputation.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow would not risk its reputation to meddle in Macedonia's internal affairs or to dissuade it from joining NATO, Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia's Federation Council international affairs committee, told Sputnik on Monday.

    On June 4, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), supported by the Open Society Foundations network, founded by billionaire George Soros, and the US Department of State, published an article claiming that Russian diplomats and spies have been spreading propaganda and provoking disagreements in Macedonia.

    "While Macedonia and the Balkans in general are very important to Russia, on the whole, it is difficult to imagine that Russia would start meddling in all Macedonian affairs, risking its reputation. Such accusations are political conspirology, not based on any actual facts," Morozov said.

    According to the senator, the suggestion that Russia may thus be trying to prevent Macedonia from joining NATO is also groundless.

    "Yes, [Macedonia joining NATO] would have been unpleasant, just like the accession of Montenegro. But Russia will not hurt its own reputation, lead any subversive activities. This would cost too much, it has reputational risks," Morozov outlined.

    The Russian lawmaker added that such accusations seemed the result of generally anti-Russian mood, prevalent in Europe and the United States.

    The OCCRP used what it said was a briefing for director of the Macedonian Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK) and several other documents as the basis for its report. The report contains photos of only parts of the documents, which makes it hard to ascertain their authenticity.


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    The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), NATO, Oleg Morozov, Macedonia, Russia
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