Montenegro in Transition

Problems of Identity and Statehood by Florian Bieber (ed.)

Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft Baden-Baden

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Preface Florian Bieber Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia The dispute over Montenegrin independence The Belgrade Agreement: Robust mediation between Serbia and Montenegro Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society A short review of the history of Montenegro The economic development of Montenegro National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

7 11 43

Beáta Huszka Wim van Meurs


Srđa Pavlović

83 107 139

Šerbo Rastoder
Dragan Đurić František Šístek Bohdana Dimitrovová The authors Bibliography

159 181 183


Florian Bieber

Montenegro has been a much-neglected part of the former Yugoslavia. Few books and articles, and only occasional media coverage, have marked this probably least-known republic of the former Yugoslavia in the western perception. 1 Responsible for this has been its small size (less than 700 000 people) and that Montenegro has been spared of war (the only republic of former Yugoslavia to have avoided conflict). The current volume is not written in anticipation of conflict, but is rather aimed at filling an important gap in understanding former Yugoslavia during the past decade. It is exactly the absence of conflict in Montenegro which means that Montenegro merits more, rather than less, attention. One of the underlying threads of this book is the attempt to understand why Montenegro has been spared of the wars which devastated large parts of the former Yugoslavia. The answer is not simple. In the early 1990s, Montenegro supported the Serbian government’s war aims in Croatia and Bosnia; it was thus an accomplice (albeit partly unwilling) to the crimes committed in its western neighbours. At the same time, a strong anti-war movement, which rejected the extreme Serbian nationalism of the early 1990s, also existed. Later, Montenegro broke with Serbia only shortly before Serbia became immersed in the Kosovo war, engaging in the large-scale expulsion of Albanians and experiencing NATO bombing. There is, however, more than a collection of ‘lucky’ circumstances to explain why Montenegro has evaded war. Considerably better inter-ethnic relations have prevented an escalation of majority-minority relations, which would have been conducive to conflict or war, as František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová explain in their chapter on minorities. In addition, national homogenisation – the process in which the different nations of former Yugoslavia were mobilised by the political elites to put ‘national interests’ before all other concerns – was only partially successful in Montenegro. Montenegro has seen competition between two national identities during the past decade, reflecting an earlier division among the inhabitants of Montenegro as exemplified in Šerbo Rastoder’s survey of Montenegrin history. The dispute between Serbian and Montenegrin national identity was, essentially, a conflict over who Montenegrins are, a question posed by Srđa Pavlović in his chapter on identity. This debate is far from being resolved and, as such, it has confronted the majority population with each other during the 1990s, rather than against the ‘other’, as happened elsewhere in former Yugoslavia. The debates over identity were themselves deeply political in nature, shaping party choices and informing the preference for the kind of state in which the citizens of Montenegro wanted to live. The issue of independence and secession from Yugoslavia was certain in the other republics of former Yugoslavia, at least among the dominant population group, but Montenegro was the exception. In the first half of the 1990s, a clear majority of Montenegrins supported a joint state with Serbia. Only in the second half of the past decade has public opinion begun to turn in favour of independence. Throughout this pe1 The Library of Congress and Amazon list only a handful of books published on Montenegro since 1990. The same can be said for French or German language publications.


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riod, however, there has been no clear majority for either choice. Montenegrins are deeply divided over which state will best represent their interests. In addition to identity, the debates over the Republic’s status have been considerably informed by economic considerations, as Beáta Huszka explores in her chapter on the dispute over Montenegrin independence in recent times. In addition to the intra-Montenegrin debates over relations with Serbia, the process of redefining ties with Serbia have shaped Yugoslav and Montenegrin politics. The agreement reached in March 2002 through European Union mediation and pressure has put an end to ‘Yugoslavia’ and has established ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ as a (possibly) temporary solution. As Wim van Meurs explains, the Belgrade Agreement has the potential to transform relations between the two republics; at the same time, it might also be a mere stopgap before Montenegro achieves independence after the three-year moratorium contained in the Agreement. The debates over Montenegro’s status have been the primary political issue for years while not being the most important concern for most Montenegrins. A number of opinion polls over the past few years have repeatedly shown that the economy and jobs are by far the most important issues. 2 In fact, the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ in 1988/9, which brought to power a new pro-Serb leadership, was motivated not only by nationalism but also as much by economic concerns. As one of the less-developed and poorer republics of Yugoslavia, the precarious economic position of Montenegro has been a continuous issue. Milo Đukanović sidelined the conservative forces within his ruling party in 1997 by engaging in the rhetoric of reform. In the process, some steps towards the transformation of the economy and society have been made. Nevertheless, as Dragan Đurić analyses in his chapter on the economic and social situation facing Montenegro, the reforms have exhausted themselves largely in rhetoric and have failed to bring about the desired improvement in citizens’ quality of life. 3 The elections of October 2002 signalled continuity with the sustained success of the Democratic Party of Socialists – in power without interruption since the end of communism – and the stable and nearly even division of Montenegrin society into the supporters and the opponents of independence. More than ten years since the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Montenegro is both lucky and unfortunate. It is lucky because it has avoided war and has not seen inter-ethnic relations poisoned by ethno-nationalist mobilization as elsewhere in former Yugoslavia. It is unfortunate because its economic and social situation leaves it in a precarious position, with not much chance for improvement in the short or the medium term, irrespective of whether Montenegro is independent or remains part of a union with Serbia. It is also unfortunate because the political divide over status vis-à-vis Serbia has papered over other, more pragmatic, divisions in the political system, making reforms more difficult to ac2 See opinion polls by CEDEM, CfT and NDI. In March 2001, for example, during the election campaign and in the midst of bitter discussions on independence, 49% of those surveyed listed the economy as the most important issue while only one-third mentioned the status question. When combining first and second priorities, the distance increases to 87% to 52%. See NDI: Economy is Most Important Issue for Prospective Voters in Montenegro, Podgorica, 28.3.2001. 3 In 2002, over 80% live on the edge of subsistence while 20% live in poverty. See Senko Cabarkapa: ‘Đukanović Seeks Another Chance’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report 17.10.2002.



complish. In fact, this deadlock might have been both Montenegro’s reason for avoiding conflict and also its reason for the particularly difficult road towards democratisation and economic transition.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank the editors of the South-East Europe Review , Peter Scherrer and Calvin Allen, for supporting this project and making possible this timely production. Thanks are also due to Ivana Prazić for translating into English the historical review by Šerbo Rastoder.


Florian Bieber

Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia
Introduction Montenegrin politics, unlike those of most of the other former Yugoslav republics, has been a story of continuity throughout the 1990s. In the absence of war, Montenegro has experienced few radical breaks. The most important break was arguably the fallout of Milo Đukanović with Slobodan Milo šević and Momir Bulatovi ć in 1997, which ushered in a period of political re-orientation towards the west and a democratisation of political life through the disintegration of the dominant Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska partija socijalista , DPS). This turning-point, as this chapter will argue, was nevertheless embedded in a gradual process of continuous alienation between Montenegro and Serbia, beginning in 1991, and a reflection of the inner-Montenegrin divide over relations with Serbia which informed the political agenda of the 1990s. An examination of political developments in Montenegro is not only relevant because Montenegro has been largely neglected in comparison to that of the other successor states of former Yugoslavia. That no war occurred in Montenegro, and that it remained as the only former Yugoslav republic in a joint state with Serbia, have made Montenegro an exception worth examining more closely. The politics of identity informed political discourse in a similar fashion to the other countries of former Yugoslavia, but the debates of identity and statehood pitted not majority against minority, but split the majority population in an unresolved debate over Montenegrin national identity and the state in which to live. This chapter will trace chronologically the evolution of key political developments, beginning with the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’, which brought the Communist era to an end, and closing with the creation of the (temporary) union of ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ in 2002. This discussion is shaped by four threads: • the relationship between the government of Montenegro on the one side and of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the other • internal debates over Montenegrin identity and the relationship towards Serbia • the process of democratisation in a political system which has, to date, not seen a change of government through elections • the role Montenegro played in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, as well as the impact of the war in Kosovo. From one one-party rule to another: the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ Montenegro under Communist rule was, together with Bosnia and Macedonia, one of the less developed republics. Its small size, approximately one-third of the next largest republic, made Montenegro a particular case. Arguably, the Republic has been peripheral in postwar Yugoslavia and did not possess the same weight in inter-republican debates as, for example, did Croatia, Slovenia or Serbia. Caught in the ambiguities of Montenegrin identity, the Republic was both the ‘homeland’ of the Montenegrin people while, at the same time, a significant share of Montenegrins identified themselves as Serbs. 1 The nationalist revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s in Yugoslavia also affected Montenegro. In Montenegro,

Florian Bieber

however, it expressed itself rather as Serbian nationalism 2 than as a distinct Montenegrin nationalism. This would find its explicit expression only considerably later.
Table 1 – Shifting population of Montenegro
1981 No. Montenegrins Muslims Serbs Albanians Yugoslavs Croats Roma Total Population Census (1981,
400 488 78 080 19 407 37 735 31 243 6 904 1 471 584 310

1991 %
68.5 13.4 3.3 6.5 5.3 1.2 0.3

380 467 89 614 57 453 40 415 26 159 6 244 3 282 615 035

61.9 14.6 9.3 6.6 4.3 1.0 0.5


Yugoslavia developed into a decentralised federation during the 1960s and 1970s, and Montenegro participated in the debates over the redistribution of resources within Yugoslavia together with the other lesser-developed republics which profited from the Federal Fund for the Development of the Under-developed Republics (FARDUK, 1964-1990). 4 Montenegro’s participation in these discussions and the:
Recurring struggle over the redistribution of income necessitated an articulation and defense of a specific Montenegrin interest which in turn regularly reinforced a sense of a specific Montenegrin identity.5

The response to the earthquake in 1979, which devastated parts of the Montenegrin coast, including Kotor and Budva, is a case in point. Montenegro was excluded from the inter-republican debates over compensation. The final aid package was considerably smaller than hoped for: Slovenia and Croatia had argued for more aid, while Serbia kept support to a minimum. Given that Serbia was deemed responsible for the lower than expected quantity of aid, it strengthened the more anti-Serb wing within the Montenegrin leadership. 6
1 On the issue of Montenegrin identity, see Srđa Pavlović: ‘Who are Montenegrins?’ this volume. 2 Sabrina Petra Ramet: Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia. 1962-1991, 2nd Ed. (Bloomington, In.: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 116; Marko Andrijevich: ‘Politics in Montenegro’, in Sabrina Petra Ramet and L.S. Adamovich (eds.): Beyond Yugoslavia: Politics, Economics and Culture in a Shattered Community (Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1995), p. 210. 3 Source: Federal Statistical Office. The number of Roma is almost certainly higher than official numbers indicate. 4 Ramet: Nationalism and Federalism, pp. 150-158. 5 John B. Allcock: ‘Montenegro’, in David Turnock and Francis W. Carter (eds.): The States of Eastern Europe. South-Eastern Europe, Vol. 2 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), p. 185. 6 Ramet: Nationalism and Federalism, p. 160.


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

The most pressing problem of the Montenegrin leadership in the 1980s, however, had been the economic crisis of the Republic. The Republic, together with Kosovo and Macedonia, was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1987. At the time, it had only 40 000 workers, with 6 000 having lost their job during the economic crisis of the late 1980s. 7 It was against this backdrop that the mass protests took place which eventually led Montenegro to join Serbia during the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The Communist era came to an end as part of the so-called ‘anti-bureaucratic revolutions’ which were instigated by the new strong man of Serbia, Slobodan Milo šević. After taking power in Serbia in 1987/8 in an internal coup against his mentor, Ivan Stamboli ć, he sought to extend his influence to the two autonomous provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, as well as Bosnia and Montenegro. Breaking with the previous rules of not conducting intra-party conflicts in public, Milo šević used mass mobilisation in well-organised protests to put pressure on his opponents. This tool was not so much invented by Milošević as represented the instrumentalisation of extra-party grievances and dissatisfaction which could have lead to protests, as occurred in the rest of central and eastern Europe in autumn 1989. Mobilisation for the protests was facilitated by the regime’s control of the media, as well as the whole apparatus of the Serbian party and authorities, including party members, reserve offices and secret services. 8 Milovan Đilas assessed the protests accordingly:
Though there are aggressive groups in the Serbian movement, this is Communist nationalism and it is highly disciplined… We call them spontaneous. But it is partly organised spontaneity. 9

After the protests – in conjunction with an internal party coup – had succeeded in replacing the political leadership of Vojvodina in summer 1988 with new pro- Milošević authorities, the demonstrations focused on Montenegro. Here, protests had taken place throughout Summer 1988 with several tens of thousands of participants. A few days after the fall of the Vojvodina leadership, the Montenegrin leadership drew on a massive police response to suppress the protests. The use of the police led to harsh attacks not only by the Serbian leadership,10 but also by Serbian intellectuals. The writer and leading nationalist intellectual Dobrica Ćosić, for example, wrote a letter of protest to the Montenegrin leadership in the name of the Committee for the Defence of the Freedom of Thought and Expression: 11
We appeal to your civic consciousness and political responsibility, to which you are bound by law and your oath of office, to do everything in order to establish democratic relations and the

7 Branka Magaš: The Destruction of Yugoslavia, Tracking the Break-Up, 1980-92 (Verso: London/New York, 1993), p. 170. 8 Vreme 10.2.1992; Laura Silber and Allan Little: The Death of Yugoslavia (London: Penguin/ BBC, 1995), p. 61. 9 Quoted from David Selbourne: Death of the Dark Hero, Eastern Europe 1987-1990 (London, 1991), p. 109. 10 Veljko Vujačić: Communism and Nationalism in Russia and Serbia, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Berkeley: University of California, 1995). p. 347. 11 The Committee originally protested against human rights violations in Yugoslavia but, in the climate of nationalist mobilisation, focused increasingly on the ‘mistreatment’ of Serbs. A number of its members were leading nationalist intellectuals, including Ćosić and Kosta Čavoški.


Florian Bieber

rule of law in your republic, that you prevent any limitation on free democratic and patriotic thought and aspirations, that you prevent violence against citizens who are not satisfied with the existing state of society and who are concerned about the future. 12 (author’s emphasis)

The Montenegrin party leadership, however, rejected all criticism and won a vote of confidence in October 1988, 13 although renewed protests on 11 and 12 January 1989 spelled the coming of the end; the leadership resigned and was replaced by a new elite loyal to Milošević.14 The ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ was driven by the nationalist mobilisation which took place in the late 1980s among Serbs. 15 Without exploring in detail the reasons for the ideology behind this mobilisation, it should be mentioned that the movement emerged as a result of four factors: a. broad societal groups dissatisfied with the economic, social and political status quo b. nationalist intellectuals c. ethnic entrepreneurs in the League of Communists of Serbia d. an institutional system in late communist Yugoslavia which was conducive to the primacy of ethnicity.16 The concepts in the new Serbian nationalism were developed by Serbian intellectuals in the 1970s and 1980s, gaining prominence with the publication of an (incomplete) memorandum of the Serbian Academic of Arts and Sciences (Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, SANU). This memorandum, echoing existing concepts, suggested that Serbs were disadvantaged in Communist Yugoslavia. Focusing specifically on the supposed discrimination against Serbs in Kosovo, leading to their mass-emigration, the memorandum asserted that Serbs were also suffering in the other republics (and especially in Croatia). 17 The memorandum introduced two ideas into the Yugoslav discourse which were to remain an important aspect of Serbian nationalism during the 1990s. Firstly, Yugoslavia as it existed was considered to be disadvantaging Serbs. Secondly, Serbs were portrayed as the victims of other Yugoslav nations. The ideas formulated in the memorandum and propagated by a significant number of Serbian intellectuals, both in opposition and in pro-regime circles and in key cultural institutions, fell on fertile ground as Kosovo had been on the public agenda in Serbia since the suppressed protests of Kosovo Albanians in 1981 de12 CADDY Bulletin 50 (1988). 13 Tanjug 1.11.1988. 14 The change first occurred in the Party; in March, the members of the Presidency changed, followed by a new parliament, whose members were not elected from multi-party elections, in June 1989. Bulatović and Đukanović rose to the top leadership of the League of Communists during this time, assuming the offices of President and Prime Minister after the 1990 elections. For a list of the new office holders, see Slobodan M. Dragović: Crnogorski Ustavi. Organizacija i sastav organa vlasti – poslanci i ministri – (od 1946. do 1998), (Podgorica: Službeni List Republike Crne Gore, 1999), pp. 165-72. On the whole ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ in Montenegro, see Veseljko Koprivica and Branko Vojičić: Prevrat '89 (Podgorica: LSCG, 1994). 15 Nationalist mobilisation took place simultaneously among Kosovo Albanians and was followed somewhat later in 1989/90 as regards Croats and Muslims/Bosniaks. 16 For more on this issue, see Florian Bieber: ‘Serbischer Nationalismus vom Tod Titos zum Sturz Miloševićs’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Vienna: University of Vienna, 2001). 17 Kosta Mihailović and Vasilije Krestić: Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Answers to Criticisms (Beograd: Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995).


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

manding that Kosovo be recognised as a republic within Yugoslavia. The media and Serbian politics focused on Serbian emigration from the province and accused Albanians of engaging in a deliberate and well-organised campaign against Kosovo Serbs. These unresolved grievances coincided with Serbian and Yugoslav party elites being unable to overcome the deepening economic crisis and political vacuum after the death of Tito in 1980. Against such a backdrop, Milošević rose to power on the promise to protect Kosovo Serbs and to ‘correct’ the injustices of the Communist Yugoslav system. This national movement, deliberately mobilised in the media, had only amorphous goals. The most immediate goal was a re-centralisation of Yugoslavia and the overthrow of republican and provincial elites which were portrayed as anti-Serb. 18 During the protests, the Montenegrin elite was likened to Vuk Brankovi ć, the mythological Serbian traitor at the Kosovo battle in 1389, while a personality cult surrounding Milošević described him as a ‘saviour’. 19 The protests in Montenegro, as elsewhere in Yugoslavia, did not rest on Serbian nationalist demands alone, but also incorporated dissatisfaction with the economic and social development of the country. 20 In 1987, Montenegro found itself in a severe economic crisis. Massive job cuts threatened the employment of many workers in large enterprises in the Republic.21 The protests of 8 October 1988 began as protests of workers demanding an improvement in their job situation. During the course of the demonstrations, Kosovo Serbs, who had been the backbone of the protests elsewhere in Yugoslavia that year, joined them. Branka Maga š has described how, in a matter of days, the demonstrations were transformed. In the beginning, the protestors demanded bread and work; by the end of the same day, the message of the protests had already been transformed, praising Milošević and branding the Montenegrin leadership as anti-Serb. 22 The social unrest which was expressed here, as in the other Yugoslav republics and, a year later, elsewhere in eastern Europe, had found a safety valve. Disappointment over the lack of reform, bankrupt companies, inflation and job losses found their outlet through nationalism. The absence of significant reform-oriented figures in the party leadership rendered more difficult the emergence of an alternative to nationalist mobilisation. The party leadership of Montenegro, as had been the case in Vojvodina, Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo, could offer no convincing programme of reform to counter the nationalist protests. Thus, as one observer noted on a demonstration Belgrade – which could equally apply to Montenegro – that the protesters ‘came as workers and went home as Serbs.’ 23
18 Nebojša Popov: ‘Le Populisme Serbe’, Les Temps Modernes Vol. 49 No. 573 (1994), pp. 2263; ‘Le Populisme Serbe (suite)’, Les Temps Modernes Vol. 49 No. 574 (1994), pp. 22-84. 19 Ivan Čolović: Bordell der Krieger. Folklore, Krieg und Politik (Osnabrück: Fibre, 1994), pp. 11-26, 140. 20 Jens Reuter: ‘Inflation und sinkender Lebensstandard in Jugoslawien’, Südosteuropa Vol. 38 No. 10 (1989), pp. 565-572. 21 In Montenegro in 1988, the average spending on food amounted to 55.1% of salary, whereas in Slovenia it was less than half this figure (26.9%). Wolfgang Oschlies: ‘Jugoslawien 1988 – Eine kurze Bestandaufnahme’, Südosteuropa Vol. 38 No. 1 (1989), p. 21. 22 Magaš: The Destruction of Yugoslavia, pp. 170-171. 23 Jagoš Đuretić, quoted from Slavoljub Đukić: Između slave i anateme. Politička biografija Slobodana Miloševića (Beograd: Filip Višnjić, 1994), p. 106. Ivan Čolović describes this transformation on the basis of the slogans used by the demonstrators. Čolović: Bordell der Krieger, pp. 138-142.


Florian Bieber

The first elections and the road to war In the course of 1990, elections were held in all the republics of Yugoslavia. As the federal state had, on all measures, ceased to function and no country-wide elections were scheduled, the conditions for these first multi-party elections varied greatly between the republics: whereas they were relatively free in Slovenia and Croatia, they were called only reluctantly in Montenegro and Serbia. In Montenegro, the elections were dominated by the League of Communists (Savez Komunista Crne Gore, SK CG) which, in Montenegro, alone among the republics, did not bother to rename itself prior to the elections. It also did not adopt significant programme changes ahead of the elections, such as the endorsement of privatisation, as other successor parties to the League of Communists had done. 24 The Communist Party was able to secure an overwhelming victory unmatched elsewhere in former Yugoslavia, winning over 50 per cent of the votes and two-thirds of the seats in parliament. The runner-up was the Yugoslav-wide United Reform Forces, founded by Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovi ć as a political alternative to the nationalist parties and the disintegrating League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The Markovi ć alliance comprised several liberal and social democratic movements and parties, thus presenting the only liberal democratic alternative to the regime. The third strongest party, the People’s Party ( Narodna Stranka, NS) would undergo numerous programme changes in the 1990s but, in the first elections, represented an extreme Serb nationalist platform, advocating the unification of both republics as well as the creation of an expanded Serbian nation-state. As such, the party displayed some similarities with the Serbian Democratic Party in Croatia and in Bosnia, which sought to represent ‘Serb’ interests in these two republics. The Democratic Coalition (Demokratska koalicija, DK) comprised of an Albanian and a Muslim party, won approximately 10 per cent of the vote, an electoral success which was not repeated in subsequent elections when the parties of the different minorities ran separately. 25 Table 2 – First free elections in Montenegro, 9 December 199026
Party/ Coalition SK CG SRSJ CG NS DK Others Number of votes 171 316 41 346 39 107 30 760 11 354 Percentage 56.16 13.56 12.82 10.08 3.80 Members in Parliament
83 17 13 12

66.4 13.6 10.4 9.6

The overwhelming victory of the League had three reasons: Firstly, the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ in the Republic had happened less than two years prior to the elections
24 Vladimir Goati: Izbori u SRJ od 1990 do 1998: volja građana ili izborna manipulacija (Beograd: CeSID, 1999), p. 36. 25 For more on this, see František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová: ‘National Minorities in Montenegro after the Break-up of Yugoslavia’, this volume. 26 Source: Vladimir Goati: Partije Srbije i Crne Gora u političkim borbama od 1990. do 2000. (Bar: Conteco, 2000), p. 260.


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and the Serbian nationalist movement in Montenegro, represented by the new leadership of SK CG, Momir Bulatović and Milo Đukanović, continued to be genuinely popular within the Republic, as was the case in Serbia in elections which took place at the same time. Secondly, the Communist system, despite being discredited, was still more popular than elsewhere.27 Thirdly, the conditions for the elections were hardly free and fair; information about the political alternatives were limited and – where available – usually aimed at discrediting the opposition. 28 In the presidential elections, which took place simultaneously, Momir Bulatović won in the second round with 76.1% of the votes. In addition to the President, a four-member presidency was elected, comprising one member of the SK CG, two members of the United Reform Forces and one independent candidate. The presidency, which was later abolished, was powerless; the President himself yielded even less power than the Serbian President. The influence of Bulatović derived mostly from his leadership of the League of Communists and support (and pressure) from Serbia. 29 Despite the resounding victory of the SK CG, the low turnout (76%) and the high number of abstentions (24.3%) point to some dissatisfaction and/or suspicion in the population which did not translate into the electoral results. 30 The SK CG, which renamed itself the Democratic Party of Socialists 31 after the elections, pursued a double strategy. On the one side, it collaborated closely with the Socialist Party of Serbia (Socijalistička Partija Srbije, SPS) and followed the general line of the Serbian President; on the other, it sought to preserve some degree of Montenegrin separateness, resisting the call for unification with Serbia which had been put forward forcefully by some intellectuals and parties in the early 1990s. 32 Soon after the first elections, Montenegro found itself intrinsically involved in the war in Croatia.33 After Croatia had declared its independence in June 1991, the country slowly began sliding into war as a result of the escalating fighting between Serb paramilitaries, the Yugoslav army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija, JNA) and the nascent Croatian army. The aim of the JNA and the Serbian paramilitaries was to take control of parts of Croatia where Serbs lived (as minority or majority) and attach these to Serbia. The fighting thus first focused on Slavonia, Krajina, Lika and Kordun, far from the Montenegrin border. In this first phase of the war, Montenegro was only indirectly involved, as its soldiers continued to be recruited to the army. 34
27 See Lenard J. Cohen: Broken Bonds. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia (Boulder, Co: Westview, 1993), pp. 158-159. 28 Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 34-40. 29 ibid., pp. 48. 30 ibid., pp. 29, 32. 31 For a self-presentation of the Party, see 32 Ramet: Nationalism and Federalism, p. 212; Allcock: ‘Montenegro,’ p. 186. 33 On this, see the statements of Nikola Samardžić, Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1991/2 as a witness during the Milošević trial at the ICTY. See ICTY: ‘Transcripts Milošević, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (IT-02-54)’, The Hague, 8.10.2002, available at: transe54/021008IT.htm. 34 Montenegrins were actually over-represented among army officers (6.2% compared to Montenegro’s 2.5% share of the Yugoslav population). Balkan War Report, January 1993, p. 6.


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Montenegro, officially, did not support the war enthusiastically and withdrew its reservists in October 1991 from Croatia. 35 At the same time, Montenegro also broke ranks with Serbia during one of the international efforts to end the war. An EC-sponsored peace conference for the former Yugoslavia in September-October 1991 in Geneva sought to secure the support of the former Yugoslav republics for the Carrington Plan. The plan, named after the main European Community negotiator for Yugoslavia, foresaw an à la carte Yugoslavia from which the Republics could choose their degree of sovereignty and their participation in joint Yugoslav institutions. Milošević opposed the plan as it would not reverse the declaration of independence of Croatia and allowed only for very limited central control of the new state. Contrary to expectations, Momir Bulatović supported the plan after receiving the backing of the Montenegrin parliament. 36 This policy shift came as a surprise and shock to Serbia, which had expect to receive Montenegro’s support. The simultaneous demand of Bulatović to withdraw Montenegrin soldiers from the front in Croatia led to Borisav Jovi ć, Serbian member of the Yugoslav presidency, exclaiming that ‘[t]his is nothing short of treason.’ 37 The response of Milošević, reported by an EC diplomat during a coincidental meeting with the Serbian President in the toilet, was that, ‘ Bulatović will soon be dismissed of his functions…’ 38 Under pressure from nationalist politicians in Montenegro (and Serbia) and under attack from the Serbian leadership as supported by the media, Bulatović eventually went back on his support. 39 In the subsequent negotiations, the Montenegrin and Serbian delegation insisted that old Yugoslavia would continue to exist for those willing to partake of it, rather than endorse the creation of a new state, thus undermining the plan for a new confederation. 40 The hesitation of the Montenegrin authorities stood in contrast to the enthusiastic participation of Montenegrin soldiers and reservists in the JNA campaign to conquer the Konavle region of Croatia. In October 1991, only a few Serbs lived in this area, which stretched north from the Montenegrin border, but the Yugoslav army conquered most of the Croatian coast between Neum, the Bosnian outlet to the Adriatic, and the Montenegrin border, while it also laid siege to Dubrovnik. The army quickly managed to take most of the smaller towns in the areas surrounding the old city, but the siege of Dubrovnik was a major political defeat for the Yugoslav/Serb forces as the senseless shelling of the city demonstrated the ruthlessness of the Serbian (and Montenegrin) leadership. In the area adjacent to the Montenegrin border, extending to Cavtat, a resort in the proximity of Dubrovnik, reservists who were largely Montenegrin engaged in a massive looting and pillaging campaign which left most villages in the area completely destroyed. 41 The campaign was partly organised by the JNA in conjunction with officials in Montenegro who sought to gain personally from it. 42
35 Andrijevich: ‘Politics in Montenegro’, pp. 244-245. 36 Vreme 28.10.1991. 37 Borisav Jović: Poslednji Dani SFRJ (Kragujevac: Prizma, 1996), p. 402. Jović describes the whole episode in detail, pp. 399-407. 38 Henry Wynaendts: L’Engrenage. Chronique Yougoslaves, Juillet 1991-Août 1992 (Paris: Denoël, 1993), p. 125. It is not without irony that it was Miloševićs opponent Đukanović who would accomplish this six years later. 39 Velizor Brajović: ‘Hard Lines in Montenegro’, Yugofax, 31.10.1991, p. 3; Vreme 4.11.1991. 40 Silber and Little: The Death of Yugoslavia, pp. 213-216.


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Despite the ferocious campaign of the JNA in Konavle, the only serious point of contention for Montenegro with Croatia was the narrow Prevlaka peninsula. Prevlaka officially belonged to Croatia, but its strategic position, overlooking the entrance to the Boka Kotorska – the Bay of Kotor – meant that control of the peninsula would allow for control over entrance into the bay, including the only remaining naval base of the Yugoslav army.43 In October 1992, a year after the beginning of the campaign, Yugoslav President Dobrica Ćosić and Croat President Franjo Tu đman reached an agreement on the withdrawal of JNA troops from the areas surrounding Dubrovnik and the demilitarisation of Prevlaka under UN-supervision – until late 2002. 44 The advent of war also further polarised divisions within Montenegro over Montenegrin identity and relations with Serbia. During the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’, the old authorities were branded as ‘anti-Serbian’ and ‘treacherous’. This discourse persisted throughout the early 1990s, when the war in Croatia and Bosnia created a sharp contrast between the supporters of Serb nationalism, who mostly supported the war in its early stage, and the supporters of Montenegrin nationalism, who opposed it. In these confrontations, the Serbian Orthodox Church played a particularly pronounced role due to the extreme nationalism of Amfilohije Radovi ć, the Montenegrin archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church.45 Debates during autumn 1991 over the future of Montenegro exemplified the lines of confrontation within the Republics politics. On the one side stood the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (Liberalni savez Crne Gore, LSCG), 46 which advocated Montenegrin independence and which accused its opponents of being:
41 ibid., pp. 201-204; Nikola Samardžić remarked during the Milošević trial that the campaign in Croatia, ‘…was an unjust war against Croatia, a war in which Montenegro disgraced itself by putting itself in the service of the Yugoslav army and Slobodan Milošević, and this shame will remain with us for perhaps another 100 years. Nothing more shameful has been done in Montenegro in its history for many hundreds of years’, ICTY: ‘Transcripts Milošević, The Hague, 8.10.2002, p. 1191, available at Similarly Đukanović apologised in 2000 for the role played by Montenegro: ‘I wish to request forgiveness from the citizens of the Republic of Croatia for all the suffering and material losses inflicted during these tragic events by Montenegrins in the ranks of the Yugoslav Army.’ ‘Montenegro Asking Forgiveness From Croatia,’ New York Times 25.6.2000. 42 Seki Radonjić: ‘Four Million Marks – for the ‘Liberator’’, AIM 31.5.1994. 43 Vreme 12.10.1992. 44 Velizar Brajović: ‘Peace in Prevlaka: So Why War in Dubrovnik?’ Balkan War Report October 1992, p. 2. UN observers remain on the peninsula in 2002. Earlier attempts at a settlement between Montenegro and Croatia have failed because of obstruction by the Yugoslav authorities. An agreement signed in December 2002 ended the UN presence and foresaw the transformation of Prevlaka into a tourist resort. Beta, 11.12.2002. 45 Vreme 4.11.1991. See, for example: Jagnje božije i zvijer iz bezdana. Filosofija rata (Cetinje: Svetigora, 1996). This volume contains contributions by Radovan Karadžić, scholars and a number of clerics, especially from Montenegro. It seeks primarily to justify the Serbian war in Bosnia and provide for a general ‘philosophical’ opposition to the anti-war literature published in Yugoslavia. See Stjepan Gredelj: ‘Klerikalizam, etnofiletizam, antiekumenizam i (ne)tolerancija’, Sociologija Vol. 41 No. 2 (April-June 1999), pp. 157-158. 46 For a self-presentation of the Party, see


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Against the separation of Montenegro from the Yugoslav chaos and madness. They are the ones pushing us into the state whose very existence, framework and ethnic make-up are uncertain. 47

The Alliance, founded in Cetinje – the historical capital of Montenegro – which also became the party’s stronghold, appealed to a separate Montenegrin identity and drew on the historical legacy of independent Montenegro. Unlike most other independence/nationalist movements, however, it neither advocated the use of force, nor did it express hostility towards minorities. A strong theme in the rhetoric of the Alliance has been its critique of Serbian nationalism, the participation of Montenegro in the war in Croatia and the Serbian Orthodox Church. 48 In consequence, the party supported the re-establishment of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church in 1993 (see below) as a means of reaffirming the autonomy of Montenegro. Otherwise, its programme emphasised liberal economic and social policies which stood, however, in the background of the political debates during the 1990s. 49 The People’s Party stood at the other end of the political spectrum, advocating close ties between Serbia and Montenegro, including at times even a merger of the two Republics. The Party, founded by Novak Kilibarda, accused Bulatović over his acceptance of the Carrington Plan and maintained close links with the Serbian Democratic Party (Srpska demokratska Stranka, SDS) in Croatia and Bosnia; later on it also established close links with the Democratic Party of Serbia (Demokratska stranka Srbije, DSS). The Party supported some of the policies of the Milošević regime originally, but its anti-communist stance led it to keep a distance both from the DPS in Montenegro and from Milošević. Especially in conjunction with the Serbian opposition in 1992/3 in DEPOS, which criticised the regime for its policies in Bosnia, the NS also managed to distance itself from its early pledge of full support of the war. Throughout the 1990s, the People’s Party moved away from the extreme Serbian nationalism which it had originally endorsed. It did, however, remain a party which appealed to a constituency who considered themselves to be Serbs and which continuously emphasised the Serbian identity of Montenegro. 50 The DPS sought to occupy a somewhat middle ground in Montenegrin politics. Mostly aligning itself with Milošević (albeit with some hesitation), it nevertheless sought to safeguard the separateness of Montenegro while, at the same time, vehemently opposed the Liberal Alliance’s claims for secession. 51 The internal debates over the future of Montenegrin relations with Serbia remained unresolved throughout the 1990s, a situation recalled at regular intervals in the light of the conflicts with the regime in Belgrade.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at war with Bosnia and itself The establishment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992 failed to bring the debate over Montenegro’s status to a close. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a quick and somewhat surprising creation of the Montenegrin and Serbian political elites who met in the Montenegrin mountain resort of Žabljak in April 1992. Discussions had taken place on the
47 Party President Slavko Perović, quoted from Vreme 30.12.1991. 48 ‘Programme of the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro’, Yugoslav Survey, No. 1 (1993), pp. 98-100. 49 See Janusz Bugajski: Political Parties of Eastern Europe (Amronk, NY/London: M.E. Sharpe, 2002), pp. 503-506. 50 ibid., pp. 506-507. 51 Vreme 30.12.1991.


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creation of a third Yugoslavia throughout early 1992, but the creation of FRY was unexpected.52 During earlier debates, two options were most prominent: on the one side stood the option of creating a looser union with Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia; at the other extreme was the creation of a union of ‘Serbian states’, which would have included the Serbian Republic in Krajina (Republika Srpske Krajine, RSK) and in Bosnia (Republika Srpska, RS).53 Both options failed, for a variety of reasons, but Montenegro remained committed to a joint state with Serbia, as Momir Bulatovi ć had declared in January 1992. 54 A referendum in Montenegro, which took place on 1 March 1992, confirmed Montenegro’s commitment;55 some 95.4 per cent of the electorate supported the question asked in the referendum: ‘Would you want a sovereign Montenegro to stay in the association with other Yugoslav republics who wish the same?’ The success of the referendum was somewhat diminished by the relatively low turnout of 66.04 per cent, partly resulting from the call for a boycott by some opposition parties and by the Albanian and Muslim communities. 56 The new Yugoslav Constitution was passed by the ‘remnants of the remnants’ 57 of the Federal Chamber of the Assembly of Socialist Yugoslavia on 27 April 1992. The term of the deputies had already expired one year earlier, not to mention that they were ‘elected’ in 1986, well before the first free elections in 1990. Only the deputies from Montenegro and Serbia participated – a mere 73 people were present (from a total of 100 deputies from Serbia and Montenegro), out of, altogether, 220 deputies previously elected to the parliament. Legally, the gathering did not reach the necessary quorum to constitute a session of the old Yugoslav parliament.58 The decision to create the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by deputies whose term expired and who had not been freely elected was meant to suggest continuity to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). These flaws at the birth were indicative, however, of the weak foundations on which the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia rested. 59
52 On the debates and conflicts between Montenegro and Serbia surrounding the establishment of FRY, see Esad Kočan: ‘Montenegro and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’, AIM 28.3.1996. 53 Neue Züricher Zeitung 13.2.1992; Neue Züricher Zeitung 6.1.1992. 54 Politika 11.1.1992. 55 It should be noted, however, that, by that time, the term ‘Yugoslavia’ had already ceased to be a meaningful concept. On the run up to the referendum, see Vreme 27.1.1992. 56 Slobodanka Kovačević and Putnik Dajić: Hronologija Jugoslovenske Krize, 1942-1993 (Beograd: Institut za Evropske Studije, 1994), p. 52. In communes with a strong minority population, such as Ulcinj and Rožaje, only 17.54% and 10.85% of eligible voters participated. See the website of the electoral commission at: 57 Slobodan Antonić: ‘Yugoslav Federalism: Functioning of the Federal and Republican Parliaments’, in Vladmir Goati (ed.): Elections to the Federal and Republican Parliaments of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) 1990-1996 (Berlin: Sigma, 1998), p. 53. 58 Monika Beckman-Petey: Der jugoslawische Föderalismus (Munich: Südost-Institut, Oldenbourg, 1990), pp. 142-143. 59 For a detailed analysis of the structural and legal problems of FRY, see Dejan Guzina: ‘Nationalism in the Context of an Illiberal Multinational State: The Case of Serbia’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Ottawa: Carleton University, 2000), pp. 180-192; Florian Bieber: ‘Delayed Transition and the Multiple Legitimacy Crisis of Post-1992 Yugoslavia’, in Dimitris Keridis (ed.): New Approaches to Balkan Studies (Dulles, VA: Brassey, 2002); see also, from a nationalist perspective, Kosta Čavoški: Half a Century of Distorted Constitutionality in Yugoslavia (Beograd: Centre for Serbian Studies, 1997), p. 36.


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Subsequently, the first elections to the Chamber of Citizens 60 of the Federal Assembly in May 1992 were boycotted by all the opposition parties in Serbia and Montenegro. The only three major parties which participated and which won mandates were the governing DPS, the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska radikalna stranka, SRS), which ran for the first time in elections in Serbia and Montenegro with the implicit support of the governing parties, and the League of Communists–Party for Yugoslavia ( Savez kommunista–pokret za Jugoslaviju, SK-PJ), a neo-communist movement, closely associated with the army and Miloševićs wife, Mirjana Markovi ć.61 The boycott lead to a similarly low turnout as in Serbia, with only 56.7 per cent of eligible voters participating. 62 Protests by the opposition and an overall weak position of the authorities in both republics, especially in Serbia, forced new elections for the Federal Parliament in December 1992. These coincided in both republics with early presidential and parliamentary elections. Soon after the creation of the new federal state, relations between Serbia and Montenegro were already deteriorating. 63 During the run-up to the December 1992 election, a serious fallout – the most serious next to the final break in 1997/8 – occurred between the Democratic Party of Socialists and the Socialist Party of Serbia. As a response to Bulatovićs initial support for the Carrington Plan in October 1992, and due to his wavering support for the Serbian war effort in Bosnia, the Socialist Party supported Brankov Kosti ć, his main contender during the Montenegrin presidential elections. At the same time, the DPS had supported the reformist Yugoslav government headed by Milan Pani ć,64 preventing its fall in the run-up to the elections by not supporting a motion of no confidence. Subsequently, Bulatovi ć and his Party even supported the candidacy of Panić against Milošević for the Serbian presidency. The favourite of the Serbian Socialists, Branko Kosti ć, had been previously the Montenegrin member of the last Yugoslav Presidency and he was a member of the Democratic Party of Socialists. At the same time, he ran as a candidate of the Association of Warriors from the 1991/92 war (Udruženja ratnika 1991/2), advocating a considerably more radical pro-Serbian line and active support for the Serbian side in the Bosnian war. 65 In October 1992, the government passed a new constitution, reflecting the growing distance from the Serbian regime. Unlike the Serbian Constitution, it contains no nationalist references, lists a number of minority rights (Art. 67-76) and institutes a president with limited powers (Art. 86-90). 66 This switch towards moderation was criticised by the oppo60 In the bicameral parliament, the other chamber (the Chamber of Nations) is elected by the respective republican parliaments. 61 In 1994, this Party merged with other similar splinter parties to form JUL. JUL gained considerable influence with the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities by being part of a coalition with SPS, although its public support remained low in Serbia and Montenegro. As it ran mostly alone in Montenegro, its low level of support was visible: it gained 1 668 votes in the 1996 elections and 345 in 1998. See Goati: Izbori u SRJ, p. 187, 206. 62 ibid., pp. 59-64 63 Velizar Brajović: ‘Divorce Proceedings’, Yugofax, 29.6.1992, p. 7. 64 The support for Panić was surprising, as DPS had originally insisted that the Prime Minister’s position should be filled by a Montenegrin as the Presidency had been filled by Dobrica Ćosić, a Serb. Vreme 22.6.1992. 65 Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 180-181. 66 Constitution of Montenegro, 12.10.1992.


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sition as insincere. The President of the Social Democratic Party ( Socijaldemokratska partija, SDP),67 Žarko Rakčević, commenting on DPS policy, remarked that ‘the ruling party is acting as if we were for the war option a year ago, not them.’ 68 In the first round of the presidential elections, Novak Kilibarda, candidate of the People’s Party, gathered 9.03 per cent of the vote, while Slavko Perović achieved the best result ever for the Liberal Alliance by obtaining 18.33 per cent. Both were clearly beaten by the two DPS candidates, Momir Bulatović (42.83%) and Branko Kosti ć (23.74%), confirming not only the internal divisions of the party, but also its absolute dominance of Montenegrin politics. In the second round of the elections, the Socialdemocrats and the Liberal Alliance supported Bulatović in light of the nationalist rhetoric of Kosti ć. Hence, Bulatović was able to win a resounding victory by gathering 63.29 percent of the vote in the second round. The victory of Bulatović confirmed the limits of the influences of the Serbian regime on Montenegrin politics. 69
Table 3 – Result of the Parliamentary elections, 20 December 199270
Party DPS NS LSCG SRS SP CG Others Number of votes Percentage
125 578 37 532 35 564 22 265 12 994 52 906 43.78 13.08 12.40 7.76 4.53 18.40

Members in Parliament
46 14 13 8 4 –

54.0 16.5 45.3 9.4 4.7 –

In the parliamentary elections, taking place simultaneously, the DPS managed to defend its dominance but failed to gain an absolute majority as it had in the 1990 elections. The electoral victory was, nevertheless, considerable, considering that in no-other post-communist country had the successor to the Communist Party managed to continue to govern with such a strong majority. As Vladimir Goati points out, not even in Serbia did the SPS manage to garner similar support. 71 In part, the success of the DPS was based on strongarm tactics against the opposition parties, especially the Liberal Alliance. 72 The Liberal
67 For a self-presentation of the Party, see 68 Vreme 19.10.1992. The Socialdemocrats pursued a similar line to the LSCG without the same emphasis on independence. 69 Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 180-184. 70 Source: ibid., pp.299-300. The results for the Federal elections held the same day were largely similar, with the only notable exception being that the SRS fared better in the federal elections, gaining 11.5% of the vote, nearly equal to that of the NS and SP CG. The Liberal Alliance boycotted the federal elections; thus, most votes went to the SP instead who pursued largely similar policies, ibid., p. 292. 71 ibid., pp. 179. 72 Velizar Brajović: ‘Rolling Logs Used to Suppress Opposition Politicians’, Balkan War Report November/December 1992, 18-19.


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Alliance and the People’s Party were equal in strength to each other, compared to the 1990 elections, but the main new party was the Serbian Radical Party, which had already gathered nearly eight per cent of the vote in the May federal elections. Its extreme Serbian nationalist position towards minorities and support for the war in Bosnia (including through its own paramilitary units) was, at the time, supported by the Serbian authorities who relied on the Radicals for support in the Serbian and federal parliaments. 73 The disenchantment of the DPS with the Socialist Party in Serbia became visible when the DPS decided to form a grand coalition with the Socialdemocrats, the People’s Party and the Liberal Alliance. This represented an attempt to stabilise itself after the protracted worsening of relations with the authorities in Belgrade, and given the threat posed by the Serbian Radical Party and the paramilitaries who were active in Montenegro, especially in the northern areas where lived both the Bosniak-Muslim minority and a large number of supporters of Serb nationalism. 74 The moderation of the authorities was partly connected to the dire economic situation in Montenegro after the imposition of sanctions, 75 which affected Montenegro arguably more than they did Serbia, and the genuine unpopularity of the war in Bosnia, which affected Montenegro strongly as a result of the influx of Serbian (but also Bosniak) refugees from Herzegovina. 76 The rift between Montenegro and Serbia lasted nearly two years – from late 1991, following the failed Montenegrin support for the Carrington Plan and the refusal to send soldiers to fight in Croatia, until mid-1993. During this period, some of the techniques employed by the Milošević regime following the complete break in relations between the two republics in 1998 were tried for the first time. In response to a rapprochement with Albania, for example, the Serbian authorities stopped some trucks crossing the Montenegrin-Serbian border. The temporary embargo on Montenegro was justified by a ban on the export of goods from Serbia, which were deemed ‘strategic’ during times of crisis. In fact, the blockade created serious shortages in basic products in Montenegro, with the aim of putting the leadership under pressure. 77 Similarly, the Serbian authorities accused minorities in Montenegro of supporting secessionism, while the minorities themselves were under pressure from Serbian extreme nationalist organisations, especially in the Sand žak region.78 The worsening of relations between the DPS and SPS was only temporary and was overcome with a change in policy by the Socialist Party. For similar reasons as the DPS more than one year earlier in Montenegro, the Milošević regime in Serbia distanced itself from its former proxies in Bosnia and subsequently adopted a ‘peace policy’, advocating termination
73 Vreme 28.12.1992. 74 Vreme 28.6.1993. 75 The absence of tourists and the suspension of naval trade took especial toll. The decision of the federal authorities to introduce visas for all countries who themselves required one worsened Serb-Montenegrin relations as it prevented even the small trickle of visitors that visited Montenegro. Vreme 26.4.1993; Vreme 29.11.1993. 76 A darker chapter in Montenegrin politics during this period was the extradition of Muslim refugees from Bosnia to the authorities in Republika Srpska. A number of these refugees were subsequently killed or used in exchange for imprisoned Serbs. See Vreme 11.4.1994. 77 Vreme 13.9.1993. 78 Velizar Brajović: ‘Belgrade Disciplines its Former Ally’, Balkan War Report August/September 1993, p. 25.


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of the war in Bosnia. Under the slogan ‘Mir nema alternativu’ (Peace has no alternative), SPS ended its alliance with the Radical Party and endorsed the Vance-Owen peace plan. The Party emphasised the need for economic improvement and moderate reforms, 79 leading up to the reforms of the head of the central bank, Dragoslav Avramovi ć, which put an end to Yugoslav hyperinflation in early 1994. 80 In Montenegro, the sanctions, as well as the pyramid schemes which had been set up with the implicit consent of the Yugoslav authorities during the period of hyperinflation, led to the emergence of a new elite of nouveaux riches, closely tied to the ruling party and to organised crime. 81 Prominent here was the ‘banker’ Jezdimir Vasiljevi ć, who operated one of the banks which promised two-digit monthly earnings on foreign currency holdings, who gained strong influence in Montenegro in 1992/93, allowing him to rent the luxury hotel resort Sveti Stefan. 82 After the collapse of the schemes in March 1993, and the flight of Vasiljević into exile, his influence ended. Reminiscent of later confrontations within the ruling Party of Democratic Socialists, the followers of President Momir Bulatovi ć (including the current head of the Socialist People’s Party Predrag Bulatovi ć) accused the Prime Minister of enriching himself. At the time, unlike in 1997, the president defended Đukanović as:
… A man who I want to honour because he and his government, in a typical, almost magical, way, did everything possible to ease the huge difficulties and prevent much greater poverty which has been imposed by historic developments, the sanctions of the international community and the evil times we live in. The support I gave him, not just as President, but first of all as a man who thinks in a similar way and above all as a friend, was certainly not enough to ease the huge burden he carried.83

The reasons for the policy shift in the case of Montenegro and Serbia were similar – the effects of the sanctions and economic decline, as well as the declining popularity of the regime – the only difference was the one-year time-lag between the two republics. Similar to the SPS in Serbia, Bulatović actively supported the Vance-Owen plan, but shied away from confronting nationalism in the country or the Party’s role in the conflict. The call for a peaceful end to the war was thus not matched by change in the underlying assumptions which had allowed it to take place. This development nevertheless facilitated a rapprochement between the two ruling parties. Within Montenegro, the Liberal Alliance and the So79 Zoran Đ. Slavujević: ‘The Issues: Dimensions of Electoral Confrontations’, in Vladimir Goati (ed.): Elections to the Federal and Republican Parliaments of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) 1990-1996 (Berlin: Sigma, 1998), pp. 101-102. 80 In January 1994, inflation reached the monthly rate of 313 563 558%, i.e. 2% per hour or 62% per day. On hyperinflation and the regime’s responsibility, see Mlađan Dinkić: Ekonomija destrukcije (Beograd: Stubovi Kulture, 2000). In late 1993, Đukanović even want as far as justifying hyper-inflation: ‘We have chosen inflation on purpose. We are printing money in order to provide for bare survival.’ Dragan Đurić: ‘How to Survive’, AIM, 20.12.1993. 81 Vreme 14.12.1994. 82 Dinkić: Ekonomija destrukcije, pp. 167-171. 83 Vreme 12.9.1994.


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cialdemocrats criticised the DPS for its inadequate transformation, marking the end of the Montenegrin ‘grand coalition’. 84 The brief coalition episode illustrated the difference in the tools employed by the regimes in Montenegro and Serbia. SPS also formed coalitions, especially after the 1993 elections with New Democracy, a moderate pro-western party, but it demonstrated less willingness to co-operate with the larger opposition parties. 85 In addition to the rapprochement of the policies of the ruling parties of Montenegro and Serbia, pressure from the dominant partner in the new Yugoslav federation played an important role in pushing President Bulatović and the Democratic Party of Socialists towards closer alliance with Serbia. Serbia sought to obstruct any rapprochement between Montenegro and its neighbours, Croatia and Albania, or western countries (especially Italy). The pressure was exemplified by the expansion of the Yugoslav army presence in the Republic and the abolition of the separate Montenegrin Ministry of Defence, as well as by talk of merger between SPS and DPS, albeit that this was rejected by the DPS. 86 In between the end of the crisis between the two parties in 1993/4 and the conflict between Đukanović and Milošević in 1997, relations between the governments of the two republics were generally cordial. At the same time, Montenegro maintained a distinct approach and continued to criticise varying aspects of Serbia’s dominance in the Federation,87 begging a journalist from the independent newspaper Naša Borba to ask: ‘Are the regimes in Serbia and Montenegro identical twins or just “simple ones”, which differ also in their character?’ 88 Juxtaposed to the ongoing variations in the relationship between the governments in Belgrade and Podgorica, the intra-Montenegrin dispute over relations with Serbia and Serbian identity remained potent. With the re-establishment of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC) in 1993, the debate gained an additional dimension. The Montenegrin church had been merged into the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1920 after Montenegro was absorbed into Yugoslavia. In Communist Yugoslavia, the Macedonian Orthodox Church split from the Serbian Orthodox Church (with the encouragement of the Communist leadership), but this did not take place in Montenegro. In the early 1990s, however, the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Montenegro had become some of the most virulent advocates of Serbian nationalism while, at the same time, a movement emerged for the re-establishment of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. In October 1993, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was re-established with Bishop Antonije Abramovi ć at its helm.89 The church did not gain significant acceptance by the authorities, nor did it gain a noteworthy share of followers, but it did pose a challenge to the Serbian Orthodox
84 Vreme 10.5.1993; Vreme 20.9.1993. 85 Some discussions between the SPS and the Democratic Party did, however, take place in 1993/4. 86 Velizar Brajović: ‘The Last Days of Montenegro?’, Balkan War Report February 1994, p. 17; Velizar Brajović: ‘The Iron Embrace of Belgrade’, War Report, July/August 1995, p. 12-13. 87 The issues of contention ranged from the Serbian take-over of JAT to a different approach on privatisation and the structure of the federal state. See Vreme 23.4.1996. 88 Naša Borba 1-2.7.1995. 89 See the self-presentation of the Church at: For a presentation of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, see


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

Church.90 This arose mostly from the situation that two separate orthodox churches rarely operate on the same territory. Thus, any recognition of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church would simultaneously mean the end of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Furthermore, as the Montenegrin Orthodox Church laid claim to the properties of the SOC, which it had acquired in 1920 through the abolition of the Montenegrin church, the co-existence of the two churches was difficult, if not inconceivable. 91 As a result, relations between the churches and their followers have been tense, with clashes erupting frequently at parallel celebrations of Christmas. 92 Of the political parties, the Liberal Alliance endorsed the re-establishment of the MOC and the SDP called for the church’s recognition during the 1990s, whereas the People’s Party and the pro-Serb wing of DPS (after 1998, the SNP) opposed recognition and supported the claims to exclusivity of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Even after adopting a pro-independence course, the Democratic Party of Socialists kept its distance from the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. 93 From 1999, the government began carefully to adopt the middle ground. In January 2000, the authorities allowed for the recognition of the church as one of the country’s religious communities. The position of the government regarding the takeover by the Montenegrin Orthodox Church of churches controlled by the Serbian Orthodox Church has been more ambivalent. The Minister of Religion has condemned such incidents but these were often helped or, at least, not hindered by the Montenegrin police.94 During this period, the People’s Party moderated its position regarding Serbian nationalism, as exemplified by the following statement of Novak Kilibarda, the Party’s President:
The People's Party is constantly accused of being a Party which supports the idea of a Greater Serbia and wishes to incorporate Montenegro into Serbia. However, we have proved that we are the most serious guardians of both the federal state and of Montenegro's statehood. Montenegro has to be equal in every respect with Serbia. 95

Dayton and beyond The end of the war in Bosnia had a profound impact on Montenegro and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On the one side, the Milošević regime presented itself as a successful peacemaker and succeeded in ending the sanctions. On the other, the peace effectively worked in the hands of the opposition – both within Serbia and in Montenegro. The rapid improvement of relations between FRY and the west in late 1995 and early 1996 was taken by the Montenegrin government of Milo Đukanović as an opportunity to build closer economic and political ties with western countries while loosening the federa90 Velizar Brajović: ‘Church Wars’, Balkan War Report, December 1993, p. 10. 91 Veseljko Koprivica: ‘Bloodshed Threatening’, AIM 23.12.2002. 92 Gordana Borović: ‘A Concert with the Patriarch and a General’, AIM 15.1.2001; Draško Duranović: ‘Yule-Logs of Discord’, AIM 7.1.2002. 93 Beta 8.1.1998. 94 Free B92 25.12.2000. 95 Interview with Kilibarda, Vreme 22.2.1993. The NS did, however, maintain its approach of seeking to rehabilitate the Ćetnik movement in Montenegro and calling for ‘reconciliation’ between Partizans and Četnici. Duško Vuković: ‘Widening of the Breach in the History of the Victors’, AIM 7.7.1994.


Florian Bieber

tion with Serbia. This approach, to be pursued more vigorously in 1997, solicited considerable criticism on behalf of the Serbian authorities and, especially, the more conservative wing of the regime around the Yugoslav Left (Jugoslovenska Levica, JUL) and Miloševićs wife, Mirjana Markovi ć.96 In Montenegrin domestic politics, the end of the war in Bosnia did not pass without having an impact on the political scene. Mirroring the changes among the Serbian opposition parties, the People’s Party tuned down its Serbian nationalist rhetoric and welcomed the peace agreement in Bosnia. The Party, however, remained staunchly opposed to Montenegrin independence as advocated by the other two major opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party – which took a gradualist approach, giving greater importance to political and economic reform – and the Liberal Alliance. 97 This moderation made way for the establishment of the coalition Narodna sloga (People’s Unity) between the Liberal Alliance and the People’s Party ahead of the parliamentary elections in November 1996. As indicated by the coalition’s name, it sought to overcome (or postpone) the fundamental dispute between ‘Greens’ and ‘Whites’, i.e. supporters of Montenegrin identity and proponents of Montenegro’s Serbdom, in order to oust DPS from power. The coalition was joined, however, neither by the Social Democratic Party nor by the parties of the national minorities, preventing the establishment of one united opposition block. 98 The dominance of the DPS, furthermore, allowed it to change the electoral rules in its own favour, as it had done in previous elections, and to conduct a lavish election campaign, beating the opposition in terms of money spent by a margin of 10:1. 99
Table 4 – Results of the Parliamentary elections, 3 November 1996100
Party/Coalition DPS Narodna Sloga SDA DS CG DUA Others Number of votes
150 237 74 963 10 167 5 289 3 849 48 698

51.2 25.6 3.5 1.8 1.3 16.6

Members in Parliament 45 19 3 2 2 –

Percentage 63.4 25.6 3.5 2.8 2.8 –

96 Velizar Brajović: ‘Moving West’, War Report November/December 1995, p. 15. 97 Esad Kočan: ‘How Dayton Affected Montenegro’, AIM 28.11.1995. 98 Draško Đuranović: ‘Unlikely Allies in Podgorica’, War Report September 1995, p. 14; Draško Đuranović: ‘Bargaining to the Last Breath’, AIM 5.10.1995; Draško Đuranović: ‘The Almost United Front’, War Report October 1996, p. 31. 99 Esad Kočan: ‘Joint Opposition List-The Only Weapon Against DPS Absolutism’, AIM 29.6.1996; Draško Đuranović: ‘In the Shadow of Big Brother’, AIM 2.11.1996. 100 Source: Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 301. The results of the federal elections held the same day gave the DPS a similarly strong lead and, while the LSCG boycotted the elections, both the NS and the SDP together gained more votes than Narodna Sloga at the republican level (32.11% vs. 25.6%), ibid. p. 293.


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The results of the elections were, therefore, a resounding defeat of the opposition, with the DPS gaining votes compared to earlier elections and defending its majority in parliament. The NS-LSCG coalition actually gathered less support than the two parties had gained individually in 1992, while the SDP failed to enter parliament altogether. 101 The elections confirmed the overwhelming predominance of DPS, which continued to receive relatively stable support. With the exception of the weakening of the Serbian nationalist SRS, the results of the elections throughout the first half of the 1990s expressed relatively stable support for all the different political parties. The National Unity coalition alleged electoral fraud in Montenegro, but the lack of clear evidence failed to create mass mobilisation, in contrast to Serbia where the opposition coalition Zajedno succeeded in mobilising month-long street protests after the local elections, also taking place in November 1996, were forged in favour of the ruling coalition. The Serbian protests had a profound impact on the Montenegrin political scene and facilitated the confrontation between Bulatović and Đukanović. During the early phases of the protests, the Montenegrin authorities prevented any detailed reporting and sought to suppress protests in Montenegro itself by Narodna sloga, which was seeking to emulate the Serbian demonstrations.102 With the continuation and the sheer size of the protests in Serbia, the Democratic Party of Socialists changed its policy and allowed the state media to report openly from the Serbian demonstrations, including re-broadcasts of CNN. 103 In an apparent endorsement of the protesters claim, Svetozar Marovi ć, Speaker of the Parliament, stated:
It all costs us tremendously, it conflicts FRY with the world again, postpones the return of our country into international institutions and prevents prospects of the revival of our economy and the creation of conditions for the normal life of our citizens. Nobody has the right to do that. Not even the President of Serbia has the right to do that, but especially his wife with the phantom organisation which has initiated so many problems in Serbia. 104

Bulatović and Đukanović both called for the recognition of the election results, but the attacks on SPS and JUL, initiated by Marovi ć and Đukanović, marked a departure from previous disputes in which the Montenegrin DPS elite had refrained from openly attacking the Serbian regime. As one journalist reported in January 1997, the break between Đukanović and Bulatovi ć over the protests became increasingly apparent:
Marović's and Đukanović's criticism of the authorities in Serbia (read: Milošević) is radical. Bulatović's criticism sounds as if forced out and calculated to preserve the political mentor from Tolstoy Street [the residence of Milošević in Belgrade].105 101 ibid., pp. 185-187; Željko Ivanović: ‘Cleaning House’, AIM 6.11.1996. 102 Arguably, only the failure of the Montenegrin protests permitted the regime to allow media to report more openly about the demonstrations in Serbia. Esad Kočan: ‘Echo in the Valley of Tears’, AIM 1.12.1996. 103 Draško Đuranović: ‘Washing Hands’, AIM 11.12.1996. 104 Darko Šuković: ‘Trio at the Turning-Point’, AIM 20.1.1997. 105 ibid.


