Montenegro–Serbia relations

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Montenegrin–Serbian relations
Map indicating locations of Montenegro and Serbia



Montenegrin–Serbian relations are foreign relations between Montenegro and Serbia. From 1918[1][2] until 2006[3][4] the two states were united under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Serbia and Montenegro. Due to recent political developments in the region, the degree of ethnic connection between Montenegrins and Serbs is frequently debated by historians.[5][6][7] However, their relationship is described as friendly and there is no major conflict between two nations in the past.



Before Yugoslavia existed, there was very little distinction between Serbs and Montenegrins as both peoples largely held allegiance to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which directly influenced the establishment of the Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro in 1697.[8][9][10] Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, one of the most historic rulers of the theocratic Montenegrin Prince-Bishopric, composed literature which would later be considered the backbone of the history of Serbian literature.[11]

World War I and Montenegrin annexation into Yugoslavia[edit]

After Congress of Berlin formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign states, relations were improving until officially established in 1897. The Kingdom of Montenegro was Serbia's closest ally in World War I until surrendering to Austria-Hungary in 1916.[12] Montenegro was annexed and subsequently declared under governance of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on December 20, 1918.[13] Weeks after this date, separatist Montenegrin Greens under Krsto Zrnov Popović started a violent insurrection against pro-Yugoslav unionists known as the Christmas Uprising on January 7, 1919.[14]

World War II[edit]

After the Invasion of Yugoslavia, two challenging resistance groups were active in the territories of Serbia minor and Montenegro; the Yugoslav Partisans and the Chetniks. Serbs and Montenegrins composed 35% of the ethnic composition of Yugoslav Partisans in World War II.[15] Montenegrins have been cited to have been the second largest group within the Chetnik movement after the Serbs.[16][17] Montenegrin Chetniks were lead and organized largely by Pavle Đurišić, a controversial commander who was killed with his army by Croatian Nazi collaborators in the Battle of Lijevče Field.[18] Đurišić is considered a part of Serbian-Montenegrin history as he was a Serbian-Montenegrin unionist, which is thought to be the reason why Montenegrin separatist Sekula Drljević aided Ustaša forces to kill him.[18]

Serbia and Montenegro as member states of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992-2003)[edit]

The first Serbian Republic and the Montenegrin republic composed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the breakup of Yugoslavia.[19] Montenegro remained a part of Yugoslavia after an overwhelming majority of the population voted for unity with Serbia in 1992. In the meantime, both Serbia and Montenegro played similar roles during the Balkan Wars, as armed forces from Montenegro frequently fought against separatists of Yugoslavia, most especially in the Siege of Dubrovnik.[20] Radovan Karadžić, former war-time president of Republika Srpska, is often mistaken as a Bosnian Serb—he was in fact an ethnic Drobnjak who was born in Šavnik. He was known to have supported a united state (which never materialized in whole[21]) between Republika Srpska, Serbia, and Montenegro.[22] Throughout his mandate, Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević appointed several Montenegrin politicians like Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović who would cooperate with his regime to a great degree[23][24] and then denounce him years later.[25][26] On February 4, 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro.[27] The Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro, the amended constitution of the previous Federal Republic, allowed either of the two member states to hold an independence referendum once every three years.[28] After the assassination of Zoran Đinđić on March 12, 2003, a massive parapolice operation named Operation Sabre was undertaken by the government of Serbia and Montenegro in which various locations in Montenegro (particularly Budva) were investigated due to previous assassination attempts originating from there.

Montenegrin independence referendum (2006)[edit]

The last independence referendum in Montenegro was held on May 21, 2006.[29] It was approved by 55.5% of voters, narrowly passing the 55% threshold set by the European Union. By 23 May, preliminary referendum results were recognized by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, indicating widespread international recognition of Montenegro once independence would be formally declared. On 31 May the referendum commission officially confirmed the results of the referendum, verifying that 55.5% of the population of Montenegrin voters had voted in favor of independence.[3][4] Milo Đukanović, the national PM at the time, was the leader of the pro-independent bloc centered around the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro. Predrag Bulatović led the coalition of pro-unionist parties during the referendum campaign.

Contemporary relations[edit]

Montenegro has an embassy in Belgrade and Serbia has an embassy in Podgorica. Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). Both countries are also recognized as potential candidate countries by the European Union.

Montenegro's recognition of the Republic of Kosovo[edit]

After the Kosovo declaration of independence, Serbia expelled the ambassador of Montenegro in October 2008, following the Montenegrin recognition of the independence of Kosovo. Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović slammed his colleague's forced removal from Belgrade, claiming that relations between the two nations have become "unacceptably bad."[30] Almost one year later Serbia finally accepted Igor Jovović to take on the role of the new Montenegrin ambassador.[31]

SNS government in Serbia (2012-present)[edit]

After being elected the new Serbian president in May 2012, SNS-candidate Tomislav Nikolić gave an interview to Televizija Crne Gore, during which he stated:

I recognize Montenegro like a state, but not any difference between Serbs and Montenegrins, because there is none.

