The Situation in the Country

The enthronement of Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro and the Littoral will still take place in Cetinje on September 5, despite the flare-up of the situation in the country, Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia told the Tanyug news agency. [TASS, 4.09.2021; translated by the Russian Reader]

Ethnic tensions flare up in Montenegro over church ceremony
Predrag Milic
Associated Press
September 4, 2021

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Protesters clashed with hundreds of riot police in the old capital of Montenegro on Saturday, setting up blockades of tires and large rocks ahead of the inauguration of the new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the small Balkan nation.

The ceremony planned for Sunday in Cetinje has angered opponents of the Serbian church in Montenegro, which declared independence from neighboring Serbia in 2006.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters confronted the police in Cetinje and briefly removed some of the protective metal fences around the monastery where the inauguration of Metropolitan Joanikije is supposed to take place. Montenegrin state RTCG TV said the protesters broke through a police blockade at the entrance to Cetinje and threw stones at them, shouting “This is Montenegro!” and “This is not Serbia!”

Waving red Montenegrin flags with a double-headed eagle, protesters then set up road barriers with trash containers, car tires and large rocks to prevent church and state dignitaries from coming to the inauguration on Sunday.

Montenegrins remain deeply divided over their country’s ties with neighboring Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is the nation’s dominant religious institution. Around 30% of Montenegro’s 620,000 people consider themselves Serb.

Thousands protested last month in Cetinje, demanding that the inauguration be held somewhere else. The church has refused to change its plans.

Since Montenegro split from Serbia, pro-independence Montenegrins have advocated for a recognized Orthodox Christian church that is separate from the Serbian one.

Montenegrin authorities have urged calm during the weekend ceremonies, which start with the arrival Saturday evening of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije, in Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital.

Porfirije is set to attend Sunday’s inauguration of Joanikije, whose predecessor as the church’s leader in Montenegro, Amfilohije, died in October after contracting COVID-19.

Illustrating the deep ethnic divide, thousands of people waving Serbian flags gathered in front of the main Serbian Orthodox church in Podgorica on Saturday to welcome the patriarch. Many were bused to the capital from Serbia.

The Serbian Orthodox Church played a key role in demonstrations last year that helped topple a long-ruling pro-Western government in Montenegro. The new government now includes staunchly pro-Serb and pro-Russian parties.

Montenegro’s previous authorities led the country to independence from Serbia and defied Russia to join NATO in 2017. Montenegro also is seeking to become a European Union member.

The emphasis is mine. ||| TRR

New Montenegrin Gov’t Maintains Russia Sanctions, Deferring to EU
Samir Kajosevic
BalkanInsight
December 14, 2020

Disappointing pro-Russian parties in the new government, Foreign Minister Djordje Radulovic says Montenegro won’t lift sanctions on Russia, as the country must respect European Union rules if it wants to join the Union.

Montenegro’s new Foreign Minister, Djordje Radulovic, said the country will continue with sanctions against Russia despite the demands of some parties in the new majority to lift them.

On Monday Radulovic said the government won’t lift sanctions on Russia because Montenegro must respect European Union rules if it wants to join the Union.

“I believe that sanctions against Russia hurt the sentiments of a certain number of people to whom Russia is close, rather than Russia itself. I fully understand those people, but they must know that by imposing sanctions, we are not declaring war on Russia,” Radulovic told the daily newspaper Vijesti.

“We are not enemies of Russia. I informed the Russian ambassador that the sanctions remain in force, but we will seek cooperation in all areas that do not violate our European strategic priorities,” Radulovic added.

In parliamentary elections held on August 30, three opposition blocs won a slender majority of 41 of the 81 seats in parliament, ousting President Milo Djukanovic’s long ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

Montenegro has long had close ties to Russia, dating back to the reign of Tsar Peter the Great when Russia agreed to take the small Orthodox principality under its protective wing.

But these have faded since Djukanovic steered Montenegro towards the West. In March 2014, the government backed US and EU sanctions on Moscow for its perceived intervention in Ukraine and for its annexation of Crimea.

This sparked criticism, especially from the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC, and pro-Serbian political parties who cherish ties to Russia. In August 2015, Russia added Montenegro to the list of countries from which it was banning food imports in retaliation to the Western sanctions imposed on it.

On September 13, an MP from the ruling majority, Marko Milacic, said that lifting sanctions must be the first move of the new government.

The new Prime Minister, and leader of the pro-Serbian For the Future of Montenegro coalition, Zdravko Krivokapic, on September 16 vowed to rebuild bridges with Russia.

“The current situation is absurd. Imagine that, as a small country, you impose sanctions on a large country like Russia. We will establish good relations with all countries of the world, including, of course, Russia,” he told the Russian Telegram channel Nazigar.

According to the new Montenegrin governing constitution, the government has the power to simply lift the sanctions, even if the EU was not impressed.

Candidates for membership are expected to align their foreign policy with that of the EU, but there is no legal obligation. Serbia, for example, has refused to join the sanctions despite negotiating to join the EU.

The emphasis is mine. ||| TRR

Ready

Nikolai Podosokorsky
Facebook
February 12, 2021

Most recently, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, flaunted the fact that Russia was ready to disconnect from the global internet, and today Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was ready to break off relations with the European Union. What else is Putin’s Russia ready for? A ban on free travel from the country? Recriminalizing possession of foreign currency? Introducing a national ideology? Lifting the moratorium on the death penalty? Starving? A great terror? World War Three?

