Krsto Popović

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Krsto Todorov-Zrnov Popović
Krsto Zrnov Popovic.jpg
Born 13 September 1881
Cuce, Principality of Montenegro
Died 14 March 1947(1947-03-14) (aged 65)
Bojanje (Cuce), PR Montenegro, FPR Yugoslavia
Allegiance Army of Montenegro
Kingdom of Montenegro
Rank Brigadier
Battles/wars Balkan Wars
First World War
Christmas Uprising
St. Peter's Day Uprising
Guerrilla War against Serbia

Krsto Todorov-Zrnov Popović (13 September 1881 – 14 March 1947) was one of the leaders of 1919 Christmas Uprising in Montenegro against the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty, organized by the Greens (Zelenaši), followers of dethroned King Nikola and the Montenegrin Petrović-Njegoš dynasty. After the uprising failed, Popović emigrated to Italy, just to return in June 1919 and start guerrilla warfare.

Born to father Todor "Zrno" Popović and mother Ćetna Krivokapić, he fought in the Balkan Wars and World War I in the Montenegrin army forces until being captured by Austro-Hungarian army in 1916. He was also one of the prominent heroes of the Battle of Mojkovac, where Montenegro helped the army of Serbia, its close ally, to retreat in face of the Austro-Hungarian attacks. After spending two years in the Austro-Hungarian prisoner camp, he returned to Montenegro to become the leader of the Christmas Uprising on 7 January 1919 and Saint Petar's Day Uprising in July of same year, fighting against the decision of the Podgorica Assembly to unite the Kingdom of Montenegro with the Kingdom of Serbia under the House of Karađorđević. Between 1919 and 1922, he was a leader of Montenegrin komite, fighters for the federalisation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1922, he emigrated to Argentina and later to Belgium in 1929.

The Greens voted against the unification of the Kingdom of Montenegro with the Kingdom of Serbia Podgorica Assembly, while the majority Whites (Bjelaši) supported it. Meanwhile, only several months after his arrival to Montenegro, Krsto Popović returned to Italy, where he served in the army of Montenegrin government in exile, advancing to level of commander, and later to level of brigadier.

In 1929, from Belgium he sent a letter to King Alexander, in which he asked the King to pardon him from responsibility for the civil war in Montenegro from December 1918 until King Nikola's death. In this letter, he also proclaimed his loyalty to King Aleksandar Karađorđević. On 18 October 1929, in the province of Liege, Belgium, the immigration police issued him a passport under number 9121, with visa number 94.

The same 1929 he wrote to King Alexander Karadjordjevic asking pardon and forgiveness, saying that he was only loyal to Nicholas until his death and recognizing the union. King Alexander subsequently pardoned him and he returned to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, receiving a pension and living in retirement until World War II broke out when he organized his collaboration militia Lovćen Brigade. This militia was under the control or influence of the fascist Italian occupation force, and it waged war against the (Partisans) and the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland (Chetniks). The official symbol of the paramilitary force was a green flag with the Petrović coat of arms. Popović's vision was gaining Montenegrin independence through cooperation with Fascist Italy, which led to his conflicts with both Montenegrin Partisans and Chetniks. During the war his militia split; one group joined the Partisans, and others joined the Chetniks. Krsto Popović did not join either side. He was killed in a communist ambush in 1947 by Veljko Milatović.

He was survived by his son, Nikola, who would later become a general in the Yugoslav People's Army and would become a recipient of the Order of the National Hero.