2015–16 Montenegrin crisis

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Anti-government protests in Montenegro
Part of 2015–16 Montenegrin crisis
Date27 September 2015 — 28 November 2016
Podgorica, Montenegro
Caused byAuthoritarianism of Milo Đukanović, NATO accession, accusations of electoral fraud, excessive force by police and media censorship.
GoalsRemoval of Đukanović, fair elections, freedom of the press
MethodsDemonstrations, riot, civil disobedience
Resulted inNo-confidence voting against Government in January 2016
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
The opposition demanded a transitional government and the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, who has led the country since the 1990s.

A political crisis in Montenegro (Montenegrin: kriza u Crnoj Gori) was initiated by the opposition parties which staged protests requesting fair elections and transitional government. Opposition coalition Democratic Front organised continuous protests in October 2015 which culminated in a large riot in Podgorica on 24 October. A split in the ruling coalition followed in January 2016, leaving the government functioning as a de facto minority government.


Milo Đukanović's leadership[edit]

In 2015, the investigative journalists' network OCCRP named Montenegro's long-time President and Prime Minister Milo Đukanović "Person of the Year in Organized Crime".[1] The extent of Đukanović's corruption led to street demonstrations and calls for his removal.[2][3][4]

Anti-government protests[edit]

Anti-government protests in Montenegro began in mid-October 2015 and culminated in riots on 24 October 2015 in the capital of Podgorica. The protests were organised by the opposition coalition Democratic Front, which is requesting the formation of a transitional government which would organise next parliamentary elections.

After thousands of people rallied to protest government corruption and demand a transitional government and resignation of Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, who has held prime ministerial or presidential positions for most of the time since 1990, the police intervened tear-gassing the demonstrators on 24 October.[5] Montenegrin police fired tear gas at opposition supporters, while chasing away the demonstrators with armored vehicles.[6]

A protest against joining NATO was held in Podgorica on 12 December 2015.[7] A new protest against the government was held on 24 January 2016.[8]

DPS–SDP split[edit]

On January 27, 2016, a parliamentary vote saw the split of the ruling DPS and up until then coalition partner SDP.[9] This followed a failed crisis talk over the organization of the "first free and fair election".[9] The President of the National Assembly Ranko Krivokapić (SDP) strongly criticized Prime Minister Milo Djukanović and the ruling party (DPS). With the split of SDP, Djukanović lost the Assembly majority. Djukanović started an initiative to remove Krivokapić from the seat.

Provisional Government[edit]

A split in the ruling coalition followed in January 2016, leaving the government functioning as a de facto minority government. The provisional government of electoral trust was elected on May,12 2016, by the parliament of Montenegro. The provisional governing coalition was formed by DPS and several opposition parties.

Parliament interruption[edit]

On 13 May 2016, Prime Minister Milo Đukanović's speech was interrupted by the Democratic Front MPs, who chanted "Milo, you thief" (Milo, lopove), which was followed by a verbal clash and an attempt at physical altercation, which was prevented by other MPs and parliamentary security service.[10]

Alleged coup plot[edit]

16 October 2016 arrests
Planned byMinistry of Interior Affairs
ObjectiveCapture alleged coup conspirators
Date16 October 2016
Executed byLaw enforcement
Outcome20 arrests

On 16 October 2016, on the day of the parliamentary election, a group of 20 Serbian and Montenegrin citizens, including the former head of Serbian Gendarmery Bratislav Dikić, were arrested;[11][12] they, along with other persons, including Russian citizens, were later formally charged by the authorities of Montenegro with an attempted coup d'état. In February 2017, Montenegrin officials accused the Russian state structures of being behind the attempted coup, which envisaged an attack on the country's parliament and assassination of prime minister Milo Đukanović; those accusations were rejected by the Russian government.[13][14]

According to the prime minister Duško Marković′s statements made in February 2017, the government received definitive information about the coup being prepared on 12 October 2016, when a person involved in the plot gave away the fallback scenario of his Russian minders, who thus aimed to prevent the country from joining NATO; this information was also corroborated by the security services of NATO member countries, who helped the Montenegrin government to investigate the plot.[15]

In early June 2017, the High Court in Montenegro confirmed the indictment of 14 people, including two Russians and two pro-Russia Montenegrin opposition leaders, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, who had been charged with "preparing a conspiracy against the constitutional order and the security of Montenegro" and an "attempted terrorist act".[16]


Parliament boycott[edit]

Following the events which surrounded the latest parliamentary election, the major opposition parties made a decision to begin a collective boycott of all parliamentary sessions; the boycott continued into 2017, extending to local elections.[17]

NATO accession[edit]

On 28 April 2017, Montenegro's parliament voted 46–0 to join NATO, while the opposition parties kept boycotting parliament sessions and protesters burned NATO flags outside.[18] Tensions between Montenegro and Russia continued to escalate thereafter.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OCCRP announces 2015 Organized Crime and Corruption ‘Person of the Year’ Award". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
  2. ^ "Montenegro's fractious opposition takes to the streets". Deutsche Welle. 16 November 2015.
  3. ^ "The Balkans’ Corrupt Leaders are Playing NATO for a Fool". Foreign Policy. January 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "Montenegro invited to join NATO, a move sure to anger Russia, strain alliance’s standards". The Washington Times. December 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Tear gas as thousands demand Montenegro PM quits".
  6. ^ "Montenegro Police Throw Tear Gas on Protest". AP. 24 October 2015 – via The New York Times.
  7. ^ Protest protiv NATO u Podgorici
  8. ^ Održan još jedan protest u Podgorici
  9. ^ a b "Montenegro Parliament Set to Oust Speaker", Balkan Insight
  10. ^ Atmosfera u Crnoj Gori podseća na kraj Miloševićeve vlasti
  11. ^ "Slučaj "državni udar" i Đukanovićev "stari recept"".
  12. ^ "Montenegrin prosecutor says Russian nationalists behind alleged coup plot".
  13. ^ Farmer, Ben (19 February 2017). "Russia plotted to overthrow Montenegro's government by assassinating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic last year, according to senior Whitehall sources". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Kremlin rejects claims Russia had role in Montenegro coup plot". The Guardian. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Q&A: Duško Marković, the Prime Minister Stuck Between Putin and Trump in the Balkans", Time, 16 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Montenegrin Court Confirms Charges Against Alleged Coup Plotters",
  17. ^ "Montenegro Opposition to Boycott Poll Over ‘Coup’ Claims" Balkan Insight
  18. ^ Indictment tells murky Montenegrin coup tale: Trial will hear claims of Russian involvement in plans to assassinate prime minister and stop Balkan country’s NATO membership. Politico, 23 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Montenegro protests after senior politician held while changing planes at a Moscow airport". AP. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.

External links[edit]