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Why do Montenegrins contribute to Kosovo’s final separation from Serbia?

The latest reports that hit the headlines in Serbia say leaders of the separatist Kosovo and neighboring Montenegro have agreed to support the compatriots residing in neighbor countries and political initiatives of each other. Specifically, the Montenegrin Albanians will vote for Montenegro’s irremovable leader Milo Djukanovic, while Kosovan Montenegrins will support the bill to convert the Kosovo security forces into a national army.

Rapprochement of Montenegro and Kosovo, the two parts of once united Serbian world, is not a new process, even despite claims of the historically Albanian non-state formation to its Slavonic neighbor. Even shootings by armed Albanians during a traditional hike to Rumija Mount on Independence Day of Montenegro this May did not disturb the political “honeymoon” of Pristina and Podgorica. Though some non-Slavonic Montenegrins even planted their national flag on orthodox church of Holy Trinity.

Noteworthy that the Police are used to detain Serbs for quite moderate displays of national feelings. For instance, Budva city manager who dared to plant the Serbian national flag on his house, was detained.

A noteworthy detail is the fact that during the recent heated arguments at UN between Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić and representative of quasi-state organizations of Kosovo, Albanian Vlora Çitaku, over possibility of dividing the region into Serbian and Albanian parts (“If we reject multiculturalism and ethnic diversity within our own states, within our own borders, then how on earth do we plan to co-exist in the European Union?” asked the young lady resembling a pop-singer rather than a diplomat.), the Association of Kosovo Montenegrins supported the representative of the region separated from Serbia.

"Kosovo is an independent state that belongs to Albanians, Serbs, Montenegrins, Roma, Turks and all other citizens," the Association said in a statement, adding that it supports state institutions in Kosovo considering that the Montenegrin community will become a constitutional category soon.

This category is another element forced by NATO this time in a tolerance and multiculturalism game. This is no longer frightening for Pristina that saw ethnic purges, pogroms and fleeing of the non-Alban population in early 2000s. Nonetheless, this moment is envisaged – any “landmark law” passed by the local government shall be approved by the national minorities. For Kosovo “president” Hašim Tači it is the law to give an army status to the local self-defense forces that were once formed on the basis of the terrorist the Kosovo Liberation Army. Tači has already enlisted the support of a representative of the local Bosniaks and a Serb MP, not a member of the Serb List coalition (consequently, a collaborationist). The third vote in support of his initiative, Tači would like to see among Montenegrins. It is widely rumored that among other issues he has talked about this with his dear guest and old friend Milo Djukanovic in Pristina recently.

Incidentally, Montenegrins have “a wide choice” in present-day Kosovo. There are several Montenegrin parties and movements in that quasi-state formation: the above Association of the Kosovo Montenegrins, the Montenegrin Association of Kosovo (a great variety of names!), People’s Montenegrin Party of Kosovo. Moreover, they promise a ministerial position to the Montenegrin community representative! A “Strategy for Affirmation and Integration the Montenegrin community in the Republic Kosovo” has been developed and approved at the government level.

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To see the entire picture, let’s address the recent parliamentary elections in Kosovo. The coalition led by former bandits and field commanders won the elections. The coalition is called “a coalition of guns” in public.

Albanian ultra-right took the second place in the elections. Liberals, who can be called so with great reservation given the local Albanian mentality, took the third place. Odious militant Ramus Haradinaj is considered the most likely candidate for the prime minister’s post. Noteworthy that since the end of the “hot phase” of the Kosovo conflict, Belgrade has been demanding extradition of Haradinaj for mass killings and tortures of captives and civilians. The former militant was several times detained in Europe and faced trials, but was justified every time, though witnesses were either killed and disappeared mysteriously or refused from their testimonies. Haradinaj’s last arrest in France at the request of Serbia proved useless either. He was simply set free after a while.

During his election campaign, Haradinaj openly hinted that if he comes to power, he is going to quit any dialogue with Belgrade until it recognizes Kosovo’s independence. Besides, he will not implement one of the provisions in the Brussels agreements to introduce a Society of Serbian Municipalities. As to the territorial claims too Montenegro, the potential prime minister says the border between the neighbor-states lays at the foot of Cakor Mountain, which is an evident claim to rather a big piece of the Montenegrin territory.

There is another surprising circumstance: by official statistics, before the bloody events of 1999, there were 3,000 people in the region who registered as Montenegrins. At present, there are as many as….19 officially registered Montenegrin in Kosovo. It is not a slip of the pen. The question then arises: who forms those parties and associations that have launched so intensive activity in Kosovo recently? The answer is quite simple: these are Montenegrin Albanians who have moved to Kosovo and are ready to pretend as Slavs for the preferences promised to the national minorities under rules set by European integrators.

To understand the true attitude of Albanians to their Montenegrin neighbors, just look though the history textbooks of the 4th graders in Albania. They say Albania is much larger and wider than the current state of the same name is and, in fact, one-third of Montenegro’s territory, half of Macedonia, and, of course, the entire Kosovo, south of present-day Serbia and northeast of Greece are part of it. The history textbooks say all these lands were seized from peaceful Albanian people as a result of numerous wars in the Balkans.

In this light, the military hikes of Albanians on Rumija Mountain do not seem surprising.

Montenegro leader Milo Djukanovic cannot but know about all this. However, once betraying the historically substantiated unity with Serbia for his own ambitions and demands of western partners, converting the regional identity into national and state one, Mr. Djukanovic has become a patriot of his own luxury life and full pocket. If he is demanded to sacrifice the state project “Montenegro” for that, he will do it without turning a hair.

Alexey Toporov

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