— Tomislav Nikolić, Pobjeda, Podgorica (2012)[32][33]

In June 2014, a subtle media conflict ensued between Đukanović and Serbian PM Aleksandar Vučić. Multiple Serbian tabloids, including Informer and Kurir had published articles discussing Đukanović's alleged relationship to threats and attacks on Montenegrin journalists.[34] Đukanović immediately reacted to the Serbian tabloid articles, and released a series of controversial statements on June 17, calling the articles "the most ordinary stupidity," and adding that "I believe my colleague in Belgrade will get to the bottom of these writings which reminisce about 2003."[35] The statement about 2003 was directly referring to the assassination of Zoran Đinđić, who was in 2003 the prime minister of Serbia. Many news portals in Serbia regarded Đukanović's comments to Vučić as having a threatening nature.[35][36]

Mafia conflict and assassinations[edit]

The Montenegrin mafia is known to operate illegally in Serbia, most especially in Belgrade.[37][38] It is thought that Montenegrin elements induced the assassination of Serbian warlord Arkan on January 15, 2000.[39][40] On October 9, 2009, Montenegrin businessman Branislav Šaranović who owned the casino in Slavija Hotel in Belgrade was killed by firearms in the city's upscale neighbourhood of Dedinje by two masked assassins.[41] A new wave of assassinations by Montenegrin underworld criminals began with a car bomb that killed controversial businessman Boško Raičević in Dorćol on June 23, 2012.[42] Only a couple of weeks later, Tanjug released a report claiming that the long-disappeared Montenegrin drug lord Darko Šarić offered a €10 million contract for professional assassins to liquidate Boris Tadić, Ivica Dačić, and other Serbian politicians and police chiefs.[43][44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Montenegrins' Effort to Prevent Annexation of Their Country to Serbia
  2. ^ Serbs wipe out royalist party in Montenegro
  3. ^ a b Referendum Commission of Montenegro at the Wayback Machine (archive index)
  4. ^ a b Electoral Commission official press release at the Wayback Machine (archive index)
  5. ^ Banac, Ivo (1992), Protiv straha : članci, izjave i javni nastupi, 1987-1992 (in Croatian), Zagreb: Slon, p. 14, OCLC 29027519, retrieved 12 December 2011, Posebno je zanimljivo da su se i »zelenaši«,...., nacionalno smatrali Srbima" [it is especially interesting that Greens also ... declared themselves as Serbs] 
  6. ^ - Srpska zemlja Crna Gora - Istorija Crne Gore na internetu (Prof. dr Djordje Vid Tomasevic, New York, USA
  7. ^ [1] Washington Free Press Archives. Retrieved May/June 1999.
  8. ^ Victoria Clark, Why angels fall: a journey through Orthodox Europe from Byzantium to Kosovo, p. 93
  9. ^ Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries, A history of eastern Europe: crisis and change, p. 86
  10. ^ Anthony Trollope, Saint Pauls, Volume 5, p. 430
  11. ^ Babamim Serbian History 101: Vladike Petrovic Njegos - Retrieved 2009.
  12. ^ Visit-Montenegro - Istorija Crne Gore (History of Montenegro
  13. ^ Gligorijević, Branislav (1979) Parliament i političke stranke u Jugoslaviji 1919–1929 Institut za savremenu istoriju, Narodna knjiga, Belgrade, page ??, OCLC 6420325
  14. ^ Slobodna Evropa - Bozicni ustanak izaziva kontroverze na 90. godisnjicu - 7 January 2010
  15. ^ Ramet 1996, p. 153.
  16. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.171
  17. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.112
  18. ^ a b Tomasevich (1975), pp. 446–448
  19. ^ 1999 CIA World Factbook: Serbia and Montenegro
  20. ^ Investigative Summary. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Accessed 4 September 2009.
  21. ^ The Independent - June 11, 1995 Milosevic retreats from Greater Serbia
  22. ^ Daily report: East Europe, Issues 191-210. Front Cover United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Pp. 38. (A recorded conversation between Branko Kostic and Srpska's President Radovan Karadzic, Kostic asks whether Karadzic wants Srpska to be an autonomous federal unit in federation with Serbia, Karadzic responds by saying that he wants complete unification of Srpska with Serbia as a unitary state similar to France.)
  23. ^ Central European Political Studies Review The Making of Party Pluralism in Montenegro
  24. ^ The Smartest Man In The Balkans, Radio Free Europe, October 17, 2008
  25. ^ Inspirational quotes, words, sayings - Svetozar Marovic
  26. ^ Washington Post - June 25, 1999 - Montenegro easing away from Serb Ally
  27. ^ "Profile: Serbia and Montenegro". BBC News. 2006-06-05. 
  28. ^ Worldstatesmen - Serbia Montenegro Constitution 2003 PDF
  29. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1372 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  30. ^ Press Online - Vesti 1 February 2009 - Djukanovic: Odnosi Crne Gore i Srbije nedopustivo losi
  31. ^ Tadić primio akreditivna pisma novoimenovanih ambasadora (VIDEO)
  32. ^ Pobjeda - 29 May 2012 - Nikolić za TVCG: Priznajem Crnu Goru, ali ne i razlike između Crnogoraca i Srba
  33. ^ B92 - May 29, 2012 - Podgorici ne smeta izjava Tomislava Nikolica
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ a b Unknown. "Đukanović upozorava Vučića, Vučić: država je jača". 
  36. ^ [3] Blic: Đukanović upozorava Vučića, srpski premijer poručio da je država jača (in Serbian) 17 June 2014
  37. ^ Novi Magazin - Rat crnogorske mafije u Beogradu - June 25, 2012
  38. ^ Kurir-Who is the boss of the mob? (Title translated in English)
  39. ^ Minister of information Matić accuses the Montenegrin mafia for the assassination of Arkan
  40. ^ Arkanove ubice štiti država!, Press, 15 January 2008
  41. ^ Press Online - Vesti - Kriminalci opet haraju Srbijom: Crnogorska mafija ubija po Beogradu! October 10, 2009
  42. ^ Slobodna Evropa - Kriminalni obracuni vracaju li se devedesete na beogradske ulice - July 25, 2012
  43. ^ Vijesti - Svijet - 16 July 2012 - Saric nudio 10 miliona likvidaciju visokih funkcionera Srbije
  44. ^ Press Online 17 July 2012 Saric unajmio placene ubice