Nikola Mladenov during a conference in 2012
10 March 1964
Skopje, Yugoslavia (today Macedonia)
|Died||26 March 2013
|Known for||founder and managing editor of Fokus, Swiss accounts affair|
Nikola Mladenov (Macedonian: Никола Младенов; 10 March 1964 – 26 March 2013) was a Macedonian journalist, actor, founder and managing editor of the weekly newspaper Fokus, widely regarded as one of the most reputable journalists in Macedonia, who along with his colleagues from the newspaper Mlad borec is considered to have laid the basis for the pluralistic principles in the Macedonian journalism. He is well known for his involvement in the Swiss accounts affair and several subsequent lawsuits with the former Primer Minister of the country Hari Kostov and the former President Branko Crvenkovski. The "Award for best research story of the year - Nikola Mladenov", which is awarded by the Macedonian Institute for Media, is named after him.
Nikola Mladenov was born in Skopje on 10 March 1964. His career began as an actor but in the middle of the 1980s he joined the newspaper Mlad borec as a journalist, where he gained reputation and affirmation as a pioneer in the democratic processes in SR Macedonia. The newspaper was published by the Union of Socialist Youth of Macedonia and predominantly dealt with the autocensorship and addressing critics for the sins of the communist nomenclature. While working for this newspaper, Mladenov also disclosed information concerning the people listed on the so-called "blacklists" in the Macedonian journalism. After leaving the job at Mlad borec, Mladenov founded a radio station named Libertas, and in 1995 he founded the weekly newspaper Fokus, which is considered to have been the first independent and free weekly newspaper in Macedonia. Fokus has eventually become a medium for freedom of speech, and its main motto was "Weekly newspaper of the inner, and honestly the outer enemy".
Swiss accounts affair
In December 2005, articles deliberating information that the President of Macedonia at the time Branko Crvenkovski and the former Prime Minister of Macedonia Hari Kostov hold secret accounts in Swiss banks appeared in several editions of Fokus. These articles subsequently lead to several lawsuits relating the affair, in which Mladenov was found guilty and fined to pay penalties to the opposite parties in the trials.
Namely, Mladenov was charged with an indictment from the former Prime Minister of Macedonia Hari Kostov, for whom it was announced in Fokus that he holds accounts in Swiss banks which were not disclosed in the questionnaire during his terms as Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs. The verdict was in favour of the prosecutor and the accused was fined to pay a penalty totalling 155,158 denars. Furthermore, the court has partially approved the amends made by the prosecutor and Mladenov had to pay Kostov 950,000 denars personally for inflicting heartache and evoking bad reputation. During the judgement neither Mladenov nor his lawyer were present at the court, and the lawyer stated that the judgement was passed upon under political pressure.
Death and reactions
Mladenov died in a road accident in the night of 26 March 2013 on the entrance of Skopje. The accident occurred near the interchange of Skopje's suburb Hipodrom, where Mladenov crashed at the last curve while driving his car of the brand Mercedes-Benz and died after the car overturned several times off the road ending in a ditch.
As later reported, Mladenov was driving alone on the way back from Veles to Skopje, and few hours before the accident had a phone call with his relatives. But after 22:00 (CET) no more contacts could have been made with him anymore. His wife called the police next morning to report that her husband was missing and after two hours of investigation the police found the car with the aid of the signal that was emitted by his mobile phone. According to some sources, the overturned car in the ditch off the road was seen as early as the night by a passer who evidenced that lights of a car are gleaming in his proximity. Following the obduction of the body, it was announced that the cause of death was internal bleeding as result of the bash that the killed has had in the steering wheel.
Reactions with condolences to the death of Mladenov were sent by the Society of Journalists of Macedonia, the Embassy of the United States in Skopje, and many of his fellow colleagues. On 28 March 2013, a session commemorating the life and work of Nikola Mladenov was held in Skopje and attended by members of his family, journalists, collaborators, public life personalities, and foreign diplomats. Nikola Mladenov was buried later in the day at the Butel cemetery in Skopje.
The Macedonian Institute for Media decided to name the "Award for best research story of the year" in honour of Nikola Mladenov and thus the award is now known as "Award for best research story of the year - Nikola Mladenov".
- Биографија на Никола Младенов, Dnevnik, 27 March 2013.
- „Фокус“ со нов напис за тајните конта, Deutsche Welle, 9 December 2005.
- Никола Младенов осуден за клевета во спорот со Хари Костов, Dnevnik, 28 April 2006.
- Загина Никола Младенов, Utrinski vesnik, 27 March 2013.
- Загина Никола Младенов, Vest, 27 March 2013.
- Загина Никола Младенов, TV Telma, 27 March 2013.
- Новинарот Никола Младенов загина во превртен мерцедес, Nova Makedonija, 28 March 2013.
- Внатрешно крварење од силниот удар во воланот - причина за смртта на Младенов?, 24 Vesti, 28 March 2013.
- Причина за смртта на Младенов е внатрешно крварење, Sitel, 28 March 2013.
- Младенов починал од силниот удар на воланот во градите, Nova, 28 March 2013.
- Сочувство од Амбасадата на САД до семејството и пријателите на Младенов, MIA, 28 March 2013.
- Daily newspaper „Fokus“ - No. 410, p. 7.
- Едноминутен аплауз за новинарот Никола Младенов, Nova Makedonija, 28 March 2013.
- Погребан Никола Младенов, Denešen vesnik, 28 March 2013.
- Наградата на МИМ ќе го носи името на Никола Младенов, Nova Makedonija, 28 March 2013.