Jay, who’s been publishing a journal about his recent trip to Macedonia, writes the following about what conservatives there think of George Soros, a towering figure there:
In the early years after the collapse of Communism, Soros did many good things in Eastern Europe, with his Open Society Institute. He helped to liberalize and democratize. When the Greeks blockaded Macedonia, he loaned the new country money, a lifeline.
Lately, however, he has become a bald partisan, not interested in the democratic process but showering his millions on the Left — the hard Left. He pushes an ideological agenda. And he does this through a host of NGOs and activists.
These activists, in the conservative lexicon, are “Sorosoids.” It is not a flattering term.
One conservative remarks, “Soros came into Macedonia like a Trojan horse, and now he is an octopus.”
For what it’s worth, I got a similar positive impression of Soros-funded organizations in societies just emerging from authoritarianism when working with such groups in sub-Saharan Africa. That, to some extent, explains why U.S.-government entities such as USAID end up collaborating with them, which Jay wondered about. At least in the early going, they’re formal institutions supporting democracy and liberal values in societies that do not overflow with such groups. But as Jay notes, USAID and other U.S. groups stick with the Sorosoids after they become more baleful influences — presumably because of inertia or affection for the liberal leanings that emerge.