Florian Bieber

The break with Serbia: democratisation without ‘regime change’ Early on in the dispute within the Democratic Party of Socialists, the lines of division had already become apparent between Momir Bulatovi ć on the one side and Svetozar Marović and Milo Đukanović on the other, but the final split of the DPS would constitute a yearlong process. In an interview with the Belgrade weekly Vreme, Đukanović accused Milošević of having become a ‘man with obsolete political beliefs’. 106 At the same time, he did not advocate any greater sovereignty for Montenegro, nor did he support the Serbian opposition coalition Zajedno explicitly:
In the battle for power in Serbia, we did not support anyone, neither personally, nor as a political party.107

This interview was the immediate cause of confrontation between Milošević and Đukanović. During a meeting of the DPS main board in March 1997, Bulatović sided with Milošević and demanded the dismissal of government members who had supported a position similar to Đukanović. The Party’s board mostly supported Bulatović, leading to Đukanovićs resignation as Vice-President of DPS. 108 The Prime Minister, however, refused to dismiss the Minister of Culture, the Deputy Prime Minister and the head of state security as had been demanded; the only gesture was the dismissal of the head of the Montenegrin trade representation in Washington and the publication of a conciliatory statement. The confrontation in its early stages seemed to put Bulatović, as head of the Party and President of the Republic, in a stronger position, but the outcome was far from a foregone conclusion.109 The increasingly public nature of the dispute also involved non-party actors, with student organisations and intellectuals taking sides in the protracted conflict. 110 By April, the original support for Bulatović had shrunk, with all three Vice-Presidents of the Party opposing him. Following the failure to depose Đukanović from office, the Bulatović wing of the party made conciliatory gestures towards the Prime Minister, supporting his position as Vice-President of DPS in the attempt to prevent him or Marović from running against Bulatović in the 1997 presidential election. 111 The conflict soon re-erupted as Đukanović and Marović opposed Milošević’s attempt to increase the competences of the federal presidency ahead of his attempt to switch to this post from the Serbian presidency, which he could no longer occupy after two terms of office. The Đukanović faction within DPS was able to block changes to the federal constitution, but it failed to prevent the election of Milošević to the Yugoslav presidency: at a meeting of the DPS board, 51 voted in favour of Miloševićs candidacy with 41 against. In a rushed process, Milošević was subsequently elected by the Yugoslav parliament, with the votes of the DPS deputies, to succeed Zoran Lili ć.112
106 107 108 109 110 111 112 Vreme 22.2.1997. ibid. Nebojša Redžić: Đukanović Did Not Say His Last Word’, AIM 27.3.1997. Vreme 29.3.1997; Vreme 5.4.1997. Vreme 12.4.1997 Vreme 17.5.1997. Robert Thomas: The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s (London: Hurst, 1999), pp. 336-9.


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The decisive election campaign for the Montenegrin presidency began shortly thereafter, with Đukanović emerging as the DPS candidate. Bulatović called a separate party congress in Kolašin with supporters mostly from northern Montenegro. 113 Subsequently, the two rival wings of DPS separately nominated Bulatović and Đukanović for the election. The outcome of the October 1997 elections, unlike the previous presidential (and parliamentary) elections, was entirely open. The Đukanović wing of the DPS controlled 16 municipalities, while Bulatović controlled only five, although he could also rely on the support of Serbia. Bulatović essentially advocated maintaining the status quo and warned of any move towards secession. Đukanović, on the other hand, presented an electoral platform of economic and political reforms, as well as closer ties with the west. He therefore received support both from Serbian opposition parties and from Montenegrin opposition and minority parties, who did not put forward their own candidates. Đukanović did not advocate Montenegrin independence during the campaign but instead called for the establishment of a functional institutional framework with Serbia and a higher degree of autonomous decision-making in Montenegro. 114 In the first round, Bulatović gained slightly more votes than Đukanović, only to be defeated by a margin of approximately 5 000 votes – 50.79 per cent to 49.2 per cent – in the second round. 115 Bulatović accused Đukanović of electoral fraud, as he was able to control the state media and the institutions carrying out the elections. 116 The international observation mission of the OSCE, however, generally found that the ‘final results reflect the will of the voters.’ 117 During the transition of the presidency from Bulatović to Đukanović, demonstrations organised by the Bulatović faction of the DPS became violent and a major confrontation was only narrowly avoided. Directly aimed at preventing Đukanović from taking office, the incidents sought to destabilise the transition and were the closest Montenegro has come to an armed clash in recent years. 118 The unwillingness to recognise Đukanović as President and the readiness of the supporters of Bulatović to start violent protests put an end to any possibility of reconciliation between the two wings of the DPS. As Vladimir Goati points out, for the second time in Montenegrin presidential elections the candidate supported by the SPS and the Belgrade authorities was defeated in Montenegro. Whereas Bulatović was the candidate representing Montenegrin political autonomy in 1992 against Branko Kosti ć, Đukanović took his place in 1997. 119 The split between Đukanović and Bulatović also put an end to the unprecedented dominance DPS had enjoyed in Montenegro during the first half of the 1990s. In March 1998, the Bulatović wing of the DPS renamed itself, thus abandoning its claim to the whole Party, naming itself the Socialist People’s Party (Socijalistička narodna partija, SNP).120
113 114 115 116 117 Vreme 9.8.1997; Vreme 26.7.1997. See, for example, his interview in Vreme 27.10.1997. Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 187-200. Vreme 1.11.1997; Vreme 25.10.1997. OSCE/ODHIR: Republic of Montenegro. Presidential Election 5th and 18th October 1997. Final Report, 1997, p. 5 118 Vreme 24.1.1998. 119 Goati: Izbori u SRJ, p. 182. 120 For the self-presentation of the Party, see


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In parliament, the DPS had lost 17 of its 45 seats, forcing it into a coalition with the People’s Party and the two Albanian parties. This coalition accelerated the pluralisation of the political scene in Montenegro and resulted in new elections on the insistence of the former opposition parties. Prior to the elections, the DPS formed a coalition, Da živimo bolje (For a better life), with the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party. The five-point programme of the coalition argued in favour of: (a) international links in the economy; (b) privatisation and economic reform; (c) rule of law; (d) democratisation; and (e) social justice and security. The Liberal Alliance supported a similar agenda but, as it placed greater emphasis on the Republic’s independence and considered the DPS to be discredited, it did not join the preelection coalition. The campaign of the SNP was mostly directed against the DPS-led coalition and emphasised the need to protect the union with Serbia. 121 Considering that the elections in May 1998 were, thematically, an extension of the 1997 presidential elections, the reformist spectrum of Montenegrin politics gained considerable strength. Da živimo bolje gained nearly one-half of the votes whereas the SNP gained only slightly more than one-third. One of the losers of the elections was the Liberal Alliance, which saw its support drop as DPS took over elements of its programme and as the harsh confrontation between SNP and DPS squeezed the smaller parties. Similarly, the support for minority parties declined as minorities overwhelmingly supported Da živimo bolje.122
Table 5 – Results of the Parliamentary elections, 31 May 1998123
Party/Coalition Da æivimo bolje (DPS, NS, SDP) SNP LSCG DS DUA Number of votes Percentage
170 080 123 957 21 612 5 425 3 529 49.5 36.1 6.3 1.5 1.0

Members in Parliament
42 29 5 1 1

53.8 37.2 6.4 1.2 1.2

The Montenegrin elections confirmed the dominance of the Đukanović wing of the DPS, but Momir Bulatovi ć was elected Prime Minister of Yugoslavia the same
121 Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 202-203. 122 ibid., pp. 204-206. The two main Albanian parties only entered parliament through a special electoral regulation which reserved five seats in predominantly Albanian municipalities, freeing them effectively from the threshold and assured them one seat each with only one per cent of the vote. This regulation has been criticised by the OSCE election observers but was maintained in subsequent elections (reduced to three seats in the October 2002 elections). OSCE/ODIHR: Republic of Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Parliamentary Elections, 31 May 1998, 1998, pp. 5-6. 123 Source: Goati: Izbori u SRJ, pp. 303.


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

month by the Socialist Party and JUL, as well as six DPS deputies who had joined the SNP, ignoring that their mandates had been revoked by the Montenegrin parliament. 124 Between the inauguration of Đukanović as President and the fall of Milošević two and a half years later, in October 2000, tensions between Serbia and Montenegro steadily increased. In the light of the escalating conflict in Kosovo and the participation of the Serbian Radical Party in the Serbian government in early 1998, the Serbian authorities adopted an increasingly belligerent tone, using the considerable army presence in the Republic to put pressure on the Montenegrin authorities. Simultaneously, the Đukanović government adopted an increasingly independence-minded policy, leading eventually to the outright call for Montenegro’s secession from Serbia. Montenegro effectively ended most economic ties with Serbia, including the adoption of the German Mark in 1999 as a parallel currency – and, in 2000, as an exclusive one (before switching to the Euro from 2002). In 1999, Montenegro also unilaterally abolished visa requirements for foreign nationals.125 All these steps were met by the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities with the greater isolation of Montenegro from the Serbian market, including the establishment of checkpoints at the border between the two republics – thus, in fact, re-affirming the separation of Montenegro. The escalation of the war in neighbouring Kosovo proved to be a serious challenge to Montenegro. With the first threat of NATO air strikes against Serbia in October 1998, the repression of the Milošević regime against the independent media and the political opposition increased, raising fears of a more forceful intervention in Montenegro. With the beginning of the NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia and the mass expulsion of Albanians from Kosovo, Montenegro became directly affected by the conflict. The NATO bombings themselves affected Montenegro only marginally, being aimed at sites of the Yugoslav army, but the fighting in Kosovo affected Montenegro directly through a considerable inflow of refugees, adding to the number of refugees which had moved to Montenegro during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. In the summer and autumn of 1998, some 50 000 Albanians fled to Montenegro, although some of these returned following the ‘ceasefire’ negotiated between Richard Holbrooke and Milošević in October 1998. By the end of the Kosovo war in June 1999, some 80 000 Albanian refugees had fled to Montenegro, amounting to over 10 per cent of the population of the Republic. Most refugees were accommodated privately with Albanian families, but the sheer number involved placed an economic burden on Montenegro and, similar to Macedonia, affected the balance between the nations living in Montenegro. 126 Despite heightened tensions between the government and the Liberal Alliance on one side, and the army and the Socialist People’s Party on the other, no conflict erupted since the feared crackdown on Montenegro for its independent policy did not take place. 127 At the end of the war and the effective ‘loss’ of Kosovo for the Yugoslav government, it was evident that the effect of the conflict was three-fold. Firstly, the international isolation of Milošević, coupled with the indictment against him by the ICTY tribunal at The Hague,
124 125 126 127 ibid, pp. 209-210. See Beáta Huszka’s chapter on ‘The Dispute over Montenegrin Independence’, this volume. Monitor 28.5.1999. Srđan Darmanović: ‘Montenegro Survives the War’, East European Constitutional Review Vol. 8 No. 3 (Summer 1999), pp. 66-67.


Florian Bieber

indicated – unlike five years earlier during the war in Bosnia – that there was no return to international respectability for the Milošević regime. The split between Montenegro’s prowestern policies and Serbia was thus not reparable as long as the Serbian regime remained in place. The loss of the war for Serbia, and the relatively unscathed state in which Montenegro emerged from the conflict, seemed to confirm Đukanovićs policies. Secondly, the Kosovo war increased support in Montenegro for independence and strengthened the resolve of the Montenegrin government to pursue this option. For the first time, a narrow majority supported Montenegrin independence in opinion polls, whereas the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia declined considerably in popularity. 128 Thirdly, Western countries, for the first time since the disintegration of Yugoslavia, sought actively to support political alternatives to Milošević within FRY, extending both financial and logistical aid to the regime’s opponents in Serbia itself and helping the Đukanović government. The Montenegrin authorities had already received western aid before the Kosovo war, but this increased substantially at its end. In 2000 alone, the United States and the European Union gave Montenegro direct aid amounting to over $90m. 129 Within Montenegro, the war further deepened the divide between the pro- Milošević SNP and the governing coalition on account of the increasing threats by the Serbian authorities against the Montenegrin government. In this climate, the Liberal Alliance withdrew its support for the Da živimo bolje coalition in the local councils of Podgorica and Herceg Novi in the attempt to benefit from the increased pro-independence sentiment in early local elections. These, held in June 2000, turned into a national competition between the opponents and the supporters of Montenegrin independence. The coalition Za Jugoslaviju, consisting of the SNP, JUL, the Serbian People’s Party, the Serbian Radical Party and some other minor parties ran against the DPS-SDP coalition. The result of the election was inconclusive, as the DPS-SDP increased their share of the vote in Podgorica, allowing them to govern without the Liberal Alliance, whereas in Herceg Novi the SNP-led coalition won two seats, allowing it to govern in the town. Local issues, such as the lack of popularity of the DPS candidate in Herceg Novi, certainly shaped the outcome, but the results indicated a country-wide stalemate between the two groupings. In Herceg Novi, the large number of Bosnian and Croatian Serbs who had acquired Yugoslav citizenship also helped facilitate the victory of the SNP coalition. The main loser in the elections was the Liberal Alliance, which was punished by the voters for having triggered them. 130 It was not until the fall of the Milošević regime following the electoral victory of the Serbian opposition in the federal presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 September 2000 that the deadlock in Montenegro was broken and a political re-alignment occurred. Internal conflicts over the future status of Montenegro in Yugoslavia were juxtaposed with conflicting views on Milošević and the Serbian regime. This led, for example, to the participation of the People’s Party in a DPS government despite its support for the continuation of Yugoslavia, which would have placed it closer to the SNP. Contrary to the expectations (and the hopes) of many observers, the fall of Milošević thus resulted in the dispute on indepen128 Zoran Radulović: ‘Nobody believes in the Federation’ AIM 24.9.1999. 129 Anne Swardson: ‘Montenegro Seen As Beacon of Hope’, Washington Post 24.5.2000, p. A25. 130 OSCE/ODIHR: Montenegro. Early Municipal Elections (Podgorica and Herceg Novi), 11 June 2000. Final Report, Warsaw, 18.8.2000.


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

dence gaining in importance. 131 At the same time, however, the supporters of Montenegrin independence lost in Milo šević one key reason for pursuing separation from Yugoslavia. The intra-Montenegrin re-alignment was matched by a change in alliances between Serbia and Montenegro. After the break between DPS and SPS, the Serbian opposition developed increasing contacts with Đukanović and, in particular, the Democratic Party (Demokratska Stranka, DS) of Zoran Đinđić sought closer co-operation with the DPS after the worsening of the repression in Serbia. 132 The DS did not support the DPS policy of Montenegrin independence, but the links strengthened after Đinđić fled to Montenegro during the Kosovo war in fear of repression by the Belgrade authorities. 133 Changes to the Yugoslav Constitution and the setting of Yugoslav presidential and parliamentary elections for July 2000 nevertheless led to a worsening in relations between the Serbian opposition and the Montenegrin government. 134 The Serbian opposition saw the elections as an opportunity to change the regime but Đukanović rejected participation on the grounds that this would have legitimised the constitutional changes which drastically reduced the powers of Montenegro. Earlier, Đukanović had been considered as a possible candidate of a joint Yugoslav opposition. With his Party’s decision to boycott the elections, as well as the choice of the nationalist Vojislav Ko štunica as the presidential candidate for the Serbian opposition, Đukanović fell out of favour with the Serbian opposition. Despite the electoral success of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia ( Demokratska opozicija Srbije, DOS), the coalition did not gain enough seats in the federal Parliament to govern alone. It was thus forced to enter a coalition with the SNP which, together with the Serbian People’s Party (Srpska narodna stranka, SNS),135 took all the Montenegrin seats in a record low turnout of 28.2 per cent. 136 Prior to the elections, there had been contacts between DOS and SNP in the attempt to isolate SPS. 137 The coalition between SNP and DOS ushered in partial reforms within the Socialist People’s Party. The ‘Belgrade wing’ of the Party surrounding Momir Bulatović138 was pushed out and a more moderate wing under the leadership of Predrag Bulatović139 took over. The Party maintained its conservative-nationalist profile and continued to support firm union with Serbia, but at the same
131 Monitor 8.9.2000. 132 Thomas: The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s, p. 380. 133 Dejan Anastasijević: Out of Time. Drašković, Đinđić and the Serbian Opposition against Milošević (Prague/London: Institute for War and Peace Reporting/Central Europe Review, 2000), p. 143. 134 Blic 6.7.2000; Vreme 15.7.2000; Vreme 22.7.2000. An analysis of the constitutional amendments can be found in International Crisis Group: Current Legal Status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and Serbia and Montenegro, 19.9.2000. 135 The SNS split off from the NS as the latter sought a more accommodating policy towards Đukanović. Subsequently, the Serbian People’s Party has been pursuing a strict Serbian nationalist line, including occasional verbal attacks on minorities. For a self-presentation of the Party, see: 136 Vladimir Goati: Elections in FRY. From 1990 to 1998. Addendum: Elections 2000 (Beograd: CeSID, 2001), pp. 240-241. 137 Monitor 25.8.2000. 138 Bulatović subsequently founded the People’s Socialist Party (Narodna sočijalistička stranka, NSS) which has been a marginal party, gaining merely 2.9% of the vote in the 2001 elections. 139 Not related to Momir Bulatović.


Florian Bieber

time ended (belatedly) its support for Milošević. In the course of the post-Milošević political re-alignment in Montenegro, the People’s Party 140 left the Đukanović coalition in early 2001 after the coalition’s espousal of the independence cause. Alongside the SNS, it sided instead with the SNP. Subsequent to the fall of Milo šević, Montenegrin politics has thus seen the formation of three main groupings. Firstly, there is the Democratic Party of Socialists and the Social Democratic Party, both supporting independence, the former more hesitantly than the latter. Secondly, the alliance of SNP, NS and SNS represents the main supporters of Yugoslavia. This coalition has continuously accused the government of corruption and enrichment. Thirdly, the Liberal Alliance stands alone as a party. It supports the proindependence policy of the government but remains deeply sceptical of the Democratic Party of Socialists and the slow pace of reforms and of steps towards independence, on which issue the Liberals have repeatedly called for the holding of a referendum. The departure of the People’s Party from the governing coalition led to early elections in April 2001, the third set since 1992. The electoral campaign centred on the future of relations with Serbia after Milošević and on the accusations of corruption against the government.141 The election results indicate the extremely polarised political scene in Montenegro, with the pro-independence parties gaining only a slight advantage over the pro-Yugoslav bloc. Failing to win an outright majority, the DPS-SDP coalition formed a minority government with the support of the Liberal Alliance.
Table 6 – Results of the Parliamentary elections, 22 April 2001142
Party/Coalition Pobjeda je Crna Gora (DPS, SDP) Zajedno za Jugoslaviju (SNP, NS, SNS) LSCG DUA DS Number of votes
153 946 148 513 28 746 4 232 3 570

42.0 40.6 7.9 1.2 1.0

Members in Parliament
36 33 6 1 1

46.7 42.9 7.8 1.3 1.3

The DPS-led government after the 2001 elections thus lacked the necessary decisive stability in negotiations over the future status of Montenegro. Both the Social Democrats and the Liberal Alliance argued for a referendum to be held in 2001. The DPS supported
140 The NS also dismissed its President, Novak Kilibarda, who had been close to Đukanović. He had been the representative of the Montenegrin Trade Mission in Bosnia. His subsequent National Unity Party (Narodna sloga) gathered only 0.1% of the vote in the 2001 elections. 141 International Crisis Group: Montenegro: Time to Decide. Pre-election Briefing, Podgorica/ Brussels, 18.4.2001. 142 OSCE/ODIHR: Republic of Montenegro. Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Parliamentary Election, 22 April 2001, Warsaw, 12.6.2001, p. 17.


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this in public but the narrow margin of support for independence in opinion polls, and the protracted debates with the opposition over the technicalities of such a referendum, delayed the calling of one. During the debates on the future shape of relations between Serbia and Montenegro, the coalition Zajedno za Jugoslaviju formulated a joint platform with the governing parties in Serbia, making the negotiations effectively both internal and bilateral at one and the same time. By autumn 2001, the negotiations process appeared to be moving towards a referendum in Montenegro as the result of several rounds of failed negotiations. With the forceful intervention of the European Union during winter 2001/2, however, the fortunes changed in favour of a joint state for which a variety of plans circulated throughout February and March 2002. Finally, on 14 March 2002, the Montenegrin, Serbian and Yugoslav governments signed an Agreement on transforming Yugoslavia into a Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegro obliged itself not to carry out a referendum for at least three years, but the structure of the Union was largely left often to later negotiations. 143 Neither the Liberal Alliance nor the Social Democratic Party supported the Agreement and both complained of not having been involved in the negotiations. Shortly after the signing of the Agreement, the minority government of Filip Vujanovi ć lost the support of the Liberal Alliance and, at the same time, the ministers of the Social Democratic Party, including the minister of foreign affairs, Branko Lukovac, resigned. 144 The Agreement itself nevertheless managed to muster sufficient support as the DPS and the pro-Yugoslav parties voted in favour. 145 The resulting governmental crisis was accentuated by the inability of the leading parties to form a new coalition. After the local elections in Montenegro in May, the Liberal Alliance formed coalitions at the local level with Zajedno za Jugoslaviju in the attempt to oust the DPS from power in a number of communities. This local co-operation was then transferred to the caretaker Parliament, which was confronted with a narrow alliance between LSCG and the pro-Yugoslav parties. This alliance, formed despite the large differences in virtually every political aspect, was established with the sole aim of ousting the DPS from power. During spring and summer 2002, the alliance was able to change a number of laws on the media and elections, taking de facto control of the state media which had earlier been influenced by the Democratic Party of Socialists. 146 The October 2002 elections brought a degree of clarification and certainty into the Montenegrin political scene subsequent to the signing of the Belgrade Agreement. The DPS managed to increase its share of the vote to a level approaching that of the 1998 election results, when its partner included, in addition to the Social Democrats, the People’s Party which had since joined the pro-Yugoslav bloc.
143 On this issue, see the chapter by Wim van Meurs on ‘The Belgrade Agreement: Robust Mediation between Serbia and Montenegro’, this volume. 144 Darko Šuković: ‘New Round of Imbroglio’, AIM 21.4.2002. 145 MNToday 10.4.2002. 146 The new media regulations had to been amended after protests from the media (including a news announcer who walked off air during the main news programme) and from international organisations that these allowed excessive government control over the media. Bojica Bošković: ‘Political Crisis Ended?’, Balkan Reconstruction Report 16.9.2002.


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Table 7 – Results of the Parliamentary elections, 20 October 2002147
Party/Coalition Demokratska lista za evropsku Crnu Goru (DPS, SDP) Zajedno za promene (SNP, NS, SNS) LSCG Patriotska koalicija za Jugoslaviju (SRS, NSS, JUL) Demokratska koalicija – albanci zajedno (DUA, DS) Percentage
47.7 37.8 5.7 2.7 2.5

Members in Parliament
39 30 4

52.0 40.0 5.3

2 2.7

In addition to an effectively small degree of general change, the 2002 Montenegrin elections signalled the support of the majority of voters for a careful path towards greater autonomy: the Liberal Alliance lost much of its support, mostly due to its curious alliance with the pro-Yugoslav SNP, NS and SNS. As a continuation of earlier themes, the elections were largely fought over the issue of future relations with Serbia. Concerns over corruption played a prominent role in the campaign, but failed to translate into votes for the opposition.148 In the aftermath of the elections and in preparation for the (failed) presidential elections in December 2002, Đukanović surprisingly switched his presidential office with the position of prime minister. Filip Vujanovi ć, the former prime minister, was to replace him as president. The presidential elections on 22 December 2002, however, failed due to low turnout, after the Coalition “Together for Change” and the Liberal Alliance called for a boycott and now major opposition party put up candidates. 149 Despite the overwhelming victory of Filip Vujanovi ć with approximately 84 % of the vote, the DPS appeared considerably less victorious than in October 2002 and the polarization of the party system gained ground. 150
Conclusions In examining the Montenegrin political scene in recent years, major differences with political life in the other Yugoslav successor republics can be detected. Despite significant political shifts and phases of considerable instability, political alignments have remained surprisingly stable throughout the 1990s. The pro-Serbian bloc, represented by Branko Kostić in 1992, Momir Bulatović in 1997/8 and by the SNP-led coalition since 2000, has consistently gathered between one-third and just less than one-half of the votes. The political parties and
147 Source:; 148 See Cemi: Monitoring medija na izborima 2002, Podgorica, October 2002, available at. 149 Similar to the Serbian presidential elections, Montenegrin presidential elections require a turnout of 50 % to be valid. This caused presidential elections in Serbia to fail once in 1997 and twice in 2002. 150 See James Palmer: ‘Montenegro poll invalid after just 46% turn out to vote,’ The Independent 23.12.2002;


Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

candidates running for an autonomous, yet not necessarily independent, Montenegro usually gather 40-50 per cent of the vote while outright independence parties and groupings succeed in gathering around one-tenth of the vote. The radical Serb nationalist position of the Yugoslav bloc subsided throughout the 1990s while the parties in favour of greater Montenegrin sovereignty inched towards outright independence, but the overall stability of the Montenegrin scene has been particularly noteworthy. Within this political system, the dominance of the Democratic Party of Socialists has been remarkable. The DPS is the only party in former Yugoslavia, and across all of the Balkans for that matter, which has managed to maintain power throughout the transition period. The Party has undergone several transformations, first during the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ and again after the break with Milošević, but it has remained structurally similar throughout. Due to its uninterrupted rule, it furthermore remains closely intertwined with the administration. This particularity begs the question as to whether Montenegro can be considered to be a fully-fledged democracy, considering that a change in government is one of its defining criteria. We can consider Montenegro as a classic case of a hybrid regime in the post-Communist era: not yet qualifying as a liberal democracy, it nevertheless does not constitute an authoritarian system. Generally, we can distinguish the period between 1990 and 1997 from the subsequent period. In 1990-1997, regular elections were held, which may have lacked some criteria in judging them as free and fair but which, nevertheless, allowed for meaningful competition. It was the control of resources and the media which maintained the dominance of the DPS. According to Larry Diamond’s recent conceptualisation of hybrid regimes, Montenegro during this period would have qualified as a competitive authoritarian system, wherein elections took place but the dominance of one party was secured through the manipulation of the electoral process and via other institutional and extra-institutional means. The split of the DPS in 1997/8 marked a transformation to a system oscillating between an ‘ambiguous’ regime 151 and an electoral democracy. Here, the fairness of elections is more respected and the instruments of control over the democratic process diminished. 152 In addition to these considerations on the political system, two explanations of the underlying divisions in the political spectrum on the issue of independence need to examined: the historical and geographical divide of Montenegro; and the role of the tribe ( pleme). Firstly, common discourse on the division between pro-Serb and pro-independence supporters has identified a divide between the north and the south of the country, or between ‘old Montenegro’ and the territories which became part of Montenegro only during the course of the 20th century. This divide is further reinforced by the differences in economic development and geographical location. The coastal regions have been economically better off, largely as a result of tourism, than the northern areas which are relatively remote. Additionally, the proximity to Serbia has, naturally, led to more intense contacts than elsewhere in Montenegro. This explanation remains relevant, but the division over Montenegrin independence is much less geographically concentrated than is usually perceived. As the results of the local elections in 2002 highlight (see Table 8), pro-independence parties have generally been
151 The ambiguousness in the case of Montenegro derives from two features: (a) the system still had not seen a change of government; and (b) the regime was in transition and, since 1997/8, no stable or permanent regime has emerged. 152 Larry Diamond: ‘Thinking about Hybrid Regimes’, Journal of Democracy Vol. 13 No. 2 (April 2002), pp. 21-36.


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strong on the coast and in the historical heartland of Montenegro (Cetinje), whereas pro-Yugoslav parties gained most local authorities in northern Montenegro, but the margin of victory is, in a number of cases, narrow.
Table 8 – Results of the local elections, 15 May 2002153
Pro-independence Votes Coast & Old Montenegro Bar Budva Cetinje Herceg-Novi (2000) Kotor Tivat Ulcinj Central Montenegro Danilovgrad Nikšić Podgorica (2000) Northern Montenegro Andrijevica Berane Bijelo Polje Kolašin Mojkovac Plav Pljevlja Plužine Rožaje
Šavnik Žabljak 31.8 47.0 57.3 41.4 45.8 53.5 39.3 25.3 69.1 46.2 41.2 66.7 49.9 38.6 54.8 51.2 20.1 58.3 67.1 5.0 52.7 57.9 52.8 43.8 57.2 42.2 52.9 34.9 55.8 49.8 88.4 48.8 53.8 55.4 26.1 33.7 46.2 9.0 49.7 42.8 38.3 12.2

Pro-Yugoslav Votes

The historical divide, although indicative, has been offset by two factors. Firstly, as most minorities have generally supported the DPS and other pro-independence parties, this has reduced support for pro-Yugoslav forces in the Sandžak region where Bosniaks and Albanians live. Secondly, the large number of Serbian refugees from Croatia and Bosnia (HercegNovi), or Serbs from Serbia (Budva), living in some of the coastal cities has diminished the support for pro-independence parties. Irrespective of these two trends, the results of the 2002

Montenegrin politics since the disintegration of Yugoslavia

local elections, along with other results, indicate that the division over the status of Montenegro runs across the country and across its cities and towns. Similarly to the historical divide, the role of tribal affiliations has been often been considered worthy as an explanation for political divisions in Montenegro. Affiliation with tribes, i.e. groups of extended relatives, has persisted longer in Montenegro than in other parts of south-eastern Europe, largely due to its geographical specificities. By the 1950s, however, the central government had marginalised the tribes as a threat to the authority of the state, especially in such a semi-totalitarian system as was Communist Yugoslavia. 154 Karl Kaser has pointed out that the clan-structures in south-eastern Europe have been replaced in the post-communist era with clientelistic networks. These have some structural similarities but they do not constitute continuity with the earlier tribal system. 155 In the 1990s, the tribal origins of political figures did not play a significant role in securing political allegiances among the electoral constituencies. 156 In as far as tribal affiliations still mattered in some parts of Montenegro, they had become largely de-politicised. Since 1999, the Socialist People’s Party has attempted to mobilise traditional tribal affiliations against the Montenegrin government. In a number of tribal meetings, organised by the SNP and the Serbian Orthodox Church, the assembled participants have expressed their support for union with Serbia and have threatened the use of force in case the government took steps to secede from Yugoslavia:
By seceding from Serbia, Montenegro would not just trample on its ancestral guiding thoughts, deny its pledges, humiliate the dead and desecrate holy relicts, but it would also threaten itself and its survival.157

Despite these people’s assemblies not being well attended, the threat of the use of force, coupled with the high degree of private ownership of weapons, presented a threat in the period of political uncertainty between the end of the Kosovo war and the fall of
153 The figures include DPS, SDP and LSCG on the side of the pro-independence parties and SNP, SNS, NS, NSS & SRS as the pro-Yugoslav parties. Smaller parties and ethnic minority parties, which made significant gains only in Ulcinj, Rožaje and Plav, have been excluded. This essential division has not been reflected in the subsequent local governments, as the extremist coalition of SRS and NSS has been excluded from local power, whereas the SNP, NS and SNS have formed coalitions with LSCG in a number of areas. Note that the elections results for Podgorica and Herceg-Novi are for the local elections held on 11.6.2000. Sources: Centar za Slobodne Izbore i Demokratiju: Oko izbora 8: Izveštaj sa lokalnih izbora za odbornika 19 skupština opština Crne Gore (15. maja 2000. godine), Belgrade, May 2002; OSCE/ODIHR: Montenegro. Early Municipal Elections (Podgorica and Herceg Novi), 11 June 2000. Final Report, Warsaw, 18.8.2000. 154 Christopher Boehm: Montenegrin Social Organisation and Values: Political Ethnography of a Refugee Area Tribal Adaptation (New York: AMS Press, 1983). 155 Karl Kaser: Freundschaft und Feindschaft auf dem Balkan (Klagenfurt: Wieser, 2001), pp. 88-89. 156 Steven C. Calhoun, in an article on tribes in Montenegro today, examines tribal affiliations in contemporary Montenegro (from the angle of US military policy), while over-stating the importance of tribal membership in the political choices of their members. See Steven C. Calhoun: ‘Montenegro’s Tribal Legacy,’ Military Review (July-August 2000), pp. 32-40. 157 SRNA 26.11.2001.


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Milošević.158 The well-known Montenegrin university professor Milan Popovi ć comments that these tribal gatherings are a:
Grotesque mixture of pre-modern historical forms (tribal gatherings) and quiet modern political contents (party political life).159

Altogether, the attempts to revitalise the tribes for political ends has been only partly successful; the SNP has continued to draw participants to these folkloristic gatherings, but they have failed to develop them into mass movements which would underline the Party’s political agenda.160 Montenegrin politics has, throughout the past decade, differed in one more aspect from the other post-Yugoslav states: despite the high number of minorities, amounting to at least one-quarter of its population, political discourse along ethno-nationalist lines has been considerably less significant than elsewhere. Furthermore, minority parties have been considerably less successful in gathering the near-exclusive support enjoyed by their counterparts elsewhere in former Yugoslavia. Instead, minorities have voted for, and have been represented in, a number of mainstream parties, especially the DPS, SDP and LSCG. 161 Among the leading parties, nationalism has played a role in the political discourse, especially in the early 1990s, but, after 1993, attacks on minorities have been rare and the main targets of Serbian nationalist parties have been the pro-independence parties rather than minorities. 162 The intra-Montenegrin dispute over identity and relations with Serbia have together overshadowed the ethnification of politics common to other post-Yugoslav states. The different dynamics of minority-majority relations in Montenegro is indicative of the curious role of national identity and nationalism in Montenegro. Excluding minorities, there are in fact two nationalisms among the majority populations: Serbian and Montenegrin nationalism. The former was particularly virulent in the early 1990s, but the latter grew steadily throughout the decade. Montenegrin nationalism has been exceptional, as its proponents (foremost the Liberal Alliance) have linked it explicitly with tolerance and inter-ethnic coexistence. Even the traditional myth-making linked the pre-Yugoslav independent state with a policy of tolerance towards minorities. At the same time, Montenegrin nationalism is still not clearly delimited and has not become a broad mass movement, as have other nationalisms in former Yugoslavia. Possessing nevertheless a considerable history, it is still very much a national identity in the making, the success of which will both determine and be determined by the eventual status of Montenegro.
158 Zoran Radulović: ‘”People's Assemblies” In Montenegro’, AIM 12.9.1999. 159 As Milan Popović points out, these meetings ‘almost exclusively consisted of the members of the SNP… The author of this article [Popović], for example, is a member of the Kuči tribe but he has never been invited to and allowed to participate in the gatherings of this newlyestablished SNP-Kuči community.’ Milan Popović: Montenegrin Mirror. Polity in Turmoil (1991-2001) (Podgorica: Nansen Dialogue Centre, 2002), p. 22. 160 Jean-Arnault Dérens: ‘Im Banne der Vergangenheit’, Die Wochenzeitung 30.5.2002. 161 See the chapter by František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová: ‘National Minorities in Montenegro after the Break-up of Yugoslavia’, this volume. 162 There have been some exceptions. Especially in 2001, pro-Yugoslav parties have attacked minorities either for supposed terrorist activities or for deciding the future status of Montenegro. See Florian Bieber: ‘The Instrumentalisation of Minorities in the Montenegrin Dispute over Independence,’ ECMI Brief 8 (March 2002).


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

Beáta Huszka

The dispute over Montenegrin independence
Introduction Following the coming to power of the democratic regime in Yugoslavia, the most pressing issue – apart possibly from the ongoing unresolved status of Kosovo – has become the status of Montenegro within (or outside) the federation. The significance of the Montenegrin question lies not only in that it will determine the existence of Yugoslavia itself, but its outcome may also threaten the fragile stability of the Balkans. Montenegro gaining independence may possibly endanger the Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia-Herzegovina and further destabilise Kosovo and Macedonia, and, therefore, western leaders have not been in favour of it. Not only were international reactions to Montenegrin separatism not particularly welcoming, but the citizens of Montenegro have also been deeply divided about the republic’s relations with Serbia. This division is rooted in the undefined nature of Montenegrin identity as related to its Serbian counterpart; both are Orthodox Christian and speak the same language. Certainly, the boundaries between Serbian and Montenegrin identity are rather fluid, with the people of the republic being unable to agree where they want to belong: about one-half of its citizens wants independence while the other half would maintain a joint state with Serbia. 1 The question of independence (re-)appeared on the political agenda under Milo šević, when Montenegro stepped on the road towards independence, characterised by a rapid decrease in the functional, institutional and economic links between the two republics. 2 As part of this process, budgetary transfers between Podgorica and Belgrade ceased in 1998 and Montenegro started to pursue an independent economic and fiscal policy. Podgorica has also managed to obtain substantial financial support from the United States and the EU,3 and was considered a success story compared to Serbia. Montenegrin rhetoric stressed a pro-western orientation, free market reform, protection of minority rights and adherence to the rule of law. Advocates of independence emphasised that Montenegrin independence would not be nationalist for it would be based on the principles of democracy, pluralism, multi-ethnicity and international co-operation. 4 On the whole, the main argument for independence amongst the Montenegrin leadership during the Milo šević era was Serbia’s own lack of democracy. After this obstacle had been removed, however, the aspirations for independence remained. Conflict between Serbia and Montenegro concerning the issue of Montenegrin independence manifested itself primarily as a debate over the constitutional arrangement of
1 United States Institute of Peace (USIP): Serbia and Montenegro. Reintegration, divorce or something else? Special Report, Washington, 2.4.2001. 2 Applying a western currency and putting trade barriers on Serbian imports can be mentioned among the measures that were applied. 3 USIP, op. cit. 4 Testimony of Janusz Bugajski, Center for Strategic and International Studies: Promoting and Protecting Democracy in Montenegro, Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Washington, 1.2.2000.


Beáta Huszka

the federation. However, the debate on the constitutional situation is only one aspect of the conflict, which involves many more other factors through which Montenegrin aspirations for independence have been expressed and which have directly or indirectly contributed to the escalation of the crisis, such as competing elite interests, the interference of the international community and also economic considerations. These different aspects are closely linked with each other – reflected in that the key issue over which the political elite has become divided is the question of status 5 – and, as a result of elite rivalries, public opinion has started to transform. A change in public opinion in favour of independence was an indirect outcome of the constitutional debate and a direct outcome of the elite’s campaign; however, after these pro-independence dynamics started in Montenegrin society, they could not be sidetracked, which is one explanation why the aspirations for independence did not reduce after October 2000. Despite some increase in support for independence, there has not been a dramatic shift in public opinion in recent years. The international community also played a crucial role in the course of events; without its help, Montenegro probably would not have been successful in its attempt to increase its autonomy to the extent of de facto independence. This chapter will investigate why Montenegro’s unique case does not fit into the ethnonational paradigm. Unlike in other cases of former Yugoslavia, the recent and ongoing aspirations for independence have not been driven solely (or even primarily) by nationalistic aspirations or identity considerations, but rather by various interests. The chapter will outline the debate over independence among the political elite of Montenegro and between the political elite of the republics, with the aim of pinpointing the main arguments being put forward on the pro- and anti-independence sides. By shedding light on the different dynamics and processes of Montenegrin politics, the various interests behind a particular political position on the status question can be detected. The second half of this chapter concentrates on the economic aspects of the independence issue for two reasons. First of all, economic considerations played a crucial role in placing Montenegrin independence on the political agenda – and then keeping it there. Secondly, politicians have tended to use economic arguments to support their particular position; it is, therefore, useful to examine these arguments and to try to assess their validity.
The struggles of the elite and public attitude towards independence The political leadership of Montenegro had been a loyal partner of Milo šević as far as 1997. Up to that point, the government and president had made only a few attempts to express opposition to the policies of the Serbian and the Yugoslav authorities. Those among the political elite of Montenegro who held a different opinion to the ‘mainstream’ ex-communists, as represented by Đukanović and Bulatović, had already left the government by the beginning of the nineties. 6 It should be pointed out, however, that not only had the po5 Since 1998, the Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska partija socijalista, DPS), the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska partija, SDP) and the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (Liberalni savez Crne Gore, LSCG) have been the ones pushing for independence; in contrast, the People's Party (Narodna stranka, NS), the Socialist People’s Party (Socijalistička narodna partija, SNP) and the Serbian People’s Party (Srpska narodna stranka, SNS), which form the principal opposition to Đukanović's government, have been urging the re-establishment of closer links with Serbia.


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

litical elite been fairly united regarding both Montenegro’s part in the federation and Serbia, but also that the majority of the public supported the preservation of the Yugoslav federation in its existing form up until the late 1990s. According to surveys, 7 until 1999 a two-thirds majority of the Montenegrin public considered the federation to be the best solution for both Serbia and Montenegro, and these included a majority of DPS members. This attitude towards the federation was in line with public opinion on Milo šević, the most popular politician in Montenegro until the mid-nineties and who enjoyed even stronger support there than in Serbia. 8 It should be noted, however, that support in the 1990s for the federation rarely focused on the abstract political system but signified rather an endorsement of close alignment with Serbia, including an endorsement of the politics of Milošević. The changing dynamics among the elite and the public of Montenegro have been a response to outside circumstances – such as Serbian disregard of the federal constitution, economic decline and the devastating international image of Yugoslavia – but these dynamics did contribute to the amplification of ambitions for independence in Montenegro. The emergence of these dynamics will be explored to identify the specific interests which might be held responsible for keeping the status issue on the agenda today. The elite, naturally, played a crucial role in turning public opinion in favour of independence, thereby starting certain dynamics that could not simply be deflected or shut down after the democratic changes which took place in Serbia. Interestingly, elite debates in Montenegro, and also between Montenegro and Serbia, had arrived at a consensus in November 2001, according to which the constitutional crisis should have been resolved by the holding of a referendum in Montenegro, thereby allowing for the option of Montenegrin independence.9 It could be argued that, if the constitutional decision had been left to the elites of the two republics, and had the EU not interfered, the likely outcome would have been a referendum in Montenegro and the separation of the two republics. 10
Public opinion and political disputes over independence In the wake of the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1996, most sanctions were lifted from FRY although an ‘outer wall’ was left in place preventing Yugoslavia from gaining access to the international financial institutions. 11 By 1996, the economy had been devastated by the hyperinflation of the early 1990s, high unemployment and a sinking standard of living,
6 Montenegrin communists, renamed the Democratic Party of Socialists, retained power in elections in 1991. The more anti-Milošević wing of the party resigned from the government at the beginning of 1990. European Stability Initiative (ESI): Autonomy, Dependency, Security: The Montenegrin Dilemma, Podgorica, 4.8.2000, p. 3. 7 ‘Public Opinion on the Relations of Serbia and Montenegro’, Yugoslav Survey No. 1 (2001), p. 42. 8 ibid. 9 International Crisis Group (ICG): Still Buying Time: Montenegro, Serbia and the European Union, Brussels, 7.5.2002, p. 5. 10 ibid., p. 6. 11 The ‘outer wall’ was preserved to keep up pressure on the Yugoslav government regarding its policies in Kosovo and was also due to the insistence of Yugoslavia that it acted as the sole successor to the previous socialist Yugoslavia.


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thus placing an enormous amount of pressure on the political elite. 12 These circumstances created the room (and the necessity) for Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro at the time, to break with the political regime in Belgrade. This was further facilitated by the change in the Serbian political climate which took place in 1997: in the winter of 1996/97, mass demonstrations took place in Serbia to compel Milo šević to acknowledge the result of the local elections, according to which the opposition came into power in many cities throughout Serbia, including the biggest ones: Belgrade; Novi Sad; and Ni š.13 These two factors, the disastrous economic situation and the political events of 1997, made Đukanović’s success possible; however, it seemed at first that he would lose political power as had everyone else who had turned against Milo šević. Đukanović expressed his break with the regime in Belgrade through an interview delivered to the independent Belgrade weekly Vreme in February 1997:
It would be completely wrong for Slobodan Milošević to remain in any place in the political life of Yugoslavia. … Milošević is a man of obsolete political ideas, lacking the ability to form a strategic vision of the problems this country is facing, surrounded by unsuitable individuals who are following the time-tested method of many authoritarian regimes.14

Gradually, a majority emerged in his support in the party: firstly, the municipal DPS party committees in Cetinje and Nik šić proposed his re-election as party vice-president; and then, in July 1997, the DPS main board appointed him as the party’s candidate for the presidential election. Of the whole government, only one minister stayed loyal to President Momir Bulatovi ć; as a result, Bulatovi ć was forced out of the DPS, subsequently to create his own party, the Socialist People’s Party. 15 The presidential elections of 1997 confirmed that Đukanović had succeeded in winning the favour not only of the majority of his own party but also of that of the public. He ran for the presidency with a rhetoric emphasising a pro-western orientation, free market reform, the rule of law and minority rights, and managed to win – albeit very narrowly, with 50.8 per cent of the votes – in the second round. This reflected the very strong division of the country and the split of the population into two opposing camps of almost equal size. The northern municipalities of Andrijevica, Plu žine and Pljevlja were (and still are) the strongest supporters of the SNP, while Đukanović enjoyed strongest support in the areas inhabited by Muslims in Ro žaje (92 per cent) and Albanians in Ulcinj (85 per cent), as well as in the historical heartland of Montenegro, such as Cetinje (84 per cent). 16 The major issue along which the two camps were divided was the status of the republic: one camp opting for an independent Montenegro; the other for sustaining the federation with Serbia. Since 1997, Đukanović began increasingly to distance Montenegro from Belgrade, although without expressing open aspirations for independence. Until 1999, those in favour of independence within DPS did not surpass the number of those favouring a common
ESI (2000), op. cit., p. 4. ibid. Interview with Milo Đukanović, Vreme 22.2.1997, quoted in ibid. ibid. He has since been sidelined in the SNP and has founded the marginal People’s Socialist Party of Montenegro (Narodna Socijalistička Stranka, NSS). 16 ibid. 12 13 14 15


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

state while, among the public, the absolute majority would still have supported the federation. Until 1999, two-thirds of the population supported a common state and only after 1999 did this number fall to a simple majority. Interestingly, this balance radically tipped in 2001, after the victory of democratic forces in Serbia, when those wanting independence outnumbered their opponents. By that time, three-quarters of DPS voters were already supporting separation. 17 Citizens of Montenegro are polarised on the question of independence according both to nationality and their party preferences. Generally speaking, Serbs would not support independence or a confederal arrangement of the two republics, together with about onehalf of Montenegrins; 18 these two groups constitute the supporters of the ‘Together for Yugoslavia’ coalition which consists of the SNP, the NS and the SNS. On the other side, minorities – Albanians, Croats and Bosniaks-Muslims – and the other half of Montenegrins together make up the electoral basis of the ‘Victory for Montenegro’ 19 coalition and the Liberal Alliance. 20 Based on an opinion poll conducted by the Centre for Political Studies of the Institute of Social Science, if a referendum had been held in March 2001, 55 per cent of voters would have opted for independence and 45 per cent for the preservation of the federation, 21 if they had to choose between these two options. 22 The question arises as to why the majority favours independence from Serbia; more precisely, what do people expect to gain from separation? This is an especially crucial question, since public support for independence increased after the democratic changes came about in Serbia. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the more educated and wealthier strata have generally been more optimistic regarding the consequences of separation from Serbia, while the less educated and poorer citizens have expressed greater pessimism. 23 Obviously, people have different expectations from a ‘divorce’ and, in order to shed light on what considerations might stand behind the existing secessionist aspirations, it is worth mentioning the findings of some surveys. According to the above-mentioned poll, a relative majority of Montenegrins expect from independence from Serbia faster economic development, an improvement in their overall political situation, a more advantageous international position, the strengthening of their democratic development, greater international assistance to Montenegro and faster accession to the EU. 24 Based upon the results of another poll conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in April 2001, re17 Yugoslav Survey, op. cit., p. 43. 18 We are referring here to national identity rather than citizenship. 19 This is a coalition of the DPS and SDP formed before the elections of 2001. In 1998, the DPS formed a coalition with the SDP and the NS, which was called ’For a Better Life’. See ‘Pre-term elections in Montenegro, 22 April 2001’, Yugoslav Survey No. 2 (2001), p. 15. 20 ‘Public Opinion’, p. 41. 21 This survey was conducted by the Centre for Political Studies of the Institute of Social Science in the period 24-31 March 2001, entitled Relations of Serbia and Montenegro – Spring 2001. See Public Opinion’. 22 When considering other options in addition, support for the two options appears in fact less polarised, with considerable support for an intermediate solution. 23 ‘Public Opinion’, p. 44. 24 ibid.


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spondents noted most frequently an improvement in tourism and EU integration if Montenegro became an independent state. 25 Naturally, political parties have played a crucial role in the gradual transformation of public opinion by presenting arguments which support their position on the status question. It can be noted in general that arguments which refer to identity and historical reasons are overly dominant. Pro-federation parties usually pose the question of why the two republics should separate since Montenegrins and Serbians belong to the same nation, as evidenced by having the same language, religion and history. 26 On the other hand, advocates of Montenegrin independence point to Montenegro having always been a distinct, separate country, illegally incorporated into Yugoslavia against its will as a result of Serbian manipulation. 27 Besides the historical identity arguments, other considerations which are frequently heard relate to the economic situation of Montenegro and the real or supposed agenda of the pro- and anti-independence advocates. A representative of the supporters of Yugoslavia, Dragan Koprivica, Vice-President of the SNP and a staunch defender of close ties with Serbia, explains his party’s pro-federation position – besides emphasising the common identity and history with Serbia – by drawing an unpleasant picture about the current pro-independence government. He argues that Đukanović is, in reality, not so much interested in Montenegrin independence but rather in gaining unlimited power. To strengthen his opinion, he points out how Đukanović used to be a great supporter of Yugoslavia, after which he transformed himself into the greatest promoter of independence. Furthermore, he notes that Đukanović practises unlimited control over the media, the economy and other spheres of public life. In Koprivica’s opinion, Montenegro’s economy is based on smuggling and corruption, which provides the government with considerable gains. This is also why, besides the oft-claimed argument of regional stability, the international community – together with the SNP – does not want Montenegro to gain independence: Montenegro would thus become an uncontrolled ‘island’ of the grey economy. He also expresses his doubts about the economic and political viability of such a small country. However, his major argument against independence is, ‘Why separate, if staying together is normal? It goes without saying…’ 28 The pro-independence parties also add their own arguments to the historical and identity-based reasoning behind Montenegrin independence. Miodrag Vičković, President of the Liberal Alliance, emphasises that Montenegro has the right to be independent, having received this right at the Berlin Congress (1878) and having subsequently maintained it after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. He explains that Montenegro’s citizens voted for staying together with Serbia in 1992 only as a result of manipulation by Milo šević. He voices his distrust towards Serbia’s real willingness to treat Montenegro as an equal partner, for – he argues – Serbia always wanted to ‘centralise Montenegro into Serbia.’ Vičković further mentions a common argument among supporters of independence, namely that the difference in size does not allow the creation of an equal federation. Altogether, he uses more economic arguments than do most proponents of a federation. He portrays
25 26 27 28 National Democratic Institute (NDI): Key Findings, Track One, Podgorica 11.4.2001, p. 17. Interview of the author with Dragan Koprivica, Podgorica, 22.5.2002. Interview of the author with Miodrag Vičković, Podgorica, 24.5.2002. Interview with Koprivica.


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Montenegro as a country equipped with all the necessary resources for functioning independently; however, alongside politicians on the pro-Yugoslav side, he blames the current government for the same crimes. In his opinion, Đukanović betrayed his own people since he spoiled the chance of establishing independence with the creation of the ‘criminalised zone’. It is worth pointing out that the pro-independence camp is far from unified. The Liberal Alliance generally distrusts the DPS and recently, after the municipal elections in May 2002, joined a coalition at the local level with the SNP and, at the republican level, dropped its support for the minority government of the DPS and the SDP. Altogether, with the help of the media, the political elite has managed to keep the status issue in the focus of public attention. Thereby, political parties could avoid having to deal with economic transition and reforms, and could also appear as important players on the political scene by representing a strong position on independence. It can also be argued that the reason why independence became more and more popular in Montenegro was that, initially, the reformist, pro-western and democratic agenda was represented by those parties who were pro-independence; moreover, Montenegro’s stepping out on the road of democratic transition was, at the same time, stepping on a path which led to a higher level of autonomy and, eventually, independence. The dynamics of change in public opinion have also contributed to keeping the question on the political agenda, which is a good illustration of how ‘the genie cannot be put back into the bottle’, no matter how realistic or unrealistic these expectations are in terms of establishing an independent Montenegro. It should be noted, however, that the constitutional issue is far from being the most important one for the people of Montenegro. According to an opinion poll conducted in November 2001,29 people ranked the status question behind the economic situation which included, among others, unemployment and the revival of industry. Another survey, carried out by NDI in April 2001, revealed similar results, with respondents naming the economic situation as the most important issue (49%), above that of status (23%) 30 (see Graph 1):
Graph 1 – Most important issues among Montenegrin citizens, 200131
Internat ional Financial Aid Relations with Serbia Salary, Pension, Corrup tion Ethnic Relations State Status Econo my/Jobs

8/11/2001 18/ /2001 9 30/ /2001 6 8/4/2001 19/ /2001 3








Montenegrin citizens do not only consider the status issue as secondary but, based on an opinion poll from January 2002, they also express generally strong distrust of all political
29 Centar za tranziciju: Governing the State, Montenegro’s citizens’ opinion and attitudes, January 2002, p. 11. 30 NDI: Key Findings, p. 9. 31 ibid.


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parties, institutions and authorities, among which the executive authority ranked the worst (60.5% of respondents expressed distrust in the government while only 13.1 per cent expressed trust).32 This poll identified a considerable degree of discontent with the government: the majority of respondents (66.8%) stated that they were discontented or highly discontented with the way Montenegro was governed. 33 Less than 15 per cent of those asked said they trusted the parliament of Montenegro, a figure which is part of a downward trend. Among political institutions, the President enjoyed the highest level of trust, but the degree of trust decreased from 39 to 13 per cent between April and October 2001. 34 Furthermore, citizens regard the political leadership before 1989 as more professional and more competent than the present political elite in the fulfilment of its duties of governing the state and serving the common interests of people. In the same poll – in line with this lack of trust towards the political elite – respondents expressed their preference of having a government formed by experts rather than politicians and favoured that most important government decisions should be approved in referenda. According to these answers, citizens generally prefer more direct involvement in political decision-making through referenda. 35 There is an additional problem in Montenegro: there has been no democratic, reformoriented alternative to the present regime. The SNP, which supported Milo šević until his fall in October 2000, has not been a particularly promising alternative to the governing DPS-led coalition. According to an opinion poll conducted in June 2001, 36 many citizens are frustrated with this lack of a political alternative, which is well-expressed in the abovementioned high level of distrust in the existing political institutions, including both governing and opposition parties. Neboj ša Medojević, an independent Montenegrin economist, explains this general lack of trust in the entire political sphere by reference to the unfulfilled promises of the ‘For a Better Life (Da živimo Bolje) government, which was the election slogan of the DPS/SDP/NS coalition in 1998, and by the general loss of faith in the reform process. The amount of international financial aid flowing into Montenegro has been widely reported, in the light of which the reform process appears to be very disillusioning especially from the aspect of creating new jobs, improving the standard of living, entering new foreign markets and managing an ‘honest’ privatisation process. Not only did the promised reforms not bring about an improvement in the quality of life but, while some gained enormous wealth through corruption and smuggling, the wider strata of society lost out in the transformation process in decreased wages and the loss of jobs. Moreover, as the government only unconvincingly attempted to curb the grey economy, citizens have demonstrated an indifferent or cynical attitude towards politicians and the rule of law.37 There has been a widely-held perception among citizens that, instead of intensifying reforms in Montenegro, the political elite monopolised its position in the sphere of economy and politics, creating an intertwined web of connections between the business and the politiCentar za tranziciju, op. cit., p. 14. ibid, p. 19. Nebojša Medojević: Risk Reporting, Country Report Montenegro, mimeo, 2002, p. 6. Centar za tranziciju, op. cit., p. 30. A different opinion poll arrived at similar results: Centre for Democracy and Human Rights/Polling Agency ‘Damar’: Public Opinion in Montenegro 2002, Podgorica, January 2002. 36 Medojević, op. cit. 37 ibid, p. 8. 32 33 34 35


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cal spheres.38 Through these, the political elite has been able to control all segments of society;39 or, in the words of Medojevi ć: ‘Montenegrin society is captured by political parties.’ 40 The ‘social elite’ (universities, independent media, NGOs, unions), Medojevi ć argues, has expressed little criticism of this process but, rather, has represented the interests of the ruling political elite and thereby contributed to the delay in the transition in Montenegro. Medojević identifies the causes of this phenomenon as the redistribution process under sanctions between 1992 and 1995, when a new class of ‘capitalist oligarchs’ emerged in co-operation with the political elite. 41 Those in power have been in a privileged position for more than a decade, which made the creation of political and economic monopolies relatively easy. This intermingled nature of politics and economics stands as a barrier to the implementation of radical reforms and transition in the economic sphere and the administration. Furthermore, it might be a reason why the elite, being in power since 1997 at least, supports Montenegrin independence: obviously, this way it can more easily preserve its special position. Montenegro gaining independence would mean a lack of fundamental changes in domestic political and economic relations as a result of which the elite, which holds key political and business positions, could stay easily in place.
Political conflicts in Montenegro Even within the ‘For a Better Life’ coalition formed by the DPS and two other political parties, the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party, there were still major disagreements about the referendum on independence in mid-2000. Only the SDP was pressing clearly for an early referendum to be held, while the People’s Party opposed one and the DPS was divided. 42 When finally the Assembly of Montenegro decided to form the Referendum Law Drafting Committee, the NS decided to withdraw from the ruling coalition.43 The most fervent supporter of a referendum was the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro, which offered its support to the minority government, arguing that there was no need for pre-term elections. 44 In the SNP, which has been the primary representative of pro-Serbian interests, attitudes toward the opponents of the party has differed between party members active at the
38 ibid, p. 6. 39 Đukanović rewarded his allies generously with significant positions in the political and economic sphere: Banjević was named director of the aluminium plant in Podgorica; PejanovićĐurišić the President of the Managing Board of Montenegrin Telecom; Vujanović was appointed Prime Minister; and Maras the Minister of the Interior. It is a general characteristic of Montenegro that politics and economics are, generally, strongly interlinked, which is illustrated by several examples, such as Svetozar Marović being not only a DPS Vice-President, but also the President of the Managing Board of Budvanska Riviera, which controls some twenty hotels in and around Budva; the Director of Budvanska Riviera used to be the Minister of Tourism in Đukanović’s third government; a former Minister of Finance is now President of the Monetary Council and director of the Montenegrobank; and the list could be further continued. 40 ibid, p. 2. 41 ibid. 42 ESI (2000), op. cit., p. 18. 43 ‘Pre-term elections’, p. 5. 44 ibid.


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federal level and those based in Montenegro. Momir Bulatovi ć, based in Belgrade – as federal Prime Minister until the fall of the Milo šević regime in October 2000 – and his supporters sided with Milo šević, and were very unwilling to get involved in any constructive dialogue with the Montenegrin government; while a wing within the SNP, participating in everyday political life in Montenegro, was more open to dialogue and showed more respect to the political process taking place there. 45 In general, relations between the SNP and the governing parties, i.e. the DPS and its allies, have been tense. This is reflected in the SNP’s co-operation with Milo šević in the abrogation of Montenegro’s power within the federation, since SNP deputies have constituted the sole representation of Montenegro at the federal level since 1998, despite the DPS-led coalition having the right, according to the election results of Montenegro, to appoint Montenegrin deputies to the federal assembly. 46 Moreover, the amendments to the federal constitution in 2000, which secured the exclusion of Montenegro’s government from the federal political process, were brought about with the assistance of the Montenegrin opposition parties. 47 In September 2000, with the federal elections being boycotted by the Montenegrin governing coalition, because they did not accept the federal constitution, the Montenegrin opposition did so participate, thereby continuing to be the exclusive representative of Montenegro at the federal level. 48 In September 2001, when Koštunica attempted to re-start dialogue on the constitutional crisis between the leaders of the two republics, the Montenegrin Prime Minister and President refused to participate because the federal Prime Minister, Dragi ša Pešić, an SNP member, was also invited. 49 There was not much communication between the Milo šević regime and the Montenegrin government, but the contact of the new democratic government of Serbia with Montenegro’s government was marked by bitterness and frustration, mainly because DOS leaders had a hard time understanding why Montenegro was not willing to live together with a democratic Serbia, when it was apparently able to do so with Milo šević, i.e. it had not pursued independence for most of the Milo šević era. After the election in September 2000, the Montenegrin government did not recognise Ko štunica as federal President because it was unwilling to recognise the federal arrangement as legitimate; however, it did welcome the victory of Serbian democratic forces. Also, after the elections, DOS had to form an alliance with the SNP in order to secure a parliamentary majority at the federal level, which increased the conflict-oriented climate between the federal authorities and the Montenegrin government. Interestingly, before the elections, DOS and Đukanović’s gov45 ibid, p. 6. 46 The Federal Parliament consists of two chambers. The representatives of the Chamber of the Republics are elected by the republican parliaments while the representatives of the Chamber of Citizens are directly elected in each republic. After the split in DPS in 1998, the Federal Parliament ignored the Montenegrin Parliament’s decision to revoke the mandates of SNP deputies to replace them with DPS deputies. Subsequently, the Montenegrin authorities ceased to recognise and participate in the federal institutions. 47 ESI (2000), op. cit., p. 14. 48 ESI (2001a): Sovereignty, Europe and the Future of Serbia and Montenegro, A Proposal for International Mediation, 12.2.2001, p. 3, available at 49 ESI (2001b): Politics, Interests and the Future of Yugoslavia: an Agenda for Dialogue, 26.11.2001, p. 3.


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

ernment had supported each other diplomatically and, moreover, G17 – the economic think tank, which gave DOS its programme – even advised Montenegro in its economic reforms.50
Emergence of consensus in Yugoslavia In April 2001, the pro-independence coalition achieved a narrow victory in early elections in Montenegro, as a result of which the governing coalition of DPS and the SDP had to depend on the support of the Liberal Alliance. In light of the election results, Đukanović did not dare initiate the referendum in July 2001, which was the previous plan, but postponed it to early 2002. An intense debate then started among the political parties about the exact procedure for the referendum. The pro-Yugoslav opposition insisted that Montenegrins residing in Serbia should be allowed to participate, as well as that a pro-independence outcome would only be valid if the majority of all registered voters voted for independence. This would have required the amendment of the existing referendum law, which demanded a simple majority of those actually voting. 51 The pro-Yugoslav opposition threatened the government with a boycott of the referendum if the proposed changes were not made to the referendum law. On the other hand, the radical pro-independence party, the Liberal Alliance, together with the SDP, also recommended a change in the law to endure that the participation of less than 50 per cent of the electorate would not invalidate the result. The international organisations consulted opposed this proposal, because – they argued – such a procedure would undermine the legitimacy of a pro-independence vote. 52 They recommended the requirement that a qualified majority be retained but, at the same time, they opposed the demand of the pro-Yugoslav parties to allow Montenegrins residing in Serbia to vote:
In the case of a positive result, a referendum on independence would have to be confirmed by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly of Montenegro; it is in full accordance with international standards that the referendum law requires that voters must have residence in Montenegro.53

The political positions regarding the referendum seemed to be irreconcilable, but the dynamics between the Montenegrin and the Serbian political leaderships surprisingly led to the reaching of a wide consensus on the issue, which might have resulted in Montenegro eventually becoming independent. In October 2001, the Serbian and Montenegrin leaders agreed during a meeting in Belgrade that, because they could not agree on the con50 ESI (2001a), op. cit., p. 2. 51 ICG, op. cit., p. 3. 52 OSCE/OHDIR: Ocjena OEBS/BDILJP zakona o referendumu Republike Crne Gore, Savezna Republika Jugoslavija, Warsaw, 6.7.2001; OSCE/OHDIR: Stučno mišljenje o predlogu zakona o referendumu o državnom statusu Republike Crne Gore, Savezna Republika Jugoslavija, Warsaw, 5.11.2001; European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission): Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Interim Report on the Constitutional Situation, Strasbourg, 22.10.2001, CDL (2001) 105 fin. 53 European Commission for Democracy through Law: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Interim Report.


