Montenegro, invited to join NATO less than a year
ago, completed its accession negotiations in May. 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.
Here is what a Montenegrin colleague wrote about
the evolving situation:
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. The sudden visit of the
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.
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. He was instructed to explore
that option by Russia. It seems that the Russians are ready to
invest substantial effort in countering Montenegrin accession to
NATO, and asserting their dominance in the Balkans.
Asked for more clarification, he added:
Unfortunately there is still no hard evidence of
Russian involvement. These are mainly political assertions base on
The special public prosecutor for organized crime
and corruption in Montenegro spoke extensively 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
Bratislava Dikic, entered Montenegro and spent two days in 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.
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.
Vucic’s press conference revealed that Serbian
authorities seized a large number of police uniforms that were
supposed to be worn during the riots, a large amount of cash
(125,000 euros), and highly sophisticated GPS footage only available
to advanced armed forces. A few days before the elections, the
Demoratski Front had announced a “celebration” of their electoral
victory in front of the Parliament, and in case of their electoral
loss adamant resistance and contestation of the results.
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.
Officially he came to discuss terrorism with his
Serbian colleagues and offer strong collaboration to them. However
news about the expulsion of Russian citizens came only few hours
after Vucic said that the whole situation regarding Montenegro had
strong foreign involvement. He also said that he is aware that the
decision to speak publicly about this might politically jeopardize
him, but he did not want to keep silent and minimize the risk of
what almost happened in Montenegro. He even used the example of
failed assassination attempt on Djindjic, which was ridiculed in the
media only few days before the assassination happened.
Prime Minister Djukanovic has announced his
withdrawal from office, in favor of his deputy prime minister, Dusko