Montenegro–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-черногорские отношения) are foreign relations between Montenegro and Russia. Montenegro has an embassy in Moscow and Russia has an embassy in Podgorica.
Early modern period
Owing to Rákóczi's War of Independence (1703–1711), the position of Serbian militiamen in the Military Frontier of the Habsburg Monarchy was endangered. In 1704 the first Serbian attempts were made to offer their services to Imperial Russia in the latter's struggle against the Ottomans. Prior to the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War (1710–11) Russian Emperor Peter the Great invited Serbian militiamen and Serbs in general to join the Russian forces. In 1711 the third delegation sent to Russia by metropolitan Danilo arrived in St. Petersburg. The first Russian delegation to Montenegro arrived on 3 March 1711. Peter the Great called the Balkan Orthodox to rise up against the Ottomans during the Pruth River Campaign.
In 1715–16, Montenegrin metropolitan Danilo I travelled to St. Petersburg from where he returned in April 1716 with two diplomas signed by Emperor Peter the Great, the first which obliged the Montenegrins to aid the Russians in case of war with the Ottomans, the second an annual aid of 500 rubels to the Cetinje Monastery.
During the office of Metropolitan Petar I, he and guvernadur Jovan Radonjić were the two head chiefs of Montenegro, one by title, the other according to actual position. The two clashed in international politics: the Metropolitan held to Russia, while Jovan relied on Austria. On the question whether to support Austria or not, the two sides conflicted during the Austro-Turkish War (1787–91) and Russo-Turkish War (1787–92).
19th century to 1918
The Russian Empire opened a consulate in Kotor in the Habsburg Monarchy in October 1804. It was to serve as "protection of the people of Montenegro and Brda". It was officially recognized by the Austrians that same month. Among active Russian emissaries in Montenegro were Mazurevsky (the deputy) and Marko Ivelić. In 1806, the Russian–Montenegrin force under Dmitry Senyavin took Kotor, but handed it over to the French.
Petar I conceived a plan in 1807 to revive a Serbian Empire ("Slaveno–Serb empire"), which he informed the Russian court. It envisioned Russia as the suzerain; the title of Serbian emperor would be held by the Russian emperor. It was thwarted by the French–Russian peace treaty.
Nicholas I of Montenegro, the last king of Montenegro, exchanged support with the Russian monarchy. In 1868 he undertook a journey to Russia, where he received an affectionate welcome from the tsar, Alexander II. Two of King Nicholas's daughters were married to Romanov Grand Dukes, Princess Milica and Princess Anastasija. Under Nicholas I, Montenegro was an ally of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war. Volunteers from Montenegro were fighting in the Russian Army. In 1905 Japan recognized Montenegrin independence and declared an end to the war. A peace treaty was signed.
NATO membership and escalation of tensions
A poll in July 2015 from the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, which received financial support from NATO, found that 36.6 percent supported membership, to 37.3 percent against, with sharp divisions between ethnic groups: 71.2 percent of Montenegrin Albanians and 68 percent of Montenegrin Bosniaks supported membership, while only 11.3 percent of Montenegrin Serbs did. In June 2015, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that low public support for NATO could affect whether Montenegro was able to join the alliance. In December 2015, the spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Montenegro's accession to NATO was bound to result in "retaliatory actions".
In late April 2017, after the Montenegrin parliament approved the country′s accession to the alliance, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that said the decision to join NATO had been made by means of defying "the will of nearly half the country′s population that comes out against" the accession. A Russian establishment analyst commented that NATO needed Montenegro for launching a hybrid war and destabilising Europe. Tensions between the countries increased dramatically thereafter, with Montenegro accusing Russia of meddling in its internal affairs and banning entry to specified Russian nationals, including such top Russian officials as Dmitry Rogozin, Nikolai Patrushev, and Ramzan Kadyrov.
On 5 June 2017, the day Montenegro formally joined NATO, the Russian foreign ministry said, "In the light of the hostile course chosen by the Montenegrin authorities, the Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures on a reciprocal basis. In politics, just as in physics, for every action there is an opposite reaction."
Russia plays a big role in the Montenegrin economy. In 2012, Monstat reported that Russian businessmen have majority shares 32% of foreign enterprises present in Montenegro.
Montenegro and Russia share a visa-free regime on travelers between the two countries since 2008. Montenegro is recognized as one of the most popular destinations among Russian tourists. In the summer of 2011, Russians composed of over 20% of all the tourists that visited Montenegro.
Up until the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro, the majority of business enterprises in Montenegro were state-owned. Following independence, mass privatization swallowed up many of Montenegro's former-state companies. Privatization in Montenegro has been recognized among Russian officials as a matter of controversy since 2005, when Vladimir Vaniev (at the time representing the Russian Consulate in Podgorica) said sarcastically in a press conference regarding the privatization of Montenegrin aluminum-producer KAP that "he didn't know that Montenegro was the 51st state of the United States." Vaniev also accused the Montenegrin press of being funded "in dollars" by the United States in order to support a disproportionate privatization wave for the benefit of American interests.
The dissolution of the Serbo-Montenegrin union also led to large swaths of property being sold to eccentric profiles under controversial exchanges. Russian press claimed in 2012 that Russian citizens own at least 40% of real-estate property in all of Montenegro. In 2009, Croatian news portal Globus called Montenegro a "Russian colony", accusing Milo Đukanović of manipulative strategies in post-independence privatizations for the benefits of non-Montenegrins, especially Russian tycoons.
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