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stitution of a joint state, the crisis should be dealt with through a referendum in Montenegro. After this ‘agreement’ – or, rather, the acknowledgement of an unbridgeable disagreement – negotiations in Montenegro yielded the arrival of a consensus according to which the SNP would not boycott a referendum and would give up on insisting upon the participation of Montenegrins living in Serbia, ‘If an independence decision were reached honestly.’54 The debate continued about what the required majority should be, yet there was a realistic perspective of settling on a common position. At this point, the EU intervened, emphasising its preference for ‘A democratic Montenegro in a democratic FRY’ in order to preserve the stability of the region. 55
Economic aspects of the independence question The emergence of the political dispute between Serbia and Montenegro following 1997 was, partially, a response by Serbia to the small republic’s distancing of itself from the federation in economic terms. Furthermore, the exact nature of future economic relations between Serbia and Montenegro has been one of the most contested issues in the debates over a common constitution. In addition, the international community primarily exerted its influence on the two republics in the economic domain, initially by supporting Montenegro financially in its break with Milo šević. After Montenegro became dependent on foreign aid, the EU and the US managed to enforce their will during the constitutional debate, successfully using their economic and financial influence. The importance of economic considerations could also have been noticed during the public debate about independence, since some of the most oft-heard arguments of the pro-independence political elite were of an economic nature. The break with Belgrade – the first steps towards independence As discussed above, Đukanović turned openly against Milo šević in 1997 and embarked on a path of distancing his republic from Belgrade, primarily by economic means. 56 From 1998, Montenegro ceased to be closely integrated with Serbia economically and started to establish its autonomy by taking decisive steps towards an independent economy. Throughout 1998, payment transactions between the Montenegrin and the federal budget gradually stopped. In 1999, Montenegro ceased to require visas from foreigners entering its territory and introduced its own customs duties on its borders; in response, Serbia began collecting customs on its borders with Montenegro. In the same year, Montenegro introduced the German Mark as a parallel official currency next to the Yugoslav Dinar, thereby phasing out the Yugoslav monetary system. As a result, all electronic transactions between the two republics eventually stopped. By November 2000, the Mark had become the sole currency of Montenegro, before being replaced by the Euro in early 2002. In 2000, Serbia introduced a trade blockade against Montenegro for all goods except aluminium and steel. Furthermore, Montenegro started to establish its own trade representation – de facto embassies – in Washington, Brussels, London, Rome, Ljubljana, Sarajevo and Berlin. This process culminated in Yugoslavia opening a ‘representative office’ in
54 ‘Speech by Bulatović in Podgorica’, VIP Daily News Report, 20.11.2001. 55 ICG, op. cit., p. 6. 56 ESI (2000), op. cit., p. 4.


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Podgorica in 2001, reflecting the federal government’s virtual lack of influence on decisions taken in Podgorica. As a result, very few institutional connections between the two republics remained. Besides the existing managerial and infrastructure links in the electricity sector, chief among those that did remain were that Montenegrins still served in the Yugoslav army, used Yugoslav passports and participated in negotiations with the international organisations as part of the Yugoslav delegation. 57 It should also be mentioned that Montenegrins could still access Serbian higher education and health service, both of which are significant considering the weaknesses of the Montenegrin public sector. The immediate effect of introducing the Mark was a drop in inflation from 23.3 to 4.6 per cent, a positive consequence of breaking with the irresponsible monetary policies of Belgrade.58 However, inflation stayed in Montenegro even with the Mark and prices continued to rise further and remain higher than they were in Serbia. During 2000, prices kept on rising in a worrying proportion: from 1999 to 2000 the consumer price index increased by 24.7 per cent and the retail price index by 26 per cent; 59 in 2001 and 2002 the inflation rate increased further. 60 The severing of economic ties between Montenegro and Serbia caused serious challenges to the Montenegrin economy. Montenegro had to look for new markets in the region which meant, for instance, the replacement of subsidised food imports from Serbia with market-priced goods from Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and other western countries. 61 Furthermore, due to the trade blockade, Montenegrin industrial products were no longer sold in Serbia.62 The cessation of electronic payment transactions between the banks of the republics also challenged the Montenegrin economy, causing companies either to turn to a barter system or to make the effort to keep transfers going, the latter of which often involved resorting to illegal means. 63 Altogether, the sanctions on FRY and the trade blockade from Serbia further pushed Montenegro down the road of economic decline. 64 Subsequently, large amounts of western aid have been made available since 1998 to stabilise the economy and to help overcome the hardships caused by the Serbian trade embargo. Aid from the EU and the US was aimed at financing the social funds; helping the government pay for electricity imports, medical supplies and food; and also supporting infrastructure projects. However, the foreign aid only managed to subsidise a highly inefficient economy and did not put sufficient pressure on the Montenegrin government to turn the rhetoric of reform into reality; the aid was given to keep the west’s anti-Milo šević ally in power under the shadow of the threat of war, and rational economic consideration could therefore not play a significant role in the process of granting aid until autumn 2000. 65 The chronic dependency on
57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 ESI (2001a), op. cit., p. 5. ESI (2000), op. cit., p. 15. Montenegro Economic Trends, October 2000, p 13. Montenegro Economic Trends, March 2002, p. 14. ibid. ESI: Montenegro: A Balancing Act, September 1999, p. 2. ibid See Dragan Đurić’s chapter on The Economic Development of Montenegro, this volume. ESI (2000), op. cit., p.4.


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foreign aid remains a major weakness of the Montenegrin economy; in 1999 and 2000, the sums of committed aid by the EU and the US amounted to at least DM 485m. 66 It has been noted by international analysts that, even though the Montenegrin government wears a reformist ‘label’, the transition process has barely begun and the reformist rhetoric has brought scarce relief to the deep economic crises of the republic. 67 Daniel Gros, of the Centre for European Policy Studies, has suggested that Montenegro seems to be currently caught in a so-called ’self-made poverty trap’, in which the government does not dare reform the existing dysfunctional economic structure because it fears the possible social consequences, as a result of which it could lose political power. In such a situation, the government tends to continue with bad policies and the country becomes even poorer.68
Economic reality and the reform process Compared to Serbia, the economic situation in Montenegro has appeared to be better in the last few years from the point of view of the standard of living. Average wages were twice average wages in Serbia in 2001, as illustrated in Table 1: Table 1: Basic macroeconomic indicators, 200169
GDP growth in % 4.5 4.5 4.5 Industrial production (% change) -3.5 -0.8 -1.4 CPI Unemployment rate
29 29 29.2

Av. monthly wage ($)
208 102

FRY Montenegro Serbia

n.a 26 41.9

Real net wage (% change) 9.2 9.5 9.1

Gross ext. debt in $bn 11.4 0.2 11.2

However, according to the analysis of the European think tank, the European Stability Initiative, unconditional western aid can be regarded as being mainly responsible for the relatively ‘high’ wages, since foreign financial support allowed the Montenegrin government to increase subsidies to struggling companies, pay social transfers, expand administration and increase salaries in the public sector. At the same time, higher wages did not mean a higher standard of living since prices were also considerably higher in Montenegro than in Serbia. For example, in 2001, despite a slight increase in nominal salaries (by 4%), real salaries decreased by 19 per cent due to a rise in consumer prices. 70 Moreover, the impoverishment of society is an equally pressing issue in Montenegro as in Serbia, reflected as it is in the growth of the grey economy, which represents about 30 per cent of the Montenegrin labour force, as well as by the high unemployment rate of 29 per cent
66 ESI (2001c): Rhetoric and Reform, A Case Study of Institution Building in Montenegro 1998-2001, Podgorica and Berlin, 1.7.2001, p. 21. 67 ibid. 68 Daniel Gros: ‘Montenegro 2010’, in Nicolas Wythe (ed.): The Future of Montenegro. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting, 26 February 2001 (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2001), pp. 65-79. 69 Source: IMF country information, state statistical offices and national banks of the countries, Montenegro Economic Trends, March 2002, p. 79. 70 Medojević, op. cit., p. 9.


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and the growth in the relative number of pensioners. 71 Furthermore, a huge economic gap can be perceived between different regions, especially between the poorer north and the richer coastal region, but also between different strata of society. Altogether, the state of the Montenegrin economy does not present a very promising picture, characterised as it is by politics dominating the economic sphere, a constantly growing public sector, a huge and unsustainable budget deficit, growing arrears accumulated by the social funds, a banking sector burdened by bad debts, state credits lent to companies which will be never returned, a weak ability to attract foreign working capital, un-enforced laws, an uncertain privatisation process and the generally unfavourable business environment. 72 The absence of substantial reform can be viewed as a real obstacle for the proponents of Montenegrin independence, but the low degree of economic integration in the region runs against the arguments of those who argue for a federal arrangement with Serbia on economic grounds. Montenegro is not intensively integrated economically in the region of south-eastern Europe – a typical characteristic of all the countries in the region – and, even though it fosters the strongest relations with Serbia, these are still relatively weak compared to its relations with developed countries. Certainly, the low degree of economic interconnectedness with Serbia is primarily the result of the political situation in the second half of the 1990s. However, it would be quite difficult to assess what would be the ‘natural’ level of economic relations between the two republics without the complicated and tense political situation. In the region, Montenegro’s most important trading partner is Serbia, with about 5.4 per cent of all exports directed to Serbia and Kosovo, and 11.9 per cent of all imports coming from there. Furthermore, Montenegro has recently made serious progress in trade relations with Serbia – especially after the political changes – according to which imports from Serbia increased by 241 per cent in 2001 over the previous year. Financial transactions with Serbia also improved in 2001 as a result of an increase in trade transactions and in tourism. 73 The structure of the economy of both republics, as well as the regional experience, does, however, suggest that there is a ceiling to the degree of economic co-operation and integration which is possible. 74
The economic debate about independence During the constitutional debate, several economic arguments were put forward regarding what would be best for Montenegro from the economic aspect. Economic arguments supporting independence aim at demonstrating that Montenegro could become viable as an independent state. However, even on the pro-independence side, economists do not deny that the macroeconomic position of Montenegro is very unstable. 75 Veselin Vukotić, a member of the Montenegrin Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognosis, explains this in71 Montenegro Economic Trends, March 2002, p. 29. 72 ESI (2001c), op. cit., p. 25; see also Dragan Đurić’s chapter on The Economic Development of Montenegro in the present volume. 73 Montenegro Economic Trends, March 2002, p. 85. 74 Milica Uvalić: ‘Economic Co-operation between Serbia and Montenegro’, in Florian Bieber: Negotiating and Capacity Building in Montenegro. Workshop 3: Economic Development and Co-operation, Kotor, 22 March 2002, ECMI Report No. 28 (June 2002), pp. 30-40; Vladimir Gligorov: ‘Serbia and Montenegro: A New Beginning’, ibid., pp. 18-29.


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stability with reference to three major ‘external’ ‘shocks’ which can be held responsible for Montenegro’s weak economic performance. 76 The first ‘shock’ has been the continuous economic recession, as a result of which, in 2000, Montenegro’s GDP was only 50 per cent of its 1989 level. Secondly, the ‘demographic chaos’ of former Yugoslavia has resulted in a 13 per cent increase in the population over the last ten years due to the large influx of refugees. And thirdly, the transition process in Montenegro has been delayed at least seven years. The first and the last argument are, however, rather problematic: the low level of GDP in 2000 is not an ‘unfortunate’ external circumstance but a consequence of the delayed transition, postponed even after 1997. Furthermore, one should consider who is responsible for the delay in the transition since the political elite in power has, more or less, been the same from the beginning of the 1990s until today. Nevertheless, Vukoti ć acknowledges that the implementation of a faster economic reform process and a radical establishment of new institutions, and also integration into the regional markets of former Yugoslavia, are urgently needed. He also admits that, presently, Montenegro is incapable of implementing economic reforms and reaching macroeconomic stability without foreign assistance.77 Most supporters of independence acknowledge that, at present, Montenegro cannot function on its own – but that it could do so if it fulfilled some preconditions, as the republic does have the potential to become viable independent of Serbia. Undeniably, Montenegro’s economy cannot currently function without outside support; therefore, it cannot be considered to be viable in its present state. This is a matter of fact, but this circumstance has little to do with independence or non-independence. Serbia is certainly not in a position to ‘rescue’ Montenegro since the economic situation in Serbia is even worse, regardless of the economic indicator used, as indicated in the Table above. Montenegro’s current economic difficulties have to be solved irrespective of the status question especially since, even if it wanted to, it could not depend on Serbia, as Serbia has little to offer at the moment. Several theories have been advanced about the means for Montenegrin economic viability. According to Vukoti ć:
Montenegro possesses the necessary resources, human capital and government organisation to finance itself independently, and to finance itself in the long term from its own revenues.”78

In his opinion, Montenegro’s development should be based on services, knowledge and information. Neboj ša Medojević holds a similar position, according to him, Montenegro’s chance for development lies in the creation of so-called ‘value-added products’, meaning
75 In what follows I refer primarily to the argumentations of Veselin Vukotić and Nebojša Medojević. 76 Veselin Vukotić: ‘The Economic Situation and Economic Reforms in Montenegro’, in: The Future of Montenegro. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting, 26 February 2001 (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2001), p. 47. 77 ibid. Even Daniel Gros concurs, suggesting that the support of the international financial institutions is crucial in the short term, despite the dangers of the emergence of a poverty trap in Montenegro. Gros, op. cit. 78 Vukotić, op. cit., p. 48.


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

the small-scale service of exclusive products, such as health and medical tourism, the production of hi-tech goods and software engineering. 79 In addition, Vukotić draws attention to a list of the resources that provide Montenegro with the necessary potential for development, such as its agriculture; coastline; the capacity to produce aluminium, iron, bauxite, salt and coal; its maritime industry; a highly-educated population; and, last but not least, a special opportunity for tourism. 80 Both experts emphasise that, without a radical reform of institutions and the setting of new rules, these remain, however, only potential resources. Gros concurs and insists that the implementation of a ‘big bang reform’ would be a necessary precondition. 81 He views Montenegro’s future in the creation of an open economy, a natural consequence of the small size of the republic. In order to achieve a high degree of openness, meaning a high level of exports relative to GDP, a stable currency and a very liberal and transparent trade policy are required. 82 These are definitely on the way in Montenegro, if one considers the introduction of the DM and the Euro, and the steps which have been taken to create a liberal trade regime. However, the most frequent and almost commonplace development plan for Montenegro is based on the republic’s potential for tourism. Undeniably, Montenegro has great potential in the tourism sector, taking into account its unspoiled nature, unique landscape, culture, a small town milieu and its beaches. Despite this opportunity, little has been done in the last decade to exploit this potential, reflected in that, of a range of 24 activities, tourism took 18th place in terms of the share in GDP of its turnover in the 1985-1999 period. 83 Furthermore, this is primarily not due to a lack of interest by tourists since, in the summer of 2001, the number of visitors exceeded the number predicted, for which the Montenegrin tourist industry was completely unprepared. The frequent problems appearing in the tourist sector are, among others, the shortage of drinkable water, dirty beaches, complicated and long customs administration procedures, the lack of a developed infrastructure and insufficient accommodation capacities. Until now, Montenegrin tourism has been based on domestic guests, whereby 84 per cent of all guests come from Serbia and Montenegro. A key problem in attracting foreign visitors has been the absence of substantial foreign investment. However, that would require more favourable conditions such as improving the infrastructure, establishing a clear legal framework and setting some additional incentives for foreign investors. 84 There are many ideas for turning Montenegro into a prosperous and viable country, but all these scenarios require the fulfilment of the several preconditions mentioned earlier. However, recent years do not testify to a strong commitment on the part of the government to implement radical reforms in the sphere of economics and administration that would bring about a real transition. Furthermore, if in the area of tourism, with its obvious chance to make profits, almost nothing has been done, how great can be the expectation that all the steps proposed by the economic experts quoted above will be taken? Certainly, Montenegro needs economic development and a real transition, regardless of the outcome
79 80 81 82 83 84 Interview by the author with Nebojša Medojević, Podgorica, 23.5.2002. Vukotić, op. cit., p. 54. Gros, op. cit. ibid. Montenegro Economic Trends, December 2001, p. 44. Montenegro Economic Trends, July 2001, p. 68.


Beáta Huszka

of the status issue. If the reform process fails and the country stays caught in a poverty trap, Montenegro will be poor with or without Serbia. Therefore, the question is not whether Montenegro could become viable as an independent country. The question is how the necessary reforms could be conducted in the best way to create the preconditions for development. To put it in another way, in which case could the transition and reform processes be carried out in a more efficient way, if Montenegro becomes independent or if it remains part of some kind of common state with Serbia? The promoters of independence hold the position that Montenegro could be reformed more quickly independently from Serbia. To support this position, Vukoti ć argues that, due to the relatively small size of Montenegro in a common state with Serbia (about 5%), Montenegro’s influence on monetary policy, foreign trade policy and tax policy would be irrelevant. Besides, he further points to the different structure of the two economies, according to which Montenegro is oriented towards tourism and services, and Serbia to agriculture and industry; to the different stage of the reforms reached so far by the two republics; and to the argument that sustaining federal institutions in addition to republican ones is expensive and superfluous. He argues that reforms have to be conducted at the republican level anyway; therefore, having a federal administration would be pointless. 85 The economic analysts of Monet86 have been cautious about taking a clear position on independence; rather, they emphasise the disadvantages to the present form of arrangement from an economic point of view. They also draw attention to the differences between Serbia and Montenegro in terms of size and in development strategies, but point in addition to further points of departure, such as the achieved stage of privatisation, the level of customs tariffs, and trade and monetary policy. Monet experts argue that sustaining a federation with Serbia, even from the aspect of gaining access to a larger market, would not provide a significant advantage for Montenegro since it has already managed to find new markets in the region and does not need Serbia. Furthermore, they point out that Montenegro cannot afford a federal system which would be not only expensive but also threatening to business due to the growing nature of bureaucracy and the overlap in the authorities.87 Nebojša Medojević emphasises similar arguments in favour of independence. He points to the need for a clear legal framework in order to engage in successful development. In his view, such a framework can only be achieved through independence. He argues that, in a federation, innumerable problems will emerge from the creation of spheres of responsibilities. Therefore, the constitutional question has to be solved first – preferably in the form of Montenegrin independence – before the real problems of transition and reforms can be tackled.88 At the same time, the promoters of independence generally agree that Montenegro needs to establish serious functional relations with Serbia and that, instead of fighting over the constitutional settlement, talks between the two republics should focus on how the exact form of these functional ties should be defined. According to the supporters of Montenegrin independence, Montenegro and Serbia should ensure the free flow of people,
85 86 87 88 Vukotić, “The Economic Situation,” p.56. Monet is a joint project of ISSP in Podgorica and CEPS in Belgium Montenegro Economic Trends, March 2002, pp. 45. Interview with Nebojša Medojević.


The dispute over Montenegrin independence

services, goods and capital; harmonise their tax and tariff regimes; and remove obstacles in payment procedures. Actually, these goals have anyway been set by the new agreement on the constitution of the joint state of Serbia and Montenegro, with the essential difference that the new constitutional agreement envisages the creation of federal institutions despite economic policy remaining within the purview of the republics. 89 On the other side, few pro-federation economic arguments are heard, except for those mentioned earlier concerning corruption and the advantages of a larger market. Economic arguments against independence have been emphasised particularly by EU representatives, according to whom:
…the benefits of the bigger market will be lost, foreign investments will be discouraged and the lack of a common trade policy would be an obstacle to EU and WTO integration. Early adoption of the Euro might involve substantial economic risks and costs. 90

In response to these arguments, the Montenegrin authorities point out that their economic policies and reforms are compatible with EU integration. The government further argues that the introduction of the DM and the Euro has been a success and that it does not wish to return to the Dinar. It also notes that convergence with Serbia’s higher tariff rates is unacceptable for Montenegro, which wants to build an open economy fitting its small size. Acknowledging that closer integration with Serbia would be desirable for Montenegro, the authorities note at the same time that the biggest obstacle to creating a joint market is Serbia’s delay in giving up price controls. According to Medojevi ć, the status question as far as Serbia is concerned does not involve economic considerations at all; it is only about identity, power and politics. It can be concluded that determining the status question based purely on economic arguments does present a challenge; however, it is also true that settling the constitutional issue is a prerequisite for solving the difficult economic situation of Montenegro. Ending the constitutional debate by declaring independence would be simpler than trying to arrange a functioning federation; however, if half the country opposes such an outcome, it is questionable whether, in the absence of a general consensus, separation would indeed bring about political peace and stability. Nevertheless, as the figures analysed here indicate, the economy of Montenegro is in a tough situation and the economic policies conducted thus far do not testify to a commitment to a far-reaching reform process. In addition, no matter how capable Montenegro could be of functioning as a separate economy, the present arguments for independence are, in an economic sense, more vision than reality.
Conclusion Relations between Serbia and Montenegro have arrived at a turning point after many years of conflict. Yet, it is difficult to predict what kind of process has been initiated by the signing of the Agreement on the common state in March 2002; it could equally be the beginning of the integration or the disintegration of the two republics, depending on their particular interests and the position of the European Union. Even though the republics have
89 Proceeding Points for the Restructuring of Relations Between Serbia and Montenegro, Belgrade, 14.3.2002, p. 3, available at: 90 Statement issued by Javier Solana’s office in February 2002, contained in ICG, op. cit., p. 8.


Beáta Huszka

the right to leave the joint state after three years, it is the concrete steps that will be taken in the interim which will determine the final outcome of the status question. If both move towards establishing closer links and institutionalising these at the federal level, then leaving the new union would obviously be more difficult and expensive than staying in it. However, the dispute over Montenegrin independence will continue even if the definition of status has been postponed. Political dynamics and the various political and economic interests which have been fuelling the debate over the republic’s independence will also be seeking to influence the course of events in the future. Elite interests will also act on the status issue, with some parties being highly dissatisfied with the provisions of the Agreement. These parties, such as the Liberal Alliance, have further emphasised their commitment to independence, but Đukanović has also tried to convince the public that he and his party remain a faithful advocate of independence. It thus remains to be seen whether the dispute can be transformed from the dilemma between independence and maintaining a joint state with Serbia into a discussion on what practical ties the two republics wish to create. It does, however, remain a question as regards how public opinion will develop concerning the issue of Montenegrin independence; whether Montenegrin citizens will be willing to accept staying within a joint state with Serbia. This development will depend on the success of the new state, especially on how the standard of living changes in the next three years, but political rhetoric will also exert a big influence on public opinion. A new aspect to the status issue, which might even be decisive in the future, is the transformation of Serbian public opinion. When the Serbian government begins to take over some of the federal competencies, the trend of public opinion in both republics may generate a momentum towards disintegration which might carry both to an eventual formal separation. At the end of the day, according to the Agreement, the opinion of the public will decide whether the common state should be retained or not. The involvement of the EU, however, can again determine the exact outcome of the status question. The EU’s role in pressing the Agreement means that it cannot now disengage, especially considering the Stabilisation and Association Process in which Serbia and Montenegro have become involved. After all – if Neboj ša Medojević is correct that the only importance of the status question lies in the creation of a clear legal situation – the issue of whether to retain such a loose federation or to create an independent Montenegro may not make a significant difference in practical areas, including in the implementation of reforms in the economy and the administration. Economic and functional relations between Serbia and Montenegro will not be determined by defining the status of the country, because these relations can stay at their present under-developed level either within the joint state envisaged by the agreement or between two independent states. Therefore, it is both the concrete economic interests and the extent of the willingness to co-operate that will determine the level and quality of functional relations between the two republics. This will probably serve as a hot topic for debate in Montenegro and within the whole state, not only at present but also for the foreseeable future.


Wim van Meurs

The Belgrade Agreement: Robust mediation between Serbia and Montenegro*
Introduction: Serbia and Montenegro On 14 March 2002, in the presence of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Yugoslav, Serbian and Montenegrin representatives signed an agreement with ‘Proceeding points for the restructuring of relations between Serbia and Montenegro’, now known as the Belgrade Agreement. For all the talk of ‘history in the making’, in the initial reactions to the Agreement between Belgrade and Podgorica, the spotlight has actually been on the dustbin of history: Miloševićs ‘Third Yugoslavia’ is dead and there will be no more incarnations. First reactions to the new-born ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ covered a whole spectrum of emotions, ranging from ‘a freak of a state’ or ‘a rotten compromise’ to ‘a new beginning.’ 1 The fact is that Javier Solana seems to have found a middle way – in between federation and confederation 2 – at least for the time being. In three years (at most!), the day of reckoning will come. For the time being, the political deadlock has been broken and a window of opportunity has been created for reform policies and regional co-operation. A comparison between the Agreement of 14 March and the two ‘platforms’ that defined the negotiating positions one and a half years ago throws the embedded compromises and innovations into relief. A second comparison with the political realities in Belgrade, Podgorica and Brussels reveals the Agreement’s limitations and deficits. Despite all the sobering thoughts, however, the symbolic value and regional consequences of the Belgrade Agreement should not be dismissed too lightly: the dice have been cast and political actors will have to reposition themselves accordingly. Breaking the deadlock Relations between Belgrade and Podgorica had been deadlocked ever since Milo Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska partija socijalista, DPS) beat Miloševićs allies in Montenegro on a pro-independence ticket in both the 1997 presidential and the 1998 parliamentary elections. His victory revealed the fundamental flaw in the twostate federation created in 1992 from the remainder of Tito’s Yugoslav Federation: Serbia is fifteen times bigger than Montenegro in terms both of territory and population. Consequently, the equality of the two unequal partners in the new mini-federation deviated absurdly from the democratic principle of ‘one person – one vote.’ As long as Miloševićs Socialist Party (Socijalistička partija Srbije, SPS) ruled de facto in both republics and at the federal level, this structural problem could be ignored. With Montenegro’s pro-western reform policies and Serbia’s nationalist paralysis becoming increasingly divergent, Montenegro became independent in all but name and the Yugoslav Federation became a dead letter. On the eve of the
* An earlier version of this paper was written in the framework of the joint south-east Europe activities of the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Centre for Applied Policy Research. 1 ‘Balkan Media Divided on Historic Deal’, BBC News 15.3.2002. 2 For want of a better term, the new entity under international law is referred to here as ‘state’, ‘union’ and ‘federation’ interchangeably.


Wim van Meurs

epochal elections in the autumn of 2000, Milošević eliminated the legal principle of equality between the two constituent republics to restore Serb hegemony. 3 The deadlock became an acute political dilemma after the ousting of Milošević. Milo Đukanović had made his political fortune on the independence ticket but, under the new circumstances, he was driven by his supporters and political allies to go for a referendum, knowing well that the population was equally divided on the issue and that the west was prepared to go to great lengths to prevent such a referendum. 4 Actually, in 1997, expecting Milošević to lose power as a consequence of the civic protests in Serbia over electoral fraud in the local elections in November 1996, Đukanović miscalculated and opted for independence. In 2000, expecting Milo šević to win the elections, he again miscalculated and boycotted the federal elections. As a consequence, his natural allies, the reform-oriented and pro-western coalition, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia ( Demokratska opozicija Srbije, DOS), took power in Serbia but had, at the federal level, to form a coalition with the reactionary Montenegrin opposition. The March 2002 breakthrough, after many rounds of fruitless negotiations, is not to be blamed solely on ‘diplomatic arm-twisting’ by Javier Solana. All the players came to realise that they had outmanoeuvred themselves (and others) into a ‘lose-lose’ situation, so the conditionality of the EU perspective provided economic incentives as well as a welcome excuse. Zoran Đinđić must have realised that the stand-off and bickering over competencies between the federation and the republic was to the detriment of the drive for reform and international credibility of his political programme. His political competitor, Vojislav Koštunica, saw his lead in popularity diminish in comparison with Đinđić, Miroljub Labus and other reformers – a development partly due to the powerlessness of his presidential position. Last, but not least, the nationalist opposition of former Milo šević parties witnessed the once-proud Yugoslavia become defunct, with a quasi-independent state in Montenegro and a quasi-protectorate in Kosovo. In Podgorica, a narrow victory in the parliamentary elections of 22 April 2001 and the rising popularity in recent polls of the Socialist People's Party ( Socijalistička narodna partija, SNP) determined Đukanovićs reluctance to implement his promise for a referendum on independence. Torn between his coalition partners who wanted the referendum now and the pro-Yugoslav opposition with the polls showing a waning majority in favour of independence (to the extent that the votes of the ethnic minorities (in favour) would actually decide the independence question), 5 Đukanovićs political survival depended on finding an elegant way of backtracking on the ‘path of independence’, and he knew that all along.
The EU as honest broker? Ever since Javier Solana took on the ‘mission impossible’ to find the middle ground between Belgrade and Podgorica, criticism became louder and louder. Surprisingly, Solana’s main critics were not found in Đukanovićs Democratic Party of Socialists. Rather, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and the International Crisis Group
3 Mark Thompson: ‘Yugoslavia’s Death is Balkans’ Gain’, BBC News Online 15.3.2002. 4 ICG: ‘Montenegro: Resolving the Independence Deadlock’, Podgorica, Brussels, 1.8.2001. 5 ICG: ‘Montenegro – Time to Decide: Pre-Election Briefing’, Brussels, 18.4.2001.


The Belgrade Agreement

(ICG) in Brussels published an open letter to Solana concerning Montenegro. One part of their critique concerned the EU’s methods of ‘applying extreme pressure to just one side’ in order to ‘bulldozer’ Podgorica towards the EU’s preferred solution. 6 Solana did indeed, as several participants in the negotiations have indicated, make ample use of a prospective Stabilisation and Association Agreement between ‘Yugoslavia’ and the EU, with its immediate economic advantages and its alluring promise of future EU membership, as something which had a high symbolic value domestically. Thus, the EU used its hegemony as a regional economic power to force a state union on ‘unwilling partners.’ After the initial euphoria of finally having democratic negotiation partners, and two constructive and apparently compatible platforms, the actual talks between Belgrade and Podgorica had soon stalled in a ‘consent not to consent’ and had to be revitalised by EU intervention and mediation in December 2001. 7 No doubt, Solana’s role went far beyond ‘good offices,’ but eventually the principle of ‘regional ownership’ will require a democratic verification by parliament of the political solution. 8 In a democratic and constitutional quagmire like the Yugoslav case, with contradictory constitutional provisions as well as executive and legislative institutions of varying democratic quality, output legitimacy and political responsibility have an importance beyond the arithmetic of the ballot box and the sophistry of constitutional lawyers. The other half of the critique concerns the actual ‘dictated’ outcome of the negotiations – ‘a democratic Montenegro in a democratic Yugoslavia.’ This solution is considered ‘economically and politically unwise.’ 9 Solana’s attempts to keep Serbia and Montenegro together were, more often than not, understood as a blunt attempt to save the status quo of the ‘good old’ Yugoslav Federation with some minor, cosmetic modifications. Consequently, the EU would end up polarising the parties and providing quasi support to the line of the reactionary SNP nationalists in Montenegro and the parties of the former Milošević coalition in Serbia. Pro-independence Montenegrin parties, western think tanks and even some Serbian intellectuals carried this argument. 10 Proponents of Montenegro’s independence consistently painted a black-and-white picture of FRY as the state associated with the reactionary and repressive Milo šević regime and of Montenegro as a paradise of pro-European reforms. There certainly is reason to doubt the original optimism of the Đinđić team, while there is ample evidence of ‘lagging reforms’ in Serbia, due at least partly to the power struggle between Koštunica and Đinđić. The Milošević past, however, makes a Yugoslavia nei6 ICG/CEPS media release: ‘EU Pressure on Montenegro is ‘Unwise’’, Brussels, 14.2.2002. 7 Darko Šuković: ‘Serbian and Montenegrin Experts on the Future of Yugoslavia’ AIM 13.1.2002; ‘Montenegro als Test für die EU-Außenpolitik’, Neue Züricher Zeitung 21.2.2002, p. 7. 8 Veseljko Koprivica: ‘Montenegro Following the Visit of Javier Solana. Good Services Mission’, AIM, 16.12.2001; Wim van Meurs: Negotiating the Balkans. A Regional Approach to a Negotiated Arrangement for the Balkans on the Way to Europe, Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Foundation, 2001, pp. 1-2. 9 ICG/CEPS media release: ‘EU Pressure’. 10 Morton Abramowitz: ‘Let the Montenegrins Have Their Say,’ International Herald Tribune, 1.12.2001; RFE/RL Newsline 11.3.2002.


Wim van Meurs

ther illegitimate as a state nor reform-resistant per se. Nor is Montenegro an unqualified success story in terms of political and economic reform. The argument that Yugoslavia in its three forms – the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918-1945); the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945-1992); and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992-2002) – was ‘a historic error’ 11 or that ‘the FRY is an anti-European and anti-democratic state’ 12 reintroduces the ideal of nation-state and the primacy of national self-determination through the backdoor. Qualifying for ‘Europe’ depends on functional states and their capability of reform towards a pluralist democracy and the market economy. In this respect, Serbia and Montenegro each have their own specific problems and deficits, but both still have a long way to go. Neither a nation-state nor a federation constitutes a panacea for these reform challenges. Milo Đukanović – by now the longest-ruling president in the region – was not born a dissident to Milošević and conservative nationalism. Nevertheless, once the break between Belgrade and Podgorica had become irreversible, a pro-western reform orientation was the only option for the quasi-independent mini-state. Despite a series of political, administrative and economic reforms, Montenegro is still among the world’s leaders in terms of international assistance per capita: the accusation of ‘simulated reforms’ to please western donors seems plausible. 13 A significant part of economic activity – according to some estimates, 40 to 60 per cent – is related to the shadow economy, mainly car rackets and cigarettes smuggling. The involvement of political parties and parts of the state administration is a foregone conclusion. The state needs foreign aid for social peace in a poverty-ridden country of rising unemployment, frequent electric power cuts and high inflation. The successful early introduction of the Euro (replacing the German Mark as the national currency) may as such have been an administrative and logistic achievement. It is, however, by no means an indication of economic strength or aptitude: Podgorica is not bound by any criteria of economic convergence and the Euro is more convenient for legal and not-so-legal international dealings than for an ailing local economy. Montenegro’s economic openness (3 per cent tariff average; 10 per cent for Serbia) may be an asset, but tourism certainly is not its main industry at the moment. 14 To what extent Montenegro really will be able to consolidate its head start in economic reforms into a national economy that is healthy, sustainable and socially equitable remains to be seen. For the time being, Montenegro’s reform economy has all the characteristics of a political myth. 15
11 Matthias Rüb: ‘Etwas ganz Neues im Südosten’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 15.3.2002, p. 1. 12 Monitor 21.12.2001. 13 European Stability Initiative: ‘Rhetoric and Reform. A Case Study of Institution Building in Montenegro 1998-2001’, Podgorica, Berlin 1.7.2001; Nebojša Medojević: ‘Montenegro – Land of Frozen Reforms’, in Wim van Meurs (ed.): Prospects and Risks Beyond EU Enlargement, Vol. 2, South Eastern Europe: Weak States and Strong International Support, (Leverkusen: Leske + Budrich, 2002), pp. 173-191. 14 ICG/CEPS media release: ‘EU Pressure’. 15 Zoran Radulović: ‘Montenegro: Economic Collapse Threatens Independence’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report 9.11.2001; Martin Woker: ‘Montenegro als Test für die EU-Außenpolitik’, Neue Züricher Zeitung 21.2.2002, p. 7.


The Belgrade Agreement

Once both Koštunica and Đinđić had expressed their willingness to consider a new form of federation with Montenegro (albeit not at all costs), Solana indeed ended up siding with the reactionary forces on the federal level and in Montenegro, cajoling the reform-oriented, pro-independence parties into making major concessions to their programme. Notably, however, the concessions involved their objective of national independence, not their reform agenda. Surely, a strong two-thirds majority in Montenegro in favour of independence would have had an impact on the EU approach, but a ‘50 per cent plus one’ approach to such a fundamental issue of state sovereignty is neither particularly stabilising nor democratic. 16 Therefore, the Agreement insists on laws on a referendum ‘taking full account of internationally recognised standards,’ although this basically implies a negative criterion, as no such international norms for referenda exist. 17 At least in its public policy, the EU has failed to distance its objective of regional stabilisation from the die-hard conservatism of the local pro-Yugoslav forces. 18 Miraculously, the eventual agreement favours the reformers rather than the reactionaries: a temporary freezing of the status issue in the form of ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ allows pro-western politicians to pursue their reform agendas with both more drive and more concord – as the reform process towards regional and, primarily, European integration offers a broad basis of consensus. In sum, after the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Southern Serbia and the Ohrid Agreement of 13 August 2001 defining the road to a new inter-ethnic arrangement in Macedonia, the creation of ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ marks a third feat for Javier Solana, the European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (EUHR). In all three cases, however, due to the fragility of the arrangements and the volatility of political aspirations, today’s triumph can easily become tomorrow’s Pyrrhic victory.
The terms of the Agreement Essentially, the Belgrade Agreement of 14 March 2002 was the outcome of trilateral negotiations between the governments of Montenegro, Serbia and Yugoslavia with the EUHR as mediator and ‘witness’ to the agreement. The agreement constituted a compromise between the Montenegrin negotiation position, brought to paper by Đukanović on 28 December 2000, and the joint reply by Ko štunica and Đinđić, presented on 10 January 2001.19 The 2000 Đukanović platform dwelled on the injustices of past Montenegro-Serbia relations and Montenegro’s ‘inalienable right to self-determination’ (more than one-third of the platform text!), whereas the preamble of the response by Koštunica and Đinđić highlighted the merits of federal arrangements and the historic and cultural ties, as well as joint economic interests. The 14 March agreement contains only one terse reference to ‘elements of Serbian and Montenegrin statehood, stemming from the present-day factual situation and the
16 Dušan Reljić: ‘Montenegros Zukunft nach wie vor ungewiß’, SWP-Aktuell No. 3, 2002. Compare Morton Abramowitz: ‘Let the Montenegrins Have Their Say’. 17 Compare Monitor, 11.1.2002. 18 Florian Bieber: ‘The instrumentalisation of minorities in the Montenegrin dispute over independence’, ECMI Brief 8 (March 2002), pp. 7-8. 19 For the full texts of the two documents, see CEPS: Europa South-East Monitor, No. 19 (January 2001).


Wim van Meurs

historic rights of the two member states.’ In Đukanovićs vision, the sovereignty and equality of the republics was key, while Belgrade argued on the basis of the ‘equality and operability’ of the new federation. In the foremost set of issues, concerning international status and representation, the current agreement predominantly follows the Belgrade position with a veto on unilateral secession by referendum and one international-law subject. Montenegro will not have international legal personality but, in return, the west, for the first time, has accepted the option of a referendum on independence after three years. To protect Montenegro from being swamped by Serbs in the joint institutions and representative positions, some (rather specific) safeguards have been built in for proportional international representation by rotation. Elections at both levels and the constitutional amendments both set the new state apart from the current deficient FRY, without giving up implicit succession under international law.
Table 1 – International status and representation
International status International representation Referendum, elections and constitution Referendum on independence and future union in Serbia and Montenegro Constitutional amendments Three-year moratorium on referenda on secession. Elections for the republican parliaments and the President of the state, as well as for ministers and judges. Constitutional Charter drafted by a commission on the basis of parliamentary conclusions, submitted to republican and federal parliaments. Amendment of the republican constitutions.

Đukanović Independent and inter- Member-states autonoPlatform (28.12.2000) nationally-recognised mous in diplomatic states representation. Harmonisation and co-ordination within the Union KoštunicaĐinđić Platform (10.01.2001)
Serbia and Montenegro Agreement (14.03.2002)

Internationally recognised federation with two federal units Internationally recognised state with two republics

By the federation

Joint proportional representation. Parity in UN, OSCE, EU and CoE representation by rotation. Special modes of representation for international financial institutions

Typically, as far as the more tangible issues are concerned of the relations between state and member states, and the division of competencies, the Agreement is largely uninformative. Implicitly, it dissociates itself from Đukanovićs vision of sovereign states delegating part of their competencies to a subsidiary federal level. The Belgrade position contained two potentially conflicting definitions of the federal competencies:

The Belgrade Agreement

1. the federal units’ need and common interest and/or 2. the elementary functions of internal and external operability, while the new agreement implicitly sympathises with ‘internal and external operability’ as basic criteria. In terms of decision-making too, the spirit of the agreement seems to favour Belgrade’s ‘co-operative’ over Podgorica’s impracticable ‘consensual’ decisionmaking. As the text, however, contains not a single explicit statement on these issues, until the Constitutional Charter offers clarification (‘the modalities for achievement of these goals shall be elaborated in parallel with the Constitutional Charter’), any partisan interpretation is permitted. Conversely, the range of joint competencies and ministries – defence, foreign affairs and internal and international economic relations, as well as human and minority rights – copies the Montenegrin proposal with the exception of the common market and the convertible currency (Euro).
Table 2 – State and member states: division of competencies
Union and republics Đukanović Member states as holPlatform (28.12.2000) ders of sovereignty, delegating part of their competencies Institutions and decision-making Competencies of the Union interpreted restrictively, as a rule performed by bodies of the member states. Equality and consensual decision-making Functions performed at federal level minimal, defined by (1) the federal units’ need and common interest and/or (2) the elementary functions of internal and external operability. Co-operation between federal and republican bodies in decision-making and joint functions. Equality of the federal units. Dislocation of some federal institutions to Montenegro – Dislocation of some federal institutions to Montenegro Competencies of the Union Defence, foreign policy, common market and convertible currency, protection of human and minority rights

KoštunicaĐinđić Platform (10.01.2001)

Autonomy of republics in all functions not referred to federal level, incl. direct co-operation

Fully exercised: national defence, monetary and customs system, transportation, communication, foreign policy. Jointly exercised: protection of basic rights and freedoms (incl. social rights), other basics of economic system

Serbia and Montenegro Agreement (14.03.2002)

Defence, foreign policy, internal and international economic relations, protection of human and minority rights


Wim van Meurs

In the five fields of common policy, the new Agreement clearly combines elements from both positions. As Đukanović demanded, conscripts will not be forced to serve outside their own republic against their will, but there will be only one federal army (a lesson from Bosnia). In line with the choice on international legal personality, foreign and defence policy are within the realm of the Union. In internal and international economic relations, the actual competencies of the federation are less clear, as the republics are allowed to keep their separate economies, currencies and customs services. At this point, the Agreement is almost as blank as the Belgrade platform. The domain of human and minority rights is an open question; neither platform foresaw such a ministry that might either become a figurehead or a welcome excuse for the federal authorities to interfere in almost any republican legislation and political decision-making.
Table 3 – Common policy fields
Defence and foreign policy Member state armies, military service in one’s member state. The Supreme Defence Council (i.e. the three presidents) decides by consensus. Rotation of the defence and foreign ministers of the member states as defence minister of the Union. Foreign policy of the Union to facilitate integration in Euro-Atlantic organisations Defence by the federation and the federal army. Foreign policy as a federal prerogative with the possibility for the republics to exercise international economic integration and regional co-operation autonomously By the state. The Supreme Defence Council (i.e. the three presidents) decides by consensus. Conscripts serve in their own republic, unless they prefer otherwise Common market and currency Common, externally convertible currency and free flow of goods, capital, people and information. Each member state has its own central bank and retains the right to have its own monetary system Economic relations Single customs area without internal tariffs, harmonisation of customs policies and tariffs

Đukanović Platform (28.12.2000)

KoštunicaĐinđić Platform (10.01.2001)

Serbia and Montenegro Agreement (14.03.2002)

Harmonisation in trade and customs policies via EU economic system. Transitional harmonisation takes into account the interests of the member states. EU monitoring and assistance

Republics responsible for free flow of goods, capital, people and services as well as for functioning common market


The Belgrade Agreement

In terms of state institutions and decision-making, the Agreement tends to follow the more pragmatic Belgrade approach, based on operability rather than an interpretation of equality. The impracticable mode of the two republican Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs taking turns at the respective nominal position at the federal level has been replaced by an ‘exchange of roles’ of these two federal Ministers and their respective Deputies (i.e. from the other republic). Having a ‘real’ federal Foreign and Defence Minister strengthens the federal level and so does the abolition of strict parity between the republics in each federal position: President and Vice-President; each Minister and Deputy. Taking into account the limited competencies of the federal government, the Agreement does not foresee a Prime Minister (unlike the Belgrade model) and the supervision of the Ministerial Council will be in the hands of the President (unlike the Podgorica model, there is no mention of a Vice-President). The unicameral parliament, elected by all citizens of Serbia and Montenegro, points in the same direction, ignoring demands for a parallel system of republican parity next to individual democratic rights. The ‘certain positive discrimination’ for Montenegro, however, requires specification.
Table 4 – State institutions and decision-making
Assembly Đukanović Unicameral – deputies Platform (28.12.2000) elected on parity basis and within the legislative competence of the member states. Rotation of president and vicepresident of the assembly President, Court Elected and dismissed by the Assembly with prior agreement of the Assemblies of the member states. President of Union and President of the Council of Ministers from different member states and represent political majority Federal court Elected by the Federal Bicameral – absolute majority in both cham- Assembly, alternately bers needed for funda- from the two republics, dismissed only by rulmental federal decisions. General juris- ing of Federal Court, diction for both cham- nominates senior state officials bers. Chamber of Federal court as constiRepublics with equal tutional and regular number of deputies court from federal units, elected in republican legislatures. Citizens of the federation elect Chamber of Citizens, mandatory minimum for Montenegro Council of Ministers President, Vice-President, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance and Economic Relations. President/ Vice-President, Ministers/Deputy-Ministers from different member states

KoštunicaĐinđić Platform (10.01.2001)

Prime Minister elected alternately from the two republics. The Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister, who is accountable to the Federal Assembly


Wim van Meurs

Serbia and Montenegro Agreement (14.03.2002)

Unicameral – election laws of member states, certain positive discrimination for Montenegro. Mechanism against the outvoting of member states

Elected by parliament, proposes and directs Council of Ministers Court as constitutional and administrative court

Foreign affairs, defence, international economic relations, internal economic relations as well as the protection of human and minority rights. Ministers proposed and directed by the President, rotation of Ministers/Deputy Ministers in Foreign Affairs and Defence

Political elites and strategic realignments

Both in Belgrade and in Podgorica, key political figures that were not directly involved in the actual negotiations pretended surprise and shock at the results. Most recovered quickly and began to reposition themselves accordingly. In Montenegro, Đukanović, a political survivor of some repute, faced a tough political imbroglio. The President tried to explain his decision to his supporters by underlining that, instead of stopping it, the agreement postpones but in principle accepts, a referendum on independence. Nevertheless, the Montenegrin government was not expected electorally to survive Đukanovićs surprise move: his coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska partija, SDP) was more radical than the DPS in its drive for independence, but could not equal the Liberal Alliance (Liberalni savez Crne Gore, LSCG), which supported the DPS-SDP minority government, in its single-minded drive for statehood. SDP leader Ranko Krivokapić immediately demanded the annulment of the agreement and an immediate referendum. The DPS offer to the liberals to join the government coalition seemed to be a red herring: in order to stay on top of developments, Đukanović had to come to terms with the oppositional bloc ‘Together for Yugoslavia’, which reacted in more jubilant tones than the ruling parties. The first meetings between Đukanović and his SNP opponent Predrag Bulatović date back to August 2001 when the referendum seemed a forgone conclusion. The President may be in for some tough negotiations, but representatives of the opposition People’s Party (Narodna Stranka, NS) and of the Socialist People’s Party have cautiously signalled respect for his ‘stopping at the brink of disaster’ and have even indicated support for the agreement.20 All the party leaders seemed to be waiting for the first indications of the popular mood; and the polls soon indicated that betting on a majority in a referendum on independence would be risky: support for pro-Yugoslav and pro-independence parties was equal, with an increasing rate of possible non-voters among independence supporters. 21 In Serbia, Koštunica posed himself as the real winner and tried to sweeten the bitter pill for his nostalgic supporters by proclaiming ‘the beginning of a new historic unity between
20 Michael Meyer-Resende: ‘The End of Yugoslavia – the End of Disintegration?’, RFE/RL Newsline, 22.3.2002; Mika Tadić Mijović ‘Montenegro: Đukanović Plots Comeback’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 15.3.2002. 21 Zoran Radulovic: ‘Montenegro: Premier’s Resignation Triggers Political Chaos’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 26.4.2002.


The Belgrade Agreement

Serbia and Montenegro.’ 22 The state envisaged in the Agreement would have an improved presidential authority: election by the parliament rather than the populace will diminish its popular legitimacy but the competencies of the post would be more concretely defined. Early elections were bound to become a test for the DOS coalition, for Đinđićs ability to keep the 18-party coalition united and for Ko štunica to reap the fruits of his declining, but still high, popularity. 23 Others, such as Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus, or Yugoslav National Bank Governor, Mlađan Dinkić, criticised that a multitude of questions were left unanswered in the Agreement, particularly in the economic field. (Labus referred to the Agreement as an ‘economic Frankenstein.’) 24 Serb nationalists decrying the loss of Yugoslavia and Koštunica’s ‘betrayal’ must realise that the Agreement may have secured the best possible deal for nationally-minded Serbs, much better than a Yugoslavia which existing only on paper. Conversely, many Serb leaders had been more than willing to let Montenegro go its own way, but most certainly did not want to incur a nationalist backlash at home by actually letting it go. Thus, apart from the clear decision about the name of the new state ‘Serbia and Montenegro,’ most of the contentious issues have been left open, awaiting a constructive negotiation process to fill in the gaps. Thus, the Agreement of 14 March is essentially a declaration of intent rather than a constitutional blueprint. The Agreement contains some bitter pills for each negotiating party and some partial victories. For a real negotiation process in regional ownership, this may be just the right mixture. The obligatory verification of the agreement by the Montenegrin and Serbian parliaments after early elections (and the eventual ‘submission’ to the federal parliament) indicated that the outcome was not a foregone conclusion: 25 a mixed commission from the two republican parliaments and the federal parliament (which is not recognised by the Montenegrin government!) were tasked with drafting a Constitutional Charter on the basis of parliamentary conclusions. Thereafter, the newly-elected republican parliaments and, eventually, a federal parliament elected by the entire constituency of ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ would pass democratic judgement on the state of a new type, dubbed ‘Solarium’ by some sceptics. Subsequent to the signing of the Agreement, negotiations have been conducted for months with frequent deadlocks, and it seems quite likely that the Agreement may never be implemented in full. A velvet divorce by mutual agreement within the next three years may even be part of Đukanovićs and Đinđićs hidden agendas. Meanwhile, state formation as work in progress may, on the one hand, produce a substantial restructuring of the political landscape and, on the other, create a window of opportunity for real co-operation based on shared interests.
22 Mika Tadić Mijović, op. cit. 23 Željko Cvijanović: ’Serbia: Joint State Deals Blow to Đinđić, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 15.3.2002. 24 Quoted from Dušan Reljić: ‘Serbien und Montenegro einigen sich über zukünftige staatliche Gemeinschaft’, SWP-Brennpunkte (2002); RFE/RL Newsline, 20.3.2002. 25 Bernhard Küppers: ‘Jugoslawiens Scheintod’, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.3.2002, p. 4.


Wim van Meurs

Open questions and hidden caveats

Like any good political deal, the Serbia-Montenegro Agreement leaves a number of questions unanswered. The first crucial hiatus concerns its hybrid character between federation and confederation: implicitly, ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ is, effectively, a continuation of the 1992 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) since it is not a re-federalisation after a declaration of independence, as envisaged by the Đukanović platform. At the same time, however, the need for the Constitutional Charter to be passed by the parliaments of the member states after elections (and only ‘submitted’ to the federal parliament), indicates an institutional break with the (recent) past. Evidently, the negotiating parties have decided to tackle the political status issue first and leave open the contentious economic issues. Pressed for time, the EU seems to have accepted a looser form of union than envisaged in earlier blueprints. The envisaged ‘loose union of a new type’ would enable a clearer institutional relationship between Serbia and the federal level, a precondition for rationalisation and the elimination of the costly overlaps between the Yugoslav and the Serbian administrations: a number of FRY institutions not foreseen for the new Union could be re-designated as institutions of the Serbian Republic (e.g. the National Bank). The main structural problem to be resolved, however, concerns the equality of two essentially unequal republics. Montenegro will have its veto in the Supreme Defence Council and in the federal parliament, as well as its share of international representation. As long as there is a strategic consensus, the idea of a Montenegrin representing eight million inhabitants of Serbia and a few hundred thousand Montenegrins in international organisations may even be bearable. In negotiations with international financial institutions, however, conflicting interests may easily destroy the credibility of the new union, both externally and internally, while implementing the Agreement’s ‘special modes of representation for international financial institutions’ will be a challenge. The same applies to the weighting of Montenegro’s democratic representation in the federal decision-making bodies: how to design a system which both prevents Serbia from outvoting its junior partner on each and every issue whilst preventing Montenegro from applying its veto to get a disproportionate say in common policy-making? The main deficit of the agreement – in that respect more similar to the Ko štunica/Đinđić platform than to Đukanovićs – concerns the economic integration of the two member states. The Serbian prime minister had noted during the negotiations that he cared more for economic than for political integration, but each member of the new state will retain, for the time being, its own economic, financial and customs systems and Montenegro its Euro currency, much along the lines recommended in the ICG/CEPS letter to Solana. 26 Montenegro may also keep its lower tariffs and a customs regime between the two republics. Conversely, access for Montenegrins to Serbian institutions of higher education, medical care and other state services beyond the reach of a mini-state like Montenegro is likely to become an issue for negotiations. Economic separation has many disadvantages, but the current asymmetries do not allow for significant re-integration. Economic separation, however, is not so much a setback but rather an acceptance of current realities.
26 ICG/CEPS media release: ‘EU Pressure’.


The Belgrade Agreement

The federal Deputy Prime Minister, Miroljub Labus, criticised the lack of clarity in terms of timetables and economic matters, noting that one year would be a reasonable timeframe for the re-integration of markets. His one-year deadline refers to the expected duration of the negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the new state and the European Union, the first step towards full EU membership in 10-15 years.27 EU mediators and the negotiating parties both gave priority to breaking the spell of the (political) status question, hoping that new synergies and the economic momentum released by the integrative Stabilisation and Association Process towards full EU membership will make up for the evident disadvantages of economic separation. 28 The EU’s promise to support and monitor intermediate bilateral harmonisation in the economic field, and eventual harmonisation under the aegis of the European common market, both indicate that the expectation is that economic policies will be more rational and controllable than the emotional and intractable status question. Economic re-integration could take place gradually as Serbia catches up and as EU integration becomes a closer prospect.
The aftermath of the Agreement The procedure envisaged by the Agreements ‘Proceeding points for the restructuring of relations between Serbia and Montenegro’ was rather elaborate and, needless to say, violated the relevant clauses in the respective Constitutions. Firstly, the Parliaments of Serbia (10 April 2002), Montenegro (10 April 2002) and Yugoslavia (31 May 2002) all ratified the Agreement itself rather quickly and without much ado. Originally, it was foreseen that the Constitutional Charter – to be hammered out by a tripartite parliamentary commission – would be passed in June and new federal elections set for autumn. 29 Eventually, the differences between the two delegations from Belgrade, on the one hand, and the delegation from Podgorica, on the other, proved hard to overcome. The committee declared itself unable to produce a draft Constitutional Charter by mid-August 2002. In an effort to break the deadlock, the Serbian and Montenegrin governments opened parallel negotiations and passed a unified proposal for a Charter (written by the DOS presidium). The proposal envisaged 22 elected representatives from Montenegro and 59 from Serbia (a ratio of 1 to 2.1) The proposal left unanswered only the question of the election system for the federal parliament.30 Serbia and the Montenegrin opposition preferred to have the federal MPs elected directly (thus enhancing their legitimacy), whereas the Montenegrin government insisted on having the MPs merely delegated by the respective national parliaments. Owing to this one single, but admittedly thorny, issue, the finalisation of the constitutional process was postponed until the end of 2002. Inevitably, the duration of the negotiations created more and more specific demands and objections from all sides. The failure of the third round of the Serbian presidential elections in December 2002 resulted in yet another postponement of the finalisation of the Charter. Ironically, all three parties – Podgorica, Belgrade and Brussels – had their troubles in the aftermath of the signing of the Agreement on 14 March, albeit that these were differ27 28 29 30 Balkans Weekly, 15.3.2002. Reljić, op. cit. Meyer-Resende, op. cit. Zoran B. Nikolić: ‘Serbia and Montenegro Postpone Adoption of New Federal Constitution’, Balkan Times, 24.9.2002.


Wim van Meurs

ent than had been predicted by many observers. In Belgrade, the Agreement generally failed to stir public and political emotions: the ongoing conflict between Ko štunica and Đinđić outshining the whole issue of statehood. Both competitors, moreover, were fully aware that neither could afford to take on the EU in an issue directly linked to the perspective of EU membership, EU assistance and admission to the Council of Europe. A tough position on ICTY co-operation might enhance a politician’s popularity; a trade-off between the details of the Union with Montenegro and tangible EU assistance certainly would not. Nevertheless, Đinđić may be more under pressure to wrap up the Constitutional Charter, thus gaining international standing, to compensate for his lack of domestic popularity. Thus, he made additional concessions to Nebojsa Ćović and other proponents of a more unified state, even after Belgrade and Podgorica had agreed on a draft charter on 26 August 2002. 31 Ćović insisted, for instance, on having ‘Kosovo and Metohija’ mentioned in the text – a populist gesture without relevance to the Montenegrins – whereas Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovi ć argued that Kosovo was not an issue for the federation, only for Serbia. Yet, Kosovo and Vojvodina did have the status of constitutive elements in the old Yugoslavia. Politicians from Vojvodina and, in particular, Sandžak suggested that minority protection legislation should be made a federal prerogative, but this was, however, rejected by Podgorica. 32 The unresolved relations between federal, national and regional authorities also caused interference as Đinđić had a bilateral Serbian-Montenegrin commission hammer out the draft, whereas Ko štunica protested against the exclusion of the federal authorities and Justice Minister Vladan Bati ć suggested a startling new option – a Serbian referendum on independence prior to the creation of the new union with Montenegro. 33 Predictably, in Podgorica the pro-independence government of Filip Vujanovi ć fell in April, as the Liberal Alliance and the SDP withdrew their support. More surprisingly, Đukanovićs DPS fared reasonably well in the local elections in May 2002: apparently, the electorate preferred a well-managed, gradual divorce without the radical breaks and political confrontation that might be detrimental to economic and social relations between the two states. 34 Thus, Parliament accepted the Belgrade Agreement in combination with a possible referendum on independence in March 2005. 35 Even more surprisingly, no polarisation or even escalation occurred over the independence issue. On the contrary, after months of squabbling, the pro-independence Liberal Alliance joined forces at the local level with the pro-Yugoslav bloc against Đukanović and enforced early parliamentary elections in October 2002 at the republican level. 36 The electorate had consistently given unemployment and other socio-economic issues a much higher priority in opinion polls than the independence issue, but politicians were now also
31 Deutsche Welle Monitor, 29.8.2002 & 3.9.2002; Nenad Stefanović: ‘Serbie-Monténégro: Entertien avec Nebojša Ćović, Le Courrier des Balkans, 17.4.2002. 32 BETA, 29.8.& 2.9.2002. 33 Deutsche Welle Monitor, 21.8.2002. 34 Mika Tadić-Mijović: Đukanović Confounds Pollsters’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 17.5.2002. 35 Montenegro Today, 27.5.2002. 36 Neđeljko Rudović: ‘Montenegro: Liberal Switch Heralds Early Elections’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 28.6.2002.


The Belgrade Agreement

demonstrating that there were other stakes involved in Montenegrin politicking than independence. That Đukanović had to present the Belgrade Agreement as a kind of commonwealth of independent states, whereas the pro-Yugoslav opposition had to demonstrate that, essentially, Yugoslavia continued to exist, made the debate in Podgorica extremely difficult. And, to top it all, those who were in the opposition in Podgorica held only a minute majority in the national parliament and were the only representatives of the country in the federal parliament. Conversely, in Brussels the Agreement triggered controversy between the High Representative responsible for crisis management and the Commissioner responsible for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the new state. The Belgrade Agreement focused on the political issues, essentially leaving economic questions unanswered and banking on the leverage of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement:
Harmonisation of the economic systems of the member states with the EU economic system shall overcome the existing differences, primarily in the spheres of trade and customs policies. In both regards, economic reforms that have already been carried out in the member states shall be taken into full account, while solutions that would provide for the quickest integration into the European Union shall be accepted. Transitional solutions in harmonising trade and customs policies should take into account the interests of the member states. The European Union shall assist in the accomplishment of these objectives and monitor the process on a regular basis. The modalities for the achievement of these objectives shall be elaborated in parallel with the Constitutional Charter. If one of the member states believes that the other does not live up to the commitments under this Agreement concerning the operation of a common market and the harmonisation of trade and customs policies, it shall reserve the right to raise the matter with the EU in the context of the Stabilisation and Association Process with the view to the adoption of appropriate measures.

Thus, Patten’s negotiators made it clear to the quarrelling politicians in Belgrade and Podgorica that too loose a federation would not do in seeking qualification for the first step towards EU membership, i.e. a feasibility study on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Otherwise, it would be impossible to apply EU conditionality and assistance to two completely different states in an empty shell of a union without political and economic authority. It would have been paradoxical indeed to have a loose federation join with regional and, later, European integration without achieving the same level of integration bilaterally. Joint customs systems, a single market and unified tariffs are absolute prerequisites. Thus, the draft Constitutional Charter of August envisioned the creation of a Serbian-Montenegrin single market and the harmonisation of the economies and customs regimes within two years. The admission criteria for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement define minimum levels of economic union and harmonisation. 37 Solana’s ‘robust mediation’, moreover, treads a thin line between too little intervention, thus allowing politicking local leaders to deadlock the negotiations, and too much intervention, provoking truculence on the part of the national authorities. Thus, some Belgrade politicians have vociferously reiterated that no such advice was needed. Nevertheless, the suggestions of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission shaped the draft charter sub37 Ines Sabalić: ‘Montenegro: Brussels’ U-Turn on New State’, IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, 12.7.2002.


Wim van Meurs

stantially.38 Thinly-veiled threats that delays caused by elections in Serbia and Montenegro might affect the Stabilisation and Association Process or admission to the Council of Europe have been to no avail in accelerating the process. 39
Consequences for regional stability? Many in Serbia, nostalgic for the days of Tito, will regret the loss of the name ‘Yugoslavia’ and the ideal of the multi-ethnic state it once implied. For many in Serbia and beyond, after the experiences of the past ten years, Yugoslavia had come to stand only for Serbian ethnonationalism and ethnic cleansing. Conversely, after the extradition of Milošević, dropping the name ‘Yugoslavia’ is a second reassuring symbol for many in the region, a farewell to the era of ethnic conflict and human tragedy. Whatever may be its quality as a functioning state, the new name should be listed on the credit side of the balance sheet for ‘Serbia and Montenegro.’ Dropping the name ‘Yugoslavia,’ moreover, may give a new dimension and impetus to the on-going debate on Serb national identity and the Serbian state. The pivotal regional question relates to the consequences for the final status of Kosovo (and other potential status questions in the region, e.g. Republika Srpska and the Albanians in Macedonia). The main reason why the EU had strongly objected to the idea of Montenegrin independence ever since Đukanović took office, despite the confirmation of the 1991/1992 Badinter Commission that Montenegro did have the right to self-determination, was concern for precedent followed by yet another round of state fragmentation in a region traditionally suffering from too many projects in state- and nation-building. Montenegro under the rule of DPS and SDP has been, however, largely characterised by a civic state with harmonious relations between the Montenegrin majority, Bosniak-Muslims, Albanians and the smaller minorities. 40 Therefore, Kosovo’s status has been the main obstacle to Montenegrin independence, although political leaders in Podgorica and Priština have never tired of denying any such nexus. Indeed, Kosovar politicians will never abandon their aspirations for independence, no matter what kind of constitutional acrobatics the Montenegrins perform. 41 Any immediate backlash in Kosovo of a Montenegrin referendum on independence seemed unlikely but, both in Brussels and in the region, the Agreement has been applauded as an end to the Balkan trend of never-ending state fragmentation in a Europe characterised by integration and the transfer of sovereign rights to intergovernmental organisations. 42 The International Crisis Group was not the first to raise the question as to what consequences the dissolution of the third Yugoslavia would have for the guarantee of its ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’ as contained in Resolution 1244 – all the more so as this Resolution referred to Kosovo as part of Yugoslavia, not of Serbia. 43 As of now, the ensu38 Gergana Noutcheva: ‘Negotiating a Viable State Union of Serbia and Montenegro,’ CEPS Commentary, August 2002. See also 39 Glas Javnosti, 19 & 25.9.2002. 40 Tim Judah: ‘Montenegro’s Quest for Independence’, BBC News, 28.12.2000; Bieber, op. cit. See also the chapter by František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová on National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia, this volume. 41 Rüb, op. cit. 42 Ljiljana Renke: ‘Ein steiniger Weg’, Deutsche Welle Monitor, 27.8.2002. 43 UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), adopted by the Security Council at its 4011th meeting on 10 June 1999.


The Belgrade Agreement

ing debate between specialists in international and constitutional law has only academic relevancy. ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ becomes the successor state of the defunct FRY and the 14 March Agreement includes an explicit safeguard against possible disintegration after three years:
If Montenegro withdraws from the state union, international documents related to FRY, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 in particular, shall relate to and fully apply on Serbia as its successor.

Thus, this weaving fault in Resolution 1244 has been repaired and, strictly speaking, only the unlikely case of Serbia’s secession would unhinge it. The suggestion that the Resolution is violated and that Serb sovereignty over Kosovo has been thereby re-introduced seems far-fetched: The UN Resolution could not deny Kosovo being a province of the Serbian republic under the Yugoslav Constitution and, albeit theoretically, Serbia might uphold the defunct ‘shell’ of the FRY even after Montenegro’s secession if only because of Kosovo. 44 Nevertheless, in three years (at the latest), the triangular dilemma of Belgrade-Podgorica-Priština will come to a head again: in quick succession, the term of office of the Kosovar government, the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo and the Serbian-Montenegrin moratorium on referenda will end. Three years, however, is a long time. What the Agreement brokered by Solana may achieve is gaining time rather than playing for time. The new ‘union of states’ erases the delusion of the defunct FRY that had become a danger in itself and offers a basic framework for new trilateral and regional arrangements. Even if the new state would be only a transitional solution, ending the constitutional confusion and political deadlock, it would still be a historic achievement in the Balkan region – on a long and arduous road full of protracted negotiations and political detours.

44 Matthias Rüb: ‘Folgen der Einigung von Belgrad’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16.3.2002, p. 6.


Appendix 1

Appendix 1 – Proceeding Points for the Restructuring of Relations between Serbia and Montenegro1 Belgrade 15.03.2002

Agreement on Principles. The Agreement on Principles of relations between Serbia and Montenegro within the state union shall be signed by participants in the talks: the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Deputy Federal Prime Minister, the President of the Republic of Montenegro, the Serbian and Montenegrin Premiers and, as a witness, the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. The document shall be submitted for debate to the Parliaments of member states and the Federal Parliament. Constitutional Charter. On the basis of opinions put forward in parliamentary debates, that is, parliamentary conclusions, a constitutional commission, whose members shall be delegated by the Parliaments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), Serbia and Montenegro, shall draft the Constitutional Charter, the highest legal act of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. The text of this act shall be adopted by the republican parliaments first, and than submitted to the Federal Parliament. Such procedure would reaffirm the elements of Serbian and Montenegrin statehood, stemming from the present-day factual situation and the historic rights of the two member states. Provision on Reconsideration. Upon the expiry of a three-year period, the member states shall be entitled to institute proceedings for a change of the state status, that is, withdrawal from the state union. If Montenegro withdraws from the state union, international documents related to FRY, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 in particular, shall relate to and fully apply on Serbia as its successor. A member state that uses this right shall not inherit the right to international and legal status, and all debatable issues shall be regulated specifically between the state successor and the newly established state. If in a referendum process both member states declare themselves in favour of a change of the state status (independence), all debatable issues shall be resolved in succession proceedings, as was done in the case of former Yugoslavia. The Laws on Referendum shall be adopted by the member states, taking full account of internationally recognised democratic standards. The name of the state: Serbia and Montenegro. Institutions of Serbia and Montenegro: the Parliament, the President, the Council of Ministers and the Court. Parliament: A unicameral parliament providing certain positive discrimination for Montenegrin representatives. The Laws on the Election of Representatives to the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro shall be adopted by the member states, in compliance with the principles defined by the Constitutional Charter. Mechanisms to protect against the outvoting of member states shall be provided for.
1 The web site of the FRY government, available at:


The Belgrade Agreement

President of Serbia and Montenegro: The President, elected by the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro, shall propose the composition of the Council of Ministers and direct its work. Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers shall be composed of five departments: foreign affairs; defence; international economic relations; internal economic relations; and protection of human and minority rights. The competences of the ministries shall be defined in detail subsequently. The Court of Serbia and Montenegro: The Court shall have a constitutional court and administrative court functions, and shall deal with harmonisation of court practice. The administrative court function shall be exercised in relation to the administrative acts of the ministries of the Council of Ministers. The Court shall take legal views and give opinions related to the harmonisation of court practice. The Court is not an appellate court and has an equal number of judges from the member states. The Army: The Army of Serbia and Montenegro shall be under the command of the Supreme Defence Council, composed of three presidents. The Supreme Defence Council shall make decisions by consensus. Conscripts shall serve the army on the territory of their respective member states, with the possibility of serving on the territory of the other member state, if they wish so. Elections and Appointments: Upon the promulgation of the Constitutional Charter under the specified procedure, elections shall take place, the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro shall be constituted, the President of Serbia and Montenegro shall be elected, as well as members of the Council of Ministers and judges of the Court of Serbia and Montenegro. It shall also be possible to provide for rotation during a term in office. (In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, the minister and his/her deputy from different member states shall take turns when one half of the term in office has expired). In representing the member states in international organisations (UN, OSCE, EU and the Council of Europe), parity shall be provided for through rotation, whereas special models for representation shall be defined for international financial organisations. In diplomatic and consular representative offices of Serbia and Montenegro abroad, special agreement shall be made on proportionate representation of the member states. The Constitutional Charter shall be submitted to the Parliaments for deliberation by the end of June 2002 at the latest. Dislocation of federal institutions. Some federal institutions can be headquartered in Podgorica. Constitutional reconstruction of the member states. Within the activities aimed at the promulgation of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro, the member states shall amend their respective constitutions in compliance with the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro or promulgate new constitutions by the end of 2002 at the latest. Economic sphere. The level of economic reforms reached in Serbia and Montenegro shall be a proceeding point for regulating mutual economic relations. The


Wim van Meurs Appendix 1

member states shall be responsible for the unhindered operation of a common market, including the free flow of people, goods, services and capital. Harmonisation of the economic systems of the member states with the EU economic system shall overcome the existing differences, primarily in the spheres of trade and customs policies. In both regards, economic reforms that have already been carried out in the member states shall be taken into full account, while solutions that would provide for the quickest integration into the European Union shall be accepted. Transitional solutions in harmonising trade and customs policies should take into account the interests of the member states. The European Union shall assist in the accomplishment of these objectives and monitor the process on a regular basis. The modalities for the achievement of these objectives shall be elaborated in parallel with the Constitutional Charter. If one of the member states believes that the other does not live up to the commitments under this agreement concerning the operation of a common market and the harmonisation of trade and customs policies, it shall reserve the right to raise the matter with the EU in the context of the Stabilisation and Association Process with the view to the adoption of appropriate measures. The EU shall guarantee that, if other conditions and criteria for the Stabilisation and Association Process are fulfilled, the agreed principles of constitutional organisation shall not be an obstacle to a rapid conclusion of an Agreement on Association and Stabilisation. President of the Federal Republic Yugoslavia Vojislav Koštunica Deputy Federal Prime Minister Miroljub Labus President of the Republic of Montenegro Milo Đukanović Premier of the Republic of Serbia Zoran Đinđić Premier of the Republic of Montenegro Filip Vujanović Witnessed by EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana Belgrade, March 14 2002


Srđa Pavlović

Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society
Introduction The last decade of the 20 th century was a time of significant political, ideological and demographic changes in Eastern and ‘Central’ Europe. 1 We witnessed the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the disappearance of the Berlin Wall, as well as the rise of ethnic, local and regional aspirations that re-introduced the issues of nationality and nationalism to the European political scene. The over-optimistic prediction that the era of nationalism and nation states was approaching its final phase proved to be premature in discounting the nature and vitality of those concepts. Today, nationality and nationalism appear to be the most universal legitimate values in contemporary political life. This chapter will elaborate on the historical continuity and some of the contemporary manifestations of the problems facing Montenegro in its struggle to re-negotiate its position in the region and to preserve distinct notions of national and cultural identity among its peoples. The primary objective of the chapter is to highlight the issue of identity construction in Montenegro over time. It should be kept in mind that the concept of identity and the process of identity construction are ever-changing phenomena. Accordingly, it is neither possible nor advisable to speak of identity in terms of finality, but rather in terms of an ongoing process of accommodation, adjustment and re-definition. For scholars interested in Montenegro’s past, writing about its history means probing through layers of mythologised yester-years and trying to shed more light on the question of the origins of Montenegrins. When was Montenegro first mentioned and in what sense? Was the Montenegrin state only a ‘peripheral extension of Serbia’ or was it an independent and recognisable entity? 2 Who are Montenegrins? Are they Serbs populating the area known as Montenegro, thus adopting the toponym as their ethnic name? Are they a South Slavic people with their own distinct identity, incorporating certain elements of the preSlavic inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula? Are they an integral part of a broader Serbian ethnic framework (‘the best of the Serbs’) that ended up isolated from the nation’s nucleus due to an unfortunate historical circumstance? Is it possible to talk about the identities of peoples living in present-day Montenegro independent of an all-inclusive Serbian paradigm and outside the canonised binary opposition of Serb versus Montenegrin identity?
1 For more detailed discussions on the nature of the concept of ‘Central Europe’ from the Balkan perspective see Maria Todorova: Imagining the Balkans (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 140-160; Tomislav Z. Longinović: Borderline Culture: The Politics of Identity in Four Twentieth Century Slavic Novels (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1993); K.E. Fleming: ‘Orientalism, the Balkans and Balkan Historiography,’ American Historical Review Vol. 105 No. 4 (October 2000), pp. 1218-1233. Also see Perry Anderson: ‘A Ripple of the Polonaise’, London Review of Books, November 1999. For some of my own thoughts on the subject, see Srđa Pavlović: ‘Kako Sačuvati Staru Damu Evropu’, Matica No. 7-8 (Autumn/Winter 2001), pp. 29-48, and Srđa Pavlović: Iza Ogledala (Podgorica: CID, 2001), pp. 53-80. 2 Christopher Boehm: Montenegrin Social Organisation and Values: Political Ethnography of a Refugee Area Tribal Adaptation (New York: AMS Press, 1983), p. 9.


Srđa Pavlović

All of the available historical sources do not provide a clear answer to these questions. The initial contact and, later, the mixing and intermarrying of Slavs with the indigenous population of the Balkans has blurred the lines and prevented a clear-cut ethnic distinction. From the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century onwards, it is possible to make a distinction between Montenegrins and Serbs in terms of their independent political histories, as well as their tradition, customs, moral codes and the elements that best define the social cultures of their respective societies. The issue of the contested identity of Montenegrins represents the starting point in every debate that evolves around the question of political relations between Montenegro and Serbia. From the Serbian perspective, Montenegrins were and still are ethnic Serbs living in Montenegro and their state is regarded as proof of the continuity of Serb presence in the region from the medieval times to present.
Methodological dilemma: tribal or national consciousness? The case for the state’s independence and sovereignty might be easier to argue, but resolving the issue of identity/identities in the Montenegro of the period is a daunting task. 3 Examining this aspect of Montenegrin history should begin by addressing the issue of the national awareness of its population in the past. This is an important point of departure because it deals with the issues of ‘ancestral land’ and ‘temporal continuity’, and with the application of modern analytical categories such as nation and national identity to periods prior to the emergence of these concepts. Did the 17 th and 18th century Montenegrin tribes think of themselves in national terms and were they aware of the existence of such a level of identification? Even though Montenegrin history and tradition provide numerous examples of identification with Serbs, it would be safe to argue that such identification was of a general, non nation-specific nature and had more to do with the notion of shared religious beliefs than with ethnic/national awareness among the Montenegrin tribes of the period. However, many scholars are quick to include Montenegrins with Serbs and to point out that the region was, for centuries, a refuge for the remnants of a defeated Serb nation. 4 This inclusion is rationalised by invoking the shared language and religious beliefs of Montenegrins and Serbs, and elevating the importance of certain common features of their respective traditional cultures. 5 Others maintain that Montenegrins could and should call themselves a nation because they
3 On the development of Montenegrin statehood, see Šerbo Rastoder’s Short review of the history of Montenegro, this volume. 4 ‘From the tenth to the twentieth century, the Zeta area preserved a nucleus of Serbian culture and nationalism at a time when Serbia was overrun by Bulgars or Ottomans.’ Boehm: Montenegrin Social Organisation, p. 9. Barbara Jelavich wrote about Montenegro as ‘the second Serbian state’, in Jelavich: History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Vol. 1. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 247. Also see R. W. Seton Watson: The Rise of Nationality in the Balkans, (New York: Howard Fertig, 1966), p. 31 and Adrian Hastings: The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 128, 142. 5 The argument about shared religious beliefs represents a contested territory because ‘Orthodoxy alone can not for any length of time paper over other factors of division … Montenegrin Orthodoxy has resisted, and still resists, incorporation within a Serb church.’ Hastings: op. cit., p. 142.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

have a different political history and because one could make a strong case for the longstanding existence of an apparent horizontal identification among Montenegrins. 6 It appears that both approaches are coloured by opposing political views which support projecting the concept of national consciousness back in time in order to establish historical continuity for the presence of a particular nation in the region. Such methodology rationalises the concept of a lost ‘ancestral land’ that has to be reclaimed. In modern times, the urge to repossess the ‘cradle’ of one’s civilisation from an unwanted ‘other’ has often resulted in significant demographic changes and forced population movements. Furthermore, projecting a modern concept back in time does not seem entirely appropriate because it is difficult to apply the logic of national belonging/awareness to periods before such concepts existed. 7 However, with the advent of an ideology of national awakening in Montenegro during the last decades of the 19 th century, the character, intensity and motives for the region's conflicts acquired a specific and new framework. 8 Only with the emergence of a political project that called for nation-building and national homogenisation did the peoples in the region begin confronting each other in relation to their respective ethnic and religious prerogatives (Christians against the ‘Turks’ (Muslims); Serbs against Croats, or Serbs against Albanians, and vice versa). Prior to that, the various inhabitants of the Balkans fought each other for many reasons and on behalf of many empires, but the elements of ethnic/national animosity did not play a significant role (if any at all) in those confrontations. 9 Montenegrin society at the time (17 th and 18th century) was characterised by occasional and voluntary co-operation at the inter-tribal level. However, these temporary alliances had little to do with the modern concept of national identity but, rather, limited themselves to military aims, primarily fencing off Ottoman forces. There can be no question about the primacy of tribal autonomy in Old Montenegro and Brda over the powers of the central authority in Cetinje. 10 Furthermore, almost all the Montenegrin tribes (with the exception of those from Katunska Nahija) assisted at one time or another the neighbouring Ottoman
6 Jozo Tomašević: Peasants, Politics and Economic Change in Yugoslavia (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1955), p. 126 (footnote). 7 With regard to the timeframe of the emergence of nation-states and the concept of nationalism, I am more inclined to follow the so-called ‘modernist view’, advocated by scholars such as Eric Hobsbawm, John Breuilly, Ernest Gellner and Benedict Anderson than the views expressed by Adrian Hastings. 8 Ivo J. Lederer: ‘Nationalism and the Yugoslavs’, in Peter F. Sugar and Ivo J. Lederer (eds.): Nationalism in Eastern Europe (Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 1969), pp. 399-403. 9 Noel Malcolm: Kosovo: A Short History (London: Macmillan, 1998), Introduction, pp. xxviii-xxx. For an interesting analysis of the position of Catholic Albanians in Montenegro at the end of the nineteenth century, see: Šerbo Rastoder; Janusovo lice istorije: odabrani članci i rasprave, (Podgorica: Vijesti, 2000), pp. 105-125. 10 ‘Montenegro was divided into two parts – Montenegro and the Brda. The first was old Montenegro with some additions on the Herzegovinian side; the second, the mountain mass that borders on Albania.’ Mary Edith Durham: Some Tribal Origins, Laws and Customs of the Balkans (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1928), p. 34. Brda is the name of the tribal land to the north and north-east of so-called Old Montenegro. The region of Brda encompassed tribes such as Bjelopavlići, Piperi, Kuči, Vasojevići and others.


Srđa Pavlović

forces against other tribes from the area. 11 In the Montenegro of the 17 th and 18th century, it was the tribe and not the state/central authority that nearly exclusively provided the mechanisms of horizontal identification for individuals. The central authority played a very limited role in this process since it was the tribe that always acted as safe harbour for the individual and constructed, and maintained the social poetics of the time. 12 With this in mind, it would be safe to conclude that the Montenegrin tribesmen of the 17 th and 18th centuries valued their tribal allegiance highly and were much more aware of their belonging to a particular tribe than they were of thinking of themselves in terms of a national identity. New national demarcation lines within Montenegro and in respect to its neighbours came into existence only with the advent of the idea of national awakening and national homogenisation on a more general level.
Politics of identity: from Serbhood to Yugoslavism and back The Montenegro of Prince (later King) Nikola I Petrović Njegoš (ruler from 1860 until 1918) was characterised by a trend in the modernisation of the country and the strengthening of its central authority, as well as the development of a much-needed infrastructure including roads, elementary and secondary schools, a postal service, banking and telephone services. These first steps in the development of the Montenegrin economy and the restructuring of the state apparatus produced some negative consequences. At the time when Prince Nikola was working on strengthening the central authority and elevating his own role in the country's affairs, some tribal leaders felt increasingly marginalised and saw their authority diminished. Nikola's departure from the traditional way of conducting politics (consulting with the tribal leaders) was seen as not only the abandonment of the ‘old ways’ but also as the first step in dissolving the traditional values of Montenegrin society.13 On 19 December 1905, the Constitutional Assembly, known as Nikoljdanska Skupština (the St. Nicholas Day Assembly), proclaimed the first Montenegrin Constitution. According to the new law of the land, Montenegro was a constitutional but not a parliamentary monarchy, since the Prince retained the ultimate say in matters of the state and in the decision-making process. 14 What followed were a series of short-term political alli11 Mary Edith Durham, op. cit., p. 82. Nahija (Nahiya) was the smallest administrative unit in the Ottoman state. Katunska Nahija was the core of Old Montenegro. See Jelavich, op. cit., Vol. 1 p. 57. 12 Svetlana Boym views social poetics as the basis for cultural identity and as ‘cultural intimacy that provides a glue in everyday life… Such identity involves everyday games of hideand-seek that only ‘natives’ play, unwritten rules of behavior, jokes understood from half a word, a sense of complicity. State propaganda and official national memory build on this cultural intimacy, but there is also a discrepancy and tension between the two.’ Svetlana Boym: The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001), pp. 42-43. Also see Michael Herzfeld, Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 13-14. 13 Ivo Banac: The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), p. 276. 14 The first Montenegrin Constitution was drafted jointly by Prince Nikola and his legal adviser and journalist from Belgrade, Stevan Ćurčić. It greatly resembled the Serbian Constitution of 1869. Jagoš Jovanović: Istorija Crne Gore, 2nd ed. (Cetinje: Izdavački Centar Cetinje & CID, 1995), pp. 337-38.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

ances, a succession of more or less inefficient governments and the development of serious political rivalry in Montenegro. 15 After fifty years of rule, Nikola decided in 1910 to proclaim Montenegro a Kingdom. The coronation represented an effort to strengthen Nikola’s political position at home in addition to being an effort to internationalise the question of Montenegro’s desired territorial expansion at the expense of the Ottoman state. For supporters of his decision, the coronation was a continuation of the tradition of Montenegrin independence and an important step forward in the process of the complete ‘renewal’ of the ancient Kingdom of Zeta from 1077. In emphasising his attachment to the Serbian nation, King Nikola I pointed out the importance of Montenegrin independence and sovereignty, effectively dividing Montenegro into two hostile political camps. Those opposing his policies argued that the coronation was nothing more than the act of a power-hungry despot. The new kingdom nevertheless proved to be a brief accomplishment because, at the end of World War I, Montenegro lost its independence and sovereignty, and found itself first as part of Serbia and then, later, of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. 16 During this period, the contested nature of Montenegrin identity came to the political forefront and constituted a stumbling block in relations between Serbia and Montenegro. The issue of identities and loyalties gained prominence due to a number of factors, geography and politics being among the most important. The process of constructing the new geographical boundaries of Montenegro had a profound impact on how interchanges took place between local populations and the state authority concerned, and how the locals adapted to these new frontiers. 17 The significant change in the country’s size, which, in turn, was closely related to the economic state of affairs at the local level, affected the mechanisms of political and national identification (at the individual level and at that of the group). Different groups and individuals living in Montenegro at the time had very specific regional and local interests which could not easily be reduced to a universalised ‘national’ character or political unit, while the frontiers delineated by the European powers and by the educational and economic reforms, which had been thought to have solidified post-Ottoman identities, proved to be confusing at best. 18 Moreover, the different groups within a given tribe (family, clan/familija, bratstvo) in Montenegro had very specific interests which did not always correspond with the interests of the tribe as a whole. These conflicting needs and aspirations at the micro level had rendered the process of national homogenisation in Montenegro even more difficult and had, furthermore, undermined the cohesiveness of the entire undertaking. The general perception of this process
15 See Jovan Đonović: Ustavne i političke borbe u Crnoj Gori 1905-1910 (Beograd: K.J. Mihailović, 1939). 16 Jovan R. Bojović: Podgorička skupština 1918: dokumenta (Gornji Milanovac: Dečje novine, 1989). 17 During the reign of Prince (later king) Nikola I Petrović, Montenegro quadrupled its territory. As Ivo Banac points out, after the Balkan wars and for the first time ‘Montenegrins ruled not only over a large body of hostile Muslims, many of them Albanians, but also over highland tribes with a tradition of strong ties to Serbia.’ Banac, op. cit., p. 275. 18 This adaptation was particularly difficult for non-Christians and non-Slavs living in areas bordering Old Montenegro, some of which were later incorporated into the Montenegrin state.


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in Montenegro goes along the lines of monocausal explanations of the phenomena of ethnic/national identity which are undergoing continuous modification but, in spite of the romanticism of national histories and the persistence of many nationalists, the process of forging a new Montenegrin identity was anything but a smooth ride. Indeed, remnants of that old tribal loyalty can still be detected today among the citizens of Montenegro. Many of them display a significantly high level of attachment and loyalty to their regional, local and tribal identities. In most cases, the first level of identification is either the region/nahiya (Katunjanin, Crmni čanin, Lješnjanin, Bjelopavli ć, Cuca, Bjelica, Malisor, Bokelj), or the tribe whose geographic boundaries and name usually correspond with the region (Vasojevići tribe, Drobnjak tribe, etc.).19 Only then, and only in terms of a more general level of identification, which is, at present, heavily coloured by the ideologies of the day, does one come across national categories such as Montenegrin, Serb, Serb from Montenegro, Albanian, Muslim or Croat. Political conflict during the first decades of the twentieth century also contributed to the formation of national identity. A growing parliamentary opposition characterised the Montenegrin political landscape of the period. The parliament became the arena for a bitter confrontation between the representatives of the so-called 'people’s movement' and those representing the government and Prince/King Nikola I. The main political parties were the People’s Party (Narodna Stranka), better known as Kluba ši (their leader was Šako Petrović), and the True People’s Party (Prava Narodna Stranka), known as Prava ši (led by Lazar Miju šković). Supporters of the People’s Party not only opposed the policies of Prince (later King) Nikola I, but were also passionate advocates of the unification of Montenegro with Serbia. Most of them regarded Montenegro as a Serb state and Montenegrins as ethnic Serbs. Consequently, the majority of party members and supporters identified themselves as ethnic Serbs. The opposing political group consisted of members of the True People’s Party who supported Nikola’s policies and the concept of Montenegrin independence and sovereignty. However, no political group in the Montenegro of the time represented a uniform entity, particularly when it came to the issue of identity. The demand of the Pravaši for independence was heavily influenced by the politics of the time and most of its members did not dispute the perceived ethnic/national identity between Montenegrins and Serbs; they considered themselves to be Serbs from Montenegro. Prince Nikola was one of the principle advocates of such identity politics. 20 However, there were also those among the Pravaši who not only advocated Montenegrin independence but thought of themselves as distinctively Montenegrin. From the turn of the twentieth century onwards, relations between Montenegro and Serbia were conditioned by the intensity of the dynastic struggle for prestige among the South Slavs, i.e. between the Montenegrin dynasty of Petrovi ć-Njegoš and the Serbian dynasties
19 Katunjanin is a person from the Katunska Nahiya. 20 Ivo Banac pointed out: ‘The tradition of Montenegrin self-centeredness did not, however, prevent reciprocity with the Serbians, though on the basis of a veritable worship of Montenegro. On the contrary, the Serb tradition percolated down to the consciousness of most ordinary herdsmen by a system of mnemonic devices by which the church continually admonished the Montenegrins to remember the glories of the Nemanjić state. Time and again, Montenegrin rulers took the lead in attempting to restore the medieval Serbian empire.’ Banac, op. cit., p. 247.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

of Obrenović and Karađorđević. All three dynasties presented themselves as the rightful claimants of the ancient crown of Stefan Du šan, the medieval Serbian ruler. From as early as the 1870s, developments clearly indicate the main line of confrontation between Cetinje and Belgrade: namely, the struggle for power between these dynasties and the tendency of the Serbian dynasties (especially the Kara đorđević) to dominate the region and to project Serbia as the South Slav version of Piedmont. 21 This conflict was multi-faceted and incorporated the struggle for various contested territories, issues of dynastic prestige, and different nationalist visions of the future of the region, as well as the efforts of the elites to exercise absolute control over political life in the Balkans. 22 Identity politics in Montenegro played a significant role in this process, which began in earnest in the early decades of the twentieth century and which has continued with varying intensity and in many forms until the present day. Following the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, the struggle in Montenegro between those in favour of the union and those opposed became stronger. Many politicians and military leaders in Montenegro, as well as the exiled king and his government, were of the opinion that the decision of unconditional unification with Serbia should have been made by the legally-elected Montenegrin Parliament and in adherence to the Montenegrin Constitution of 1905. They argued that any union with neighbouring South Slav states should be based on the principles of equality and respect for Montenegrin sovereignty. In the event of union, they maintained, Montenegro could and should play a constitutive role, rather than a secondary one. The exiled king and his government argued that, in the future Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Montenegro should be one of its constituent elements and not just a province of Serbia. The advocates of such political views were
21 ‘The comparison between Serbia and Piedmont regularly pressed in these years was fundamentally flawed because Piedmont was far too provincial a part of Italy to dominate and alienate the rest of a once united country. Serbia, on the other hand, was a country already gripped by an obsessive nationalism, basically of a Germanic sort, bent on the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of a ‘Greater Serbia’ long before the 1990s. Ethnic cleansing had been written into Serb nationalism from the early nineteenth century.’ Hastings, op. cit., p. 143. Domination of the unwanted ‘other’ and the eventual ‘cleansing’ of desired territory have been common features in every case of expansionist nationalism throughout the world, and the case of Serbia should be seen as the rule rather than the exception. Even though my own views on this matter differ somewhat from those of Hastings, I trust that his assessment of the nature of Serbian nationalism carries certain validity to it. Also see Mirko Grmek, Marc Gjidana and Neven Šimac: Le Nettoyage Ethnique: Documents Historiques sur une Ideologie Serbe (Paris: Fayard, 1993); in spite of its one-sided approach to the issue of nationalisms in Yugoslavia, this volume provides essential documentation covering both the nineteenth and the twentieth century. 22 ‘Serbia wants to liberate and unite the Yugoslavs and does not want to drown in the sea of some kind of Yugoslavia. Serbia does not want to drown in Yugoslavia, but to have Yugoslavia drown in her.’ Letter by the Serbian Prime Minister, Nikola Pa šić, to Jovan M. Jovanović-Pižon in London, 15 October 1918. Quoted from Dragovan Šepić: Italija, saveznici i Jugoslavensko pitanje, 1914 -1918 (Zagreb, 1970), p. 358. Also see Đorđe Đ. Stanković: Nikola Pašić i Jugoslovensko pitanje, Vols. 1-2 (Beograd: BIGZ, 1985), and Charles Jelavich: ‘Nikola Pašić: Greater Serbia or Yugoslavia?’ Journal of Central European Affairs, Vol. 11 (July 1951).


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referred to at the time as ‘Greens’ (zelenaši). The other group of politicians and scholars advocated the unionist approach, interpreting the act of unification as the natural progression of a process that had acquired popular support through the years. Hence, the ‘Whites’ (bjelaši) based their argument on the assumption that Montenegrins and Serbs were but one people. The result of this political shift was that those Montenegrins who supported the Greens were seen as advocates of a separate Montenegrin identity, while the supporters of the Whites ascribed to the theory that Montenegrins had a Serb ethnic origin. These conflicting points of view and the assumption of ethnic and national 'oneness' between Montenegrins and Serbs proved to be the crucial point of conflict between the opposing ideologies in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, as well as in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), created at the end of World War II. 23 The confrontation between Greens and Whites reached a new level during the Second World War. After the capitulation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, the Italians occupied Montenegro and were initially supported by the Greens, whose power base was in the southern and central parts of Old Montenegro. After the initial stage of collaboration with the occupying force, the Greens, together with partisan/communist forces, managed to defeat the Italians and liberate (for a short period of time) almost the entire territory of Montenegro. The Whites, on the other hand, predominated in the region of Brda and northern Montenegro (bordering Serbia) and their political and military allegiance was to the Serbian nationalist forces (Četnici or Chetniks) which were led by Nikola Bojovi ć, Pavle Djurišić and Dragoslav-Dra ža Mihailović.24 As Christopher Boehm has pointed out, this geo-political differentiation portrays Old Montenegro as ‘separatist,’ while the other two regions favoured merger with a Serb-dominated state. 25 Socialist Yugoslavia inherited the unresolved issues of an incomplete process of national definition and unification among its constituent elements. The appearance of unity and tolerance in the former SFRY had primarily a representational character and was lacking in substance, it also had strong overtones of the communist ideological umbrella. 26 The communist authorities claimed that South Slavs and other nations living in the region
23 Referring to the process of state and nation-building among the South Slavs and the viability of the Yugoslav state created in 1918, Adrian Hastings concludes that: ‘It is a case study of how not to construct a nation from a mix of closely-related ethnicities and proto-nations. Inter-war Yugoslavia was constructed as a Greater Serbia just as the heirs of Karadžić and Garašanin were determined it should be. Serbia was the only part which entered it as already politically independent.’ Hastings, op. cit., pp. 142-143. Also see Ljubodrag Dimić: Kulturna politika Kraljevine Jugoslavije, 1918-1941, 3 Vols. (Beograd: Stubovi kulture, 1996-1997). 24 Valuable documents related to this period of Montenegrin history are available in Vlado Marković and Radoje Pajović: Saradnja Ćetnika sa okupatorom u Crnoj Gori: dokumenti 1941-1945 (Podgorica & Cetinje: Republički Odbor SUBNOR-a Crne Gore, 1996). 25 It would seem that the Greens sided with Italy in hope that the post-war settlement might result in the renewal of an independent and sovereign Montenegro. Robert Lee Wolf rightly noted that the Greens rebelled against the Italian occupation when it became clear that Italy’s intentions were to turn Montenegro into a puppet state. See Robert Lee Wolf: The Balkans in Our Time (Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 1956), pp. 214-215. 26 For an interesting analysis of the relations between the communist authorities and peasants, see Melisa Bokovoy: Peasants and Communists: Politics and Ideology in the Yugoslav Countryside 1941-1953 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998).


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

had united on a solid foundation only because of their political guidance and had done so under the communist ideological premises of brotherhood and unity. The rhetoric of such claims consisted of a curious mix of negative references to the past and a rather enthusiastic and positive prognosis for the future. National aspirations as a mode of cognition and perception of reality were characterised as negative and backwards, as aspirations that would jeopardise the further progress of society. During the early 1950s, however, the communist rhetoric of a necessary change in society was intended to convey a message of hope and to have a soothing effect on the collective psyche. Above all, it was intended to grant more credibility to the efforts of the communist authorities in their alleged pursuit of a more just and humane society. Communist leaders attempted to create Yugoslav supranationality (Yugoslavism/ Jugoslovenstvo). The new elite hoped such an achievement would make obsolete the nationalist claims of local oligarchies.27 In the process of creating Yugoslav supranationality in the 1950s through to the mid-1960s, the communist authorities attempted to structure society so that it functioned according to the principle of unity in diversity. The six Yugoslav republics had been perceived as somewhat distinct but they remained constitutive elements of a larger and politically unified structure. Such unity in diversity served the purpose of sidelining, at least temporarily, the issue of nationalism in the former Yugoslavia. 28 The unsuccessful attempts of the communist elite to achieve supranational harmony in SFRY included suppressing the regional voices which were calling for the recognition of the national specificities of Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Macedonians and the other nations living in the region. It also meant using the ideological paradigm to marginalise the elements of national distinctiveness, culture and tradition of all of the constitutive nations. This suppression and marginalisation was accomplished by positioning local and regional representations of national and cultural distinctiveness at the level of harmless folklore, popular festivities with strong ideological overtones and exotic museum exhibits. Parallel to that, the communists managed to silence, at least temporarily, local and regional hegemonic and chauvinistic nationalist claims.
27 In the sixties, Hugh Seton-Watson wrote: ‘In Yugoslavia the official doctrine was Yugoslav nationalism. This was supposed to comprise, and to transform into a higher quality, the nationalism of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. But in practice it was interpreted as Serbian nationalism writ large.’ Hugh Seton-Watson: Nationalism – Old and New (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1965), p. 16. For a detailed account of a famous 1961 debate on the nature of Yugoslavism between the Slovenian philosopher Dušan Pirjevec and the Serbian writer and communist dignitary Dobrica Ćosić, see Andrey Helfant: Serb Intellectuals and the National Question, 1961-1991, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University, 1998). 28 For a more comprehensive account, see Denison Russinow: ‘Nationalities Policy and the National Question’, in Pedro Ramet (ed.): Yugoslavia in the 1980s (Boulder, Co: Westview, 1985). Miron Rezun has also pointed out that Tito believed the final result of the party’s efforts to be the establishment of one true nation (Miron Razun: Europe and the War in the Balkans: Toward a New Yugoslav Identity (Westport, Co: Praeger, 1995), p. 106. Also see Milovan Đilas: Tito: The Story from Inside (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), p. 134; Paul Shop: Communism and the Yugoslav National Question (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), pp. 119-198.


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Identity issues in Montenegro were covered with the blanket of ideological uniformity while their manifestations were diverted into various cultural and social stereotypes.29 It should be noted, however, that the expressions of Montenegrin identity per se were viewed as the manifestation of a retrograde ideology and that, in spite of the rhetoric of brotherhood and unity, it was generally assumed that Montenegrins and Serbs were but one nation. 30 The absence of voices arguing in favour of Montenegrin national and cultural distinctiveness on the public scene could be taken as proof of the abovementioned general consensus on this issue. There was indeed some room for manoeuvre regarding the expression of identities other than Montenegrin, but such room was very limited. Ideological pressure along the lines of the adoption of the communist-promoted concept of Yugoslav supranationality was not eagerly embraced by everyone in Montenegro.This idyllic image of a country where everyone was equal was somewhat tarnished by the decision of many Albanians living in Montenegro to change their last names in order to fit into the prescribed mould. From the late 1960s through to the late 1980s, many Catholic Albanians from Montenegro added the Slav suffix ić to their last names and some even Slavicised their first names. This Slavicisation trend turned Albanian last names of Arapaj into Arapović, Djokaj into Djokić, Ujkaj into Ujkić, Siništaj into Siništović, Nikaj into Nikić and/or Nikočević, Perkaj into Perković, and so forth. Even though one could not easily point out a clear pattern of the state-sponsored modification of identity manifestations in Montenegro, examples of the aforementioned adjustments among Catholic Albanians could very well indicate the existence of considerable pressure. It is interesting to note that such a trend could be detected only among Catholic Albanians living in Montenegro; their fellow Albanians of the Islamic faith did not engage in the same process. 31 Nationalist sentiments were on the rise in many regions of Yugoslavia in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. During this period, an intense campaign was conducted by many Albanian politicians, university professors and intellectuals living in Kosovo regarding greater autonomy and the establishment of a bilingual education system in the province. In Montenegro, Serb nationalist forces gained prominence for a short period of time (1970-1973) by publicly denouncing communist ideology and advocating the ideas of the
29 On the public scene in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Montenegrins have inhabited the realm of epic stereotypes. They have been thought of as intelligent, educated, brave, honest, trustworthy and proud, but also as lazy and power-loving individuals. Public perception rarely questioned their assumed ethnic, national and cultural closeness/oneness with Serbs. Such a perception was an integral part of a vocabulary of popular culture, while the lack of scholarly works on the subject might indicate that this stereotypical view of Montenegrins was taken for granted. 30 This assumption is visible in the works of Dimitrije Dimo Vujović: Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Srbije (Titograd: Istorijski Institut NRCG, 1962) and Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929 (Titograd: CANU, 1981), as well as in Dimitrije Vujović: ‘O etnogenezi Crnogoraca i marksističkom odredjenju Nacije’, Praksa (1981). 31 From 1990 onwards, some Catholic Albanians in Montenegro switched back to their original last names. The author confirmed this trend of reversal to the original last names during his most recent stay in Montenegro in 2002; the particular cases mentioned in this text appear as the result of the author’s personal communications with the individuals involved.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

Ćetnik movement.32 In Croatia, the movement known as the Croatian Spring ( Hrvatsko Proljeće or Maspok, 1972) represented the first serious test for the central government in Belgrade and the Yugoslav Communist Party. 33 In Serbia, the early 1970s were a time of the ideological and political cleansing of the communist elite and of intellectuals at the universities in Belgrade and Novi Sad, a process soon to be followed in the other republics.34 The ideological aspect aside, what many activists in these movements had in common were their strong expressions of nationalist sentiment (Serbian, Croatian and Albanian), paired with demands for more power for the republics and a more open system of governance. With regard to the issue of national identification, the specificity of the postWorld War II Yugoslav case lies partly in its proclaimed separate road to socialism and in the creation of sophisticated mechanisms of adoption and adaptation in dealing with the national question. The system allowed and controlled dissent along these lines in order to project the false impression of its strength and flexibility, as well as its democratic character. Adopting and adapting nationalist policies became the means of preserving communist power and, ultimately, resulted in the destruction of the country in the last decade of the twentieth century. Back to the future: Montenegrins as the best of all Serbs

The disintegration of Yugoslavia resulted in Montenegro forming together with Serbia the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The issue of the (in)equality between the two re32 Among the most vocal advocates of this ideology in Montenegro were several journalists from the Montenegrin daily Pobjeda, such as Jovan Dujović, Janko Vujisić, Luka Gojnić and Vitomir Nikolić, and the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, Milo Kralj. Judging by the outcome of the whole affair, and that none of the above-mentioned individuals faced any charges (some were transferred to new posts in media organisations in Belgrade), it is reasonable to conclude that these nationalist-minded journalists enjoyed at least the limited support of the Montenegrin and Serbian political elites. On the other hand, those who argued against the revival of the Ćetnik ideology in Montenegro suffered serious professional and personal consequences, ranging from lost employment to having to serve prison terms. Journalists such as Milika Pavlović, Marko Đonović, Velimir Tasić, Đuro Đukić and Zaga Vujović lost their jobs or were forced to resign their posts, while Momčilo Jokić served a lengthy prison sentence. For a more detailed account of these events, see: ‘Izvještaj Statutarne Komisije OK na Opštinskoj Konferenciji SK Titograd’, Titogradska Tribina, 4.10.1972; ‘Informacija Sekretarijata CK i OKSK Titograd’, Pobjeda, 24.1.1973. Also see: Husein Bašić and Milika Pavlović: Smrt duše/Podrum (Podgorica: Montenegrin P.E.N. Centre & Damad, 1992), pp. 289-309. 33 Its leaders, Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Mika Tripalo were high-ranking communist party functionaries. 34 University professors Zagorka Pešić-Golubović, Ljubomir Tadić, Miladin Životić, Nebojša Popov, Svetozar Stojanović, Mihailo Marković and many other intellectuals (Mihailo Mjihailov, Miroslav Mandić, Slavko Bogdanović) lost their posts at universities and were banned from all public engagements. For a more comprehensive account of the political cleansing in the Serbia of the period, see: Aleksandar Nenadović and Mirko Tepavac: Sjećanja i Komentari (Beograd: Radio B92, 1998). See also Nebojša Popov: ‘Disidentska Skrivalica’, Republika (August 2000), and Contra fatum: slučaj grupe profesora filozofskog fakulteta 1968-1988 (Beograd: Mladost, 1989).


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publics of FRY subsequently proved to be a matter of growing concern for many Montenegrins. Occasional exchanges of opposing political arguments and accusations between Belgrade and Podgorica over the nature of the common state and its future came close to breaking point in the late 1990s. In 1997, the Montenegrin leadership publicly distanced itself from the policies of Slobodan Milo šević. The debate between Podgorica and Belgrade greatly resembled that of 1918, when the issue of the unification of Montenegro with Serbia was a hot political topic. 35 Until the early 1990s, conversations about Montenegrin sovereignty, independence and identity outside the Serb national and cultural paradigm were rare; people usually spoke about it sotto voce. Those who oppose Montenegrin independence and deny Montenegro’s right to its own political expression (unitarists) are many and their political credos differ on more than one level. However, they all share a common thread: the perception of Montenegrins as an integral part of a larger Serbian ethnic and national framework. 36 Such a perception is based on a historical narrative that elevates the role of Montenegro in holding together and preserving the construction of the Serbian national mythos. This narrative consists of many elements that are interdependent and which display certain protoscientific characteristics. The traditional culture and history, and the general cultural matrix ascribed to Montenegrins, have been analysed almost exclusively within the Serb national paradigm and have been seen as part of a larger, and presumably uniform, Serbian historical and cultural corpus. This methodological approach has characterised not only the works of many Serbian historians but can also be detected in the works of a number of western analysts of the South Slavic past. 37 More often than not, Montenegrins have been perceived as a rather exotic, albeit useful, element within the Serbian ethnic and historic matrix. Furthermore, this constructed historical narrative has been rationalised and represented through the Serbian national mythology. In this approach, the historical reality of relations between Montenegro and Serbia is reduced to a figure of memory. This collapsing of historical reality manifests itself in the form of a Grand Narrative: the myth of Montenegro as the pinnacle of Eastern Orthodoxy; Montenegrins as the best of all Serbs; and
35 On these discussions, see Beáta Huszka’s chapter on ‘The Dispute over Montenegrin Independence’, this volume. 36 Petar Vlahović, ‘The Serbian Origins of the Montenegrins’, available at: vlahovic.html. For an interesting analysis of the duality of Montenegrin character, see Banac, op. cit., pp. 270-291, and Andrei Simić: ‘Montenegro: Beyond the Myth’, in Constantine P. Danopoulos and Kostas Messas (eds.): Crises in the Balkans (London & Colorado: Westview Press, 1997), p. 122. 37 See Ferdo Čulinović: Jugoslavija Između dva rata (Zagreb: Izdavački Zavod JANU, 1961); Vladimir Dedijer et al: History of Yugoslavia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974); Milovan Đilas: Njegoš: Poet, Prince, Bishop (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966); Novica Rakočević: Politički odnosi Crne Gore i Srbije 1903-1918 (Cetinje: Obod, 1981); John Treadway: The Falcon and the Eagle: Montenegro and Austria-Hungary, 1908-1914 (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1983); Jelavich, op. cit; Charles and Barbara Jelavich: The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804-1920 (Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 1977); Andrew B. Wachtel: Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Policies in Yugoslavia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

the capital Cetinje as Little Zion.38 The history of Montenegro is often presented as the history of a remote army camp, whose swordsmen were guarding for posterity the spirit of the Eastern Orthodox faith and protecting it from falling under the cold shadow of the Crescent. This insistence upon the religious aspect in such interpretations, as well as the validity of the entire argument, is contestable, since Montenegrins have always displayed an unusual attitude towards religion and the Church institutions:
No matter how much a Montenegrin may love his church, he does not like to attend the service, and lately the church and state authorities are making an effort to ensure that church services are attended regularly. In earlier times there were those who never entered a church as long as they lived. … In his absentmindedness, a Montenegrin enters the church with his cap on his head. I had an opportunity to see older priests do the same thing. … This is why the religious beliefs of Montenegrins, regardless of how deep they may be, are either not expressed openly through rituals or are displayed in a very simple and sometimes even crude manner. 39

The Montenegrin state was often perceived not to have been a real state but only a historical sentiment (heavily coloured by the oral tradition); it was seen as a historical aberration that survived within the specific conditions of the permanent armed struggle against the Ottoman invader. 40 Those who ascribe to such a view argue that, once the Ottoman state had dissolved, there was no reason for a Montenegrin state to exist outside the all-inclusive Serbian national and political frameworks. Following the same argument, some contemporary Serbian nationalists argue that:
Montenegro had its own state before Serbia did, but Montenegro has always been a Serbian state – even under Njegoš and the Petrović dynasty. Bavaria, for example, was once the Kingdom and is now called the Free Bavarian State, but no one dreams of turning it into an independent state, let alone of denying it its German national identity. 41

Within such a political and ideological equation, the independent Montenegrin state made sense only as long as it carried forward the torch of an undying spirit of Serbhood. The reference to Montenegrins as the best of all Serbs (still forcefully advocated by expo38 Analysing the process of the reduction of historical reality to a figure of memory is one of the primary tasks of the historical sub-discipline called Mnemohistory. ‘Unlike history proper, mnemohistory is concerned not with the past as such, but only with the past as it is remembered. It surveys the story lines of tradition, the webs of intertextuality, the diachronic continuities and discontinuities of reading the past… It concentrates exclusively on those aspects of significance and relevance which are the product of memory – that is, of a recourse to a past.’ Jan Assmann: Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism (Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 7-9. 39 Pavel Apolonovich Rovinsky: Etnografija Crne Gore, Vol. 1 (Podgorica: CID, 1998), pp. 282-283. Original publication: St. Petersburg, 1897. 40 See Janko Spasojević, Crna Gora i Srbija, (Paris: Informativna Služba Ministarstva Inostranih Dela, 1919). Jovan Ćetković, Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Srbije (Dubrovnik 1940) and Omladinski pokret u Crnoj Gori (Podgorica 1922); Novica Šaulić: Crna Gora (Beograd 1924); Pantelija Jovović: Crnogorski političari (Beograd, 1924); Svetozar Tomić: Desetogodisnjica ujedinjenja Srbije i Crne Gore (Beograd, 1929). 41 Ljubomir Tadić, Member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU) in Glas Javnosti, 10-11.2.2001. See also Vlahović, op. cit; and Simić, op. cit., pp. 122-124.


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nents of Serbian expansionist nationalism) is an example of how the ethnic factor is simplified and isolated, as well as hypertrophied, in the attempt to prove the ethnic purity of Montenegrin identity. This might be the deepest epistemological, ideological and political meaning of the thesis that Montenegrins are racially pure or even the purest of Serbs. The problem of the multi-layered character of Montenegrin identity has been, in most cases, interpreted as the relationship between the subordinate concept of ‘Montenegrin’, representing the notion of territoriality, and the superordinate concept of ‘Serb’, representing ethnic/national belonging. Thus, Montenegrins have been perceived as ethnic Serbs living in the geographical region known as Montenegro. It could be argued that such a view represents a simplification of the issue of a Montenegrin Serbhood. Montenegrins preserved the notion of their distinctiveness with regard to other South Slavic groups and continuously reaffirmed it through history. The Montenegrin version of Serbhood differs from its manifestations in other areas of Yugoslavia which are populated by peoples of the Eastern Orthodox faith. A heroic attitude towards life, the notion of a messianic role in the historical process of the revival of the medieval Serbian empire and the prolonged armed struggle against the Ottoman invader, as well as the historical continuity of the Montenegrin state, are elements that distinguish the concept of Montenegrin Serbhood from similar concepts in Bosnia, Croatia or Serbia proper. Ultimately, the idea of Serbhood was understood to be an attribute of belonging to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and to Christianity in general, as well as to the larger South Slavic context. Based on such an understanding, many Montenegrins incorporated this idea in the building blocks of their national individuality. The result of such incorporation is the historical precedent of the notion of Montenegrin Serbhood which, because it was understood as the ideology of ‘constant struggle’, did not stand in opposition to a distinct character of Montenegrin national identity. It was used as a tool of pragmatic politics in order to achieve the final goal. Montenegrins used the terms Serbs and Serbhood whenever they referred to the South Slavic elements which were rallied in an anti-Ottoman coalition and around the Christian Cross. Moreover, it is true that identity construction is a long process of historical/cultural sedimentation and that the final product is perceived as a relatively long-lasting and stable phenomenon. However, it would be a mistake to regard it as static or unchangeable. Identity is a dynamic phenomenon whose manifestations can vary over time – even more so if such an identity is positioned on the periphery of a dominant cultural/political force.
If ‘we are what we remember,’ the truth of memory lies in the identity that it shapes. This truth is subject to time so that it changes with every new identity and every new present. It lies in the story, not as it happened but as it lives on and unfolds in collective memory. 42

With this in mind, it does not seem entirely appropriate either to contest or to deny contemporary expressions of the national identity of Montenegrins and their distinctiveness in regard to Serbs by invoking that, a century or so ago, many of their ancestors (some rulers from the Petrović dynasty included) declared themselves to be Serbs. 43 A more productive
42 Assmann, op. cit., p. 14. 43 Many leaders of the Montenegrin Federalist Movement, who were the most ardent advocates of an independent Montenegro during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, publicly declared themselves as ‘the best of Serbs’.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

approach might be to recognise the ongoing re-definition of identity on an individual level (living a private narrative) and to acknowledge this as a process whose contemporary manifestations should not be mummified within the strict limitations of the conceptual framework set by the national awakening of the nineteenth century. At present, it seems that a plurality of the Montenegrin population constructs and lives a narrative (on an individual level as well as on the level of collective experience) that is somewhat different from this earlier model. On the other hand, defending a distinct Montenegrin identity by vehemently negating its ever-changing nature, while seeking to establish a non-existent absolute continuity with the early inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula or with early state formations in the region, usually produces negative consequences. 44 Both strategies of dealing with the identity issue in Montenegro (advocating or denying their distinctiveness) are present in contemporary Montenegro and their prominence might indicate that many people are still wrestling with the significance of national identity. On a more general level, both approaches are based upon seemingly different myths: one about purity, the other about temporal/historical continuity with medieval state formations. Furthermore, the long-lasting debate over the identity of Montenegrins could be taken as a clear indication that their identity does have a distinct nature: that the notion of a distinct/separate Montenegrin identity is constantly being argued against proves the existence of such a level of identification.
Epic poetry and/or history: the appropriation of Montenegro

That which envelops this multi-layered character of Montenegrin identity and impedes a more complete understanding of Montenegrin history is, among other things, its tradition of epic poetry, the contents of which are open to various and often conflicting interpretations and which represent valuable material for myth-making. To adopt the metaphor of Slavoj Žižek, one could say that epic poetry in Montenegro, unlike the role it plays in other societies, is the stuff that others’ dreams are made of. 45 The political dimension of Montenegrin identity is best illustrated by numerous and contradictory interpretations of the literary achievements of Petar II Petrović Njegoš.46 His legacy serves as a telling example of how literature, religion and politics in the Balkans can be interwoven in the service of particular political agendas. His work has been appropriated by both supporters and opponents of a distinct Montenegrin national and cultural identity, while each group has managed to find enough evidence in Njego š’s literary work to advance their own political
44 An interesting example of this ‘independentist oriented’ methodology is the book by Radosav Rotković: Odakle su došli preci Crnogoraca (Podgorica: Matica Crnogorska, 1992). 45 This expression is borrowed from the title of Slavoj Žižek’s lecture: ‘Yugoslavia: The Burden of Being the Stuff OTHERS’ Dreams are Made of’, given at the conference Construction, Deconstruction, Reconstruction of South Slavic Architecture, Cornell University, New York, 27.3.2001. 46 Metropolitan Petar II Petrović Njegoš, the nineteenth-century ruler of Montenegro, and his poetic endeavours occupy a central stage in the South Slavic myth-making factory. Njegoš’s magnum opus is his epic poem The Mountain Wreath, written in 1846 in Cetinje and published in Vienna in 1847. The poem appeared in print in the same year as Vuk Stefanović Karadžić’s translation of the New Testament. P.P. Njegoš: The Mountain Wreath, transl. by Vasa D. Mihailović (Belgrade: Serbian Europe Publishing, 1997).


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vision of Montenegro. By the end of the 19 th century, the debate about Njego š’s sense of national identity had already developed into a debate about the national and cultural identity of Montenegrins. 47 The most famous of his poems, The Mountain Wreath (Gorski Vijenac) is set in 18 th century Montenegro and describes the attempts of Njego š's ancestor, Metropolitan Danilo, to regulate relations between the region's warring tribes. Njego š constructed his poem around a single event that allegedly took place on a particular Christmas Day in the early 1700s, during the rule of Metropolitan Danilo: the mass execution of Montenegrins who had converted to Islam. 48 This work of literature is praised and criticised at the same time, and it has been used to support diametrically opposing political views. Many Serbian nationalists use it as historical justification of their attempt to keep alive a dream of Greater Serbia and as the ultimate proof of the Serb identity of Montenegrins:
The Mountain Wreath represents a synthesis in another sense as well. It is based on historical facts, thus it can be called a historical play. It epitomises the spirit of the Serbian people kept alive for centuries; indeed, there is no other literary work with which the Serbs identify more.49

Some Croatian nationalists recognise in Njego š’s poetry the ultimate statement of the oriental nature of South Slavs living east of the Drina River, thus reinforcing the popular
47 On Njegoš and the appropriation of his work, see: Milan Bogdanović: ‘Vratimo Njegoš a literaturi’, Srpski Književni Glasnik Vol. 2. No. 16.7 (1925), pp. 577-79. See also Jaša M. Prodanović: ‘Gorski Vijenac kao Vaspitno Delo’, Srpski Književni Glasnik Vol. 2 No. 16.7 (1925), pp. 558-62; Nikola Škerović: ‘Njegoš i jugoslovenstvo’, Nova Evropa, Vol. 2.1 (1925), pp. 1-8; Ljubomir Durković-Jakšić: Njegoš i Lovćen (Beograd: n.a., 1971); Savić Marković Štedimlija: ‘Sto Godina Narodne Poezije’, Nova Evropa, Vol. 28 Nos. 4-5 (1935), pp. 120-29; Srđa Pavlović: ‘Poetry or the Blueprint for Genocide’, Spaces of Identity OnLine Vol. 1 No. 1 (January 2001) available at: 48 The dating of the alleged event is a matter of some controversy. The sub-title of The Mountain Wreath tells us that the poem deals with a ‘Historical Event from the End of the 17th Century’ (Historičesko Sobitie pri Svršetky XVII vieka) (P.P. Njegoš: The Mountain Wreath (Vienna 1847), title page). The same dating of the event described in The Mountain Wreath appeared in a number of histories of Montenegro published during the nineteenth century, such as those by Sima Milutinović Sarajlija (Belgrade, 1835) and Dimitrije Milaković (Zadar, 1856). Later studies by Ilarion Ruvarac: Montenegrina 2nd ed. (1899) and Ljubomir Stojanović: Zapisi II (1903) based their dating of the event on a note allegedly written by Metropolitan Danilo Petrović himself. The note and its commentary by N. Musulin were published in Glasnik, XVII (1836). It is worth pointing out that Ruvarac expressed serious concerns regarding the genuine character of the note, but his concerns were quickly brushed aside by a number of local historians. The aforementioned authors offered three different dates for the ‘Christmas Day Massacre’ (1702, 1704 and 1707), while The Mountain Wreath positioned the event in the late seventeenth century. It is interesting to note that, in his earlier works, Njegoš dated the event as 1702. In his poem Ogledalo Srpsko, Njegoš wrote about the event and positioned it ‘around the year 1702’. See: P.P. Njegoš: Ogledalo Srpsko (1845). A notable exception is Konstantin Jiriček, who, in his Naučni Slovnik, stated that the event described in The Mountain Wreath never took place. 49 Njegoš’s translator Vasa D. Mihailović, in his Introduction to the 1997 edition of The Mountain Wreath. See footnote 51.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

notion of a stereotypical other.50 Islamic radicals view The Mountain Wreath as a manual for ethnic cleansing and fratricidal murder, as a text whose ideas were brought back to life during the most recent nationalistic dance macabre in the former Yugoslavia. 51 Montenegrin independentists largely shy away from any interpretation of Njego š’s poetry and only on occasion discuss its literary and linguistic merits. 52 The myth of the slaying of infidels in early eighteenth-century Montenegro is a recurring theme in almost all analyses of the region’s history and the mentality of its people. Its usage as the ultimate explanation for the recent historical developments in the region is apparent and particularly troubling. Apart from being a material mistake, the employment of this theme serves the purpose of further restraining Montenegro within the confines of the notions of the so-called ‘ancient hatred’, ‘irrationalism’ and ‘barbarism’. In spite of the openness of this work to various interpretations (or precisely because of it), one should not forget that what one is reading is a work of literature. Naturally, literature should be approached as a source and a litmus test for evaluating a particular historical period. But its exclusive usage as the primary and sole determining element in the process of historical evaluation across time is a questionable methodological approach. 53 More than anything else, The Mountain Wreath is the tale of a long-gone heroic tribal society that was poeticised in order to depict the state of affairs in Njego š’s Montenegro. From such a point of analytical departure, this work of literature can be approached as an additional source for assessing the conditions within a particular time frame in Montenegrin history, i.e. Njego š’s time: the first half of the 19 th century. The long-gone Montenegro that Njego š wrote about had little in common with the Montenegro of his time and has nothing in common with contemporary Montenegro. However, The Mountain Wreath does speak volumes about the political, social, cultural and economic conditions in Montenegro during the early 19 th century and about Njego š’s efforts to advocate the ideas of pan-Slavism and unification. 54 Available sources point out that Njego š did not base his poem on a historical event. However, he realised the potential significance of a reshaped myth and through licencia poetica actualised its meanings. The myth of the slaying of converts, as an act of cleansing and the indication of a fresh start, meshed nicely with Njego š’s efforts to turn Montenegro into a modern state. 55 The Mountain Wreath represents an important literary achievement,
50 Branimir Anžulović: Heavenly Serbia: From Myth to Genocide (New York: New York University Press, 1999), pp. 61-67. 51 ibid., pp. 61-76. See also Ivo Žanić: Prevarena povijest: guslarska estrada, kult hajduka i rat u Hrvatskoj i Bosni i Hercegovini 1990-1995. godine (Zagreb: Duriex, 1998), pp. 271-303. 52 See Božena Jelušić: ‘Otvoreni za Njegoša’, Matica Vol. 2 No. 6 (Summer 2001). 53 ibid., pp. 97-106. 54 See Njegoš’s letter written on 2 May 1848 to the Serbian Minister of the Interior, Ilija Garašanin, the author of Načertanije. P.P. Njegoš: Izabrana pisma (Beograd: Prosveta, 1967), p. 166. See also Njegoš to Josip Jelačić, letter written in Cetinje on December 20, 1848, ibid. pp. 173-174. 55 See Istorija Crne Gore, Vol. 3 No. 1 (Titograd, 1975). See also Slobodan Tomović: Komentar Gorskog Vijenca (Ljubljana, Beograd & Nikšić: Partizanska knjiga Univerzitetska rijeć & Izdavačko publicistička djelatnost, 1986), pp.146-147; Vojislav P. Nikčević: ‘Istrage Poturica Nije ni Bilo’, Ovđe No. 189 (1985), pp. 8-10; and Cetinjski Ljetopis (Cetinje: Fototipsko Izdanje Centralne Biblioteke NR Crne Gore, 1962).


