Nikola Gruevski

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Nikola Gruevski
Никола Груевски
6th Prime Minister of Macedonia
In office
27 August 2006 – 18 January 2016
PresidentBranko Crvenkovski
Gjorge Ivanov
Preceded byVlado Bučkovski
Succeeded byEmil Dimitriev
Leader of the Opposition
In office
31 May 2017 – 23 December 2017
PresidentGjorge Ivanov
Preceded byZoran Zaev
Succeeded byHristijan Mickoski
Minister of Finance
In office
27 December 1999 – 11 January 2002
Prime MinisterLjubčo Georgievski
Preceded byBoris Stojmenov
Succeeded byPetar Gosev
Personal details
Born (1970-08-31) 31 August 1970 (age 50)
Skopje, SR Macedonia, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Macedonian
Political partyVMRO-DPMNE
Suzana Arbutina
(m. 2001; div. 2005)

Borkica Gruevska
(m. 2007)
Alma materSt. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola
Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje

Nikola Gruevski (Macedonian: Никола Груевски [ˈnikɔɫa ˈɡruefski] (About this soundlisten); Hungarian: Nikola Gruevszki; born 31 August 1970) is a politician[1] from North Macedonia who served as Prime Minister of the then-Macedonia from 2006 to 2016, and led the VMRO-DPMNE party from 2003 to 2017. Previously, he was Minister of Finance in the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Ljubčo Georgievski until 2002.

Under the Pržino Agreement mediated by the European Union, Gruevski agreed to resign and left his post on 18 January 2016.[2]

In May 2018 he was sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges.[3] In November 2018 he was ordered to serve his sentence but failed to check-in with authorities and instead fled[4] to Hungary, where he sought and was granted political asylum.[5]

Gruevski has been accused of promoting the controversial identity politics called antiquization. Under his leadership the country which had pro-European and pro-NATO policy, has changed sides to pro-Russian, pro-Serbian and anti-Western one.[6][7][8][9] Gruevski has opposed to the Friendship treaty signed with Bulgaria in 2017 and the Prespa agreement signed with Greece in 2018, despite both neighboring states being NATO and EU members.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Skopje in 1970, Gruevski was brought up in a family that was neither privileged nor poor. His father worked in furniture and design and his mother was a nurse. After his parents' divorce, he was raised by his mother. At the age of four, however, she went to work in Libya, like thousands of other Yugoslav citizens, and took him with her.[10] After their return Gruevski completed primary and secondary education in Skopje. Having graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola in 1994 (where he dabbled in amateur theatre and boxing) he entered the nascent finance sector, and was the first person to trade on Skopje's stock exchange.[10] During 1995 he worked as director of department in Multigroup owned Balkanbank, and became its exhibitioner till 1998. In 1996 he also acquired qualifications for the international capital market from a London Securities Institute.[11] Gruevski founded the Brokerage Association of Macedonia in 1998 and made the first transaction on the Macedonian Stock Exchange.[12]

On 12 December 2006, he obtained a master's degree from the Faculty of Economics at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.[13]

Gruevski divorced his first wife and was married again in May 2007 to Borkica Gruevska with whom he has two daughters: Anastasija and Sofija.[14][15]

Gruevski's paternal grandparents came from the Ottoman Macedonia village of Krushoradi, where his grandfather Nikolaos Grouios (Nikola Gruev) (1911–1940) was born. Until the official Greek annexation after the Second Balkan War in 1913, it was under the jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Exarchate.[16] The Greek administration later practised an assimilative anti-Bulgarian campaign, changing the names of local villagers to the corresponding Greek names.[17][18][19] The village itself was renamed by the Greek authorities to Achlada in 1926.[20][21] Gruevski's grandfather fought in the Greco-Italian War, where he lost his life.[10] His name is mentioned on the war memorial in Achlada among the names of the locals who were killed during World War II. Years later, during the Greek Civil War, Gruevski's grandmother and father fled north to what was then Yugoslav Macedonia,[10] where they changed their family name to Gruevski in order to gain citizenship through assimilation, as was the Yugoslav policy at the time.[22]

Gruevski's maternal grandfather - Mihail D. Miyalkov was a member of the Bulgarian Action Committees in 1941 and later of a Bulgarian club founded in Ŝtip in 1942, when the area was annexed by Bulgaria during the Second World War.[23][24] His mother Nadezhda is also from Ŝtip. She is a sister of the first Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Macedonia - Jordan Mijalkov. During the administration of Nikola Gruevski, his first cousin, Sašo Mijalkov was the director of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence of the Republic of Macedonia.

