Prime Minister Đukanović: Protests in Podgorica supported by circles around Serbian Ortodox Church, and Russia

    Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro
    Interview TV Federation BiH
    Broadcast 21/10/2015 – prime time

    Prime Minister Milo Đukanović’s interview with Federal Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Montenegrin language

    I

    It is obvious that the protests have multiple goals, but we can sum up: the protests are against democratic, European and Euro-Atlantic Montenegro.

    There is no doubt that the organisers of the protests want to bring about the change of the government in a violent manner, thus achieving the goal they have not been able to attain in democratic elections for the past 25 years. Furthermore, there is no doubt that they want to stop Montenegro’s path towards NATO membership. All of this has been suggested in their speeches at the protests, as well as in the messages, including those sent by official political structures from the region and beyond, which back up the organisers of the protests. Ultimately, the idea of the organisers is to change the government, prevent Montenegro from joining NATO and question its status of an independent state. Therefore, they want to bring into question the decision Montenegro made in the 2006 democratic referendum when it became an independent and sovereign state that chooses its own future. They want to abolish the decision and bring Montenegro back to the state of dependence in relation to the centres of power they belong to and work for.

    II

    We can see today that the organisers of the protests have been strongly supported by nationalists from Belgrade. The difference, which should be noted, is not small, and it should be emphasised that at this moment the official Belgrade do not support such protests and attacks on the sovereignty of Montenegro.

    However, the Serbian nationalists, gathered around certain political structures and social centres of power, such as the Serbian Orthodox Church, who used to be against Montenegro’s independence, are today very strong as well. They openly support the protests in Montenegro in an attempt to make the government resign, question Montenegro’s status of an independent state, and, if it is possible, make Montenegro a sphere of interests and influences controlled by the Belgrade nationalists.

    Following the two press statements issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry saying that the Russian politics is in favour of the organisers of the protests, I guess there is no doubt that their political objectives are identical – preventing Montenegro from joining NATO. Preventing NATO enlargement into the Balkans is an official objective of the Russian state politics, and that is why we have to conclude that the organisers of the protests in Montenegro have a very strong base in certain political, economic, security and other centres outside of Montenegro.

    III

    Let me say that the holders of the idea of preventing Montenegro from pursuing its European and Euro-Atlantic path are in fact politically unoriginal – whatever happens in the world they try to copy it. Let us remember Egypt and the African Spring, these people immediately started calling for the Montenegrin spring. Remember the “orange revolution” in Ukraine, the orange revolution in Montenegro has also been called for. Remember the legal procedures having been initiated against Ivo Sanader in Croatia, the “sanaderisation” of Montenegro has been called for. Now the repetition of the Macedonian scenario is being called for. These examples only confirm what I have just said. They are now confronted with its obvious political powerlessness to achieve their goals after a 25-year time. They are far away from attaining the goals, as public opinion polls show that the Democratic Front, as an organiser of the protests, at the moment has the support of only 6% of the Montenegro electorate. They are aware of their current situation, they are afraid of the regular elections to be held in mid-2016. Therefore, they try to abuse various circumstances through violent, unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-Montenegrin processes inorder to block the country’s integration path and its full international affirmation.

    IV

    This is not, as they say, the fight of Montenegro, we must notice this is an attempt to block European and Euro-Atlantic integration process of the Western Balkans. Unfortunately, it is happening here. Why? Because of the fact that in the previous rounds of NATO enlargement processes, several countries were joining the Alliance at the same time, and at this moment the only candidate for membership is Montenegro. All the efforts of NATO enlargement opponents are now focused on Montenegro. I think this is a serious strategic fight between NATO’s ambition to spread its values into the Western Balkans and the policy opposing to further NATO enlargement in which they see a danger for themselves.

    V

    We have no other choice but to follow our Euro-Atlantic path, as it would be tragic for the country and the entire region to move in a wrong direction given our earlier experience which had caused religious and ethnic hostility among the nations. I think that Montenegro needs to continue making progress and that the state will do its best to overcome the last resistance to the Euro-Atlantic path. Why do I think it is the last one? Because they are aware of the fact that they will lose this last chance to destabilise Montenegro and an illusion that they can abolish Montenegrin independence. That is why these protests are taking place ahead of extending a NATO invitation, and we have to defend what we have achieved over the past decades. I am convinced that Montenegro will succeed, but I have to say that this response is a reminder that this is not only Montenegro’s fight, but also a fight for preserving European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans. I reiterate that the Western Balkans’ integration process is another name for its stability. Anyone who thinks that the Balkan states have another alternative is undermining a possibility of the entire region’s destabilisation. It is well known that it would not be a destabilisation of one country in the region, but a destabilisation of the entire Europe.

    Source: Government of Montenegro