Zoran Zaev’s new friend and partner, “Big Mike” — a man of low character
Macedonians, rightly, only want to be able to retain and celebrate their identity as Macedonians. But Zoran Zaev’s new friend and possibly business partner, Michael “Big Mike” Straumietis, has claimed up to seven identities. But that’s not all. “Big Mike” has deep ties to Bulgaria (he claims he created a political party there), is a good friend of former US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who famously said that Macedonia “is not a country,” has spent time in jail and running from the law, and — in my opinion this is the worst — sells a story that claims the best things in life are riches, luxury, private jets, expensive hotels, massive parties, big homes, and women, which he apparently treats as mere objects if his Twitter and Instagram accounts are anything to go by.
On Tuesday, August 27, “Big Mike” — who also goes by the names of “Marijuana Don” among others — flew into Macedonia on his private jet to meet with and talk with Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and Zaev’s health minister, Venko Filipce. “Big Mike,” it should be known, deals in marijuana, or, as he would like you to say, cannabis (his mother, apparently was or is a drug addict). He has made a fortune off of it and now, apparently, he’s looking for business opportunities to grow, cultivate, and harvest it in Macedonia.
The Government of Zoran Zaev, which is very good at its public relations game, said nothing about the meeting and instead issued a press release after word got out. According to Balkan Insight, “…the government just said that its representatives, including the prime minister, have working meetings on economic matters on a daily basis, and that they have no obligation to inform the public about all of them.”
And since the Zaev Government has “no obligation to inform the public” about its meetings with “Big Mike,” here’s “Big Mike” in his own words about the potential in Macedonia, which he helpfully posted on his Instagram account:
“Just met with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev of North Macedonia, and we got to talk a lot about cannabis. Let me tell you, this country has huge potential, and I’m excited to be part of turning Macedonia into one of Europe’s first Cannabis Superpowers. Big things coming, so stay tuned.”
He also posted a video of his flight into Macedonia. In the nighttime shot of his jet as he was preparing to board to fly to Macedonia, he wrote “North Macedonia here we come!” with a “#cannabis.” Cut to a daytime shot coming into Macedonia to land while flying over Macedonia’s beautiful landscapes and rolling fields he wrote “Landing in Macedonia! Potentially fields of #cannabis? We’ll find out.” The next shot is on the streets of Macedonia with a Government escort car in front of his (red and blue lights flashing) and he writes “Going into high level talks with the government.” Again, the Zaev Government apparently did not want the Macedonian public to know about this.
Now, here’s “Big Mike,” again in his own words, about his past:
“Then, in 1993, a warrant was issued for my arrest for a 1,896-plant grow in the Midwest. I fled the state, then the country. As a fugitive, I lived on the lam, under seven different fake identities, until my arrest in 2001. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), DEA, FBI, and over a dozen other agencies took part in the investigation and subsequent bust. The RCMP estimated that over the previous year, the illicit organization I ran trafficked $50 million worth of BC Bud. I lost everything and sat in jail for months…”
Or this: “But I dedicated myself to learning how to grow and ended up cultivating and transporting millions of dollars’ worth of illegal cannabis over the years.” His Twitter feed is full of scantily-clad women, lots of marijuana, and basic nihilism. This Daily Mail article will give you a sampling of what he tweets and posts on Instagram.
And then there is the Bulgarian connection. According to his LinkedIn profile, in which he lists his title as CEO, Advanced Nutrients LTD, he states: “Mike created the political party, Nova Bulgaria, in order to create real change in the corrupt government of Bulgaria.” I’m not entirely sure how an American citizen can do this (perhaps one of his identities is that of a Bulgarian in which case Macedonians should be furious).
And here’s “Big Mike” talking about how others see his highest goals in life and what he aspires to: “They see my $105-million-per-year cannabis business, the private jets, the magazines with my mug on the cover, and the lavish parties at my West Hollywood estate — chock-full of entertainers, exotic animals and light shows; Kobe beef, crab legs, sashimi; Playboy Playmates, celebrities and business moguls. They see the socials media posts, the millions of followers.”
What an empty, soulless, meaningless life. Unfortunately, there are impressionable young Macedonians who want this, not understanding that making these things their highest goals in life will destroy their lives and the lives of those around them.
So, this is Zoran Zaev’s new friend and, potentially, his new partner. After all, Zaev’s cousin, “Trajce Zaev is already one of the biggest investors in the business in the country, and more of Zaev’s relatives are mulling involvement,” again, according to Balkan Insight.
Is “Big Mike” the kind of person you want in Macedonia and “investing” in Macedonia? We all know the cannabis industry is rife with illegal actors and activities, especially in a place where the rule of law is weak, like Macedonia. Imagine what happens when Ali Ahmeti wants to get his fair share of this……