Russian spies and diplomats have been involved in a nearly decade-long effort to spread propaganda and provoke discord in Macedonia as part of a region-wide endeavor to stop Balkan countries from joining NATO. This conclusion comes from a tranche of intelligence documents obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and partners NOVA TV and the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK).
The documents – a collection of reports by Macedonian counterintelligence – also describe efforts by Serbian intelligence to support anti-Western and pro-Russian nationalists in Macedonia.
The documents provide one of the clearest views yet of Russia’s ongoing efforts to increase its influence in the former Yugoslavia and pry the region away from the West. In April, Montenegro’s parliament voted to become the newest member of NATO. Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are also seeking to join, and even Serbia has deepened ties with the defense pact despite many …