Why is Russia always “ready” only for such things, but absolutely not ready for the rotation of elected authorities, respect for human rights, economic and scientific growth, equality of all before the law, federalism, fair trials, freedom of speech, etc.? Maybe, for a change, we should start getting ready not for total confrontation and civil war, but for building a democratic state and a strong civil society?

Thanks to Ksenia Astafieva for the link. Translated by the Russian Reader

The Refugees and the “Death of Europe”

The Refugees and the “Death of Europe”
Raimond Krumgold
September 5, 2015
www.nihilist.li

This summer we went to Latvia on our way to Russia.

During the week we were waiting for visas, a lot of things happened along the lines of “they have completely broken away from the collective and become remote from their people.” But the main shock for me was a one-off attempt at reading the latest Russian-language press. The quotas of refugees for Latvia were being discussed just then, along with the great reluctance to take in these same refugees. I scanned several newspapers. They all wrote about the “nightmare brewing in Europe” in a tone of aggressive and malicious ignorance that I found quite unfamiliar. I really had the feeling I had opened a neo-Nazi website. The only difference was the gloating at the Latvians, who had discriminated against “us,” the good guys, and now were going end up with “them,” those awful people. At first, I decided something had changed over the years, and then I realized it was I who had changed. I tried to remember how things had been before and realized these newspapers had always written in a similar tone. It was just I used to think this was normal. I had even considered the Russian-language press internationalistically minded in comparison with the already quite right-wing Latvian press.

2013-02-16_-_wien_-_demo_gleiche_rechte_fc3bcr_alle_refugee-solidaritc3a4tsdemo_-_refugees_are_human_beings

As long as I can remember, Europe has been dying. This has not been an article of faith, but a fact of reality. The sky is blue. Water is wet. Europe is dying of multiculturalism and political correctness. It would now be interesting to trace the origins of this ironclad certainty. Maybe it was the death of a huge country, which we experienced in the early nineties. Maybe it was ordinary ressentiment. We grew up in the ruins of one empire and maliciously anticipated another empire’s fall. I was not a racist, quite the contrary. But I had almost no doubts that a Munich caliphate would soon be fighting a Bavarian Kurdistan.

My first two trips to England were basically tourist trips. I brought back a huge number of impressions. But the main impression was that the country I saw did not look as if it were dying. Even in Birmingham, densely populated by immigrants, there was no sense of catastrophe. It gave me pause for thought for the first time.

Then there was my own emigration. It was economic emigration, triggered by the 2009 crisis, which took on the proportions of a natural economic disaster in Latgale, where I lived. It was one of the most difficult years of my life, probably the most difficult. And the experience of looking for work in a foreign country with my money quickly running out has forever changed my views. We lived for a month in Sheffield’s “colored” neighborhood and quickly learned to visually distinguish the various African and Asian ethnic groups. However, it is generally difficult to confuse Nigerians with Somalis, not to mention Ethiopians with Kenyans. We socialized with people at the very bottom. We even worked for a week at the very bottom, in a greenhouse growing flowers. It was a terrible experience. After that I could no longer look the same way at people who, just like me, were struggling to make it in a foreign country from scratch, but with no EU passport in their pocket and different skin color to boot. Of course, my experience is not equivalent to the experience of all Eastern European immigrants. For many of us, living in a multicultural country has only heightened our aggression and hatred towards “others.” But this is usually caused by the inability to examine our fears and ourselves calmly.

The 2011 London riots were probably the finishing touch. Reading the English press and Russian bloggers in parallel, I discovered that Russia, both official Russia and completely “oppositional” Russia, exists in an information space of its own, cut off from all unusual information.  The tussle, launched by Jamaican gangs (whose people have been in Britain for at least three generations) and embraced by lower-class white youth, was transformed, in Russian popular consciousness, into an uprising by Muslim immigrants. It was then it first dawned on me that if I had still been within the purely Russian-language information space, I probably would have written such nonsense as well. Until recently, I would have seen this news as confirmation of my view of the world.

An objectively serious refugee crisis is underway in Europe. Something similar happened in the 1930s, during the wonderful Évian Conference, at which only the Dominican Republic acted humanely. All the other countries reported they had no more room. European Jews did not excite the most pleasant feelings among respectable burghers back then, so they had every reason not to increase the quotas for them. The beginning of the Final Solution was only three years away. Now people are fleeing from a place where a wonderful quasi-state quite capable of organizing a small genocide has sprung up. Part of Europe is once again saying there is no room. In the forefront are my dear Latvia and the Eastern European republics generally. Over on the sidelines, licking its chops and brandishing a giant walking stick, is old lady Russia, which was no less dear to me once upon a time. Moreover, it has been closing its borders to former subjects of its beloved Assad. But I don’t want to write about Russia. It is too unpleasant a topic.

I want to write about something else. I will never forget my own immigration experience, which was relatively soft core given that I had a EU passport. I will never forget the people, of various nationalities, who helped us that year. And I will also never forget the right-wing English “journalists” who were generating propaganda against us the whole time. They are Europeans, too, but Fortress Europe is not the Europe of which I am a citizen, a citizenship of which I am even beginning to be proud, despite the fact that initially I strongly opposed the EU.

So as a EU citizen and UK resident I personally signed a petition demanding an increase in the quotas for refugees. If I have to take to the streets to support this idea, I will do it. And I will personally greet the first families brought to our city and hand them flowers. Our island is small and overcrowded, but for their sake we will make room.

As a Latvian citizen I am seriously thinking about launching a similar petition to the Latvian government. This embittered rightwing marsh will not be able to hide from reality for long anyway.

You are burying Europe too soon.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Photo courtesy of The Gampr