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The Kremlin's foreign policy increasingly seems to rest on the assumption that all countries are as corruptible as Vladimir Putin's Russia. This was evident most recently in Russia's alleged efforts to undermine an agreement between Greece and its tiny northern neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia, over the latter's name. Assuming that Macedonians approve a Sept. 30 referendum, their country will henceforth be known as the Republic of North Macedonia. The quintessentially Balkan dispute between Greece and Macedonia dates back at least to 1991, when Macedonia, then one of Yugoslavia's poorest republics, declared its independence and adopted the name Republic of Macedonia.Because the northern region of Greece is also formally known as Macedonia, the two countries ended up in a multidecade naming dispute. In a pointed statement, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias accused Russia of also funding protests within Greece, and declared that his country would not be bullied.By opposing the Prespa agreement, it may be hoping to prevent Macedonia from joining the alliance. But even when pressed, Putin's Russia will not acknowledge that it opposes Greek-Macedonian rapprochement, let alone apologize for taking active measures to interfere in Greek and Macedonian domestic affairs.
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