Srđa Pavlović

and it should be analysed as a drama that confronts and challenges the concepts of thought and action, morality and righteousness, religion and human nature, and not as the poeticised version of a historical event and an ultimate expression of Serb identity. It is a poetic tale written by a man who continuously deconstructs and questions the very world he lives in. Moreover, the character of Njegoš’s work is far from one-dimensional and cannot, in good conscience, be viewed exclusively as national literature because it deals with issues much broader than the narrow margins of Montenegrin political and cultural space. Furthermore, The Mountain Wreath should not be read outside the context of the time of its inception, nor from the perspective of one book. As Danilo Kiš has pointed out: ‘Many books are not dangerous, but one book is.’ 56 Bearing in mind the distinct character of Montenegro's traditional culture, and the specificities of its historical, political and economic, as well as its cultural, development, one is intrigued by the persistent appropriation of Montenegrins by the Serbs and wonders about the reasons for this claim to ownership. New interpretations of these issues, which came to light in recent scholarly literature in Montenegro, and in support of the claim of Montenegrin cultural, linguistic and national distinctiveness, indicate the primacy of politics as a discourse in decoding the history of the region and in assessing the nature of relations between Montenegrins and Serbs.57 The inclusion of Montenegrins in the Serbian national mythos can be identified as a way to establish and preserve the imagined historical/temporal and cultural continuity of the Serbian nation throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule in the region. For some 400 years, Serbia proper was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. All aspects of life in the region were subject to regulations and laws imposed by the invader. On the other hand, Montenegro existed during this same period as a relatively independent entity that displayed a measurable temporal continuity of its own political and historical being. With the advent of the ideology of national homogenisation among Serbs, it became necessary to establish Serbian historical and cultural continuity in the area that was, within the national paradigm, perceived as an integral part of the Serbian medieval state. One of the ways to accomplish this task was the appropriation of Montenegro. This appropriation happened on many levels and included the positioning of Montenegrins within the Serbian mythos as a symbol of the undying spirit of Serbhood. Only then was the Serbian historical narrative able to bridge the gap of some four centuries during Ottoman rule and establish the temporal continuity needed for the process of national awakening.
The politics of identity – the identity of politics At present, the differences between those opposed to Montenegro's independence and sovereignty have to do with the modalities for rationalising and justifying the inclusion of Montenegro and its population into a Serbian ethnic and political, as well as economic and
56 Danilo Kiš: Grobnica za Borisa Davidoviča (Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1990), p. 117. 57 See Senka Babović: ‘Kulturna Politika u Zetskoj Banovini’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Podgorica: University of Montenegro, 1997). See also Vojislav Nikčević: O Postanku Etnonima Dukljani, Zećani, Crnogorci (Podgorica, 1987); V. Nikčević: Crnogorski jezik (Cetinje, 1993); V. Nikčević: Pravopis Crnogorskog jezika (Podgorica: Montenegrin PEN Centre, 1997); Dragoje Živković: Istorija Crnogorskog naroda, (Cetinje, 1989); Šerbo Rastoder: Skrivana strana istorije: Crnogorska buna i odmetnički pokret 1918 – 1929. Dokumenti, Vols. 1-4 (Bar: Nidamentym Montenegro, 1997).


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

cultural, framework. Opponents of an independent and sovereign Montenegro have sought to discredit the concept in two ways: either they identify the discourse of independence with the old dynastic aspirations of the last Montenegrin King, Nikola I Petrović, or they associate it ideologically with the communist regime. 58 Dobrica Ćosić, the wellknown Serbian writer and, briefly, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, stated in a recent conversation with Timothy Garton Ash that ‘Montenegrin-ness (Montenegrinity?) was the invention of the Stalinist national policy.’ 59 On the other side of the political divide, advocates of Montenegrin independence repeatedly invoke the alleged continuity of statehood from the time of the medieval Bal šić and Vojislavljevi ć dynasties.60 These competing claims and the emotionally charged rhetoric of their current advocates have managed to polarise (politically and ideologically, as well as in terms of identity construction) the population of Montenegro. Regardless of what the available statistical data might suggest, it remains so that the people of Montenegro are bitterly divided over the issue of Montenegro's independence and the referendum as an acceptable modus of achieving it.61 This division is primarily of a political nature and the identity issue is closely connected with political/party affiliation. Unlike their parliamentary predecessors from the turn of the century, modern political parties in Montenegro appear more uniform when it comes to identity politics. The majority of the supporters of the Socialist People’s Party (Socijalistička Narodna Partija, SNP), the People’s Party ( Narodna Stranka, NS) and the Serbian People’s Party (Srpska Narodna Stranka, SNS) take pride in their Serbian identity and advocate a unitary national state. 62 Supporters of the Liberal Alliance of
58 See Srđa Pavlović: ‘The Podgorica Assembly in 1918: Notes on the Yugoslav Historiography (1919-1970) about the Unification of Montenegro and Serbia’, Canadian Slavonic Papers Vol. 41 No. 2 (June 1999), pp. 157-176. 59 Timothy Garton Ash: ‘The Last Revolution’, The New York Review of Books 16.11.2000. See also Slavenko Terzić: ‘Ideološki Koreni Crnogorske Nacije i Crnogorskog Separatizma’, available at 60 Rotković, op. cit. 61 At the traditional tribal gathering in Vasojevici (northern Montenegro) on St. Peter’s Day (12 July) 1994, prominent individuals from Vasojevici decided that their region would join Serbia if Montenegro was to secede from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. See Zoran Marković: ‘Zapad će Platiti Odštetu Srbiji’, Duga 17.9.1994. For results and analysis of numerous opinion polls regarding the future of the Montenegrin state, its referendum on independence and the political affiliation of its citizens, see: Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM): Parliamentary Elections in Montenegro. Opinion Poll, 27 March – 3 April 2001, Podgorica, 2001; Vladimir Goati: Izbori u SRJ od 1990 do 1998: volja gradjana ili izborna manipulacija (Beograd: CeSID, 1999); International Crisis Group: Montenegro: In the Shadow of the Volcano, Podgorica/Brussels/Washington, 21.3.2000, p. 11; Zoran Radulović: ‘Crnogorsko Javno Mnjenje na Prekretnici’, AIM, 26.9.1999; European Stability Initiative: ‘Politics, Interests and the Future of Yugoslavia: An Agenda for Dialogue’, 26.11.2001; National Democratic Institute: 22 April Parlamentarni Izbori. Ključni Zaključi, Podgorica, March 2001. NDI conducted this opinion poll between 15 and 19 March 2001. It is interesting to note that the majority of those in favour of independence were between the ages of 18 and 30, and were mostly students. Also, almost all of the interviewees preferring independence defined themselves as either Montenegrins or Albanians, or Muslims, not Serbs. 62 That some members of the SNP advocate a strong federal state instead of a unitary national state should not be taken as a sign of their insecurity in the prerogatives of their Serbian identity but rather as a manifestation of their political pragmatism.


Srđa Pavlović

Montenegro (Liberalni Savez Crne Gore, LSCG) identify themselves as Montenegrins and argue for independence and sovereignty. The strongest political party in Montenegro, the Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska Partija Socijalista, DPS) is a less uniform political body when it comes to identity politics. Some of its members and supporters express strong attachment to Montenegrin identity while others think of it as a more regional/territorial type of identification. It would seem that, for DPS leaders and members, political pragmatism plays a significant role in the matter onational identification. 63 Its coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (Socijal-Demokratska Partija, SDP) is generally considered to represent those who wish to see the development of an independent and sovereign state in Montenegro and the introduction of elements of civic society. 64
The modern condition: identity, cultural concepts and civic society Responsibility for the ferocity and depth of contemporary political and ideological division in Montenegro is born equally by all parties in this debate. To date, the unitarists have achieved their primary objective of marginalising efforts to establish the mechanisms and modalities of a civic society in Montenegro. These might be some of the reasons why a significant percentage of the population in Montenegro is not sure about the nature of the earlier promised referendum on independence. 65 Many wonder if such a referendum would represent an attempt to sever all links with Serbia and to establish a legal framework that would restrict or deny any expression of attachment (on a personal and a collective level) to Serbian ethnos, culture and tradition. The solution to the current political and ideological stalemate between Montenegro and Serbia depends on the dynamics of both domestic and international political processes and on strengthening the local economy. However, it should be kept in mind that such stately prerogatives cannot be achieved solely through the formation of short-term political alliances or by the rhetoric of desired inclusion in the so-called European and transatlantic integration processes. What is being sidelined is the role that culture plays in this process. Montenegro's writers, artists, musicians and actors contribute through their artistic endeavours to finding an optimal solution to the current crisis much more that they are given credit for.66 The activities of the Montenegrin PEN Centre and the continuing work on the
63 Milo Đukanović stated in 2001 that: ‘Neither can we have anyone closer to us than Serbia is, nor can Serbia have anyone closer to her than Montenegro is.’ Milo Đukanović: ‘Referendum je Neminovan. Dogovaraćemo se o Datumu i Uslovima’, Pobjeda 23.7.2001, p. 1. 64 For more on this issue, see the chapter ‘The Dispute over Montenegrin Independence’ by Beáta Huszka, this volume. 65 Even though Art. 3 of the Belgrade Agreement allows for the possibility of a referendum (defining it as a ‘right’ and not as an ‘obligation’), it seems unlikely that such an act will take place in Montenegro. However, the leaders of the DPS and signatories of the Agreement (President Đukanović and Prime Minister Vujanović) were quick to reassure the general public that the referendum had not been forgotten but that it would take place under less hostile political conditions and if ‘we come to the conclusion that such a move would best serve the interests of Montenegro’s citizens.’ PCNEN, 16.3.2002. See also Milka Tadić-Mijović and Draško Đuranović: ‘Srećna Nova 1992?’ [especially the section ‘Predsjednikova Rijeć’], Monitor 22.3.2002, pp. 10-15. 66 Aleš Debeljak: ‘Varieties of National Experience: Resistance and Accommodation in Contemporary Slovenian Identity’, Spaces of Identity Vol. 1 No. 1 (January 2001), available at


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

Montenegrin Encyclopaedia, as well as the contribution of scholarly journals such as Almanah and Matica, the magazines Gest and Montenegrin Mobil Art, and the publishing activities of CID and Conteco – to mention just a few – will have a greater long-term impact on the process of cultural identification and self-identification than any economically-minded effort of the elite. 67 Some independentists (though a small minority) would point out that what we see in Montenegro is not the final stage of the process of forming and defining the national identity of Montenegrins according to the late 19 th century model, but the need for protecting and re-emphasising a long-existing and well-rounded notion of identity in a new environment.68 Indeed, it is necessary to seek modalities for expressing, and manoeuvring space for accommodating the different national and cultural identities within present-day Montenegro. The specificity of these identities in Montenegro makes this process even more important. When assessing the content of cultural concepts in the republics of the former Yugoslavia, and their internal dynamics, one could broadly characterise these as particular types of multi-culturalism. Such a categorisation could be applied to all regions in the former Yugoslavia, with the possible exception of Montenegro. Multi-culturalism presupposes the parallel existence of two or more different cultural frameworks within one region, but does not necessarily include any process of interaction. It is the process of interculturalism that is represented by and expressed through constant interaction between various cultural concepts. The historical, political and cultural matrix of Montenegro is the result of multi-layered borrowings that were, and still are, among the central features of Montenegrin society. What set Montenegro apart from other republics of the former Yugoslavia are the presence and high visibility of various and different cultural patterns upon
67 The aforementioned journals, publishing houses and magazines are slowly reintroducing previously marginalised aspects of the Montenegrin cultural scene and emphasise its intercultural character. Conteco and CID have embarked upon significant publishing undertakings in order to present previously unavailable documents, historical and literary analyses and other material relevant to Montenegrin history, culture, and society. Magazines such as Gest and Montenegrin Mobil Art are venues for the presentation of contemporary theatrical, literary and artistic trends in Montenegro. The editorial policy of the journal Matica is clearly tailored towards a reaffirmation of Montenegrin identity, but also pays close attention to various other aspects of identity construction in the region and devotes significant space to various discussions on many aspects of civic society. These efforts are aimed at informing the reading public in Montenegro and abroad about various aspects of life, scholarship and art in Montenegro, and serve as vehicles for internationalising its cultural space. However, it should be noted that these efforts in introducing concepts such as civic society and the interculturality of the Montenegrin space, and the departure from the traditional and mythologised perception of reality, are in their initial stages and are, to a certain extent, driven by the fear of marginalisation by Serbs as a dominant neighbouring group. 68 See: Ivan Čolović: ‘Est Natio in Nobis’, Matica Vol. 1 No. 3 (Autumn 2000), pp. 43-53; Srđa Pavlović: ‘Gđe je kuća’, Matica Vol. 1 No. 3 (Autumn 2000), pp. 73-78; Dragan K. Vukčević: ‘Crnogorska raskrsnica’, Matica Vol. 2 No. 7-8 (Autumn/Winter 2001), pp. 7-19; Mato Jelušić: ‘U traganju za civilnim društvom’, Matica Vol. 3 No. 9-10 (Spring/Summer 2002), pp. 79-99; Šerbo Rastoder: ‘Crna Gora multietnička država: sadržaj, stvarnost, iluzija, parola?’ Almanah No. 13-14 (2000), pp. 11-21; Esad Kočan: ‘Bošnjaci u Crnoj Gori: identitet i integracija’, Almanah No. 13-14 (2000), pp. 29-37.


Srđa Pavlović

which its tradition and history grew and developed, as well as the existence of space provided for the expression of difference. However, problems arise when seeking practical ways to revitalise the values of Montenegrin national and cultural identity. At that point, some independentists often resort to canonising the constitutive elements (real or imagined) of such an identity which, in turn, might manifest itself as representations of a somewhat distorted and totalising collective memory. Such distortion might be the result of a traumatic experience, but the memory of defeats from the past (either political or ideological) should not be used as justification for contemporary canonisations. The harshness and one-dimensional character of their approach are similar to the 19th century movement of national awakening, albeit from a different perspective: the position as victim. Despite efforts to gloss over this identity via a post-modernist discourse (as is the case in present-day Montenegro), it still mirrors the same old model. Insisting on the rhetoric of Montenegrin identity, Montenegrin culture and a Montenegrin ethnic framework could be misunderstood by many as an attempt to distance ‘Montenegrins’ from a stereotypical non-Montenegrin other, or as an initial phase in the political process of creating and marginalising new second class citizens in Montenegro. 69 In the case of Montenegro, one could follow a gradual separation between content (cultural identities and cultural politics) and form (the political rhetoric of cohabitation, multiculturalism and co-operation in the region) and the marginalisation of the former by the latter. The lack of attention to cultural content and the failure to acknowledge the relationship between the cultural identity of a nation and its state-institutional forms usually results in a questioning of both the identity and the viability of the state formation. Regardless of what might really be the case in Montenegro, the negative effects of the so-called ‘active waiting’ on the part of those in power promote a sense of confusion and insecurity, as well as frailty and the lack of a clear vision of Montenegro's future. An independent, sovereign and internationally recognised Montenegro can neither be achieved nor can it survive as an acceptable modus vivendi for all its citizens without prior redefinition and qualitative assessment, and a strengthening of its cultural cornerstones. Bearing this in mind, it seems necessary to redefine cultural politics in Montenegro. The transparency of cultural politics can only be attained by means of a clearly delineated notion of identity: a notion whose elements cannot be easily deconstructed in the process of cultural exchange. Even though one can easily recognise the specificity of the national and cultural identity of Montenegrins, emphasising this specificity seems necessary. Naturally, the crucial aspect of the whole process is finding a good measure of things and establishing a necessary balance. Otherwise, one enters the realm of provincial xenophobia and ethnic exclusivism. One has to be conscious that the Montenegrin cultural heritage and its contemporary manifestations are also the product of a creative effort of individual intellectuals and groups that could not be positioned within the Montenegrin ethnic framework. Cultural borrowings are a common occurrence in many cultures and there is nothing wrong with them as long as their purpose is to interact with and learn about others, rather than simply to adopt or create a carbon copy of the outside model. The ability to
69 Examples of such attempts could be found on the pages of the Crnogorski Književni List (Montenegrin Literary Journal) published in Podgorica. Particularly striking examples of a one-dimensional approach to Montenegrin identity (from a radical independentist point of view) are articles written by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Jevrem Brković.


Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity, and civic society

accept outside influences and filter them through the mechanisms of one's own artistic and creative sensibility is a sign of a well-rounded sense of identity and represents a qualitative departure from the rigid boundaries of one's ethnic mental landscape. An insistence on prioritising and canonising ethnic criteria inevitably produces a backlash since it constructs others (outsiders). These others are seen as foreign, unwanted and de-humanised. Finally, when representatives of a particular national group feel insecure about their own identity, others are viewed as enemies. As Robert Musil pointed out, ethnic biases are usually nothing more than manifestations of one's self-hatred and the products of an inner conflict that is projected on a convenient victim. 70 The political arena in Montenegro today is characterised by emotional outbursts which obscure the real issue at stake: the modern condition (political, social, economic and cultural). This calls for the introduction of a new discourse to assess and present the idea of Montenegrin independence and sovereignty: the discourse of civic society. Creative interaction between two or more different segments of broader/different cultural frameworks could best be achieved if the concept of ethnic identity is separated from that of civic identity. This separation should occur on the semantic level as well as on that of political and cultural activity. Such differentiation has to be initiated and maintained in public discourse in the Montenegrin state and should carry in itself the possibility and the right of an individual or a group to choose their own civic identity while not severing all ties with the original ethnic group. 71 Despite the ‘multi-cultural’ rhetoric, it seems that a suitable climate for accepting and implementing this differentiation in Montenegro is still in the making and that the notion of the Montenegrin state is conditioned more by the ethnic principle rather than by that of the civic identity of its population. This regression to the absolutism of the pure usually produces various forms of cultural isolation which, in turn, feeds on the remnants of ethnic mimicry and rejects everything that does not come from within one's own ethnic circle. Instead of representing itself as a living and mobile experience, it is reduced to static self-representation. In the absence of a political agency able and ready to establish the mechanisms of a democratic civic society which is detached from the restrictive concept of a mythologised past, cultural identities and self-representations become imposed and internalised.72 Imposed processes and representations – the construction of stereotypes – could turn into mechanisms for controlling numerically smaller ethno-cultural groups (or could be perceived as such). This is the point at which the problem changes its character and becomes political. Many people in Montenegro perceive the long-promised referendum on independence as an imposition and as an attempt to force each individual to declare his or her own ethnic identity, instead of a way to create an optimal legal framework for the process of defining civic identity in Montenegro. Explaining to the electorate that the modus vivendi called an independent and sovereign Montenegro is needed in order ‘to help us be, and not to simply have’ might reduce some tension within society. 73
70 Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities, Vol. 1 (New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1996), p. 461. 71 Debeljak, op. cit. 72 William Anselmi and Kosta Gouliamos: Elusive Margins: Consuming Media, Ethnicity and Culture (Toronto, Buffalo, Lancaster: Guernica, 1998), p. 15. 73 Debeljak, op. cit.


Srđa Pavlović

The prioritisation of culture and cultural politics in the process of creating the conditions that will nourish elements of civic identity in Montenegro and establishing the mechanisms through which a civic society could function are also important in view of the relatively recent political/personnel changes in Serbia. Even though these changes are mainly of a representational character, they should be seen as an improvement. Namely, getting rid of Milo šević lessened the likelihood of Montenegro being ‘pacified’ through military action, but it did not entirely remove the threat of the marginalisation and redefinition of the Montenegrin political and cultural space by Serbia. Recent political events and the ongoing debate over the structure of the future union between Serbia and Montenegro indicate that, once again, the issue of the modalities for achieving political goals (independent Montenegro versus unitary state) is the main stumbling block. It could be said that the political model that is being imposed upon Montenegro by Brussels (political and economic union with Serbia), paired with the persistent imposition of Serbian cultural patterns by Belgrade, constitutes a new version of an aggressive Serbian expansionism, which, time and again, is gaining international support. But this cosmetic improvement does not modify the aggressive nature of such expansionism. In the context of a post-modern model of domination, the pen has become more effective and dangerous than the sword. Overcoming such challenges presupposes a restructuring of Montenegro's economy and its political system. But such a process must include the revitalisation of the contemporary and multi-layered corpus of cultural activities in Montenegro, as well as the preservation of its traditional cultural values.


Šerbo Rastoder

A short review of the history of Montenegro
Introduction: the name The oldest reference to the name Montenegro stems from a Papal epistle in Latin, from 9 November 1053, where the term Monte nigro is used to denote an area or region within the state of Duklja, or the Kingdom of Slavs. 1 In Cyrillic sources, Montenegro was mentioned for the first time in 1276, meaning ‘black mount’ or ‘black hills’. According to legend, the previous forestland of today's Montenegro, when seen from the sea or Lake Skadar, looked like a chain of ‘black hills’ or ‘black mounts (forests)’. 2 Whatever the case, all west European languages embraced the term Montenegro as the name of the country and state of Montenegro that has now been a historical subject for more than ten centuries, and where the majority of the population consists of Montenegrins, a people described, especially by 18 th and 19th century authors writing about their travels to the Balkans, as bold warriors of unusual height and handsomeness and exceptional moral and knightly convictions. This chapter will trace the political and social developments of Montenegro from the early Slav times in the 9 th century to the end of World War Two. The focus will thus lie on the interaction between the episodes of independence, or autonomy, of Montenegro and outside rule, be it by the Ottoman Empire, Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy, Yugoslavia or Italy. The emergence of Montenegrin statehood: Zeta No records exist of the first centuries of Slavic presence in this region. Some scarce historical sources3 mention merely the archon Petar as the first ruler of Duklja in the 9 th century. Moreover, there is a complete lack of data on the conversion of the Slavic population on the territory of Duklja to Christianity and, although there is no doubt that the influence of Rome was prevalent, the impact of Byzantium was not insignificant, particularly in the period of Basil I in the second half of the 9 th century. Outlines of a state organisation in this region originated during the period of turmoil that swept over the Balkan Peninsula towards the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth century. Apart from Petar, who was mentioned by the earliest sources, further records relate to Duke Vladimir (997-1016), whose throne was in Skadar, from where he withdrew to the surrounding area after the 997 capture of Dra č (Duressi) by the Macedonian Emperor Samuilo who, shortly afterwards, not only conquered Duklja, but imprisoned Vladimir as well. Vladimir returned to Duklja before long, following his marriage to Samuilo’s daughter Kosara, and was tricked into death by his brother-in-law, Emperor Vladislav. Later,
1 Translated from the original by Ivana Prazić. Vojislav D. Nikčević (ed.): Miscellanea Slavorum, Dokumenti o Slovenima, Pars prima (Cetinje: Državni arhiv Crne Gore, 2002), p. 46. 2 See ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, Vol. 2 & 3, 2nd Edition Enciklopedije Jugoslavije (Podgorica: DOB, 1999), p. 1. 3 In recent years, a voluminous publication on the historical origins and the early period of Montenegro was published, see Vojislav D. Nikčević: Monumenta Montegrina, I-X (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 2001-2002).


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Vladimir was canonised. 4 Duke Vladimir’s state stretched from Dra č in Albania to the Neretva River, and comprised within its borders the areas of Duklja, Zahumlje and Travunija. His court was in Bar. The founder of the first Montenegrin dynasty, the Vojislavljevi ć Dynasty – which is claimed to have had as many as 28 kings by Pop Dukljanin in his work The Kingdom of Slavs in the second half of the twelfth century – was Stefan Vojislav (1016-1043), whose military superiority over the Byzantine Empire, which he defeated, gained Duklja its state independence, acknowledged by Byzantium itself. His supremacy was recognised by neighbouring Raška, Hum and Bosnia. Vojislav was succeeded by his son Mihailo, to whom the Byzantine Empire acknowledged sovereignty in internal matters of the state as long as he, in turn, symbolically recognised the supremacy of the Byzantine Emperor. Duke Mihailo’s state – referred to more frequently in Byzantine sources as Zeta – included in its territorial extension the region stretching from Ston and the hinterland of Dubrovnik to the area surrounding around Dra č to the south. Duke Mihailo located his courts in Kotor and Prapratna (a site between Bar and Ulcinj), and it is suspected that his state contained a number of other coastal cities as well. It was during the period of his rule that the schism between the Pope and the Patriarchate in Constantinople took place in 1054, whereupon Mihailo, after fighting Byzantium and sending help to the rebels in Macedonia in 1072, succeeded in raising his state to the status of kingdom. In a letter dated at the beginning of 1077, Pope Gregory VII addresses him as rex Sclavorum (the king of the Slavs), although it remains unknown whether his royal title was bestowed upon him that same year or somewhat earlier. Be that as it may, the state of King Mihailo Vojislavljevi ć gained international recognition, just as it expanded territorially and became an imposing military force in the region. In the spiritual sense, the population of his country was under the jurisdiction of the Episcopate of Dubrovnik which, in turn, was subordinated to Split and, eventually, to Rome. Mihailo’s request to gain spiritual, as well as secular, independence was accomplished in the period of reign of his heir Bodin (1082-1101), who was married to Jakvinta, a Norman. The Macedonians proclaimed Bodin to be emperor in Prizren, as a gesture of gratitude for the help he had provided them in the uprising of Đorđe Vojteh against the Byzantine Empire. During the conquest of Dra č by the Normans, Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly, Bodin conquered Ra ška, turning it into a Zetan province, after which he took over Bosnia as well. In January 1089, he managed to ensure that the Episcopate of Bar was promoted to the rank of arch-episcopate (archbishopric) by the Pope, thus acquiring the favours of the religious chiefs in his state. 5 After King Bodin’s death, the country started to weaken and shrink. Ra ška, Bosnia and Hum separated from Duklja (Zeta), while disputes over the throne kept weakening the inner unity of the country. Bodin’s successor was his brother Dobroslav, who was dethroned by Vukan, the Great Župan (head of a tribal state) of Ra ška, who first enthroned Ko čopar only to replace him with Vladimir (1102-1114). Bodin’s wife Jakvinta managed to en4 Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 29-30; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 142-146. 5 The bishoprics of Duklja, Bar, Kotor, Ulcinj, Svač, Skadar, Drivast, Pilot, Serbia, Bosnia and Travunia were subordinated to the Bar Archbishopric.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

throne her son Đorđije (1114-1118) in order to suppress temporarily the supporters of Raška and to provoke the intervention of Byzantium, as a result of which Grube ša was enthroned for a short time (1118-1125) before being replaced once again by Đorđije (11251131) and then by Gradihna (1131-1142), who succeeded in reclaiming Travunia and placing it under his control. These long-lasting inner clashes ruined and desolated the country. Gradihna’s son and heir became a vassal to Byzantium, thus bringing Zeta and Travunia under his rule. The political anarchy that had ensued in Zeta after Bodin’s death had as its final consequence the loss of independence, these territories being conquered by Nemanja, Raška’s Great Župan, in 1189 and annexed to Ra ška. Thus ended the 173-year-long period of existence of the independent state of Duklja (Zeta) during which a state, a church and a culture dominated by western influence had been created.6 From 1189 to 1360, Zeta became a part of the Nemanji ć state, within which it would retain certain autonomy. After the conquest of Duklja with its coastal area (‘The Kingdom of Dioclitia and Dalmatia’), Stefan Nemanja did not alter its independent organisation. Vukan, his eldest son, was appointed regent and he also enjoyed the title of the King of ‘Duklja and Dalmatia’, the title taken on from his predecessors, the kings of Duklja. Significant religious changes in this area began in 1219 when Sava (St. Sava), Stefan Nemanja’s son, established the orthodox Zeta Episcopate in Prevlaka (near Tivat). Subsequently, the orthodox Episcopates of Prevlaka and Ston would spread Orthodoxy as far as the coastal areas of Zeta, where the Catholic religion had previously been predominant, although the Serbian feudal landowners would support the Archbishopric of Bar during its long dispute with the Archbishopric of Dubrovnik on the issue of precedence. 7 The coastal towns not only kept the autonomy won from the previous rulers under the Nemanji ć Dynasty, but also succeeded in broadening it widely. Internal autonomy was arranged by municipal statutes (Kotor acquired one in 1301, Bar in 1330 and Budva somewhat later) and thus the coastal towns developed into commercial centres and mediators in the exchange of goods with the hinterland, where certain towns (e.g. Kotor) had their colonies. 8 At that time, apart from feudal landowners, tenants and sharecroppers, there were also cattle breeders, Vlachs and Albanians, allowed to move freely throughout Zeta on condition of paying the usual taxes. During that period, Orthodox monasteries from the inner parts of Serbia and from Zeta and its coastal areas also started obtaining properties, while the system of pronias, i.e. giving land properties to warriors or officials without the right of transfer to third persons, spread relatively early. The pronias were cultivated by landless peasants and a pronia could be inherited by a son on condition that he assumed his father’s duties.9
6 On this period of Montenegrin history, see Istorija Crne Gore, Vol. 1 (Titograd, 1970); Nikčević: Monumenta Montenegrina; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 28-38; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 143-149; Dragoslav Srejović et al: Istorija srpskog naroda, Vol. I (Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, 1981), pp. 109-124, 141-155, 174-175 and 180-196. 7 See Istorija Crne Gore No. 2, Vol. 1 (Titograd, 1970), pp. 15-28. 8 ibid. pp. 28-46; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 149-154; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 45-57. 9 Istorija Crne Gore, No. 2, Vol. 1 (Titograd, 1970), pp. 83-93; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, p. 57.


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The beginnings of Montenegro: between Venice and the Ottoman Empire

After 1360, Zeta gained independence under the Bal šić Dynasty (1360-1421). The founder of the Balšić Dynasty, Đurađ I Balšić, together with his heirs Balša II and Đurađ II Stracimirović, were at constant war with their neighbours, i.e. Albanians, Serbians, Bosnians and the Zeta dynasties, as well as with some other feudal lords. This weakened significantly the economic basis of the country, which was already, from the end of the 14 th century, being endangered by the Ottomans. In the battle of Saursko polje, in the vicinity of Berate, Bal ša II was killed although his heir, Đurađ II Stracimirović (1385-1403), managed to retain the conquered territories in northern Albania, i.e. the towns of Skadar and Drivast with Lje š. Ulcinj became the capital city of Đurađ II and his court. The Bal šić Dynasty minted their own coins and issued documents to the citizens of Dubrovnik regarding freedom of movement and commerce. Exposed to an Ottoman attack towards the end of the 14 th century, Đurađ II was forced to give up Skadar, Drivast and Sveti Sr đ on the Bojana River and to approach Venice, the ruling force on the Adriatic coast. In 1395, he managed to reconquer some of these, only to concede them to Venice, which took advantage of the internal clashes in Zeta. Venice then took over a number of other coastal towns (Drivast, Ulcinj, Bar) on the death of Bal ša III (1403-1421), the last ruler of the Bal šić Dynasty. The rest of his territories were inherited by his uncle, the Serbian despot Stefan Lazarevi ć.10 Meanwhile, a family of feudal lords by the name of Crnojevi ć ascended so high as to become the third Montenegrin dynasty in a row (1421-1496). Their ascendance was closely related to Stefanica (Stefan) Crnojevi ć who, after the collapse of the state of the Serbian despot (1439), reclaimed certain parts around upper Zeta. It was during the period of his rule that the concept of Zeta was being replaced by a new territorial and political notion – Montenegro. At the same time, some important social changes took place in this area, resulting in the disappearance of feudal Zeta and the emergence of patriarchal Montenegro. Balancing on the one hand between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, which was forcefully penetrating the Balkan Peninsula, and local feudal states on the other, the Crnojevi ć Dynasty attempted to maintain the independence of their country. Stefan sought protection from the Republic of Venice by means of the establishment of a vassal relationship, although his heir Ivan (14651490) later led futile battles against it in the attempt to win complete independence. Ivan fought on the side of Venice against the Ottoman Empire but in 1471 he was forced to recognise the supreme rule of the sultan and to pay a tax of 700 ducats. Thus, during the rule of Ivan Crnojević, Montenegro became a two-fold vassal Even so, the Ottoman Empire continued attacking the Crnojevi ć Dynasty because of its close ties with Venice, eventually seizing Podgorica (1474) and Skadar (1479), in this manner confining the state of the Crnojevi ć Dynasty to the narrow region around Mount Lovćen. Retreating before the Ottoman Empire, Ivan Crnojevi ć moved the state capital and the Metropolitan’s residence from Žabljak (Lake Skadar) firstly to Obod and then to Cetinje, which was to become the historic capital of Montenegro in the centuries ahead and which was where he first built a court and monastery.
10 On Balša see Istorija Crne Gore, No. 2 Vol. 1 (Titograd, 1970), pp. 3-121; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 152-155; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 58-80.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

His son and heir Đurađ (1490-1496) acquired a printing press in 1493 in Venice, only a few years after it had been invented by Johan Gutenberg. The press constituted the first printing shop in the South Slav region and was where the first books in Cyrillic on the entire Balkan peninsula were printed. Starting from 1494, the Oktoih, the Book of Psalms and the Prayer Book, among others, were printed – an issue that represented the ultimate aspect of religious defence and Montenegrin freedom. In this state printing shop, five religious books were printed in the Cyrillic alphabet, displaying an unusual degree of technical perfection and possessing high artistic beauty. Makarije, a monk, worked on their printing with seven assistants. The Crnojević Dynasty was making constant attempts to persuade Catholic countries to fight against the Ottoman Empire and, when High Porte found out about one such attempt by Đurđe Crnojević, who had established connections with the French King Charles VII who, in turn, seized the Kingdom of Naples in 1495 and started planning an uprising against the Ottoman Empire with the help of the Albanian rulers from southern Italy, he was ordered to come to the court in Constantinople immediately or face leaving Montenegro within the next three days. Đurađ decided to escape the country with his family and left for Venice. Thus, the year of his departure (1496) is considered as the year of the final fall of Montenegro under the reign of the Ottomans. The duration of the rule of the Crnojevi ć dynasty is restricted to a few decades but the memory of it persisted throughout centuries. It became a legend, with its members being seen as the free rulers of Montenegro – an understandable phenomenon which characterises all national dynasties prior to the loss of their respective states and independence. 11 During the Balšić and the Crnojevi ć dynasties, cultural life was under the mixed sway of influences from both east and south. The Byzantine tradition of creating, copying and translating literary works was interwoven with the strong influence of Italy, especially after the Fall of Constantinople (1453), when Zeta was experiencing a special kind of Renaissance. This relates particularly to the towns in the coastal area, where the Italian Renaissance left visible traces. For instance, Andrija Palta šić, originating from Kotor, printed religious books and some Latin classical authors, such as Cicero, Ovid and Virgil, in Venice between 1477 and 1493.
Montenegro under Ottoman rule After the final fall under Ottoman rule (1496), Montenegro was adjoined to the countries of the Ottoman Empire as a separate region under the supervision of the bey of Skadar and Sandžak, in whose name a subaša (sub-pasha) governed Montenegro. The first Ottoman records of 1497 indicate that the country was subjected to the usual taxes, while the hill stations had an obligation to pay the filurija, a duty which demanded each household pay one gold coin. Fifty three muselems, or chiefs of the rural self-governing communities, dominant among whom were the domicile chiefs, were tax-exempt. The seat of the
11 A broad range of literature exists on Montenegro at the time of Crnojević. Just a few are as follows: Istorija Crne Gore, No. 2 Vol. 2 (Titograd, 1970), pp. 277-348; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 156-160; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 90-107; ‘Pet vjekova Oktoiha’, Prve štampane ćirilične knjige na Slovenskom jugu, Radovi sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa, Cetinje 24-2.juna 1994 (Podgorica, 1994); Zbornik povodom pola milenijuma crnogorskog štamparstva (Cetinje: Matica Crnogorska, 1995).


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kadija12 was Podgorica, while that of the subaša was Žabljak (Lake Skadar) from 14991511. Later on, this would also be the seat of Crnojević, the Montenegrin Sandžak Bey and the converted Muslim son of Đurđe Crnojević, who had died in Anatolia. This was where the sultan provided him with an estate after he had secretly returned to Montenegro, before his departure for Constantinople. From the very beginning of Ottoman rule, 13 there was a resistance to introducing harač and other taxes, and especially to serving the Ottoman army outside the borders of Montenegro. During those periods, when the surrounding regions would be turned into a warzone, such as during the war between Venice and the Ottoman Empire (1499-1502), the impending resistance would turn into an open riot. This was exactly what happened in 1502, during the above-mentioned war, although it was brutally crushed. The resistance of the people (in 1505, 1517 and 1519) forced the court in Constantinople to separate Montenegro into a special Sandžak, governed by the already-mentioned son of Ivan Crnojevi ć, Skender Bey. It was during this period that Montenegro’s usual financial obligations were abolished. Furthermore, the filurija, corresponding to 55 akčas, was imposed on the entire population and was supposed to be paid by each house, although the abuse of the authorities continued to cause constant riots. After Skender Bey’s death (in 1530), Montenegro was adjoined to the Sandžakat of Skadar and gained the status of vilajet – that is, a province of the sultan where his rule did not rely on Muslims. The land was still exempt from the spahi-timar14 system. The process of forming cifliks15 began in the mid-16 th century, when the local landowners (agas) started seizing certain monastery estates and hunting grounds in the lower parts of Montenegro. All of this, coupled with the conversion of the population to Islam, resulted in the retreat of considerable parts of the population to the mountain areas. Hence, the number of inhabitants in these areas increased. The territory of Montenegro at this time consisted of four nahijas16: the Katun; the Rije čka; the Lješanska and Crmnička; and the Pobori, the Maine and Brajići. For a period of time, it also included the Grbalj nahija as well. The 1523 census reveals that Montenegro had 3 151 households and properties. 17 Starting from 1566, Montenegro was governed by Duka đinski Bey, who was followed by Sandžak Bey of Herzegovina, who ruled for a short time (1576). Towards the end of the 16th century, there were signs of certain attempts once more to separate Montenegro into a special Sandžak. During this period, in some parts of Montenegro administrative districts, known as knežine, had already been formed and had taken the form of tribal organisations. A similar process had spread over all the regions of the so-called Montenegrin Hills and parts of Herzegovina Sandžak and, thus, in the coming period, triballyorganised society was the most significant organisational structure in this area, both in the social and the political life of its population. Over time, the organisation of a tribal society was formed, led by the Opštecrnogorski (All-Montenegrin) and the Montenegrin Assem12 A Moslem judge, kadi. 13 ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, p. 160; Živko Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore 1496-1918 (Bar: Conteco, 2000), pp. 11-13; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 109-116. 14 An income awarded to Ottoman soldiers in the form of land given in the form of fief. 15 Private land estates. 16 Ottoman territorial sub-unit below Sandjaks. 17 Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, p. 13.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

bly of tribal chiefs (a form of folk assembly) with a Metropolitan – the vladika (bishop) – presiding over them. The vladikas were religious chiefs picked directly at the Assembly sessions from various tribes. In the period between 1499 and 1697, their position was not a hereditary one. On the other hand, rebellious and belligerent Montenegrins demonstrated their resistance to Ottoman rule through constant confrontation. After the Ottoman Empire attempted to collect payment for harač by force, and following its defeat at Lje škopolje in 1603, the sultan practically acknowledged the autonomy of Montenegro, naming a resident duke as the spahija and chief of Montenegro. The filurija, up to then collected by the imperial haračars18 with the help of the dukes and under the surveillance of the Sandžak Bey, was now replaced with danak,19 collected by the dukes themselves led by the spahija. An imperial edict confirmed the privileges and authorised Montenegrins to prevent any Ottoman representative from entering Montenegro without their approval, with the exception of those sent by the sultan himself. Moreover, Montenegrins were exempted from the obligation of going to war outside the borders of Montenegro – except where the sultan had sent for them – although the compulsion remained both to work in the sultan’s salterns in Grbalj and to organise their defence. Under the custody of the Sandžak Bey and the Montenegrin kadija, who lived outside the territory of Montenegro, only a broad supervision of Montenegro was implemented. The de facto acknowledgement of autonomy strengthened the role of the Montenegrin Metropolitans in Cetinje and the native spahijas, who represented Montenegro before the Ottoman and the Venetian authorities. Traditional law continued to be the basis for resolving internal disputes, while no decisions of importance for the entire country could be made without the agreement of the Opštecrnogorski Assembly.
Tribes in Montenegro During Ottoman rule, tribal organisation spread all over the territory of today’s Montenegro with the exception of Boka Kotorska, where organisation was limited to the Pa štrovići and Krivošija tribes. The tribes were mainly formed during the late 15 th and first half of the 16th century, taking the form of territorial organisations of self-governed and local social communities within a geographical and economic framework. A tribe is a community consisting of several clans, possessing territory, institutions, common property and an identical economic foundation of social life, as well as tradition and awareness of the community. A patriarchal organisation of life would be formed within tribes, differing much from one which characterises non-tribal organisations. Within the historical nucleus of Old Montenegro (the area around Mount Lov ćen), 21 tribes were created and, in the area of the so-called Montenegrin Hills, another seven, although the number of tribes varies as some have since disappeared and others dispersed. The Montenegrin Assembly was an organ shared by all tribes and, as such, it was in charge of solving inter-tribal disputes and establishing peace with neighbouring tribes and with regions belonging to the Ottoman Empire. The decisions of the Montenegrin Assembly had a moral obligation only since it did not possess any kind of executive organs of compulsion. The Assembly was open just to adult Montenegrin men. Most often, only one member
18 Tax collectors. 19 Tribute.


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of a household – usually the chief – was sent to the Assembly sessions, but there were cases when several houses would send one representative on behalf of them all. There are records that some sessions of the Assembly managed to gather as many as 2 000 participants, which turned them into real national parliaments. It was at the Assembly sessions that Montenegro’s Metropolitans were elected, the territorial court established and various issues concerning foreign affairs and relations with the surrounding countries and, later on, Russia, resolved. It is thought that these Assemblies were the continuance of medieval gatherings, although the records show that they appeared as a permanent all-tribal institution only at the beginning of the 17th century. The Opštecrnogorski Assembly had to ratify all the other assemblies and the agreements made by the chiefs; there were few cases of disobedience of Assembly decisions. An Assembly session was usually convened by the Metropolitan, most often in one of the monasteries around Cetinje. Over time, the Metropolitan became the most important figure in both the religious and the political life of Montenegrins. 20 The Metropolitan’s residence in Cetinje became the spiritual centre for Orthodox Montenegrins and, as a religious institution and a spiritual location, it gathered round itself the Montenegrin tribes and directed their feelings regarding Ottoman rule. Between 1496 and 1697, there were 18 vladikas originating from various Montenegrin tribes.
Montenegro between Ottoman rule and independence From the 18th century onwards, the neighbouring Sandžak Beys started to jeopardise the privileges that the Montenegrins had attained within the Ottoman Empire. Defending those privileges, the Montenegrins increased their resistance and looked for allies in the surrounding Christian countries. During the war over Crete (1645-1669) between the Ottoman Empire and Venice, the Montenegrins actively participated on the side of Venice and, in 1648, decided to overthrow Ottoman supremacy and to request protection from Venice. 21 However, the authorities in Venice did not consider the moment to be ripe. On the other hand, though, they actively worked on enticing the Christian population in the Balkans to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. Several joint military actions of Venetians and Montenegrins, such as attacks on Bar and Risan (the one on Risan was successful), resulted in punitive campaigns against the Montenegrin tribes. This in turn resulted in mass migrations of Montenegrins to regions stretching from Boka Kotorska to Istria. Meanwhile, the process of conversion into Islam and ciflik intensified greatly, especially in the plains. Similar developments ensued during the Morean War (1684-1699), when the Montenegrins, once again, fought on the side of Venice. 22 The Sandžak Bey of Skadar, Sulej20 On Montenegro during Ottoman rule see Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 11-43; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 109-122; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, p. 160-162; Branislav Đurđev: Turska vlast u Crnoj Gori u XVI i XVII veku (Sarajevo, 1953); Branislav Đurđev: Dva deftera Crne Gore iz vremena Skendred bega Crnojevića, Vol. I (Sarajevo, 1968). 21 For more on Montenegro’s role in the war over Crete, see Gligor Stanojević: Jugoslovenske zemlje u mletačko turskim ratovima XVI – XVIII veka (Beograd: Prosveta, 1970); Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 46-49; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 126-130. 22 On Montenegro and the battle of Morea, see J. Tomić: Crna Gora za vrijeme Morejskog rata (1684-1699) (Beograd, 1907); Gligor Stanojević: Borba crnogorskih, brdskih i hercegovačkih plemena protiv turske vlasti (XVI-XVIII) (Beograd, 1976), pp. 176-217; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 45-46; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 126-130.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

man Pasha Bušatlija, led a military campaign against Montenegro and, at the battle at Vrtijeljca, in the close vicinity of Cetinje (1685), defeated the Montenegrin forces and conquered Cetinje. Venetian influence was suppressed for a while, until 1687, when Montenegrins actively participated in an attack on Herceg-Novi and, once again, the consequence was a new Ottoman campaign against Montenegro. Earlier, Sulejman Pasha unsuccessfully attacked the Kuči Tribe, at which point Montenegrins, at a session of the Assembly (1688), came to an agreement to organise a general uprising. Until 1692, the Montenegrins enjoyed military successes in the war against the Ottoman Empire, only to be defeated by Sulejman Pasha once again in the Autumn of the same year, when he managed to conquer Cetinje. However, in the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699), the Ottoman Empire lost vast parts of its territory. This affected the situation in Montenegro in a positive way. The degree of independence of certain tribes from Ottoman rule increased and, in some parts of Montenegro, Ottoman rule was almost unnoticeable. At that time, Danilo (1696-1735) became the new vladika.23 He is considered to be the founder of the fourth Montenegrin dynasty, the Petrovi ć Dynasty, which governed Montenegro until the loss of independence in 1918. Vladika Danilo Šćepčević Petrović became Metropolitan in the period after the Cetinje Monastery had been destroyed and ravaged by the Skadar Pasha Sulejman (1692). During his reign, some significant changes took place in Montenegro which had long-term consequences for the fortune of the state. Namely, until the beginning of the 18 th century, Montenegrins had mainly relied on the help of the Venetians in wars against the Ottoman Empire. However, staring from 1711, vladika Danilo established connections with Russia, the country that would become Montenegro’s protector and which would provide Montenegro with support in the following centuries. Over time, a characteristic cult of Russia would evolve in Montenegro, 24 while the establishment of Montenegro-Russian political ties would result in a considerable increase in Montenegro’s selfconfidence and a bolder attitude regarding the Ottoman authorities. Attacks on the surrounding Ottoman fortifications resulted in massive punitive military campaigns against Montenegro. In one such campaign in 1712, the Ottoman army, led by Ahmed Pasha, managed to recapture Cetinje, although it had been previously defeated in a battle at Carev Laz, which the people of Montenegro traditionally cherish as their great victory. The Cetinje Monastery was once again demolished and many houses were burnt down, while some of the Montenegrin tribes were forced to declare their loyalty to the Ottoman Empire. However, Montenegro was not appeased and, in a new attack in the summer of 1714, the forces of the Bosnian vizier Numan Pasha Ćuprilić, counting some 30 000 soldiers, performed gruesome repressions in which thousands of people were killed, houses burned to ashes and the country devastated. Vladika Danilo first took refuge in Boka and, shortly afterwards, went to Russia to seek help. 25 He requested that the Rus23 See Gligor Stanojević: Crna Gora u vrijeme vladike Danila (Beograd, 1955); Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 55-65; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, p. 164; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 135-139. 24 Istorija Crne Gore, No. 3 Vol. I (Titograd, 1975), pp. 325-373; Živko Andrijašević: ‘Stvaranje kulta Rusije u Crnoj Gori u XVIII vijeku’, Slovenski glasnik No. 1 (1996), pp. 19-37. 25 See J. Tomić: ‘Pohod Numan-paše Ćuprilića na Crnu Goru 1714. godine’, Glas SA, No. 147 (1932); J. Tomić: Pitanje Careva Laza (Beograd, 1933); Andrija šević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 55-65; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 135-139.


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sian government take Montenegro under its protection and financially help the Montenegrin victims. The Russian czar Peter the Great bestowed financial help for the victims on vladika Danilo and secured a constant amount of money for the Cetinje Monastery. From that moment until the beginning of the 20 th century, the Russian subventions played an important role in the Montenegrin economy. Even so, this pro-Russian orientation of vladika Danilo encountered strong opposition in Venice and amongst the majority of Montenegrin chiefs who were in favour of the idea of collaboration with the Venetian Republic. A group of such chiefs went to Venice in 1717, with a proposal to put Montenegro under the protection of the Republic of Venice on the condition that it kept its internal autonomy and the independence of its Church. The proposal was accepted by the Venetians, who established the post of governor, which mostly pertained to the Radonji ć family from Njegu še, in 1717. The post was abolished in 1830. 26 Nevertheless, vladika Danilo still played the leading role in the country and, since he accepted the aforementioned contract, was recognised as having the right of supreme religious jurisdiction over the Orthodox population. The general status of Montenegro did not change significantly. The Ottoman Empire still saw it as its territory although its reign in Montenegro was fictional. Co-operation between Montenegro and Venice came to an end, with Montenegro starting to seek help and support from both Russia and Austria. As the originator of the idea of Montenegrin independence, vladika Danilo managed to unite the surrounding tribes in their common fight against the Ottoman Empire, while the Cetinje residence of the metropolitans became a powerful spiritual and political centre of the state. Vladika Danilo also established the first organs of authority beyond tribal ones by forming the Twelve Member Court in 1713, a body which was in charge of resolving inter-tribal disputes and other important issues. Vladika Danilo’s heir was vladika Sava Petrović (1735-1781), who actively participated in the Russian and Austrian wars against the Ottoman Empire. On a journey to Russia, he received the acknowledgement of the autocephaly of the Montenegrin-Coastal Metropolitan Diocese by the Saint Russian Synod, while the Russian Empress Elisabeth gave him a considerable amount of financial aid for the Cetinje Monastery and the Montenegrin people.27 Vladika Vasilije Petrović Njegoš (1735-1781) ruled as koadjutor (assistant) together with his uncle Sava, managing to impose himself as the leading and inviolable figure in the political life of Montenegro. However, the principle of primogeniture in the inheritance of power was not valid in Montenegro since vladikas did not have posterity, and their title was inherited by a member of a side branch of the Petrovi ć family tree. Vasilije dreamed of organising a Balkan Uprising in which Montenegro would play a leading role. He was the first figure to come up with a plan recognising the territories that would go to Montenegro. Interestingly enough, the territory he marked as Montenegro’s in the mid-18th century is almost identical with the territory of today’s Montenegro. Bearing this goal in mind, he went to Russia in 1752 and remained there for the following two years, raising various issues concerning Montenegro-Russian ties and effectuating the idea of the migration of Montenegrins to Russia. He published The History of Montenegro
26 Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 135-139. 27 Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, p. 66.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

(1754) in Russia and, thus, is considered to be the originator of the modern Montenegrin historiography. Vladika Vasilije passed away in St. Petersburg (1766) and Montenegro was left without a dominant figure on its political scene 28 and internal crisis resulted from the associated increase in tribal anarchy and disunity. Under such circumstances, a foreigner by the name of Šćepan Mali (Stephen the Small) appeared in Montenegro in September 1766, introducing himself as a herbalist. He then started to present himself as the Russian czar Peter III who had been dethroned and who was believed to have escaped from Russia. Partly out of its special respect for Russia and, partly, because of a certain physical likeness with the dethroned Russian emperor, the Montenegrins took his story for granted and, at a session of the Assembly in 1767, he was proclaimed ruler of Montenegro. The news of the arrival of the ‘Russian Emperor’ in Montenegro awakened suspicions in neighbouring countries and in Russia. Venice decided to poison Šćepan Mali while Russia sent the Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Vienna to remove the usurper from Montenegro. The court in Istanbul, on the other hand, believed that Šćepan Mali had been brought to Montenegro by the Russians. Towards the end of 1768, Montenegro was attacked by 50 000 soldiers moving in from three directions. Due to the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the operations were stopped and, in 1769, Duke Dolgorukov came to Montenegro bringing a proclamation from Empress Catherine inviting the Slavic people to overthrow Ottoman rule. Dolgorukov attested that Šćepan Mali was a fraud and that he should be arrested. Nevertheless, since Šćepan Mali enjoyed undivided support in the country, Dolgorukov’s attempt was a failure. Thereafter, he was allowed to stay and govern the country on the condition that he vowed loyalty to Russia and to the Russian Court. Eventually, Šćepan Mali was murdered in 1773 by his own servant, of Greek origin, who had been talked into it by the pasha of Skadar.
The beginnings of statehood in Montenegro

This controversial personality left behind important marks on the history of Montenegro. By means of applying sanctions, until that moment unheard of in this region, he introduced peace and order to Montenegro. A division of 10 to 50 men was formed and used to fight against blood vengeance, kidnapping and obstinacy. He formed a court (in 1771) that consisted of twenty of the most esteemed Montenegrin tribal chiefs, which resolved intertribal disputes. The following year, he also created the first executive organs of the central administration, a squadron of 80 men-in-arms. The reign of Šćepan Mali is therefore considered to be an important factor in accelerating the process of creating the state of Montenegro.29
28 On the rule of Vasilije, see Gligor Stanojević: Mitropolit Vasilije Petrović i njegovo doba (1740-1766) (Beograd: Istorijski institut/Narodna knjiga, 1978); Istorija Crne Gore, No. 3, Vol. I , pp. 298-365; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 164-165; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 69-71; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 139-145. 29 On Montenegro during the era of Šćepan Mali, see Istorija Crne Gore, No. 3, Vol. I, pp. 373-390; Gligor Stanojević: Šćepan Mali (Beograd, 1957); ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 165-166; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 147-153; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 77-79.


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In the same sense, the reign of Petar I Petrovi ć Njegoš (1784-1830) was of particular importance. He was proclaimed vladika shortly after the interim rule of Arsenije Plamenac (1781-1784), the nephew of Sava, the previous vladika. Petar I is regarded as the greatest historical figure in Montenegro. At the very beginning of his rule, he came into conflict with the governor, who was especially provoked by his intention to subdue the Cetinje Metropolitan and to place Montenegro under Austrian protection. The opening of his reign was also marked by the last Ottoman invasion and the burning down of Cetinje (1785) by Mahmut Pasha Bu šatlija of Skadar, a renegade Ottoman lord who frequently endangered Montenegro. In organising the country’s defence against such attacks, Petar I convened a meeting between the tribal chiefs and the all-Montenegrin Assembly in July 1796, where an important decision (later on known as the Stega (fastening)) was made. This obliged all chiefs to vow to lead their tribes and nahijas in the fight against aggressors and to maintain peace between their tribes. Creating inner unity in this way, the Montenegrins achieved two great victories over the Ottoman Empire, the first being the battle at Martini ći in July 1796 and the second the battle at Krusi in September of the same year. These were the first great Montenegrin victories in the 18 th century, achieved by means of their own powers, all of which helped them restore self-confidence and enthusiasm and which gained them the reputation throughout Europe of being bold warriors. After these victories, Montenegro’s territory extended and encompassed the neighbouring tribes of Piperi and Bjelopavli ći, and Montenegro, de facto, became an independent country. Two years later (1798), at an assembly in Stanjevi ći Monastery, the General Montenegrin and Hill Code was issued. This comprised 16 articles which were supplemented by another 17 signed at the Assembly of 1803 in Cetinje. This Code provided a legal basis that strengthened the state of Montenegro since it regulated all issues in various domains, such as criminal and private law, as well as the law concerning domestic relations. Court procedure was also standardised. At the 1798 Assembly session of tribal chiefs in Stanjevići, the Montenegrin and Hill Governmental Court was also issued, the so-called Kuluk, which had both administrative and legal authority. The National Chancellery was also founded in Cetinje, over which the Governmental Court executed its role. This formation of the central authority organs did not pass without the resistance of Montenegrins and some of the tribes. In breaking this resistance and the internal autarchy, vladika Petar I used his moral authority and reputation. 30 Towards the end of the 18 th century, some significant changes were taking place in the region surrounding Montenegro. Napoleon Bonaparte destroyed the Venetian Republic in 1797, after it had controlled the coastal area of today’s Montenegro for several centuries.
30 On Montenegro during the rule of Petar I, see Dušan Vuksan: Petar I i njegovo doba (Cetinje, 1951); Gligor Stanojević: Crna Gora pred stvaranje države (Beograd, 1962); Đoko Pejović: Crna Gora u doba Petra I i Petra II (Beograd: Narodna knjiga, 1981); Branko Pavićević: Petar I Petrović Njegoš (Podgorica: Perganmena, 1997); Branko Pavićević and Radoslav Raspopović (eds.): ‘Crnogorski zakonici’, Pravni izvori i politički akti od značaja za istoriju državnosti Crne Gore I – V (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1998); Branko Pavićević and Radoslav Raspopović (eds.): Stega, Jubilarno izdanje (Podgorica, 1996); Istorija Crne Gore, No. 3 Vol. I, pp. 419-465; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 166-169; Šćepanović: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 153-160; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 83-91.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

Soon after the fall of the Republic of Venice, Petar I attempted to conquer its territories in the coastal area. He led a successful war against Napoleon’s army in Boka (1806-1813) and, At the assembly session in 1813, at which representatives from both Montenegro and Boka participated, it was decided that these territories would unify. An interim government was also formed in order to implement this decision. However, at the Congress of Vienna in 1814, the Great Powers decided – with Russia’s support – that Boka should go to Austria. In this manner, Montenegro gained another mighty neighbour on its southern borders – Austria – and turned a fresh page in Montenegro-Austrian relations. 31 Petar I, a rarely talented ruler, cleric, military leader, lawmaker, thinker, diplomat, visionary and writer, elaborated in his plans the idea of a Slav-Serbian Empire within the framework of the medieval Kingdom of Slavs. During his reign, Montenegro’s territory doubled from some 1 500 square km to approx. 3 000 square km. He was highly esteemed by his people and one of the most educated Montenegrin vladikas, being fluent in several languages. He was also the author of the Brief History of Montenegro and of a number of epic poems motivated by various events from the history of Montenegro. He was especially remembered by several hundreds of epistles written to various Montenegrin tribes and which, apart from the historical, also have great literary value. Four years after his death, Petar I was canonised. Petar I was succeeded by Rade Tomov Petrovi ć. At the assembly of Montenegrin tribal chiefs in October 1830, the will of Petar I was confirmed and Rade Tomov Petrovi ć, after he had entered a monastic order, was given the monastic name Petar II. As the vladika of Montenegro, Petar II Petrovi ć Njegoš (1830-1851) continued to build the organs of the central administrative authority. The Montenegrin and Hill Governmental Court established by his predecessor and uncle, Petar I, was modified into the Montenegrin and Hill Governing Senate and it played the role of the supreme legal and administrative organ of authority. He established the Gvardija, as the executive organ of authority, as well as the institution of perjanik, which functioned as the personal security of the vladika and which formed an incipient police authority in the country. In 1837, he divided the country into kapetanije, which were governed by captains elected by the vladika. The posts of senators, captains, members of the Gvardija and perjaniks were paid from the state budget. By means of creating the executive organs of authority, the premises for the introduction of a system of taxation were also established. This was introduced for the first time in 1833, with payments beginning in 1834, not without resistance, although this was energetically crushed. Even at that time, Montenegro was surrounded by the Ottoman Empire on three sides, so relations with this neighbour were the prior concern of all its rulers – all the more so since Montenegro behaved as a free country, displaying a permanent ambition to adjoin surrounding conquered areas to its own territory. Thus, frequent disputes and clashes ensued, with the majority being resolved on battlefields. The first diplomatic efforts at resolving disputes were recorded in 1842, when an agreement was signed in Dubrovnik between Montenegro and the Pa šaluk of Herzegovina, followed by another, signed in Kotor in 1843. The importance of these agreements lay, primarily, in that they evidenced Montenegro being treated by the Ottoman authorities as an independent country. On the other
31 See Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Boke 1813-1814, Vol. I-II (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore/Državni arhiv Crne Gore/Istorijski arhiv Kotor, 1998).