Moreover, Gruevski also released a book in 2018 called "Experiences for the Future: Economic Effects of Different Types of International Capital Flows, With Particular Reference to the Republic of Macedonia"[25]

Political career[edit]

Minister of Finance (1999–2002)[edit]

The government under Ljubčo Georgievski sold the Macedonian Telecom to Hungarian Matáv and the OKTA oil refinery to Hellenic Petroleum. Gruevski also implemented financial reforms, including the reform of the payment system and the value added tax of 18%, requiring fiscal receipts for all Macedonian businesses, which was a program designed to fight tax evasion.

Party leader (2003–2017)[edit]

Gruevski is the leader of the nationalist ruling party VMRO-DPMNE. After VMRO-DPMNE was defeated in the 2002 parliamentary election, there was a period of infighting within the party. Gruevski emerged as the pro-EU leader, and he was elected as leader of the party after Ljubčo Georgievski left the position. The former prime minister set up his own party (VMRO-People's Party), but VMRO-DPMNE retained most of the party's supporters.

Prime Minister (2006–2016)[edit]

Gruevski and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Washington, D.C., 16 February 2011

The VMRO-DPMNE won the July 2006 parliamentary election, and on 25 August 2006 he constituted the new government. His government had many new faces, mostly in their 30s, in key ministries and other positions. In the election Gruevski earned the distinction of becoming the first elected European head of government born in the 1970s.[26][27]

In June 2007, Gruevski attended a meeting in Tirana, Albania, along with President of the United States George W. Bush, Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha, and Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader.[28]

The coalition led by his party, VMRO-DPMNE, won the 1 June 2008 parliamentary election, their second electoral victory in a row, winning more than half of the seats in the parliament.[29] The polling was marred by a number of violent incidents and allegations of fraud in some ethnic Albanian dominated municipalities. Gruevski created a government with the ethnic Albanian political party Democratic Union for Integration.[30]

European People's Party Summit in Brussels in March 2014

The coalition led by his party, VMRO-DPMNE, won the 5 June 2011 parliamentary election, their third electoral victory in a row, winning 56 out of the 123 seats in the parliament. Objections of misuse of state resources, including the blackmail of over one hundred thousand public servants to act as agitators were neglected, and the elections were declared valid. Gruevski formed the new government, again in coalition with the Democratic Union for Integration.

On 6 January 2012, Gruevski opened the triumphal arch "Porta Macedonia" in Skopje as a monument to 20th anniversary of Macedonian independence, and admitted that he personally has been the instigator of the Skopje 2014 project.[31][32]

On 27 April 2014, VMRO-DPMNE won the parliamentary election, providing Gruevski another term as Prime Minister.

In 2014, Gruevski began to rush plans through Parliament to create a tax-free autonomous trade zone that falls outside the purview of both domestic and international regulators. The move raised alarm among Parliament members.[33] The European Union's Venice Commission commented that "If all laws (other than criminal laws) are to be enacted and enforced by a managing body rather than the constitutionally recognised lawmaker and executive, this zone becomes a sort of a 'State within a State' separate from the existing constitutional structure" and could become "a haven for 'dirty money.'"[34] In 2015 the former Prime Minister and founder of the VMRO-DPMNE, Ljubčo Georgievski accused Gruevski's government it had a goal to serbianise the country, finally joining it to Serbia.[35]

Wiretapping scandal and resignation[edit]

In May 2015, protests occurred in Skopje against Gruevski and his government. The demonstrations began following charges being brought against Zoran Zaev, the opposition leader, who responded by alleging that Gruevski had had 20,000 Macedonian officials and other figures wiretapped, and had covered up the murder of a young man by a police officer in 2011. A major protest occurred on 5 May, with violent clashes between activists and police, causing injuries on both sides. In the days following, the opposition claimed that more anti-government actions would occur, which they did later that month. Several ministers, including the interior minister, resigned. Gruevski initially refused to step down, saying on 16 May that "if I back down it would be a cowardly move ... I’ll face down the attacks." However, on 15 January 2016, Emil Dimitriev was nominated as Prime Minister and he assumed office on 18 January, following the arranged pre-electoral resignation of Gruevski from the position, as part of the Przino Agreement.

Post-premiership (since 2017)[edit]

In July 2017, a Macedonian court ordered the seizure of the passports of Gruevski and four other officials of his party, including former interior minister Gordana Jankuloska and former transportation minister Mile Janakieski, in connection with the wiretapping case.[36]

In December 2017, Gruevski resigned as leader of the VMRO-DPMNE,[37] following the party's major defeat by the Social Democratic Union in local elections.[38]


In January 2017 the Macedonian Special Prosecutor's Office launched the 'Tank' investigation in which two individuals were accused of using their official position and authority in the period from February to October 2012 to complete an illegal public procurement of a Mercedes-Benz 600 worth €600,000 and "fulfil the wishes" of Gruevski who was Prime Minister at the time.[39] On 23 May 2018, Gruevski was sentenced to two years in prison for unlawfully influencing government officials in the purchase of the luxury bulletproof car.[40][41][42][3]

On 9 November 2018, the Skopje Criminal Court rejected Gruevski's appeals for a postponement of his prison sentence and on 10 November he did not appear for the start of his two-year sentence. He had been last seen in Macedonia on 8 November at a hotel in Skopje.[43] The Macedonian authorities issued an arrest warrant against the fugitive. VMRO-DPMNE's leader, Hristijan Mickoski defended Gruevski and described the arrest warrant and police search against him as "political persecution" and a "witch-hunt", adding that VMRO-DPMNE was "under police siege".[4][44][45]


Gruevski and Viktor Orbán in June 2015

On 13 November, Gruevski announced through his Facebook account that he had fled to Hungary, where he applied for political asylum.[46][47] Gruevski was seen as having particularly close relations with the right-wing national conservative Fidesz's head, and Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who opposed the Prespa agreement between Greece and Macedonia and supported VMRO-DPMNE's hardline position against it.[48] Orbán has reportedly described Gruevski's escape as "an interesting story, exciting, like all crime stories".[43]

Despite his passport having been confiscated, Gruevski successfully escaped and concerns arose that he probably used a Bulgarian one.[49] However, according to Bulgarian authorities, Gruevski has never applied for Bulgarian citizenship.[50] It was later confirmed by Albanian police that, with the aid of the Hungarian government which escorted him using Hungarian diplomatic vehicles, Gruevski had passed through Albania, Montenegro and Serbia before arriving in Hungary.[51][52][53]

Interpol alerted that Gruevski is wanted under an international arrest warrant and the Macedonian government filed a formal extradition request.[51] Hungary's opposition parties are calling on the Hungarian government to arrest and quickly extradite the fugitive former prime minister back to Macedonia.[54]

On 20 November 2018, Gruevski was granted political asylum by the Hungarian authorities.[5]

Gruevski has condemned the Prespa agreement and stated that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev "scammed" and "tricked" the Macedonian people over the name change of the country and that Greek politicians imposed an unfavourable deal upon Macedonia that outlines exclusive claims over "antique history" by Greece.[55]

On 27 June 2019, Gruevski appeared handcuffed in a court in Budapest on a hearing closed for the public for his extradition requested by the North Macedonian authorities.[56] Later that day the court in Budapest announced that his extradition was rejected. According to judge Éva Várhegyi the conditions needed for his extradition were not fulfilled.[57]

On 21 July 2020, Gruevski's position as an honorary president of VMRO-DPNME was taken away, along with other changes that were made to democratize the party.[58][59] Furthermore in October 2020, Gruevski was named in a new money laundering probe launched by the authorities in North Macedonia.[60]

Awards and recognition[edit]



  • Vienna Economic Forum award – for contribution to national and regional economic development (2011)[63]


  1. ^ "Nikola Gruevski: Mystery over how Macedonia ex-PM escaped". BBC.
  2. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Gruevski sentenced to 2 years in prison in 'Tank' case". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Macedonia Police Intensify Hunt for Ex-PM Gruevski". 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Macedonia's Gruevski Gets Hungary Asylum, Alleges Murder Plot". Balkaninsight. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  6. ^ Jasmin Mujanovic, Hunger and Fury: The Crisis of Democracy in the Balkans, Oxford University Press, 2018, ISBN 0190877391, pp. 115; 162.
  7. ^ Sarantis Michalopoulos, Tensions grow before biggest secret is revealed: FYROM's new name, EURACTIV Jan 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Vassilis Petsinis, From pro-American to pro-Russian? Nikola Gruevski as a political chameleon. 22 May 2015. openDemocracy.
  9. ^ Aubrey Belford et al., Leaked Documents Show Russian, Serbian Attempts to Meddle in Macedonia. 04 June 2017, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
  10. ^ a b c d A profile of Gruevski, The Economist, 12 August 2011
  11. ^ iBi Center. "NATO PA – PLENARY – Nikola Gruevski". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  12. ^ "President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia | Влада На Република Македонија". Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  13. ^ "уким". 17 December 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Vest". Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  15. ^ " - Вести". Daily.MK - Вести. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  16. ^ "PDF pager". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  17. ^ Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Author Victor Roudometof, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0275976483, pp. 62-63.
  18. ^ Ivo Banac, "The Macedoine" in "The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics", pp. 307-328, Cornell University Press, 1984, retrieved on 8 September 2007. Macedonia was partitioned by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), whereby over half of the land went to Greece (Aegean Macedonia) and most of the remainder to Serbia (Vardar Macedonia), leaving slightly more than one-tenth to Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia)...The immediate effect of the partition was an anti-Bulgar campaign in areas under Serbian and Greek rule. The Serbians expelled Exarchist churchmen and teachers and closed Bulgar schools and churches (affecting the standing of as many as 641 schools and 761 churches). Thousands of Macedonians left for Bulgaria, joining a still larger stream from devastated Aegean Macedonia, where the Greeks burned Kukush, the center of Bulgar politics and culture, as well as much of Serres and Drama. Bulgarian (including the Macedonian dialects) was prohibited, and its surreptitious use, whenever detected, was ridiculed or punished.
  19. ^ For a detailed report on the atrocities of Greek Boulgarophagoi (Bulgarianeaters) in Aegean Macedonia, see Report of the International Commission on the Balkan Wars..
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  22. ^ "Yugoslavias National Minorities Under Communism" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. ^ Красен Николов, Каракачанов написа фейсбук лекция за ВМРО, адресирана до Груевски. EURACTIV, 03-05-2020.
  24. ^ Общограждански национален клуб "Благой Монев" - "Протокол и устав на Щипския общограждански национален клуб "Благой Монев", Щип, 1942 година.
  25. ^ Experiences for the Future.
  26. ^ Who's your daddy? (accessed 24 December 2010)
  27. ^ Deputy Prime Minister > Biography Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 24 December 2010)
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  29. ^ "Macedonia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  30. ^ "PM claims win in Macedonian poll", BBC News, Link accessed 01/06/08
  31. ^ "Macedonia, Kazakhstan: Triumphal Arches to Celebrate 20 Years of Independence · Global Voices". 28 March 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  32. ^ "PM Gruevski: Yes, Skopje 2014 was my Idea". MINA. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  33. ^ "A Mess in North Macedonia: The Secret Plan to Create a 'Haven for Dirty Money' · OCCRP". 4 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  34. ^ "EU Slows Macedonia Plan for Tax Haven' · BalkanInsight". 1 December 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  35. ^ Радио Слободна Европа, јануари 23, 2015, Марија Митевска, Србизација на Македонија?
  36. ^ "Macedonian Court Orders Seizure of Conservative Leaders' Passports in Wiretapping Case". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 4 July 2017.
  37. ^ Former Macedonian rightist PM resigns party leadership, Reuters (11 December 2017).
  38. ^ Macedonia's Gruevski Says He Will 'Soon' Step Down As Leader Of VMRO-DPMNE, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2 December 2017).
  39. ^ "SPO launches new "Tank" case for Gruevski’s 600,000 euro "Mercedes"". 24 January 2017.
  40. ^ "Macedonian court sentences former PM Gruevski to 2 years". The Washington Post. 23 May 2018.
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  42. ^ "Macedonian Court Sentences Former PM Gruevski to 2 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  43. ^ a b "Letter from Skopje". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 22 December 2018.
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  48. ^ Aleksandar Ivković, Orbán opposes Greece-Macedonia agreement, supports VMRO-DPMNE protests. European Western Balkans, 05.06.2018.
  49. ^ VIP-eljárást kap Gruevszki a kormánytól. Népszava Címlap, 2018.11.14.
  50. ^ Bulgarian Ministry of Justice: Nikola Gruevski has not become a Bulgarian citizen. FOCUS News Agency, 15 November 2018.
  51. ^ a b "Macedonia's Gruevski Fled via Albania and Montenegro, Police Confirm". Balkan Insight. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
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  54. ^ "Hungary opposition wants Gruevski extradition". 14 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  55. ^ Rudic, Filip. "Gruevski Slates Greece-Macedonia Name Deal as 'Scam'". Balkaninsight. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  56. ^ "Груевски со лисици во судот во Будимпешта на рочиште за екстрадација". Sakam Da Kazham. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  57. ^ "Судот во Будимпешта го одби барањето за екстрадација на Груевски". Sakam Da Kazham. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  58. ^ "North Macedonia Opposition Party Strips Gruevski of Honorary Presidency". Balkan Insight. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  59. ^ EWB (22 July 2020). "Gruevski no longer honorary president of VMRO-DPMNE". European Western Balkans. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  60. ^ "North Macedonia's Ex-PM Named in New Money Laundering Probe". Balkan Insight. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  61. ^ "Gruevski receives highest award of Shtip, "St. Nicholas" -". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  62. ^ "† Бигорски манастир - Свети Јован Крстител †". † Бигорски манастир.
  63. ^ "PM Gruevski recipient of Vienna Economic Forum award". Влада на Република Македонија. Retrieved 14 May 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Boris Stojmenov [mk; ru]
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Petar Gosev
Preceded by
Vlado Bučkovski
Prime Minister of North Macedonia
Succeeded by
Emil Dimitriev