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Montenegrins Trust in Djukanovic: the game wont end tomorrow

24.01.2016 21:25

Dmitry Babich, Radio "Sputnik"

Having made the decision to ask the Montenegrin Parliament about confidence toward his government, the Montenegrin PM Milo Djukanovic who spent 27 years in power knew there is a risk. Protests in the country do not cease since September. People protest against the continuing for more than a quarter century rule of Djukanovic, who over those years, had been the president, or either took a set of positions in the government, but was always the leading person in his small country, which he helped to sever from brotherly Serbia back in 2006.

Djukanovic's intention to drag the country into NATO without referendum pours more oil on the flames of popular discontent (back in December Montenegro received an official invitation from the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg). So, will Djukanovic be able to fulfill his plan: replace the referendum on accession to the alliance by a vote of confidence and then win?

Formally, the situation is hanging on by a thread: parliament consists of 82 members, the ruling coalition is presented by 44 MPs, but 5 members of the Social Democratic Party said they don't intend to vote for confidence in the government.

However, Djukanovic understands that Montenegro is not an island in the ocean, and external factors will play a large role on the situation in a small country with a population of about 600 thousand people. Now they are in favor of the "pro-NATO" vector.

First of all is the passive stance by montenegro's "big sister" Serbia. On New Years' Eve Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia "does not see a threat" in the possibility of Montenegro joining NATO. In fact Belgrade gives Podgorica the "green light" to enter NATO while maintaining neutral status (ruled out by a special decision of the Serbian authorities in 2007).

Secondly, NATO teased by Russia's attempts to slow Montenegro's movement into NATO by democratic methods (requirement of a referendum), bit between his teeth and is going for a direct confrontation with Russia over Montenegro. In this regard, an article by Edward Joseph, the director of the American Institute of current world events, published in Foreign Affairs magazine is quite exponential:

"By finally inviting Montenegro to join NATO, the treaty organization has taken a significant step toward ending Russian chicanery in this small but significant Balkan country. But it will have to act fast to secure its gains. If NATO fails to close the deal, Moscow will have an opening to further destabilize the region" - says Edward Joseph.

However, talking about Balkans' "destabilization" because of Moscow's actions Western analysts are lying so obviously that their own propaganda rush can play a cruel joke on them. Here, as they say, "lie, but don't lie like a gas meter."

Montenegro remembers well that in 1999 Serbia and Montenegro along with Kosovo were bombed by NATO and not Russia. Unlike Poland or the Baltic states, Montenegro managed had once been a real enemy of NATO, and realized how much cruel and bureaucratically dumb can this organization be. Because in 1999, Montenegro was already under pro-Western Djukanovic's rule, who fell out with Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, so hated by the West. Thus in 1999 he led to the separation of Montenegro from Serbia, through exiting from Yugoslavia, which by that time was represent but a pale shadow of Tito's SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Nevertheless, despite oaths of loyalty to Djukanovic, NATO bombed Podgorica depriving the city of essential bridges.

It turns out that Russia's major trump cards in this situation are spiritual and psychological: Montenegrins memories of injustice carried out against them in 1999, loyalty of the most part of the population to the canonical Serbian Orthodox Church, and the positive attitude towards Russia. The situation in Montenegrin church reminds of Ukraine: Djukanovic has been trying to replace the local metropolitan canonical Serbian Orthodox Church for more than twenty years by unrecognized, separatist "Montenegrin Orthodox Church" led by defrocked Miras Dedeic (plucked from dignity former Serbian priest). As you can see, everything is very similar to the conflict of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), and the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) led by defrocked anathematized priest Denisenko.

But had Russia fully used these trumps? For years Russian leadership was fed with Djukanovic's assurances of friendship, not responding to Montenegro's movement toward EU and NATO, showing no interest in the local church conflict. Same way the two-faced Ukrainian ex-President Leonid Kuchma managed to lull the fears of Boris Yeltsin. Saying he's a friend and European and North Atlantic "orientation" are simply details, unable to tarnish the overall positive picture.

Current revival of Russia from this dream is inevitable, although there is a reason to hope that this awakening in the aspect of Montenegro will be less painful than it was with Ukraine. Russia needs to make up a strategy to counter the anti-Russian "reformatting" of the Balkan region. And now the old formula - Russia is against NATO expansion, but not against EU expansion - just does not work anymore. It has long been evident that it's the "euroallied" anti-Russian discipline that does most economic damage to Russia and not NATO. But EU has not become a military alternative to NATO, but still has been as hostile toward Russia as the North Atlantic bloc.

Not NATO, but EU forces countries such as Italy, Greece and Cyprus to join the anti-Russian sanctions against the will of its own people. And Serbia under the charm of possible "EU membership" lets Montenegro join NATO and goes to de facto recognition of the regime in anti-Serb province of Kosovo.

If Russia stops ignoring its spiritual and psychological trump cards, if we step away from the costly principle of "just business, nothing personal" we took up in Ukraine - then we can hope for success. And then even democratic forces lose the vote of confidence in Djukanovic government - even then Montenegro will not be lost to us. Because the formula imposed by the West to the countries of the region: "Make the right choice - follow the West and not Russia" - is really just wrong, as it does not reflect reality. Severing ties with Russia does not mean a membership in the prosperous West, as success can only be brought by patient multi-vector development, in peace with neighbors and remembering its own historical past. The understanding of this simple truth will certainly come to the Balkans, and Russia simply has to help this knowledge find its way. The role of Russian state, public and patriotic organizations and the press can't be underestimated here. Banks, oil companies and the military are not accustomed to doing such work.

Not everything in the world is bought with money or obtained by weapons.