Originally appeared at IN4S, translated by Igor exclusively for SouthFront
Military analyst Aleksandar Radic believes that “the global game”, which these days takes place in Podgorica, can create the image of Montenegro before the allies of the West as a country that has directly affected the performance of Russia and therefore has speed up its accession to NATO. President of the Movement “No to war not in NATO,” Gojko Raičević, said that the protests are not related to NATO, but for the “long enduring restriction of freedom,” while Alexander Dedović from the Alpha Centre protests of DF, no matter if its, as he says, the very beginning with its décor and iconography portrayed a different impression, its interpreted only as “social”.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, after breaking up a protest in front of the D-Assembly, stated that “the inclusion of Montenegro in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration does not lead to its consolidation and prosperity”, after which there began to appear serious assessments in public (including the US) that protests from DF was financially supported by groups from Russia, but also from Serbia. Because of Russian and Serbian décor and features, as well as the occasional anti-NATO rhetoric, which could be heard in the protests, gatherings organized by the DF increasingly are characterized as a sole purpose to destabilize Montenegro and disable its path into NATO.
Protest organizers from DF, however, explicitly claim to have “organised the protests themselves, noting of that story that its supported and financed by Russia and parties in Serbia, its a sheer lie”. The interlocutors for Portal Analytics talked about that at this moment its a very delicate subject, and believe that the events that took place the previous day in Podgorica, even though there was a feeling of “Russian influence” will not endanger Montenegro’s path into NATO, but that might cause a counter effect and woo at its undetermined citizens. They also emphasize, regardless of whether they are for or against NATO membership, that the protests are partly of “social character”.
Military analyst Aleksandar Radic told the Portal Analytics that “Podgorica streets are contested in a serious global game between the NATO – Russia”. He, however, believes that it will not endanger Montenegro’s path into NATO. Supporters of “conspiracy theories” will certainly find plenty clues to the presence of Russia, which is on one hand realistic. But the other side has enough evidence to say that this situation suits the West. Because when there is no clear support for NATO membership, what happened in Podgorica gives the opportunity for countries wishing to support the accession of Montenegro to NATO, to make it clear that Montenegro is endangered and that this situation should be support by NATO membership – Radic said.
He believes that in countries where the public is divided on the issue of NATO when it comes to the crisis, “there is rapid increase for support of NATO” .- So, actually, what is happening so far could create a picture in front of the Allies in the West as a country that has directly affected the performance of Russia and that we should support its accession to NATO said Radic.
Social protests that speak of the need for NATO membership
The director of the Alpha Centre, an organization that supports Montenegro’s path to NATO, Alexander Dedović also believes that the events in Podgorica in recent days opened “many aspects of the benefits of NATO membership”. I believe that past events relate to the protests, a large number of citizens aroused serious thought about membership, as well as opened up many aspects of the need for membership in the collective security system. Do not forget that almost all progress in reforms of defence, security, intelligence sector and especially in the judiciary and prosecution occurred mainly due to the pressure of partners said Dedović for Portal Analytics.
Dedović DF protests in Podgorica interpreted only as “social, which aim to improve the quality of life in Montenegro to change for the better”.
No matter if its the very beginning with its décor and iconography betrayed a different impression, I think it is not about anti-NATO protests. Although the stage set could hear anti-NATO talks, interpret it as a realistic reflection of the situation in society, placing different views and try to influence the crowd and those citizens who followed the reports from the protests – highlights Dedović.
He notes that, since the beginning of protests organized by the DF they are clearly opposed to membership in the Alliance. And the other side immediately used it to try to put a spin on the story with social themes and almost managed to discredit those citizens, labeling them as anti-Montenegrin, anti-NATO and anti-European. However, the rhetoric of protest was quickly adapted, and the intervention from the state has joined the protests and so has responded with the citizens who see Montenegro as a future member of NATO – says Dedović.
Russia only supports the regime
President of the Movement “No to war not in NATO,” Gojko Raičević supported the protests of the DF and in them also participated as a journalist. On the question of the Portal Analytics whether the protests were organized by the DF anti-NATO and that aim to destabilize Montenegro, Raicevic was explicit – “Protests are not tied to NATO, that the regime wants to place, but for the long-discontinued freedom”. If it was not such a big stake – freedom itself, I would be satisfied with such a result and that would interfere with the accession of Montenegro into NATO.
I want to believe that the people of Montenegro have not lost the urge to want freedom above all else. This reaction of the people, obviously, is not tied to NATO, that the regime wants to place, but for freedom long ago repealed. Twenty days on Nemanja’s coast, no matter how someone had the court about it, spawned the need for men to be free. On those two hundred meters of the boulevard Nemanja’s shore, is a representation of freedom, of the people of Montenegro, it was felt that freedom was available – said Raičević for Portal Analytics.
The question of whether the organization or protest of the DF are supported by Russia financially or logistically, Raicevic points out that “Russia does not give significant support to us, but the Montenegrin regime”. Do be reminded that the Russian Federation was among the first to recognize the referendum result. There was huge Russian capital, just after it entered into Montenegro to helped the regime to preserve discriminatory, mafiocratic appliances. Officially Russia cares for the well-being and is sympathetic to her people, as she also cared for her people in Ukraine and the Baltics. That’s my experience. So, if there is some kind of help, its travelling too slow. And not to stay vague, I will accept Russian help if we are offered – said Raičević.