Vladimir Bozovic, professor of the University of Montenegro, doctor, chairman of the public organization “Matica Srpska” in exclusive interview with News Front agency.
News Front: The reason for today’s conversation is the issue of Montenegro’s membership in NATO. And so the first thing I ask you to observe on the invitation, which recently the Alliance sent to Montenegro.
– With regard to the invitation (NATO – Ed.), we know that it is a part of the geopolitical processes as well as several times already been announced – an attempt to collect all the “jigsaw puzzles” in the European part of the Mediterranean. Montenegrin coast is seldom from the areas which was not formally under the control of NATO. Earlier, we were subjected to rigid, unpleasant, unilateral campaign, which doesn’t contain any important points for citizens on the basis of which they could say “for” or “against”. This is the result of the Montenegrin leadership’s blackmail, which did exactly what was expected from them.
News Front: Many say that the people are silent. At the same time the protests are lasting for already three months. Some say that few people attend rallies, others – that it is a great success to rally the troops for such a long time because it is assumed that people do not see value in rebellion. How do you comment on the people’s mood?
– As I had already said, against us was carried out unreasonably brutal campaign. Meanwhile, are conducting researches of public opinion. It should be noted that several agencies have a monopoly on conducting of such polls, which are in a close business relationship with the regime. So the interest in NATOs support, which they say, have nothing common with reality. And if to take an abundantly look at the results of their research, it could be seen a lot of contradictions. The information varies depending on the political situation and is incredible in terms of chronology.
I would say that people are in anti-NATO mood. This could be seen in many factors, including the mentioned demonstrations. And, of course, when we talk about numbers, we must bear in mind how many people live in Montenegro, which is 600 thousand people. That is, if at some protest appears 5-6 thousand – it is a huge amount for us. Calculate the percentage and try to present it in larger European country, and once it becomes clear that it is an impressive figure.
News Front: The next question on how to address the issue of NATO. The Montenegrin authorities categorically opposed to the referendum. A significant part of the opposition acknowledges that the referendum will be “stolen” as well as all the elections. What do you think about it?
– According to the conditions in which were held a referendum and electoral processes in 2006 we can confidently say that this would be yet another manipulation. The big question is, would the Montenegrin regime with all institutions that are used for theft during the elections, succeed now. I think they’re aware of this, and therefore do not wish to expose themselves to such risk. Over the past two years society was prepared for the information that the decision will be made in Parliament.
Both parties and representatives of several non-governmental organizations which are under the control or in financial relations with the West and NATO Embassies promoted an idea that a referendum is unnecessary, it is sufficient to carry out public opinion researches, and it is already gave the legitimacy to the current Parliament. It is planning now. It is planned to equalize the future election campaign with a referendum on NATO. We know that for the average citizen of Montenegro is important but is not the key to most voters, primarily for the participants of the bureaucracy. For them, the main thing is to keep their status and positions. And it is expected that they will support any pro-governmental parties for the sake of self-interest, and in turn, won’t oppose NATO.
News Front: Do you think that if there really was formed a technical power, whether it would have had enough time to break the stereotype? After all, the people are already seated in fear.
– Fear exists, and even dominates in desire to maintain the status and material preferences that exist in the nomenclature of the regime. Meanwhile, we see that there is a confrontation, and even comes to major shifts in the corrupt pyramid of regime.
In any case, I believe that if that technological power has worked on levelling this fear and just the creation of an atmosphere conducive to the free expression of any subject, whether it’s the elections or referendum, it certainly would be reflected on the result. There is no doubt, neither representatives of the regime nor biased NGOs doubt in that fair elections mean the collapse of the project. Those who favor the high democratic standards, keep quiet and keep their eyes away when there is evidence on manipulation which uses the regime for the sake of power. They simply avoid free will.
News Front: Could the authorities facilitate the declassification of the Montenegrin services archives? After all, it would have contributed to the realization of the truth, and subsequently – national reconciliation in Montenegro?