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hand, the pashas of Skadar managed to deprive Montenegro of two important localities and fortifications on Lake Skadar (Vranjina and Lesendro), which caused great damage to the country since, as a result, fishery and trade were constantly disturbed. In 1841, during the reign of Petar II, the problems of the borders with Austria were resolved as well, since it was then that the last protocol was signed, after two Montenegrin monasteries on Austrian territory (Maine and Stanjevi ći) had been sold to Austria. In a few journeys he made to Russia, Petar II managed to obtain considerable Russian financial assistance for Montenegro, while he also maintained permanent relations with Serbia under the rule of the Obrenović Dynasty, as well as with Serbs from Vojvodina, the Croatian Ban Jela čić and a number of other political figures from the surrounding areas. In 1834, Petar II established the first primary school in Montenegro. The same year, a printing shop started work in Cetinje and, in 1835, the almanac Grlica, the first Montenegrin magazine, was printed. In this period, the first buildings for the needs of governmental institutions were built in Cetinje (the Biljarda in 1838). Additionally, Petar II Petrović Njegoš is regarded as the greatest name in Montenegrin literature. According to many, he is the most magnificent of the South Slavic poets and is considered to be among the best at the European level. His works – The Mountain Wreath, The Ray of the Microcosm and The False Tsar Stephen the Small – are regarded as classical works in Montenegrin and South Slavic literature. 32 Petar II was inherited by Knjaz (Prince) Danilo (1851-1860), the first secular ruler of Montenegro after Đurđe Stanojević (1490-1496). Prince Danilo was bestowed with that title in 1852 with the agreement of Russia, whereupon Montenegro was declared knjaževina, or principality.33 By separating the secular from the religious authority, the premises for constructing the modern state of Montenegro were created.
The decline of Ottoman influence The initiatives of Prince Danilo regarding the country’s foreign affairs were directed towards obtaining international recognition of the independence of the Montenegrin state. Prince Danilo sent a Memorandum to the participants in the Paris Conference (1856), in which he requested that the state independence of Montenegro be recognised internationally. He also requested recognition of the country’s territorial expansion towards Herzegovina and Northern Albania, as well as the Adriatic Sea. The Great Forces did not support these requests, so Prince Danilo went to Paris in 1857, where he re-stated his requests to the French Empire under Napoleon III. The French Empire demanded that Montenegro first recognise the supreme reign of the sultan before its requests could be given consideration. This turn to France was a conspicuous change in Montenegro’s traditional position
32 The bibliography of Petar II has some thousand entries. Only the sources used here are mentioned: Enciklopedija Njegoš, Vol. I (Podgorica: Fondacija Njegoš/CID, 1999); Božina M. Ivanović: ‘Njegoševa genealogija’, Matica No. 7/8 (2001); Božina M. Ivanović: Antrpomorfološke osobine Petra II Petrovića Njegoša (Podgorica: CANU, 1995); Pejović: Crna Gora u doba Petra I i Petra II; Miomir Dašić: ‘Petar II Petrović Njegoš u revoluciji 1848. i 1849. godine’, Historijski zapisi No. 1-2 (1998); ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 170-174; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 99-107. 33 Branko Pavićević: ‘Danilo I Petrović Njegoš, Knjaz crnogorski i brdski (1851-1860)’, (Beograd: Književene novine, 1990), pp. 35-73.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

in foreign affairs, in contrast to its close ties with Russia, which was considered to be Montenegro’s traditional protector. Prince Danilo refused the demand of the French Empire and thus Montenegro, together with Greece, was the only country in the Balkans that did not recognise Ottoman rule. 34 At the very beginning of his rule, Prince Danilo was faced with the violent attacks of Omer Pasha Latas on Montenegro (1852/1853), which he managed to ward off successfully. Prince Danilo constantly urged the surrounding tribes in Herzegovina to rise against Ottoman rule and, as a result, the Ottoman organised another military campaign against Montenegro.35 In the famous battle at Grahovac (1858), the Montenegrins achieved one of the most resounding victories against the Ottoman Empire. After this victory, the Great Powers (Russia, France and Great Britain) insisted on settling the situation between Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire. At the conference held in Constantinople in 1858, participants from Russia, Austria, Great Britain, France and Prussia formed a commission with the task of setting the borders between Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire regarding the territories towards Herzegovina and Skadar Pa šaluk. The border was drawn in 1859 while the Protocol on the division of the territories was signed in 1860. In this manner, the state independence of Montenegro was, effectively, recognised and, after the battle at Grahovac, Montenegro’s territory increased to reach some 4 400 square km. The military victories of Montenegro resulted in its great popularity throughout the Slav world. 36 During the reign of Prince Danilo, the development of Montenegro’s governmental institutions continued. In 1853, the registration of all militarily capable men was carried out and the so-called Krstonosna vojska – the Cross-bearers Army – was formed, together with a Garda of 400 men. The Montenegrin officers were provided with caps embellished with a coat-of-arms (until then, they were indistinguishable from common soldiers), taxes on imported goods were introduced and the obligation of general tax payment was enforced. Book-keeping commenced concerning the state’s revenues and expenses, while roads connecting certain towns were built. Special importance is to be attributed to the issuing of the Montenegrin and Hill Legal Code in 1855, consisting of 95 articles and also known as Danilo’s Legal Code.37 The fight against tribal separatism and the collection of taxes were, sometimes, accompanied by the brutal intervention of the central authority. Prince Danilo also abolished the All-Montenegrin Assembly, re-organised the court and modernised the entire administrative system. The nine years of his reign were ended in 1860 in Kotor, where he was killed by an assassin who was a Montenegrin political immigrant. 38
Modernisation and the road to independence Prince Danilo was succeeded by Nikola (1860-1918), the last ruler of the independent state of Montenegro. In 1910, he was proclaimed a king and, in his long-lasting reign of almost six decades, Montenegro went through a period of great economic, political and
34 See Željko Andrijašević: Crnogorske teme (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1998), pp. 41-53. 35 Pavićević: Danilo I Petrović Njegoš, pp. 75-159. 36 ibid, pp. 305-372. 37 Jovan Bojović: Zakonik knjza Danila (Titograd: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1982); Vladimir Jovićević: Danilov zakonik: snaga države (Podgorica: Oktoih, 1994). 38 See Pavićević: Danilo I Petrović Njegoš, pp. 444-448.


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cultural blossoming and transformation, just as it doubled its territory. The first period of his reign (1860-1878) was marked by intensive activities in the field of foreign affairs, constant clashes with the surrounding Ottoman pashas, and efforts directed towards the economic strengthening of the country and the further development of culture and education. From the times of Prince Danilo, Montenegro maintained its representatives in Constantinople and in Kotor and, starting from 1863, in Skadar as well. Military training and armaments were the particular focus of attention during this period. According to the registration of 1870, there were some 17 000 listed soldiers. The following year, military reform was undertaken, although the tribal division of the soldiers was retained, while the army was restructured into 25 battalions of the people’s army, six battalions of the guard and one battery. Army ranks were also introduced. In 1875, some 23 000 rifles were purchased and army warehouses were established, while the artillery was formed as a separate branch of the army. 39 The governmental structure of the country remained unchanged until 1879. The country was still ruled by the prince, whose powers were unlimited. The Governing Senate still functioned as the central organ of authority – the Government and the High Court. The basic administrative unit was the kapetanije and, until 1868, governmental and legal properties were not divided. The same year, financial reforms were undertaken and the state’s funds separated from those of the court. In 1874, the Senate, as the central governmental organ, was itself reformed; the number of senators was decreased and administrations for internal affairs, army affairs, finances and the Princely Chancellery for foreign affairs introduced. The role of the High Court was performed by the Senate. Nevertheless, a weak economic basis did not leave much room for a more dynamic economic development. In the few workshops engaged in sewing national clothing, or in the repair of arms and furniture, it was mostly outside workers who were employed. Trade was under-developed and the internal market was not united, partly as a result of limited infrastructure development and partly due to geographical conditions. The result of this was that domestic markets were under the strong influence of the Austrian and the Ottoman markets. Governmental authorities had a monopoly on salt purchase and wheat trading. Export sites for such goods as meat, fish and lumber (Kotor and Skadar) lay outside Montenegro’s state territory. There were four points for the collection of customs (two of them were near the border with Austria and the other two near the frontiers with the Ottoman Empire). Montenegro was still receiving constant Russian subventions for state and church purposes, while the first two secondary schools in Montenegro were also financially supported by Russia. Cattle breeding was the dominant branch of the economy. It was during this period that the first secondary school in Montenegro was opened (1863); only in 1869 did the Cetinje Seminary start working regularly, training teachers and members of the clergy. The ‘Girls’ Institute’ was opened the same year as the second secondary school and, in 1875, an agricultural school was opened in Danilovgrad. The first library was founded in Cetinje in 1869. The almanac Orlić was printed in Cetinje from 1865-1870 and the first newspaper Crnogorac (The Montenegrin) was introduced in 1871. In the same year, the first literary paper Crnogorka (The Montenegrin 40), was estab39 Pedeset godina na prestolu Crne Gore (Cetinje, 1910), (Photocopy, Podgorica, 1998 ), pp. 73-90. 40 Crnogorka is the term for a female Montenegrin.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

lished, as well as the Army Orchestra and a Choral group. In 1873, Glas Crnogorca (Voice of the Montenegrins) also began to appear. The telegraph was launched in 1869 and regular postal traffic in 1873. The same year, the first hospital was built in Cetinje, while the first hotel had already been opened since 1864. 41 The internal economic strength of the country was objectively incongruent with the importance of Montenegro and the role the country was playing in the field of foreign affairs and the liberation wars in the Balkans. Western European travellers visiting Montenegro in this period saw Montenegrins as a sort of Spartan, a people of unusual courageousness, military qualities and of the highest moral standards; the Montenegrins inspired many poets, such as Pushkin 42 and Tennyson43, for instance. All this prompted an infiltration of a consciousness of the internal freedom of a never-conquered Montenegro into the mind of the Montenegrin people. Similar to his predecessor, Prince Nikola was, at the very beginning of his reign, faced with Ottoman revenge attacks because of his active support for the 1862 Uprising in Herzegovina. Ottoman forces attacked Montenegro from various directions and, during the so-called Second Attack of Omer Pasha in 1862, they ravaged the country completely. Only on Russian and Austro-Hungarian intervention did the fighting stop. In these clashes, Ottoman forces lost over 20 000 soldiers while the Montenegrins lost some 2 000 men and were left with 4 600 wounded. 44 Montenegro continued preparations for organising a broader liberation movement in the Balkans. An alliance with Serbia was formed in 1866 and this was to become the foundation of the First Balkan Alliance. Montenegro’s reputation constantly increased amongst the Christian population in the Balkans, especially after 1868 when Serbia turned towards the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was in the 1876-1878 war against the Ottoman Empire, which followed the 1875 uprising in Herzegovina, that the Montenegrin alliance with Serbia was formed. However, Montenegro’s military success in this war was independent of Serbia’s and Russia’s on-and-off participation in it and, after the end of the conflict, its territory was more than doubled. The Treaty of San Stefano (March 1878) guaranteed independence and considerable territorial extension to Montenegro. However, the intervention of western forces led to the revision of the San Stefano Peace Agreement. At the Congress of Berlin held in the same year, the independence of Montenegro was acknowledged by those countries which had been hitherto unwilling to do so formally, i.e. the Ottoman Empire, and the following cities were given to Montenegro: Nikšić, Spuž, Podgorica, Kolašin, Andrijevica, Žabljak, Bar, Plav and Gusinje. The Ottoman Empire showed reluctance in conceding Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, so it agreed instead to give up Ulcinj under the pressure of the Great Powers. Ulcinj had been previously conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 1878 War. 45
41 Andrijašević: Crnogorske teme, pp. 41-43; Pedeset godina na prestolu Crne Gore (Cetinje, 1910). 42 Aleksandar Puškin: ‘Crnogorci i Bonaparta’, Državni Kalendar Crne Gore za 1920 (Paris, 1920), p. 51. 43 ibid., p. 35; Alfred Tennyson: ‘Montenegro’, in Ballads and Other Poems (London: C. Kegan Paul, 1880). 44 Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 147-148. 45 See Stogodišnjica crnogorsko-turskog rata 1876-1878, Radovi sa naučnog skupa, 2728.5.1977 Cetinje (Titograd: CANU, 1978).


Šerbo Rastoder

After the successfully-led liberation war (1876–1878), the international recognition of its independence and considerable territorial expansion, Montenegro entered the phase of the building of a modern nation state. By gaining an outlet to the sea and possession of the towns previously mentioned, the social and economic structure of the country also changed and strong efforts towards the integration of the internal market began to be made. In a period of a little over two decades (1882-1905), a 450km road network was constructed and, starting from 1908, it was used for automobile traffic as well. The same year, the first railroad from Bar to Virpazar was put into service. Timber, beer and tobacco factories also opened during this period. Bank investments were being developed and, between 1903 and 1909, state revenues almost tripled. Concessions regarding foreign investments also contributed to the economic growth of Montenegro. From 1880 to 1907, international telegraphy lines were installed and the first radio-telegraphic line in the Balkans started working in 1904, connecting Bar and Bari, in Italy. 46 The country was being thoroughly reformed. By 1879, the following institutions had already been established: the Privy Council (Government); the Ministries; and the High Court. The Prince, still in possession of all legislative rights, elected a number of members of the Privy Council. State territory was divided into nahijas – administrative units – while the nahijas were further divided into kapetanije, the basic units of local authority. In the construction of a legal system, the passing of the General Law on Properties (1888) was very important. The author of this law was the famous lawyer Valtazar Bogišić, who codified the traditional law and introduced some principles of the civil law which were already in use in a number of developed European countries. 47 After the Congress of Berlin, Montenegro was no longer a country consisting only of Orthodox citizens; within its boundaries, Islamic and Catholic populations also existed. Their religious rights were fully respected. The Muslim population had its religious leader, the Montenegrin mufti, and the Islamic community in Montenegro, founded in 1878, was the oldest community of its kind both in the Balkans and in an Orthodox country.48 Montenegro was also the first Orthodox country to sign a concord with the Vatican (1886), regulating the limits of the religious jurisdiction of the Bar Archbishopric and confirming its privileges. 49 The Orthodox Church was also reorganised and, in 1878, the Zahumsko-raška Episcopate was established. Starting from 1893, priests were ordered to wear the mantija, the priest’s cloak, and, from 1900, not only priestly taxes were introduced but priests also started receiving a regular salary. The Orthodox Church in Montenegro was independent and run by the Metropolitan of Cetinje. 50
46 See Pedeset godina na prestolu Crne Gore, Cetinje 1910; Branislav Marović: ‘Nikola I i ekonomski razvoj države – planovi i ostvarenja ‘, CANU No. 21 (1998), pp. 557-575. 47 Milisav Čizmović: ‘Značaj OIZ –a u velikom djelu kralja Nikole’, CANU No. 21 (1998), pp. 687-698. 48 Šerbo Rastoder: ‘Vjerska politika kralja Nikole 1878-1912 (odnos prema Muslimanima)’, CANU No. 21 (1998), pp. 575-597; Šerbo Rastoder: Istorijsko – metodološki okvir istraživanja novije istorije crkve (vjerskih zajednica) u Crnoj Gori (1878-1945), Istorijska nauka i nastava istorije u savremenim uslovima 14 (Podgorica: CANU, 1994), pp. 199-243. 49 Konkordat Između Crne Gore i Vatikana 1886. godine s posebnim osvrtom na položaj Albanaca katolika, Krishterimi nder shqiptare (Shkoder, 2000), pp. 250-268; Šerbo Rastoder: Janusovo lice istorije (Podgorica: Vijesti, 2000), pp. 105-126. 50 Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 171-172.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

The first gymnasium was opened in 1880 in Cetinje, followed in 1907 in Podgorica and in 1913 in Nikšić, Pljevlje, Peć and Berane; while another agricultural school was opened in 1893 in Podgorica. The number of primary schools increased steadily and, in 1904, their number was estimated to be some 104. During this period, a number of papers and magazines were being published. 51 International recognition gave the right to Montenegro to have diplomatic representatives. Not long after 1878, diplomatic relations (including diplomatic representatives) were established with Russia and France and, in 1879, with Great Britain, the AustroHungarian Empire, Italy and the Ottoman Empire, and in 1881 with Greece, 1897 with Serbia and Bulgaria, 1905 with the USA and 1906 with Germany. All these countries had their diplomatic envoys in Cetinje. Until 1905, Montenegro was the only European country, apart from Russia and the Ottoman Empire, which did not have a constitution. This was proclaimed in October 1905, and the first parliamentary elections for the National Parliament were held in 1906. Within the elected parliament, the first political parties were founded, the first in 1907 under the name of Klubaška stranka (the Club Party) followed by Prava narodna stranka (the Real National Party), which was faithful to the Montenegrin court. Of these two parties, only Klubaška stranka had a political programme, arguing for stronger ties with Serbia and Serbs living under foreign rule, as well as good relations with Russia. Incidentally, the first decade of the 20 th century was characterised by the radicalisation of internal political clashes in Montenegro and, in 1907 and 1909, a number of political trials, coupled with conspiracies and assassination attempts against Montenegro’s king Nikola (following Serbian examples), took place. 52 In 1910, Montenegro became a kingdom and King Nikola was proclaimed king. At that time, Montenegro had some 300 000 inhabitants, 80 per cent of whom lived in villages. The country was divided into ten counties but not one Montenegrin town had more than 10 000 inhabitants.
The Balkan Wars and World War One The 1878-1912 period was the longest period of continual peace over the previous few centuries. It was only in 1912 that the issue of the final expulsion of the Ottoman Empire from the Balkans was once more made acute. Montenegro, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria had already formed an alliance and, according to mutual agreement, then declared war on the Ottoman Empire. In the First Balkan War (1912), Montenegro liberated the northern and northeastern parts of today’s Montenegro and expanded over the entire territory of Metohija. It also conquered Skadar in 1913, but had to leave the town under the pressure of the Great Powers. In this war, Montenegro lost almost 3 000 soldiers (2 000 alone in the battles for Skadar) and had over 6 500 wounded. In the Second Balkan War of 1913, Montenegro fought on the side of Serbia against Bulgaria with a regiment of 13 000 soldiers. 53
51 Djoko Pejović: Razvitak prosvjete i kulture u Crnoj Gori 1852-1916 (Cetinje: Istorijski institut, 1971), pp. 115-138. 52 J. Jovanović: Istorija Crne Gore (Podgorica: CID, 1998), pp. 336-370; ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 178-179; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 173-176. 53 Mitar Đurišić: ‘Kralj Nikola u Prvom balkanskom ratu’, CANU No. 21 (1998), pp. 157-169; Borislav Ratković, Mitar Đurišić and Savo Skoko: Srbija i Crna Gora u balkanskim ratovima 1912-1913 (Beograd: BIGZ, 1972), pp. 171-228; Jovanović: Istorija Crne Gore, pp. 390-399.


Šerbo Rastoder

After these wars, Montenegro’s territory expanded significantly. The region surrounding Lake Skadar, Podgorica, part of Metohija (reaching Bijeli Drim) and parts of Novopazarski Sandžak were adjoined to its territory. It also gained the following towns: Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac, Berane, Pljevlje, Ro žaje, Gusinje, Plav, Djakovica and Pe ć. Montenegro stretched over 14 443 square km and had some 450 000 inhabitants. However, Montenegro was completely unprepared for the outbreak of World War I. In the crisis of July 1914, provoked by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo and the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia, Montenegro offered Serbia its unconditional support. The very same day the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia (July 28 1914), King Nikola issued a decree of mobilisation and, by August 6 th, Montenegro had delivered an official declaration of war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ignoring the Austro-Hungarian initiative and the promises of territorial concessions (i.e. Skadar) which had been made in the attempt to persuade Montenegro to remain neutral in the conflict. Montenegro managed to mobilise some 47 000 soldiers, armed with oldfashioned weapons. Back-up reserves were to be found only among Montenegrins working abroad who, hearing of the war, had headed for their homeland and, thus, the number of soldiers increased to 50 000. The army of Montenegro occupied a wide front. The most numerable military grouping was disposed towards the Herzegovina front and Lov ćen, and then in the region of Pljevlje in order to co-operate with the Serbian army, while, for the purpose of guarding the frontiers with Albania, the Starosrbljanski squadron was formed. Despite being unprepared for war, the army of Montenegro resisted on a front almost 500 km long for 18 months, demonstrating in that way impressive persistence and bravery. Montenegro’s military aims, justified on the basis of ethnicity and history, were directed towards expansion to the region around Lake Skadar, Boka Kotorska, Herzegovina and a part of Bosnia. Military operations began on 7 August 1914 and they were focused on the protection of the frontiers with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By mid-August, the Montenegrin defences had been breached at Pljevlje, which was taken by the Austro-Hungarian army, while the Montenegrin army captured Budva. The victory of the Serbian army at Cer relaxed the defence of Montenegro’s frontiers since the Austro-Hungarian army then retreated from Sandžak and Pljevlje was liberated. According to an earlier plan, units gathered from other fronts were concentrated in the Pljevlje and Gorane region in order to make a breakthrough, with Sarajevo as the final goal. Almost half of the total number of Montenegrin soldiers was engaged in these operations and they had the support of the newly-formed army of Sandžak, commanded by general Janko Vukoti ć. After the Montenegrin army had crossed the Drina River in the middle of September 1914 and had entered the regions of Romanija and Kalinovik, it suffered a defeat at Glasinac in the second half of October and, thereafter, withdrew to the right bank of the Drina. During the months of October, November and December, battles were fought on the Herzegovina front and around Vi šegrad and, thus, from the beginning of 1915 until the great offensive of the Austro-Hungarian army in the October, the front in this region was stable and calm. At that time, Montenegro then organised a military operation against the will of its Allies and without their knowledge. Namely, given that the Albanians, enticed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by Bulgaria, were jeopardising the Montenegrin border and disturbing traffic on the Bojana River, King Nikola order a squadron to capture Skadar,

A short review of the history of Montenegro

which was achieved in June 1915. This was the second time in the previous three years that the town had been captured, against the will of the Great Forces. In order to express his disagreement with this action, the Serbian general Bo ža Janković, chief of headquarters, left Montenegro and was succeeded by Colonel Petar Pe šić. The intervention of Russia put an end to this affair and the Allies issued a collective note stating that they did not recognise the conquest of Skadar. Later, the Montenegrin action was proved right since it was exactly through Skadar, controlled by the Montenegrins, that the Serbian army would make its retreat on its way to the Adriatic coast. The great Austro-Hungarian offensive against Serbia began in October 1915 and was successful in pushing the Serbian army towards the south, thus carrying the battles to Montenegro. The attacks of the Austro-Hungarian army started around Vi šegrad and, as the Serbian army retreated, the Montenegrin army was forced to expand its front in order to provide cover. The main attack of the Austro-Hungarian army was directed towards Lov ćen, which was defended by sparse units, given that the major part of the Montenegrin army was concentrated in the north in the area between the mouth of the Piva River and Čakor. On 8 January, the Austro-Hungarian army initiated a powerful artillery attack on positions at Lovćen and on 13 January they entered an undefended Cetinje. The Court, the Government and the Supreme Command moved to Podgorica. Berane had already been captured (on 10 January) and the front at Grahovo breached, thus leaving the army of Montenegro in a hopeless situation. The southern part, from Lake Skadar to the coast, remained completely unprotected and was thus under constant threat of siege. Under such circumstances, the Government of Montenegro decided to sue for peace on 10 January, while the Austro-Hungarian army demanded unconditional surrender. Following the orders of the Serbian Government, Serbian soldiers withdrew from Montenegro while the headquarters commander of the Supreme Command, Petar Pe šić, left Montenegro on 17 January. Two days later, King Nikola also left the country having appointed General Janko Vukotić as chief of the Supreme Command. In the situation of general chaos and confusion that engulfed Montenegro, those ministers who remained in the country, in agreement with Vukotić and Marko, the son of the King, decided to disband the army. In this way, the Montenegrin army was not able to withdraw, as the Serbian one did, except for a small number of volunteers from Boka and Herzegovina. On 25 January, the Regulation of Capitulation was, finally, signed. Montenegro’s surrender was due to the poor strategic disposition of its troops, for which the greatest responsibility is borne by the chief of the headquarters of Montenegro’s Supreme Command, the Serbian colonel Petar Pe šić, together with King Nikola, who had entrusted him with this task in the first place. From mid-1916, a spontaneous and organised komitski movement of self-organised guerrilla fighters emerged against the occupational forces. The beginnings of these events are also linked to General Radomir Ve šović who, in conspiracy with other Montenegrin officers, was preparing an uprising. In order to prevent this, the occupying forces decided to intern those officers as well as other distinguished figures who were considered to represent a potential threat to Austro-Hungarian rule. One such attempt at the arrest of General Vešović ended in him taking refuge in woods, after he had killed one officer. This incident was followed by even greater repression and the mass imprisonment in camps of some 9 500 intellectuals and officers.

Šerbo Rastoder

The end of the war was closing in, but the number of komitski groups was steadily increasing. This additionally tied down a large number of occupation forces in Montenegro. In 1918, for instance, some 800 active komits operated in Montenegro while, by the end of the war, their number had multiplied several times over. In the August of the same year, there were some 40 000 to 45 000 members of the occupying forces out of whom some 27 000 were active fighters. Such a concentration of occupying forces was maintained nowhere else during World War One. Leaving Montenegro in January 1916, together with other members of the royal family, the government and the majority of ministers and deputies, King Nikola found himself in exile, without an army or financial means and his reputation in the eyes of his allies greatly ruined. Through Skadar and Italy they reached France where, in Neuilly, near Paris, a court, government and governmental administration were established on the basis of subventions provided by Great Britain and France. By then, the issue of Montenegro’s future and its possible unification with Serbia had broadly been discussed. Russia was supporting the idea of uniting Montenegro with Serbia under the Kara đorđević Dynasty, implying the creation of a Greater Serbian state in the Balkans, as a means of backing its policies in the region. Consequently, in 1916 it abolished its subventions to Montenegro and rejected the possibility of King Nikola’s asylum in Russia. Such an attitude encouraged the Serbian Prime Minister, Nikola Pa šić; moreover, King Nikola and the circles around him were not enjoying the unconditional support of the other Allies, i.e. France, Great Britain and Italy. The developments on the Thessaloniki front impelled the Montenegrin komits to intensify their activities. In some regions, armed uprisings broke out and these efforts led to the rapid liberation of Montenegro. It was only during the battle for the liberation of Podgorica that a few units of the Second Yugoslav Regiment joined the komits. The armed clashes in Montenegro ended on November 11 1918. More than 5 000 enemy soldiers were captured by the komits and the rebels in the struggle for liberation; these were extradited to the Serbian army upon their arrival in Montenegro. Montenegro lost about 20 000 soldiers in this war, amounting to some 10 per cent of its population (bearing in mind its borders before the Balkan Wars), or 40 per cent of the total number of its regular soldiers. Approximately 15 000 people went through the camps in Austria, Hungary and Albania. Montenegro also suffered enormous material damage and losses estimated to be around the sum of 723 million Francs, which was demanded in the war reparation request submitted to the Paris Peace Conference. 54
54 On Montenegro during World War One, see Novica Rakočević: Crna Gora u prvom svjetskom ratu 1914-1918 (Podgorica: Unireks, 1997); ‘Crna Gora u prvom svjetskom ratu’, Zbornik radova sa okruglog stola, No. 2 (Podgorica: Istorijskog instituta Crne Gore, 1998); ‘Crna Gora i Crnogorci’, pp. 180-183; Andrijašević: Kratka istorija Crne Gore, pp. 201207; Jovanović: Istorija Crne Gore, pp. 400-431; Dimitrije Vujović: Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Srbije (Titograd: Istorijski Institut NRCG, 1962); Dimitrije Vujović: Ratna saradnja Crne Gore i Francuske 1914-1916 (Podgorica: CANU, 1994); Aleksandar Drašović: Mojkovačka bitka (Beograd: Stručna knjiga, 1991).


A short review of the history of Montenegro

The end of Montenegrin independence and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes On the demand of Serbia, the Allies refused King Nikola’s request to return to the country upon the end of the war, using the excuse that his presence would disturb military operations in the Balkans. Instead, the Inter-Allied Commission in Versailles decided that allied troops should occupy Montenegro. France guaranteed King Nikola that the occupation would be executed in the king’s name and that the legal organs of authority would be respected. In reality, Montenegro was occupied by a combination of French, English, Italian, American and Serbian troops. A special Allied Headquarters – subordinated to the Eastern Army Headquarters in Constantinople – was formed in Kotor and a French general put in charge. The rest of the allied troops occupied for the most part the coastal area of Montenegro and Boka while Serbian troops, amounting to more soldiers than all the other allied troops combined, were able to take control of the interior of the country. In the beginning, the Serbian troops were welcomed warmly everywhere and the self-organised Montenegrin units which had participated in the liberation of Montenegro were disarmed. Only formally commanded by the Allies, however, allied troops acted according to the political interests of their respective national governments. Moreover, all of them would become involved in the internal affairs of Montenegro. Before entering the country, Serbian units had managed to obtain from the French military command carte blanche for the unification of Montenegro with Serbia. In contrast, the Italian military units supported the opponents of unconditional unification and the supporters of King Nikola. Montenegro was first abandoned by the English in April 1919, followed by the French in March 1920 and the Italians in June 1920. Serbian troops were, in the meantime, transformed into units of the Yugoslav Army and, as a legalised military force, remained in the area. The allied troops failed to accomplish the elementary task that brought them to Montenegro in the first place – instead of establishing order and peace, they left Montenegro in state of a civil war.55 Shortly after the arrival of Serbian troops in Montenegro, the Central Executive Committee for the unification of Serbia and Montenegro was created. The Committee issued rules according to which were elected deputies for a ‘Grand National Assembly’. The deputies were elected by chosen intermediaries in public meetings, on an open voting process, the majority of whom were in favour of unconditional unification and in opposition to the Petrović Dynasty. In this manner, 165 deputies were elected with a clear programme to abolish the independence of Montenegro. That the Grand National Assembly convened, on 24 November 1918, in Podgorica and not in Cetinje, the capital of the country, was intended to ensure victory for unconditional unification since Cetinje and its surrounding areas were known to be strongholds of opponents of unification. 56 In reality, the entire election process, as well as the convening of the Assembly, was illegitimate and illegal. The Montenegrin Government, Parliament and Court, and the Constitution and the laws already existed at that point of time and had been earlier recognised by Serbia. Just as was the case with Serbia,
55 Šerbo Rastoder: ‘Politika svršenog čina’, in Uloga Francuske u nasilnoj aneksiji Crne Gore (Bar: Conteco, 2000), pp. 199-235. 56 Ivo Banac: The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 284-285.


Šerbo Rastoder

also under occupation, the holder of international legitimacy was the Montenegrin King and the government-in-exile. Laws could only be passed by the National Parliament of Montenegro. Nevertheless, a parallel parliament was organised, in contradiction to all the regulations of legal procedure, and a decision made determining the future of Montenegro. The session of the Grand National Assembly in Podgorica lasted until 29 November (according to the new calendar). On 26 November, this ‘Assembly of Podgorica’, decided: 1. ‘that King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš and his dynasty be dethroned 2. that Montenegro and brotherly Serbia be united in one unified state under the Karađorđević dynasty then, thus united, join the shared Homeland of our three-named people, the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenes…’57 In spite of the decisions of the Parliament in Podgorica not being acknowledged by any of the Great Powers, Montenegro ceased to exist as an independent state. 58 Opponents of the unconditional unification of Montenegro with Serbia, dissatisfied with the decisions of the Podgorica Parliament, the actions of the organs of authority and the bjelaške bands (paramilitary units of the supporters of unconditional unification), as well as with the difficult socio-economic situation, started preparations for an armed uprising. The preparations intensified after the return of some Montenegrin leaders from POW camps who, on their way to Montenegro, had been held up by the Serbian army in various places (mostly in Sarajevo) until the Podgorica Parliament had concluded its sessions. The uprising – planned for 21 December 1918 – was aimed at internationalising the issue of Montenegro in the light of the opening of the Paris Peace Conference. The uprising’s slogan was ‘For justice, honour and the freedom of Montenegro’. Some 4,000 ill-armed rebels took part in it, equipped mostly with their own private light weapons. The plan was uncovered and the Command of the Adriatic Troops in Cetinje, together with the National Executive Council, the interim government, started arresting the prominent leaders and initiators in order to prevent the uprising from taking place. Nevertheless, on 21 December rebels occupied Cetinje, Rijeka Crnojevi ća and Virpazar, while troops gathered in the area surrounding Nikšić. After the resistance had been crushed around Virpazar, the organiser, Jovan Plamenac, on the request of King Nikola, left
57 Odruka, Veliki Narodne Skupštine Srpskog Naroda u Crnoj Gori, donjeta na sjednici od 13. novembra 1918. g. u Podgorici. Podgorica, 26.11.1918. 58 On the Podgorica Assembly, see Dimitrije Vujović: Podgorička skupština (Zagreb: Školska knjiga/Stvarnost, 1989); Jovan R. Bojović: Podgorička skupština 1918: dokumenta (Gornji Milanovac: Dečje novine, 1989); Mijat Šuković: Podgorička skupština 1918 (Podgorica, 1999); Radoslav Rotković: Velika zavjera protiv Crne Gore, Od Prizrena do Versaja (Podgorica: Nevladina organizacija Crnogorska izdanja/Montenegro Editions, 2001); Whitney Warren: Montenegro. The Crime of the Peace Conference (New York: Brentano's, 1922); Miomir Dašić: ‘O dilemi da li je velika narodna skupština u Podgorici bila legalna i legitimna’, in: Ogledi iz istorije Crne Gore (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 2000), pp. 323-337; Šerbo Rastoder: ‘Petrovići – suton jedne dinastije’, Vijesti, 19.12.2001, 1-3.1.2002; Dragoljub Živojinović: Crna Gora u borbi za opstanak 1914-1922 (Beograd: Vojska, 1996); Dragoljub Živojinović: Italija i Crna Gora 1914-1925, Studija o iznevjerenom savezništvu (Beograd: Službeni list SRJ, 1998); Dragoljub Živojinović: Nevoljni saveznici 1914-1918 (Beograd: Službeni list SRJ, 2000); Dimitrije Vujović: Francuski masoni i jugoslovensko pitanje 1914-1918 (Beograd: Književne novine, 1994).


A short review of the history of Montenegro

Montenegro. In the meantime, the rebels were repelled at Nikšić and prevented from entering the city after a day’s fighting, while some of their leaders ( Đuro and Marko Petrović, Marko Đukanović) were arrested. The decisive events, however, occurred in the area surrounding Cetinje. The rebels conveyed their demands from their headquarters in Bajice, signed by Captain Krsto Popovi ć on behalf of the committee of the uprising, to the commander of the Allied occupation forces, the French general Venel, and the Executive Committee on 22 December 1918. The demands insisted that the Podgorica Assembly had broken the country’s Constitution and acted against the will of the majority of the Montenegrin people. They also suggested that there was a general consensus that Montenegro should enter the Yugoslav state on an equal basis with the other provinces and that the final form of that state’s internal structure should be decided by a constitutional assembly. The abolition of the Podgorica Parliament’s decisions were demanded, along with fresh, free elections for Montenegro, in an early section of the statement. Clashes occurred on Christmas Eve, on 14 December 1918. 59 The troops that were defending Cetinje – composed of Serbian units and supporters of unconditional union – prevented the rioters from entering the town. After the battle, General Venel travelled to Cetinje and conveyed demands to both sides. The rebels were requested to return to their homes and to lay down their weapons. Some did so, but others refused and escaped to Boka Kotorska and to Bar, from where they were transferred by the Italians to Medova in Albania, where a collective camp for Montenegrins was located. Other rebels fled to the woods and became outlaws. In this manner, this poorly-organised uprising was temporarily crushed. In January 1919, under the influence of the American President, Woodrow Wilson, King Nikola directed a call from exile to his supporters to stay calm, as the Allies had promised him that Montenegrins would soon be able to decide on their future in free elections. However, the Allies failed to fulfil the promise and so the rebels continued to lead a guerrilla war against the newly-established authorities until 1924. The largest organised military action intended to wipe out the rebels took place in winter 1919/20, in which the army, the gendarmerie and groups of volunteers joined action with some 900 rebels hiding in woods. Of the rebels, 22 were killed while 757 were forced to surrender. Nevertheless, smaller groups of opponents of unification with Serbia, occasionally joined by rebels from Italy, kept the resistance going. Trials were held of a large number of rebels, accomplices and supporters although a decree issued by King Alexander pardoned the majority of those convicted, except for 59 outlaws who were sentenced to prison terms of a duration between 10 and 20 years. The clashes between ‘Whites’ (Bjelaši) – the supporters of unconditional unification with Serbia – and ‘Greens’ (Zelenaši) – the opponents – resulted in disastrous consequences for Montenegro. 60 It is estimated that the number of fugitive, imprisoned, convicted and killed people reached approximately 5 000. A large number of houses was burned down and considerable material damage ensued. 61
59 According to the Gregorian calendar. 60 The term ‘Whites’ and ‘Greens’ derives from the colours of the paper on which the lists of candidates in the elections to the Grand National Assembly were printed. 61 On this, the author has published 1 759 documents of primarily army and police origin. See Šerbo Rastoder: Skrivana strana istorije, Crnogorska buna i odmetniči pokret 1918-1929, Dokumenti (Bar: Conteco, 1997). On this topic, see also Banac: The National Question, pp. 286-289.


Šerbo Rastoder

Montenegro remained an internationally-recognised allied state, with a king and government in exile, and, in this sense, it had the same status as Serbia and Belgium. Given that the decisions of the Podgorica Parliament were not recognised by any of the great forces, Montenegro’s expectations on the opening of the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919 – at which the future of Europe and the world was being decided – were that it would participate in the same was as other small Allied countries. On the insistence of France, as the conference host and a supporter of the official Serbian line, Montenegro was granted one delegate at the Conference. However, the manner of election of the delegate could not have been decided until the political situation in the country had been resolved. Thus, an empty chair with the word ‘Montenegro’ was the only sign of Montenegro’s presence at the sessions of the Conference. In reality, this solution supported the ‘accomplished act of unification’. The delegation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes regarded the status of Montenegro to have been settled by the decisions of the Podgorica Parliament and considered Montenegro to be an integral part of Serbia, united with all the remaining parts of the Yugoslav state. On the constant insistence of King Nikola and the government in exile, a delegation from Montenegro – including Jovan Plamenac, Dr. Anto Gvozdenovi ć and Dr. Pero Šoć – presented the position of official Montenegro to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference in March 1919. The Allies, however, ultimately did nothing to alter Montenegro’s status, thus tacitly supporting the newly-formed Yugoslav state. In this sense, France had played a crucial role. Apart from sending a few Allied missions to Montenegro, the Allies did not respond to the numerous appeals, protests, notes and memoranda sent to the Paris Peace Conference by the government-in-exile and by various committees for the defence of Montenegrin independence from all over Europe and the USA. This had the effect of keeping the issue open until the end of 1920 but, after parliamentary elections in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, France severed diplomatic ties with Montenegro on 20 December 1920, followed by the USA in January 1921 and Great Britain. Thus, Montenegro ceased to exist as a subject in international affairs. Towards the end of World War One and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, many Montenegrins lived in exile. At Neuilly remained the Montenegrin Court and King Nikola. Immediately after Jovan Plamenac, the leader of the Christmas Uprising, had arrived in Paris, the King entrusted him with the task of creating a new government. In February 1919, Plamenac formed a government. Its chief goals were to spread propaganda among the Allies about Montenegro’s demands and the politics of Serbia, to work on forming a Montenegrin government-in-exile and to maintain contact with Montenegro in case of possible military action. After a number of failed attempts by previous governments to form a Montenegrin army during the war on the Thessaloniki front, the Plamenac government, with the support of Italy, managed to create an army-in-exile. The core of this army was composed of internees from POW camps who had arrived in Italy immediately after the truce had been established. At first, they were gathered in Ferrara, in northern Italy, but, in March 1919, the army of Montenegro was placed in Gaeta, a small town on the Tyrrhenian Sea located between Rome and Naples. After the failure of the Christmas Uprising, many of the rebels fled from Montenegro to Medova, in Albania, from where Italian ships transferred them first to Brindisi and then to Gaeta, where the ‘Headquarters of the Montenegrin Soldiers in

A short review of the history of Montenegro

Italy’ was formed. The army was formally under the command of the Minister of the Army within the Montenegrin government-in-exile, Brigadier-General Milutin Vu činić, although it was, in effect, controlled by Italy. Towards the end of April 1919, a convention was signed between the government-in-exile and Italy regarding the financial maintenance of the Montenegrin forces, whose maximum number was not to surpass 1 500 men. By early 1921, the Montenegrin army had grown to four battalions and a maximum 1 559 soldiers. With the help of Italy, small military formations were transferred to Montenegro in the attempt to instigate a national uprising. Such attempts failed since, on the one hand, they were met with organised resistance in Montenegro and, on the other, the support of the Allies, especially Italy, was not comprehensive. Namely, Italy had instrumentalised the army in order to put pressure on the newly-formed Yugoslav state as a means of promoting its own territorial claims in the northern and central Adriatic. Thus, immediately after the Rapalski Treaty was signed between Italy and the South Slav Kingdom in November 1920, resolving controversial matters between the two countries, Italy obliged itself to dismiss the Montenegrin Army from Italy. In March 1921, Italy disarmed the Montenegrin Army and ceased to provide any kind of help from August 1922. The majority of exiled soldiers returned to Montenegro, but others went to Argentina, the USA or other European countries. The last remains of the Montenegrin Army were dispersed by Mussolini on his arrival in power. The biggest blow to Montenegrin émigrés, however, was the death of King Nikola on 1 March 1921 in Antibes on the Côte d’Azur in France. After his death and the abdication of his successor, Danilo, in favour of the boy king Prince Mihailo, the army was hit by a riot and emigrant circles divided. The power of the crown rested in the hands of Queen Milena, on behalf of Mihailo, and, after she had entered into conflict with Jovan Plamenac in June 1921, she decided to form a new government and appointed the Brigadier-General to preside over it. On the death of Queen Milena in March 1923, the remaining Montenegrin émigrés had already dispersed. At the beginning of 1925, and by agreement with Nikola Pašić, Plamenac, the former premier of Montenegro and the leader of the Christmas Uprising, returned to the country, at which point the influence of Montenegrin émigrés on events within Yugoslavia itself came to an end. Within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 – Montenegro’s political, economic, cultural and national role was marginal, considering that the Kingdom was centralised and that Montenegro comprised only two per cent of its population. In administrative terms, a part of Montenegro remained within the Zeta Region, which was renamed Zeta Banovina in 1929. 62
World War Two In World War Two, Montenegro was occupied by Italian troops which entered the country on 17 April 1941, the same day the Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrendered. The Italian occupation lasted until the capitulation of Italy in 1943, when the Italian troops were replaced by Germans. The Italian occupation included military garrisons and another 130 carabinieri, gendarmerie and financial stations. A High Civilian Commissariat was established as the highest authority of the occupying forces until the 13 July 1941 uprising, after
62 Šerbo Rastoder: Životna pitanja Crne Gore 1918-1929 (Bar: Kulturni centar Bar, 1996).


Šerbo Rastoder

which were introduced a military administration and the post of Military Governor. Montenegro’s territory was partitioned into the region of Boka Kotorska, which was directly annexed by Fascist Italy as a separate province within the Dalmatian Governorate, whereas the area of Ulcinj, Tuze, Plav, Gusinj and Ro žaje was adjoined to so-called Greater Albania, which was created with the Italian fascist support. 63 The Fascists, with the support of a part of Montenegro’s Federalist Party, tried to re-establish an independent state of Montenegro on the territory that remained. The Petrovda Parliament was formed and convened on 12 July 1941, when it acclaimed a Declaration of Independence prepared beforehand in Rome. 64 Despite the backing of a part of the domestic political elite, this attempt by the occupying forces would, nevertheless, fail since it was marked the following day with the beginning of the previously planned uprising. The uprising, organised by the Communists in collaboration with other anti-fascist forces, began on 13 July 1941, based on the decisions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) on 4 July and the Regional Committee of the CPY on 8 July. The uprising was to centre on guerrilla warfare waged against the occupation forces. However, the resistance developed into a national uprising soon after the first guerrilla actions had taken place and, on 13 July 1941, many towns had already been liberated, including Virpazar, Ćevo, Mišići, Petrovac and Rijeka Crnojevi ća, with these being followed in the next few days by Andrijevica, Berane, Kolašin, Danilovgrad, Bijelo Polje, Žabljak, Šavnik and Grahovo. In other words, almost the entire territory of Montenegro was freed with the exception of Cetinje, Podgorica, Nikšić and Pljevlje. This uprising is viewed as an exceptional event in the historiography of World War Two, considering that it was the first mass uprising in occupied Europe. On the other hand, it resulted in a high concentration in Montenegro of fascist troops (100 000) brought in to crush the rebellion. Instead of the one Italian division that was active during the first part of the occupation, towards the end of 1941 and in 1942 the number of divisions of the occupying forces had increased to eight. 65 After defeat in a battle at Pljevlje on 1 December 1941, one part of the Montenegrin partisans retreated to eastern Bosnia where they joined the elite partisan brigades, while the other withdrew to their domestic regions and continued to organise minor military actions. 66 The first Četnici groups were formed in Montenegro towards the end of November and the beginning of December 1941, their leader, Dra ža Mihailović, having already named a Četnik leadership for Montenegro in mid-October. In collaboration with the Italian fascists, who supplied them with arms and food, the Četnici organised actions at the end of 1941 and at the start of 1942 against the partisans headed by the Communists, terrorising the followers of the National Liberation Movement (Narodni oslobodila čki pokret, NOP) and their families, a large number of whom ended up in concentration camps in various
63 See Đuro Vujović: Crna Gora u narodnooslobodilačkom ratu 1941-1945 (Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1997), pp. 23-29. 64 Radoje Pajović: Kontrarevolucija u Crnoj Gori, četnički i federalistički pokret 1941-1945 (Cetinje/Titograd : Obod/Istorijski institut SRCG, 1977), pp. 44-75. 65 On the uprising of 13 July 1941, see ‘Trinaestojulski ustanak predmet nauke i umetnosti, Radovi sa naučnog skupa, Titograd 11. i 12. jul 1991’, CANU 12 (1992); Vujović: Crna Gora u narodnooslobodilačkom ratu, pp. 34-67; Radoje Pajović, Kontrarevolucija, pp. 75-98. 66 Špiro Lagator, Djuro Batričević, Pljevaljska bitka (Beograd: Književne novine, 1990), pp. 99-242; Vujović, Crna Gora u narodnooslobodilačkom ratu, pp. 74-79.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

regions of Montenegro, Albania and Italy. 67 According to their programme of ‘Homogenous Serbia’,68 the Četnici carried out massacres of the non-Orthodox population. 69 From August 1942 to February 1943, they carried out mass crimes against the Muslim populations of Foča, Bukovica near Pljevlje, and in the districts of Bijelo Polje and Pljevlje. In Čajniče and its surrounding area alone, some 8 000 Muslims were killed, including children, women and the elderly. 70 After they had been defeated at the Neretva in Bosnia by the partisans in March 1943 and Italy had capitulated, the Montenegrin Četnici openly collaborated with the German occupation troops. Towards the end of the war, retreating in the footsteps of German troops in an attempt to reach Slovenia, the remaining Četnici were destroyed by the Ustaše, while partisans captured and killed a large number in executions organised at Zidani Most in Pohorje, near the Yugoslav-Austrian border. 71 In addition to partisans and Četnici, which were also active elsewhere in Yugoslavia during World War Two, a military grouping of Montenegrin nationalists headed by Krsto Popović, one of the leaders of the 1918/1919 rebellion, emerged in Montenegro. This group supported the idea of re-establishing Montenegro’s sovereignty. They were, primarily, situated in the historical core of Montenegro (the Katunska, Rije čka and Crmnička nahijas). With the support of the Italian occupiers, this grouping formed alliances with Četnici in fights with the partisans. Not long before the end of the War, the majority of the Zelenaši joined the partisans, with the exception of Popović, who was later killed by the Communists in 1947. 72 At the very beginning of the War, the Communists declared that they were fighting for a society of equal peoples and a state that would be restructured on a federal basis. Accordingly, during the July 1941 uprising, they established a network of authorities (National Liberation Committees or Narodnooslobodila čki odbor) and summoned assemblies with participants from various political backgrounds. The Ostroška skupština, organised at the Ostrog Monastery, elected a National Liberation Committee for Montenegro as the highest institution in Montenegro, in parallel with the Executive Council or government. After the surrender of Italy, an assembly on 15 November 1943 in Kolašin elected a Territorial AntiFascist Council (Zemaljsko antifašističko vijeće, ZAVNO) for Montenegro and Boka, and proclaimed a declaration which acknowledged that Montenegro would be an equal federal unit within a future Yugoslav state to be reorganised in conformity with federal principles. This decision was confirmed at the Second Assembly of ZAVNO in Kolašin on 16 February 1944, following the Yugoslav-wide Assembly of AVNOJ (National Anti-fascist Liberation Council of Yugoslavia), which took place in Jajce on 29-30 November 1943. At an assembly in Kolašin on 13 July 1944, ZAVNO developed into the Montenegrin Anti-fascist As67 Pajović: Kontrarevolucija, pp. 103-381. 68 The project Homogenous Serbia of the Ćetnik ideologist Stevan Moljević was created on 30 June 1941. See Branko Petranović and Momčilo Zečević: Jugoslovenski federalizam, ideje i stvarnost (1914-1943), Vol. I, (Beograd: Prosveta, 1987), pp. 673-695. 69 Vladimir Dedijer and Antun Miletić: Genocid nad Muslimanima, 1941-1945: zbornik dokumenata i svjedočenja (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1990). 70 ibid., pp. 161-274, 768-837, 723-731; Prilog u krvi, Pljevlja 1941-1945 (Pljevlja, 1969). 71 Branislav Kovačević: Od Vezirovog do Zidanog mosta, Tragična sudbima crnogorskih Četnika u završnoj fazi rata 1944-1945 (Beograd: Službeni list SRJ, 1993). 72 Pajović: Kontrarevolucija, pp. 241-298.


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sembly (Crnogorska antifa šistička skupština, CASNO), which was the formal recognition of the re-establishment of Montenegro’s sovereignty within the Yugoslav Federation. Hence, authority organs were formed at the level of the Republic of Montenegro. 73 Operations for the liberation of Montenegro formed part of the larger operations of the Anti-Fascist Coalition of Yugoslav partisans. During November and December 1944, all the towns in the coastal and central regions of Montenegro were freed. By January 1945, with the liberation of Bijelo Polje on 4 January, the entire territory of Montenegro was liberated. Alongside the war against the occupation armies, a civil war was fought between Četnici and partisans over the future state and its social structure. The partisans belonged to a unified movement led by the Communists and headed by Josip Broz Tito, while the Četnik movement considered itself to be the legal army of the royal government-in-exile and consisted mostly of Serbian nationalists acting according to the Serbian national programme. From 1943 onwards, they lost the support of the western Allies, who recognised Tito’s partisans as the only legitimate allies in the fight against the Axis Powers. 74 The victory of the partisan movement, won on the platform of social and national equality, guaranteed that the attributes of sovereignty would be given back to Montenegro within Communist Yugoslavia. During the 1941-1945 War, 37 000 Montenegrin citizens were killed. Out of that number, some 14 500 soldiers were killed fighting for the partisans, which was more than twice the Yugoslav average. Others were killed fighting on the side of the Ćetnici and other anti-communist groups. The strength of the partisan movement can be seen from the participation of Montenegrins in it: 36 per cent of partisan generals were from Montenegro even though the population of Montenegro constituted only two per cent of the population of Yugoslavia. According to official figures, 40 446 Montenegrins were killed or died in camps; 95 346 people were imprisoned, displaced or taken to camps and another 26 144 were permanently disabled. Approximately one-quarter of the population was made homeless and a large part of the communications and economic infrastructure was demolished. The total demographic loss of Montenegro in this period amounted to some 103,800 people, whereas the financial damage of the war was estimated to stand at 43.8 billion dinars.75
Montenegro in Communist Yugoslavia A Constitutional Assembly adopted a new Montenegrin Constitution on 31 December 1946, sanctioning the legacy of the National Liberation Movement and legitimising the
73 See Zoran Lakić: Narodna vlast u Crnoj Gori 191-1945 (Beograd/Cetinje: Obod/Narodna knjiga, 1981); Zoran Lakić (ed.): ZAVNO Crne Gore i Boke, zbirka dokumenata (Titograd, 1963); Zoran Lakić (ed.): CASNO – Crnogorska antifašistička skupština narodnog oslobođenja, Zbirka dokumenata (Titograd, 1975). 74 See Branko Petranović: Revolucija i kontrarevolucija u Jugoslaviji (1941-1945), Vol. II (Beograd: RAD, 1983), pp. 123-224. 75 See Branislav Marović: Društveno-ekonomski razvoj Crne Gore 1945-1953 (Titograd, 1987), pp. 28-30; Branislav Marović: ‘Narodna vlast u Crnoj Gori i rješavanje prvrednih pitanja i njen doprinos pobjedi nad fašizmom 1941-1945’, Drugi svjetski rat-50 godina kasnije, Radovi sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa, održanog u Podgorici 20-22. septembra 1995, Vol. I-II, CANU 18 (1997), pp. 323-337.


A short review of the history of Montenegro

new social and administrative restructuring of the new Yugoslav state. This Constitution confirmed the national and administrative particularity of Montenegro within Yugoslavia. During the period of reconstruction and state-building, there was great enthusiasm and self-sacrifice among the inhabitants of Montenegro for substantially repairing the disastrous consequences of the war. Nevertheless, the conflict between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union and its satellites in 1948 threatened to plunge the country into a new crisis. The traditional inclination towards Russia and unchanging dogmatism caused many Montenegrins to come out in favour of Stalin. Between 1948 and 1954, some 2 600 persons were arrested and imprisoned within Montenegro. 76 Within Socialist Yugoslavia, Montenegro experienced the greatest economic regeneration in its entire history. The largest increase in economic efficiency was recorded in the period between 1961 and 1970. The share of the industrial sector in the economy increased from six to 35 per cent between 1945 and 1990. During this period, the Republic’s communications infrastructure was built, with the construction of the Belgrade-Bar railway (completed in 1976) being the most significant project, while a maritime fleet was built as well as a number of shipyards. The number of tourists steadily increased – from some 5 000 people in 1946 to over one million in 1979. Significant changes in the structure of the population were also recorded at this time. Urbanisation was a particularly important development: the share of city dwellers in the total population increased dramatically from 14.2 per cent in 1953 to 58.2 per cent in 1991. The percentage of the population who were illiterate decreased constantly, from 56.1 per cent before 1941 to 5.9 per cent in 1991. The first college was opened in 1947 and the first university faculty, a faculty of economics, was set up in 1960, while a University with six faculties was founded in 1974. Some other important institutions relating to the cultural life of the Republic were established in this period: the Historical Institute in 1948; the State Archive in 1951; and the Montenegrin Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973; as well as agricultural and biomedical institutes, the National Theatre, radio and television stations and numerous newspapers and magazines.
Conclusion During its millennium-long history (from Duklja to Zeta to Crna Gora), the main feature in Montenegrin historical development was, on the one side, the characteristic influence of various civilisations and cultures, and, on the other, the quest for its place within the boundaries of those civilisations. Located on the crossroads between east and west, in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, Montenegro has been exposed to the influence of global historical processes. It was within these processes, and depending on the interests of the Great Powers, that Montenegro has built its particular historical identity, displaying a strong survivalist impulse in its desire for self-preservation. Within such a historical disparity, developments characteristic of the whole region of south-east Europe which, in the evolution of European history, have played the roles both of centre and of periphery, have necessarily conditioned the historical formation of the state of Montenegro.
76 On this, see Ivo Banac: With Stalin against Tito. Cominformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1988).


Dragan Đurić

The economic development of Montenegro
Introduction: the political environment Populism marked the Montenegrin political, economic and social scene during the last decade of the 20th century. In the late 1980s, the then Montenegrin regime unsuccessfully attempted, using police repression and worn-out communist phrases, to curb the populist movement called the ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ 1 that was skilfully managed from Belgrade. Thus, after several rallies early in 1990, the complete party and state leadership of the then Socialist Republic of Montenegro was replaced. 2 The management teams of the biggest and most successful enterprises were also replaced by new personnel in this wave. The ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ was a populist, and hence seemingly also a workers’, movement and so the leadership of the then Montenegrin trade union also resigned at this time. Thus, Serbian nationalism, incorporating socialism and Četnik ideology, pervaded Montenegro, after having been already successful in Serbia and Vojvodina during the course of 1988/89. 3 It was a prelude to the imminent break-up of the country, war, and a previously unthinkable economic and social collapse. In the same way as they had been manipulated when they overthrew the former authority, the citizens and workers of Montenegro were also under manipulation when they demolished the ramparts of Dubrovnik in the early phase of the war in Croatia in late 1991. They were manipulated, but they did also participate voluntarily. ‘Self-managers’ became nationalists and the regime had no problem sending them as cannon fodder to a meaningless war. Impoverished, under-educated labour, without sufficient urban experience and civil tradition, was an ideal basis for manipulation and the recruitment of fascist demolition hordes. Very few participants in the anti-bureaucratic rallies were clearly aware of what these would come to mean in recent Montenegrin history. 4 But the price of the ‘anti-bureau1 The name ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’ was given to this movement by its participants who, in this way, wanted to show how the people, i.e. the nation, fought against the ‘bureaucratised regime alienated from the people’. 2 Veseljko Koprivica and Branko Vojičić: Prevrat '89 (Podgorica: LSCG,1994). 3 After Slobodan Milošević took over the rule of Serbia and assumed control of the Belgrade media, a campaign of accusations was launched against Montenegrin officials and the policy they were pursuing. The reason lay in Milošević’s need to secure another sure vote in the Federation for his project on solving the problem of Kosovo. The campaign from Serbia was organised via the secret services, media and official authorities. The communist regime in Montenegro could not resist. Voices of dissent were too scarce and low-key. See Vladimir Keković: Vrijeme meteža ‘88/ 89 (Podgorica: Kulturno prosvjetna zajednica Podgorice, 2002). 4 This was the time of the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the transition process in ex-socialist countries, but the toppling of the then regime in Montenegro was unrelated to these trends. On the contrary, it was a movement of a nationalist and socialist orientation. For example, only one of the 37 speakers at the so-called January Rally (which was a prelude to the resignation of all state and party officials in Montenegro, as well as Montenegro’s representatives in the federal bodies) mentioned that a multi-party system should be introduced. He was booed. Veseljko Koprivica and Branko Vojičić, op. cit.


Dragan Đurić

cratic’ revolution had to be paid. It was paid by inflation and isolation from the world community. The policy of the economic boycott, which started with the boycott of Slovenian products in Serbia, boomeranged on its initiators. The sanctions of the United Nations Security Council against Yugoslavia, established in 1992, lasted exactly 1 253 days. 5 In this regard, one of the most important factors in the difficult economic, social and political situation in which Montenegro found itself during the 1990s was the massive participation of workers in the nationalist and populist ‘anti-bureaucratic revolution’. This hampered and, for a long time, postponed inevitable economic and political reforms, reinforced the command control of the economy and made possible the insane policy of the regime epitomised by Slobodan Milošević which, ultimately, hit the population of Serbia and Montenegro the hardest.
Economic and social degradation

The political collapse of Yugoslavia has, logically, been accompanied by its economic downfall. The economic, social and overall moral degradation of society started in 1990 at the time of the break-up of former Yugoslavia. Economic collapse and the impoverishment of the population were caused by the loss of the former single Yugoslav market into which the economy of Montenegro was very much integrated, 6 the wars in parts of former Yugoslavia and, finally, international isolation. All this was ultimately the result of the continuously wrong policy of the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro, i.e. in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The proportions of the economic collapse of the economy are evidenced by statistical data on the level of social product, which continues to be below 70 per cent of the GDP Montenegro had in 1990 and the highest inflation rate in history which, during 1993, equalled 123,751,836,168,522 per cent. 7 If the level of industrial output in Montenegro in 1990 is indexed by 100, its level of production in 2002 is at only 59.9. 8 Even in 2001, industrial output in Montenegro was 0.8 per cent lower than it had been in 2000 and accounted for 42 per cent of GDP. The following table presents a clearer review of the drop in GDP and industrial output in Montenegro.
5 UN Security Council Resolution 757 imposed sanctions on FRY on 30 May 1992. They were suspended 1 253 days later by Resolution 1022 on 22 November 1995. According to the data of the then official institutions in FRY, the country lost over $1 500bn due to the sanctions. Monitor, 14.7.1995. 6 Over 70 per cent of the total trade of Montenegro was conducted with other republics within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Observing only the level of trade with other republics within the former SFRY, Montenegro had a continuous deficit but, on the whole, since 1982 it had a positive balance in foreign trade amounting to over $100m. On this issue, see Monitor, 8.3.1991 and Monitor, 20.3.1992. 7 Petar Đukić: Iskušenja ekonomske politike: hronologija života pod sankcijama (Belgrade: PS Grmeč, Privredni pregled, 1995). 8 Monet, April 2002.


The economic development of Montenegro

Table 1 – Changes in GDP and industrial output9
1990 = 100 Nominal GDP (in million dinar) 1 778 3 490 270 819 NA 1 021 1 916 3 992 5 209 7 604 16 164 Real GDP Industrial output 100.0 86.8 69.5 45.9 42.1 41.1 60.4 62.6 62.9 58.1

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

100.0 89.2 68.2 43.3 44.0 50.2 64.1 68.3 67.3 58.0

The volatility of the economic situation in Montenegro is witnessed by data on price increases. Inflation in Montenegro in 2001 was as much as 26 per cent while in 2000 it equalled 23 per cent. These are the years when the dinar, resented because of its inflationary history, did not operate in Montenegro, with the German mark being used as the national currency instead. Montenegro is currently facing numerous limitations to the reform processes initiated in 1998, resulting partly in its undefined status in the undefined state it holds with Serbia. This political uncertainty and other circumstances have their economic repercussions. Obsolete technology, which is scarcely capable of being upgraded, and a lack of interest among foreign investors are additional key economic problems in Montenegro. Montenegro is experiencing stagnation of industrial output, with great problems of a budget deficit, a shortage of electricity, a critically low degree of utilisation of nominal economic capacities, a high proportion of economic activities taking place in the shadow economy, a high unemployment rate and the lowest average wage in the Balkans. Such a situation has its deep roots that are explained in more detail in the following sections.
Growing unemployment Economic and political conditions in Montenegro during the past decade inevitably resulted in a radical reduction in the number of people employed. This can be clearly seen from the following data. In 1989, about 163 000 people were working in Montenegro (while the number of the unemployed was about 48 000). In 2002, the number of the employed dropped to just 113 000, while the number of those seeking work rose to over 80 000. The unemployment rate in Montenegro was 17 per cent in 1989 and now equals 28 per cent. In the meantime, the number of pensioners in Montenegro has risen from 59 000 to over 81 000. Changes in the official number of the employed and the unemployed in Montenegro during the last decade of the 20 th century are presented in the following table.
9 Monet, December 2001.


Dragan Đurić

Table 2 – Employment in Montenegro10
Year Population (total) 616 632 624 043 631 933 635 287 638 649 642 890 646 740 650 575 654 540 658 530 659 531 No. of employed 144 045 134 205 130 901 128 835 125 090 124 264 120 604 117 745 115 349 113 818 114 076 No. of Unemployunemployed ment rate (%) 58 144 21.6 64 632 23.6 62 818 22.4 58 210 21.8 59 045 22.2 60 225 21.9 63 995 23.5 68 373 25.7 75 303 27.3 83 583 29.3 81 561 28.7

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

A special problem for the Montenegrin economy is the rapid decrease in the number of workers in the economy and the gradual increase of those whose salaries are financed from public revenues. One-third of the workforce in Montenegro now works in public services. As a result, over the past thirteen years the number of jobs in the Montenegrin economic sector has dropped by more than 30 per cent. Before the beginning of the economic reforms, at a time when full employment was fostered, over 130 000 people worked in the Montenegrin economic sector as opposed to slightly more than 80 000 today. The ratio in several characteristic years between those working in the economic sector and in public services can be seen from the following table.
Table 3 – Number of employees in the economy and public services11
Employment 1989 1992 1995 1999 2000 (annual average) Total 163 351 133 587 125 399 115 328 114 768 Economy 131 543 104 295 93 126 80 423 78 752 Public services 32 808 29 292 32 273 34 905 36 016

Employment declined as the consequence of company bankruptcies (some hundred larger enterprises went bankrupt during this period) and the dismissal of technically redundant workers. Despite this, about 20 000 workers in the Montenegrin economy are still effectively redundant.12 This number actually coincides with the number of employees on socalled involuntary leave, who do not receive their wages regularly. In the early 1990s, a process of the ‘determination of technically and economically redundant workers’ was un10 Republican Statistical Office. 11 Montenegro Employment Office. 12 Data of the Republican Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.


