The name change referendum was just a prologue to a long political battle in Macedonia.

Who’s winning, Russia or the West? That vexing question seems to be on everyone’s mind with regard to the September 30 referendum which was supposed to change the name of the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia.

The coverage of the vote was overly dramatic: At stake, it was said, was the expansion of NATO and the European Union into the Balkans. There was also the usual accusations of Russian meddling.

The Macedonian capital of Skopje, not a top destination otherwise, saw a flurry of foreign A-listers on a mission to make the locals cast their ballot in support of the ground-breaking deal resolving the decades-old name dispute with Greece.” (al-Jazeera)