– You know that all the former communist countries have recently completed that process. But our country has received grotesque definition in the sense that it changes its power only from the world wars. Returning to your question, yes, I think that the declassification of the archives would be very helpful. It would be our acquaintance with ourselves and the people who surround us. And some humility for future political processes in Montenegro. It will be very hard.
News Front: Returning to the topic of geostrategic processes. How do you see Russia’s contribution to the situation in the Balkans?
– Russia has returned to the scene of geopolitical processes and the Balkans as well. As for her presence in the region, I would say that it is more intense in Serbia and the Republika Srpska. Montenegro has not yet been the subject of Russian politics, as long as it formally showed open animosity towards Russia. I am referring to the imposition of sanctions against the country, which in historical and contemporary terms provided its very existence. Perhaps now we have come to some changes.
Will Russia continue to work actively on the protection of their interests in Montenegro, we will see. But, of course, a large percentage of the population wants it. As you saw yesterday was an interesting event. German Ambassador attended a press conference of one of the Montenegrin Parliament deputies.
News Front: Western forces visualize Balkan countries as their colonies, since their embassies decide what will happen here?
– We had some incredible situations in this context. One of their vote, which seems to be related to one of the anti-corruption laws. He has long officially consistent with the US embassies. These are facts that openly speak about the relationship of the Montenegrin regime with the embassies of NATO.
News Front: Next issue is about Montenegro’s future. We can say there are three areas of society: one is for military neutrality, the second is for NATO, and the third is for the Eurasian Union. What is your position, should Montenegro be a member of any military alliance?
– The best choice for Montenegro is military neutrality. Of course, it must be through certain guarantees. As far as I know from reports from Moscow, Russia does not mind to become one of the guarantors of military neutrality of Montenegro. I often hear claims that our neutrality would cost too expensive. It is, of course, carries a certain financial and other risks. But on the other hand it doesn’t carry a dangerous risk – membership in an aggressive military bloc, which in this case is NATO. As we can see, it does not intend to operate in a mode of political union. They expanded to the east, to the Middle East. For all that they need lives.
News Front: As chairman of the public organization “Matice Srpske”, how do you assess the position of the Serbian people in Montenegro?
– The position of the Serbian people in Montenegro, in all of the static parameters have least protection in the Montenegrin state institutions. This is an important element. Serbian culture dropped from the main stage. Serbian language, Serbian language association, is completely discriminated against their relations with the authorities and through the media and the education system. We have a set of readable arguments on this topic. Our situation is difficult. And “Matica Srpska” is an organization that promotes the culture, identity and language of the Serbian people.
News Front: Is it possible that as a result of free elections has come to pass changes in the Constitution, which would have a positive impact on the lives of the Serb population?
With regard to the purely technical issues of amending the Constitution, there are constitutional legal limits of the procedure. It will be very difficult. Meanwhile, I am sure when it comes to the change of power, the majority of those who are not under pressure, and who provides the position of the Serbian people in Montenegro, naturally react to the fact that the Serbs should have all the same rights that all citizens of Montenegro.
News Front: What are your expectations from the opposition protests? Do you think that will be followed any concrete actions?
– Democratic Front acts stubbornly on the protests, which is unusual for our mentality – it is certainly new historical phenomenon to us. And it certainly brings its favor in a cultural plan. As a result of recent negotiations, we can say that there are no good news. But the need to see where the boundaries, whether they will join the Democratic Front. This, of course, would create pressure on the Montenegrin regime, and it would be impossible to ignore. In particular, we are talking about signing the documents, which refers to the participation of the opposition and the regime in power and the formation of the technical preparations for the legitimate electoral process.
News Front: Nebojsa Medojevic was quite skeptical about the “second part” of the opposition. Can the Democratic Front continue the fight itself? And is it likely that the two protests against NATO and against the power, merged into one?
– As to the merger, I do not think it is possible just because there is a part of DP force oriented for NATO. Three or four parties, which are now were talking with the regime are determined for the path. The representative of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) said that the key aspect of the agreement on technical power is unacceptable to them. But no one came out of the negotiations. They continue. I do not optimistic about the fact that they may join the protests. While anything is possible. This, of course, would create a new form of functioning of the Montenegrin political scene.
Original interview on Serbian