Montenegrin mass media are actively discussing Russia’s decision to declare Montenegrin MP Miodrag Vukovic persona non grata and deport it from its territory. The Russian Foreign Ministry reminded the Montenegrins that when they joined the anti-Russian sanctions, the Russians warned that they would counteract. So, it was a countermeasure. The Montenegrin Foreign Ministry reacted by sending Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Gritsay a note of protest.
Later, the Montenegrin authorities accused Russia of trying to prevent independent Montenegro from building its statehood on its own. Vukovic said that the key reason why he was deported from Russia was Montenegro’s participation in the NATO PA’s May 30 meeting.
The episode would be over were it not for Montenegrin mass media, who said that both Russia and Montenegro had lists of people they would not let into their territories. They claim that Russia has a black list of 70 Montenegrin politicians and businessmen. The Russian President’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov is not aware of it. In an interview to TASS, Spokesperson of Russia’s Embassy in Montenegro Yelizaveta Borisova said that those reports were groundless.
On June 2, Pobijeda reported that Montenegro had its own counter-list of 149 Russian and Ukrainian personas non grata. The Montenegrin authorities did not specify if there was such a list or not and what the listing criteria were but many believe that Pobijeda meant a list made by the EU in 2014. Montenegro signed that list and must have enlarged it since then.
Expert on the Balkans Alexander Kravchenko told EADaily that there is a group of politicians – representatives of former Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic – who are trying to lobby anti-Russian sanctions in Montenegro with the help of influential Albanian clans.
“For the time being, the Montenegrin authorities are not worried about their games with the Albanian minority but it is not clear what those games will end in. They will hardly be in power when the ‘Great Albania’ fire reaches Montenegro. They do not care for their country’s future. Their short-term goal is to see their country as part of the EU and NATO and their anti-Russian attacks are part of this plan,” Kravchenko said.