“‘The Russians have not yet given up on their intentions, and I expect their interference during the upcoming local and presidential elections in Montenegro,’ said Jelena Milic, Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS). She also said that ‘Montenegro’s NATO membership is the best news in the Balkans in the last decade.’
Milic said in an interview with the RTCG Portal that she hopes Montenegro’s membership in NATO has disrupted Russian plans for the Western Balkans region, although some Russian officials and, as she said, propagandists, ‘see Montenegro’s independence as a temporary break in history.’
She believes that the trial of terrorism on the day of parliamentary elections in 2016 and ‘strengthening of the links between the Democratic Front (DF) and Rodina’ show that the Russians have still not given up their intentions.” (translated from RTCG)
The following excerpts are translated from Jelena Milic’s interview with. The full interview can be found here.
You mentioned the alleged endangerment of the Serbian people in Montenegro. How do you comment on the announced Declaration on the Survival of Serbs in the Region? Is this interference in the internal affairs of Montenegro?
“Absolutely, and I do not know why it does not cover the Serbs in Chicago, Berlin, Toronto, and NATO countries, in which they live perfectly, and better than they would live in Serbia. It is problematic for Serbia to touch that. I see it as a dangerous thing.”
Oftentimes it is also talked about potential conflicts in the Balkans, in particular, Kosovo, but also Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska. Do you think that Russia is in favor of “freezing” conflicts in order to make their impact easier?
“I sincerely hope that the Western Balkans are in a much better situation than the former Yugoslavia was in before the onset of bloody disintegration, if for any other reason we have the presence of EULEX, KFOR, NATO. Croatia is a member of the European Union and NATO, although it does not act right now, and Montenegro and Albania are NATO members. After all, Serbia and Montenegro have moved forward in the process of European integration. This is all relatively good news. There is a regional summit for cooperation, the Berlin Process that fosters regional co-operation. Bearing in mind the legacy of the 1990s, the unpunished war criminals in our systems, the unconsolidated system of security, playing fire, fomenting ethnic tensions, can escape control, and of course it should be condemned from the beginning. “
“I believe that the Russians have the influence and interest to stimulate the story of making Greater Croatia, Greater Albania, Greater Serbia. The worst case scenario is that the Russians come as an interventionists to help Serbia by articulating its goals, primarily through the Security Council, and then the same way they went the Syria. Therefore, journalists, analysts, commentators, and the think tank community must recognize taht the Balkans are currently in a very fragile phase because of, among other things, hostile Russian influence and some other ‘non-state, but also ‘state actors’ a few years ago.”