The night of May 21st 2006 will be remembered by all Montenegrins as a night the country regained independence, but Dragan Žižić has one more memory of this night – taking home the big “trophy” from the building of the old Government.
Two-liter bottle of champagne that the Prime Minister used to celebrate the victory is still kept in the family house of Žižić. Former seaman, today touristic worker, Dragan was in the building of the old Government on the night of May 21st. Dragan Žižić, originally from village Strug near Šavnik, recounts his special story of that night to Weekend Edition of Dnevne Novine daily.
It was a night of waiting for the big news. Once the celebration started, one of the wives of high officials spoke to him, pointing to the bottle of champagne.
“She said to me: ‘Žile, would you please open this bottle of champagne?’.
“I looked over to where the champagne was on the table. That’s when I first noticed it. Champagne was in a two-liter bottle with a golden bow. It read ‘Bakarska vodica’. I took the bottle and we went in front of the building. I took of the bow and put it in my back pocket. And then I opened the bottle. I handed it over to Milo Đukanović. He was the first to toast. The celebration could begin”, Žižić remembers.
The bottle was soon emptied. But Žile missed one detail.
”When I opened the bottle and the bottle cap flew away, I saw where it fell. I looked for it. When I found it, I noticed it was little damaged. Clearly, someone stepped on it in a rush. I took the cap and put it in my pocket. I also had the bottle. Besides, I knew I would always remember that moment, that it would be more important than many others. And that bottle, that champagne, will forever be a symbol of victory. I had to keep it”, Žižić said.
He could not imagine that the story of the champagne bottle has only just begun.
As the time went by, the bottle was often remembered. Then the offer came, from the producer Istravin. Start price was 5.000 EUR, and later offers were even higher. The money was not the question, but Žile’s answer was not either: “Not for sale”.
Žižić said that he did not sell the bottle when he had it the hardest in life, so he will not do it now either. Simply, it is not for sale.
“In the earlier years, my wife would clean the bottle every three or four days. The victory this champagne represents was special, which is why I often refused to sell it, although the prices went up to tens of thousands of euros. I want this bottle to be the heritage of the family Žižić, because I am very fond of it”, he explained, adding that the people laughed when he told them this bottle would be worth much one day.
“I know of a man who also saved a bottle from one celebration, because it is a symbol of victory. The world appreciates this symbol. When the bottle reached my hands, I knew I should keep it. When everyone toasted, there was a little champagne left, and I toasted last. The rest is history”, Žižić said.
Dragan Žižić was at the right place at the right time on the night of May 21st. This night is remembered widely, because it marked Montenegro regaining its independence after 88 years. This night carries many stories to be retold. Who was where, who was doing what. Žižić had his own story, and the Government would like this bottle to make an appearance at the big celebration that marks ten years since that night. Žižić says that many want to see the bottle in the big celebration, but he will decide where shall it appear.
“Many want to have this bottle on May 21st. I still haven’t decided where it will appear. The best solution, my suggestion and initiative, is to for it to be in front of the building of the old Government, so we can remember that night from a decade ago. Dnevne Novine daily will be the first to know where will the bottle appear during the celebrations”, Žižić said.
According to him, it would be the best if the organizers hired Montenegrin music stars and not only politicians, so that this celebration would be great for all Montenegrins.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro