How will historians look back on the final years of this decade in Russia? They might do well to look at the closing years of earlier decades to guide their way. The ‘20s: The final curtailing of economic freedoms and political factionalism, a “great turning point” towards totalitarianism and the absolute authority of the Leader. The ‘30s: A time of political terror and preparations for war. The ‘40s: The height of the Cold War, nuclear blackmail, the fight against cosmopolitanism, the growth of nationalistic and anti-Semitic propaganda. The ‘50s: An ideological “thaw” and the flowering of culture, breakthroughs in science and technology. The ‘60s: A post-thaw “tightening of the screws,” the fight against dissidents, the establishment of what would later be called a regime of stagnation. The ‘70s: The agonies of stagnation, the downward slide into a bloody war in Afghanistan, an economic crisis and empty stores. The ‘80s: Large-scale political and economic reforms known as “perestroika,” the rapid democratization of society. The ‘90s: A national hangover following a binge of democracy, a deepening war in Chechnya, a financial crisis and a loss of confidence in the authorities. The 2000s: Oil and gas wealth, increased corruption, peace and friendship with the West despite the first symptoms of superpower aggression in Georgia.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati participated at the conference, organized in Brussels by the German Foundation Hanns Seidel, “High expectations for 2018. Albania’s next step in the European Integration Process”. The Minister underlined the progress made by the government to reach the established priorities, referring in particular to the justice system reform and the fight against organized crime. Thus 2018 is expected to be a ‘decisive year’ for the European Union accession process. In reiterating the government’s willingness to achieve the required objectives, Bushati said he also felt encouraged by the support regarding the enlargement to the Balkans expressed both by the President of the European Commission and by the French President Macron. The Director-General for Enlargement at the European Commission, Mr. Christian Danielson, complimented the Albanian government on the effort of reforms.
The Macedonian, Bulgarian Defense Ministers and Albanian Deputy DM, Radmila Sekerinska, Krasimir Karakachanov and Petro Kochi respectively, discussed Friday in Ohrid on possibilities for fostering the cooperation in the sphere of defense.Today we have expressed political will to strengthen our cooperation in defense and our teams will begin to prepare plans for 2018, Sekerinska said after the meeting, which ‘voiced strong support for the Alliance’s open door policy and Macedonia’s full-fledged NATO membership.’ The closer cooperation between Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania doesn’t cover only the economic cooperation with respect to Corridor 8, but may also be extended to the sphere of defense, Karakachanov said.Kochi said that Albania and Bulgaria would be staunch advocates for Macedonia to join NATO as soon as possible, as the membership status is significant not only to the citizens of the country, but also to the region as a whole.
Skopje is one of the destinations that in 2018 will be included in the list of cities with which Athens will be connected through Greece’s leading carrier Aegean Airlines. 11 new destinations will be introduced next year, company’s Executive Vice Chairman, Eftychios Vassilakis said speaking at a news conference on Tuesday. This past summer, entrepreneurs from Macedonia and Greece demanded the inauguration of a direct flight between Skopje and Athens so as to boost the business ties between the two neighboring countries. Greece is one of the top five trade partners of Macedonia with capital investments in the banking sector, the oil industry, trade and textile companies.