Lose an election, try a coup

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Professor and Balkans expert from Washingonian John Hopkins Insitute Daniel Serwer published an article on peacefare.net saying that Montenegro completed its NATO accession negotiations in May, but its adversaries do not give up.

“Eleven countries have already ratified the accession agreement. But opponents are not giving up: they planned and a coup immediately after Montenegro’s October 16 election, which pro-NATO forces won”, Serwer wrote.

He cited statements of Serbian Prime Minister Vucic.

“Two days ago [Serbian Prime Minister] Vucic held a press conference confirming that there was a serious threat to [Montenegrin Prime Minister] Djukanovic and a professional plan to destabilize his country through riots, targeted shootings, etc. The plan was extremely elaborate. It involved the participation of several groups, which would even wear police uniforms. One group was tasked to neutralize special anti-riot police forces, two others to stage a police shooting on the crowd and subsequent seizure of the Parliament building. They were given sophisticated weapons and GPS maps that are only available to major powers around the world. In other words, this was not a layman’s work. Now after one group has been arrested, and the others have been disassembled, Vucic said that there is a strong indication of “foreign” involvement”, Serwer wrote.

Serwer said that the sudden visit of the head of the Russian National Security Council to Belgrade is suggestive.

“Officially he is there to talk about global terrorism. Unofficially he is going to inquire what went wrong with the Montenegrin case. One can only expect that he will put pressure on Belgrade, saying not to get too close to the West”, Serwer wrote.

If Vucic was indeed hinting at Russia, it would be a major move, albeit a dangerous one for his political career.

“The plan depended on nationalistic and pro-Russian groups in Serbia. They might plan something similar for Serbia as well. [Serbian President] Nikolic was in Russia recently. Sputnik published news that he discussed a potential reunification of Montenegro and Serbia once the opposition wins in Montenegro, but has retracted that report and now denies it. It seems that the Russians are ready to invest substantial effort in countering Montenegrin accession to NATO, and asserting their dominance in the Balkans”, he wrote.

There is still no hard evidence of Russian involvement. These are mainly political assertions based on available information.

Serwer commented on the special public prosecutor for organized crime and corruption in Montenegro statement about the case in an interview for TV Vijesti.

“Here is a summary of his statement: the arrested group was from Serbia. It included individuals of various backgrounds, predominantly associated with nationalist circles. The group entered Montenegro a few days before the elections with instructions to deploy to different cities across Montenegro. The commander of the group, former commander of the Serbian Gendarmerie Bratislav Dikic, entered Montenegro and spent two days in the coastal city of Budva before he was arrested in Podgorica. He was arrested on the night before the elections, as he was getting ready to inspect weapons. He and the rest of the group were under surveillance. So were the weapons, which never entered Montenegro”, Serwer wrote.

According to the Special Prosecutor, these were highly sophisticated weapons that were destroyed before entering the country with the prosecutor’s permission.

“The entry point was supposed to be on the border with Albania. The arrested group was one of four or five that was expected to act. Other groups were not apprehended, but the prosecutor’s office is adamant that all of them will be arrested. One group was tasked to neutralize special police anti-riot forces, stationed close to Podgorica. The arrested group, together with two more, were supposed to act in front of the Parliament building, where they would first stage a shooting of (fake) police forces into the crowd and then seize the Parliament building. According to some reports the group was expected to receive 50 high-end rifles and 3500 bullets. The prosecutor identified Dikic as coordinator of the entire operation. His arrest crippled the entire plan”, Serwer wrote.

Some conspiracy theorists initially spoke about a Djukanovic plot, even claiming he staged the whole thing. However, recent statements by Vucic only confirmed what the prosecutor’s office in Montenegro initially said. The Serbian group was closely following Djukanovic’s every step, aiming to “arrest” him if he declared victory at the elections.

“Vucic also confirmed what Montenegrin authorities previously stated, that this was a plan strongly supported by outside players, with strong meddling of intelligence services from abroad. Although there is only speculation that this might be pointing toward Russian secret services, Serbian authorities have expelled a number of Russian citizens from Serbia following the failed plot in Montenegro. This may be the reason why the Russian national security council chief abruptly came to Serbia”, Serwer wrote.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro