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Monday, January 22, 2018

The accession of Montenegro to NATO will be a serious blow to Russia

The parliamentary opposition of Montenegro are trying to create an anti-NATO coalition, after all, already on 16 September, the Assembly will consider the resolution on the possible membership in NATO, and in December, the country may receive an invitation to the Alliance. The outcome of this story is still controversial: “proteva” very much to the Balkans, including the strengthening of the U.S., Russian diplomacy still awake.

The Assembly of Montenegro established, on the European view, unusual. It is not enshrined in the Constitution number of deputies, and from election to election their number is increasing. All because the Deputy is not cut on the map of the electoral district, and 6000 voters. Thus, taken into account the continuing tendency of the Montenegrins to the life of the community, often constructed by the clan, ancestral trait. This is a very important detail.

“Destinations such as Montenegro, only the narrow-minded glance seem to be third-rate. When NATO cock bite, it will be too late”

According to the Russian-Serbian media center “Russian Express”, at the meeting with participation of Metropolitan of Montenegro and coastlands of the Serbian Orthodox Church Amfilohije of the leader of the Democratic people’s party, Milan knežević proposed to create a coalition of the Socialist people’s party (SNP), New Serbian democracy, NAM, Democratic Montenegro and Demos. The initiator of the new parliamentary associations and so included in the coalition “Democratic front”, the headquarters of which is located symbolically in Podgorica on Moscow street. The most optimistic estimates, Knezevic will be able to collect under anti-NATO slogans no more than 40 deputies (really – less) 81 (population of Montenegro is growing rapidly in past elections was 74). That is, to imagine that in less than a week of anti-NATO coalition will be the preponderance in Parliament, it is very difficult.

Meanwhile, almost forced the inclusion in NATO of Montenegro (Serbia and Macedonia, the latter still prevents a long-running dispute with Greece) is clearly beyond the scope denoted by the Brussels goals and objectives. This is, in fact, “block aggression”, taking in the Alliance countries and territories, which are neither historically nor mental, nor in practice do not. In a separate Montenegro in this regard, developing large-scale domestic crisis. The connection of the country to the anti-Russian sanctions in the Wake of promises of EU membership have led to the collapse of the economy.

Industry, in fact, destroyed: much of it, including town-forming enterprises (especially aluminium smelters), belonged to Russian capital, which for several years is a consistent attack. Same story with the power grid, gas networks and gas. This is just what concerns industrial Podgorica. The reduction of tourist flow (primarily, again, from Russia) has led to a sharp drop in standard of living of the population as a whole – not only in Primorye and in the valley of the river Tara. Without stable, although the seasonal income was not only directly associated with tourism Montenegrins, but also the wait staff, including Albanians, performing the role of guest workers. The standard of living fell sharply, which gave rise to previously unprecedented for the Republic of social problems.

The authorities in Montenegro are practically irremovable. Milo Djukanovic in one form or another has ruled the country since 1991 – since the collapse of the “old” Yugoslavia. And no matter what he calls himself – President, or, as now, Prime Minister under President Philip Vujanovic. The essence remains the same: Djukanovic with varying degrees of confidence, but always tightly controls all the processes in Montenegro, from economic to foreign policy. And now there is no need to go into the history of independent Montenegro with its center of contraband cigarettes, “sewing factory” counterfeit, “cashing” and other delights of the border States. Montenegro Milo đukanović, the government is not something that is by nature quasi-criminal, but by the power of fate hunted in the early 90’s in such a niche, and as a result, imposed on Yugoslavia sanctions make it, and Greece and Bulgaria into a Paradise for smugglers. Her drift towards NATO and the EU was a natural process. Another thing, what were the chances (they still are) and that this drift to slow down.

Joining NATO is not perceived in Montenegro as an obligatory result of foreign policy. The majority of the population, according to various polls, against such a step, although it is now in the Assembly, opposition forces can control no more than 35% of the vote. This is due to the peculiarities of the national character and the electoral system: at the household level, the Montenegrin could be against NATO and the EU, but a vote on “communities” and the pressure from their leader changes the situation at the parliamentary level. Thus, enough power is able to resist the slipping of Montenegro in NATO. Actively advocate against the international NGO network “No to NATO – no to war”, “Matica Srpska”, “Movement for neutrality of Montenegro”, an information portal IN4S, the newspaper DAN, and others.

Additional tension creates the conflict over the traditionally influential in the Montenegrin society of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan of Montenegro and the littoral personally. With the filing of the European Union lobbied through the Assembly a new draft law on religions, which removed the word “Church”. It is replaced by the abstract concept of “religious community”, which, moreover, will have to re-reregister. Thus, under the Montenegrin attitude will gradually break out of its base – the Serbian Orthodox Church, while the recalcitrant Metropolitan amfilohy involved in numerous small claims. That is, it is a direct attempt to repopularization of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, one of the strongest tools of resistance to the process of accession to NATO.

The loss of Montenegro to Russia will become not just an episode. Absorption of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro NATO eliminates the last “hearth in the rear” completely subjugating of the European space. After that you can quickly switch to retraction into the orbit of the Alliance of the Moldovan-Transnistrian region, and he and old “fans” – Ukraine and Georgia. While that sluggish pressure on Armenia and Azerbaijan also will increase significantly. Thus, the loss of Montenegro will become for Russia a serious setback not only in the Balkan region and in countering NATO as a whole.

Unfortunately, until very recently Russia belonged to the policy in Montenegro as something third-rate. The Embassy (along with the “Rossotrudnichestvo”) barely worked. More recently, in a comfortable and cheap the Republic settled Russian opposition and just random people with questionable biographies and capital. The so-called “Rusko Selo” has turned into a lobbying project, absorbed by the people of the Yeltsin era and, to some extent, Medvedev. And major projects, including a tourist was in the hands of characters such Polonsky. Incidentally, he ruined a great project, spending on the singer Madonna invited to the opening, of money almost more than the modernization of the building.

New Russian Ambassador Sergey Gritsay began its work with a meeting with the speaker of the Assembly Ranko Krivokapic. Of course, this event also and Protocol, but the General direction for revitalization in Montenegro clear. As an extremely promising direction can be considered the creation of the so-called “Balkan Switzerland” – belt States traditionally non-aligned orientation. This is not only a reference to “beautiful times” Tito, when Yugoslavia was a recognized leader of the non – state groups, “equidistant” from NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The advantage of such ideology could be the guarantee of the independence and territorial integrity of small States from Russia and maybe NATO. This is extremely important for Serbia, for Macedonia and for Montenegro. These countries are under the permanent threat of dismemberment, primarily from the Albanian minority. Constutition prescribed non-aligned status, as confirmed by international guarantees with participation of Russia, could remove such a threat.

On the Russian side, such offers are already prepared in writing. In their development participated in the Balkan Moscow center for international cooperation headed by the former Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Alexander Cousinin. Another thing is that a lot of time has passed, and the potential of various “soft power” (as, indeed, “hard”) in the Balkans was uselessly. “Factor of safety” of the historical influence of Russia in the Balkans was enough to maintain their positions long enough, but last year the US caught on and has dramatically refocused its efforts on countries that traditionally gravitated toward Russia. This massive pressure has coincided with a period of “sleep” of those forces and institutions in Moscow, who were obliged to answer for the region. And only in the last months of active work in the Balkans began to revive, sometimes at the initiative rather than the state, how many individuals “stuck” to the region. Balkan center, of course, is not a competitor to a major diplomatic channels and even the “Rossotrudnichestvo”, however, the potential of such structures still never in Russia was not used in full, although the U.S. and NATO countries this kind of organizations provide almost two-thirds of its “soft power”.

The conflict over NATO membership of Montenegro takes place on the background of the election campaign. Following elections to the Assembly must pass in 2016, but if undermining the foundations of the bill will be outvoted or it would acquire the controversial nature, then it is possible and early. While the possibility of new elections should not be overestimated. Over the years the government of Milo đukanović emerged quite capable “obshestvoznanie” corrupt system almost the official status of Montenegro as the “chief smuggler” of Europe (the competition here is with absolutely already infinite Albania) gives the opportunity to many segments of the population lead a relatively quiet life. Now work and income are losing those who are connected with the usual tourist business and heavy industry. But they were largely tied up in smuggling, at least from the supply of various goods and raw materials. This population represents themselves with developed country status, accession to the EU and NATO perceives as an opportunity for development of already usual business. The events surrounding the football match between Russia and Montenegro, the anti-comments of the press and the frequent attacks on Russian tourists for political and not domestic reasons, is further proof of that.

In this situation special attention should be paid to advocacy, to resume the activities of the relevant divisions of the embassies in Podgorica and Belgrade. On some data, and resumes cooperation with the Republic of Srpska, including a theoretical discussion of its possible exit from the current Bosnia and Herzegovina to further its recognition as an independent state by Russia.

Strengthen advocacy and activities of NGOs (all the same Balkan cooperation center) is a fact, while all of this is made very late and in extremely disadvantageous for Moscow setting.

It is classic Russian foreign policy to the situation when many years of complacency led to the crisis and immediate mobilization of all reserves. Areas such as Montenegro, only the narrow-minded glance seem to be third-rate. When NATO cock bite, it will be too late.

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