The economic development of Montenegro

dertaken in all enterprises in Montenegro. This was an attempt to rid enterprises of the burden of surplus labour inherited from the period of self-management and the maintenance of full employment and thus, through organisational transformation, to prepare for actual ownership transformation. The legal rights of those workers who were to be dismissed under this process were formally rather high, but they existed only on paper. They were entitled to one of the following: retraining or advanced training; the buy-up of missing years for retirement; severance pay amounting to 24 times the average monthly wage; employment with another company; or a loan for self-employment. However, partly due to the lack of programmes and resources, and partly due to workers’ refusal to accept any other option except either the buy-up of missing years for retirement or severance pay, settlement was delayed. Resources for these purposes should have been provided by enterprises but, since they did not have them, they shifted everything to the government. At that time, the single-party government used these affairs, as with many others, for political purposes. Thus, the resources required to deal with the problem of technical and economic redundancy were distributed according to the criteria of political suitability. In consequence, many of those workers declared redundant (political manipulation was frequently obvious in these processes, even within enterprises) were left jobless, with no other option but to join the army or to secure their existence in the burgeoning smuggling and shadow economy.
Rising poverty

According to a methodology adopted on a tripartite basis, and defined in the General Collective Agreement, 13 the minimum wage in Montenegro is determined according to two central criteria: the results of economic performance; and workers’ family needs. The needs of the average family are determined on the basis of an official statistical market ‘basket’, encompassing 65 different food products and then increased by 40 per cent (also set down in the methodology) to account for the costs of housing, clothing, footwear, transportation, health, hygiene, education, culture, sports and everything else required for a family. Currently, the minimum wage (which also serves, very importantly, as the basis for the adjustment of all welfare benefits in the Republic) equals Euro 50, while the average wage in Montenegro is Euro 116. 14 According to the data produced by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro, real wages are now 50 per cent lower than they were in 1990. In addition, also according to trade union sources, in May 2002 no less than 30 296 workers had not received their wages for a period longer than three months. Average wage trends during the past few years (converted into German marks) are shown in the following table.
13 The General Collective Agreement was adopted in 1995. Its signatories are the Chamber of Commerce and Economy of Montenegro, the Government of the Republic of Montenegro and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro. This Collective Agreement is still in force. 14 At the time of the hyperinflation at the end of 1993, the value of average wages dropped to only DM 5.


Dragan Đurić

Table 4 – Average wages in Montenegro15
Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 (Jan) Average wage (DM) 108 126 188 226 194 152 188 211 261

Such a level of average income is insufficient for normal existence. Research studies have concluded that, in 1996, as much as 28.9 per cent of the population of Yugoslavia, hence including Montenegro, were poor. According to this study, families which were unable to cover the cost of the statistical market basket with their monthly income were considered to be poor. 16 A comparison between 1986 and 1990, when the poverty ratio in the country (i.e. the share of the poor of the total population) was 14.1 per cent, reveals the social decline experienced by the population of Serbia and Montenegro during this period. The situation has not changed much during recent years. According to research by the Podgorica office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), carried out at the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001, the poverty ratio ranges from 25 to 30 per cent.17 In consequence of sanctions and hyperinflation, the middle class became almost extinct while most of the population became equal in poverty. The first half of the 1990s was characterised by a transitional recession in all the former socialist countries and the ruling political forces in Montenegro (and in Serbia) tried to interpret the growing poverty as the result of these transitional processes. However, Serbia and Montenegro at that time had not even begun the structural reforms required for transition. A plummeting economy and rapid impoverishment of the population were the result of the destructive war policy of the regime, an inefficient and expensive economy with obsolete technology and an inadequate structure, particularly its ownership structure. Altogether, these were additionally aggravated by the sanctions. Economic policy based on an inefficient system and command-type management of the economy caused a long-lasting and profound crisis. The transitional recession, which inevitably occurs in radical changes of the economic system, is yet to be faced by Montenegrin society, which will have to pay further for the price of economic reforms. 18
15 Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro. 16 Analiza sive ekonomije u SR Jugoslaviji sa procenama za 1997. i preporukama za njenu legalizaciju (Belgrade: Economics Institute, 1998). 17 Zaposlenost, tržište rada i životni standard u Crnoj Gori (Podgorica: UNDP, 2002). 18 Only in 2002 has the Government of Montenegro prepared a new draft Labour Law and, with the assistance of foreign experts, started to prepare reforms in the educational, pensions and health system.


The economic development of Montenegro

The shadow economy Shadow economies are a common feature in many economies around the world – and particularly in transition countries – but Serbia and Montenegro have experienced an unprecedented escalation in the shadow economy. In many respects, it was the main feature of life and work in Montenegro during the past decade. The shadow economy implies the performance of economic activity which is parallel or contrary to relevant legal regulations, as well as lawful unreported production; in other words, it is the sum of production activities that are in accordance with national laws and regulations except that data on their volume, value and effects are not voluntarily reported to the authorities and the competent tax services in order to evade taxation and the liabilities arising from labour legislation. The shadow (grey) economy is a term commonly used in Montenegro, although elsewhere in the world it is usually referred to as the informal sector or the informal economy. Likewise, ‘black labour’ is the term common in the Balkans for unprotected labour. 19 There are many reasons for the burgeoning of the informal economy in Montenegro. Unlike other transition countries, where the initial transitional shock and absence of adequate programmes for social protection caused a ‘spontaneous movement for survival’ through economic activity in the informal sector, in Montenegro it was sanctions which proved particularly conducive to the development of the informal sector. Government bodies in FRY, Serbia and Montenegro were forced to transform import and export transactions into internally-legalised smuggling. Here, the vibrant shadow economy in Yugoslavia differs from the situation in transition countries. This process was inevitably accompanied by the escalation of corruption. 20 In such conditions, the plummeting standard of living of the population and the collapse of the regular economy moved a large share of the economically active population into the informal sector and informal work. The entire authoritarian system of the rule of Milošević in FRY was very tightly interwoven in the web of corruption and crime, and thus the everyday life of the ordinary population was criminalised accordingly. The political backdrop for such a process was the creation of collaboration in the criminalisation of the system. For the functioning of its new rule, the political and economic elite created a specific anti-social coalition with impoverished workers, giving them the opportunity for minor ‘thefts’ and income gathering within the informal economy. Yet, there are huge differences between small-time and big-time smugglers; the former engaged in this to earn their subsistence, the latter to increase their wealth. The former were the hostages, the latter the owners of the entire system. Some got into the shadow economy to survive, others modelled it as organised crime. 21
19 The term ‘black labour’ implies work performed for the employer without legal grounding, when the legal grounding is unlawful or when the work performed is prohibited. 20 The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by Transparency International, ranks south-east European countries at the very top of the list of countries which are burdened with corruption. In 1999, on a list of 99 countries FRY was ranked 90th, Albania 84th and Croatia 74th, while Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia shared 63rd place. See document/cpi/index/html. 21 Dragan Đurić: ‘The Shadow Economy: Between Authority and Crime’, South-East Europe Review for Labour and Social Affairs, Vol. 2 No. 1, April 1999, pp. 59-68.


Dragan Đurić

In the conditions of the command economy during Milo šević’s era, people learned about the market and market operation through the shadow economy. However, in parallel with this, collaboration between government organs and/or individuals within them with the members of the new business class caused animosity amongst ordinary citizens toward the private sector and created the predominant attitude that representatives of the new business class were the same as criminals. Žarko Rakčević, deputy of the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska partija, SDP), pointed out in an address to the Montenegrin parliament 22 that these are:
the untaxed suppliers of scarce imported goods, phantom bankers, racketeers, suppliers of war, arms traders… who got rich overnight owing to various suspicious and criminal connections, money issuing, bribery and corruption. They are the core of the future establishment. War was their ambience, their need and an opportunity for social promotion. War gave them power, and they provided it with material and political support and political legitimacy in return.23

Shortcomings in the regular part of the economy and in the official system were offset by the informal economy, and that has contributed to the creation of the specific anti-social coalition in which all social strata took part. The gap between standards and reality was too wide. Government organs and the social partners attempted to develop standards through a formalised social dialogue, not realising that ‘life is somewhere else’, to paraphrase Milan Kundera, the famous Czech author. All this, incorporated into overall social insecurity and uncertainty, considerably affected the political processes in Montenegro.
Unprotected labour In Montenegro, people have become engaged in private business for a variety of reasons. Some did it because they saw in it their entrepreneurial perspective, others sought to use their position in the social or public sector, still others because they had no other option. Thus, a very large number of new private enterprises have been created. There are currently about 17 000 enterprises and shops in Montenegro, of which about 12 000 are active.24 Most of these enterprises – 45 per cent of the total number – engage in trade, 13 per cent are in catering and tourism, and 19 per cent are in transport (taxi drivers). Nevertheless, a large number of new enterprises have not created many new jobs; the number of the unemployed in Montenegro is still very high, as outlined earlier, and thus it represents one of the gravest economic and social problems, particularly in the northern, less developed, part of Montenegro.
22 Toward the end of 1993, the Assembly of Montenegro refused to debate information on the economic and social situation in Montenegro which had been prepared for the parliamentary session by the Montenegrin trade union and the then opposition SDP. It had been previously agreed that this material would be put on the agenda but, on the decision of the ruling party, it was eliminated from the parliamentary procedure. The chair of the SDP Deputy Club was only permitted to deliver the address he had prepared as a keynote speech. 23 Monitor, 31.12.1993. 24 Active enterprises imply enterprises with recorded activity through a giro account in the last two months.


The economic development of Montenegro

The ratio of unemployed people to the total number of employees in Montenegro is 70.3,25 while the situation in the municipalities of Berane (134), Bijelo Polje (125), Mojkovac (156) and Plav (125) is considerably more difficult. The situation is much better in Podgorica where this ratio is 59.5 and in Nikšić, where it is 79. Official data on the number of the unemployed does not, however, reflect the actual situation because many more workers are economically active through illegal work and the shadow economy. Estimates of the number of unregistered employed people in Montenegro vary considerably. The estimates of the Employment Office of Montenegro, for example, mention a figure of around 64 000 unregistered jobs. According to these estimates, out of 15-20 thousand employees who are on involuntary leave more or less continuously, about 4 000 are working illegally. In addition, out of over 80 thousand unemployed, around 30 per cent have unregistered employment. According to the same source, approximately 10 per cent of pensioners, as well as about 25 per cent of some 25 000 refugees are also involved in unregistered work. This adds up to a total of about 64 000 unregistered jobs. On the other hand, experts at the Economics Faculty in Podgorica 26 estimate the total number of employees in the informal sector to be as much as 85 000. According to these estimates, the share of unregistered activities rises to 31 per cent of the total workforce. In addition, a UNDP study indicates that the unemployment rate is far lower than the official one, equalling about 14 per cent, while 25.5 per cent of the active population has unregistered income and 18 per cent have a job on the side. 27 In 2000, the author of this text conducted a survey on labour law and the social position of employees in the so-called small private sector. The sample encompassed 700 workers in trade, catering and construction in eight of the larger municipalities in Montenegro. The results of the survey indicate that as much as 38.6 per cent of workers in these sectors are working illicitly, with nearly one in three having been working in this way for more than two years. Women are more likely to be employed illegally than are men (35.3% female respondents compared to 4.2% of male ones) and predominantly include either very young or very old workers. The largest number of people surveyed came from the small trade sector (small private trading shops), which mostly employ women, and so the survey results indicate that there is a much larger number of women employed illegally. In autumn 2001, the government of Montenegro launched a special programme of measures to combat the shadow economy. For the time being, the programme encompasses the area of money and commodity circulation. It has, however, not yet seriously addressed the problem of unprotected labour. 28
The privatisation process

Privatisation is often considered to be one of the most important elements in the transition process. It is obvious that, for Montenegrin economy and society as a whole, the privatisation process has played a very important role during the past few years.
25 26 27 28 Employment Office of Montenegro and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Monet, June 2000, p. 8. Zaposlenost, tržište rada i životni standard u Crnoj Gori (Podgorica: UNDP, 2002). ‘Suzbijanje sive ekonomije: Pucanj u prazno,’ Skener, No. 2, April 2002.


Dragan Đurić

They may exist within a common state, but Montenegro and Serbia have different views of transition, political and democratic reforms, and, hence, of privatisation. Political and social consensus about the need for privatisation of social ownership 29 was reached much earlier in Montenegro than in the other federal unit – Serbia. However, the privatisation process in Montenegro has not been continuous. The (dis)continuity of it can best be illustrated by the sequence of laws according to which it has been conducted. The first steps were taken in 1989 by the Federal government of Prime Minister Ante Marković,30 with the Law on State Capital which served as the basis for the privatisation of 23 enterprises in Montenegro. Then, in February 1992, the Assembly of Montenegro adopted the Law on Ownership and Management Transformation. 31 Thus, Montenegro formally started its privatisation process – the next to last of the former Yugoslav republics, with Serbia being the last to follow suit. 32 This law was amended in 1994 at the initiative of the Montenegrin trade union. In addition to the acquisition of shares at discount, the amendment enabled the free distribution of up to ten per cent of enterprise capital to employees. According to this law, social ownership was eliminated in Montenegro and distributed between the employees of the respective enterprises and state funds. The result was a phase called ‘managerial transformation’ in Montenegro. In fact, it contributed to the re-nationalisation of enterprises. All untransformed social property within enterprises – a part of the capital that was not transferred to workers – was transferred to state funds in the proportion of 60 per cent flowing to the Development Fund, 30 per cent to the Pensions and Disability Insurance Fund and 10 per cent to the Employment Fund. Accordingly, state funds appointed most of the members of the boards of directors of enterprises and, since political power was in the hands of one party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the situation was the same within the state funds. Consequently, the ruling party had a dominant role in the management of the entire economy. In addi29 Social ownership is a specific category that existed only in SFRY. Namely, in the period of self-management socialism, the institute of social ownership was elaborated which, in the opinion of the communist ideologues, was to be the first step toward the non-ownership which should characterise communism. Enterprises did not own capital but were only entitled to manage enterprise capital as part of the general social capital. Such capital was not state capital, as it was in other east European countries. 30 Ante Marković was the last federal Prime Minister of SFRY. He is notable for his efforts to introduce reforms in the country which, of course, failed. When he realised that republican political oligarchies lacked the political will for co-operation and reform, he founded a political party at the Yugoslav level, called the Alliance of Pro-Reform Forces of Yugoslavia. This was another failed project. The Alliance participated in the first multi-party parliamentary elections in Montenegro, when the League of Communists of Montenegro won by a landslide. Subsequently, Montenegrin pro-European and pro-reform opposition parties evolved from the Alliance. 31 Službeni list RCG, No. 2/92, 1992. 32 In August 1992, Serbia also adopted a Law on Transformation of Social Ownership into Other Forms of Ownership. However, in August 1994, at the initiative of Đinđić’s Democratic Party, the notorious revaluation was introduced. This actually brought privatisation in Serbia to a standstill and the whole process into a cul-de-sac from which Serbia has started to emerge only after the democratic changes in October 2000.


The economic development of Montenegro

tion, the result of this process was a very pronounced role for employee share ownership in Montenegro. On average, employees own about 25 per cent of capital in Montenegro. 33 The new Law on the Privatisation of the Economy was enacted in mid-1996. 34 It regulated the issue of the further actual privatisation of previously-transformed social enterprises and introduced the model of voucher privatisation for employees in public services, the unemployed and pensioners. This model was planned as a local variant of the models of voucher privatisation implemented elsewhere. However, the political blockade (at that time, UN Security Council sanctions had already been lifted but the so-called ‘outer wall of sanctions’ remained in place) meant that privatisation proceeded very slowly. By 1998, only 95 small and medium-sized enterprises had been privatised in Montenegro, with foreign capital invested in just five firms. About 9 000 employees worked in privatised enterprises at the time. The valuation of the enterprises was largely conducted in 1996 and so that was the price at which they were sold, subject furthermore to an average discount of around 40 per cent. This trend has continued until today. The shares of some privatised enterprises are currently quoted on the two stock exchanges in Montenegro and their value is, on average, only 30 per cent of the estimated value which served as the basis for mass voucher privatisation. The value of the enterprises has declined continuously due to the overall economic degradation as well as to their low levels of current operation. The management of social and transformed enterprises, through current business operations with newly-founded private firms in which they had an interest, has actually moved a solid part of capital from social into private enterprises. As a result of the very slow privatisation – which, in addition, caused a range of everyday concrete problems, resulting from the more or less obvious corruption and failure to implement the provisions of privatisation agreements (in 1998 alone, 28 privatisation agreements were cancelled due to these reasons) – a further reorganisation of the entire process had to be undertaken. A special body – the Privatisation Council – was set up by the Law on Privatisation of the Economy 35 which actually assumed a monopoly over the entire process and, in 1998, the government pompously announced that it would accelerate privatisation by introducing vouchers. However, owing to the increasing conflict with the Milo šević regime in Belgrade, NATO bombing and the fear of possible war in Montenegro, the Montenegrin authorities stalled the implementation of the actual reforms and mass voucher privatisation ended only in late 2001. With the modifications and amendments to the Law on Privatisation of the Economy,36 all adult citizens of Montenegro (around 450 000 people) were granted the right to receive vouchers that they later used to buy shares in enterprises or the privatisation funds. Capital for the mass voucher privatisation, to a total of DM 2.5bn, was earmarked out of the portfolio of the Development Fund of the Republic of Montenegro in addition to the share of state capital. Shares in 225 enterprises in all were offered to citizens. Not all enterprise capital was included in this form of privatisation. In smaller and less successful firms, the percentage
33 34 35 36 Data of the Development Fund of Montenegro. Službeni list RCG, No. 23/96, 1996. ibid. Službeni list RCG, No. 6/99, 1999.


Dragan Đurić

of capital allocated for privatisation was higher while in the strategically important ones, of course it was much lower. Vouchers did not have a face value in monetary terms but were denominated in points. However, one point was equal to the value of one German mark which, at the time of the implementation of mass privatisation, had already become the official currency in Montenegro. Citizens had the option freely to choose the shares they would buy, either by directly purchasing shares in a certain enterprise or shares in one of the six privatisation funds. In summary, 90 per cent of citizens took their vouchers; 60 per cent of them subsequently exchanged their vouchers for shares in the privatisation funds and 30 per cent for shares in individual enterprises. Immediately prior to the mass voucher privatisation, about 21 per cent of total social capital in Montenegro had been privatised. 37 Now, after the completion of the mass voucher privatisation, around 57 per cent of total social capital in Montenegro has been privatised. The rundown of the current situation is as follows. Over 95 per cent of citizens in Montenegro have become share owners in enterprises (through various forms of privatisation). Furthermore, 130 companies have been fully privatised, while there are 179 companies with around 80 per cent privatised capital, 27 companies which are 51 per cent privatised and 17 of the largest companies in which about 35 per cent of capital has been privatised. One of the most important characteristics of the present situation is the majority ownership of employees (through inside shares, on the basis of the former law) and citizens (on the basis of vouchers invested directly in the enterprise) in as many as 92 companies in Montenegro,38 albeit that these are largely smaller and poorer-performing ones. The first half of 2002 was characterised by the establishment of new managerial structures in Montenegrin enterprises. This marked a break with the former practice of parastate and para-political boards of directors, which were viewed by the public as bearing the main responsibility for poor performance and the high degree of corruption in the Montenegrin economy. Other privatisation models have also been implemented slowly. The biggest and most valuable enterprises have been earmarked for sale through international tender but not much progress has been made. In 2001, for example, the offer of the Montenegrin telecoms operator attracted no foreign buyers. The key capacities of the Montenegrin economy (the aluminium industry, hotel facilities, wood processing and metals processing factories) are still waiting for prospective buyers. According to the privatisation plan for 2002, seventeen of the largest enterprises in Montenegro, which account together for more than 40 per cent of total capital in Montenegro, have been earmarked for privatisation via international tender. They include hotel and tourist enterprises Boka in Herceg Novi, Budvanska rivijera in Budva and Crna Gora in Podgorica; Duvanski kombinat (tobacco factory), Podgorica; Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (electricity generation and distribution), Nikšić; Gornji Ibar, Rozaje; Jadransko brodogradiliste (shipyard), Bijela; Jugooceanija, Kotor; Jugopetrol, Kotor; Kombinat aluminijuma (aluminium complex), Podgorica; Luka Bar (port), Bar; Plantaže, Podgorica; Prekookeanska plovidba, Bar; Telekom Crne Gore,
37 Veselin Vukotić: Osnovna informacija o portfelju za masovnu vaučersku privatizaciju, material prepared for the Privatisation Council, Podgorica, June 2001. 38 Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro.


The economic development of Montenegro

Podgorica; hotel and tourist enterprise Ulcinjska rivijera, Ulcinj; Željezara (steel mill), Nikšić; and Željezničko-transportno preduze će (railway), Podgorica. However, by the summer of 2002, none of these enterprises had been privatised, for reasons which lie primarily in the lack of interest amongst foreign investors, as well as in the slow preparation of the necessary tender documentation. In August 1996, the author of this text conducted a survey among employees in the Montenegrin economy with the aim of gaining a thorough insight into what workers in the economy understood by the privatisation of social ownership which had been carried out up until then and what they expected from the continuation of that process. The sample consisted of 600 respondents drawn from separately-structured groups of employees in public enterprises, transformed social enterprises, privatised enterprises, and enterprises that were in private ownership from the outset. The results of this survey are particularly interesting because it demonstrates that employee shareholding is very developed in Montenegro. Employees’ lack of knowledge about the main aspects of the employee stock ownership plan was conspicuous. An enormous number of respondents (78 per cent) did not know what percentage of capital in the enterprise they work for belonged to the workers, while 86 per cent did not know how much the shares in their personal possession were worth and a similar percentage did not know who were the employees’ representatives on the company’s board of directors. The degree of employees’ ignorance on these issues was in direct proportion to the level of their education and their earnings in the job. The vast majority of employees in the economy supported the idea of employee shareholding and that workers should receive more than a 50 per cent level of ownership of their companies, a long-standing trade union policy in Montenegro. This shows that, at the time of the survey, seven years after the end of self-management, the prevalent opinion among workers was that they had created the social capital with their current labour and that they should now claim the right to its distribution within the privatisation process. Comparing these results with some earlier surveys shows that the development of the privatisation process in itself has contributed to a better understanding of it amongst employees in the economy. It has also turned out that employees in those enterprises which have progressed further in the privatisation process demonstrate a greater degree of understanding of its mechanics. Most of the employees in the economy of Montenegro accepted the general concept of privatisation, criticising rather the manner of its implementation, although as much as one-third of respondents could justly be called opponents of privatisation. The altogether painstaking, slow and controversial privatisation process in Montenegro has decisively affected the course of political events in Serbia and Montenegro.
A new stage: pro-reform rhetoric After the beginning of the democratisation process in Montenegro, marked by the election of Milo Đukanović as President of Montenegro at the end of 1997 and this republic’s increasingly fierce conflicts with Belgrade, reforms started to be seriously contemplated. In short, in order to distance itself as much as possible from the Belgrade regime, the government started strongly to promote the idea of reforms and thus built for itself a pro-reform image, although real reform results have been absent. 39 Yet, owing to this, considerable

Dragan Đurić

foreign aid did start to flow into Montenegro. This aid was, in fact, required as the deficit of the Montenegrin budget was ever-increasing. The government did not prevent the flight of business into the informal sector to evade taxation because it was itself involved in informal activities which enabled it, during the sanctions and for several years afterwards, regularly to pay salaries in the public sector, to buy up a portion of Montenegro’s foreign debt40 and, of course, to have slush funds for political propaganda purposes. Thanks to the new policy (and to international donations), the economic recovery of Montenegro started in 1997. The citizens of Montenegro at that time were accustomed to comparing themselves only with Serbia, which was collapsing disastrously, thus creating a false optimism and excessive self-content in Montenegro over the slow improvements in the republic’s economy. In such conditions, a national and political movement aimed at Montenegrin independence continuously gained strength. Transitional reforms were missing, with the authorities reiterating the same excuse: the threat of the possible civil war that Milo šević could incite in Montenegro. Discussions about reforms had begun in Montenegro, but it also managed to extricate itself from some of the hardships felt in Serbia. For example, Montenegro sustained far less damage from the NATO bombing than Serbia. 41 However, in 1999, Montenegro created a two-currency system, introducing the German mark in parallel with the Yugoslav dinar and, in early 2000, officially proclaimed the mark as the only legal tender in Montenegro.42 At the time of the introduction of the euro in the European Union, Montenegro also converted marks into euros so that the euro is now the only official currency. The central political theme in Montenegro since 1998 has been the issue of independence. Economists generally then agreed that state sovereignty would considerably help the economic development of Montenegro. 43 However, in consequence of the political problems both in relations with Serbia and with the very numerous opponents of independence within Montenegro, the authorities have opted for the concept of so-called functional sovereignty. The idea was, first, to secure economic independence which would, subsequently, produce political effects and practically lead all by itself to state independence. This concept, of course, failed to yield the anticipated effects, but it did result in Montenegro’s independence in the monetary sphere, in the customs system and in foreign trade. On the other hand, it produced numerous problems for that part of the economy that inevitably continued to rely on
39 European Stability Initiative: Rhetoric and Reform. A Case Study of Institution Building in Montenegro 1998-2001, Podgorica, Berlin, 1.7.2001. 40 The total debt of Montenegro amounts to $326m. The highest share of this amount is owed to the international financial institutions ($131.9m) and to the London Club ($120.3m). The debt to the Paris Club amounts to $46.7m. The biggest creditor among the international financial organisations is the World Bank, which claims $116.2m. Data taken from Monet, No. 8, April 2002. 41 Independent researchers in Serbia, gathered in Group 17, estimated the direct damage from the NATO bombing in Serbia as over $100bn. See Mlađan Dinkić (ed.): Završni račun, Ekonomske posledice NATO bombardovanja: procena štete i sredstava potrebnih za ekonomsku rekonstrukciju Jugoslavije, Belgrade: Stubovi kulture, Grupa 17, 1999). 42 The Yugoslav dinar became proscribed in Montenegro primarily as a result of inflation. According to data from the federal Statistical Office, it devalued as many as 23 times since 1952 and, in addition, was six times denominated. 43 See also the chapter by Beáta Huszka on The dispute over independence in this volume.


The economic development of Montenegro

co-operation with the Serbian economy. Payments for goods that crossed the border between Serbia and Montenegro, for example, had to be effected via third countries. Imports from Serbia account for 13 per cent of total imports in Montenegro while exports to Serbia represented 8 per cent of total exports from Montenegro during 2000. Thus, the degree of cooperation between the Montenegrin economy and Serbia is today lower than that between Montenegro and Croatia. 44 However, the collapse of the regime of Slobodan Milo šević shifted the course of events very swiftly. The international community turned its support toward newly democratic Serbia, while Montenegro started to sustain damage as a result of its uncooperativeness with the new position of the international community. It turned out that the pro-reform rhetoric was insufficient and that the authorities in Montenegro had not the political will to take the opportunity provided by a climate which was favourable to the launching of actual transitional changes. Owing to a series of radical reform laws and abundant foreign aid, the Serbian economy has been rapidly recovering and has begun to surpass Montenegro in almost all the parameters of economic development.
Legislative reforms Reforms in Montenegro have been carried out unevenly and in an unsynchronised manner. Ownership transformation has been completed, but the fundamental laws – the Law on Enterprises, the Law on Elements of Labour Relations – have long remained the same, inherited from the socialist system and, still worse, from the system of SFRY, a state that no longer exists. More serious legislative activities in Montenegro have started since 1997, following the split in the Democratic Party of Socialists and the democratic stream which then prevailed. 45 Such a discrepancy in the reform processes has caused enormous problems for the entire process of transition. The absence of systemic laws has been, for many years, offset by the continual modification of and amendments to republic laws. In consequence, an unregulated legal environment and rule by decree have created an atmosphere of overall insecurity and uncertainty, privileging certain parts of the economic structure and fostering corruption and nepotism. Such conditions have had a very adverse effect on the business climate and have reduced the interest of potential foreign investors for investment in Montenegro. Laws on economic companies, on insolvency and on employment, and a series of laws in the monetary sphere, were adopted in Montenegro only at the beginning of 2002. The Law on Economic Companies is a Montenegrin variant of the federal Law on Enterprises under which the official name for enterprises (joint stock companies) in Montenegro is now economic company, while the Law on Insolvency substituted the former federal Law on Bankruptcy and Liquidation. However, the new Labour Law and laws on the reform of the pensions system and on the reform of the health system are still in preparation.
44 Monet, No. 8, April 2002. This information, however, should be taken with a degree of reservation because, due to payment transactions with Serbia being unregulated, many enterprises from Montenegro have organised trade with enterprises in Serbia via third countries, most frequently Republika Srpska and Croatia. This means that trade with Serbia is shown in the official statistics as trade with other countries. 45 Even before that, however, federal laws had no particular importance in Montenegro.


Dragan Đurić

However, the most striking example of the repeated discontinuity in the economic policies of the authorities in Montenegro concerns its offshore laws.
A shortcut to h(e)aven Searching for an answer to the question of how, after the lifting of sanctions, transition processes could be accelerated and foreign capital attracted, the government of Montenegro prepared in 1996 a global development project entitled ‘Montenegro – A Free Economic Zone’. In co-operation with foreign experts, a special law on foreign companies and individuals was drafted, along with a separate study on the economic justification of the development of Montenegro as an international offshore centre. The project included numerous forms and modalities of arrangements for special business operations. In addition to offshore firms, 46 there exist flagged-out shipping opportunities, free warehouses, ports, airports, open zones for tourists, etc. The law, in addition, guaranteed that:
The rights, reliefs, facilities and other benefits stipulated by this law cannot be changed for a period of 15 years’.

The explanation for turning Montenegro into an offshore zone was that it could not propel its economy after the lifting of sanctions without foreign capital, that capital could no longer be provided by taking out expensive loans and that effort had to be made to create an attractive social and economic environment in which foreign capital would flow into the republic. Using various business operation systems within this project, Montenegro was promised by the government that it would become an attractive area for foreign capital which would generate domestic resources and introduce new products, programmes, the transfer of technology, know-how and international standards, and which would ensure the growth of competitiveness of the local economy and its necessary changes in both the organisational, managerial and information sense. Of course, all this would also contribute to the considerable influx of foreign currency and the employment of a large proportion of the local labour force. 47 This was, therefore, the Montenegrin way to a ‘tariff and tax heaven’. The project led immediately to suspicions in Serbia and at the federal level. The Constitutional Court of FRY immediately proclaimed the special law unconstitutional, and comments came from Belgrade which likened Montenegro to Slovenia’s secessionist policy in the late 1980s. The Montenegrin authorities, however, disregarded such comments. Nevertheless, the ultimate outcome was not particularly successful. By 2002, there were 1 200 offshore companies registered in Montenegro, including about 500 offshore banks. This prompted numerous comments from international consultants that Montenegro was being used for uncontrolled money laundering through offshore banks. 48 Thus, the ‘Cypriot dream’ in Montenegro was short-lived. Seven years later, on 18 June 2002, at the request of the go46 These are companies that cannot operate on the territory of the state on which they are registered because they enjoy special customs and tax benefits. 47 Monitor, 7.6.2002, p. 34. 48 Monitor, 5.7.2002, p. 30.


The economic development of Montenegro

vernment of Montenegro, the Constitutional Court declared that the provision on the duration of the Law was unconstitutional, with the explanation that it had created a monopolistic position for foreign banks. Thus, the entire development of offshore business in Montenegro was simply ruled null and void. Bearing in mind that offshore banks have their seat only in Montenegro, but that they do not have the right to develop their business there, the large number of offshore banks has had virtually no effect either on the economy or the general public.
The problem of the Montenegrin budget deficit

Within the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro was a dependent republic. It received assistance from the Fund for the Development of Under-Developed Regions (FADURK), as did Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia. 49 With the creation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, this Fund, of course, ceased to exist, but a part of the population in Montenegro still retained the general attitude that Serbia ‘fed’ this republic and that it would not be able to survive alone. In 1994, however, the government of Montenegro, for the first time, reported that it had managed to achieve full self-financing for all government functions, although very few people wondered where the money came from when the whole economy was stumbling under the burden of sanctions. However, after the Montenegrin democratic authorities became co-operative with the international community, the channels of non-transparent cash inflow had gradually to be closed. Almost as a substitute for that, considerable foreign donations started to come to Montenegro. The scope of this aid is sufficiently illustrated by the statistic that, in 19992000, Montenegro received the highest aid per capita granted by the US government to a foreign country with the exception only of Israel. 50 However, after the toppling of the Milošević regime in Belgrade, this aid was reduced. For 2001, foreign aid (mainly from the USA and the European Union) was planned at a level of DM 60m, although less than half this amount was actually disbursed. Consequently, the problem of the budgetary deficit has become increasingly apparent. With a series of new tax laws, enacted early in 2002, and the programme of the legalisation of the shadow economy, the Montenegrin government is trying to address this problem. The results are not yet visible but they will, certainly, have a considerable impact on economic flows in Montenegro. In 2001, public expenditures (the budget, the pensions insurance fund and the health insurance fund) accounted for two-thirds of Montenegro’s GDP. The budget planned for 2002 amounts to over DM 670m, which is 45 per cent more than the plan for the previous year. When the planned social funds are added to this figure, the share of public revenues of planned GDP rises to as much as 69 per cent. 51 All this threatens the further economic stability of Montenegro.
49 See Sabrina Petra Ramet: Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia, 1962-1991, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), pp. 150-161. 50 Centre for Democracy and Human Rights: Transition in Montenegro: Legislation, Media and Privatisation, Report No. 9 (January-March 2001), Podgorica; available at: cedem.htm. 51 Akcija: Osvrt na reforme u Crnoj Gori, unpublished study, Podgorica: February 2002.


Dragan Đurić

Economic aspects of relations between Montenegro and Serbia One of the main problems in the economic development of Montenegro over the past decade has been the continuous political and economic conflicts between Montenegro and Serbia. At this point, Montenegro and Serbia have economic sovereignty, with no communication between the federal and republic authorities in Montenegro. Economic relations between Serbia and Montenegro are at a low point. As mentioned earlier, economists in Montenegro have been almost unanimous in the opinion that state sovereignty would create more opportunity for the economic development of Montenegro. These positions are based on a series of arguments that need to be explained. The most important of these refers to the significant differences between the economic systems of Montenegro and Serbia which prevent the establishment of equitable relations within the federation. The difference in size is so big that there will always be the feeling that one side is exploiting the other. Montenegro is by far the smallest of the former Yugoslav republics. By all economic parameters, it accounted for between two and three per cent of the former Yugoslavia. As a result, Yugoslav planners often had the habit of reducing the entire republic to a so-called statistical error. After the break-up of Socialist Yugoslavia in 1992, Montenegro decided, in a very problematic referendum, to continue living in a new federal state, but now only with Serbia. In the new state, which many in Montenegro experienced as Greater Serbia, although it was called Yugoslavia, the Montenegrin share of the territory, population and gross national product again amounted to only seven to ten per cent. From the point of the equality of republics within the new federation, this seemed like a story of David and Goliath. In addition, the economies of Montenegro and Serbia have experienced major changes. These changes entailed different interests, views on further development and, even, different strategies of economic development. This has meant that the paths of the further development of the economies of Montenegro and Serbia have been different. Montenegrin economic policy has focused on developing services, tourism and small and mediumsized enterprises; on the other hand, Serbia predominantly relies on industry, agriculture and transport. Besides, one should also bear in mind the different level of privatisation in the economy. In Montenegro, every enterprise has at least some element of private capital (about 60 per cent of the former public ownership has been privatised); in contrast, privatisation in Serbia is at the very beginning. Furthermore, the two republics have different customs rates. Montenegro not only has lower customs rates than Serbia but it also has a lesser need to protect its economy with customs tariffs: instead, Montenegro has a need to build an open economic system. Over 70 per cent of the goods imported by Montenegro are subject to customs rates of under three per cent. Transferring this authority to a federation would imply the introduction of a protectionism of which the Montenegrin economy has no need. It is obvious that there are different interests involved concerning foreign trade policy. Montenegro has almost completely liberalised its foreign trade and over 98 per cent of goods, on both the export and the import side, are traded freely. On the other hand, Serbia has 96 per cent of goods on the export side and 84 per cent on the import side traded under a free trade system. 52
52 ‘Ekonomski aspekti neodrživosti federacije’, Monet, No. 8, April 2002.


The economic development of Montenegro

The differences are even more obvious in monetary policy. Montenegro has introduced the euro while Serbia has retained the national currency and the possibility of the issue of money. Returning Montenegro to the dinar, according to Montenegrin economists, 53 would imply the closing of the Montenegrin economy, owing to its high dependence on fluctuations in the dinar exchange rate, and would greatly restrict the freedom of import and export now enjoyed by enterprises and individuals in Montenegro. The high dependence of the Montenegrin economy on relations with Serbia also no longer holds true. In the total imports of Montenegro, products from Serbia account for 10.6 per cent, with a steadily declining share in recent years. Montenegro has already substituted the import of products from Serbia partly from its own production and partly through imports from other countries. In total exports, export to Serbia accounts for 4.4 per cent. Montenegro has, gradually, become more integrated at the regional level. Neither can the cost that Montenegro would incur due to the existence of the federal state be neglected. The federal budget for 2002 would cost Montenegro Euro 75m-80m.
Conclusion After the signing of the Belgrade Agreement in March 2002 on relations between Serbia and Montenegro, a new phase started on the Montenegrin political scene. The effects of the new political instability may not yet be sufficiently visible, but it is evident that the Belgrade Agreement, and the long process of preparations and the enactment of a new constitutional charter for the common state, will cause further delay in the introduction of the necessary reform actions. In addition, the limited timeframe for which a joint state is required before one party can secede is further likely to delay the reform process. Numerous reform laws prepared by the government have already been delayed by the collapse of the minority government and preparations for early elections which have had inevitable consequences for the quality of reform in Montenegro. In addition, in the absence of domestic capital, privatisation in Montenegro has had to rely on direct foreign investment; foreign capital is, in consequence of the political instability and risk, unlikely to flow into Montenegro, at least not in the required amounts, for the foreseeable future. The economy of Montenegro has, for many years, functioned as a hostage of politics and, in all likelihood, it will continue to bear this burden on its shoulders.

53 Monitor, 8.3.2002.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia
Introduction The national minorities in Montenegro, except for the Roma, are indigenous populations which have traditionally inhabited the regions where they can be found today. For the purpose of this chapter, we shall apply the term minority only to the non-Orthodox populations of Montenegro. We shall treat those people who define themselves ethnically as Montenegrins (numbering 380 467; 61.86%), as well as those who declare Serb nationality (some 57 453; 9.34%), as the majority population of the republic (which has a total population of 615 035).1 Ethnic Montenegrins have been the majority population in all post-war censuses which sufficiently justifies our approach, while treating those Montenegrin citizens who identify themselves to be Serbs as a minority in the proper sense would be absurd for many reasons. In Montenegro, self-identification as a Serb or a Montenegrin is rather a matter of personal choice based on political, cultural and other grounds. Such an ‘ethnic’ division exists even inside many families. 2 As a formal part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as a member state of the newly-constituted Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the Adriatic republic has been associated in a dual common state with Serbia. When the existence of the joint state is taken into account, there is absolutely no doubt that Serbs are a constituent nation and cannot be considered a minority in one of its two constituent republics. Montenegro managed to escape large-scale ethnic and armed conflicts after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, various factors such as migration and the settlement of refugees, as well as some shifts in ethnic identification, have altered the ethnic and demographic structure of Montenegro during the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the wars which ensued during the 1990s. Unfortunately, these changes have not yet been reflected in official statistics, because the last general census in Montenegro took place in 1991. 3 In this chapter, we had to rely on the limited data available. We have tried to indicate the likely imprecision of the 1991 census, as well as to acknowledge whenever necessary that the numbers have probably changed since the last census was taken. Religion has been a key factor in the process of national identification in the Balkans and this has also been the case on the territory of the present-day Republic of Montenegro. Therefore, ethnic minorities can also be defined as minorities in religious terms. The ma1 Statistički godišnjak Republike Crne Gore 2000 (Podgorica: Republički zavod za statistiku, 2000), p. 248. 2 On the ambiguities of Montenegrin identity, see Srđa Pavlović´s chapter in this volume: Who are Montenegrins? Statehood, identity and civic society. 3 The 1991 census, carried out in an atmosphere of nationalist tensions, did not precisely reflect the real situation and somewhat under-represented the number of minorities. The census scheduled for 2001 was postponed so that it would not interfere with the preliminary parliamentary elections. The new parliamentary and presidential elections in 2002 similarly prevented the census from being carried out.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

jority population has been Christian Orthodox, while Montenegro‘s minorities are Muslim (Bosniaks-Muslims; around two-thirds of Albanians; most Roma); and Catholic (Croats; around one-third of Albanians). Montenegro‘s minorities can also be defined territorially to some degree since they are generally concentrated on the periphery of the republic (Albanians along the border with Albania; most Bosniaks-Muslims along the northern frontier with Serbia in the Montenegrin part of the Sandžak region; Croats in the Boka Kotorska close to the border with Croatia). Linguistically, Bosniaks-Muslims and Croats speak the same language as the majority population, even though different appellations for it (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin) have been used instead of the previous term, Serbo-Croatian, by different groups and individuals since the break-up of Yugoslavia. The Albanians and most Roma differ from the majority population also in linguistic terms, although knowledge of the majority language is widespread. Before the break-up of socialist Yugoslavia, the Titoist categorisation concerning national and ethnic groups was applied in Montenegro. The category of narod (nation) was applied to the constitutive South Slavic nations – Croats, Serbs, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Muslims. The term narodnost (before 1963 this was nacionalna manjina – national minority) designated nationalities which had their matrix state outside Yugoslavia (Albanians, Hungarians, Italians, Turks etc.). Finally, the category of etnička grupa (ethnic group) described ‘stateless’ minorities such as Roma and (after 1948 quite awkwardly) Jews. 4 The 1992 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (composed of just two republics, Serbia and Montenegro) used the designation of nacionalne manjine (national minorities), while the Montenegrin republican Constitution from the same year talked about nacionalne i etničke manjine (national and ethnic minorities). The break-up of socialist Yugoslavia made the position of Croats and Bosniaks-Muslims particularly problematic since both groups lost their previously-privileged status of constitutive nations as regards the whole federation. A special document on the position of minorities, ratified by all Montenegrin parliamentary parties in September 1997, used the new designation of manjinski narodi (minority nations), which has been applied to Bosniaks-Muslims, Albanians and Croats. The primary reason was to underline that the three groups have been autochthonous in parts of the territory of Montenegro, distinguishing them from ethnic minorities which have resulted from migration (Roma and small groups such as Macedonians, Hungarians and Slovenes). 5
The national minorities

Bosniaks-Muslims In the 1991 census, 89 614 (14.57%) people declared themselves as belonging to the Muslim nationality. Their real number was probably somewhat higher as some of them de4 Filip Tesař, ‘Postavení národnostních menšin ve Svazové republice Jugoslávii’, Břetislav Dančák and Petr Fiala (eds.): Národnostní politika v postkomunistických zemích (Brno: Masarykova Univerzita, 2000), pp. 269-270. 5 Srdjan Vukadinović, ‘Društvena stvarnost i socijalna prohodnost – manjinski narodi u političkom, ekonomskom, kulturnom i obrazovnom životu Crne Gore’, Almanah No. 13-14, 2000, pp. 37-38.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

clared that they belonged to the ‘Yugoslav’ nationality. The majority of Montenegro‘s Bosniaks-Muslims 6 live in the Montenegrin part of the Sandžak region in the north of the republic. This historical region was divided between Serbia and Montenegro after the Balkan wars of 1912-1913, while a substantial number of Bosniaks-Muslims also live in the neighbouring Serbian part of Sandžak. In Montenegro, the largest Bosniak-Muslim population can be found in the municipality of Bijelo Polje, which is the most important centre in the northern part of Montenegro (22 977, 41.6%). Bosniaks-Muslims form a majority in two municipalities, Ro žaje (19 983, 86.9%) and Plav (11 199, 58.1%). Furthermore, Bosniaks-Muslims represent a significant share of population in the municipalities of Berane (11 769, 30.3%) and Pljevlja (6 964, 17.6%). A certain part of the Bosniak-Muslim population also resides in the south of the republic, especially in the municipalities of Podgorica (7 622, 5.1%) and Bar (5 136, 13.77%).7 Montenegro‘s Bosniaks-Muslims are indigenous, descendants of that part of the local Slavic population which accepted Islam during the long period of Ottoman rule. 8 The Ottoman administrative, cultural and religious presence in this part of the Balkans was stronger in the lower altitudes and towns than in the mountains. It was in such regions where the process of Islamisation succeeded more significantly. The tribes of Old Montenegro and the Brda (literally, Highlands) were not greatly touched by this process and retained the Christian Orthodox faith. These regions gradually developed central rule and an administration independent of the Ottomans, forming therefore the core of the Montenegrin state. Substantial numbers of Slavic Muslims came under Montenegrin dominance after the territorial expansion and international recognition of Montenegro in 1878, while an even greater number of Muslims resided in the regions absorbed by the monarchy in 1912. There have been both elements of co-existence and conflict between Montenegrins and Bosniaks-Muslims in their turbulent history. During the period of Montenegro‘s independence, a great number of Bosniaks-Muslims emigrated from the newly absorbed areas, mostly to Turkey. The proportionate number of Bosniaks-Muslims was greatly reduced in many of the traditional areas of their settlement (Podgorica), while some areas were completely re-populated by people of the Orthodox faith (Nik šić, Kolašin). The massive emigration continued during the first Yugoslavia and, partly, even in the Communist federation. 9 Similar to other areas of the Balkans, occasional excesses, pogroms and anti-Islamic preju6 There is an ongoing debate concerning the appropriate appellation for the largest minority in Montenegro. This is described at the end of this section. We have chosen to use the dual term Bosniak-Muslim instead of taking sides with either the proponents of the term ‘Bosniak’ or those who defend the name Muslim. 7 Statistički godišnjak, p. 248. It is generally acknowledged that a number of Slavic Muslims in the south of Montenegro declare Montenegrin nationality and describe themselves as Montenegrins of Islamic faith (Crnogorac islamske vjeroispovijesti). 8 Ejup Mušović: Muslimani od pada Zete (1499) (Novi Pazar: Muzej Ras, 1997), is the best short overview of Bosniak-Muslim history in Montenegro. The journal Almanah, published in Podgorica, is also an excellent source on the history, traditions and culture of Montenegro’s Bosniaks-Muslims. 9 The minority position of Bosniaks-Muslims and the feeling of insecurity were definitely important reasons in the large-scale migration. The dominant ethnic Montenegrin and Serb population, however, was similarly affected by large-scale economically and socially motivated migrations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (to Serbia, USA, etc.). For more on the Bosniak-Muslim migrations, see Safet Bandžović: Iseljavanje Muslimana iz Sandžaka (Sarajevo, 1991).


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

dices have also negatively affected the co-existence of the Slavic Orthodox and Muslim populations in mixed areas. However, there is also an important tradition of co-existence which has served as a powerful intellectual argument for the proponents of ethnic tolerance – both Bosniak-Muslim and Montenegrin – in the past decade. There have been, as also with the relations between Montenegrins and Albanians, certain traditions of mutual respect between the two communities, based on shared patriarchal and moral values which persisted much longer in Montenegro (and northern Albania) than in other parts of the Balkans. The politics of the last ruler of independent Montenegro, King Nikola (1860-1918), regarding religious and ethnic minorities was relatively liberal for the time. His era, far from being ideal, nevertheless established some basic precedents for further co-existence. 10 After the incorporation of regions with substantial numbers of Muslims into the Montenegrin state in 1878, an Islamic religious community of Montenegro was founded to organise the religious life of Muslims (mostly Slavic and Albanian). It was the first organisation of such a type in a predominantly Christian Balkan country. 11 After the creation of Yugoslavia, Islamic believers in Montenegro were organised by the Islamic community of Yugoslavia, which ceased to function after the dissolution of the federal state at the beginning of the 1990s. In 1994, an independent Islamic Community of Montenegro ( Islamska zajednica Crne Gore, IZCG), with a seat in Podgorica, was founded. The religious organisation which covers the entire territory of the republic has been headed by the ethnically Bosniak-Muslim reis-ul-ulema,12 Idriz Demirović, since it was founded. However, there has been a controversial competition for religious control of the Montenegrin part of the Sandžak region between the IZCG and the mešihat of Sandžak, with its seat in Novi Pazar, headed by muftija Muamer Zukorlić. In 1993, the Islamic mešihat of Sandžak was founded with the aim of representing Islamic communities from both the Serb and the Montenegrin parts of the historical region. The Islamic mešihat of Sandžak formally became a part of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina (IZBH), headed by reis-ululema, Mustafa Cerić, in 1997.13 Through Novi Pazar, religious authority over the Montenegrin part of Sand žak is claimed by the IZBH. Despite that, the IZCG, supported by Montenegro’s government, fully controls religious affairs over the whole territory of the republic. For all practical purposes, the IZBH exercises its authority only in the northern, Serbian part of Sand žak.14 At the beginning of the 1990s, political developments within the ethnic Bosniak-Muslim community in Montenegro somewhat resembled developments in the Serbian part of Sandžak and Bosnia-Herzegovina, although it later followed a more independent path. Similar to Bosnia and the Serbian part of Sand žak, the Party of Democratic Action
10 Živko Andrijašević: ‘Muslimani u crnogorskoj državi, od loajalnosti do patriotizma’, Almanah No. 13-14, 2000, pp. 146-147. 11 Bajro Agović: ‘Džamije u Crnoj Gori’ (Podgorica: Almanah, 2001), p. 9. 12 Islamic religious terms in this text are given in the form and transcription used in the former Yugoslavia. 13 Harun Crnovršanin and Nuro Sadiković: Sandžak. Porobljena zemlja (Neu Isenburg, 2001), pp. 721-723. 14 Unlike in Montenegro, the IZBH is in practical control of the religious affairs in the Serbian part of Sandžak despite its authority not being officially recognised by Serbian state authorities and the Belgrade muftija Hamdija Jusufspahić.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

(Stranka demokratske akcije, SDA) was founded in Montenegro with the aim of homogenising ethnic Muslim voters and representing their interests in that republic. The SDA of Montenegro, represented by Harun Had žić, Rasim Šahman, Rifat Veskovi ć and others, gained some support among the Muslims of Sand žak in the first half of the 1990s. In the historically and geographically specific municipality of Plav, where a Bosniak-Muslim majority lives intermingled with Albanians, it was not the ethnically Bosniak SDA but the local Party of National Equality (Stranka nacionalne ravnopravnosti) which won the support of Bosniaks-Muslims in the towns of Plav, Gusinje and their vicinity. 15 The SDA participated in the republican parliamentary elections of 1996 and 1998 without receiving enough support to enter the republican parliament. 16 Apart from the small ethnically defined parties, in the first half of the 1990s many Bosniaks-Muslims supported the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro ( Liberalni savez Crne Gore, LSCG), a multi-ethnic independence-oriented opposition party. A part of Bosniak-Muslim voters also supported the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska partija, SDP) of a similar multi-ethnic, pacifist and pro-independence orientation. The first half of the 1990s, the time of increased Serb nationalism in Montenegro and the war in neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina, was also the period of the most serious incidents which affected Bosniaks-Muslims. Apart from various forms of repression by a Montenegrin regime which was firmly allied at the time with that of Slobodan Milo šević, the gravest incidents were caused by the activities of the Serb paramilitary units which were also operating in the Serb-controlled part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Serb paramilitaries which were involved in the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks-Muslims in Bosnia also attempted to reduce the Bosniak-Muslim presence in the regions of Montenegro and Serbia which lay adjacent to the Bosnian border. The aim of this strategy was, probably, to prevent any possible connection between Bosniaks-Muslims in Sandžak and those in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In August 1992, several hundred members of Serb paramilitary forces, led by Milika Dačević, occupied the Montenegrin town of Pljevlja, overpowered the Montenegrin police, encircled the town with artillery and intimidated the local Muslim population which, justly, feared the danger of physical extermination. The paramilitaries vacated the town only after the personal intervention of Yugoslav President, Dobrica Ćosić, and the Montenegrin President, Momir Bulatović.17 In February 1993, Serb paramilitary forces ethnically cleansed the rural region of Bukovica, north of Pljevlja, of local Bosniaks-Muslims. Several people were killed, some were kidnapped and taken to Bosnia, while others were forced to flee deeper into Montenegrin territory. The houses of local Bosniaks-Muslims were burned. The expulsion of some 800 Bosniaks-Muslims from 30 villages in the Bukovica region, which included
15 Xavier Bougarel: ‘L’islam bosniaque, entre identité culturelle et idéologie politique’, Xavier Bougarel and Nathalie Clayer (eds.): Le Nouvel Islam balkanique. Les musulmans, acteurs du post-communisme 1990 – 2000 (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 2001), p. 87. Most activists from the Party of National Equality later merged with the Social Democratic Party. 16 See the section on Albanians for information about co-operation between Bosniak-Muslim and Albanian political subjects in the period 1990-1992. 17 Crnovršanin and Sadiković, op. cit., pp. 708-709.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

several murders, constituted the gravest incident against minorities in Montenegro during the 1990s. Almost ten years later, the refugees have not yet been able to return home. 18 Several days after the ethnic cleansing of the Bukovica region, on 27 February 1993, 18 Bosniaks from Montenegro and Serbia, as well as one ethnic Croat, were kidnapped by Serb paramilitaries and massacred on a regular train travelling from Belgrade to Bar. The crime, which took place in Štrpci, a narrow stretch of Serb-controlled Bosnian territory through which the line between Montenegro and Serbia passes, received more publicity than the ethnic cleansing of Bukovica. However, only one of the murderers, Neboj ša Ranisavljević, has so far been captured; he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2002 by the municipal court in Bijelo Polje. 19 Many incidents were caused by Serb paramilitaries beyond the control of the Montenegrin government, but there were also a few cases of serious harassment of Bosniaks-Muslims for which representatives of the official state can be held responsible. At the beginning of the war in Bosnia, the Montenegrin leadership entertained cordial relations with the Bosnian Serb leadership of Radovan Karadžić. In the summer of 1992, following an official request of the Bosnian Serb institutions, the Montenegrin police captured dozens of Bosniaks-Muslims from Bosnia in various places in Montenegro, including seaside resorts where some of the Bosniaks-Muslims were on holiday or where they were taking refuge from the Bosnian conflict (many of them had already acquired official refugee status in Montenegro). These Bosnian nationals were arrested and extradited to the Bosnian Serb forces which subsequently slaughtered them. 20 The repression of local Bosniak-Muslim representatives culminated in a political trial of SDA activists in 1994. In February 1994, 21 leading SDA representatives in Montenegro including the party chair, Harun Had žić, were accused of separatist activities. The political trial, which took place in Bijelo Polje, was closely connected with the similar trial of SDA activists in Novi Pazar, Serbia, who had already been arrested on identical grounds in May 1993. Alleged members of the artificially constructed ‘Bijelo Polje group’ underwent repeated and brutal torture while in prison. After the Dayton peace agreement, at the beginning of 1996, Montenegrin President Momir Bulatović granted amnesty and financial compensation to the Bosniak political prisoners who had spent two years in jail. The government responsible for the staging of the trial thereby acknowledged its purely political nature.21
18 Sead Sadiković: ‘Bukovica, A Stain on Montenegrin Conscience’, AIM, 11.1.2001, available at:; Veseljko Koprivica: ‘Bukovica, Seven Years Later’, AIM, 11. 11. 2000, available at: data/200011/01117-008-trae-pod.htm. So far, only a single perpetrator of ethnic cleansing has been tried and sentenced (4.5 years in prison for murder). 19 Similar crimes (kidnappings followed by murder, etc.) involving Serb paramilitaries also took place in the Serbian part of the Sandžak region. 20 ‘Crna Gora ima pravo da povrati državnost. Amor Mašović, poslanik SDA u Parlamentu Bosne i Herzegovine’, Onogošt, 27.4.2001, available at: tekstovi/intervju.htm. 21 Dragoljub Todorović: ‘Nema lustracije dok traju montirani procesi’, Helsinška povelja, No. 54-55 (July-August 2002), p. 17.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

Support for ethnically-defined Bosniak-Muslim political parties such as SDA and their demands (including territorial autonomy for the Sand žak region) was never as widespread and unanimous in Montenegro as it was in the Serbian part of Sand žak. On the contrary, the support of multi-ethnic parties which advocated Montenegrin independence became a very important factor in the political life of Bosniaks-Muslims. Together with other factors, it further marginalised the position of the ethnically-defined parties in the second half of the 1990s. After distancing himself from Slobodan Milošević and Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović increasingly focused on Bosniak-Muslim support. Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska partija socijalista, DPS) included notions of multi-ethnicity, tolerance, pro-western political orientation, economic reform and greater political autonomy from Belgrade. The party programme – spread massively through the state-owned media – appealed to the Bosniaks-Muslims, who overwhelmingly voted for Đukanović and the DPS-led coalition in the 1997/1998 presidential and parliamentary elections as well as in several subsequent elections. Harun Had žić, SDA chair, had appealed in vain for Bosniaks-Muslims to abstain. Disappointed and marginalised within SDA, Hadžić left the party to form a new one, the International Democratic Union (Internacijonalna demokratska unija, IDU). The IDU, despite being supported by the SDA of Sulejman Ugljanin, has since remained without any real influence outside Hadžić´s hometown of Rožaje. The SDA, headed next by Rifat Veskovi ć, instead joined the DPS-dominated coalition government of Filip Vujanovi ć.22 After Milo Đukanović and DPS assumed the political platform of ethnic tolerance and embarked on the pro-independence course in 1997-98, the Liberal Alliance similarly experienced a reduction in Bosniak-Muslim votes in favour of the ruling DPS and SDP. 23 Despite their continued commitment to a multi-ethnic society, the Liberals have not been able to regain the confidence of more significant numbers of Bosniak-Muslim voters. The party‘s political fortunes in the north of Montenegro have subsequently been minimal. 24 Several smaller ethnic parties representing Bosniaks-Muslims have had marginal influence on the Montenegrin political scene. In addition to low electoral results, these parties had been plagued by personal conflicts. Thus far, the parties had enjoyed limited electoral success only at the local level in the two municipalities which have a Bosniak-Muslim majority. In the 2002 local elections, SDA received 13.07% of the votes in Plav, while two coalitions of several smaller parties, the Bosniak Democratic Coalition ( Bošnjačka demokratska koalicija) and the Bosniak-Muslim Democratic Coalition (Bošnjačka-muslimanska demokratska koalicija) won respectively 21.4% and 4.01% of the votes in the municipality of Rožaje. Even so, there was greater support for multi-ethnic parties even in these two municipalities. In Plav, DPS and SDP each received more votes than the SDA; while in Rožaje, the DPS overwhelmingly won with 51.18% of the vote while the SDP received 13.66%.25
22 Bougarel, op. cit., p. 126. 23 Unlike LSCG, the original opposition SDP has been closely allied with the DPS since 1997/98, participating with it in all levels of government. 24 Liberal leaders have often complained that the DPS ‘stole their programme’ of multi-ethnic co-existence. 25 Lokalni izbori 2002 – Crna Gora, available at:


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

Similarly in the 20 October 2002 parliamentary elections, two ethnic coalitions – the Bosniak Democratic Coalition (Bošnjačka demokratska koalicija) of Harun Hadžić and the Bosniak Coalition (Bošnjačka koalicija) of Kemal Purišić won just 2 480 and 2 173 votes respectively. Harun Had žić blamed the lack of “national consciousness and political maturity” of the Bosniaks-Muslims for the results. 26 It is certain that many Bosniaks-Muslims (together with other national minorities) have seen Milo Đukanović and his administration as a guarantee of ethnic stability and a peaceful life after the war in Bosnia and during the Kosovo conflict and the last years of the Milošević rule.27 Despite the increased political and military pressure on the Montenegrin government from Belgrade during and after the Kosovo crisis, the Bosniak-Muslim population felt somewhat safer during this period of serious tension than in the first half of the 1990s. The massive presence of Montenegrin police loyal to President Đukanović protected the Bosniak-Muslim population from the excesses of the Yugoslav Army and Serb paramilitaries. In the most peripheral municipality of Ro žaje, the Montenegrin police distributed weapons to the local civilian population so that it would not be defenceless in case it was attacked by armed formations loyal to Milo šević. The Bosniak-Muslim population certainly appreciated these signs of protection from the republican government, as well as its decision not to participate in the Kosovo war and the military conflict with NATO. However, voices critical of the Montenegrin government have been raised by the marginalised ethnic parties and by Bosniak-Muslim politicians from the Serbian portion of Sandžak, an area where Bosniak-Muslim support for ethnic parties has been almost absolute for years. Politicians and intellectuals in Novi Pazar have repeatedly claimed that the Montenegrin government ‘manipulates’ the Bosniak-Muslim minority and that it has managed to repress the ‘authentic’ representation of Bosniaks-Muslims, i.e. the ethnically-defined parties. Similarly, Bosniak-Muslim representatives from the Serbian districts of the Sandžak region, as well as some (though not all) Bosniak-Muslim ethnic parties from Montenegro, have been concerned that the majority of Montenegrin BosniaksMuslims support the idea of Montenegrin independence. If this project was realised, it would further confirm the division of the historical Sand žak region. The Novi Pazar elite therefore, somewhat paradoxically, supports the position of Belgrade on the question of Montenegrin independence. Charges of the ‘manipulation’ of Montenegrin BosniaksMuslims by independence-minded political subjects have often been raised. Despite that, Bosniaks-Muslims living in Montenegro, as well as other minorities, have overwhelmingly supported the restoration of Montenegro‘s independent statehood and have demonstrated this with their electoral preferences and the engagement of their elites in favour of this idea, as well as in public opinion polls. 28 It is clear that Montenegrin political representation has not been favourable to the establishment of ethnically-defined parties of the Bosniak-Muslim minority. It has consistently avoided both the designation ‘Bosniak’ for the Bosniak-Muslim minority as well as no26 Sanapress, 24.10.2002. 27 Veselin Pavićević: ‘Muslimani u Crnoj Gori u svjetlu etničkih i socijalnih distanci prema istraživanjima CEDEM-a’, Almanah No. 13-14, 2000, p. 129. 28 Pavićević, “Muslimani u Crnoj Gori”, p. 129, 131. According to the CEDEM statistics analysed by Pavićević, only 2.3 % of Bosniaks-Muslims favoured the preservation of the federal state in 2000.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

tions of the Sandžak region, which is usually referred to as ’the north’. 29 Many critical voices, from within as well as from outside Montenegro, also point to Bosniaks-Muslims continuing to be gravely under-represented in most sectors of public life despite official commitment to ‘multi-culturalism’ and ‘multi-ethnic tolerance’. In the last several years, however, Bosniaks-Muslims have been represented in the Montenegrin government by several ministers and other government officials of lesser rank. There have been several Bosniak-Muslim deputies in the Montenegrin parliament and Rifat Rastoder (SDP) has served as vice-chair of the chamber. Bosniaks-Muslims have been numerous in the police forces although they are under-represented amongst officer grades. There have also been Bosniaks-Muslims appointed to the judiciary (being members of DPS or the SDP). Despite these visible achievements, Bosniaks-Muslims are still under-represented at all levels of state institutions as well as in public services, local administration, etc. 30 The fundamental discord concerning Bosniak-Muslim political representation and political preferences is quite clear and has a wider significance for the whole region. One side believes that the only adequate representation of a national minority is through ethnically-defined parties and their representatives. If a national minority does not demonstrate political allegiance to its ‘own’ ethnic parties, something must be wrong. It is probably manipulated and harassed by the majority, or morally and nationally corrupt, or else it is collectively ‘unconscious’. When the outside forms of oppression cease and the minority becomes conscious of itself, the natural state of affairs will return – it will support the ethnic parties. In contrast, the other side maintains that ethnically-defined parties only serve to petrify nationalist prejudices and lead to ‘ghettoisation’ and the isolation of the respective national communities. The right solution is the integration of national minorities within the multi-ethnic parties on the basis of their general political programme rather than the ethnic (or ‘tribal’) agenda. Neither solution automatically guarantees that the interest of the minority group will be satisfied, since too much depends on the position of the majority or the dominant political subjects and personalities. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Bosniak-Muslim intellectuals in Montenegro have been involved in debates concerning the appellation of their nation. These debates have been incited by the similar debates originating in Sarajevo at the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Similarly to Montenegrins and Macedonians, the development of the modern national consciousness of Bosniaks-Muslims was fully achieved only in the 20th century. Under Communist Yugoslavia, the existence of their separate ethnic identity was recognised by the state. The Serbo-Croatian speaking inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo who adhered to the Islamic faith were called Muslims (Muslimani – the capital ‘M’ distinguishes them as an ethnic category, as opposed to the term muslimani which identifies the adherents of the Islamic religion in general). In 1993, Bosnian Muslim intellectuals proposed the term Bosniak ( Bošnjak) as more fitting than Muslim, citing two main reasons. A designation based purely on the traditional religion was not seen as fitting in modern society since many members of the
29 The notion of “the north” also includes other areas which did not form a part of the historical Sandžak of Novi Pazar (Kolašin, Žabljak, Mojkovac etc.). In Serbia, the notion of Sandžak has been repressed more systematically. The region is archaically referred to as Raška after the medieval Serbian kingdom which flourished in the area before the Ottoman conquest. 30 Vukadinović, op. cit. p. 43.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

Muslim nation can, at the same time, be atheist or religiously indifferent. Secondly, the name ‘Bosniak’ used to be the traditional and widely-used term in the more distant past, although it was scarcely used during the 20th century. The relationship between the term ‘Bosniak’ and the land of Bosnia as the ‘mother country’ ( matična država) of all Bosniaks (therefore, including those living in Sandžak and elsewhere outside the boundaries of Bosnia) is also evident. In Montenegro, the debate has been particularly lively. One part of the Bosniak-Muslim elite fully accepted the new term. The acceptance of ‘Bosniak’ was demonstrated by the founding of a national cultural organisation (modelled after similar organisations which have existed in Slavic countries since the 19th century), Matica Bošnjaka Crne Gore, 31 headed by Hamdija Šarkinović. However, one part of the intellectual elite did not accept the designation, arguing that ‘Bosniak’ was an artificial term in the service of political instrumentalisation and the dominance of Sarajevo-based nationalists over Sand žak. In addition, no-one may have attempted to deny the affinity between the Slavic Muslims of Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the opponents of the term ‘Bosniak’ have argued that there are, indeed, many differences between both groups and the countries they inhabit. Moreover, they also expressed fears that the use of the term ‘Bosniak’ would undermine the autochthonous status of the minority in Montenegro which would then be considered merely as a diaspora of Bosniaks from Bosnia and be treated accordingly by the state authorities. Supporters of the term ‘Muslim’ have centred around Matica muslimanska Crne Gore, represented by Avdul Kurpejovi ć.32 It seems that ‘Bosniak’ has been slowly prevailing in Montenegro within the BosniakMuslim community itself, similarly to Bosnia and the Serbian part of Sandžak, while the majority society and, especially, the government has been more reluctant to accept the term. However, the sometimes heated debates about the name itself do not in any case signify the construction of two or more different ethnic groups. There is no doubt that the national consciousness of the group as such remains united. Most representatives of Bosniaks-Muslims have so far been using both terms at the same time (Bošnjaci-Muslimani or MuslimaniBošnjaci) in order not to offend any of the factions. The problem of the name will probably be resolved by natural preferences in the long run rather than by arbitrary decisions such as the consensus of the intellectual elite or state intervention and codification. Many Bosniaks-Muslims have greatly contributed to the democratisation of Montenegro and the development of a more tolerant society in recent years. The activities of most Bosniak-Muslim intellectuals have not been confined to a narrow ethnic audience. There has been a great deal of co-operation between Bosniak-Muslim and Montenegrin intellectuals in the framework of different independent institutions and media which have supported the ideas of open society, democratic reforms and ethnic tolerance since the beginning of the 1990s. Ethnic Bosniaks-Muslims from different segments of public life, such as writer Husein Ba šić, historian Šerbo Rastoder, journalist Esad Ko čan and many others, have been respected by the Montenegrin majority as some of Montenegro‘s most eminent intellectuals of the last decade. Membership of the Almanah Association, which
31 Matica literally translates to Queen Bee or river current. 32 For a more detailed analysis of the debate, see Bohdana Dimitrovová: ‘Bosniak or Muslim? Dilemma of One Nation with Two Names’, Southeast European Politics, Vol. 2 No. 2 (October 2001), pp. 94-108, available at:


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

focuses on the preservation and study of the Bosniak-Muslim heritage in Montenegro, is similarly composed of personalities with diverse ethnic backgrounds. The journal Almanah, published twice a year by the Association, has been one of the best periodicals focusing on minority issues in Eastern Europe. Most of these positive intellectual developments, which have shown that integration of minorities, multi-culturalism and ethnic tolerance are possible in the Balkans, have been achieved without the active participation, financial aid or even sign of interest from the government or the state institutions.
Albanians Montenegro‘s Albanians reside along the republican borders with Albania and Kosovo. According to the 1991 census, there were 40 415 (6.57%) Albanians living in Montenegro. As in the case of other minorities, this number is probably somewhat under-estimated. Most Albanians reside in the southernmost coastal municipality of Ulcinj (17 469, 72.19%) while a smaller number of Albanians can also be found in the neighbouring littoral municipality of Bar (4 619, 12.38%). Most Albanians living by the Adriatic are adherents of the Islamic faith while a smaller proportion belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. In the Podgorica municipality, 12 777 (7.73%) people have declared Albanian nationality. A certain number of Albanians resides in the city of Podgorica itself; the majority lives in the town of Tuzi and its vicinity in the south of the Podgorica municipality, in a region known as Malesia. A large number of the Albanians living in Malesia is Catholic, Tuzi being their most important centre, but Muslim Albanians can also be found in the area. Another area of Albanian settlement is the municipality of Plav (4 032, 20.89%), which is surrounded by Albanian and Kosovo borders. In Plav, Muslim Albanians live alongside the Bosniaks-Muslims who form the majority in the municipality. Finally, some Albanians (900, 3.91%) can also be found in the similarly Bosniak-Muslim dominated municipality of Ro žaje.33 Similarly to Bosniaks-Muslims, the regions with an Albanian presence were incorporated into Montenegro in two successive waves, in 1878/80 and after the Balkan wars of 1912-13. The Albanians generally resented the inclusion of their ethnic space into the Montenegrin state, which could be carried out only after breaking the considerable resistance of the local Albanian population (especially in the case of Plav and Gusinje, which managed to avoid inclusion into Montenegro in 1878 and were incorporated only after the Balkan wars). The Albanian population which fell under Montenegrin dominance resembled Montenegrins in many aspects of tribal structure, moral code and patriarchal values which were almost identical in the case of both Montenegrin and north Albanian tribes. However, Albanians also stood apart because of their distinct language. It is indeed the Albanian language which, together with historical reminiscences, forms the key element of the Albanian national consciousness which is shared by the various Albanian communities living in the western Balkans. The same is true for the religiously, culturally and geographically diverse Albanian communities in Montenegro which, nevertheless, share Albanian national consciousness despite the many differences. A larger part of Montenegro’s Albanians is of Islamic faith. The Islamic Community of Montenegro (Bashkësia islame në Mal të Zi) organises the religious life of all Muslims in the republic, including Albanians. The smaller part of the Albanian community (around
33 Statistički godišnjak, p. 248.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

one-third) is adherents of the Catholic Church (especially members of the Malisori tribes around the town of Tuzi, the Shestani/ Šestani tribe on the banks of Lake Skadar and some Albanians in the Bar and Ulcinj municipalities). Ecclesiastically, these believers are organised within the Archbishopric of Bar. The territory of the Archbishopric of Bar covers the whole territory of Montenegro with the exception of the Bay of Kotor, which is a part of the Archbishopric of Split. The Archbishopric of Bar gathers primarily Albanianspeaking Catholics as well as some Slavic-speaking ones – altogether around 20 000 believers. The Archbishopric of Bar is an ancient and respectable institution which has enjoyed the status of Archbishopric since 1089. 34 The current Archbishop, Zef Gashi, is an ethnic Albanian. Within the first months of political pluralism in Montenegro, in September 1990, the first ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic League in Montenegro ( Lidhja demokratike në Mal të Zi; Demokratski savez Albanaca u Crnoj Gori, LDMZ) was founded to protect the interests of ethnic Albanians at a time of rising Serb nationalism and ethnic tensions. In the first parliamentary elections, held in December 1990, the party joined forces with the Bosniak-Muslim SDA and the Party of National Equality under the name of Democratic Coalition (Demokratska koalicija). This coalition of ethnic minorities won 10.1 per cent of the votes and twelve mandates in the parliament. Similar co-operation between ethnic Albanian and Bosniak-Muslim parties, however, did not occur in subsequent periods when the ethnic parties of both minorities participated independently in the elections. 35 The coastal town of Ulcinj has been the centre of LDMZ political activities. The party has either controlled or else participated decisively in the local government of the Ulcinj municipality since 1991. In 1996, a second ethnically Albanian party, the Democratic Union of Albanians (Unioni demokratik i Shqiptarëve, UDSH; Demokratska unija Albanaca, DUA) was founded. 36 The LDMZ party chairman Mehmet Bardhi and the UDSH leader Ferhat Dinosha have represented their parties in the republican parliament. Both parties have raised very similar demands on behalf of Montenegro’s Albanians. In 2000, a third Albanian ethnic party, the Party of Democratic Prosperity of Montenegro ( Partia e prosperitet demokratik në Mal të Zi, PPD; Partija demokratskog prosperiteta Crne Gore, PDP) was founded by Osman Rexha, a former mayor of Ulcinj. The Party of Democratic Prosperity, however, gathers less supporters than the first two political parties and has, so far, only played a marginal role. Unlike other minorities in Montenegro, Albanians have benefited from special treatment which has ensured the participation of Albanian deputies in the Montenegrin parliament. Before the early parliamentary elections of 1998, a new law codified the creation of a special single electoral district composed of the most compact, predominantly ethnic Albanian areas (the municipality of Ulcinj and the Albanian-inhabited parts of the Podgorica and Bar municipalities). The law guaranteed that five of the total number of 78 deputies in the Montenegrin parliament would be elected from this Albanian electoral district. In the 1998 elections,
34 Šerbo Rastoder: Janusovo lice istorije (Podgorica: Vijesti, 2000), p. 126. 35 Veselin Pavićević: Izborni sistem u Crnoj Gori (Belgrade: CeSID, 2002), available at: 36 Jovan Nikolaidis: ‘Multiculturalism in Montenegro and the City of Ulcinj’, in Nenad Dimitrijević (ed.): Managing Multiethnic Communities in the Countries of the Former Yugoslavia (LGI: Budapest, 2000), pp. 447-458; available at


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

UDSH and LDMZ each won one mandate in the new district while the multi-ethnic coalition ‘For Better Life’ (DPS, SDP and the People‘s Party, Narodna stranka, NS) won the remaining three mandates.37 The situation remained almost unchanged after the October 2002 parliamentary election. The coalition of all the three Albanian parties won 8 498 votes and two deputies. Before the elections in October 2002, the number of mandates provided by the Albanian electoral district was reduced, with the consensus of all parliamentary parties and the approval of the international community, to four. Ethnic Albanian voters have shown more preference for minority parties than BosniaksMuslims. However, even the Albanians have, so far, favoured multi-ethnic parties over ethnic ones. It is estimated that there are around 32 000 voters of Albanian nationality in Montenegro.38 In the April 2001 early parliamentary elections, the three ethnic Albanian parties won roughly one-third of the minority votes (UDSH 4 232; LDMZ 3 570; PDP 1 572) while most of the remaining two-thirds of Albanian voters decided to cast their votes in favour of the DPS-SDP coalition. 39 Ethnic Albanian politicians can be found in the ranks of Montenegrin parliamentary parties which have an independent, multi-ethnic orientation (DPS, SDP, LSCG). The grievances of Albanian ethnic parties have been similar to those which attempt to represent Bosniaks-Muslims. Their representatives believe that minority interests cannot be defended through multi-ethnic parties and regard the participation of ethnic Albanians in these parties as a pretence, or personal mistake. UDSH and LDMZ (each represented by one deputy in the republican parliament – in both cases the party chairs, Ferhat Dinosha and Mehmet Bardhi) have often been close to the positions of the DPS and SDP in the parliament. Despite a good level of communication and co-operation, the ethnic parties continue to view the DPS and SDP with a degree of mistrust and suspicion. Albanians in Montenegro have not been physically harassed since the break-up of Yugoslavia. The only exception was the massacre of several villagers in the rural community of Kaludjerski Laz, near Rožaje, during an incursion of Yugoslav Army units from Kosovo in April 1999. The Kosovo conflict and its aftermath was probably the most difficult period for Montenegro’s Albanians. In 1998 and 1999, Montenegro accepted tens of thousands of refugees from Kosovo. Before the entry of NATO forces to the province, the overwhelming majority of these refugees were Albanians. Most of them found refuge in ethnic Albanian areas of Montenegro, usually in private houses. Montenegrin Albanians, as well as other citizens, demonstrated great solidarity with the refugees. Nevertheless, the Albanian minority in Montenegro also became the target of nationalist propaganda in the last years of Miloševićs rule. This tendency continued – and even further escalated – after his fall, especially in 2001 during the ethnic conflict in Macedonia. Certain Serbian and Montenegrin media, as well as some foreign outlets, repeatedly indicated that Montenegro was endangered by a similar ethnic conflict, with the Albanian minority represented as a threat to Montenegro’s stability and territorial integrity. Anti-Albanian propaganda was frequently raised by the pro-Belgrade parties which had programmes based on Serb nationalist ideology (the coalition Together for Yugoslavia, Zajedno za Jugoslaviju and its
37 Pavićević, op. cit. 38 Veseljko Koprivica: ‘Specijalni status po finskom modelu’, AIM, 12.2.1999, available at: 39 CeSID & CEMI: Montenegro Election 2001, available at


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

components: the Socialist People‘s Party, Socijalistička narodna partija, SNP; the People‘s Party, Narodna stranka, NS; and the Serbian People‘s Party, Srpska narodna stranka, SNS).40 In fact, the political demands of Albanian politicians in Montenegro have been consistently moderate and there has been no evidence of any armed or terrorist activities. The accusations have, rather, been a part of a strategy for discrediting the Montenegrin independence project. Representing minorities as a threat to territorial integrity and stability, as well as limiting the rights of minorities to decide on fundamental questions such as independence, have been an important part of such nationalist propaganda, not just in the Montenegrin case. 41 The position of the Albanian minority and the degree of co-operation and integration with the majority society has been far greater than in the case of Albanian minorities in Kosovo before 1999, or in Macedonia or southern Serbia. Montenegrin Albanians have not attempted to organise referendums on territorial autonomy or independence, they have not boycotted republican elections and there have been no attempts at armed rebellion or signs of terrorist activities. Albanians in Montenegro have been concerned by the dramatic developments concerning Kosovo Albanians and, to a much lesser degree, the Albanian minority in Macedonia. Some family and individual ties exist between Montenegrin and Kosovo Albanians due to the recent history of life in the Yugoslav state. However, political relations between both communities are practically non-existent. Montenegrin Albanians had historically close family and economic ties with the Albanians of northern Albania (Shkodër/Skadar region), although these were drastically reduced by the severed relations between Yugoslavia and Albania after 1948. Subsequent to the change in political orientation of the Montenegrin ruling elite in 1997-98, the government has, likewise, demonstrated an increased degree of co-operation and dialogue. Albanians have a satisfactory number of elementary schools as well as several high schools with instruction in their native language. There are local radio stations in Albanian-inhabited municipalities, in addition to state TV and radio which regularly broadcasts programmes in Albanian. Apart from the guaranteed mandates in parliament, Albanians have been represented by one minister and two lower-ranking government officials since 1998. In 2002, an Albanian language weekly, Koha Jone, was founded and has been financed by the Montenegrin parliament. The absolute majority of Montenegro’s Albanians are perfectly fluent in Serbo-Croatian, which facilitates their increased integration into the majority society.42 A great part of ethnic Albanian grievances and aspirations can be solved by the decentralisation of state administration, which would grant more competence and responsibilities to the municipalities. Despite the many positive signs, the position of Albanians in Montenegro is still far from satisfactory. Albanians are gravely under-represented in all sectors of public life (legal institutions, police forces, education sector, etc.). Ethnic Albanian politicians and intellectuals often point out that Albanians, who represent over six per cent of Montenegro‘s population, form only 0.03-0.05 per cent of the employees of all state structures com40 Prior to the October 2002 parliamentary election, the coalition changed its name to Zajedno za promjene (Together for changes). 41 Florian Bieber: ‘The Instrumentalisation of Minorities in the Montenegrin Dispute over Independence’, ECMI Brief 8 (March 2002). 42 Knowledge of Albanian among members of the ethnic majority is very rare.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

bined.43 Apart from that, the educational sector has, likewise, been of concern to Albanian representatives in Montenegro, especially the limited room accorded to Albanian national history and culture. Albanian representatives had already proposed in 1992 a Memorandum on the Special Status of Albanians, which included many elements of positive discrimination; however, the document was ignored by the state authorities of the time. During 2001-02, Albanian representatives reached consensus concerning their key demands. These have included: providing the town of Tuzi with municipality status; opening an Albanian-language pedagogical faculty at the University of Podgorica; opening a second border crossing with Albania in the Ulcinj area; recognition of university diplomas issued in Tiranë, Priština and Tetovo; establishing a maternity hospital in Ulcinj; and installing ethnic Albanians to the positions of chief of police and head judge in Ulcinj. 44 Goals for the more distant future which have not been seriously discussed so far include, especially, the establishment of a second chamber of the Montenegrin parliament which would represent the republic‘s national communities. It seems that most of the demands of the Albanian representatives can realistically be fulfilled by the government in the forthcoming period, 45 while some Albanian demands have clashed with the political stance of the most important Montenegrin parties and will certainly continue to do so. This concerns, in particular, the status of municipality for the town of Tuzi. Technically, the town and its vicinity have sufficient population, while they also form the cohesive unit necessary to the meeting of the criteria for a municipality. However, politics in Montenegro has been largely dictated by party interests. The interests of the most influential parties dictate the structure of the political system in Montenegro and any changes to it. In the case of Tuzi, it is largely the electoral mathematics which are currently favourable to the DPS, rather than the fear of another local Albanian-dominated government, which has kept the town within the Podgorica municipality until now. The political preferences of voters in Podgorica have been more or less evenly divided between the DPS and the pro-Yugoslav forces led by the SNP. The several thousand Albanian voters in the south of the Podgorica municipality have been voting for the DPS in considerable numbers, thus helping the party to preserve its dominance in the administrative capital and the most important of Montenegrin cities. If Tuzi formed a separate municipality, the sudden lack of Albanian votes could certainly weaken the position of the DPS in the Podgorica local government. This seems to be the main reason why it might take some time to fulfil the most consistently repeated Albanian demand.
Croats Croats are autochthonous inhabitants of the northern part of the Montenegrin littoral. In the 1991 official census, 6 244 persons declared themselves as having Croat nationality and Croats thus form just one per cent of the republic‘s population. The highest concentration of Croats was to be found in the three municipalities of the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska): Tivat (2 640, 23.16%); Kotor (1 620, 7.23%); and Herceg Novi (636, 2.3%).
43 ‘Albanians in Montenegro’, in: Human Rights and Transition. Serbia 2001 (Belgrade: Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, 2002), pp. 283-290. 44 ‘Inter-Ethnic Relations in Montenegro’, Second PER Roundtable: Albanians in Montenegro, October 26-27 2001’, available at: 45 The border crossing south of Ulcinj has already been opened.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

Apart from the area of their traditional settlement, the highest number of Croats was registered in Podgorica (608, 0.4%). 46 The census took place in the spring of 1991 during the break-up of the Yugoslav federation, in an atmosphere of increased anti-Croat propaganda. The number of Croats in Montenegro was certainly somewhat higher than the number of people who declared Croat nationality, although it did not exceed 10 000. The historical region of Boka Kotorska where Montenegro‘s Croats primarily reside is a religiously mixed area where both Catholics (mostly in urban settlements) and Orthodox (residing rather in the countryside or at higher altitudes) traditionally lived side-by-side. After centuries of Venetian rule, the Bay of Kotor became part of the Habsburg Empire at the end of the 18th century and then part of the new Yugoslav state in 1918. Within Austria-Hungary, the region formed a single administrative district. Except for a brief episode during the Napoleonic wars, the Bay of Kotor was not controlled by Montenegro, being integrated into the newly-constituted Montenegrin republic within Communist Yugoslavia only after World War Two. This distinct history has marked both the landscape and population of the Bay of Kotor. In the complex process of ethnic identification in this part of Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, the Catholic population of the Bay of Kotor developed a Croatian national identity while the Orthodox of the area identified themselves as Montenegrins or Serbs. The relative number of Croats/Catholics in the region has decreased in the last one hundred years: at the beginning of the 20th century, Catholics represented a majority in all the towns of Boka Kotorska except Risan 47 but, before the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, they found themselves in the minority in all urban settlements of the region. This can be explained mostly by increased migration to the coastal region after it was united with the Dinaric hinterland (Old Montenegro, Herzegovina) within the Yugoslav state. The Catholic Church continues to exercise an important influence on the collective identity and cultural development of the Croat minority. The borders of the former Austro-Hungarian territorial district continue to serve as the administrative boundaries of the Kotor bishopric (670 square km and less than 10 000 adherents; current bishop is Ilija Janjić).48 As indicated above, the bishopric is formally a part of the Archbishopric of Split in the Republic of Croatia and not the Archbishopric of Bar. This division underlines the predominantly Croatian character of the Catholic Church in the Bay of Kotor. Representatives of the Croat minority in Montenegro, as well as those of the Catholic Church in Croatia, continue to support this structure despite the new state borders resulting from the break-up of Yugoslavia. The 1990s were a very difficult period for Croats living in Montenegro. Croats in the Bay of Kotor became the target of Serb nationalist propaganda, especially in the first half of the decade. Croats were frequently labelled as traitors and fifth-columnists who planned to join the Montenegrin littoral to ‘Greater Croatia’. Apart from the Belgrade po46 Statistički godišnjak, p. 248. 47 Josip Pečarić: ‘Croats of Boka Kotorska from 1918 until today’, Southeastern Europe 19181995 International Symposium, Zadar, 28-30.09.95 (Zagreb: Croatian Heritage Foundation & Croatian Information Centre, 1996), available at: 48 ‘Biti u manjini ne znači biti manje vrijedan. Intervju s Vladimirom Marvučićem’, Zvonik No. 6 (80) (June 2001), available at:


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

litical elite and media, the hysterical anti-Croatian campaign was also orchestrated by the Montenegrin leadership of the time (Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović) through the state daily Pobjeda (the only daily in Montenegro before 1997), state TV and radio. 49 The atmosphere of fear and lynch law culminated in 1991 with Croatia‘s declaration of independence and the subsequent attack of Montenegrin reservists on the Dubrovnik region. There were no cases of ethnic cleansing or organised attempts to remove local Croats, but the atmosphere of fear and insecurity forced many of them to leave their homes and seek safer conditions abroad. There are no precise data concerning this gradual exodus, though credible unofficial estimates claim that probably onequarter of the total Croat population left the country during the 1990s. It remains to be seen whether the exodus will remain permanent. Apart from the exodus of many Croats, the Boka Kotorska region experienced a large influx of predominantly Serb refugees from Herzegovina and Croatia during the 1990s. This migration significantly altered the ethnic and social structure of the region, especially in the municipality of Herceg Novi. However, the position of local Croats in the Bay of Kotor cannot be simply characterised as one of ethnic tension and marginalisation on ethnic grounds (i.e. Croats versus Serbs/Montenegrins). Some segments of the majority population frequently demonstrated support for the harassed Croats. Many Orthodox inhabitants of the Boka (typically those who identified themselves ethnically as Montenegrins) and who had longer roots in the region felt similarly threatened by the rise of Serb nationalism and the influx of refugees and economic settlers in the region. Therefore, the division felt by many autochthonous inhabitants of the Boka has been rather between the original inhabitants (the starosjedioci), both Catholic and Orthodox, who usually considered themselves to be urban, civilised and ethnically tolerant, as opposed to the new immigrants (the došljaci), who were regarded as rural, primitive and ethnically intolerant. The solidarity and perceived common destiny of the Bokelji (a regional term describing the inhabitants of the Boka Kotorska), regardless of ethnic or religious division, somewhat eased the position of the Croats. In addition, the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro and the Social Democratic Party, both multi-ethnic, anti-war opposition parties committed to Montenegro’s independence, repeatedly protested against the harassment of Montenegrin Croats and the anti-Croatian campaign during the 1990s. Apart from raising domestic and international awareness, one of their major achievements was to prevent attempts to confiscate the houses of those Croats who had left Montenegro in order to providing permanent accommodation for Serb newcomers from the Krajina in 1995. 50 After Milo Đukanović had distanced himself from the regime of Slobodan Milo šević, the government‘s attitude toward minorities, including Croats, improved. The gradual improvement of relations with Croatia was very beneficial for Croats in Montenegro. In 1999, the border crossing between Croatia and Montenegro at Debeli Brijeg was reopened to regular traffic, while a consulate of the Republic of Croatia opened in Kotor. Croats, as well as others in the region, could renew their family and cultural links with
49 Well-documented analyses of the officially-orchestrated anti-Croat campaign, and numerous examples of xenophobic threats and hate-speech in the daily Pobjeda during 1991, can be found in Živko Andrijašević: Nacrt za ideologiju jedne vlasti (Bar: Conteco, 1999). 50 Marko Vuković: ‘Prevlaka, opozicija, Tivat’, AIM 16.9.1995, available at: dyn/pubs/archive/data/199509/50916-004-pubs-pod.htm.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

Croatia, and especially the neighbouring Dubrovnik region, although much remains to be done in order fully to normalise relations between Montenegro and Croatia. Apart from the media propaganda in the first half of the 1990s, Croats in Montenegro have been practically overlooked by the Montenegrin authorities. There are several cultural Croatian associations in Montenegro, such as Napredak (Progress) and Hrvatski dom (Croatian Home) as well as several musical associations (traditional groups of tamburaši). In 2002, a Croat ethnic party, the Croat Civil Association ( Hrvatsko gradjansko dru štvo) was formed. The party is primarily concerned with local politics. It won 4 out of the total 32 deputies in the Tivat municipal election in October 2002. There has been little interest in Croatia in the position of Montenegro‘s Croats, except for some unimportant nationalist circles whose rhetorical interest has been motivated by primarily domestic concerns. Even during the nationalist rule of President Franjo Tuđman, there were no attempts politically to instrumentalise the issue of Croats in the Boka (the southernmost ethnically Croat community), let alone to raise territorial demands. Overall, Croats in Montenegro have been a small, half-forgotten and very quiet minority since the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Roma Similarly to other east European countries, it is very difficult to estimate the number of Roma in Montenegro. According to the official census of 1991, 3 282 people declared a Roma nationality, most of them in Podgorica (1 676) and Nikšić (802).51 This number is, however, a clear under-estimate of the total size of the Roma population. Despite the lack of precise data, it seems certain that the number of Roma living in Montenegro has further increased since the break-up of Yugoslavia. The approximate number of Roma may well be over 20 000.52 Both historical and contemporary sources concerning the Roma minority are very limited. A small number of Roma people (around 500) lived within the pre-1878 Montenegrin borders while a greater number resided in the Ottoman areas joined to Montenegro during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Roma in Old Montenegro were an Orthodox, settled population, well integrated into Montenegrin society. The Montenegrins treated the settled Roma tolerantly, referring to them as Egyptians (Jeđupaci) or majstori/meštari (artisans, crafts people) in order to distinguish them from nomadic Gypsies ( Ciganji) who occasionally passed through Montenegro. 53 The majority of Roma living in Montenegro today are Muslims (Orthodox Roma probably became fully integrated with Montenegrins during the 20th century). The local Roma community living in the old centre of Bar (Stari Bar) is a relic of the traditional, settled way of life which was typical for most Montenegrin Roma in the past. 54 However, it seems that the majority of Roma living in Montenegro today have arrived from other areas of the Balkans (mostly from Serbia and Kosovo). The most recent influx of Roma came
51 Statistički godišnjak, p. 249. 52 Vukadinović, op cit. p. 40. 53 Valtazar Bogišić: ‘Slavenizirani Cigani u Crnoj Gori’, Almanah No. 19-20 (2002), pp. 250259. 54 Despite the deep tradition and roots, the Roma in Bar mostly identify themselves with Muslims or Montenegrins.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

after the conflict in Kosovo in 1999. Some Roma from Kosovo used Montenegro only as a transitional stop on their exodus to the west, but many have stayed, especially in cities such as Podgorica. Unlike 100 years ago, the Roma in Montenegro today are living on the margin of society and in dismal conditions. Anti-Roma prejudices and intolerance have been widely present in Montenegrin society. The most serious outburst of anti-Roma sentiment was the expulsion of Roma from the town of Danilovgrad in April 1995. Following a rape of a 14 year old girl by allegedly two Roma adolescents, angry crowds demanded the expulsion of all Roma from the town. The Roma fled Danilovgrad in panic and their settlements were burned down. 55 The problems of the Roma – both new refugees/immigrants as well as those who were living in the republic before the dissolution of Yugoslavia – have been generally overlooked in Montenegro, except for occasional articles which mostly point out the bad social and economic situation of this minority and the visible demonstrations of their condition, such as increased begging on the streets of Montenegrin towns. The influence of the main minority organisation, the Association of Roma in Montenegro, headed by Izen Ga ši, on Roma people has been extremely limited. There are no schools or classes with Roma language as the language of instruction in Montenegro. Roma continue to be completely overlooked in internal Montenegrin debates about minority issues, although their current number is possibly several times higher than indicated by the official statistical data. Neither has the position of Montenegro’s Roma received more than limited attention from foreign observers and NGOs. 56

Small numbers of different ethnic groups can be found scattered around Montenegro, especially in the big cities. The absolute majority of these individuals settled in Montenegro in the second half of the 20th century as a result of internal migrations within the pre-1991 Yugoslav state. These individuals number usually only several dozens, hundreds at best. According to the 1991 census, only Macedonians numbered slightly over 1 000 people.57
Montenegro’s minorities and the polarised majority

The co-existence of minorities and the majority society in Montenegro has been considerably better than in most parts of former Yugoslavia. This can be attributed to several factors. The relatively satisfactory level of traditional multi-ethnic co-existence prior to the dissolution of Yugoslavia was preserved as Montenegro managed to escape a military conflict which would have probably dramatically worsened inter-ethnic relations. Minority representatives have not raised demands regarded by the majority as going too far. From the beginning of the 1990s, there have been multi-ethnic parties which have had a civil orientation and their influence among minorities has further grown in the second half of the decade as the government started to show signs of greater interest in minority is55 Šeki Radončić, “Danilovgrad Left Without Gipsies”, AIM, 25.4.1995. 56 The notable exception was humanitarian aid to Roma refugee camps during the Kosovo crisis and its aftermath. 57 Statistički godišnjak, p. 248.


František Šístek and Bohdana Dimitrovová

sues. Intellectual elites amongst minorities have actively participated in the process of democratisation alongside the ethnic Montenegrin elites. During the regime of Slobodan Milošević as well as afterwards, Montenegro has had to face many serious problems which often diverted attention from the position of minorities. In the first half of the 1990s, the Montenegrin government largely followed the official politics of the Belgrade regime and frequently demonstrated intolerance toward minorities and political opponents. The position of minorities, as well as individual freedoms, have, however, greatly improved since the mid-1990s. Despite that, minorities continue to be seriously under-represented in most segments of public life in Montenegro. The representation of minorities has often been rather simulated by the appointment to administrative positions of carefully selected and controllable individuals as representatives of respective minorities.58 The limited legitimacy of such appointments has been often highlighted by activists of ethnic political parties who have themselves not gained sufficient legitimacy in the electoral process. The Montenegrin political scene has been radically polarised by the division between supporters and opponents of Montenegro’s independence. 59 Political subjects which are in favour of continued alliance with Serbia have been ethnically exclusive parties based on Serb nationalist values (SNP, NS, SNS and several smaller political groupings of lesser importance). The membership and electoral base of the pro-Yugoslav bloc do not include members of Montenegro‘s minorities. On the contrary, minorities have been consistently attacked and demonised by supporters of alliance with Serbia as a threat to Montenegro‘s territorial integrity. Montenegro‘s minorities have shown a great degree of loyalty to Montenegro as their homeland and have not threatened it with nationalist and territorial pretensions. In fact, threats that Montenegro could be partitioned (and parts of it joined to Serbia) have in recent years come only from some radical circles of the supporters of a federal state. In Montenegro‘s case, some segments of the majority society have been definitely more dangerous to the future stability of the republic and the wider region than the loyal and restrained minorities. It is indicative that, unlike those supporters of alliance with Serbia, political subjects which have an independent orientation have shown a pro-western attitude and have welcomed minority participation (LSCG, SDP, DPS and a few miniscule parties). Apart from organisations based on Serb nationalism, there are some organisations whose ideological orientation could indeed be described as Montenegrin nationalist. However, Montenegrin nationalism has traditionally defined itself primarily in terms of opposition to Serbia and pro-Serb forces in Montenegro. Its proponents have had a friendly attitude toward Bosniaks-Muslims, Albanians, Croats and other Montenegrin minorities. It cannot be denied that some latent prejudices and misconceptions concerning minorities continue to prevail among those who consider themselves ethnically Montenegrin and who support Montenegrin independence while, in the case of pro-Yugoslav political groups, a hostility to
58 Šerbo Rastoder: ‘Multinacionalnost – demokratizacija kao proces (Crnogorsko iskustvo)’, Almanah No. 17-18 (2001), p. 253. 59 Apart from the long-term polarisation of these two platforms, a polarisation between the opponents and supporters of Milo Đukanović has also been important. The informal alliance of Đukanovićs opponents includes both the pro-Yugoslav coalition and independenceminded Liberals.


National minorities in Montenegro after the break-up of Yugoslavia

minorities and nationalist ideas form a standard part of their political agenda and beliefs. The policy of the EU and the US in supporting the formal preservation of a federal state of Serbia and Montenegro almost at any cost has strengthened the position of Serb nationalist forces in Montenegro. This will probably have some negative consequences for minorities, as well as for political stability and democratisation processes in the republic. Despite the many obstacles, the problems of national minorities in Montenegro can be resolved more easily than in other parts of the Balkans. The first step would clearly be to increase the representation of minorities in all segments of public life within the existing institutions and structures to a level which would correspond with their share of the population. Increased attention to the grievances of minorities and the fulfilment of their realistic demands (such as those raised by Albanian ethnic parties) could improve the situation still further. Later, when the basic but most pressing problems have been resolved, other solutions, such as measures of positive discrimination and the increased constitutional and legal protection of minority rights, might be discussed in an open and democratic atmosphere. There have been many encouraging signs in Montenegro‘s treatment of minorities, but domestic political dynamics in the direction of increased minority participation and rights has been quite slow. The balanced and sensitive assistance of foreign mediators, advisors and NGOs could certainly speed up this process.


The authors Florian Bieber is a senior non-resident research associate of the European Centre for Minority Issues based in Belgrade and an International Policy Fellow with the Open Society Institute, Budapest. He teaches at the regional Masters programme for Democracy and Human Rights at the University of Sarajevo and at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He has published articles on nationalism and politics in south-eastern Europe in Nationalities Papers, Third World Quarterly, Current History and other journals. He authored Bosnien-Herzegowina und Libanon im Vergleich [Bosnia-Herzegovina and Lebanon in Comparison] (Sinzheim: Pro Universitate Verlag, 1999) and edited, together with Džemal Sokolović, Reconstructing Multiethnic Societies: The Case of BosniaHerzegovina (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), and with Židas Daskalovski: Understanding the War in Kosovo (London: Frank Cass, 2003). He is co-editor of the journal South-East European Politics and founder and editor of Balkan Academic News. Bohdana Dimitrovová is a research associate on the Programme on Transfrontier Cooperation in SEE at the international non-governmental organisation EastWest Institute. She is currently conducting research on regional and cross-border cooperation in SEE countries and the establishment of Euro-regions. She graduated from Charles University, Prague and received an MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University in Budapest. She has done extensive field and academic research on minorities in Montenegro and completed her Masters thesis on the National Identity of Slav Muslims in Montenegro, which was later published in South-East European Politics. Dragan Đurić is currently the Head of the Department for International Co-operation of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro. He graduated in Political Sciences from the University of Belgrade and worked as a journalist for 15 years. He is one of the founders of the prominent Montenegrin weekly Monitor. He is also a founder and President of the Montenegrin NGO, the Centre for the Development of Industrial Democracy. His research interests lie in the economic and social aspects of the transition process in Montenegro. He has published numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, as well as for journals in Yugoslavia and abroad, including the South-East Europe Review. Beáta Huszka is a researcher for the Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research in Budapest. She graduated in economics and international relations from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences in 2001. In 2002, she continued her studies at the Central European University in Budapest on the Nationalism Studies programme. She is currently conducting research on the Hungarian minority of Vojvodina and on inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo. Wim van Meurs has been a senior research fellow and project co-ordinator for SouthEastern Europe at the Centre for Applied Policy Research since 1997. He received his MA (in 1988) and Ph.D. (in 1993) in Russian and East European studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Between 1994 and 1997, he was a researcher and lecturer in tran181

The authors

sition studies, EU enlargement, nationalism and ethnic conflicts in south-eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region at the Free University and the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Srđa Pavlović is a Montenegrin historian, essayist and literary translator. He specialises in the nineteenth and twentieth century cultural and political history of the South Slavs at the University of Alberta (Canada). He is the editor for Spaces of Identity (University of Vienna/Lingnan University/University of Alberta) and was the co-founder and editor of the Stone Soup literary magazine (London, UK). His books include: Iza Ogledala: Eseji o identitetu i politici pripadnosti (Podgorica: CID, 2001); Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing in Alberta (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1998) and Zapadna Ljuljaska (Novi Pazar: DaMaD, 1997). Pavlovi ć has contributed articles to numerous scholarly journals and magazines, including the Canadian Slavonic Papers, the Journal of Historical Sociology, Spaces of Identity, Kakanien Revisited, SouthEast European Politics, Matica, Almanah, Ars, Balcanis, and Prism International. Šerbo Rastoder is an associate professor at the University of Montenegro, Faculty of Philosophy at Nikšić and a professor in the South-East European postgraduate studies programme at the Law Faculty of the University of Montenegro. His area of expertise is the history of Montenegro in the 19 th and 20th centuries and the theoretical-methodological problems of history. He is the author of eight scientific monographs and more than ninety scientific reviews, articles and treatises. He is a full-time member of the Doclean Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a member of the Managing Board of Matica Crnogorska of the Historical Institute of Montenegro. He is also Editor of the journal Almanah. František Šístek is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague. As a political analyst, he has been covering the political situation in Serbia and Montenegro for Europe Analyse, Paris and for various media in the Czech Republic. He graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, in Area Studies and from the Central European University, Budapest with an MA in History. As a historian, he has focused on Montenegrin history in the 19 th and 20th centuries (national discourse and statehood, modernisation of tribal society, and ethnic and religious minorities).



This bibliography only contains works consulted in this volume pertaining to Montenegro. General sources, news articles and most unpublished materials have been omitted.
Agović, Bajro, Džamije u Crnoj Gori, Podgorica: Almanah, 2001. Allcock, John B., ‘Montenegro,’ David Turnock, Francis W. Carter (eds), The States of Eastern Europe. South-Eastern Europe, Vol. 2. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000. Analiza sive ekonomije u SR Jugoslaviji sa procenama za 1997. i preporukama za njenu legalizaciju, Beograd: Economics Institute, 1998. Anastasijević, Dejan, Out of Time. Drašković, Đinđić and the Serbian Opposition against Milošević, Prag/London: Institute for War and Peace Reporting/Central Europe Review, 2000. Andrijašević, Živko ‘Stvaranje kulta Rusije u Crnoj Gori u XVIII vijeku’, Slovenski glasnik, No. 1 (1996). ––––––, Crnogorske teme, Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1998. ––––––, Nacrt za ideologiju jedne vlasti, Bar: Conteco, 1999. ––––––, ‘Muslimani u crnogorskoj dršavi, od loajalnosti do patriotizma,’ Almanah, No. 13-14 (2000). ––––––, Kratka istorija Crne Gore 1496-1918, Bar: Conteco, 2000. Andrijevich, Marko, ‘Politics in Montenegro,’ Sabrina Petra Ramet, L.S. Adamovich (eds), Beyond Yugoslavia: Politics, Economics and Culture in a Shattered Community. Boulder, Co.: Westerview, 1995. Antonić, Slobodan, ‘Yugoslav Federalism: Functioning of the Federal and Republican Parliaments,’ Vladmir Goati (ed.), Elections to the Federal and Republican Parliaments of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) 1990-1996, Berlin: Sigma, 1998. Anzulović, Branimir, Heavenly Serbia: From Myth to Genocide, New York: New York University Press, 1999. Apolonovich Rovinsky, Pavel, Etnografija Crne Gore, Vol. 1, Podgorica: CID, 1998. Ash, Timothy Garton, ‘The Last Revolution’, The New York Review of Books, 16.11.2000. Babović, Senka, ‘Kulturna Politika u Zetskoj Banovini,’ unpublished Ph.D. diss., Podgorica: University of Montenegro, 1997. Banac, Ivo, With Stalin against Tito. Cominformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism, Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1988. ––––––, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics , Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984. Bandžović, Safet, Iseljavanje Muslimana iz Sandžaka (Sarajevo 1991). Bašić, Husein, and Milika Pavlović, Smrt duše/Podrum, Podgorica: Montenegrin P.E.N. Centre/Damad, 1992.


Beckman-Petey, Monika, Der jugoslawische Föderalismus , Munich: Südost-Institut, Oldenborg, 1990. Bieber, Florian, ‘Serbischer Nationalismus vom Tod Titos zum Sturz Miloševićs,’ Unpublished Ph.D. Diss. Vienna: University of Vienna, 2001. ––––––, ‘The Instrumentalisation of Minorities in the Montenegrin Dispute over Independence,’ ECMI Brief 8 (March 2002), available at brief_8.pdf. ––––––, ‘Delayed Transition and the Multiple Legitimacy Crisis of Post-1992 Yugoslavia’, Dimitris Keridis (ed.), New Approaches to Balkan Studies. Dulles, VA.: Brassey, 2003. Boehm, Christopher. Montenegrin Social Organization and Values: Political Ethnography of a Refugee Area Tribal Adaptation . New York: AMS Press, 1983. Bogdanović, Milan, ‘Vratimo Njegoša literaturi,’ Srpski Književni Glasnik, Vol. 2. No. 16.7 (1925). Bogišić, Valtazar, ‘Slavenizirani Cigani u Crnoj Gori,’ Almanah, No. 19-20 (2002). Bojović, Jovan, Zakonik knjza Danila, Titograd: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 1982. ––––––, Podgorička skupština 1918: dokumenta , Gornji Milanovac: Dečje novine, 1989. Bokovoy, Melisa, Peasants and Communists: Politics and Ideology in the Yugoslav Countryside 1941-1953, Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press, 1998. Bougarel, Xavier, ‘L’islam bosniaque, entre identité culturelle et idéologie politique’, Xavier Bougarel, Nathalie Clayer, ed., Le Nouvel Islam balkanique. Les musulmans, acteurs du post-communisme 1990 – 2000, Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 2001. Bugajski, Janusz, Political Parties of Eastern Europe . Amronk, NY/London: M.E. Sharpe, 2002. Calhoun, Steven C., ‘Montenegro’s Tribal Legacy,’ Military Review (July-August 2000). Čavoški, Kosta, Half a Century of Distorted Constitutionality in Yugoslavia, Beograd: Center for Serbian Studies, 1997. Centar za tranziciju, ‘Governing the State, Montenegro’s citizens’ opinion and attitudes,’ Podgorica, January 2002. Center for Democracy and Human Rights, ‘Transition in Montenegro: Legislation, Media and Privatization, Report No. 9, January-March 2001,’ Podgorica, 2001. available at: ––––––, ‘Parliamentary Elections in Montenegro. Opinion Poll, 27 March -3 April 2001’, Podgorica, 2001. ––––––, Polling agency ‘Damar’, ‘Public Opinion in Montenegro 2002,’ Podgorica, January 2002. Centar za slobodne izbore i demokratiju, ‘Oko izbora 8: Izveštaj sa lokalnih izbora za odbornika 19 skupština opština Crne Gore (15. maja 2000. godine),’ Beograd, May 2002. Cetinjski Ljetopis, Cetinje: Fototipsko izdanje Centralne Biblioteke NR Crne Gore, 1962.


Četković, Jovan, Omladinski pokret u Crnoj Gori, Podgorica 1922. ––––––, Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Srbije, Dubrovnik 1940. Čizmović, Milisav, ‘Značaj OIZ – a u velikom đelu kralja Nikole’, CANU, No. 21 (1998). Cohen, Lenard J., Broken Bonds. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia, Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1993. Čolović, Ivan, Bordell der Krieger. Folklore, Krieg und Politik, Osnabrück: Fibre, 1994. ––––––, ‘Est Natio in Nobis,’ Matica, Vol. 1. No.3 (Fall 2000). Constitution of Montenegro, 12.10.1992. Crna Gora u prvom svjetskom ratu,’ Zbornik radova sa okruglog stola, No. 2, Podgorica: Istorijskog instituta Crne Gore, 1998. Crnovršanin, Harun, Nuro Sadiković, Sandžak. Porobljena zemlja, Neu Isenburg 2001. Čulinović, Ferdo, Jugoslavija Između dva rata, Zagreb: Izdavački Zavod JANU, 1961. Darmanović, Srđan, ‘Montenegro Survives the War,’ East European Constitutional Review, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Summer 1999). Dašić, Miomir, ‘Petar II Petrović Njegoš u revoluciji 1848 . i 1849. godine,’ Historijski zapisi, No. 1-2 (1998). ––––––, Ogledi iz istorije Crne Gore, Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore 2000. Debeljak, Aleš, ‘Varieties of National Experience: Resistance and Accommodation in Contemporary Slovenian Identity,’ Spaces of Identity, Vol 1, No. 1 (January 2001), available at Dedijer, Vladimir, Antun Miletić, Genocid nad Muslimanima, 1941-1945: zbornik dokumenata i svjedo čenja, Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1990. Dedijer, Vladimir, et al., History of Yugoslavia, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. Dimić, Ljubodrag, Kulturna politika Kraljevine Jugoslavije, 1918-1941, 3 Vols., Beograd: Stubovi kulture, 1996-1997. Dimitrovová, Bohdana, ‘Bosniak or Muslim? Dilemma of One Nation with Two Names,’ Southeast European Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2 (October 2001), available at: Dinkić, Mlađan, ed., Završni račun, Ekonomske posledice NATO bombardovanja: procena štete i sredstava potrebnih za ekonomsku rekonstrukciju Jugoslavije, Beograd: Stubovi kulture, Grupa 17, 1999. ––––––, Ekonomija Destrukcije , Beograd: Stubovi Kulture, 2000. Đilas, Milovan, Njegos: Poet, Prince, Bishop, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966. ––––––, Tito: The Story from Inside, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980. Đonović, Jovan, Ustavne i političke borbe u Crnoj Gori 1905-1910, Beograd: K.J. Mihailović, 1939. Đrišić, Mitar, ‘Kralj Nikola u Prvom balkanskom ratu,’ CANU, No. 21 (1998). Đukić, Petar, Iskušenja ekonomske politike: hronologija života pod sankcijama, Beograd: PS Grmeč, Privredni pregled, 1995.


Đukić, Slavoljub, Između slave i anateme. Politička biografija Slobodana Milošević a, Beograd: Filip Višnjić, 1994 Đurđev, Branislav, Turska vlast u Crnoj Gori u XVI i XVII veku, Sarajevo 1953. ––––––, Dva deftera Crne Gore iz vremena Skendred bega Crnojevića, Vol. I, Sarajevo 1968. Đurić, Dragan, ‘The Shadow Economy: Between Authority and Crime,’ South-East Europe Review for Labor and Social Affairs, Vol. 2, No. 1 (April 1999). Dragović, Slobodan M. Crnogorski Ustavi. Organizacija i sastav organa vlasti – poslanci i ministri – (od 1946. do 1998), Podgorica: Službeni List Republike Crne Gore, 1999. Drašović, Aleksandar, Mojkovačka bitka, Beograd: Stručna knjiga, 1991. Durham, Mary Edith, Some Tribal Origins, Laws and Customs of the Balkans, London: George Allan & Unwin, 1928. Durković-Jakšić, Ljubomir, Njegoš i Lovćen, Beograd: n.a., 1971. Enciklopedije Jugoslavije, Podgorica: DOB, 1999. Encikolpedija Njegoš, Vol. I, Podgorica: Fondacija Njegoš/CID, 1999. European Commission for Democracy through Law, Venice Commission, ‘Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Interim Report on the Constitutional Situation,’ Strasbourg, 22.10.2001, CDL, 2001 105 fin. European Stability Initative, ‘Montenegro: A Balancing Act’ September 1999, available at ––––––, ‘Autonomy, Dependency, Security: The Montenegrin Dilemma,’ Podogrica, 4.8.2000, available at ––––––, ‘Sovereignity, Europe and the Future of Serbia and Montenegro, A Proposal for International Mediation,’ 12.2.2001, available at rep_mon4.html. ––––––, ‘Rhetoric and Reform. A Case Study of Institution Building in Montenegro 1998-2001,’ Podgorica, Berlin, 1.7.2001, available at rep_mon5.html. ––––––, ‘Politics, Interests and the Future of Yugoslavia: an Agenda for Dialogue’, 26.11.2001, available at Fleming, K.E., ‘Orientalism, the Balkans, and Balkan Historiography,’ American Historical Review, Vol. 105. No. 4, October 2000. Gligorov, Vladimir, ‘Serbia and Montenegro: A New Beginning,’ Florian Bieber, Negotiating and Capcity Building in Montenegro. Workshop 3: Economic Development and Cooperation, Kotor, 22 March 2002, ECMI Report, No. 28 (June 2002), available at Goati, Vladimir, Izbori u SRJ od 1990 do 1998: volja građana ili izborna manipulacija, Beograd: CeSID, 1999. ––––––, Partije Srbije i Crne Gora u političkim borbama od 1990. do 2000., Bar: Conteco, 2000. ––––––, Elections in FRY. From 1990 to 1998. Addendum: Elections 2000, Beograd; CeSID, 2001.


Gredelj, Stjepan, ‘Klerikalizam, etnofiletizam, antiekumenizam i (ne)tolerancija,’ Sociologija, Vol. 41, No. 2 (April-June 1999). Grmek, Mirko, Marc Gjidana and Neven Šimac, Le Nettoyage Ethnique: Documents Historiques sur une Ideologie Serbe, Paris: Fayard, 1993. Guzina, Dejan, ‘Nationalism in the Context of an Illiberal Multinational State: The Case of Serbia,’ unpublished Ph.D. diss., Ottawa: Carleton University, 2000. Hastings, Adrian, The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Helfant, Audrey, ‘Serb Intellectuals and the National Question, 1961-1991,’ unpublished Ph.D. diss., Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University, 1998. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, ‘Human Rights and Transition. Serbia 2001,’ Beograd 2002. International Crisis Group, ‘Montenegro: In the Shadow of the Volcano,’ Podgorica/ Brussels/Washington, 21.3.2000, available at projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=16. ––––––, ‘Current Legal Status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and Serbia and Montenegro,’ 19.9.2000, available at projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=279. ––––––, ‘Montenegro–Time to Decide: Pre-Election Briefing,’ Brussels, 18.4.2001, available at ––––––, ‘Montenegro: Resolving the Independence Deadlock’ Podgorica, Brussels, 1.8. 2001, available at showreport.cfm?reportid=371. ––––––, ‘Still Buying Time: Montenegro, Serbia and the European Union’, Brussels, 7.5.2002, available at showreport.cfm?reportid=638. Istorija Crne Gore, Titograd 1970-1975. Ivanović, Božina M., Antropomorfološke osobine Petra II Petrovića Njegoš a, Podgorica: CANU, 1995. ––––––, ‘Njegoš eva genealogija’, Matica, No. 7/8, 2001. Jagnje božije i zvijer iz bezdana. Filosofija rata, Cetinje: Svetigora, 1996. Jelavich, Barbara, History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Vol. 1. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Jelavich, Charles and Barbara, The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 18041920, Seattle/London: University of Washington Press, 1977. Jelavich, Charles, ‘Nikola Pašić: Greater Serbia or Yugoslavia?’ Journal of Central European Affairs, Vol. 11 (July 1951). Jelušić, Božena, ‘Otvoreni za Njegoša,’ Matica, Vol. 2. No. 6 (Summer 2001). Jelušić, Mato, ‘U traganju za civilnim društvom,’ Matica, Vol. 3 No. 9-10 (Spring/ Summer, 2002). Jovanović, Jagoš, Istorija Crne Gore, 2nd Ed., Cetinje: Izdavački Centar Cetinje/CID, 1995. ––––––, Istorija Crne Gore, 3rd Ed., Podgorica: CID, 1998.


Jović, Borisav, Poslednji Dani SFRJ. Kragujevac: Prizma, 1996. Jovićević, Vladimir, Danilov zakonik: snaga države, Podgorica: Oktoih, 1994. Jovović, Pantelija, Crnogorski politi čari, Beograd, 1924. Kaser, Karl, Freundschaft und Feindschaft auf dem Balkan. Klagenfurt: Wieser, 2001. Keković, Vladimir, Vrijeme meteža ‘88/89, Podgorica: Kulturno prosvjetna zajednica Podgorice, 2002. Kiš, Danilo, Grobnica za Borisa Davidovi ča, Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1990. Kočan, Esad, ‘Bošnjaci u Crnoj Gori: identitet i integracija,’ Almanah, No. 13-14 (2000). Konkordat Između Crne Gore i Vatikana 1886. godine s posebnim osvrtom na položaj Albanaca katolika, Krishterimi nder shqiptare, Shkoder 2000. Koprivica, Veseljko, Branko Vojičić, Prevrat '89, Podgorica: LSCG, 1994. Kovačević, Branislav, Od vezirovog do zidanog mosta, Tragi čna sudbima crnogorskih Ćetnika u završnoj fazi rata 1944-1945, Beograd: Službeni list SRJ, 1993. Kovačević, Slobodanka, Putnik Dajić, Hronologija Jugoslovenske krize, 1942-1993. Beograd: Institut za Evropske Studije, 1994. Lagator, Špiro, Đuro Batrićević, Pljevaljska bitka, Beograd: Književne novine, 1990. Lakić, Zoran, ed., ZAVNO Crne Gore i Boke, zbirka dokumenata, Titograd 1963. ––––––, ed., CASNO – Crnogorska antifa šistička skupština narodnog oslobo đenja, Zbirka dokumenata, Titograd, 1975. ––––––, Narodna vlast u Crnoj Gori 1941-1945, Beograd/Cetinje: Obod/ Narodna knjiga, 1981. Lederer, Ivo J., ‘Nationalism and the Yugoslavs,’ Peter F. Sugar and Ivo J. Lederer, eds, Nationalism in Eastern Europe. Seattle/London: University of Washington Press, 1969. Longinović, Tomislav Z., Borderline Culture: The Politics of Identity in Four Twentieth Century Slavic Novels. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1993. Magaš, Branka, The Destruction of Yugoslavia, Tracking the Break-Up, 1980-92. Verso: London/New York, 1993. Malcolm, Noel, Kosovo: A Short History, London: Macmillan, 1998. Marković Štedimlija, Savić, ‘Sto Godina Narodne Poezije,’ Nova Evropa, Vol. 28, No. 4-5 (1935). Marković, Vlado, and Radoje Pajović, Saradnja Ćetnika sa okupatorom u Crnoj Gori: dokumenti 1941-1945, Podgorica/Cetinje: Republički Odbor SUBNOR-a Crne Gore, 1996. Marović, Branislav, Društveno-ekonomski razvoj Crne Gore 1945-1953, Titograd 1987. ––––––, ‘Narodna vlast u Crnoj Gori i rješavanje prvrednih pitanja i njen doprinos pobjedi nad fašizmom 1941-1945,’ Drugi svjetski rat-50 godina kasnije, Radovi sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa, održanog u Podgorici 20-22. septembra 1995, Vol. III, CANU 18 (1997).


––––––, ‘Nikola I i ekonomski razvoj države – planovi i ostvarenja ‘, CANU, No. 21 (1998). Medojević, Nebojša, ‘Montenegro – Land of Frozen Reforms,’ Wim van Meurs, ed., Prospects and Risks Beyond EU Enlargement, vol. 2, South Eastern Europe: Weak States and Strong International Support, Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 2002. Meurs, Wim van, Negotiating the Balkans. A Regional Approach to a Negotiated Arrangement for the Balkans on the Way to Europe (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Foundation, 2001). Mihailović, Kosta, and Vasilije Krestić. Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Answers to Criticisms. Beograd: Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995. Mušović, Ejup, Muslimani od pada Zete, 1499 (Novi Pazar: Muzej Ras, 1997) National Democratic Institute, ‘22 April Parlamentarni Izbori. Ključni Zaključi,’ Podgorica, March 2001. ––––––, ‘Key Findings, Track one,’ Podgorica, 11.4.2001. Nenadović, Aleksandar, Mirko Tepavac, Sjećanja i Komentari, Beograd: Radio B92, 1998. Nikčević, Vojislav P. ‘Istrage Poturica Nije ni Bilo,’ Ovđe, No. 189 (1985). ––––––, O Postanku Etnonima Dukljani, Ze ćani, Crnogorci, Podgorica 1987. ––––––, Crnogorski jezik, Cetinje 1993. ––––––, Pravopis Crnogorskog jezika, Podgorica: Montenegrin PEN Center, 1997. ––––––, Monumenta Montegrina, I-X, Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 20012002. ––––––, ed. Miscellanea Slavorum, Dokumenti o Slovenima, Pars prima, Cetinje: Državni arhiv Crne Gore, 2002. Nikolaidis, Jovan, ‘Multiculturalism in Montenegro and the City of Ulcinj,’ Nenad Dimitrijević, ed., Managing Multiethnic Communities in the Countries of the Former Yugoslavia, LGI: Budapest, 2000, available at: 30.PDF Njegoš, Petar Petrović, Izabrana pisma, Beograd: Prosveta, 1967. ––––––, Monumenta Montegrina, I-X, Podgorica: Istorijski institut Crne Gore, 20012002. ––––––, The Mountain Wreath, Transl. by Vasa D. Mihailović, Beograd: Serbian Europe Publishing, 1997. OSCE/ODHIR, ‘Republic of Montenegro. Presidential Election 5th and 18th October 1997. Final Report,’ 1997. ––––––, ‘Republic of Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Parliamentary Elections, 31 May 1998,’ 1998. ––––––, ‘Montenegro. Early Munical Elections (Podgorica and Herceg Novi), 11 June 2000. Final Report,’ Warsaw, 18.8.2000.


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Frank Kressing/Karl Kaser

Albania – a country in transition

Aspects of changing identities in a South-East European country

Even after the breakdown of the Communist regime in Albania in the 1990ies, this small country of the Balkan peninsula remains one of the least known areas of Europe. In this volume, a number of authors from the fields of Balkan studies, Anthropology and History examine various aspects of the transition process which the country has been dealing with after more than 40 years of complete isolation. The contributions to this volume focuses on the Albanians‘ quest for their own identity when facing contradictory influences from East and West – caught between tradition and modernism, post-Communist adaptation to capitalism and maintenance of pre-Communist social structures. Among other topics, the role of Islam in the former self-proclaimed ’first atheist state of the world‘, enduring patriarchal patterns of gender relations, mass migration, the position of ethnic minorities, and stereotype images of Albanians and Albania in the West are highlighted. Thus, this compendium offers a wide range of background information to scholars of Balkanrelated subjects as well as to the average reader who is interested in history, culture and religion of south-eastern Europe.

2002, 176 pp., hb., 35,– €, 61,– sFr, ISBN 3-7890-7670-8
(Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung (ZEI), Vol. 51)

NOMOS Verlagsgesellschaft 76520 Baden-Baden

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